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It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like ’80

Last night Mitt Romney took-down the straw men that Barack Obama has been running against all summer. As I’ve said on “Common Cents,” that President Obama is even in this race can be attributed to the fact he’s been running against straw men, not against Governor Romney himself. While Barack Obama isn’t a good President, he’s one of the finest politicians of our time. Over the past several months, his political acumen has been put on full display, as the President and his campaign team have characterized Mitt Romney in a way that makes him look evil on a level second only to Satan. When you tell the American people that Romney was responsible for killing a woman who lost her insurance, that he’s a sleeper agent for the ultra-rich who’s seeking to perform “reverse Robin Hood” by taking from middle income earners to give to the wealthy and that he wants to declare “war on women,” it’s easy to open up a lead.

That all came crashing down last evening, however, as President Obama actually faced the object of his mischaracterization in a debate. Last evening’s debate adds credence to my firm belief that, at least in the world of politics, the debate is the great equalizer. No amount of talking points and cheap shots can carry the day, if the challenger is up to the task. Mitt Romney was up to the task. From telling the President that “as President you’re entitled to your own plane and your own house, but not to your own set of facts” to telling the truth about his own tax plans, Romney put Obama on the defensive in a campaign that the media had already declared all-but-over. The results were predictable, undecided voters in post-debate surveys said they were now heading Governor Romney’s way, since they now know what he’s really all about.

Last night was the kind of performance that made Ronald Reagan the 40th President of theUnited States. In the fall of 1980, Reagan was trailing Carter and the media had written a similar political obituary for him that they’ve written for Romney. Those death notices proved premature then, and I believe they’ll prove premature now. Governor Romney and Representative Ryan have never supported a tax plan that would drive-up our annual deficits or drive-up our national debt. In fact, as the Governor so eloquently stated last evening, tax reduction leads to greater economic activity which, in turn, leads to more government revenue, which leads to lower deficits and reductions of debt. Freedom and free-markets work, which Obama himself admitted in saying that the “genius ofAmerica is free enterprise and freedom,” though he has done everything in his power (and not in his power) to trample both.

Last night was the turning point of this campaign, and I can’t help but twist the words to the Christmas classic and sing “It’s beginning to feel a lot like ’80.” For everywhere I turn, the President’s straw men are shattered, his talking points aren’t sticking and the Romney-Ryan campaign is on the rise. Chris Matthews himself, who famously had the tingle up his leg from Barack Obama’s 2008 performances, admitted that five more nights like last night and it’s over. As is normally the case, I don’t agree with Matthews; I agree with Liberal columnist for “The Daily Beast,” Andrew Sullivan: “he (Obama) might have lost the election.”

Ecclesiastes was right, history really does repeat itself. Here’s to hoping history’s about to pull another 1980.

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