Debate Shock: How Romney Beat Obama

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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 www.taylormarsh.com covers national politics, women and power.

35 Comments

  1. Was out shopping this morning and two PBS programs in a row were buying into the Romney Won meme… Never underestimate the power of Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers money.

    They’re going to need to change their ‘Depends’ when President Obama is re-elected.

    FWIW – President Obama got my vote last week… And even though he’s not expected to take Arizona the closeness of the Arizona polls has a lot of the ‘whites only’ Republican Club (aka Arizona GOP) quite concerned… they’re starting to see that their days of absolute control are numbered.

  2. Hey, SteveK. Always appreciate when people share how they voted.

    The media is shaping this story, which was always going to be the case.

    Ohio remains Obama’s firewall, because the auto bailout matters. It’s also quite possible that Democrats will wake up and get out to vote.

    However, the advantage Obama had is now gone, which never should have happened.

  3. Great observation Taylor. We all know that Mitt will say whatever is necessary to win. I do not trust him. If that many Americans do trust him and give him their vote, then may peace be with us all, though I believe that Mitt will keep troops in Afghanistan, start a war somewhere (probably Iran, but could be elsewhere) and maybe even send more troops back into Iraq.

  4. The media is shaping this story, which was always going to be the case.

    Yes and No… IMO The ‘Citizens United‘ media is shaping this story might more fully describe what is happening.

    The media is the second oldest profession but they paid attention and have learned a trick or two from the first… Since ‘Citizens United’ money has come into the equation they been more willing to sell their very souls for a fistful of dollars.

    I also think the sound of resignation coming from many progressives / liberals does nothing but to further damage our chances… It’s almost as if some of them have sold out to the highest bidder too.

  5. There’s no doubt that local media is shape by what right-wing money, but Mark Halperin, et al. in the Beltway media has far more power at this point.

    I also think the sound of resignation coming from many progressives / liberals does nothing but to further damage our chances…

    Obama walked away from his base A LONG TIME ago. I’ve written the story of this drama for years. Whatever dispirited behavior progressives are showing Pres. Obama has to soldier himself, because he is also to blame. Any notion otherwise is simply not honest. See drones, back-room deals on health care, giving Wall Street a pass by not prosecuting, “grand bargain” teasing, Simpson-Bowles, choosing to stay out of Wisconsin union fight, freezing federal workers’ pay, and on and on.

    StockBoyLA – Yep. Romney didn’t get to be a quarter of a billion dollar man by being a bad salesman. Obama let him off the mat, which is proving all he needed to make a race of it.

  6. I like that TM, and if I may the QBM.

  7. Haha, the GOP the party of “peace”. Just like they’re the party of fiscal responsibility and family values.

    Bleh, in any case, I was disappointed in the debates last night. I’d love to see a debate on foreign policy be more than a chest-beating contest about drones and the Middle East. I was hoping to hear something (anything!) about things like nuclear disarmament, global environmental and humanitarian impacts of climate change, water and food insecurity, strengthening of micro lending among the impoverished, the AIDS epidemic in Africa, genocide in Darfur, the War on Drugs and how it meshes with our North American internation policies, and universal human rights. No doubt I’m for Obama, but he might want to think about what it means when he basically gets a point-by-point endorsement of his policy by the warmongering GOP ameteur.

  8. The Romney team should be more knowledgeable of foreign policy since they know every corner of the world to hide Mitt’s money! He’s already has international financial ties which run all the way from Switzerland to the Cayman Islands. Never mind that he’s never been involved with politics outside of the US- only his millions of dollars have. Read about the role of Mitt’s money and his Magic Mormon Underwear are playing in the polls at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.....rwear.html where you can see for yourself the true power of both on display in full color!

  9. dduck, please do excuse my stupidity in thinking that there’s more to foreign policy than Mitt’s 5 point domestic economic plan (thank goodness there was time to hear that one again! I’d almost forgot it existed), drone attacks, and one region of the world. Heaven forbid one single other topic could have been covered.

    And if you didn’t think they got their talking points out, I’m not sure what debate you were watching. That’s basically all either of them did. “That’s why I have a 5-point plan, 1, get American energy independent…”, “my first job as commander in cheif is to keep the American public safe, and I’ve done that over the last 4 years”, “Apology tour”, “You’ve been all over the map”, “strong leadership”, “We killed Bin Ladin”.

