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Mr. CityWatch Visits NoHo Arts District

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Enabler In Chief

DEBATE TALK - Wednesday night, Mitt Romney talked about what he wanted to talk about and Barack Obama talked about what Mitt Romney wanted to talk about. No wonder liberals are depressed today.

It is true, as Salon’s Alex Pareene says, that Jim Lehrer asked questions that suggested “domestic policy” is an arid and narrow space where deficit reduction and maybe one or two other things trump almost anything else. But why did Barack Obama cede that ground to both Lehrer and Romney, with barely a desultory defense of what he stands for?

Both campaigns had essentially been appealing to their bases — Romney because he was pinned down by the Republican primaries and subject to ongoing purity tests, Obama because hope and change don’t really work for an incumbent and because Republican obstructionism and extremism left few other options.

If liberals spent much of Obama’s first term griping that he was bringing a knife to a gun fight, they were energized by a campaign that wasn’t afraid to attack Mitt Romney at the same time that it made an affirmative case for basic liberal values, at the convention and elsewhere.

And, crucially, they were galvanized by spotlights on just how radical elected Republicans are these days, from Paul Ryan making Ayn Randian cruelty mainstream to Todd Akin bringing the crudest anti-abortion talking points out of the bottom drawer. (The rest of Irin Carmon’s take on The Debate here.)

Vol 10 Issue 80
Pub: Oct 5, 2012