Skip to comments.Mark Steyn's Debate Reaction
Posted on 10/06/2012 12:12:45 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
HH: Broadcasting from the CPAC convention in Denver on the day after the most devastating loss in the history of presidential debates suffered by Barack Obama, the Agincourt of presidential debates. Call it Midway, call it Dien Bien Phu, call it whatever you want, it was a rout. And who will call it best? Mark Steyn, of course, Columnist To the World. Mark, welcome, what did you think of last night?
MS: Well, Im not sure Id go as far as, what did you say, Midway, Agincourt
HH: Agincourt, Midway and Dien Bien Phu, because John Kerry was involved. We had the French aspects.
MS: Yeah, thats right. I wouldnt, Im not sure Id go that far, but I think it was certainly the worst since Bob Schieffer moderated the Grover Cleveland-Benjamin Harrison debate. I mean, its definitely up there.
HH: Now President Obama seemed as unprepared for these debates as he was for the presidency. The big question in everyones mind is was that the real Obama finally facing a real opponent? Or was he just, you know, the altitude sickness that Al Gore came up with?
MS: Yeah, thats right. You seem to be coping okay with it.
HH: Well, itll catch up with me.
MS: And by the way, mere Earthbound politicians can claim that excuse, but not the guy who we were told is a god descended from Mt. Olympus to walk among us. That excuse wed buy from anyone, but not him. And you know, my office manager got married on the exact same day twenty years ago, and being frugal, north country Yankees, they didnt exactly push the boat out. And I said to her this morning, well, look at it this way. However bad yours was, you had a better evening than Barack and Michelle. It was, you know, I think thats the point. It was bad, because hes the silver-tongued orator and the coolest guy on the planet. And he lost to the guy whos supposed to be the uptight, Mormon stiff. So this is way worse than just Bush, you know, underwhelming up against John Kerry or anything like that.
HH: Well, Mark, I am of course over the top with my analogies, but the left today has been trotting out serial spins for this disaster oh, it was rope-a-dope. Oh, it was Napoleon invading Russia. Oh, it was the altitude sickness. But I keep coming back very seriously to the fact hes just not that good. He just doesnt really understand what he was talking about on subject after subject, from IPAB to the Cleveland clinic, to how taxes work.
MS: No, no.
HH: He just doesnt know.
MS: No, well, thats the thing, and its not just, whats interesting is its not that he doesnt know the issues, but its that hes too, he didnt even know the lame MSNBC talking points. So thats why those guys were mad, because theyre, they sit there and they watch him saying well, you know, I think Governor Romney and I agree a lot about Social Security, because hes too lazy even to learn the lame attack points. I said on this show a week or two back, you know, the classic performance by Obama, whether youre talking about Martha Coakley or his bid for the Chicago Olympics is that he goes to the trouble of flying in to phone it is.
MS: And thats what he did last night. Again, again, again.
MS: And all presidents are cocooned, and in a sense, its deplorably unrepublican that that should be so. But he is in a cocoon unknown to George W. Bush or anybody else. I mean, heres a guy who a week or two back was at a champagne reception with Jay Z and Beyonce. Do you think anyone toasting their flutes on that evening offered to explain to him that he might have a vulnerability? Or do you think they all just told him this things in the bag?
HH: The latter, definitely. Im going to come back to the substance of the debate in just a second, but I want to pause on MSNBC, and indeed, much more. Whether it was Michael Moore or Bill Maher or Andrew Sullivan or the MSMers like David Gregory and a host of CNNers, they all were apoplectic. It was like the Lord of the Flies adapted for debates, and they turned on him, and they said why the anger, Mark Steyn, on the left?
MS: No, well, and I think they also turned on poor, old Jim Lehrer, who had been hailed Politico did some preposterous thing on how he was the master of moderation and everything. And now, they treat him like that guy who did the video. Hell be lucky if the L.A. County Sheriffs arent around his house to get him on parole violations. I mean, this guy you know what its like? It was like, somebody said this last night, its like when a boxer whos come up with so many fixed fights actually finds himself in the ring with somebody who is real. And by the way, that, just to go back to Jim Lehrer for a moment, I thought one of the very best moments about ten minutes in was when Romney fired, in effect, fired Big Bird and Jim Lehrer.
MS: I thought that is so cool to tell the moderator youre going to cut off his funding.
HH: Yes, it was
MS: And Jim Lehrer lost control of the format, and you know, I dont know whether it was because of that, or whether hes thinking oh, my God, this time next year, Im going to be doing the night shift on WZZZ, but all that stuff that makes these debates normally unwatchable, you know, youll have a 90 second pre-rebuttal of the third questions rebuttal, and all that kind of thing, and they just had at it. And so Romney, that was a terrific alpha-male moment, not just I mean, Big Bird, I dont care. I loathe Big Bird. But skewering Jim Lehrer, wow. Super cool, man.
HH: Well, Romney brought his A game, but President Obama brought his grandma and Bill Clinton. And never before has a sitting president relied upon a former presidents record so he could avoid talking about his own record. It was a shambles for the left, and I think it comes down to this, Mark Steyn. Theres nothing he wants to talk about in specificity, except bin Laden, over the last four years. Hell do anything to stay away from specifics.
