Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Third Debate: Mitt didn't take the Gloves off

Both sides are claiming victory in the third presidential debate. Unlike debate number one, no one will concede defeat. In debate number two, Obama's media hacks called the debate for their guy but that narrative was belied by Romney's surge in the polls afterward. The common thread that ran through both debates was that Romney was aggressive and showed the conservative base that he could fight.

That is also a trait that is contagious and even won over some independents.

The stars seemed to align for a Romney three-peat. The final showdown was on foreign policy as the Obama administration was on the ropes over its handling of Benghazi-gate.

Those expecting Romney to go for the knockout would be quite disappointed. The aggressive Mitt didn't show up. After the opening question, which was about Benghazi, the subject never really came up. At that, Romney's response to that initial question was quite vanilla. Some might argue that the opportunity never presented itself; that doesn't wash. Candidates are given quite a bit of latitude when it comes to answering questions how they see fit.

Just three days before the debate, House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa sent a damning letter to Obama that singled out the National Security Council as the likely source of a policy of "normalization" in Libya over security. The evidence is mounting that a political decision to portray Libya as secure trumped the decision to protect our diplomats. Romney could have asked Obama about this but he didn't.

He took a pass.

As we approach the third anniversary of the Fort Hood Jihadist attack that killed 14 people, survivors have made it quite clear - in a video - that they are outraged that what Nidal Malik Hasan did on November 5, 2009 continues to be identified as workplace violence instead of what it was. As a consequence, those survivors are not eligible for purple hearts and are being told to accept a lie about the motives of a murderer they will never forget.

Asking Obama why Hasan's attack hasn't been identified as an act of war that involved correspondence between the shooter and Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, instead of workplace violence, would have been quite appropriate in a foreign policy debate.

It never came up.

Operation Fast and Furious is a foreign policy matter as well. A U.S. Border Patrol agent and hundreds of Mexicans have lost their lives because someone thought it was a good idea to put assault weapons into the hands of drug cartels there. Obama injected himself into the scandal when he asserted Executive Privilege to prevent congressionally subpoenaed documents from being produced. He did so on the day his Attorney General would be found in both criminal and civil contempt for not producing those documents.

Romney avoided that subject as well.

It's clear that Mitt Romney made a strategic decision to look presidential instead of looking to win. Did he win over some independents? Perhaps. Did he disappoint those in the conservative base who had finally started to warm up to him.


When your opponent is on the ropes, it's never a good strategy to stop swinging.

Then again, what do I know?

I'm not a politician.

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