Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

The US Presidential Election just got interesting


Transformed: Romney floors Obama in Presidential Debate

Just as the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom is a shadow of its former self and led by a man who Margaret Thatcher would have robustly called a “Wet“, in the United States the Republican Party has not fared much better since George W. Bush re-took the White House with plenty of “political capital” back in 2004.

Before I continue, I’d just like to say, if I were an American citizen, I would vote Republican in the presidential elections. Bill Clinton may have converted a lot of conservatives in America – they even have a name for them: Reagan Democrats – but the Democrat Party itself never changed from a big-state, high public spending, social liberal party. That ideology goes against my core beliefs. With the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the true values of the Democrat Party have been plain to see and it is not a party I can abide by.

Back to the Republicans.

The Republican presidential primaries and caucuses campaign was lacklustre to say the least with no “Reagan-like” candidate in sight. Mitt Romney seems to have won the nomination because he wasn’t the other guy: hardly a ringing endorsement from the GOP base. Romney was even an Independent during the Reagan-Bush years in the 1980s and he voted in the 1992 Democrat presidential primaries!

But now the deed is done and the Republicans have their presidential candidate it seems the contrasting wings of the GOP from the Tea Party movement on one side and the liberal wing on the other have buried the hatchet and got behind their man as a way of doing anything to get rid of Obama, the “Socialist-in-chief”.

Gaffe: Romney told Brits they weren’t ready for Olympics

Just before the shoo-in nomination in Tampa, Florida back in August, Mitt Romney went on the obligatory trip abroad to boost up his foreign policy credentials just in case he gets hold of America’s nuclear arsenal and the world’s biggest armed forces in January 2013. Mr Romney flew into London just before the start of the Olympic Games and proceeded to tell us Brits that he wasn’t sure we were ready. Hmm, someone should mail him a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. 

Needless to say the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were a triumph and were declared the best Games ever. But, hey, most people in America would not have heard about Romney’s gaffe so it will hardly be a game-changer in the forthcoming presidential elections.

However, the Presidential TV Debates may just be that game-changer. Mitt Romney was a transformed man during last Wednesday’s first Presidential Debate in Denver, Colorado watched by 58 million people. Romney hammered Barack Obama.

The Republican candidate finally found some charm and empathy (which he desperately needs after his 47% comments) and energy at the 90-minute Denver showdown. Gone was the stiff awkwardness and in came a man of confidence, arms in the air firing volley after volley at the President. In contrast, Barack Obama looked weak, distracted (well, it was his wedding anniversary), and spent most of the evening avoiding eye contact with his presidential contender.

Unsurprisingly, a CNN/ORC International poll of 430 people who watched the debate showed 67% thought Romney won, compared with 25% for Obama. In a voting intention poll taken after the debate which asked electors who they were likely to vote for in November, Romney climbed ahead to 49% with Obama trailing on 47%.

Deflated: Obama at campaign rally after disastrous TV debate

But it is just one TV debate and memories fade quickly. At the time of writing, a Real Clear Politics poll has Obama back ahead on 49% with Romney on 46%. What is clear is that the poll results make it too close to call. In my New Year predictions, I forecast an Obama win – just. Now I am not too sure. It could go either way.

In America the TV debates are a very important part of the presidential campaign and can change the direction of elections: one famous example was the JFK-Nixon contest back in the 1960s. One debate won’t change anything but if Romney and, more importantly, Obama puts on the same performance at the second and third debate, all bets are off.

It is more than possible we could all still wake up on 7th November to Mitt Romney being the most powerful man on Earth.


Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

2 thoughts on “The US Presidential Election just got interesting

  1. The electoral maths are against Romney, and even Fox News accepts that his campaign is woeful, worse than Senator McCain's effort last time out.I'd still back Obama for a 300+ Electoral Votes victory. I think he'll take Colorado, Ohio and Florida. He might not take Virginia but I think he will. He might even still take Wisconsin, despite Paul Ryan appearing on the GOP ticket.If I were in the US, I'd be voting for Obama. Not through any great interest in his policies, but because the GOP have yet again failed to nominate a politician with the answers Reagan gave the US. Not only that, I'd prefer a US President who doesn't wonder why airplane windows don't open…

  2. Well after the VP debate I think the polling move towards Romney will have stopped. Most people were expecting Ryan to wipe the floor with Biden, and intellectually he did. But if you look at the language, Biden will have connected better with those voters he needs to speak to, whereas Ryan didn't hit the right "keywords" to voters.In Ohio, the view is that Biden shone during that debate. THat is the commentary coming from Ohio newspapers and Ohio regional news affiliates. The only people who are still pushing Romney/Ryan are the ever "fair and balanced" Fox News. And lets face it, those people are always going to vote GOP anyway.I liked Ryan's fiscal policy, sounds good, don't know enough about the US tax profile at the moment to know if it adds up, but his social policy scares the bejeesus out of me.

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