Of course I have my own opinion about how the latest Presidential debate turned out, and I have listened to and read the words of many pundits on both sides. I have also talked with several people from both parties here locally and gathered their ideas as well. In my opinion the outcome had little to do with substance.
My democrat friends who will be voting for Obama think that Romney blew it. They are high fiving over content that was missed by most viewers. They of course are drilling down into the sentences and words used trying to find things to spin.
My republican friends are doing much of the same thing. They have found things either Obama or Candy Crowley said which they are spinning like crazy into a story of lies and cover ups. I get it . We want our guy to win and so we will use any bit of evidence we can find to bolster our case.
But as I've said before, most of the people in this country are not fully engaged. They don't wake up everyday thinking about politics. They have many other things to worry about and see politics as a game which has very little direct effect on their lives.
Sure the national debt, our deficit budgets, foreign policy and stock market trends do impact everybody, but most people are struggling to pay their mortgage payments, keep their cars running, get their kids through school without incident and then, maybe, have a few minutes to spend enjoying themselves with a ball game and a beer. They don't need Harvard economists plotting a future they might never survive to see. They need stuff now.
That's why the democratic strategy has worked so well over the years. Union workers, welfare moms, out of work dads and kids without jobs love it when they get something for free, now, when they sense that they need it the most. Lots of people don't really see much change in their lives or a pathway to success. They see the obstacle right in front of their noses and anybody who can help them today will get their vote.
And this is why the republican strategy has not worked so well over the years. A guy in an apartment with a low paying job and a car that barely runs does not connect well with men in suits who talk about small businesses, big businesses and how the government should be helping THOSE people. To the guy with a name patch on his work shirt THOSE people seem to be doing pretty well already.
But Mitt Romney said something the other night which I have not heard talked about much. I picked up on it immediately during my live Facebook commentary. He said "our party has been focused on big business too long." I literally stood up and cheered. He nailed it.
The republican leaders may have been raised to believe that when big business is successful more jobs are created, the economy improves, government revenues increase and the standard of living of all Americans goes up. And while that philosophy may have some merit it had much more merit in those years when most of the businesses in the world were being started by individuals.
Today however the size and scope of corporations which literally dominate the markets has given them an incredible amount of power. They now can spend billions of their own money electing the kind of people who will make their world better. And this fact has not been lost on the average voter.
Romney's comment is not getting any play, but it should, because despite what else they might have said, the politics which will sway voters in the next three weeks will have much more to do with the way each party and its contenders are perceived.
People will not recall exactly what Obama said during the debate unless they are political devotees, but they will keep their impressions of the candidates and which one seems more genuinely concerned about the ordinary person foremost in their minds as they vote.
The republicans might have good ideas and I freely admit that the democrats do too. But what will really count between now and the election is how people perceive the two parties. Romney opened the door to changing the perception and his words and his life story (one of unparalleled compassion) should be echoing throughout the blogosphere and pushed in the mainstream media.
"Our party has been focused on big business too long." Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery and Romney's vision of recovery for America should start right there.