Romney’s commanding win

Through the lenses of  pundits, the ideas presented, the laws of logic, and even MSNBC, Romney is the indisputable winner of tonight’s first presidential debate in Denver, CO.

How did he do it? In many ways.

He took Obama on face-to-face. He spent a lot of time looking at the incumbent president, challenging him with facts and numbers. We have to wonder if Paul Ryan was part of the debate coaching team, giving advice from his experience as the opener at the Obamacare roundtable, where he firmly educated Obama on the real-life effects of his large and untenable legislation that we now know so well.

Romney appeared relaxed, which was very important for him as a candidate. Many view him as stiff, robotic, unapproachable. Even as he was making his points tonight, he gave off an air of comfortable confidence both in himself and in his considerable knowledge of the varying topics.

Of crucial importance, he had specifics. This is the perennial void of Democrat politics in America: most speeches and arguments from the Left come not from numbers and figures, but emotional pleas based on anecdotes of Jimmy the fourth-grader in New Mexico, or Grandma Smith in Wisconsin. They tug at the heartstrings (and are therefore often effective), but for educated voters looking for real reasons to choose one candidate over another (and there are many of those voters in this country), stories just don’t cut it. They want to know that a candidate knows what’s wrong, in detail, and has an ability to fix it. Especially in these rough times.

He also pointed out Obama’s failures, but he was not a pugilist as he did so. Having truth and facts on his side, he let each fall with its own considerable weight. 23 million Americans out of work. The median family income down $4300 in the last four years. A housing market still underwater. From 32 million to 49 million Americans on food stamps. And then he made clear that he cares about fixing these issues, for everyone, via free market-based tax reform and smart deregulation.

Lastly, Romney successfully communicated conservative principles, and connected them as solutions to the problems facing America. He talked extensively about free markets and free people creating solutions to the economic stagnation we face, in a very Reaganesque fashion. This relatively new phrase, “trickle-down government,” is proving to be an especially effective rapier: it counters the “trickle-down economics” barb that Democrats have used for ages to try to discredit the 30 years of economic growth experienced after Reagan’s reforms; and it shows the public that a top-down, all-powerful Federal government is far more dangerous than any big corporation in America could ever be, because it can affect millions of lives.

The challenge now, of course, is for Romney to keep his game at the same level throughout the next two debates. With the energy he’ll gain from tonight’s performance, both personally and publicly, we have good reason to expect he will.

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