A Historic Debate Failure

Hugh Hewitt

10/6/2012 12:01:00 AM - Hugh Hewitt

By the time of Thursday night's debate between Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan, the polls will reflect the early consequences of President Obama's disastrous debate performance from Wednesday night.

Mitt Romney had a superb night and the contrast between his calm and in-command performance and that of a flailing, rambling president could not have been sharper, and indeed it could not have been more disorienting for the Chicago Gang running the president's re-election campaign.

The day after the president's face-plant in front of 67 million viewers, the geniuses behind the nation's dismal economy instructed the president to go ugly, setting off the "Mitt Romney is a liar, liar, liar" chorus in the wholly-owned Obama subsidiary known as the MSM. The president led the charge himself, repeatedly referring to the "fellow who played Mitt Romney last night" in stump speeches Thursday, a weirdly nasty-but-ineffective attempt to argue that his whupping wasn't fair because Romney made arguments the president hadn't heard inside the cocoon, though they are the same arguments Romney has been making on the campaign trail for the past year.

A desperate Manhattan-Beltway media elite seized on Friday's job report as a life line without realizing what was at the other end: The "revisions" in the numbers that led them to claim victory at 7.8% unemployment also meant that job growth has been declining for three straight months, with fewer jobs created in August than in July and fewer still in September than in August --exactly what one expects in a slowing economy, one headed for the recession that is the worry of the CEO survey and the direction pointed to by The Index of Leading Economic Indicators and downward revision in 2Q GDP as well as the FedEx and Norfolk Southern forecasts which shocked serious observers of the economy.

It is a recession, folks, and it is headed this way, accelerated by President Obama's election year campaigning for growth-killing tax hikes and the promise of energy-production-destroying anti-fracking rules and other EPA job killing moves in December. (The recession has already arrived in the Eurozone.)

The economic reality most people feel is the price at the pumps --double what it was when President Obama took office-- and the knowledge that they have of the joblessness of friends and family and the job insecurity they and others worry over. The cluelessness displayed by President Obama on Wednesday night has become the symbol of his entire presidency, and his aimlessness in answering direct questions is what most distressed independent voters who moved so decidedly towards Romney in the Frank Luntz focus group that shocked long-time watchers of such groups.

The huge polling margins that declared Romney a winner in the debate took away a lasting impression of the president because it is consistent with the suspicion that has grown up around the 100+-rounds-of-golf playing Commander-in-Chief, the one who jetted off to raise money on the day the nation learned of the brutal murders of our ambassador and his aides in Benghazi and who then participated in the cover-up of that slaughter.

The wandering-in-answer Obama Wednesday night was the same guy who doesn't sit down with the press (and now we know why) and who cannot defend his record though offered repeated opportunities to do so by Jim Lehrer.

The takeaway from the first week in October, as the voting begins across the country, is that President Obama was as unprepared for the debate as he was for the presidency.

He isn't doing his job because he can't do his job.

The cluelessness President Obama displayed erases any argument that his on-the-job training has equipped him for a second term or earned him a second chance.

It was the worst debate performance by a sitting president in the history of these meetings, and millions who tuned in have now tuned out his appeals for one more chance. Not this time. Not with conditions this serious.