Debating An Empty Chair

Who knew that Clint Eastwood was so prescient?

The first of the 2012 Presidential Debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is now over, and the results are not pretty for the incumbent. Last night’s debate was so decisively won by Romney that even the most hardened Leftists are acknowledging defeat. This was not merely a Romney win, it was a scourging of an aloof incumbent who started incoherently and went downhill from there. Alas for the President, his teleprompter was too busy saving kittens from a tree or stopping a speeding bullet to come to his rescue last night.

The liberal spin I’m seeing now is one of disappointment. Romney didn’t win the debate; how could he? No. Obama lost the debate. Meet the Press anchor David Gregory was so confused by Obama’s performance he tweeted this gem:

Debate looked like re run of Bush-Kerry first debate 2004. President lacked fight. Deliberate?

I’ve never met the President, David, but please allow me to reassure you that Obama did not deliberately get his butt kicked in front of 50 or 60 million people.

Meanwhile on MSNBC, Chris Matthews had a near meltdown, while a certain Mr. Rachel Maddow claimed, “I personally do not know who won this debate” before desperately changing the topic to the debate format. Van Jones, the bête noire of Glenn Beck, griped that while Obama has to run a country, Romney just needs to run his mouth. Vice President Biden, the man who two days ago admitted that the middle class has been “buried” the last four years, tweeted: “Folks, I hope you saw what I saw tonight: President Obama’s the choice to move us forward, not back.” I think it’s safe to say that most people watching did not see what Joe Biden saw. But then, that’s true most of the time.

But the spin doesn’t matter. Anyone who was watching that debate and says that it was a tie, or that Obama won, is simply in a state of shock over the fact that The One could be so soundly defeated. Even committed, hardline Leftists like Bill Maher, Ed Schultz, and James Carville admitted that Romney was merciless in his destruction of Obama’s talking points.

Obama looked lost on the stage, like a man who did not want to be there (and he probably didn’t…it was his 20th wedding anniversary after all). But the split screen showed what I believe to be the measure of both men. When Obama spoke, Romney looked straight at him, clearly listening to every word Obama said. When Romney spoke, Obama looked down at the podium, or looked around and appeared distracted. He was clearly not listening. And why should he? His talking points to the contrary, Obama has never been willing to listen to Republicans. Obama’s behavior was that of a man who has spent his life in a bubble, secure that all those around him agree with him, and that the opposition is nothing more than the sum of the clichés he’s been told by his acolytes.

If anything, the debate indicated the inherent truth behind Clint Eastwood’s somewhat bizarre stunt at the Republican National Convention: When Obama is challenged by the press, he responds with petulance. When he is challenged on his turf, he is arrogant. When he is challenged in a setting that is neutral, he collapses. Never before has the real Obama been so clearly visible: He is a child Emperor, and last night Mitt Romney showed the world that the Emperor’s new clothes are not what we were led to believe.

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