In The New York Post, Why Romney Romped by John Podhoretz, 10/5/12
After months and months of media portrayals painting him as a vicious plutocrat who tortured his own dog, cut a gay kid’s hair in 1965 and made a steelworker’s wife die of cancer, Romney stood before tens of millions of Americans and . . . wasn’t a monster.
Romney didn’t look or act like the caricature Obama has spent $300 million trying to burn into the American consciousness.
He was neither sinister nor condescending. He seemed neither comically out-of-touch nor secretly hostile to the interests of ordinary people. He didn’t sound like a man out to raise the taxes of the deserving middle class to benefit the undeserving rich, or one determined to separate America’s working people from their jobs and retirees from their benefits.
Rather, he came across like a well-prepared, confident, thoughtful leader with tons of plans at his fingertips, plans he’s eager to use to hoist the country out of the economic ditch. They came at the viewer so fast and in so many bullet points that it’d be surprising if one in a hundred could have recited them back afterward.
But Romney knew them so well that he parried every single instance in which the president sought to portray his policy ideas as cruel or mean or budget-busting or heartless.
Most important, and most telling, he didn’t seem like an ideological warrior, but a technocratic Mr. Fix-It. This is the case he’s been trying to make for himself for months, but he always faltered at it until Wednesday night.
Some of the campaign demonizations of Romney were just so juvenile that only the already converted sycophants would not be repulsed by them. But Podhoretz makes a good point that such characterizations ended up playing in Romney’s favor since it would have been nearly impossible for him to appear anything but significantly better than he had been portrayed. Romney came across as the far more competent leader, undoing a fortune in negative campaigning from his opponent. If Obama had campaigned on his accomplishments, if he had any, Romney would not have had this advantage.