I didn’t watch tonight’s debate, and I haven’t seen enough of the spin to tell me who won*, but John Nolte makes an interesting observation regarding Mitt Romney at Big Journalism. Given the animal nature of the legacy media, and the knowledge that they’ll be as deeply in the tank for Obama as they were in 2008 — if not more so, given that Obama in 2012 is as much a referendum on their credibility as his own — why not employ a little political ju jitsu against both of your opponents? In Mitt’s case, that’s Rick Perry and Johnny JournoList:
After their resounding defeat last week in New York and Nevada they might now be retooling, but it was pretty obvious beforehand that the Left’s 2012 game plan was to haul out that great big boogeyman known as Mediscare. And judging from his positioning in last week’s debate, Romney appears to have read those tea leaves and found a way to inoculate himself.
By assuming the position of The Mighty Social Security Defender through the ruthless beating of Rick Perry, Romney made it awfully difficult for Obama and his MSM allies to paint him as someone eager to dismantle this, yes, immoral Ponzi scheme. That was a pretty shrewd outmaneuvering of the Left on the Governor’s part and my anger at him was lessened somewhat as I imagined Democrats and the offices of Politico and the New York Times deflate just a bit as they realized a GOP front-runner might have just become bullet-proof on this particular issue.
Moreover, Romney used the media to help him catch up to Perry in the polls. By making Social Security THE issue of the night, the media went nuts on Perry, made him look less electable, and drove his numbers down. Although, it didn’t help that Perry himself wasn’t able to put the issue to bed — which brings me to another point.
Thus far, Perry is still unable to put the Social Security and Gardasil issues to rest and Michele Bachmann is still dealing with her ill-advised post-debate comments. Romney, on the other hand, has done a pretty good of moving the debate away from RomneyCare, his faith, and other areas that, fairly or not, have threatened to derail him. Quickly killing media narratives is a necessary skill for whoever ends up going toe to toe with Obama and his MSM allies.
Will Romney put Perry away? At the moment, who knows? Next November, I’ll be happy to vote for whomever the candidate is whose initials are NBO — Not Barack Obama. But in the meantime, as John Nolte writes, “If our candidate can’t defeat the media, Barack Obama wins.”
(And based on past historical trends, it won’t be a cakewalk, for reasons Michael Barone notes in the latest Ricochet podcast; don’t automatically assume that this will be Carter/Reagan redux.)
Update: Perry didn’t help himself tonight, Allahpundit writes at Hot Air:
Verdict on the debate in three sentences: Santorum helped himself the most. Perry was terrible, to the point where Mark Hemingway at the Standard jokingly wondered whether he’d had a stroke during the second half. And it’s a disgrace that, in the course of two very long hours, not a single segment was devoted to the looming catastrophe in Europe and what our contenders plan to do to contain the damage from it if they’re elected. Pitiful.
* At the moment, according to the online poll Drudge links to, it was RON PAUL!1!!!1!, but we knew that already, right?