In selecting the person who will be the President of the United States, and therefore the executive branch of the federal government, the interview process must be stringent, challenging, and precise. The American people, having been placed as the deciders of who our leaders must be, are faced with this choice every four years, and it is a duty that must never be ignored by any of us blessed to be a part of this great nation.
America was not just given a stark contrast in leadership styles last night from Hofstra University; we were given yet another clinic in how to debate pathologically dishonest people, who figure that their aggression, obfuscation, and insistence on feeding people a diet of word salad is the best path to victory. As Vice President Joe Biden last week, President Obama was at his very best last night, some even declaring that this was possibly his greatest debate performance ever as a politician. Whatever the case may be, Mitt Romney showed this country beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that not only is he unfit to be the President of this country, but that he is simply the most disrespectful person to ever approach this President yet.
Chris Hayes of MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes masterfully put Romney’s behavior this way last night:
I thought the moment of the oil drilling, that debate to me was a key moment. The reason was this. Mitt Romney asked the president a direct question numerous times, kept interrupting him, “Isn’t it true? Isn’t it true? Didn’t it go down?” Now the rules for the debate, that we all got leaked, number five, subsection E: “The candidates may not ask each other direct questions during any of the four debates.”
Now, at a certain level, who cares, right? Who cares? Here’s why I care. The theme of the last ten years of this country is the people at the top have felt the rules don’t apply to them. And you send your people to sit down and negotiate a set of rules, and 20 minutes into it you throw it out the window. And everything we’ve seen, from the financial crisis to everything else that’s happened in this country, has been about the oligarchs and the ruling class and the people at the top feeling that they are not a party to the social contract. So some stupid little contract that was negotiated by your people, you don’t worry about.
It was expected that Romney would try to roll right over Candy Crowley as he had Jim Lehrer two weeks ago. After all, this is the style the Right has adopted in this era of post-truth conservative politics; kicking in the door with their own set of “facts”, bullying the moderator to keep them from calling them on their lies, and count on the stereotype of a milquetoast, hyper-polite liberal esoterically staying “above the fray” to continue the vicious cycle. And in a manner befitting this President, Obama once again showed this country how to overcome the hubris and overconfidence of a Right-wing out for blood.
In this regard, his “cerebral, professorial manner” served the President very well.
The overarching thing that Romney will be remembered for last night, beyond the “binders of women” meme he created, or the many other blatant lies he told, was his disgusting, reprehensible, vicious disregard of the man who holds the office he asks a nation to entrust with.
It is no longer news that the Right is highly despising of the Black Man in the White House, or that they are so inured by their hatred of this man that they planned from Day One of the Obama presidency to use anything he said or did against him as he executed his duties as such. However, Romney’s invasion of Obama’s space, his dismissal of the President by telling him that “you’ll get your chance in a moment” while he bloviated about the wonders of a myth like “clean coal”, or the declaration that the President needed to check his pension more often, were at best disastrously disrespectful; at worst, bigoted beyond belief.
Even some Republicans have called out Romney’s offensive behavior. Joe Scarborough started off Morning Joe today by calling him out as a “bulldozer.” Said Scarborough:
Secondly, you don't run over the president of the United States. Whether that president's a Republican or whether that president is a Democrat. There are independent voters who believe that a president should be treated with deference because he is the commander in chief.
Being a “bulldozer” will cost Mitt Romney this election, and much more than he may have bargained for. His rude, condescending, almost mean-spirited behavior will mark him far more than any conservatives’ expected bloviating about Obama being the ever-dangerous Angry Black Man. As Rick Lazio lost his Senate race against Hillary Clinton years ago after his disrespect, so has Romney sullied his cause in the eyes of this nation. To be so disrespectful to the man who holds the office you run for proves that you have absolutely no reverence for or understanding of just how serious the position of President of the United States truly is.
Bring on November 6th.