Things Learned and Confirmed During the Debates

Right From the Start

Not since Toto pulled back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz has such a large audience viewed the deconstruction of a series of political myths. The first two debates (Presidential and vice-presidential) gave, not a glimpse, but a full frontal exposure of the real characters of President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden.

First, Mr. Obama has created an image of a brilliant leader in full command of his world and with the rhetorical skills to convince the unknowing and dismantle the unwilling. This conjured persona has been aided by a Democrat Party already imbued with their own sense of intellectual superiority, and a mainstream press corps that consistently averts its eyes from the obvious failings of their hero. There on the stage, in front of 70 million viewers, stripped naked of his teleprompter, Mr. Obama appeared at first to be a person without answers, and then without understanding, and finally without interest.

There is a significant difference between a great orator and a good debater. The former only requires a script and a mesmerizing cadence. It does not require the truth or even a command of the facts – no one is there to dispute what you claim to be fact. But a debater must be fully versed in the facts because he must not only be able to explain his position; he must be able to defend it against his opponent. As an orator – like many of history’s great charlatans – Mr. Obama is gifted. As a debater – because he can be held accountable for his assertions – Mr. Obama is a failure. Gov. John Sununu responded to a reporters question as to whether he thought Mr. Obama would improve for the second debate by noting that Mr. Obama is just not that smart. Mr. Sununu suggested that a person of Mr. Obama’s alleged brilliance, having occupied the Office of President for four years should have been able to “wing it” at the debates and performed better than he did.

What we saw in the debates was the real Mr. Obama. A person with the training of a community organizer and ill-equipped to handle the complexities of foreign affairs or grapple with the economic realities of an economy broken by government action – forcing financial institutions to lend money to those who could not or would not repay it for houses they could not afford – and delayed in recovery by mounting government debt, wasted stimulus spending and the increasing cost of regulatory intrusion. More importantly, we saw a person so self-deluded by his own imaginary intelligence that he has steadfastly refused to learn anything – including the lessons of his own failures.

Mr.Obama’s entire campaign has been built upon a false narrative that paints Gov. Mitt Romney as a wealthy and detached capitalist who has run rough shod over little people by sacrificing their jobs for his profits and causing the deaths of at least one person. Mr. Obama’s fantasy dissolved in front of the cameras when Mr. Romney called him out on one instance after another. Mr. Romney’s best line was about Mr. Obama repeating a lie in the hopes that someone would eventually believe it. In places in this nation where honesty still counts, Mr. Romney’s assertion has been codified in a series of “maxims of jurisprudence” including the one that states: “Superfluidity does not vitiate.” (For those of you forced to endure a teachers’ union education in Portland public schools, get your dictionary out.) In the end Mr. Romney proved to be a decent man whose charity takes the form of the giving of his money and his time. It stands in marked contrast to Mr. Obama whose historical contributions are minor and which have increased to modest only after his actions have been subject to public disclosure. Mr. Romney also stands head and shoulders above Mr. Biden who rails constantly about the duties of the rich to share but gives virtually nothing himself.

And then there was Mr. Biden. Rolling his eyes, snorting and guffawing at every turn and interrupting over eighty times in a ninety-minute debate. His performance reminded me of discussions among experienced adults when a young person seeks to assert his/her own views. There is always someone who seeks to demonstrate his own self-importance by deriding and dismissing the views of those younger – not with facts and logic but with sneers and belittlement. It is ugly, it is uncomfortable, but most of all it is beneath the Vice-President of the United States – but apparently not beneath Mr. Biden. (I suspect that I have been one of those people in the past and for that I profoundly apologize to those whom I have dismissed.)

Mr. Biden also proved himself to be a person with a selective moral conscience. He just flat out lied about the administration’s knowledge about repeated requests for increased security at the Libyan embassy and why the administration continued to claim that it was a protest caused by reaction to an anti-Muslim YouTube video. He followed that by another bald-faced lie about the effects of recent rules adopted by Mr. Obama’s administration requiring Catholic institutions, including Catholic charities, Catholic hospitals and Catholic schools to provide contraception in direct contradiction to their stated religious beliefs. But the lie that would have required a sequoia if only his nose would grow was regarding his stance on abortion. Mr. Biden acknowledged that his church, the Catholic Church, believes that life begins at conception and, therefore, abortion is murder – the taking of an innocent human life. But then Mr. Biden said that he will not impose his moral beliefs on others. Despite the soul-searching gaze, the furrowed brow of difficult decisions, and the huddled shoulders of a penitent, Mr. Biden flat out lied. This is not explanation of a thoughtful man, rather it is the rehearsed response of all liberal Democrats who find their party at odds with their faith. If Mr. Biden really believed what he said he would be a reluctant participant in the abortion debate – avoiding the conflict and wrestling with his inner demons. He is not. He is a champion of taxpayer funded abortion on demand and never misses an opportunity to remind his constituency of his unflagging support for abortion on demand. He is also a dope because while he feigns concern about imposing his religious beliefs on the pro-abortion crowd he is more that willing to impose their improprieties on those of who oppose abortion by spending our tax dollars to promote, support and perform abortions. Idiot. Mr. Biden has simply decided that it is more important to be elected to public office as a Democrat than it is to practice and give witness to his own religion.

There is a concluding passage in a novel titled Swan Peak by James Lee Burke:

As players in the building and the deconstruction of empires, they’re merely ciphers. Jefferson in his letters to John Adams foretold their advent long ago. Perhaps the greater problem is their constituency. A confidence man chooses only one kind of person as his victim – someone who, of his own volition, invites deception into his life. Eventually we catch on to charlatans and manipulators and ostracize or lock them away. But unlike the fifth act of an Elizabethan tragedy, order is seldom reimposed on the world. The faces of the actors may change, but the story is ongoing, and neither religion nor government has ever rid the world of sin or snake oil.”

Mr. Obama avoided the hard questions of politics by avoiding a record before he ran for President. He was a blank canvas upon which voters could cast their own wants and desires. But now he has been President for four years. He has a record. It is not one of accomplishments but rather one of failures. He has a record of promises. It is not one of commitments fulfilled but one of promises broken. He has a record with regard to using government for the greater good. It is not one of success but rather one of divisiveness, disingenuousness, and disrespect.

One of the political commentators suggested that Mr. Obama can change his style, change his speech, change his presentation but he cannot change the facts or the results of his presidency. Hopefully the American voters can.