Mitt Romney’s Three Wins on Wednesday

67-25.  MSNBC folks railing against President Obama.  Al Gore talking altitude platitudes.  Tweets about the President’s interest level.  Unmentioned debate winners.  It was quite an evening.

Romney won first simply by not being the Gordon Gecko that $250 million of false David Axelrod advertising said he is.  He was downright amiable, if not neighborly.  Polite, congratulatory and respectful.  References to his family, to Big Bird, to the goofy, ‘I even like you, Jim’ to moderator Jim Lehrer, and simple authenticity through focus.  Not a drop of greed being good.

Ouch.  $250 million gone, polls are even and the credibility of those who promised Michael Douglas is shot to heck.  What next?

They and their media clients began swirling to another falsehood.  And, indeed, they tried them out in the aftermath:  ‘Romney lied throughout the 90 minutes.’  ‘Romney went too far.’  ‘It’s Lehrer’s fault, he lost control.’  ‘Wait ‘till we hit him with his 47 percent quote.’  ‘Bain.’

Note that all evade the issue:  President Obama has not, cannot and will not run on his record.

Romney’s second win came within the equivalence all challengers achieve on introduction.  If he needed to show himself an acceptable alternative for shopping undecideds, then that goal was exceeded.

There’s the physical equivalence of being the other guy at the second lectern.  The president is here… and look, Mitt is right there.

But textually, the coup was Boston and the Governorship.  Governors are like presidents.  People get that.  Obama and Romney are supposed to differ on policy.  But policy is not the mechanics of doing the chief executive job.

Romney’s story was not equivalent at all to the president’s.

‘I don’t make an announcement and say, ‘It’s my way or the highway.’’  Governing with an 85 percent Democrat legislature, Romney reported speaking of principles and negotiating the best deal he could get.  He was serious and reasonable.  With the legislature, he reformed health care, grew jobs and put or kept Massachusetts schools in their top position.

Not one true undecided voter at home could have missed it.  Romney’s chief executive role isn’t the president’s legislative outsourcing to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, no-compromise votes with only Democrats, “deemed passed,” and personal de-railing of the Boehner Grand Bargain.

President Obama must stoke base turnout.  Who else will vote for more of same?  The fact is he did not even achieve that objective.  The millions of disappointed / disheartened / dismayed BHO supporters are tweeting and blogging and posting away.  I saw one Obama supporter say on Facebook, “I don’t think he wants another term.”  If that idea takes hold, the president will not have another term.

Romney’s third win was command.  Generations yet unborn will find in the transcript that President Obama was uninformed and inarticulate.  Romney?  Even if you disagree with him, more importantly, even if you don’t know because you are a genuine undecided, he was a capable leader who knows something substantive about each part of the operation he aspires to lead.

Hard not to say, “smack down,” but no one should get cocky.  David’ Axelrod’s angry now.  It’s personal, and he will fight it to a recount if necessary.  David decided that “Romney lied for 90 minutes” is the talking point.  So, fasten seatbelts, return seat backs and tray tables to their locked positions.  There’s turbulence between us and Election Day.

The first debate may or may not have been sufficient for a November Romney win, but it was necessary.  Romney’s three Wednesday wins were big enough that those who promised Gordon Gecko scrambled for a new lie, and are now hoping no one remembers their disproven one.

It will be a hard sell.

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