Once Biden, Twice Barack
Let's face it, how can you improve on perfection? And make no mistake, Romney's shellacking of Barack the King in the first debate was perfection. Obama minions in the press couldn't spin abysmal failure -- maybe that would have been possible for moderate failure, but with the spectacularly horrible performance the President turned in on October 3rd, it was impossible. In the end, almost the only person in America who thought Obama won was Barack Obama -- and that in itself says a lot.
I guess you had to read the transcript.
The questions in this debate were different -- pay equity, gun control and immigration played prominent roles. It almost didn't sound like these were undecided voters -- perhaps disappointed voters instead. Which I suppose is the best you'll do in New York City and its environs. Yet, despite finally having things comfortably within his pay grade, Obama in many respects was no better than the first time.
He lost the first debate on style. He lost this one on content.
Obama improved style-wise, but to paraphrase Dennis Green, he was who we thought he was. His body language was a mess -- often sitting as if he needed the rest, while the older Romney, stood easily.
And a smirk is a smirk even if it is not accompanied by scarily white teeth.
Later, when he could feel victory slipping away he often looked down during answers. Yet, no longer in a coma, the President was much better. Obama thought he won the first debate, but by the look on his face throughout the entire evening, I would wager, he knows he lost this one.
Romney's strategy in their first mix-up was to show the nation who he was and who Obama was. It was a thorough debunking of the image Obama had spent a half billion in advertising dollars to create -- that he was a greedy, businessman, stealing from the poor to reward the 1 %. But it also served to show the world that the myth of 'Barack the messiah' was just that -- myth, and nothing more.
This debate was about letting Barack be Barack, a man so deeply buried in the Barack bubble, that he doesn't realize platitudes are not enough. No one is going to vote for hope and change this time around. And Obama spent the night alternately defending or bragging about the last 4 years, without ever presenting a template for the next 4. Many Americans are coming to the conclusion that Barack Obama is simply not that bright. Despite his reputation for brilliance, when asked for his ideas, he had none.
It didn't start out well for Romney, he ducked the first question from a student about the availability of employment after college, by basically saying he knows what it takes to create jobs, whereas Obama lawyerly listed a litany of potential jobs in green energy, manufacturing and infrastructure.
"I know what it takes" is no more a plan than "hope and change."
As a former boxer (1976 Golden Gloves), I thought I recognized what Romney was doing -- he was trying to see what Obama had. Or maybe he was just nervous, but he gave Obama the first round. Thereafter, it was all Romney. Romney attacked Obama and his record with ease and effectiveness -- sticking and moving, sticking and moving. He challenged him face to face, but with respect for the champ, while Obama clearly had no respect for him.
Romney killed on energy, at one point, asking the President a direct question on drilling, which forced Obama to sit down. To know the significance of this, watch the moment with the sound off. It's a standing 8 count.
Obama was all hot air and light of day on energy and the only green people saw was the color of his face while listening to Romney's case for realizing America's energy potential.
Romney battered Obama on taxes and his broken promises and failed policies. The last half hour saw a defeated Obama just trying to finish the fight on his feet. With his whole plan of presenting Romney as the mad man across the water, lying in shambles, Obama lost by decision. After a few more questions, it would have been by a KO.
Crowley tried to help. After all, what is the point of being bought and paid for if you don't at least try? But, overall, she couldn't. She picked the questions she thought would allow the President to shine, but a pig is still a pig despite the lipstick.
Crowley may have thought she was helping the President by saying he called the death of our Ambassador to Libya a terrorist attack from the beginning, but her legalistic parsing of what the President actually said in the aftermath of the Stevens' assassination will only remind voters of Clinton, famously questioning what the definition of "is" is.
Romney's reminder that Obama went to Vegas to campaign after he knew of Chris Stevens' murder was priceless. Obama and Crowley looked like they were one second away from crying in their beers.
In any case, her stutteringly shoddy defense will serve to make many, who weren't paying attention before, pay attention now, and that's not good for a man proud of leading from behind.
Obama has spent a lifetime surrounded by people who think as much of him as he does. There isn't anyone to tell him the truth, but I suspect after this debate, he knows the truth. "They" will call it a win, but the President knows he lost. One need only have looked at his face during the proceedings.
Never a detail-oriented wonk -- more of a big idea guy -- Obama was ineffective against someone with numbers and policies. "Hope' may sound good in a speech, but how many times can you say it in a debate?
For 3 ½ years, and indeed longer, Barack the messiah was so revered and worshipped in the media that the press were willing to shed the dignity of impartiality to support him and burnish 'Obama the myth,' never questioning or disagreeing -- or even mentioning the foolish things he did or silly things he said.
The natural progression from myth to god eluded Barack Obama -- and this angers him. He wanted an unexpected and unprecedented victory of historic proportions (to Barack, et al. all things are unexpected, unprecedented and historic), and unexpectedly, without precedence he lost by historic proportions. And unlike the first debate, the President realizes he lost.
It wasn't even close.