  10. Obama walked away from his base A LONG TIME ago. I’ve written the story of this drama for years. Whatever dispirited behavior progressives are showing Pres. Obama has to soldier himself, because he is also to blame. Any notion otherwise is simply not honest.

    I agree that President Obama hasn’t done everything I’d hoped he would do and that he has done some things I’m sorry he has done. Even with an obstructive opposition he bears responsibility too.

    But with eyes wide open instead of nurturing a chip on my shoulder I see that if you truly believe in the liberal / progressive agenda then it’s your responsibility to stand behind the re-election of President Obama… A Romney will would set us back 100 years.

    You, on the other hand, seem bent on dissuading Democrats from voting and that’s your right… Maybe even a good title for a new book.

  11. Yay, dregs talking about underwear again.

  12. You, on the other hand, seem bent on dissuading Democrats from voting and that’s your right…

    I’ve left the partisan field for good. Telling the truth as I see it is my job, which invariably ticks off Democrats & progressives. That you think my goal is to keep people from voting is a figment of your wildly creative imagination.

    I’m not under the delusion that President Obama is a progressive and he’s certainly not a liberal. Only a conservative would serve up Social Security as one of the debt/deficit issues when it’s absolutely not one, to name just one Republican notion Mr. Obama is forwarding. As a liberal political writer I am under absolutely no “responsibility” to lie to readers to forward a political objective that is counter to liberalism itself just to make people feel comfortable.

    That you’ve obviously missed the crux of my piece is not surprising, because partisans simply can’t imagine a liberal who actually stands on principle in her writing, while feeling no obligation to help elect a Democrat who does not.

  13. I see that if you truly believe in the liberal / progressive agenda then it’s your responsibility to stand behind the re-election of President Obama… A Romney [win] would set us back 100 years.

    You chose not to reply to this part of my comment but it would seem that even a “liberal political writer” would be able to see that a Romney win would set all liberals (not just partisan hacks with wildly creative imaginations) back 100 years.

    you’ve obviously missed the crux of my piece

    No, I got the ‘crux of your piece… Your argument sounds like the argument of a book seller with no concern for the liberal cause.

    But what do I know probably just “a figment of [my] wildly creative imagination.”

  14. TM, keep trying, it’s appreciated.

    Roro, I was pointing out that there wasn’t, but should be, enough time to cover the issues you mentioned.
    So shoot me.

  15. A Romney [win] would set us back 100 years.

    SteveK – Hyper-partisan hyperbole isn’t convincing, because it’s also a lie. It’s the reason the Democratic Party is where it is today, serving up Simpson-Bowles on the wings of economic austerity that would make any Republican proud, with Social Security “reform” as the 2nd term chaser.

    I’m for getting rid of the Electoral College, opening debates to ALL third parties, and clearing the two-party duopoly for more voices. MORE democracy, not more corporate buying of the presidency, all of which you’d know if you visited my new-media site. I love the privilege of posting at TMV, but I only write 2-3 posts here a week.

    I wear my independent liberal hackdom proudly. That it obviously bothers a partisan like yourself, though you’re hardly alone, means I’m doing my job.

    VOTE. It’s your choice for whom. I’m just offering information, as truthfully as I see it to help you decide.

  16. If I may add, TM, much shorter campaign time would mean a third party would have much more of a financial chance. And a runoff, and slashed campaign financing, and maybe we would have a shot at a democracy.

  17. As you know, I’m a third party lifer. My issue is jobs. And both Romney and Obama lack visionary ideas to tackle the complete shift in our job market:

    The era of the big-box corporate job machine is over.

    And neither the Elephants or the Donkeys are offering to solve that. One question to both:

    How do you turn a blue collar tool and dye person into a information technology business analyst (there are plenty of those jobs out there)?

    And remember, those blue collar workers lack money and time since they are unemployed or underemployed. Oh the have worsening credit as well.

  18. dduck – I’m all for anything that OPENS UP our democracy.

    How we’d get the media to play along is another question entirely.

  19. How do you turn a blue collar tool and dye person into a information technology business analyst (there are plenty of those jobs out there)?

    Education investment and retraining.

    My hubby is a former gas technician, who jumped in to learn a new trade at 50, computer, etc. But he had a trade to begin with, which most don’t.

    It’s a real issue, T-Steel, you are so right.

  20. Not what it sounded like, dduck. If we had time to hear the rightwing conspiracy theory about Obama’s apology tour, if we had time to listen to Romney’s 5 point plan, again, if we had time to spar yet again over who loves teachers more (foreign policy!), and if we had plenty of time to re-re-rehash whether or not the phrase “act of terror” was used at the exact moment it should have been, let’s just say I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that maybe we could have had a couple of two-minute answers on something less blatantly sound-bitey.

