Who Won the Debate? Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and 11.5 Million Buckeyes. That’s Who.

Obama Romney debate who won


mitt romney in debate

I’m not a political commentator, but I sometimes play one on the blog.

If I were, however, that’s the post-debate analysis I’d give my audience this morning following a lively 90-minute mono e mono between President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

It’s true. The debate winners weren’t even in the room.

CNN’s Candy Crowley moderated a sometimes lively debate Tuesday night that allowed Obama and Romney to trade some effective jabs. Romney actually had fair momentum during the debate’s first 40 minutes as the topics remained mostly domestic in nature. But as the discussion went abroad, Romney lost his talking points, and the two candidates ultimately finished in a draw.

Best case scenario for either … Obama likely recaptured the tiny percentage of wavering Democrats who were dismayed by his first dismal debate performance. And Romney didn’t lose.

From Romney’s perspective, a November victory is “all about the economy, stupid.” He should have never let his message go outside the 50 states.

Today, partisan political followers will predictably declare victory for their man. MSNBC will make Obama the clear winner. FOX will say Romney hammered effectively on all points.

Objectively, however, the debate was a draw, and here’s what that means.

ohio electoral votesThe election’s a foregone conclusion in at least 45 of 50 states. Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Colorado all still carry weight, but the big chips are in Ohio.

More than 11 million Buckeyes will determine the next president of the United States.

Make a conscious effort over the next two weeks to see how many times “Ohio” is mentioned in the stump speeches. You’ll see. The political promises now being made to Ohio’s political leadership are pork barrel politics at their best, or worst, however you may choose to view it. But Ohio carries all the chips. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow lies somewhere between Akron and Toledo.

At this point, the two might as well go to Ohio, fight it out in a duel, and let the last man standing take the White House.

And there’s also this.

No doubt Romney gained momentum immediately after the first presidential debate. There was a certain pressure last night on both candidates. Romney needed to show his first performance wasn’t a one-time fluke. The president needed to show he still had some fire in his belly.

Whatever the talking heads say today, the debate was a draw. A draw last night, or any future draws for that matter, equate to four more years for Obama. Without a knockout that leaves Obama down for the count, Romney loses. It could happen, but time’s running out.

And there’s this.Chris Christie for president

If you accept the notions I’ve proposed above, here’s the future significance. Throughout last night’s debate, you could almost hear he squeaky wheels of two new presidential campaigns beginning to turn.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are the Republican party’s next big sticks. Publicly, they’ll support the party guy for the next two weeks, but never doubt for a moment they’re waiting in the wings for an Obama victory that immediately propels them both to front-runner status in 2016.

will jeb bush run for presidentThink you’ll get a break from presidential politics when all this is put to bed in a few more days?

Think again.

The party’s just getting started.

Agree? Disagree? Drop a comment. Your opinion’s welcome here.


Remembering the Day AFTER 9-11 and Our Present Hypocricy

What I remember most, is not the day itself, but the days that followed.

I was one of the lucky ones, I suppose. I lost no family members, no friends, no colleagues in the triad of disaster that day. As so many others, I simply watched in disbelief.

bush and chief of staff at school on 9-11I was 36 on September 11, 2001, and pretty much numb to our nation’s divisiveness. Uncomfortable as it all felt, it was a privilege freedom carried, I’d somehow come to reason.

But the precious days that followed, at least in my small hometown, gave birth to a feeling I’d never before experienced. For a few short days, things were just different.

I think it must have been what it’s supposed to be to feel like an American.

On the day after 9-11, cars proudly displayed American flags waiving through the rush-hour commute. And there was no road rage. If someone cut you off that day – well, it was no big deal. We had our families and our futures ahead. We were alive and safe so we let it all slide.

In the few short days that followed 9-11, handshakes were firmer, hugs were tighter – we were actually civil, united, kinder and gentler.

The day after 9-11 all politics were cast aside. We all supported President Bush. And we wanted him to kill Osama bin Laden. He was the commander-in-chief and we stood united in his leading the charge.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if we could’ve somehow captured our collective sentiment and made time stand still? But time moved on. And eventually, we returned to our former selves.

Yesterday, Americans across the country shared the memories of 9-11. We gaveremembering 9-11 tribute and honor to the fallen, and we celebrated our resiliency as a people. It’s an honorable thing we do in our remembrance. But I can only think about how much we’ve forgotten.

In the days that followed 9-11 we were so … well … together. It’s quite the paradox that we remember a former time of unity during such a present time of divisiveness.

Today, we cast outright hate toward our commander-in-chief. And as the election approaches, we also question the morals of his opponent.

Politically, we disrespect the beliefs of our friends. Racially and ethnically we continue to build impenetrable walls. Economically, we endorse growing the margin between the wealthy and the poor while children go hungry.

Yesterday we all talked about our memories of that day. We made endless social media posts with powerful visuals recalling the day we came together as a nation and we made ourselves feel good for a brief moment in time.

Today, history will repeat itself, and yesterday will be forgotten. How does that happen?

I think about all those who gave their lives, and what they might say about our current state of affairs.