MS: No, and he cant really talk about bin Laden, because theyll be lighting up American embassies from Tunis to Jakarta every time he does that. And so hes got a problem here in that all his life, hes run, I said this, I think it was in my column last week, all his life, when he was at the U.N. talking about the promise of the future, thats what hes run on all his life, at Harvard Law, as community organizer, state senator, senator, and president. And for the first time in his life, hes got a four year albatross round his neck. And when Romney said hey, man, look, youve been president for four years
HH: I know.
MS: That was a terrific line. I mean, Romney, nobody thinks of Romney as a kind of great personality comic or anything, but he had enough good lines that really landed. And Obama had no, and Obama didnt even bother responding. The trickle-down government lines a great line. He had no response to that.
HH: Last night, did something I didnt think possible. It brought together the Republican conservative commentariat, from Bill Kristol to Rush Limbaugh, both of those saying last night and today, the best performance by a Republican in a presidential debate of their lifetime. So Mark Steyn, with 60-plus million people watching, weve never seen an event like this before. Were in new ground, because never has one sitting president performed so badly, and a challenger performed so well. So what do you think it actually does to the race?
MS: Well, I think it makes the debates important. And this is why even Joe Biden must understand that next weeks debate, if Ryan clobbers Biden, if Ryan makes Biden look the buffoon that he is, then that momentum becomes extremely difficult. The reality is that Obama did not just under-perform. He under-performed in a particularly unlikable way.
MS: And its difficult to see, you know, its difficult to see where, yes, he can master the facts and he can master the lines. But a lot of this stuff is basic. Youve done TV, Ive done TV. Youve been on stage, Ive been on stage. And you always know that even when the other guy is talking, theres a camera on you, and youve always got to be aware of how you look when youre not talking. And just something as basic as that, hes got the most Axelrod and Plouffe are supposed to be geniuses, and all the guys around Romney are supposed to be dopes. So how come he looked like he belonged on that stage, and the other guy looked like this strange, shrunken, peevish, unpleasant man who didnt want to be there?
HH: Let me play you two quick clips, Mark Steyn. This is Joe Biden today with another classic Biden liner.
JB: Obama and Biden want to raise taxes by a trillion dollars. Guess what? Yes, we do.
HH: So thats Joe Bidens candor moment. And then the President went out on two appearances today and hes using this line of attack.
BO: Now the guy playing Mitt Romney last night says he loves education
HH: The guy playing Mitt Romney last night, Mark Steyn. Does either Joe Biden promising to raise taxes or the President saying the guy playing Mitt Romney, does it work? Weve got a minute left.
MS: No, he should have let that go. That is a truly pathetic line. And the trillion dollar stuff is just incredible from Biden at this stage. You know, thats the thing. The policy and last night, the policies and the personality were on the Republican side, and that is something that has not been, I dont even know if thats been true in the history of the republic. Thats amazing.
HH: It is amazing, and it could not have arrived at a better time. Mark Steyn, thank you for joining us. www.steynonline.com, America, for all of Marks work.
End of interview.
Thanks for posting this!
The best comment on Obama finally responding to Romney’s challenges 14 hours after the fact has to be this:
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza summed it up nicely in a tweet: “Obama hitting back today at all of Romney’s attacks last night is the ultimate Costanza ‘jerk store’ moment.” (If you don’t understand the reference, you can watch the relevant ”Seinfeld” clip on YouTube.
And you’ll know things have really gotten bad for Obama if he tries the Kramer gambit after the next debate.)
Agincourt is not a bad analogy, the French basically charged into a funnel-shaped field so that even had there been no English there at all and the French knights been required only to plant their lances in straw targets, half of them would have died.
A four year albatross around the neck Alex...?
I think I will take the 20 years in Rev Wright's church for $1000 Alex
Job one for all good Americans is to cut Obama loose. Let him go back to Chicago or Hawaii, go write books, do lectures, whatever, but he should never be trusted with a bit of power again for the rest of his life.
Agincourt = Cowpens?
Thanks for posting this. Mark Steyn is one of my favorites.
“Cow” in French is ‘beuf’ more or less so I don’t see how ‘Agincourt’ has anything to do with cattle, I think it’s just a name of a nearby church...
I think this is a “Patriot” reference, you know, when Mel Gibson kicked the British asses.
Cow in French is ‘la vache’.
“Now President Obama seemed as unprepared for these debates as he was for the presidency.”
This is an excellent conversation between two excellent intellects.
The final battle in the film The Patriot was loosely based on Cowpens, in which an overconfident and hubristic British force was met by mostly militia who feigned a retreat. The British pursued over a small hill only to find themselves facing a line of waiting regulars.
Similarly, a hubristic Obama arrived in Denver fully expecting to carry the day, and was met by overwhelming resistance he did not expect to find there.
One thing that’s left out of the discussion of this issue is any mention of life-time substance abuse.
Obama is a heavy life-time pot smoker and who-knows-how-much cocaine user.
Biden is the town drunk.
You can’t engage in those kinds of activities for long periods of time and then compete well in the highly competitive arena of national political debates.
You just can’t.
and for certain, up against a Mormon, who never, smoked anything, and never, so much as sat near a bottle of wine.... who has 5 sons to his credit....
Agincourt, a great victory for the English over the French in the Hundred Years War...
Cowpens, a great victory for the colonists over the British Army in the Revolutionary War.
Yes they are analogous!