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Debate: Romney won, Obama lost, and I’m ambivalent

Posted by Richard on October 3, 2012

You know it was a bad night for the President when Bill Maher, who recently gave the Obama campaign $1 million, tweets stuff like this:

@billmaher i can’t believe i’m saying this, but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter
@billmaher Obama made a lot of great points tonight. Unfortunately, most of them were for Romney
@billmaher Looks like my pre-thought about Romney knocking it out of the park was accurate, or so says the media that’s so in the tank for Obama

The media consensus, from Fox News to CBS News and CNN, is that tonight’s debate was a huge win for Romney and that the President had a lackluster, disappointing evening. CNN’s post-debate poll showed 67% thought Romney won. CBS had 400 independents watch the debate, and then polled them afterward. Overwhelmingly, they thought Romney won. Before the debate, 30% of them thought Romney could relate to the average person’s problems. Afterward, it was 62%.

Personally, I see the glass as both half-full and half-empty. As a libertarian, listening to a lot of what Romney said in the way of specifics was painful. “I’m not against regulations, I love regulations! Except for a few bad ones, and the ones that aren’t concrete and specific enough.” (I’m paraphrasing.)

On the other hand, when I focus on the larger statements of principle and vision of the two, it’s clear that there’s a huge difference between them. Not because Romney is so good in that regard (he’s only OK), but because Obama is so bad.

Obama doubled down on Bigger and Bigger Government. Lots of blather about the need for more government “investments.” This statement in particular struck me: “I want to hire another 100,000 new math and science teachers” — not “I want to make it possible” or “I want to help school districts,” but “I want to hire” — as if we have a single national school district and he’s the chairman of the board.

If this man gets another four years, he’ll destroy what’s left of the founding principles of this country (not least by appointing three or four new Supreme Court justices who share his socialist/authoritarian view of government).

My ambivalence is strictly about what I heard in the debate, not about how to vote. Mitt Romney may or may not move us significantly in the right direction, but he won’t move us in the wrong direction. Obama will accelerate us with all his might in the wrong direction. We simply can’t afford — fiscally or philosophically — another Obama term. So I’m glad Romney won the debate. I’m certainly hoping he wins the election, and unless the outcome in Colorado is not in doubt (and I can vote Libertarian without risking negative consequences), I’ll certainly be voting for Romney.

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