The final presidential campaign debate was uneventful. It appears by design and both sides wanted it that way. I wanted to hear more about Libya, the war on terrorism (I guess I should not be using that phrase anymore that anymore), U.S.-China relations, trade in the Americas, and a whole host of other global issues. Rather, both sides focused on making necessary pitches to key voter groups that may have been watching.
The one comment that struck me was made by the President and involved horses. The President was trying to make Governor Romney appear like a national security lightweight. He failed. In the process, however, the President did himself a lot of damage right here, in the Commonwealth of Virginia:
“You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916 … Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go under water, nuclear submarines.”
The President shows a few things here. It shows his condescending and pedantic nature. Governor Romney may not be a national security expert, but nor was President Obama before taking office. Then again, you do not need to me a national security expert to lead this nation. Presidents have armies of advisers these days. As for the Commonwealth, Virginia has a proud military tradition and does not take kindly to talking this way about our military, even if to score political points. Virginia also likes her horses.
But what about the horses? Our military still uses them and in the global war against radical Islam (I guess this phrase is also no longer used), cavalry was a critical part of our efforts to track down bad guys in places such as Afghanistan. It is a minor issue but, for our usually professorial President, these little details should matter but, frankly, they do not because most of the time I think he really does not care.
My point? Not sure I really have one except that this President has a low regard for tradition. He has demonstrated it time and time again throughout his Presidency. From his global Apology Tour that weakened U.S. global leadership these past four years, to smaller but not less important things such as failing to issue a statement or a blog post on the 224th anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution this past summer, this President and his team prefer to focus remaking America in their image. And this is not a good thing.
President Obama, many Congressional Democrats, and their liberal supporters enjoy ridiculing conservatives. It is a hobby for this lot. Through the years, Republicans have learned to ignore it. Governor Romney did not take the bait last night. The President tried many times and failed. Deep down, I am certain that Romney wished he could have said something akin to what Bill Buckley said in 1968 when he deftly dressed down Gore Vidal during a televised debate (see below). Romney will do the next best thing, on November 6, 2012.