Presidential Debate Round One. That’s what happens when…

It was a Smackdown.

While staged events rarely are decisive moments in Presidential elections, last night’s debate was the biggest factor in the Presidential election so far.

It was not just big in terms of Romney vs. Obama. It was big in terms of Romney vs. Romney. The various fantasy depictions of him as a leftist, or as an inarticulate bumbler with nice hair, or as a heartless corporatist, as well as many other portrayals were put to bed — at least for now.

Romney gave substance and style. I put myself in the camp of Republicans who were wincing in concern over what could be our latest hapless communicator as a Presidential nominee.  We’ve had the misery of sitting through Bush Sr…Dole (ugh)…GW Bush…then the hapless, visionless John McCain.

Our own Peach Punditeer Erick Erickson had my favorite tweet this morning: “I feel sorry for the Politifact guys today. They must’ve been up all night trying to spin it back for Obama.” Yep.

Bill Maher tweeted, “Obama needs a teleprompter.” I did like that one too, but for different reasons.

President Obama even owned the word “Obamacare,” calling his national health care plan by the derisive term that its opponents have been using for three years. Maybe the press will finally start referring to “Obamacare” by the name now used by both the President and his opponents — as well as virtually every other American.

Just one debate down, 30 days to go.  No single staged event ends up being decisive, and this debate will be old news in ten days.  But last night the world saw a President who came across as unconfident, disconnected, and poorly reasoned. He was the empty chair.

Heck, he was a cartoon of the empty chair.

That’s is the result of spending four years surrounded by a sychophantic press corps which doesn’t challenge you, debate you, and make you better. He was not used to being challenged face to face, and it showed.

39 comments

  1. kyleinatl says:

    Thought it was funny that Willard’s healthcare proposal, as stated during the debate, calls for states to develop their own reform efforts. Not a bad idea in theory, but, if history is our guide, I guess we can forget about those geniuses at the Gold Dome picking up the ball to do anything that isn’t crafted by the Insurance Lobby, or really anything at all, provided he’s elected….which becomes much more likely after last night.

    • kyleinatl says:

      Hopefully that doesn’t fall under threadjack territory, apologies if so…I did say debate at least once 🙂

  2. Trey A. says:

    Old news in 10 days? Try two. Or as the Twitter folks point out, 21 minutes–that’s the length of the news cycle these days.

    Romney clearly came across well in the debate. Obama was certainly the more reserved of the two. However, I would argue that a “sycophantic press corps” had little to do with Obama’s performance. Mitt Romney has been running for president as his full time job for about six years. One would expect him to be good at this and well prepared. Incumbency is not great strength in debates. Remember Kerry and Bush’s first debate in 2004?

    I’m not taking anything away from Romney’s performance. But his campaign still has a ton of work to do. It’s going to take more than a sharp debate performance to rectify a summer full of missteps and mistakes and carry him across the finish line.

    • saltycracker says:

      “reserved” “(Romney) good at this” – pretty desperate stretch for a guy who is the “great orator”.

  3. Spacey G says:

    I thought POTUS seemed like a man who was distracted and not fully prepared or energized for the task at hand – a rousing, stirring, partisan debate, of course. Could be he’s been preoccupied with running the country/the world lately, and off his campaign game. To the point where debates are way down on the to-do list. And maybe preperation and 8-hours of sleep per night should have been higher up on the task list last week, but with the Iranians hacking into our banks, provided it really is the Iranians like they told Saxby it was, and not that juvie, shifty-eye teen over on the cul-de-sac, then leading the First World is indeed a bit of a distraction from being the best partisan operative one can be.

  4. Three Jack says:

    POTUS reminded me of James Franco hosting the Oscars stoned a few years ago. Giggling, not paying attention, head down, no eye contact….he really acted like he had just puffed one up before coming out on stage.

    Big win for Romney.

  5. Note that nearly 100% of the criticism you are seeing about the Moderator, Jim Lehrer…is coming from the Left and the Obama supporters.

    Frankly, I thought he did a decent job of letting the candidates talk.

    And good for Mitt Romney for telling Lehrer that he’d cut PBS funding.

    Instead of covering a clear and decisive Romney debate victory, CNN immediately had the CEO of Public Broadcasting System on air this morning for an extensive interview to condemn Romney and defend PBS getting millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies — essentially defending using my tax money to pay her salary. She was slamming Romney for suggesting it — inadvertently justifying exactly what Romney is saying.

