To say we need more ships is not snark, it is a legitimate concern from someone campaigning for president. Remember the Missile Gap?
For Mr. Obama to counter with the facts regarding present-day threats and the level of force recommended by DoD to meet those threats would not have been snarky at all. The remark about "horses and bayonets" as a "debate zinger" was not only cheap snark, it exposed the President's ignorance regarding military affairs where horses and bayonets may not be big budget line items, but they have their place.
It is perhaps a good thing that you were not advising the President because the comparison Mr. Romney was making was not to the WW-I or the WW-II navy but to the "600 ship" Cold War navy under President Reagan. And "Tablizer" can lay off the lame political references if we are to believe his case against OO.
As to snark, it was "Tablizer", the self-proclaimed Internet Troll in (his?) Slashdot sig, the man who will save us from the sirens and snares of Object Oriented (OO) programming with his table-driven or database-driven programming paradigm. It was Tablizer who said that candidate Romney wanted "horses and bayonets." This is simply untrue. It was President Obama who said that candidate Romney wanting more ships in the US Navy was the equivalent of favoring expenditure on weapons systems of yesteryear such as "horses and bayonets."
So "Mitt began with nonsense." I watched that debate, I remember Mr. Romney's argument, and I remember the President's response. I really don't know whether the US Navy has enough ships or needs more ships, and I am not confident labeling Mr. Romney's argument as nonsense. We have a civilian command authority, and it is the President who gets to say we have enough ships and not the admirals. That the admirals say we have enough ships may be their respecting the elected president and following his orders. What is so strange about that?
The proper force level is a matter for candidates to debate in our civilian command-authority system. I wanted Mr. Romney to bring this up, and if the number of ships is adequate, I wanted Mr. Obama to lay out the case. The zinger about "horses and bayonets" was not becoming of the office or of the man holding it.