"Can you say that a little louder, Candy?" Obama craved more credit from the moderator, Candy Crowley, for her correction to Mitt Romney that the president had in fact used the word "terror" a day after the killing of his ambassador in Libya. "He did, in fact, sir," Crowley said to Romney.
Obama savored his "victory" in that round, but it was a hollow and disturbing one. Either he already knew it was an act of premeditated terrorism -- in which case he proceeded to lie for two weeks about that on The View, David Letterman, and at the UN -- or that generalized Rose Garden reference to an "act of terror" simply meant a spontaneous act of terror by demonstrators worked up about a YouTube video, in which case he was demanding credit from Crowley for nothing more than incompetence and cluelessness.
A master of detail for most of the debate, Romney slipped up on that one by forgetting the Rose Garden reference. That was his one unforced error. But that minor moment of memory loss isn't nearly as disturbing as a president who works harder at debate prep than embassy security and who blames a national humiliation on a "spontaneous demonstration" that didn't even occur.
At the very least, his administration's utterly fictitious account of what happened in Libya stands as a symbol of this administration's colossal incompetence. At worst, it reveals staggering political deception, a willingness to lie about national security for the sake of winning an election.
A serious and vigilant media would have spent the post-debate analysis discussing that grave matter rather than purring over Obama's cheaply made points. Who cares if Obama prepared better for this debate? He is still dissembling on an issue central to his duties.
He worked hard to play the Alpha Male at the debate, though he couldn't quite pull the role off, retreating to his seat once when Romney got too close. Hillary Clinton does not wear the pants in his administration, he insisted. "She works for me," he declared petulantly. Perhaps Hillary should sue him under the Lilly Ledbetter Act. She is making unequal pay and taking unequal blame for equal incompetence.
Pandering to single women remains Obama's chief strategy, judging by this debate. His vision of America is that of the "Life of Julia," a cradle-to-grave existence of radical individualism bankrolled by a paternalistic federal government. How that form of patriarchy represents an advance for "liberated" women is a matter he never bothers to explain. "Women are increasingly the breadwinners in the family," he proudly announced, with his administration as the substitute husband, to whom they can turn for "free contraceptives," food stamps, and college grants. His grandmother hailed from a heartier generation of women, he inadvertently acknowledged (a generation "that didn't complain," he said), while suggesting that the Sandra Flukes stand taller and stronger than them. Obama's "empowerment" of women consists of turning them into wards of the state.
The triviality of Obama's campaign is stunning: to hear him talk in the debate one would think the greatest crisis facing America is the loss of government subsidies to Big Bird and abortionists at Planned Parenthood. Equally terrifying, according to Obama, is the prospect of women paying for their own birth control pills. This is a "pocket book issue" for them, he said in one of his more ludicrous demagogic stretches of the night.
Nobody bothered to mention that stupid federal regulations like the Lilly Ledbetter Act -- which is nothing more than a PC decree that businesses pay women more money than men for less work -- are a drag on the economy and guarantee fewer jobs for both men and women. Obama's answer to the anemic recovery is more of the same and maybe a wind farm job for "Jeremy," the first questioner, in a generation or so.
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