Thursday, January 31, 2008

the REAL take-away from last night's debate

First of all, please know that I didn't watch last night's debate.

I understand that there are quite a few people who think that Mitt Romney won on merit and stature.

But it doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter because most people didn't watch the actual debate.

Nor are most people relying on conservative pundits to grade the debate.

And most of all, it doesn't matter because there wasn't a blow-up by McCain. Did he act like a grumpy old man? Well, maybe. . .but who cares. Romney had his "best chance" to show McCain's vulnerabilities last night as a CANDIDATE--which is to say, let McCain's temper and disregard for the base get the best of him. But Romney didn't attack enough, and McCain didn't go anywhere near a danger zone.

See, as I wrote before, most people just aren't consumers of politics. They like their politics wrapped up in a two-paragraph story, or in a 60-second feature on a news program. And by the way, that news program probably isn't the Fox news network.

This morning, I happened to catch the Today show (normally we have cartoons on at that time of day). They talked about the debate, and political analyst Chris Matthews said unequivocally that John McCain won. "He used that timeline comment as a stick and he beat Romney about the head with it", or something like that.

Yes, I know: Chris Matthews. But here's the problem: most people DON'T think "Chris Matthews" and roll their eyes. Most people don't know that McCain is the MSM's choice for diabolical reasons--or at least "diabolical" to the interests of the GOP.

So about that timeline comment: Romney apparently didn't attack McCain's falsehoods about Romney's position vis-a-vis Iraq in early 2007. In fact, according to the reports I've read, the record would've never been set straight if Anderson Cooper hadn't chimed in. It's bad enough that McCain has gotten any distance out of these lies; it's even worse that Romney hasn't flat-out called him a liar. Why is Captain Morrissey doing oppo research on McCain's own comments regarding timelines, benchmarks, and what a failure to meet them could mean, when Romney could be USING those words to get McCain off-message in a pivotal debate?

I have a hard time being in love with a candidate who won't stand up for himself.

Whining about the "timing" of the message isn't a very "manly" way to deal with things, either. If you can find it in yourself to complain about timing, why not just "go big" and point out the ridiculous nature of the attack at all.

So while some people may see last night as a clear Romney victory, I'm afraid they are wrong.

Sure, he may have won on points. . .or merit. . .or temerity. . .or whatever.

But last night was one round. It's probably more accurate to say that last night was like the 9th round of a 12-round bout. And McCain is 7 rounds ahead.

In other words, Romney needs a knockout. And he had a good opportunity last night.

Opportunity lost.


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