Did Mitt Win?

October 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Did Mittens win? I kept trying to watch the debate “objectively,” which I think I’m somewhat more able to do now than in the past, and while I was as disappointed as everyone else that Obama didn’t nail Mitt even when he had huge openings, Mitt came across as a slick salesman. I could see someone thinking that he might have the managerial skills to get the economy going but at the same time not being able to believe a word he’s saying. Obama didn’t fight. There’s no question about that, and it’s frustrating, but I think it will play better with women than with men.

Barry’s just not capable of looking at his opponent and saying, “You’re lying.” He almost did, a few times—had a wry comment about one of Mitt’s endless inconsistencies—but he always ran right over it, not pausing, not emphasizing. He should use humor more, since he’ll never be comfortable with in-your-face anger.

I don’t think it matters, though. It was necessary for Romney to have some kind of win or the pundits would start dissing Obama for no reason at all, just out of boredom. This sets Mittens up to fall again. His hallucinatory denials will work well in TV ads split screen with him saying just the opposite. What I’m mostly curious about is how this “win” will loosen Mitt up into making another serious gaffe. I expect that to be the ultimate result of the debate—he’ll become too aggressive and too confident. The Onion has a funny piece about Romney coming from a long line of Presidential losers and, privileged as he may be, I think he’s better as a challenger than as the putative winner. We’ll see.

I also think many people don’t process debates as win or lose. They hear things that matter to them, or don’t hear things that matter, and the rest is irrelevant. They can agree that someone won, without that affecting their opinion–and I’m talking about undecided voters. Romney was Ronald Reagan Barbie and I felt a fleeting affection for him, as one does for those undignified dolls…and that’s winning?

That said, I don’t think Romney has a killer instinct. He’s just a bright boy, did his prep and is a smooth liar. He’s convinced himself that lying has no moral weight. It’s interesting because I do think he has a moral code. I’m just not sure what it consists of.

Autumn Begins in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.

–James Wright


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