Random Observations on Last Night's Presidential Debate:
1. If Republican Mitt Romney had an actual plan that he could describe without lying about it, last night would have been a game-changer. Since he doesn't, well, he put on a good show. Romney was aggressive, only occasionally crossing that line into belligerent dickishness, and he sounded confident in the bullshit that he was heaving over towards the President. That's why everywhere you are seeing that he won. Because, in the shallow terms of how these nonsensical debates (where, truly, most people must have tuned out about twenty minutes in, thinking, "Okay, fuck, we get it, one of you wants to raise taxes on rich people, one of you doesn't, move the fuck on"), Romney was in command.

So if you're a Romney supporter (or, more accurately, an Obama hater), you were pretty much in heaven last night because you knew that there was a chance that, had Obama been spoiling for a fight, Romney was going down in flames. Instead, you got milquetoast professor-at-a-colloquium Obama, and that never wins against imbecilic arrogance. The media's squealing with glee over this at least appearing to be a close race again. So congrats, conservatives. You live to fight another day.

1a. Of course, Romney was repeatedly stretching, breaking, or reaming the truth. Of course, Romney's plan does cut taxes by $5 trillion, to be paid for by these mythical loopholes, sure, but it does cut the taxes. Of course, there is a tax break for companies who send jobs overseas (about which Romney said, "I have no idea what you're talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant, heh-heh"). Of course, the Obamacare board will not tell patients what treatments they can have. In other words, of course, Mitt Romney said nothing but lies and vague promises and vastly different positions. Seriously, have any conservatives said they're concerned that Romney said, "I won't put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit"? Because that pretty clearly says that if he can't find the $480 billion a year to pay for the tax cut, he won't do it, and it's pretty clearly the opposite of what his campaign has been saying.

1b. Obama brought up not lowering taxes on the very wealthy people and companies who are considered small businesses, 3% of the total, by Romney. Romney retorted, "Those businesses that are in the last 3 percent of businesses happen to employ half -- half of all the people who work in small business. Those are the businesses that employ one-quarter of all the workers in America." Umm, shouldn't we be discussing that Mitt Romney considers businesses that have thousands of employees "small"?

2. The Rude Pundit is not going to give into the temptation, a deep, deep temptation, to become Captain Hindsight here. What Obama could have said is of no matter. He didn't say it, no matter how loud any of us yelled it at the TV screen, to support green energy, to go after Romney on education, to say that Paul....See? Too tempting. Obama fucked it up. Hard. Generously, you could say that he had just had to deal with the fact that Turkey was retaliating against Syria for lobbing a mortar shell across the border. Or that Michelle probably shouldn't have given him that anniversary blow-job in the green room just before the debate started. So he was distracted or his energy was sapped. He lost on style, he lost on his ability to actually get his points across. It was head-slappingly embarrassing when he tried to echo Bill Clinton's "arithmetic" line. However, if you were scoring based on things like, you know, "facts" and "truth," he won. But Joe Biden should rescind his 2007 remark that Obama is "articulate."

3. Obama did, towards the middle and end, finally get in some good points, about the emptiness of Romney's proposals, about how Obamacare is based on Romney care. But he always said them in a convoluted way. Here's how he described Romney's health care proposal that says only people who had insurance can get their preexisting conditions covered in a new policy:

"But let's go back to what Governor Romney indicated, that under his plan, he would be able to cover people with preexisting conditions. Well, actually Governor, that isn't what your plan does. What your plan does is to duplicate what's already the law, which says if you are out of health insurance for three months, then you can end up getting continuous coverage and an insurance company can't deny you if you've -- if it's been under 90 days."

What the fuck? It's like he went in for an undercut and his hand turned to jello. It's like he decided that he was being too much a Democrat and backed down so as not to offend the chimeras of moderation.

4. This ain't an excuse for Obama's shitty performance, but Jim Lehrer has no business moderating a presidential debate. He repeatedly interrupted the President. He had virtually no control over Romney, who ran Lehrer and his walker over repeatedly in the crosswalk. To give one example, Lehrer said, "Governor Romney, do you have a question that you'd like to ask the president directly about something he just said?" Then he let Romney go on for several minutes and finish without interruption and without Romney ever asking a fucking question. That's not moderating. That's just being an old lump who's wondering if his hotel room will be too cold.

5a. According to Mitt Romney, his children are lying sons of a bitch.

5b. Mitt Romney likes coal. Mitt Romney likes Big Bird. He will give money to help coal. He will take money away from Big Bird. Mitt Romney's affection is meaningless.

5c. Which is probably why his terrible sons are such liars.

6. Obama may have done more to depress voter turnout than all the i.d. laws combined. No, it probably didn't change a lot of minds on who we support. But it sure as shit wasn't inspiring. We like our candidates to be willing to show off their moves. Someone needs to get all Mickey Goldmill on Obama's ass. Romney repeatedly called President Obama a liar without being called on it. That's demoralizing shit, right there. Dude, you have facts on your side. Use them with clarity and conciseness. Fight, motherfucker. Get off the ropes and get your footing and punch back. Or the country's going down for the count.