After the first presidential debate there is much joy in Romneyville, and deep gloom in Obamaland. A spirited Mitt Romney has allegedly triumphed over our strangely muted President, a man who appeared in this debate weary from running the country and campaigning at the same time. Our beltway fortunetellers, all of who seem to have cracked open the same fortune cookie after the debate found "Mitt is it" inside. People who formerly regarded Romney as a cold, dishonest, right wing talking point are now supposed to be rushing to the polling booths to vote for him on Election Day.
We have allegedly found a leader who can make the trains run on time. "Bullswatt!" As my sainted Irish grandmother used to say. A far better expression for my fellow progressives might be Keep Calm and Carry On. According to Wikipedia, the source of all truth and wisdom, the British government during the darkest days of WW2 first issued that advice in posters when the blitz was leveling cities, and courage was needed. The Italians have it down to one word, Coraggio! A word which sounds far better sung by a baritone from the opera stage than spoken to disheartened Democrats, but a word worth heeding now. Courage folks, courage.
I suspect that America, or at least the press, needs a morning after pill.
What was proven by the debate last night? That Mitt Romney will do anything and say anything to win and that the press values a slick, well rehearsed style over substance. Romney doesn't even flip-flop anymore, he spins like the head of that unfortunate child in The Exorcist -- but with a smirk on his face - and a full 180 degree turn that would require a full scaled exorcism to cure. The fact that his shape-shifting is not condemned by the mainstream press; indeed that he is praised for its effectiveness, shows only how politics is now part of our Entertainment Tonight culture rather than the serious business of government.
The most telling remark was Romney's desire to get rid of PBS in the name of fiscal prudence. The monies that PBS gets from the federal government amount to so little that it is ridiculous to discuss them -- except as a sop to the right wing -- but Romney took a strong stand against Big Bird -- who has to be closed down and fired in true Bain style.
His debate performance was full of oxymorons like "clean coal" and distortions that would pass for lies in the real world -- such as balancing the budget without raising taxes (that nasty word for revenues) and protecting the middle class by destroying the public education system that their children are obliged to attend, and destroying Medicare for the poor in the name of protecting it.
It amazed me that this man was praised by virtually every TV pundit for having given a performance that was so well rehearsed that it proved that Mitt has a memory for everything but his own right-wing rhetoric in the Republican primaries, and a memory is not to be confused for a heart. When Americans come to understand that Romneyland will change the glass ceiling for women into an economic cage, and that an unleashed Wall Street is neither a bull or a bear but a very hungry tiger.
Come on guys and gals, this is but the first of three debates, and Mr. 47% may have his bounce in the polls, but please keep calm and carry on. This election is still Obama's to lose, not Mitt's to win. At least it seems that way from my cheap seat in the bleachers on the morning after.