My take on the foreign policy debate and a little background story to set the stage:
I'm a Jets fan, so consequently the loathing I have for Bill Belichek, Tom Brady and the Patriots is intense...HOWEVER, one cannot deny the success they've enjoyed due to an excellently coached team and good QB (this sentiment is similar to my take on Romney...my candidate dropped out of the race, and I'm not a Romney fan, but I have a healthy respect for his experiences). A few years ago, Uncle Screwtape (the Patriots) had a very successfull season in which, during the regular season, they defeated every opponenent. At one point in the season, Uncle Screwtape played Satan himself--The Dallas Cowboys. To summarize my take on this game, when Tom Brady and the rest of the starters were removed in the 3rd quarter, I was extremely displeased: I was hoping that Uncle Screwtape (that vile demon that he is), would thoroughly and entirely humiliate Satan by putting up 100 points on him. This desire reflected the absolute loathing I have for the Cowboys.
Thus was my hope for last night's debate: that Mitt would use the ample material provided to him by the president to simply annihilate the President, to publically humiliate him as payback for all he's done to America. Sometimes, however such a confrontation, while essentially necessary (currently, the biggest threat to national security isn't a nuclear Iran or Russia, but the incompetent presidential administration responsible for Fast and Furious and Benghazi-gate), isn't the right course of action.
When the softball question of Libya and Benghazi was tossed to Mitt, he took the pitch. I didn't know why, or what he was playing at. Mitt never used a killing shot to publically repudiate the president's glaring foreign policy incompetence. He didn't need to.
My impression of the debate was different than a lot of people's, from what I can see perusing the interwebs. I noticed some things during the debate that only came together at the end. First, I noticed that unlike debate 2 (and to a large part debate 1), Romney didn't interrupt the President often at all...unlike the President who consistently cut into what Romney said (how true this was or not, I don't know…this is just the impression I got). Second, Romney's focus was always on his vision, his message. He occasionally would criticize the President's poor record, but that wasn't his theme. Third, I noticed a certain facial expression on the President when Romney spoke concerning Pakistan and China, an expression I've seen on kids in the classroom when they are actually learning something. This wasn't a paying-attention-to-see-what-I-can-rebut look. This was rapt attention, soaking in what was being TAUGHT. Facial expressions don't lie: a career businessman was teaching the President of the United States things he didn't know about foreign policy. Third, near the end, Bob Schieffer NATURALLY started giving Romney more time to answer, and cut the president off. This was most pronounced during the last questions, when Romney appeared to speak the most, and Schieffer just kept asking him more and more, not even letting the President (who was, as I said, paying rapt attention to what Romney was saying) say much in rebuttal. This seemed natural to me, because it was exactly what I would have done. At that point in the debate, the president had nothing of value to add, nothing to add to the discussion.
During the closing statements, I realized what had happened, what I witnessed. There was an emotion behind Mitt Romney's voice: he was speaking from the heart, not talking points or regurgitated campaign stump speeches. At that point, I realized that Romney didn't need to humiliate the President. The debate started as a good give and take, the President making good points, Romney making good points, and was essentially a toss-up. By the end, that was not the case: Romney commanded the debate and set the tone. This has really nothing to do with substance or ideas, but presentation.
The president's actions toward his political opponent have not been atypical of his policies. His anti-terrorist policy is simply to kill people, as he seemingly admitted last night. He has no respect for human life of human dignity, save when it helps him—we need no more proof of this than his response to the Trayvon Martin case (in which he demonized George Zimmerman immediately), or Fast and Furious (in which his support of his DOJ and ATF is tantamount to approval). Thus, he has no problem with demonizing his opponent, making him appear somehow less than human. His entire campaign has revolved around the rich vs. poor meme, class warfare and class envy. He doesn't care if he accurately depicts Mitt Romney's policies or if he ridicules his opponent. At the end of the debate, Mitt Romney had not stooped to that level. He did not denigrate his opponent, he did not ridicule. He clearly presented his ideas, his perspective to the American people.
As I reflected on the final moments of the debate last night, I realized that my ambition, my desire made me no better than the President. I wanted him humiliated, publically and brutally. How is this any better than the President's willy-nilly killing of Afghanis, or letting Americans die in Benghazi because its "simply a bump in the road" and then lying about the actions to save face? Just like every single terrorist, President Obama is human person, and as such, does not deserve the public humiliation for his administrations ineptitude.
In short, despite his political shortcomings, it is clear that Mitt Romney was the better man last night. Not just better than the president, but better than me. He did something I wouldn't have done. He did the right thing.