John Batchelor writes on his blog:
Spoke with Mona Charen, Mary Kissel, Salena Zito, Lara Brown, David Drucker, Brett Arends, Bill Roggio, Arif Rafiq, John Fund, Gordon Chang, Reza Kahlili, Kori Schake, Gene Countrymen in re the final presidential debate and learned that the general opinion was that Mr. Romney presented a careful, measured, quiet, pacific demeanor in comparison to Mr. Obama’s strident, accusatory, argumentative, sometimes slashing style.
Why did Mr. Obama choose to go on the offensive? An answer that is repeated elsewhere of weight is that Mr. Obama knows he is trailing in the polls and sinking in the Electoral College, and he knows to make up ground he must rock his opponent.
Neither candidate said anything new tonight; both repeated campaign lines and criticisms they had made of each other before. And yet Mr. Obama aimed at Mr. Romney as if he could knock him from the field with barbs and disdain. Mr. Romney arrived with a strategy of passive aggression: he aimed to present himself as plausible and peaceable. The mistake he aimed to avoid was to appear or sound warlike in any fashion that would allow Mr. Obama to connect Romney to the Bush administration, 2001-2009.
Romney not only achieved his modest aim — Mitt Romney Peacenik — but also he presented pieces of the economic vision for his candidacy — twelve million jobs, reducing deficits to avoid becoming like Greece — that the president has not yet answered with the Obama second term vision.
Foreign policy does not change votes unless you make a foreign policy mistake that undermines credibility or suggests instability. Mr. Romney avoided mistakes and overstatements. Cleverly, Mr. Romney moved some of the conversation back to the domestic economy where he believes Mr. Obama is losing his mandate. Mr. Romney chattered about the disappointment of the last four years in a sober, pensive, resigned way, not ever sounding accusatory to the president.
World turned upside down.
Bayonets and Horses
Nevermind that Obama got his facts wrong about Romney’s defense spending plans — “This ‘additional’ spending [that Governor Romney now supports] previously was asked for by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and recommended to Congress by President Obama himself.”
- In a response to Romney’s barb that Obama has allowed the U.S. Navy’s inventory of battleships to approach a historic low mark, Obama snarked that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”
But horses and bayonets both remain vital parts of the U.S. arsenal.
Awr Hawkins writes that Obama got his military tech info all wrong:
- President Barack Obama ended up revealing an astonishing level of ignorance about the state of military technology during the presidential debate in Boca Raton, FL Monday night.
The U.S. Commander-in-Chief misspoke about bayonets. He misspoke about horses. He misspoke about the size of the U.S. Navy. He misspoke about the makeup of the Navy. And the whole time, he thought he was teaching his opponent Mitt Romney a lesson.
Obama mocked Gov. Romney’s concerns about the diminished number of ships in the U.S. Navy by saying, “I think Gov. Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time studying how our military works.”
Obama continued, trying his best to make the GOP challenger look foolish: “[Romney] mentioned that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well… we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go under water, nuclear submarines.” Obama added that it’s not about “counting ships,” it’s about “our capabilities.”
These comments rang out with a snarky condescension that was only surpassed by their complete lack of factual support.
While the Army discontinued traditional bayonet training in 2010, the USMC still trains Marines with bayonets and issues them as standard equipment. The Army has also begun training soldiers in a different style of bayonet use–not affixed to the end of a rifle but as a secondary melee weapon.
Bayonets: Mark Steyn observes: “I doubt President Obama’s tossing of the Bayonet Lobby under the bus will prove to be the critical issue with undecided swing voters in Ohio, but, just for the record, bayonets have played a role in both our recent wars [in Afghanistan and in Iraq].”
- A fine, snarky response, suitable for any playground. But let me give the President his due. Our military has indeed changed. We used cavalry extensively a hundred years ago. We do not now. Our fighter pilots fought great battles in the air with guns and now they use missiles. Our ships used to blast away with cannons and now they use…well…big cannons. And we still use ships to support those strange “aircraft carrier” things and, occasionally, to hunt down threats to merchant shipping such as pirates off the coast of Somalia.
Okay, maybe the President shouldn’t get much credit here. As it happens, horses played a pretty important role in recent military history as well. Just ten years ago, our invasion of Afghanistan began on horseback. Members of a group called Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 595, part of a larger force named Task Force Dagger, which consisted of Green Berets, airmen from the Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and combat controllers from the US Air Force. ODA-595 fought alongside members of the Northern Alliance, horseback, in the first-ever battle against the Taliban. …
Perhaps once the election is over and he’s re-settled in his Chicago mansion, he can read Doug Stanton’s excellent book Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan and learn a bit about what a strong and versatile military really looks like.
The Obama Apology Tour
Helle Dale at the Heritage Foundation blog wrote:
- In a commercial containing clips from their Washington press conferences, subtitled in Urdu, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said “sorry” to the mad hordes attacking the American embassy in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad and deplored the infamous anti-Muslim14-minute YouTube video.
“We absolutely reject its content and message,” said Clinton in the advertisements, which ended with the seal of the American embassy in Pakistan. U.S. taxpayers footed the bill for this high-level official apology to the tune of $70,000.
This is not public diplomacy. This is madness.