Two problems hit Barack Obama square in the face Wednesday night. One was the fact that platitudes work only when you do not have a record. A good deal of what Romney did at the debate was compare the man’s rhetoric to the reality of his governance. Simply put Obama’s record has left him disarmed. There is a big question about Obama – most people think he a leftie ideologue, and he certainly leans left. But I do not think he is some Orwellian figure that deceived a majority of the electorate in 2008 in order to enact his socialist agenda. To me he shows all the signs of simply being clueless about how to actually govern. Part of governing is who you hire, and we have seen that he has failed in vetting his people pretty seriously – that’s where the socialist stuff is coming from, his hires.
As further evidence of his cluelessness, the second thing that hit him in the debate, I want to offer his continued appeals yesterday to, “The guy playing Mitt Romney last night….” This has morphed amongst the left-leaning punditry into the “Romney lied” meme, and I am sure that such is what Obama intended to imply. But let’s think about it for a moment – I have been following Romney, closely, since 2006 and have had the pleasure of a few brief conversations with him. I know quite well several people that have had long extended conversations with him and I know some of his family pretty well. There was nothing surprising in the Mitt Romney I saw Wednesday night – nothing. It was exactly what I expected.
One is forced to wonder if perhaps Barack Obama was really so clueless about his opponent that he was caught unawares. On the campaign trail yesterday he returned to the canards that he was using before. Either he is so narcissistic that he will not let facts intrude into his self-image and perception of the world or he really, sincerely believes Romney was lying in the debate, in which case he is completely clueless about his opponent.
So – disarmed and clueless, where do you turn? Well, Orrin Hatch has an idea:
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is Mormon, said Thursday that it’s only a matter of time before Democrats begin attacking GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for his religious beliefs.
“They’re going to get frustrated and clutched — and when I say they I mean the Obama people — and before the end of this race they’re going to be so clutched that they’re going to start attacking Mitt Romney’s religious feelings,” he said at the Conservative Political Action Conference here. “And let me tell you something, get prepared for it.”
I think Senator Hatch is right. We all ready have Tuesday’s reports of push polling which continue to reverberate through the Catholic world. Look for more of same, but it is instructive that this has not hit the major news yet. Some of that has to do with the anecdotal nature of all such reports – for the majors to take it on they are going to want incontrovertible trails. But they also know it is a dangerous place to tread. Because such things intertwine with race so well, this could get very, very ugly.
Some decent reporting on things Mormon is now on the rise. But I do not think it is going to help. At this juncture, after that shellacking in the debate, the fight is not going to be about religious practice – it’s just going to be name-calling and mud-slinging.
“I believe we must maintain our commitment to religious tolerance and freedom in this country,” Mitt Romney offered during Wednesday night’s debate, when asked by Jim Lehrer about his view of “the role of the government.” He went on to say that “we are endowed by our creator with the right to pursue happiness as we choose. I interpret that as, one, making sure that those people who are less fortunate and can’t care for themselves are cared [for] — by one another.”
This, Wolf Blitzer announced on CNN after the debate, was “Romney’s high point,” based on a CNN focus group of 39 voters in Colorado.
And in a poll of 1,000 likely voters McLaughlin & Associates conducted earlier this week for the American Conservative Union, 57 percent agreed with the statement “It is wrong for the federal government to create new healthcare regulations that force employers to violate their religious convictions by providing abortion drugs and contraceptives to their employees.”
Obama has shown a bit of a self-destructive streak since he took office. For Obama to go there at this point would be another self-destructive move. But with his enormous ego at such risk and the world view of his most ardent supporters falling apart before their very eyes, I am not sure they are going to be able to stop themselves. Besides, when you are disarmed and clueless, what else do you have?
And so, Hatch is right, we have to prepare. But I think we have to prepare to restrain ourselves. If Obama wants to destroy himself, let him – we do not need to pile on. We need to illustrate and report, but not attack and condemn.
If, When the religion shots come they will be self-evidently wrong and self-defeating. Just make sure everybody knows about them and let them work their own special magic. They are just more proof that Obama is disarmed and clueless.