“L’état, c’est moi.” — Louis XIV
“This nation. Me.” — Barack Obama, third presidential debate
Okay, Okay. I’ll give you the context. Obama was talking about how “when Tunisians began to protest, this nation, me, my administration, stood with them.” Still. How many democratic leaders (de Gaulle excluded) would place the word “me” in such regal proximity to the word “nation”?
Obama would have made a very good Bourbon. He’s certainly not a very good debater. He showed it again Monday night.
Obama lost. His tone was petty and small. Arguing about Iran’s nuclear program, he actually said to Mitt Romney, “While we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a Chinese state oil company that was doing business with the Iranian oil sector.” You can’t get smaller than that. You’d expect this in a city-council race. But only from the challenger. The sitting councilman would find such an ad hominem beneath him.
That spirit led Obama into a major unforced error. When Romney made a perfectly reasonable case to rebuild a shrinking Navy, Obama condescended: “You mentioned . . . that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”