Sure, Obama was feisty. Sure, he sounded much better than he did in Debate I: Bourbon Makes Obama Sleepy. And sure, Romney didn't make Candy Crowley his bitch like he did to Jim Lehrer. But make no mistake, Romney won. And he won big.
Romney hammered one or more of these three themes in every response he gave last night, just as he did in Debate I: It's Totally Not Obama's Fault He Sucked, YOU RETHUGLIKKAN @#%%$!!11! and as he surely will in Debate 3.14: Obama Explains Binders Killed Ambassador Stevens.
Theme 1: Obama has failed to do everything he solemnly promised you he would do.
Theme 2: Obama has absolutely no idea how to fix what he's screwed up, much less what he wants to do in his next term, except more of the same crap that got us into this godawful mess in the first place.
Theme 3. Only Romney has a plan to create jobs and rein in spending, regardless of what you think of it. And something beats nothing.For every topic that came up last night, Romney answered with a variant of one or more of the three themes above. Think about it.
The college kid with the horrible Lawn Guyland accent asks about how both candidates would create jobs for college graduates so they can afford to live and to pay back their student loans. Romney answered that Obama sure put that kid in a bad mess by not creating all those groovy green jobs and forgiving everyone's student loans like he promised. Romney then said he would create jobs (Five point plan! Drink!) by removing obstacles for small businesses and creating tax certainty. Obama said he wanted to bring back manufacturing jobs from overseas so that every college student could be gainfully employed. Obama may not realize this, but kids today go to college so they don't have to take manufacturing jobs.
A gentleman asked why gas cost so much more now than when Obama took office, and what did the candidates propose to do about it. Romney riffed from his "Gosh, it's horrible that Obama didn't create all this new energy he said he would" mode directly into stating Obama actually shut down drilling and removed public lands from mineral leases, thereby actively increasing energy prices.* Obama sinned by omission and by commission.
A lady asked the candidates why Republicans sucked so much, and what they would do about it. After wiping a stunned look at his interlocutor's obvious derangement, Romney segued into his plan to spend less than BUSHITLERBURTON!!1!eleventy! and to better manage foreign relations than Obama. By the way, Romney added, did the questioner happen to notice how bad things have gotten in the Middle East under Obama's watch? Obama preened and sermonized about the manifest evils of Republicans through the ages.
When asked about equal pay for women, Romney advocated a free market approach. Hire the best person for the job, and if there are a bunch of good candidates, pick some women if there's a dearth. Romney also shrewdly advocated permitting employers to allow women to work flexible schedules, if the employers wish, a nice dig at unions who require the same rules for everyone. Romney also returned to his plan to free small business to do what they do best: create jobs and wealth for Americans. To close, Romney noted that under Obama, around 680,000 women lost their jobs.
Guns? Obama's Department of Justice shoveled firearms into Mexico, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Mexicans and at least two U.S. Border Patrol agents. Foreign policy? Obama failed to protect our Benghazi consulate, resulting in the death of our ambassador and three employees, then attempted to cover it up for weeks. GM bailout? Not only did Obama evade the rule of law to protect noncompetitive jobs as a sop to his union supporters, but the bailout has failed.
You name the topic, Romney hammered these three points. Again and again and again. The net result is that the millions of viewers and listeners in the voting public absorbed these points by osmosis. Obama lied to you. Obama's got no plan. Romney understands the economy sucks and here's his plan to fix it.
James Carville said it: It's the economy stupid. Romney watched Carville drag Clinton across the finish line twice (with a mere plurality of the vote, 'Puter would note) by a monomaniacal focus on hammering his opponents on the economy. Romney learned.
This election is not about vaginas. Nor is it about guns, or gay marriage or Bain Capital or Mormonism or binders or any of the other shiny objects the media attempts to distract you with. It's about American voters' sense that our economy and foreign policy are an abject failure. Obama's words and actions give Americans no sense he understands them and their very real fears. Every response Romney gives to any question asked eventually returns to the economy and/or foreign policy.** Romney's every waking hour is spent showing and telling America that he hears us, he understands us, he gets us.
After taking the measure of both men, Americans are left with an impression. Heck, not even an impression so much as a gut feeling, a certitude that Romney's the better pick. Americans can't put their collective finger on why they believe Romney's the better choice because they don't really know. All they know is every day they grow more certain Romney's their guy.
But 'Puter can tell you exactly why moderate Americans are abandoning Obama for Romney en masse. It's because Romney tells them with every word he utters that he understands that things are broken, and that he's got a plan to fix them. Americans look at Obama and see a failed president, overtaken by events, without a plan, other than to blame someone -- anyone -- else.
And the polls show and will continue to show that 'Puter, as always, is right.
*Romney's response to this question had every blue collar worker in coal country and the oil patch on the edge of his seat. Friendlier policies to drilling and mining mean more jobs in these states. Among these energy rich states hamstrung by Obama's policies are Colorado, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Notice any overlap with swing states, America?
**'Puter's betting that at Debate III: Obama Impersonates Charlie Sheen Romney relates our failed China to policy to economic conditions, specifically currency manipulation and unfair trade practices. We saw a foreshadowing of it in last night's donnybrook.