I don’t buy the narrative being pushed by the Democratic Party that Governor Romney was in any way disrespectful, impolite or rude during last week’s presidential debate. He came off assertive, bold, and – to borrow a term from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly – fresh. He needed to persuade Americans that he’s not the stiff-necked caricature Democrats make him out to be. And polls suggest he did precisely that.
Winning the next debate will be a challenge for the governor, however. The format – a town hall style discussion – favors the typically affable Barack Obama.
But which Barack Obama will show up? Will it be the unfocused, altitude affected candidate we saw fold under pressure last week? Or will it be the ideological firebrand who, just one day after his debate loss, vigorously accused Governor Romney of lying to the American people.
My bet is on the latter, the real Barack Obama – the man who cut his political teeth on the rough and tumble streets of Chicago.
The president needs to be careful in choosing his arguments, though. He is vulnerable on multiple fronts, especially on the issue of “economic patriotism,” a sly term he coined in a speech in Virginia on September 27th.
What exactly is economic patriotism? And what does the president mean when he says it? After all, it reeks of Orwellian doublespeak.
According to the president, economic patriotism is an economic policy “rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class.”
Aesthetically, that sounds great. Who wouldn’t support an economic policy built around a strong and thriving middle class? The problem is that we’ve been hearing this type of language since 2008. And despite the president’s policies, the middle class has not gotten stronger. Even Joe Biden, who recently acknowledged that the middle class has been “buried for the past 4 years,” knows that.
If the president wants to talk about economic patriotism, he best tread lightly. Because a patriot, as he himself has done, would never accuse a sitting president of being unpatriotic for adding trillions to the national debt and then go and do the exact same thing. Nor would a patriot tell small business owners they didn’t build their business. Furthermore, a patriot would never condescendingly mock people who support the 2nd Amendment and have a strong faith in God.
A patriot is someone who vows to cut the deficit in half, and then proceeds to do so. A patriot is someone whose policies actually help the middle class, as opposed to increasing their dependence on the government dole. A patriot is someone who sees the national debt as a moral issue. And perhaps most importantly, a patriot is someone who adheres to the Constitution, particularly the section that says religious organizations should be free to fulfill their earthly mission without being coerced by the federal government.