So What More is There to Say About the First Debate?

Maybe like you, at 4 am on the morning after the debate my head was racing and I just had to get more thoughts out. Here is the column I wrote for A teaser:

Remember that line at the end of The Sting? Triumphant over the success of their project, Robert Redford turns to Paul Newman, recalling Newman’s warning when they first hatched their plan, says, “You were right, it’s not enough.” Then he breaks into a big smile and adds, “But it’s close.” That was [Wednesday] night’s debate.

  1. Paul A. Rahe

    You seem to me to have nailed it. My own view is that for Romney to win all that he had to do was to demonstrate that he is a plausible alternative. That he did in spades, and this insures that those inclined to think that Obama has had his shot and has failed will be willing to roll the dice again.

    It is not impossible that Obama will now somehow pull a rabbit out of a hat and drive Romney down, but I doubt very much that he can.

    Remember: this is the first time, since he lost his race for a Congressional seat, that Obama has fought a genuinely contested election. He can stomp an opponent who is not really in the race. Can he defeat someone who really wants to win and who is a plausible alternative? I doubt it.

  2. Fricosis Guy

    The beatings should continue until Obama’s morale improves.

  3. Rapporteur

    Mr. Judge, I’ve read you on Hugh’s blog (though you really should strike until he also hosts you on his radio show … :-) and am glad to see you here at Ricochet. I think you made an important point about maturity – real leaders don’t need to assert their authority by lording it over subordinates, but weak managers often substitute bluster and mandates for leadership.

  4. Rapporteur

    Hugh also recommended Robert Costa’s National Review column on the debate prep that Romney did … he was ready.

  5. Brasidas

    I agree, Clark.  I re-watched the debate last night with my wife (who’d missed it the first time around) and, like The Sting, it gets even better with the second viewing.   

  6. flownover

    Chicago style cemetery polling. This is worrisome and I don’t think it has been publicized and burned in the minds of nearly enough people. “if it’s close, they’ll steal it, if it’s not close, they’ll contest it”. 

    Where have I heard that ?

  7. Michael Fuller

    There are many movie quotes that could be considered appropriate (The Sting, that’s a great one).  I thought of the line from Rocky I, at the first round break – after Apollo Creed has been knock down.  His corner man says, referring to Rocky, “he doesn’t know it’s a damn show, he thinks it’s a damn fight.”

  8. Red Feline

    Clark Judge: “But still… still… last night was transformative.  An adult candidate spoke to the voters as adults.  If he keeps it up through Election Day, America just might elect a new president.  Wow!”

    Obama has always insulted his audience by talking down to them. Perhaps he needed to do so to many of his followers, but perhaps others have taken umbrage. The cool, fresh breeze that is an adult candidate speaking adult language, is so refreshing.

  9. Onggo Ferriols

    I think the next 2 debates are going to be tough for O. Even if he goes on attack mode, as many have suggested, he still has to make a positive case for his own accomplishments and ideas. As far as I can tell all he can offer is more government. 

  10. The Forgotten Man

    I have been reading the autobiography of Teddy Roosevelt.  A Harvard Grad who spent years ranching in Montana being a real man among among real men doing work and play that was both hard and dangerous.  It struck me that the real Mitt we saw in the debates was like that rising to the occasion when the chips were down as he did time and again in business.  It struck me that O has never had to do anything hard before he became president and therefore is completely unprepared to be president or to debate someone who is prepared to be president.  We saw the real Mitt and the real Obama in the first debate.  I will be surprised if we don’t see other facets of the real Mitt and O in the next two debates.  It should be fascinating. 

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