So, what does Obama do now?
In the wake of his miserable debate performance last night, what does Obama do now? I mean, besides smoking a whole pack of cigarettes when he got back to his Denver hotel suite.
One option would be to actually prepare for the next debate, instead of spending 3 days at a luxury resort and taking sightseeing trips to Hoover Dam. But does Obama know how to buckle down and really work? He already complained that debate prep was no fun ("a drag"), and that level of sacrifice of fun proved to be wholly inadequate.
We know that despite being president of the Harvard Law Review, he never wrote a signed scholarly article for that journal, an unprecedented (to use his favorite word) dereliction of duty for one holding that office. We know that despite teaching at the University of Chicago Law School, he never published a scholarly article, or even participated in the intellectual life of the faculty.
So there is good reason to suspect that Obama has never in his life had to buckle down and actually deliver an intellectual product. Jack Cashill has amply demonstrated that he did not write Dreams From my Father, and Obama himself admits that his trip to Bali with Michelle, spending the advance he received, did not result in a finished manuscript.
One thing we can be certain of: Obama is getting plenty of advice to be more aggressive in his next debate. The Mr. Cool approach that worked so well as a challenger running against the Bush years in 2008 is completely ineffective when he has a record to defend. But Obama faces a serious problem: anger is not attractive, and Obama appears to be angry whenever he is challenged.
Barack Obama rarely drops the well-practiced pose of a charming, smiling, clever, calm, and composed sophisticate. And when he does, the result does not play well. He comes across as arrogant ("The Cambridge Police acted stupidly") or phony (the pandering black cadence and pronunciation in his 2007 Hampton University tapes just released). He has perfected one mode of self-presentation, but when separated from his beloved teleprompter and under pressure, he does not do well at all.
If Obama goes into the next debate prepped to be aggressive, he will put himself in a very dangerous position. Beneath the veneer of detached amusement is an angry man, convinced that he not only speaks for victims of an unjust system, but that he himself is somehow a victim, despite all the advantages that have been showered upon him. The repeated stories he and his wife have told of the difficulty of repaying student loans, the compulsive seeking of luxury, and the eager embrace of celebrities and their world all speak of someone who deep down feels like an outsider denied full participation in the goodies life unjustly showers on others.
If Obama's mask slips in another debate, and the angry victim-Obama comes out, he will be sunk deeper than the Titanic.
Poor Obama! Life is just so unfair. Who knew that you are supposed to take responsibility for your actions?
Obama's arrogance and inability to buckle down did him in. These are not defects easily remedied.
A very bad sign. The Weekly Standard highlights Politico's startling choice of stories to push in the wake of Obama's disaster:
It's the main story on Politico's website right now.
"He's No. 2 on the ticket, but No. 1 in their hearts," former Debbie Wasserman Schultz staffer Jonathan Allen writes.
Women born before the Baby Boom generation seem to have a collective crush on a handsome vice presidential candidate with piercing blue eyes and a wide smile who likes to talk about government benefits for seniors. No, not Paul Ryan.
Joe Biden's bringing sexy back- to the Medicare-eligible set - and that could be valuable for a president who trails Republican rival Mitt Romney with women of a certain age despite having a wide advantage with their 18- to 65-year-old counterparts.
As Dennis Miller already tweeted last night: "Imagine having Joe Biden as your firewall."