Rightbloggers Say Romney Won 2nd Debate, And If He Didn't No Fair Because Liberal Media Bias
Rightbloggers spent much of it arguing over who won the second Presidential debate, and why what Obama said about Benghazi was not about Benghazi. And that was among their more intelligent efforts.
At WorldNet Daily, Joe Kovacs told the troops in advance of Tuesday's town-hall-style Hofstra University debate how to perceive it: "MEDIA: OBAMA 'WINS DEBATE BEFORE IT EVEN STARTS'" he headlined. "...left-leaning reporters and analysts have their Obama-as-victor copy already written in advance." Kovacs' source was Rush Limbaugh.
To make his argument even more airtight, Kovacs quoted "former debate moderator and left-leaning journalist Carole Simpson," who said Obama had the edge going into the second debate -- an uncontroversial statement, as the town hall format would seem to favor the community organizer over the plutocrat. Matt Hadro of Newsbusters also jumped in: "Liberal journalist Carole Simpson is at it again." Neither mentioned that the 70-year-old Simpson is pretty much retired from journalism, including liberal journalism.
When it was over, polls by Gallup, CNN, Reuters et alia showed that normal people appeared to give Obama a slight edge. Rightbloggers either didn't see it that way, or did their best to make sure you didn't.
Some, like Bryan Preston of The PJ Tatler, bravely held the party line: "Mitt Romney Wins Debate on Smooth Presidential Performance, Obama's Ignorance," he said. "...Romney is clearly the more informed and presidential of the two candidates. He can speak in numbers and facts, while Obama speaks in mere rhetoric." (Note to budding reviewers: Always make sure you stick in a couple of obvious pull-quotes.)
Others had a harder time keeping it up. "ONCE AGAIN, OBAMA'S RECORD WINS IT FOR ROMNEY," headlined David Harsanyi at Human Events, but in the body copy he hedged: "On style points it was close," he wrote, "but it's unlikely anyone won by a wide enough margin to alter the fundamentals of the race." (Hansanyi held out hope for the next debate: "It would be interesting," he suggested, "if someone - perhaps at the next Townhall debate - would ask Obama to define what the free enterprise means to him." Surely Romney can afford to hire someone to do that.)
"I will say that President Obama did better this week, but that doesn't mean 'he won,'" said Shane Vander Hart at the Des Moines Register. "I'm not going to declare Romney the winner either." Well, that clears that up.
"I think Mitt Romney won the debate, but not by much," allowed RedState's Erick Erickson. Then he appeared to read out loud the scratched-out parts of his column notes: "While more thought Barack Obama won the debate, largely because his last performance was so bad, clear majorities outside the margin of error thought Mitt Romney would be best on the economy, jobs, the deficit, etc. That suggests Romney did win, but people viewed Obama's debate performance as an improvement over the first one."
Biggest liberal journalist monster since Cronkite -- maybe Murrow! (For two or three days, anyway.)
Erickson then left the world of spin for that of clairvoyance, telling us that "[Obama] actually wanted the audience to believe that the economy is going gangbusters now as a reason for $4.00 gasoline -- a delusion the undecided voters clearly did not buy." Perhaps Erickson only saw a reenactment of the debate, in which the quiet, well-behaved audience of the event we saw were replaced with enraged mooks throwing trash and beer cans. Erickson was also pleased that "Romney, at one point, commanded the President shut up and sit down and the President did so like a dog told to sit. It was masterful." If the election doesn't go his way, Erickson can always warm himself with his memories.
Probably the wisest course was to shrug the debate off, as did for example Doug Gibson at the Standard-Examiner ("Obama edged Romney in the debate, but does it really matter?"). But there was still some pedantry to spare, as rightbloggers attacked moderator Candy Crowley for backing up Obama when Romney disputed his contention that the President had referred to the Beghazi attack as an act of terror the day after it happened.
The schtick became a rightblogger word game: Though Obama clearly said "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation" in that address, rightbloggers insisted he was referring to other acts of terror which did not include Benghazi. Reasoning for this interpretation varied in particulars, if not in absurdity.
"From the context, it was clear that his reference to 'terror' was general," sniffed Henry D'Andrea at the Washington Times. "Not once did he apply that characterization to Benghazi."
"It's clear that the president only made an oblique reference to 'acts of terror' -- and not an explicit, purposeful condemnation of a premeditated attack," said Donald Douglas at American Power. "The exact wording provides presidential wiggle room, and then progressives will just continue to shill for the administration's cover up."
"The reference to 'acts of terror'" was "plural," explicated loyal Romney retainer Jennifer Rubin, and thus could not refer to "the singular attack on Benghazi," but must have been "in reference to 9/11/01 and other jihadist attacks," since "plural," as every good grammarian knows, means "anything but Benghazi."
"He'd also spent the previous two paragraphs discussing the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath," threw in Alana Goodman of Commentary. "'Acts of terror' could have just as easily been a reference to that." Could have? Alana, don't be a weak sister!
In a Twitter argument, Goodman's editor John Podhoretz suggested that because Obama referred to the attack as a "senseless act of violence," he couldn't have also called it an act of terror, since these are opposites.
This kind of nonsense was too much for some rightbloggers. "Later fact checkers can clarify the dispute between the two men over Obama's contention that his Rose Garden address on 9/12 called the Benghazi attack a terror attack," bailed the normally more sure of himself Thomas Lifson at American Thinker. "But moderator Candy Crowley entered the dispute, essentially calling Obama correct, the clearest indication of her bias."
Indeed, attacking Crowley for confirming Obama's remarks (thus committing an "act of journalistic terrorism," being "duped by David Axelrod to do President Obama's bidding," etc) was a comfortable fallback for many of the brethren.
The chivalrous Robert Stacy McCain pointed out that "not one" of his rightblogger comrades "felt it necessary to point out that Candy Crowley is fat, and I'm happy for that, because too many people resort to such cheap insults when they're angry, and it hurts the feelings of fat people everywhere. This kind of cruelty toward BBWs and plumpers also bothers 'chubby chasers' like Dan Collins, whose appreciation of Rubenesque ladies is so often misunderstood." One can easily imagine McCain and Erickson making an evening of it.