EDITOR: The debate was not a good one for President Obama. As several reporters have already noted, the moderator Jim Lehrer, the quintessential “politically correct” man, lost control of the debate early on, letting Romney bully him into making up his own time limits and subject matters. “Gentleman Jim” Lehrer is the wrong person to moderate a debate that puts a premium on verbal bullying.
However, blaming the referee may make sense in the NFL, but in this case, President Obama has to share the blame for letting Romney be both moderator and antagonist. It was obvious that Romney was making up numbers and “facts” as he went along. By my count, he repeated 17 times: “President Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare payments.”
Hundreds of independent fact checkers have given the lie to this claim. Yet, not once did the president call Romney on this falsehood. To support his positions, Romney kept citing “economists,” “studies” and other vague references of no value unless they’re specifically identified and the audience can assess them for independence.
Romney and his advisers took Mark Twain’s advice to heart: “A lie goes around the world twice before the truth puts its shoes on.” Called out on several Romney and Ryan whoppers, Romney’s campaign manager told the press: “We’re not going to let facts run this campaign.” Mitt Romney certainly proved it last night.
If one cares to look at Romney’s political life. It has been a series of “now you see it, now you don’t” positions; he has taken every stand possible on energy, health care, defense, women’s choice, gay and lesbian rights. Name the issue and Romney has been on all sides of it. As I wrote in an earlier letter to the editor, Romney has more political positions than the Kama Sutra has sexual ones.
After four years, it’s time for President Obama to come to grips with a GOP that will do anything, say anything, stop at nothing, to defeat him. The proof: Fox and other right wing outlets are now engaged on a subtle racist campaign about Obama’s “blackness,” how he has changed his accent, his mannerisms, etc.— barely veiled racism aimed at an audience looking for an excuse — any excuse — to vote against a black man. Obama won’t win debates by fighting a bully with Marquess of Queensberry Rules. Next debate, I hope he attacks relentlessly and mercilessly. Since the GOP long ago decided that “anything goes,” including Obama’s race, then Romney’s cult-like religion ought to be part of the discussion as well.