Last night’s debate was a much more evenly played rock ‘em, sock ‘em event than the first presidential debate held earlier this month. President Obama’s performance, while far from excellent, was much improved. He had to recover from last week’s listless performance and I believe he managed to do so. Governor Romney was able to rebut many of the President’s statements and for that reason did not, in my opinion, lose much of the momentum he gained earlier this month.
But while both men may have managed a tie for their performances, the real loser last night was American commerce and the economy overall. Neither candidate brought any fresh perspective to the discussion of the federal government’s role in a free market economy.
Mr. Romney spent most of the evening telling us how he was going to fix the economy and grow 12 million jobs. Really, Mr. Romney? You can do all that? And then, as if to make up for his lost libertarian bona fides, he ends the evening saying twice that government cannot create jobs. I don’t know. Maybe his staffers shared one of my tweets with him.
Mr. Obama, the uber progressive, surprised me with his faux passionate defense of the free enterprise system. He declared that he believes in free markets. Again, really? If that is the case, Mr. President, why the promotion of the Dodd-Frank Act? Why support the burdensome concept of net neutrality for broadband providers? Why even intervene in the housing market with a loan modification program that may scare away investors and underwriters?
In the end, what I didn’t hear was a plan to make government less interventionist and more of a promoter of American commerce, both here and abroad. I didn’t hear a plan, a detailed strategy. I heard too much noise.