Last night was Romney’s last big chance. He’s got the press and the pollsters pulling for him to make it a closer race, because it is to their personal, professional, and financial advantage. He has finally assembled the captive audience of right-wing authoritarians he needs to win over. All he needed to do was to finally, permanently, establish himself as a conservative authority, someone the conservatives can trust.
He needed President Obama to help him, by doing what every Democrat, including myself, wanted him to do: call Mitt a liar.
So Mitt Romney went out and did what he’s best at. He lied his ass off. He changed a central plank of his platform at the debate in an attempt to draw out President Obama, to encourage the President to raise his voice and express outrage at such malicious dishonesty.
But President Obama wouldn’t bite.
Instead, the President stuck to his own policy, his own platform, and pointed out only the most basic and agreed-upon flaws in whatever Romney’s so-called plan is today (or rather, last night, because I’m sure he’s walking back half of what he said right now). He tried not to show flashes of anger or disgust, as Al Gore so tragically did in 2000.
It was probably disappointing to all of us here to see the President steer away from direct confrontation, but it probably also sealed the election for him.