The Geneva Convention was brazenly violated last night. A civilian - heretofore protected by the mainstream media and insulated from harm - was mercilessly subjected to torture - a verbal waterboarding - and the Red Cross was nowhere to be found.
In the end, the civilian's handlers were left to muddle through a post-debate critique, muttering the same 'ums' and 'ahs' that plagued the civilian throughout his encounter with his ruthless opponent. Not even the media's penchant to save the civilian from his own blunders over the last 4 years could excuse what was an unmitigated disastrous performance last night. So bad was the torture last evening, it's a wonder that the torturer wasn't shipped to Gitmo before he escaped Denver.
Not since Ronald Reagan in 1980 has a debate performance been so masterful. Bush 41 was good in 1988 and Clinton sparkling in 1992. But, Romney was nothing short of brilliant last night. His mastery of the facts was indisputable and his style was relaxed, yet appropriately aggressive. This was a man in his element and, borrowing a baseball metaphor, Romney hit for the cycle and then some.
Is this race now over? Heavens no. But, there can be little doubt that Romney has now cast himself as a serious challenger to the continued presidency of Barack Obama. As President Obama's 2008 opponent noted last night, 'if it were a fight, they would have stopped it' - a TKO in any round.
America lived out a children's story last night -- we saw that the Emperor has no clothes. The imperial president is a civilian, after all.