Tonight’s debate in Denver, Colorado, was an established victory for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who took on testy, pompous Democrat incumbent Barack Obama and showed Americans why he is the better candidate. In the words of Democratic political strategist James Carville, speaking on CNN, the Nothing Man looked like he didn’t even want to be there. David Gergen, a pragmatist who’s worked for Nixon and Clinton and almost every lousy president in between, pronounced Romney the winner and the debate a game-changer.
Of course, Romney does not stand for any principles, let alone for the proper principles of freedom and capitalism. But, as Leonard Peikoff wrote in his endorsement of Romney for President (and as I wrote here), Romney is not Obama and that – in these dark, treacherous times of near-total government control and economic collapse – is what matters in the current U.S. political context. Romney was evasive as usual, dodging questions of the proper role of government – he bungled the meaning of the pursuit of happiness – erroneously praising government regulations as essential to capitalism and failing to accept the moderator’s offer to pose a direct question to the president. But Romney demonstrated an easygoing sense of humor at the outset, disarming his opponent, and showed confidence and command of his knowledge of the relevant facts about the economy. He showed an understanding of the real suffering among people across the nation, especially those struggling to make money in business and the middle class. No such display came from the shifty-eyed, uncomfortable candidate Obama, who – despite having an enormously unfair advantage from the government-subsidized TV moderator – halted, stumbled and blew his cool. Romney’s best moment came when he stated clearly and explicitly that stealing from one generation for the sake of another generation – the redistribution of wealth – is immoral.
Something else happened tonight and in some ways it is more crucial to the long-term survival of the nation. America’s first cable news network, CNN, which was viciously attacked by the government as I recently wrote about here, struck back at the oppressive administration. While Fox News was showcasing intellectually vacant celebrities such as Sarah Palin and the White House’s quasi-official “news” agency, NBC’s pathetic cable outlet, fumed that Obama lost, CNN offered – for the first time in decades – clear, insightful analysis of the presidential debate which was factual, thoughtful and balanced in terms of a variety of voices. Political operatives and intellectuals discussed the ideas, policies and dynamics of the debate in a wide-ranging post-debate program that included fact checks, commentary, polls – 67 percent of registered voters who watched the debate concluded that Obama lost and Romney won – and discussion of specific issues. It was an excellent series of segments and reports, with anchormen and analysts from New Left types such as Van Jones to a businesswoman who ran for the Senate, Carly Fiorina. Whatever intimidation the Obama administration thought it might inflict upon the free press apparently backfired, shaking sleepy, left-leaning, racially-driven and politically correct CNN to its core and, at least for tonight, returning the once-respected and widely watched TV channel to its noble roots as a straight news source. Whatever happens in this year’s election – and, like Leonard Peikoff, I, too, doubt we can survive another term for Obama – if freedom of speech survives, we can overcome the rise of dictatorship and kill it before it takes root. Tonight, as Romney the mixed and decent businessman trounced the haughty, New Leftist intellectual, the free press breathed new life. CNN, founded by a businessman who once admired Ayn Rand and targeted by the government, hit back at Obama and his emergent New Left regime with what will set us free: the truth. Let us savor the moment and make the most of it.