It’s not hard to understand why. His entire world overwhelmingly approves of his every move: his staffs (official, campaign), the media, fundraiser attendees, and campaign supporters. No member of these groups asks the President tough questions, or forces him to explain the rationales for his policies, or demands he justify the results his policies have wrought. Indeed, it’s doubtful that Jay Z demanded the president account for the outrageous black unemployment rate of 14%.
Sixth, the debate evinced the President’s entitlement mentality towards his office, as he has apparently bought into his own advertising: he believes he deserves to be president just because he is Barack Obama, and therefore he is above reproach, above questions, above the necessity to defend himself and his record. Shattering this broken narrative, Mitt Romney succeeded in pointing out the evidence of the president’s failures in crisp three-point barbs.
Seventh, and perhaps most importantly, Romney demonstrated that he understands the suffering of those struggling to stay afloat during the Obama recession, and is competent to provide solutions to help them. Romney’s answers often started with empathy, referencing specific individuals he has met during the campaign who are out of work or losing their house. He then transitioned to specific proposals to grow the economy and provide jobs necessary to reduce unemployment and its attendant externalities. Caring and competency are what voters want, and what Romney offered in spades.
Rasmussen now has Romney leading in 11 battleground states President Obama won in 2008, and several other deep blue Midwestern states suddenly appear in play. Depending on the vice presidential debate this week, the post-debate bounce may persist or fade. Regardless, Romney showed in the first debate that he belonged on that stage, that he’s worthy of the moment, and that he’s starting to find the potent mix of vision, specifics, and optimistic criticism so necessary to win the office to which he has for so long been aspiring, and to which he is now that much closer.