If Mitt Romney gets a bump out of Wednesday night’s debate, it’ll be because President Obama let him sail through 90 minutes with no mention of General Motors, choice, the 47%, union rights, dumping patients in the emergency room, the phony $716 million cut in Medicare, privatizing Social Security, Paul Ryan’s budget, Bain — you name it.
PBS newsman Jim Lehrer was a huge disappointment, allowing Romney to control the time, take the final answer on every question and generally manage the debate. Of course, Obama himself bears responsibility, too, looking down and away, droning on, letting Romney get away with completely altering his own proposals and plans and simply lying about the facts about his proposal and plans (for example: Romney’s health plan would leave it to the states to make sure people with pre-existing conditions are covered by health insurance.)
“I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans,” Romney said with a straight face. “I will not, under any circumstances, raise taxes on middle-income families.” This is bullshit. But Obama’s antiseptic response was like putting a Band Aid on a gunshot wound.
Obama could have put the race away, demonstrating that Romney cares not a wit about the actual middle class. Instead, Romney will have new life and even a chance to pull away in the national polls. Maybe not in the states — which is what actually matters — but in nationwide surveys that fuel media and money. Romney came to a knife fight with a shotgun; Obama was busy holding his man parts; Lehrer left his in the green room.
With help from Obama and Lehrer, Romney did the most important thing he had to do: He looked and sounded like a president. His one big mistake: He called for death to Big Bird.
Winner: Romney. Loser: Obama. Biggest loser: Jim Lehrer.