The new-old-old Romney

Luiza Ch. Savage sums up Round 1 of the debates

by Luiza Ch. Savage

Tonight’s policy-heavy debate showcased a new Romney – or perhaps more accurately, the old-old Romney – the Romney that predates the Republican primary race where he called himself “fiercely severely conservative” and the candidates boiled policy critiques down to accusations of “Socialism.”

The Romney who appeared at the debate was more like the person who was governor of Masschusetts for four years and was known as a moderate, data-driven technocrat – not an ideologue of any stripe.

Even though the Romney campaign, in an unfortunate sound bite by his campaign aide, suggested that he would toggle to the political center, we hadn’t seen his “Etch-a-Sketch” moment until now. We had seen a variety of caricatures of Romney or unappealing sides of him – the outsourcer, the greedy businessman, the stiff and wooden campaigner, the disdainful critic of the “victim” class.

And over the course of the summer, Romney’s image as a successful Mr. Fix It who had turned around failing companies and troubled Olympic Games had eroded thanks to a succession of gaffes. His inability to move the polls began to give him a whiff of loser-dom.

At the debate we saw the Romney who defends Wall Street regulation, while giving a detailed critique of the Dodd-Frank Act which he pledged to not only repeal, but replace. This Romney promised to keep various aspects of Obama’s health care reform, even though he wants to repeal the bill. He talked a lot about his record of working with a Democratic legislature in Massachusetts.

And he regained some of that aura of competence with his command of policy details and a high-energy performance that contrasted with the strangely subdued president. (Romney also benefitted from Obama’s failure to raise the “47 percent” comment in the debate.)

Romney addressed one of the biggest vulnerabilities in his campaign pitch – that his plan to cut taxes, raise defense spending and still balance the budget doesn’t add up. He said he would cut tax rates for the wealthy – but would not cut their overall taxes because he would close loopholes and deductions. Obama shot back that there are not enough loopholes to close the gap. Romney said he would balance the budget by stimulating job creation that would lead to high incomes and tax revenues. Even from the new-old-old Romney, that’s still a leap of faith.

 




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The new-old-old Romney

  1. Tonight we saw two men stripped of their superficial attachements: Obama stood removed from his four year old fluff, and Romney stood removed from the tea-party shrill.
    When both men stood and performed there, stripped down to a more realistic self, Romney came out the winner. He sounded more capable, more sincere and more interested in winning the vote of the American people.

  2. Some highlights of the debate (imho):
    No more borrowing from China to pay for unnecessary American programs
    Instead of squabbeling for two years to push Obama’s healthcare reform through, time could have been better spent to fight for American jobs, which, in turn, could have paid for medical care for most.
    States usually know better how to deliver services and how to improve on those services such as education and healthcare, then could the federal government.

    • “States usually know better how to deliver services and how to improve on
      those services such as education and healthcare, then could the federal
      government.”

      Straight out of Harper’s playbook.

  3. Oh, and freedom of religion, for real.

  4. Ah well…you’ve still got the foreign policy deb…

    Oh. right. Libya.

    • And Egypt. And Iran. And the entire Islamic world.

      • The EUSSR needed Libya’s oil and since they have been on US military welfare since WW2, they had their dupe Sodom Hussein Obama arrange the assassination of their newly uncooperative stooge Muammar Queerdaffy, who they previously had on the UN Human Rights Commission…

        In Syria, nobody wants to get involved because it would force them to admit that George Bush was right and the WMDs Saddam Hussein did have and did use on Kurds and Iranians went over to his friend (and formerly theirs) Assad in the Ba’ath Socialist party.

        The EUSSR socialists can never face the facts of what socialism really is

        .-

        “The U.S. has lost track of some of Syria’s chemical weapons, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday, and does not know if any potentially lethal chemicals have fallen into the hands of Syrian rebels or Iranian forces inside the country.”

        - Foreign Policy (9-29)

        -

        Leon Puñettas was too busy having gay pride celebrations at the Pentagon… now there is a dead ambassador and all they can do is play with their wee wees and cry about some stupid movie?

  5. he was very composed and well spoken. Add to that a simpler message unburdened by facts, and a simpler ideology aimed at a dumber base and it was definitey Romney’s night.

    Will it be enough for the crazy right in America to defeat the relatively more reasonable right in America? We will know soon enough.

  6. If Romney can do anything close to this in the remaining debates, he’ll win in a landslide.

    Good to see a debate that revolved around ideas and facts (or at least claims regarding facts) rather than bumper-sticker slogans shouted across a stage.

    • Admittedly I’m a bit biased :) , but that beating was so bad I almost wonder if Obama threw it. Or if he’s on drugs. Seriously. I’ve never seen Obama be anything like the bumbling fool he was last night. What I saw last night was a complete lack of preparedness. Even his closing statement was an erratic, meandering mess, and you would think if he’d done any preparation at all, he’d at least have some strong closing remarks. But there was nothing. This was more than just not having a teleprompter. He did well in 2008 debates without one. This was so bad that I literally can’t believe it was just an honest “off night”.

      • I don’t think it was just an off-night either. I think Obama is used to being agreed with and adulated after four years of incumbency and open media partisanship. I think it came as a shock to him to be met with the counter-arguments to his policies. It may have come as a shock to him to realize there were counter-arguments.

        Like a lot of the commenters (and writers) at Macleans, Obama at this point may genuinely think that the only way one can oppose his policies is by being either racist or stupid.

  7. This comment was deleted.

    • LOL. It’s no coincidence that Thanksgiving is right after the election.

  8. That tingle running up Chris Matthew’s leg is now trickling down!

  9. Not that it really matters, since the bankster plutocrats own both parties and both men, but…

    Romney had more fight last night. It helps when you (and your entourage) don’t believe the nonsense you are spouting. One can give a more convincing performance.

    The problem with Obama is that is seems like he actually believes the nonsense that he is spouting. It looks like he and his entourage are true believers in their own BS. Eastwood’s empty chair had more passion and made better rebuttals than Obama did last night.

    Romney was clearly confident that Obama lacked the balls to call him out on his BS. Obama’s advisors forgot to put clothes on the Emperor. The Emperor didn’t seem to realize that he wasn’t wearing any clothes. Romney knew he was going to a naked wrestling match.

    Self-awareness is all.

    I’d vote for Eastwood’s empty chair over either of the candidates.

  10. That seemed like GOVERNOR Romney to me last night, and GOVERNOR Romney could be a formidable opponent.

    That said, it does make me wonder. Has he gone back to being pro-choice too?

  11. Mr. Romney shook his etch-a-sketch (again) and the media mavens .. David Gurgle !
    Lucretia Borger ! .. say “hey, ain’t that cute !” and award him victory on style points.
    Thereby guaranteeing a continuing audience for their inanities ..

  12. Last night Obama lost every male vote in the Country by not having the courage to look Romney in the eye like a man.

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