By Manifesto Joe
What seemed to emerge clearly from Monday night's final presidential debate between incumbent Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Scumney -- er, Romney, may have to get used to that if the bozo really gets elected -- is that he doesn't seem ready for prime time.
Oh, he was very well-coached for all three encounters, and did well enough each time. An overscholarly Obama held him to a boring draw in the first debate, then showed a clear edge in the second. In the third, he administered a pretty thorough spanking, exposing some amateurish sides to Scumney that made clear the latter's unpreparedness to hold the world's most powerful office.
What we saw from Obama last night, saw none of in the first debate and not much of in the second, were the "zingers" that make a TV debate performance memorable. It's unfortunate that American politics has been dragged down to the level of sound bites, but the widespread perception that Romney had an edge in the first debate was based on better showmanship.
Leave it to right-wingers, being the cry babies that they are, to whine and shriek over Obama's "fewer horses and bayonets" zinger in response to Scumney's lament that the Navy has fewer ships now than it had in 1917. (They also threw a lot of public tantrums about the hiding Vice President Biden administered to Eddie Munster.)
Far right-wing mouthpieces like Michelle Malkin made much ado about that response, calling it "ignorant." As a point of dry fact, the military has about twice as many bayonets now as it had in 1916 or so, but those who cling to the literal numbers miss the point.
Here's a link to a sane analysis of the issue.
To the point here -- around 1944, it was crucial for a combat soldier to know how to use a bayonet. And the uses could be unorthodox. My old man won five Bronze Stars for service in the Pacific Theater of World War II, one of them for an incident in which a Japanese soldier entered his tent and confronted him with a bayonet. My old man took the bayonet away from him and stabbed him with it. (I don't know what the other four Bronze Stars were for, because my old man didn't like to talk about his war experiences. Killing just doesn't sit well with some people.)
Combat, even at close quarters, has changed a great deal since 1944, so much so that such an incident would be very unlikely to happen today. That's the point Obama was making.
The most telling point Obama made during the exchanges was a description of Scumney's very backward ideas in all policy areas. To paraphrase, Obama said he embraces a foreign policy from the 1980s (the Cold War is over, pal), social policies from the 1950s and economic policies from the 1920s.
I think he just described the Republican Party's platform.
Not everyone with a center-left view is enchanted with Obama. The first debate pretty much encapsulated what's wrong -- "No Drama" Obama is a law professor who doesn't bring forth passion and fight when they are desperately needed. Fortunately, he got better with each debate.
And each debate progressively (pardon the choice of words) exposed Scumney's lack of fitness for office this powerful.
Tyler Perry aptly described Obama as a guy who volunteered to take command of the Titanic after it had already hit the iceberg. He's had less than four years to clean up a mess that was eight years in the making. And he's had little cooperation from congressional Republicans.
I can't muster that much enthusiasm for Obama, but he's all that is standing between us and a tragic reprise of the Il Doofus administration. He's been performing, albeit rather ploddingly, in prime time. Scumney's clearly not ready for the job.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.