More Post-Mortem: Prez Square-Off Number Two

Some more quick thoughts on Tuesday’s Second Presidential Debate: 

1) I’ll join Rush Limbaugh in genuine puzzlement at conservative commentators who’ve concluded Obama probably won this face-off — whether on “points”, symbolically, or whatever. Sure, the President didn’t fall on his face as in debate numero uno — but Romney indisputably dominated BHO for the balance of this follow-up outing, particularly during its first forty five minutes. I’ll concede it seemed like both of them lost some of their energy around 10:10 PM onwards — but overall, for anybody  not already part of the 30% who are members of the Obama cult, it seems blindingly obvious that Mitt is more informed, more experienced, a better communicator 
(particularly without teleprompter), and more worthy of being POTUS. 

2) Speaking of the Barack-Obama-Master-Public-Speaker meme/fable: Tuesday evening I saw a stammering, stumbling, halting platitudinizer who’d apparently stewed for two weeks over his screeching collapse in Denver — and so came roaring in as Big-Government Bull in an Undecided China Shop. And who, possibly, had wayyyyyyy too much coffee before the Hofstra follow-up. 

Obama wasn’t just invigorated for round two — he was positively manic. Honestly, I felt embarrassed for this man: the Leader of the Free World leaping like a Jack-in-the-Box off his stool about every time Romney paused to breath. 

Come to think of it, maybe it’s for America I should be embarrassed.

3) How about BHO’s (unintentional?) diss of Bill Clinton? “The past twenty years” have been tough on the middle class, he intoned. And who, pray tell, was president in the mid-nineties? Hints: it wasn’t a Republican! It wasn’t Laura Bush’s husband! 

As someone on my Facebook page put it, Obama heaved Hillary “under the bus” in the run-up to the debate (letting her take the hit for the Libya fiasco); and Bill to the same spot Tuesday night. That’s quite a mess under that big, yellow vehicle. 

4) Much more disturbingly: did anyone else pick up on the way he trashed our law enforcement officials? Their kind might terrorize people who look like the Obamas’ daughters, the incumbent alerted,  if Arizona Immigration policies achieve national application. 

That’s right: the most alarming problem with our nation’s “illegal alien” issue is the malevolent public servants attempting to back up our laws. 

I sure hope police unions nationally took note of that contemptuous glimpse into this president’s soul. 

5) Mitt patiently instructing the viewers/voters about his actual tax plan, and why it will benefit the economy, was Romney at his best. He needs to do more of that; and, frankly, principled elected officials need to make it a habit, as well. They might consistently explain things like: why killing unborn children is beneath American ideals; why transmogrifying marriage spells trouble for future generations; how our Founding Giants didn’t shy away from applying biblical/Judeo-Christian principles to our Constitutional system; why success and hard work should not be punished by our government’s tax and regulatory schemes; the perniciousness of the entitlement/victimization mentality fueling so much of our economic policy, etc. 

Part of leadership is pedagogy: teaching, informing, clarifying. When Mitt steps into that role, he shines. We’re going to need decades of it to turn America back to the place she once occupied and ought to occupy once again.
6) Barack Obama, second amendment stalwart? Free market warrior? National security stud? Oil drilling enthusiast? Budget hawk? Tough guy? He stylistically and/or rhetorically laid claim to all of these over the course of those ninety minutes. 

To which I can only reply: Puh-lease … 

7) Further to that, Romney’s dogged tactic of focusing unrelentingly on Obama’s record, as opposed to constantly shooting down his syrupy rhetoric, was … well, I won’ say brilliant, since that’s the only and obvious way to go. (I suppose any Republican candidate who didn’t zero in on the pile-up of BHO’s past four years wouldn’t deserve to unseat him). Nonetheless Mitt’s execution of it was masterfully, brutally effective. 

8) Precisely how STUPID does Michelle’s husband and his party think women are??? Their pandering to the “vote your lady parts” cohort is about as insulting as it gets.

The Democrats’ fractured figuring goes like this: if Uncle Sam doesn’t force tax payers or insurance companies to pay for women’s contraception or abortions, that equals squashing their basic rights. 

It’s cockeyed thinking. On stilts. It assumes the distaff sex are driven by hysteria, constantly waving off bouts of the vapors, in desperate need of Washington’s Knight-in-Shining-Armor to charge in and rescue them from the dragon of personal responsibility. Ladies: you don’t mind being dismissed as that shallow? That ditzy? 

9)  I can’t deny the former Governor missed a massive opportunity to close the deal with his statements on Libya. His bland, oddly dispirited, unfocused comments on this administration’s malfeasance in the Benghazi murder of four Americans fell startlingly short. If that segment set him up to knock one into the far reaches of the parking lot, he might have scored an infield single, at best. 

I can’t help but wonder: did slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens’ father’s pre-debate plea that his son’s death not be politicized spook Mitt? Obama and cronies, whom we know function with little conscience, would struggle with no such concerns — clearly, “Whatever it takes to win!” is their credo.

In this instance, we might have seen how Romney’s essential niceness can be turned against him in this total-warfare political era.  

Romney needs to go for the jugular in next Monday’s foreign-policy mano a mano; by all means, characteristically classy and thoughtful, but still relentless. And relentless he must be: a)  for the sake of his campaign; and, more importantly, b) for the good of our country: we deserve answers regarding this grotesque national security bungle. 

10) Finally – did you catch Michelle O applauding her husband during the back-and-forth? Contra the clearly stated debate guidelines? In case you forgot: for the Osama’s (and for Democrats in general) the rules simply don’t apply.

Image: Obama vs. Romney 2012; courtesy of: Lionelt; author: DonkeyHotey; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

About the author: Steve Pauwels

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and an editor of He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.

View all articles by Steve Pauwels

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