Many people have declared Mitt Romney the clear winner of Wednesday's debate, and many progressives were disappointed at Barack Obama for not having attacked Romney on any topic - be it the ''47%'' debacle, his constant flip-flopping and outright lies, the rampant mischievousness of the Republican camp in general, health care, the economy and economics and general, as well as numbers in general. The New Yorker even released its next cover, referring back to the Republican Convention and Clint Eastwood's speech:
My take is simple: there was a reason why the Obama camp repeated all week that Romney was such a ''master debater'', and it is because they let him win. Obama had no reason whatsoever to answer to everything Romney put forth, and not just because more than half of it was lies.
Obama's lead was more than 5 points, and in some polls, close to the 10-point mark, at 55% versus 45%. A difference of merely 5 more - half the undecided voters left - would make it a 20-point margin (+5 on one side and -5 on the other makes a 10-point difference, simple math).
At 20 points, the risk for Obama's supporters to want to stay home thinking ''he's got this'' and of Romney's supporters going all-out to ''make every vote count'', resulting in an improbable Democrat defeat was too great, and with the PBS crowd (where this debate took place) already being set on voting for the Democrats and, thus, not likely to switch either way with the result, Obama just read his notes, said what he had to say as he would in any press conference, and didn't bother with Romney at all. Had he been a batter in a baseball game, he would have walked three times, not even swinging at strikes, giving him an impressive 1.000 on-base percentage, but a boring 0-for-0 at bat, and a .000 batting average.
When the debates turn to CNN and Fox News, you'll see him as he usually is: strong, decisive, adept, alert, funny, and perhaps even sarcastic.
Proof of that exists not just in every speech Obama's ever given and every debate he's ever participated in, but also in an address he gave yesterday in Denver, the same city that hosted the debate:
Let him be. He knows what he's doing. We are, after all, talking about the best American orator not named Bill Clinton or Samuel L. Jackson.