Opinion: Romney presented a few good ideas in what was otherwise an unproductive presidential debate

Sarah Rohleder

Governor Romney brought something to the table last night that President Obama hasn’t been able to do in four years. While Obama had experience to show, however poor it may have been, Romney had an agenda. President Obama has shown us his agenda, whereas Romney’s was fresh. We’ve heard Obama’s promises, and seen his proof—or lack thereof—while we had a new promise of more economical trade and tighter control on China out of Romney.

The topic was foreign affairs, a hot-button issue central to the last three presidential cycles. Since 9/11 and the 2008 economic crash, the subject has been more than controversial on the basis of National Security and trade. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hear much about foreign affairs. Each candidate weaseled his way into the topics they believe America is more interested in. I heard the word education more than Israel following a question concerning that country. Although I preferred the setting—the previous debate venue felt like a boxing ring, especially considering the candidates’ body language—I wasn’t really impressed with either candidate’s performance. Romney’s cunning and ability to put up a fair fight against Obama’s smugness was impressive, but he didn’t deliver the performance he delivered for the first debate. On the other hand, Obama’s smugness, like always, felt a little bit too smug. Maybe he attended the Joe Biden School of Debate Preparation before this election cycle.

Finally, the candidates were forced to face the truth about Israel. In the last four years, Obama seems to have forgotten that Israel is our ally. And Israel is not just our ally; Israel is our only strong ally in the Middle East. Notice President Obama didn’t mention how he blew off Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President, when he requested a meeting concerning the likelihood of nuclear weapons in Iran. He did, however, have time to display his NBA draft picks and get together with Jay-Z and Beyonce. Romney made a good point during the debate.

“Our association with our allies is essential to our strength,” Romney said.

Obama did one thing right though, something he’s been practicing since 2008. He is well versed in blaming everything he can on the Bush administration, and he didn’t fail to show that last night.  Whether it be economy, war, trade, or education, President Obama has a remarkable ability to push the blame onto President Bush. Funny, because gas was $1.87 when Obama was elected. When was the last time you paid less than three dollars for gas? Just to name one thing that has drifted  down hill fast in the past four years, not to mention unemployment or the stock market. He argued that Romney’s plans were the same as Bush’s, but I just don’t know how  many times Romney needs to go over his plan before Obama stops playing the Bush card where it doesn’t apply.

The high point of the debate was when Romney, rightfully, accused Obama of going on an “apology tour,” where he said America had “shown arrogance” and been “dismissive, even derisive.” CNN and ABC, following suit with the Obama campaign, both discounted Romney’s claim, conveniently leaving out that he did in fact say what Romney claimed he said. Their argument was that he never said the word apologize, and the argument is left in the realm of semantics. Sure, he may not have said the word apologize, but he made a definite display of apologetics on multiple occasions. The one Romney quoted in the debate, a speech Obama gave in France, was even considered a good enough apology that it made the top of the Heritage Foundation’s Top Ten Apologies list.

In effect, many people tied their opinion on the final debate with their candidate preference and the truth. Consistently, I see  Governor Romney telling it like it is. He is, of course, concerned with America’s feelings toward him, but he avoids the sugary-sweet language and cool-guy attitude America has come so familiar with in President Obama’s speaking engagements. This debate was the least impressive of the three, but some good points were made. It would have been a lot more impressive had I actually heard about foreign affairs in the debate set aside for foreign affairs.