    • Harry says:

      With Obama claiming he’ll reduce the deficit by $4 trillion, eliminating funding to PBS and Amtrak would be a couple of good places to start.

      • Three Jack says:

        I agree 100% Mark. They would do even better if the commission would just put both candidates on the stage with no moderator…just let them go at it.

        • saltycracker says:

          Thank goodness for PBS. Just think of the loud screaming and wailing if it was a Fox commentator.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      “Interesting” debate analysis from Mr. Global Warming Pompous A** himself.

      …Though Gore just may be onto something here seeing as though the former VP does know a lot about poor Presidential debate performances firsthand.

  6. bird says:

    It’s a little premature for the Republican pundits to be tearing off their shirts and running around the track while waving American flags and giving each other high fives.

    Save the victory laps for November–this is just spin.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      What’s good for the goose is good for the gander as the ‘Crats have been gleefully running around taking premature victory laps the entire month of September.

      …Doesn’t feel so good when the shoe is on the other foot now, does it?

  7. gcp says:

    Too many clichés from Obama: tax cuts for the rich, privatize social security, voucherize Medicare…He needs a new debate coach and a new platform.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      Come November 6, Obama will have that new platform as an ex-President-to-be after the election (see Jimmy Carter).

      Oh what a deliciously rich irony it would be if Obama and the Dems’ only win 47 percent of the vote in the general election given the ‘Crats and the lamestream media’s phoney [baloney] outrage in the wake of the manfactured “47 percent” controversy.

      • Calypso says:

        LDIG, I’d like to see a different president come January too, but don’t get so jazzed over one debate.

        You could be setting yourself up for quite a let-down come November 6, and I don’t want you to go all wiggy on us if that happens.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          If Obama could not explain his domestic policy (or lack thereof) in the domestic policy debate where Romney ate his lunch, ripped him a new one and handed his a** to him on a platter, then he definitely won’t be able to explain his domestic policy in which the terrorist state of Iran is on the verge of having the nuclear bomb and way too many of our embassies in the Middle East remain under attack by Islamic fundamentalists.

          Obama cannot explain his domestic and foreign policies because he does not have any policies other than blaming Bush, a reality that was exposed for all of the nation (and the world) to see last night when Romney tore into him like a man on fire who acted as if he really wants the job unlike the incumbent stumbler.

          With a rejuvenated Romney and Rove, the RNC and the superPACs unleashing the fires of hell on the airwaves in the remaining weeks of the election, I assure you that the month of October will be nothing like the month of September when Obama and the ‘Crats arrogantly thought that they had this thing wrapped up.

          If Romney keeps up this performance, not only will we get this travesty of a so-called President out of the White House, but the Repubs will also likely regain control of the Senate.

          Romney 53, Obama 47.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            “then he definitely won’t be able to explain his domestic policy in which the terrorist state of Iran is on the verge of having the nuclear bomb and way too many of our embassies in the Middle East remain under attack by Islamic fundamentalists”

            Sorry, that’s *FOREIGN* policy.

          • Calypso says:

            Alright. I tried spraying cold water on you to reel it in. I just don’t want to see you do something drastic and crazy if things don’t fall the way you want/expect/desire/predict/demand/wish/hope they do.

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              I understand your concern, but you gotta believe, especially since Romney’s stellar debate performance last night instantly changed the narrative from “Romney’s struggling campaign” to “Obama’s in really big trouble”…Trouble which Obama has been in since he first stepped foot into the Oval Office seeing as though he has been in way over his head from the moment the 2008 election returns came in.

              I mean, you take away the guy’s beloved teleprompter for just one night and his world almost literally comes to an end.

  8. Dawgfan says:

    Best Tweet of the night come from Dennis Miller: “Obama is being owned, refinanced, & owned again.”

  9. seenbetrdayz says:

    There’s also the possibility that one of the candidates was using prepared notes, which is not allowed in the debates.

    I can’t really say for sure what it is being pulled out of the pocket, but I suppose that could explain why the debate was so one-sided.

    Maybe it was just a lucky hankerchief?

  10. jbgotcha says:

    I’m glad you guys enjoyed the corporate sponsored kabuki theater. No matter who wins the poor will suffer, the rich will get richer, and our civil liberties will continue to be ripped to shreds. This is what we signed up for unfortunately.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      Oh just wait until we get to the foreign policy debate:

      Candidate A: “I think we need to enact regime change in 6 more countries”

      Candidate B: “I completely disagree with my opponent. We need regime change in 5 countries.”

      I think the Simpsons episode explained it the best:

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