So overcome perhaps with emotion was I below as I wrote my talkin' World War III Blues that I forgot the simple, main point about tonight's debate. Romney is going to lie like crazy, like he did in the first debate, trying to Etch a Sketch away 18 months' worth of war-mongering neocon statements and positions.
What's that, Bob? Like George Bush? Moi? No way. I hate war. I've seen war. Well, I hate war. I don't want the United States to spread democracy. My campaign's advisors? No, 90 percent of my foreign policy advisors aren't Bush administration veterans. John Bolton, secretary of state? No, we've never said that, never floated that, I have no idea where you're getting that.
If Romney is half as successful at lying about his his previous positions tonight as he was Oct. 3, and if Obama doesn't challenge him aggressively, then Mittens will come out of tonight with some new momentum.
Romney will say things that are completely incompatible with each other. He'll talk about encouraging moderate Arabs to step forward and then about no daylight with Israel. If the issue is Palestine, those two goals point in totally opposite directions and can't be pursued at the same time. But most people don't know that, and he may get away with it. A straightforward task for Obama tonight, but a big one and possibly a tricky one, is to point out these contradictions.
I hope against hope for some probing questions from Schieffer, too. For example, torture. The New York Times reported three weeks ago that an internal Romney campaign memo suggests that he would rescind the proscription against torture that Obama signed on his first day in office. I think the American people would like to hear Romney weasel around that one. But I'd be shocked if it's even asked. CBS will be nervous that it's too contentious, that it risks Schieffer being "Crowleyed" by Breitbartland. No, CBS? Then prove me wrong!