Presidential debate #1 is over and the Republican Mitt Romney is being called the winner based on his slick, aggressive performance in contrast to Barack Obama’s languid approach. The problem with this kind of analysis, which is everywhere in the media, is that it ignores content and focuses solely on presentation.
Romney admitted he would dismantle Medicare and hand it over to private companies, a huge change that would result in profits over people. Obama pointed this out, but because his delivery was poor, Romney was able to say that more freedom would result by letting big greedy corporations inject layers of bureaucracy and brutal avarice into the system.
We’ve already seen how nasty and cruel insurance companies can be, burying us in paperwork, jacking premiums, penalizing the weak and needy to maximize cash intake. But because Obama didn’t speak with the traits associated with power--bravura, force, an armor of confidence--Romney gets heaps of praise from the mainstream punditry.
Throughout the debate, Obama insinuated how much suffering and cruelty would result from Romney’s draconian cuts. It didn’t matter because his style wasn’t up to our cultural par.
Obama repeatedly asserted, with accuracy, that Romney’s various plans were vague and unworkable. The math didn’t add up. Still, even though Romney couldn’t give details--except to say that his plans would not do anything that the American people didn’t like--the President lost. The reason? Romney had gumption.
Romney snookered a gullible public. American culture, bolstered by shallow materialism, doesn’t focus on content but rather packaging. We are judged by our status symbols--clothes, cars, the size of our homes--and the same standards apply when it comes to debates. To hell with the arguments, let’s bow down before razzle-dazzle and bamboozle.
Obama won based on standards of truth. On specious trickery and macho charisma, Romney won. Unfortunately, our reaction as a people shows that the truth was drowned last night by an engaging stream of lies. It may now be dead as far as the election is concerned.