NRL News

No debate: Romney overwhelming winner in first presidential debate

by | Oct 4, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-Life Mitt Romney and Pro-Abortion Barack Obama

Had it been Mitt Romney who had a disastrous first debate outing, rather than President Obama, we wouldn’t appreciate Obama supporters gloating. So after Mr. Romney’s stellar first debate, I won’t gloat, either.

Facts are facts and they need no embellishment: the President gave one of the worst debate performances in memory. He was, in a word, awful.

Like tens of millions of others, I was online tweeting last night as I watched the debate, moderated by Jim Lehrer. Even the President’s strongest supporters admitted he seemed alternatively bored, out of sorts, impatient, on occasion appeared to lose his train of thought, and, most of all, peeved. I would add tired.

Abortion was not brought up; the candidates addressed our issues through a discussion of ObamaCare, specifically the now infamous Independent Payment Advisory Board (see below).

CNN asked several questions in a quick poll conducted after the debate. The most important was, of course, who won? By 67% to 25%, the respondents said Romney. ”No presidential candidate has topped 60% in that question since it was first asked in 1984,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

(A quick side point. We’ve written umpteen stories about the shortcomings of various polls, mostly those conducted for media outlets. The common theme is that there aren’t enough Republicans in the samples.

(According to CNN, “The sample of debate-watchers in the poll was 37% Democratic and 33% Republican.” That, we were told, gave Republicans “a small advantage”! Oh, my goodness.)

Let me make two points. First, irony of ironies, the pre-debate Obama strategy was to attribute to Romney debating skills so awesome that almost by definition his performance would fall short. Thus, it could be said, Romney “failed.”

But as everyone knows by now, Mr. Romney was brilliant—meeting every expectation and then some. As Williams Galston of the Brookings Institute wrote, Romney presented himself “as a reasonable man”—not the caricature of the Obama campaign; came across as a decent, caring human being (which, it might be noted, he is); “provided a number of policy specifics”; and “found an organizing theme for his proposals — job creation.”

Second, Romney went after ObamaCare hammer and tong. He reaffirmed that as President he would work to eliminate it and talked about reasons why this “health care reform” is bad policy that are beyond our single-issue purview.

Except for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which Romney deftly critiqued in ways that will resonate. Some background is needed to understand the importance of what Romney said, and why.

Beginning in 2015, under ObamaCare, the federal government will impose “quality” standards on all health providers–to prevent Americans’ private health care spending from keeping up with the rate of medical inflation—based on recommendations from the IPAB (an unelected board). 

What happens to doctors who violate a “quality” standard by prescribing more lifesaving medical treatment than the IPAB permits? They will be disqualified from contracting with any of the health insurance plans that individual Americans, under the Obama Health Care Law, will be mandated to purchase. Few doctors would be able to remain in practice if subjected to that penalty.

Last night, Romney said, “In order to bring the cost of health care down, we don’t need to have a board of 15 people telling us what kinds of treatments we should have.” Later he said the “right answer” is “not to have the federal government take over health care and start mandating to the providers across America, telling a patient and a doctor what kind of treatment they can have.”

An incredibly persuasive performance by Mr. Romney, a bewilderingly incompetent response by President Obama. You can be sure of two things.

Mr. Obama will be better prepared next time and the mainstream media, which adores him, will go after Gov. Romney with ferocity of a mother Lion protecting her young.

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Categories: Politics