It was an audacious strategy, and it might have worked in a world devoid of justice. Thankfully we still have a teaspoon or two of that substance stashed in our cupboard. Romney seems to've gained next to nothing from his "strong" performance, save for cementing his status as a liar and a bully who threatens much-beloved giant yellow Birds by name. And, despite a whole heap of words claiming the contrary, President Obama seems at worst to have broke even on the night.
Of course, the sheer cheek on display was enough to bring many to silence, and to embroil many more. It was a blatant exhibition of Mitt Romney's chilling command of, and predilictions towards, the deceitful arts. President Obama himself said it the best that I've seen (paraphrasing): Whoever that was on that stage, it wasn't Mitt Romney.
And the thing was, the metamorphosis happened literally before our eyes.
The real Mitt was there at the beginning. The guy talking about getting rid of Big Bird, not to mention getting rid of the 39-years-and-counting job of the very moderator of the debate, that was the real Mitt Romney. I believe it went further than a traditional Gish Gallop, in that the bit attacking PBS wasn't just a half-truth or misleading truth, it was the brutally honest truth. It was a whopper of truth. What's more, it was exactly what was expected. Mitt the money-grubbing dick was bloviating about money he believed had been wasted. No surprises there.
But then he changed. Right there on the stage he became a different man. A slick-tongued and seemingly kind-hearted doppelgänger Mitt Romney stood before us, and before President Obama. And this snake was willing to keep the debate going his way no matter what he had to say and do. The Gish Gallop was on at full speed, and the relentless hailstorm of lies became so great that, I feel, the best course of action was to hunker down, don't come off as angry or stupid, and have faith in the audio/video equipment. Try to triage which lies would be best swatted down and go about it, but be mindful of the inherent volatility of any conversation held with an abject liar.
Truly it was a remarkably insidious performance. A dance in macabre truth-mangling.
And while I don't entirely disagree that Obama could have done better at his triage efforts Wednesday, I think such an unexpected storm is an exceedingly difficult thing to weather unscathed and unsullied. And I think Obama managed that. Also, every nugget of cold fiction that fell from Mitt's mouth was precisely documented, and they are right now being scrutinized and exposed as two-faced bullcrap.
I think history will show that with this debate Mitt Romney morally blighted himself before America, while as usual Obama played it cool.
All depends on the upcoming debates. And Mitt's hideously charming transformation will hopefully surprise no one next time.
One thing though: I wonder how many other faces the old crook has hidden away.
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