Simply put, the core beliefs of conservatism that Mitt Romney provided in months of campaigning are over. It’s now Business Mitt, and I have to applaud him for going directly at the president, who (despite streaming issues) came off as aloof, and asleep. In fact, one streaming hiccup underscored the point where Romney was berating President Obama, and the president kept looking at his notes, obviously searching for an answer that wasn’t prepped for him.
Romney wins hands down.
After re-watching the debate in full, it became clear that Mitt Romney won, but also gave up a lot of ground to the fiscal conservatives who won’t be seeing any change in government any time soon. As I warned before, Romney is no fiscal conservative, and the debate showed it. He promised to keep Medicare whole, fully against the principles of VP-nominee Paul Ryan, offsetting his own promised spending reductions with keeping $718 billion in Medicare, adding military budgets arbitrarily for votes, and probably promising to build a moon base just to keep Newt happy.
The lay person may not realize the impact of such a statement, but 60 million people watched Romney undo his own fanciful test of budget cuts with that statement, and it should concern you. The GOP will be wise to just ignore this, but the Dems, definitely hit hard by the president’s lack of preparation, won’t be too quiet about the reversal.
Defense budgets as well, increased by a rather massive amount, are going to undo any cuts that Romney claims to accomplish in his budget. In fact, with a revenue shortfall, the numbers he’s promising will be hard to justify. Simply put, he’s pushing more promises than he can possibly deliver upon.
Say he keeps Medicare, that’s $718 billion. He adds $200 billion a year to DoD, that’s a trillion right there. So on top of cutting $1 trillion (if he even could cut that much!), he neutralizes all of that spending thrift with those two incongruous promises in the debate. Add that to the revenue neutral promises that simply don’t add up, and Romney’s going to have to borrow a lot more from China, since we’re nowhere near operating in the black.
But that said, this day is more about the president’s inability to multi-task, something a challenger can do, but not the president of the United States. The Turkish Parliament authorized military action against the Assad Regime in response to a shelling of a border town, killing 5 civilians. While the Turks are not going to declare war, there is a big question to wag the Turkey if President Obama can’t handle a debate, a campaign, and tension in the Middle East.
It’s the reason why he looked better than McCain in 2008, and now that the president is actually the president, seeing this disconnect will be a big disadvantage for his campaign. And if the Obama campaign shifts to Turkey talk, this is a wag-friendly environment that won’t be lost on his critics.
After all, it’s officially October. Surprises will occur, and Turkey/Syria could draw heat from the economic situation in the US.. It provides Romney with even more cover of being an alternative to the growing unrest. Take an unchecked and full-blown Syrian civil war, and the inability of the U.N. to do anything but let China and Russia sit on their hands (so they can sell more weapons), and you’ve got a recipe for a foreign policy debate of epic proportions.
If Romney can undo his math, and survive the Dem responses, I think fiscal conservatives still have a trust issue with the guy who just might end up being just like the previous president, especially when he wins a debate by dumping whatever vestiges of fiscal conservatism he carried into Denver.
But since we’re down to two candidates, there’s little choice for voters. Romney definitely didn’t bunt, and took big swings, which the GOP should rightfully applaud. But the biggest question on my mind is what, if anything Romney said last night, can be real?
Time for a Triple Crown celebration.