Debate Wrapup: Give the Horses Bayonets

Hi, there! Are you wondering why you’re seeing an awful lot of horses and bayonets around the Internets? Well, Monday night was the final debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who whimsically appeared in his early Halloween costume as The Incredibly Sweaty Man in Bad Pancake. I don’t know for certain, but I would be willing to bet that Mitt Romney’s makeup artists were gay, female, or had pre-existing medical conditions. Because: Damn.

The debate, of course, was a lively and thoughtful exchange on issues that haven’t been covered much, such as marriage equality, reproductive rights, and a coherent plan to create jobs by rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

Ha, ha! No, of course not. It was the foreign policy debate, which means 80 of 90 minutes were about Israel and/or Iran and then there was maybe 45 seconds for Pakistan and a minute for Afghanistan and all the other countries can maybe have some attention next year, when Mom and Dad aren’t quite so busy.

As Romney got sweatier and sweatier, he and Obama sparred over what was ultimately a fairly narrow range of opinion on foreign policy. Both said they want peace (though Romney seemed to think that “peace” has an asterisk next to it that leads to a footnote that says “After we bomb the snot out of Iran.”), and both men seem to think unmanned drone attacks are neato. The idea that those two things might be somewhat contradictory doesn’t seem to be at issue, nor do the many, many human rights and oversight issues that those drones bring up.

Sometimes the two-party system gets a wee bit frustrating.

Romney, when called on it, also doubled down on his past statement that Russia was our biggest geopolitical threat, and, oh, dear, claimed that Syria is Iran’s path to the sea. There may be one or two problems with that last statement.

Overall, Obama seemed calm and struck a good balance – fact-checking Romney without getting into the last debate’s posturing-and-interruption-fest. Romney, too, seemed to be avoiding the off-putting roosterman attempts.

But mostly Romney seemed to get increasingly flustered and, as always, pissy whenever someone dared question him. I guess that pissiness is understandable in someone who’s been treated for his whole life like the boss whose jokes you have to pretend are funny. This new thing where people ask him to back up his vague statements with specifics or admit to things he previously said in front of cameras must be frustrating for him.

Mostly Romney rattled off as many Middle East facts as fast as he possibly could, inspiring John Kerry to call him the Wikipedia candidate.

Kerry, who had helped the President prep for this debate, took a few moments on MSNBC to school Romney (and the rest of us) on how a navy works.

During the debate, Romney claimed that our Navy has the fewest ships it has had since 1916. Which was really dumb, since that claim was stomped weeks ago, and Obama watches news other than Fox. Obama, who was perhaps a little bit tired of the repetition of debunked lies, took the opportunity to explain that the stupid thing was stupid very slowly and carefully and kind of awesomely.

And the Cavalrymen for Romney website sprang up within minutes.

Perhaps more important, Mr. Romney made a whiplash-inducing spin from his previous position on Afghanistan. Romney previously insisted that there should be no timetable on leaving Afghanistan, and at any rate, one shouldn’t tell the rest of the world what we were planning to do anyway.

Monday night, Romney said that if he’s elected, we’ll be out of Afghanistan in 2014.

Rachel Maddow was not having it.

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Overall, I thought Obama won this one pretty handily.

Agree? Disagree? Hit the comments and let us know what you think.

And whether you agree with me or not, get out there and vote.