The Moment Obama Folded

The most single telling moment of Tuesday's debate - and possibly of any of the debates - came early, when Obama attempted to interrupt Romney one time too many. The governor rebuked him, politely but firmly, and Obama simply turned and went back to his stool.

Now, you can get away with anything if you carry it off with enough in the way of panache. There are plenty of politicians who would have gotten away with what Obama was trying to do. Lyndon Johnson would have brushed aside all protests. Richard J. Daley would have blustered his way through. FDR would have charmed his way into taking over the entire debate. Reagan would have added humor. Harry Truman, Churchill, Maggie Thatcher... They all had the gall to draw the spotlight to themselves, the effrontery to make it work, and the class the force audiences to accept it.

But Obama... Obama has none of these.

For a fleeting instant, Americans saw Obama the way that Putin, Jiang, Khamanei, and Jihadis see him. It was not an impressive sight, and it cannot be made up for.

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