(The Root) — The third and final presidential debate of the 2012 election cycle did one thing and one thing only: It made Mitt Romney seem not horrible to people who really want Mitt Romney not to be horrible.
When Romney delivered his foreign policy speech on Oct. 8, I wrote:
It seems like Romney just wants to be seen as at least sorta like Obama. If Romney can come off like Obama, who's competent in the foreign policy sphere, then those who do respect Obama's methods but aren't too excited about the economy can feel good about voting for the guy with no foreign policy or military experience.
He's like Obama without being Obama.
Fast-forward to the final debate last night. It seems as if there isn't much of an argument that President Barack Obama won, but obviously Romney wasn't attempting to brawl. Romney, who has attacked the president heavily throughout this campaign, seemed as if he desperately wanted Obama to stop highlighting his faults. "Attacking me is not a an agenda," Romney repeated. The GOP presidential hopeful just wanted to coast through this last hour and a half of direct face-to-face battling.
For someone actively trying to take Obama's job, Romney agreed with the president quite a bit. The former governor refused to hammer Obama on Libya, since it has been a double-edged sword, at best, for Romney, with CIA dispatches revealing that it seems the White House really didn't know anything more than it said it did. Romney walked into the final debate simply to seem presidential.
You can argue that Romney is wrong, as Obama did, but Romney seemed calm and reasonable because he could agree with the president. See? He's not just some blowhard partisan. He's leader enough to acknowledge when his opponent has done the right thing, and he'd do the same thing, except for that part where Obama is a raving idiot ruining the country. This debate didn't do much outside of allowing Democrats to say "Obama won!" and Republicans to say "Romney looked presidential." Yeah, basically mirroring Obama does make you seem presidential.
I wouldn't be surprised if Romney changed his cologne to whatever Obama wears.
Elon James White is a writer and satirist and host of the award-winning video and radio series This Week in Blackness. Listen Monday to Thursday at 1:30 p.m. EST at TWIB.FM and watch at TV.TWIB.ME/LIVE. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr.