If life were accordingly fair -- as in an evenly-balanced journey in which the chips don't just fall where they may, but rather where they are supposed to -- we might have seen Clint Eastwood stage an intervention during Monday's final presidential debate.
Fairness would have meant that in less time than it takes for Joe Sixpack to suck down that first cold one, Mr. Sixpack and the rest of us would have witnessed Eastwood make his way onto the debate floor with the same chair that he made headlines with during the GOP convention, place it between Romney and the President, and politely ask Mitt to take a hike.
It was necessary. That's because during this debate, rather than stand and deliver, Romney decided to sit and concede. Once again Mitt pulled his "empty suit" move, but this time in a way that perfectly correlates with the dumb symbolism of Eastwood's empty chair.
Anyone expecting a Patton-esque bad-ass to show up looking for a showdown found him or herself stood up. As might have been expected, "severely conservative" Mitt failed to show. But even "moderate" Mitt was nowhere to be found.
Instead, viewers got "me too," Mitt. Thus, any expectation among the Tea Party crowd of a "serious" philosophical debate -- during which the merits of an amped up, take-no-prisoners foreign policy/national security approach would be made in conjunction with an insightful unraveling of Obama's weak-kneed apology-based agenda -- probably dwindled faster than Dan Rather can spit out a colorful colloquialism.
History will show that on Monday night "Mittens" was as meek as a kitten; more a missionary than a militarist. He flat out sold out to the max; jumping ship on the hawkish, foreign policy big-shot persona used to light the trail he blazed through the GOP primaries right on through to this final face-off with the current Commander-in-Chief.
In general, points made by Obama on foreign policy/national security were met not with a compelling philosophical alternative from Romney, but instead with a flourish of overly-nuanced "me toos." He pretty much disused his compulsory, if not handy hard-right persona and essentially became Obama by virtually adopting in nearly word-for-word dulcet, Obama's foreign policy/national security doctrine.
For example, when asked a question on Syria, part of Obama's response included the following:
""ultimately, Syrians are going to have to determine their own future. And so everything we're doing, we're doing in consultation with our partners in the region, including Israel " coordinating with Turkey and other countries in the region that have a great interest in this" And we have to do so making absolutely certain that we know who we are helping, that we're not putting arms in the hands of folks who eventually could turn them against us or our allies in the region."
Just moments later, Romney offered a response that merely echoed that of the President:
""the right course for us is working through our partners and with our own resources to identify responsible parties within Syria, organize them, bring them together in a form of -- if not government, a form of council that can take the lead in Syria, and then make sure they have the arms necessary to defend themselves. We do need to make sure that they don't have arms that get into the wrong hands."
And so it went. Thus, on the Monday night, his base saw Romney firm in command as engineer of the once-immovable GOP national security locomotive as it barreled backwards off the rails yet still on a trajectory to roll over the Tea Party Express, itself stuck on the tracks since the 2010 mid-terms.
At its conclusion, snap-polls declared Obama the winner. But on this night, the previous debate's ultimate fighters provided an ultimate letdown. It was an interesting turn of events that seemed to reflect a kind of odd irony relevant to the debate coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, an experience moderator Bob Schieffer described as "the closest we've ever come to nuclear war."
Really? My guess is that Schieffer's assessment probably brought a smile to the face of Romney surrogate John Sununu, the childishly-insufferable former New Hampshire Governor/birther who is a Cuban national. But that remark also caused me to wonder if this debate was being televised in Japan where in fact, nuclear war has been waged.
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