It was actually nothing new, as we've seen it a number of times over the past four years. Remember when he gave a rambling 2,600-word response, taking more than 17 minutes, to a woman named Doris at a public forum in Charlotte, N.C., that exposed his embarrassing amateurishness and naivete? Or his frustrated monarchical command during the Gulf oil spill debacle, "Plug the damn hole"? But Wednesday night, he staggered and stumbled repeatedly, to the point that no one can think it was just an isolated fluke or gaffe. It was way more than just a bad night.
This inattention to details is particularly troubling because it flows, I think, not from an inability to grasp facts but from a narcissistic arrogance, nurtured by years of coddling, that leads him to believe he doesn't have to condescend to learn the nuts and bolts of the issues upon which his decisions are changing lives and the very character and vitality of this nation. He is above it all.
Finally, Wednesday night, Obama was called on his empty slogans, and he had no response. None. Countless times, he resorted to, "Four years ago, I was left with this horrendous problem." Because he couldn't explain away his failure to improve any of our problems, he had to keep harking back to how terrible the situation was when he took office. It really is bush-league, and it's getting powerfully embarrassing.
Also, he was heavy on the cliches and generalities, even for him. He invoked fairness, class warfare, his professed love for the middle class, and Bush's two wars and tax cuts. But that's all he had, and it was nothing.
He tried again to claim that Romney would destroy Medicare and had his head handed to him in return when Romney refuted the dishonest charge and accurately turned it right back on him. Romney also refused to let Obama get away with any of his lies or propaganda, such as that he has "cut" $4 trillion from the budget -- despite the fact that every year, we are still running $1 trillion deficits.
This was a wonderful night for those of us horrified about the future of the nation. Before the debate, I believed that Romney would win the election, but after it, I am significantly more confident. Thank you, Mr. Romney, for allowing me a very good night's sleep.