The second presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama took place last night. As expected, President Obama was much more engaged than in the first debate. Mitt Romney held his own, for the most part, but I was disappointed in his responses on a number of questions.
1. Why is it necessary to pander to women? Do women like it? I’m all for equal opportunity, equal compensation for equal jobs, etc., but it almost seemed as if Mitt was on the verge of suggesting that the government should compel companies to offer flexible hours to moms. That’s not a conservative reflex.
2. The religious freedom aspect of the HHS contraception mandate was teed up for him, but he failed to take a swing at it. Instead, he promised not to take away anybody’s contraceptives. The issue is not availability, the issue is whether employers should have to violate their consciences to pay for things that are immoral. The idea that birth control will be free is ridiculous; somebody is going to have to pay for it.
3. He missed the line of attack that I would have used on the Benghazi consulate debacle. Additional security was asked for and not only denied, but reduced. In the immediate aftermath, the violence was blamed on a YouTube video, and apologies were made for our constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech, even to the point of throwing the man responsible for the video into jail. Three weeks after the attack, the “investigation” still hadn’t secured the site of the attack. A CNN reporter was able to walk right into the rubble, find the diary of the slain ambassador, and walk away with it.
4. How much of the gun violence in the United States is committed with military-grade assault weapons? Not much.
5. Mitt knows that the Fast and Furious drug running scandal is a big deal, but he really doesn’t grasp the details. He needs to study up on that part of his briefing book.
6. Why haven’t Mitt and Paul Ryan, in the debates, noted that the Senate has failed to pass any budget, even though the Constitution requires it, and that the budgets submitted by the President have been so dead on arrival that they failed to get even a single vote?
7. I haven’t once heard any debate criticism of the President for his extra-Constitutional power grabs: making recess appointments when Congress is in session, granting waivers that the Welfare Reform law explicitly forbids, unilaterally declaring that laws like the Defense of Marriage Act will not be enforced or defended by the executive branch, etc.
Rick Santorum would be bringing these things up, although in a whiny voice that wouldn’t win him any style points. Governor Romney seems intent on avoiding any distractions from his five point economic plan to grow the economy. Unfortunately for him, there are more colors to the spectrum, and the population of persuadable voters contains many who focus on hues other than the one that he’s emphasizing.