Romney handled Obama soundly, with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He deftly combated BO’s constant lies and mischaracterizations about his economic plans, and you would see that twinkle every time Obama launched one, as if he was thinking “You’re making this too easy!” Meanwhile Obama rambled on ad nauseum with “explanations” that made no sense, fumed as Romney trounced him, and whined for help to the pathetic sputtering Jim Lehrer.
Romney kept bringing it back to simple points that make sense to regular folks, and that’s the key to getting the votes – giving the people information that rings true and is verifiable.
As I watched I couldn’t help but be reminded of the contrast between Whitaker Chambers and Alger Hiss during the 1948 Chambers-Hiss trial in which Hiss, who had been working in the State department, was found to be a working member of the Communist underground in America. Chambers, having worked closely with Hiss during his own time working for the Communist underground, was trying to stop the Communist apparatus by exposing it.
The beginning of the case hinged on something simple: Chambers accused Hiss, Hiss pretended not to recognize Chambers. While Chambers’ answers to the committee’s questions were simple and direct, rarely more than a line as one reads the transcripts, Hiss went on for paragraph after paragraph creating as much subterfuge as possible.
Take this example from when the committee was ascertaining whether or not Hiss knew Chambers. They showed him a photograph which he’d seen many times before. He knew it was Chambers but he postponed “recognizing” him for as long as he could get away with it:
“Mr. Hiss: It looks like the very same man I had seen in the other pictures, and I see Mr. Mundt and him in the same picture. The face is definitely not an unfamiliar face. Whether I am imagining it, whether it is because he looks like a lot of other people, I don’t know, but I have never known anyone who had the relationship with me that this man has testified to and that, I think, is the important thing here, gentlemen. This man may have known me, he may have been in my house. I have had literally hundreds of people in my house in the course of the time I lived in Washington. The issue is not whether this man knew me and I don’t remember him. The issue is whether he had a particular conversation that he has said he had with me and which I have denied and whether I am a member of the Communist Party or ever was…” (emphasis mine).*
This is one of the shorter examples. All this mind-numbing discourse rather than a simple “No, I don’t know this man.”
It was the same runaround with every piece of evidence brought against Hiss proving he was working for the Communist underground. In the end, he was proved to have been lying about the whole thing, everything Chambers had said was the truth. When one reads the account, Hiss’ tactic is obvious. Someone who is telling the truth doesn’t have to go round-about.
I have a hunch about American voters. I think things reach people on a visceral level. Obama’s negative ads are transparent, he has to lie to make his point while Romney just has to put what Obama says today next to what he said yesterday. Obama has to concoct a crazy story about a guy who’s wife died of cancer many years after he worked at one of Romney’s companies, while Romney just has to point at what Obama did yesterday.
Despite the media’s coddling and protection of Obama against any hard questions or responsibility for his policies, words and actions, I think a majority of the people are seeing through him. At a certain point, people can see how negative Obama is, and how positive Romney is by contrast. Despite what many would like to believe about Obama as successful, at some point no matter what the television says, we look at our own bottom line. We see that our food, medical, gas and other costs continue to rise, our savings and home values continue to plummet, our freedoms of speech and conscience are disintegrating, and nothing is improving.
After a while, people can instinctually see the contrast of a rambling liar against simple clarity.
This first debate certainly didn’t disappoint, and I for one and thoroughly looking forward to laughing at Joe Biden during next week’s vice-presidential debate! Bring it on!
*Chambers, Whitaker. Witness. Illinois: Regnery Gateway Inc., 1952