Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thoughts on Obama-Romney Debate III

The final debate between the presidential candidates
showed a weaker contrast between President Obama
and Governor Mitt Romney, but not without some
distinguishing points to provide discernable difference.
To Obama's credit, he showed some more marked
improvement on his debating prowess against his
Republican foe. He seemed more steady and
willing to challenge Romney on some key issues
regarding foreign policy and defense matters, which
were the topics that this last debate focused on.
Romney, for his part, pulled his punches; he didn't
go after the president in the hell-bent-for-leather
way that he did in the first debate, nor was he as
stinging in his rebuttals as he was in the second .
Romney didn't highlight the stark differences
between Obama and himself on Afghanistan,
Pakistan, China, or the use of drones. And his
difference with his opponent on Iran was but a
matter of degree. Romney stated that he would have
advocated tougher sanctions sooner, and reiterated
his pledge to prevent Iran from building a nuclear
bomb, which the Iranians would then use to threaten
Israel, our biggest ally in that region. When Obama
was queried as to the possibility of an Iranian
attack drawing a U.S. strike, Obama said that he
would "stand with Israel" --- gosh, this would
astound Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
who has been frustrated in his efforts to get President
Obama to give him even the time of day, let alone
any promise of support. Obama seemed to have time
for so many other people; George Clooney and his
Hollywood pals at fundraisers, the ladies (your
sarcastic Peasant using this term here quite loosely)
on The View, and who knows who else, while
giving Netanyahu short shrift. Now this was a
fantastic opportunity for Romney to go after Obama
on Israel, but instead weakly concurred with him,
saying that he would also stand with Israel "not
just diplomatically" but "militarily". A missed

The question of the United States' global role gave
a little more contrast between the two men ---
emphasis on "a little". Obama jabbed Romney by
saying "I know you haven't been in a position to
execute foreign policy", belittling Romney and his
criticisms of the president's handling of foreign
policy. Obama went on to warn that arming Syrian
rebels was risking putting weapons into hands which
shouldn't have them in the first place, while Romney
punched back by saying that the crisis in Syria was an
opportunity to undermine Iran's strongest ally in the
region, a regime with as much animosity to Israel
as that in Iran, but did not advocate U.S. military
involvement in Syria. Romney could have upbraided
Obama on his view of our country's global role and
his actions taken in accordance with same, saying
that it would be too risky to give him another four
years of "on the job training". Another missed

Both candidates stated that the U.S. military forces
currently in Afghanistan would leave that country in
2014. Romney gave Obama a back-handed compliment
in congratulating him on successfully attacking and killing
Osama bin Laden and other terrorists, then adding "We
can't kill our way out of this." Romney's alternative
course of action was greater emphasis on education,
gender equality and other initiatives to urge the Muslim
world to eschew extremism of its own accord.

Even the discussion of the killings of four Americans in
Benghazi, Libya, one of whom was our ambassador to
that country, didn't reveal anything new from the pair,
as neither man went beyond tired, oft-repeated talking
points. Yet another blown opportunity for Romney!

In the final analysis, your observant Peasant gives the
debate series to challenger Mitt Romney by scoring
it the first two for Romney and the third and final
debate a draw. Romney missed a great opportunity to
blow away Obama on the issues in which the latter is
almost as weak as he is on the economy. But Romney
has been able to move the needle in terms of the polls
just two weeks out from the election with the perform-
ance he gave in the three presidential debates. Anyway,
as a whole the polls are understating the true amount
of support that Governor Romney has, and the resultant
large advantage over President Obama in terms of
support among likely voters. This series of debates
simply put the icing on the cake for the former
Massachusetts governor, as Romney pads his amount
of support. Barring any missteps, Romney and
those of us supporting him shall have a grand feast.
We can't stomach another four years of Obama's
unappetizing dish of "hope and change"; we're
ready for a brand new chef, and a brand new entree'.


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