The first presidential debate of 2012 between President Barack Obama and the Republican challenger Governor Mitt Romney was held on Wednesday evening and to everyone’s shock the wealthy Mormon businessman ended up looking like the wise professor.
From the starting bell through the five rounds of debate the president struggled to give clear, concise and confident responses to Romney’s attacks, questions and proposals, let alone the highly intelligent responses delivered with unrivaled charisma we all grew accustomed to in 2008.
In 2008, then one-time Senator Barack Obama ran a campaign on transparency, peace, fiscal responsibility and an open book policy. He wasn’t afraid to jump on Vice President Candidate Sarah Palin for her statement, “Drill Baby Drill,” but he didn’t make a peep on Wednesday when the governor mentioned his plan to develop the Keystone Pipeline to run through the heart of America. The debate wasn’t about the environment, but when Romney says he plans to get us energy independent and turn the economy around by creating jobs with the Keystone Pipeline, Obama could’ve easily pointed out some basic scientific research proving that would be a bad idea. He could’ve used climate change to magnify the difference between the two parties many Americans currently fail to see.
Time and again Obama failed to stare down corporate America and stick up for the environment. Romney’s plan excluded investment in clean energy; Obama said nothing. When Romney went over the top by criticizing Obama for his investments in Solyndra and other renewable energy companies, Obama stared at his shoes and didn’t make a peep about the new energy success stories.
Obama could’ve pointed out that the five too-big-to-fail banks were bailed with Romney’s blessing and that the Federal Reserve works outside of his authority, meaning that it will bail itself out regardless of what anyone says, including Romney. Obama could have backed his Fed Chairman and made the argument for continued bailouts. If he was interested in being my president, he might have tried to convince me that Romney’s idea of allowing these corporations to fail would be a bad thing.
Debates have proven to have a minimal effect on the outcome of elections and historically the challenger usually wins the first debate, but if Obama doesn’t stop playing defense and start leveling with us, he’s got a real shot at losing the presidency to an admitted plutocrat.