  21. Well we didn’t.

  22. A Romney [win] would set us back 100 years.

    SteveK – Hyper-partisan hyperbole isn’t convincing, because it’s also a lie…

    Comment read

  23. Good post..right on the money. It’s going to drive liberals right over the edge.

  24. Not a lack of time.

  25. Matters of degree matter. I’m also a disappointed progressive, but I’m certainly not throwing in the towel. Obama may not be my dream president, but Mitt could easily be my nightmare president. The last thing we need while trying to drag ourselves from the swamp is a return to GWB policies and advisors. Any suggestion that Mitt and Barack are peas in a pod is too much truck with that popular both sides meme for my taste. They are most definitely not the same.

  26. Btw, I still don’t understand the rationale for voting 3rd party when we all know they stand a snowball’s chance in hell. It may seem independent, idealistic, or even a gesture of protest, but it is for all practical purposes a vote for or against one of the two major parties. Ralph Nader in 2K is the obvious reminder. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

  27. How we’d get the media to play along is another question entirely.

    Er, yeah. Any ideas how that might ever happen?

  28. Well, a Romney presidency would have negative effects for a very long time when you look at the Supreme Court situation. That is not hyperbole.

  29. American politics has fallen off the cliff. We are in a dire and sorry muck with partisan media and polling all over the place… Super packs… special interest lobbying…. employers Putinizing employees…. to name a few of the obvious…

    Last evening before watching the debates watched an IMAX movie called Wild Ocean.. Once a year the sardines migrate to the tip of Southern Africa….huge schools of sardines that form mesmerizing murmurations. The predators show up; sharks, dolphins, whales, loggerhead turtles, millions of birds hitting the water at 30 mph that dive into the sardine murmurations, and of course the fishing industry. It was captivating and god awful at the same time…

    After the final debate of 2012, these two exhibit the same story…

  30. A valid third party would cause a Constitutional crisis leaving people rioting in the streets. It may one day come to that, but it won’t be pretty. The only way to avoid this would be to amend the Constitution and change how we elect Presidents, but that won’t happen because of the Constitution worshiping conservatives that think we should be living according to the Federalist Papers. Furthermore, why would Dems or Reps do anything to reduce their control of the government…. wont happen. Moreover, the American people are to uninvolved to force change…or hyperpartisan, pick your poison.

    and TM… considering your affinity for Hillary, I think attacking Obama comes pretty natural :)

  31. Jim, I think that Supreme Ct. appointment reminder can’t come often enough in the days leading up to the election. Surprisingly we seem to hear little about it.

    OS, loved the Wild Ocean reference! Kind of scary though as a metaphor..

    Shannon, the frequent invoking of the USC by the political right continues to puzzle me given their willingness to ignore it and misinterpret it at will. I wonder how many of them have even read it or understand it.

  32. Z, maybe because many of them read the USC with the same glasses that they read their bibles…while watching Fox News.

  33. The time for pushing a 3rd party option is in the primary season. If you haven’t generated a viable 3rd party candidate by then, you should be looking at the 2 from the main parties and deciding on the lesser of two evils. Not doing so is voting for the greater of 2 evils. We should be working on 3rd party alternatives, although I really don’t see that as possible without changing the very structure of how we vote.

    And frankly Romney is a glimpse into the past. Maybe not 100 years, but ceratinly the 1920′s. The GOP today wants to erase the New Deal, erase women’s rights, make sure gay people and immigrants have as many roadblocks as possible to acheiving the American dream. All while pushing an Ayn Randian business model of governance hearkening back to the days of Rockefeller and JP Morgan. Where fantastically wealthy tycoons wielded all the power and markets rose and feel at their whims. You think Romney has proved himself a viable alternative to Obama as a leader? Only to idiots that have already forgotten how we got in the mess of 2008, let alone 1929. Sadly, there seem to be many millions of those.

  34. The problem is not whether or not a third party is needed. The problem is that lying and cheating have become acceptable in our election process. While I was growing up as an inquisitive young catholic, I had moral obligation to confess my sins. These sins included incidents of disobedience as well as lies told. Mitt Romney has told more lies in the last few weeks than I told my entire childhood. I can’t imagine the penance. I guess Mormons get off easier for telling lies.

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