Debate Shock: How Romney Beat Obama


WASHINGTON – It was brilliant strategy and it worked, especially with the media, who was always going to take the lead. It’s “peace through strength,” the Mitt Romney edition.

But talk about water’s edge. If last night proved anything conclusively it’s how close the big two corporate parties are to one another, the Huffington Post screen capture above sheer perfection. It slams people over the head with the reality that we’re not having a foreign policy debate at all or one on economics, because both candidates believe in austerity and changing the social safety net as we know it. The rest is in the details, which blow past your average voter.

Mitt Romney was never going to win a foreign policy debate against Barack Obama, the commander in chief, and Team Romney knew it. What they needed to do was win the debate voters are having in their heads about Mitt Romney.

Will Romney be another Bush?

All day yesterday I made the case that Romney was going to move to the left, eventually getting to “peace through strength.” This is what I wrote: If Mitt Romney makes the turn tonight to “peace through strength,” which begins at home with our own economic health, it could get very interesting for President Obama.

The tease started during Sean Hannity’s right-wing radio show, where all political framing is launched. Having dabbled in radio and listened to the old time Republican GOTV machine for two decades, it’s where I knew Romney’s plan would begin.

I tweeted the foreshadowing, which manifested later during the debate.

Tweet one:

Tweet two:

Romney during the debate:

Let me — let me step back and talk about what I think our mission has to be in the Middle East, and even more broadly, because our purpose is to make sure the world is more — is peaceful. We want a peaceful planet. We want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they’re going to have a bright and prosperous future and not be at war. That’s our purpose. And the mantle of — of leadership for promoting the principles of peace has fallen to America. We didn’t ask for it, but it’s an honor that we have it.

But for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong

It’s “peace through strength,” the Romney edition.

How the case was driven home is even more interesting. Mitt Romney chose to adopt Barack Obama’s foreign policy, obliterating the Republican misadventurism that has come to represent the GOP fumbling on foreign policy.

It doesn’t matter that Obama won the foreign policy debate on points, because it’s expected of the sitting commander in chief. What Obama has lost is the media war, leaving the President in a dangerous position now that Romney has proved himself a viable alternative.

That was always Romney’s only hurdle. Americans have always wanted a change from Obama’s leadership, now to the tune of 62%, even if Obama is reelected, which is a real problem in a tied race. What Romney had to do was convince voters he was a viable choice.

There can be no doubt he’s done just that and there’s nothing President Obama can do to change this reality.

Taylor Marsh, a veteran political analyst and former Huffington Post contributor, is the author of The Hillary Effect, available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media blog covers national politics, women and power.