Obama Debates Romney: “Can You See The Real Me? Can You?”*

We’re all social creatures in the end, responding to rational and irrational, often subconscious cues every day of our lives. Obama’s calamitous first encounter with a Mountain Dew-amped Romney a case in point.

We all saw the real Obama. It explains much about his tepid first term, his inability to engage in actual politics, his passive enabling of the Movement’s unnecessarily swift resurrection. In other words? Every single post here ever about him.

Let’s dispense with canards. Of course, Obama is rusty for debates. So too, sitting presidents are unaccustomed to challenge. The ephemeral opinion cycle (why bother calling it ‘news’ anymore?) minutiae offers other transient tidbits about Obama’s alleged debate’strategy’, etc. None really matter.

The True Obama Is Frankly Not Appealing

Obama as man and president doesn’t like practicing politics. Or deigning to talk with people to win their support. Obama has two modes: aspirational bromide salesman and the reclusive decider, judging other people and policy. Otherwise, he’s oddly more artificial than Romney.

People intuitively sense when someone wants to win their support with passion (Clinton, in a compulsively needy but successful way). Or even Romney. Last night, Romney came across as someone doing a well rehearsed offering roadshow. (We’ve done them with The Blackstone Group). He was selling. As they say in the movie, “Always be closing”.

We don’t respond well as social animals to being told it’s rational to do this or that. Remember that relative from Hell at a holiday dinner? Without aspirations, what does Obama really have to sell? Beyond he’s a good compromiser?

Mitt, It’s President Kerry On Line Two

One debate doesn’t necessarily an election make. Look at President Kerry. Obama is bright enough to be coached to better performances. As Lee Atwater famously said, “Once you fake sincerity, you’ve got it made”. We’ve a race over who’s the most plausibly inauthentic.

Will the debates matter? Only to the extent they alter the few battleground states. Romney’ll gain ground in both Ohio and Virginia at least. Both candidates fluctuate within 47% to 51%. We still think it’s Obama’s to lose but now with less margin for error.

What disturbed us most about Obama’s debate performance? What it means for Obama’s second term. We saw last night Obama unleashed. Feel the excitement?

Neither do we. But then, placeholders are rarely memorable.

* At maximum volume.

P.S. We’re loathe to remind the netroots and so-called progressives ‘We told you so.’ But we did. Daily in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.


  1. says

    Biden vs Ryan we’d call marginally for Biden although Ryan’s energetic persona more than overcame Biden’s factual, quasi-soporific, listless yet also energetic drone.

    Partisans for both sides will claim victory, meaning that the status quo preserved. Democrats after 11 years of Movement radicalism are constitutionally unable to deal with non-empirical meme manipulation.

    Our two cents.

  2. Redhand says

    I spared myself some pain by refusing to watch this farce, but I am nonetheless disgusted by the reports of Obama’s lackluster performance. I find myself wondering to what extent Obama’s bi-racialism has created in him some kind of passive, “house Negro” pathology that compels him to want to compromise with the white, right-wing lunatics who are the heart and soul of the Republican “Movement.” I feel I have to vote for the son of a bitch, if only to prevent Romney (a creature fit for the cast of “Madmen” in his shameless hucksterism) from gaining the presidency. But my vote will be cast with a very heavy heart. I am convinced that even if the Democrats were to sweep both houses of Congress together with putting Obama back in office, we will have the same “bipartisan” bullshit we got during Obama’s first term. The man remains a colossal disappointment as president.

    • DrLeoStrauss says

      Only too true. Concisely put. This is a vote against the lesser of two lessers. Agree with you that the Democrats are incapable of governing or resisting Rightist encroachment. So Obama as placeholder buys time. But for what?

      • says

        For what? The arrival of the unexpected, of course, the only real hope for meaningful change. The problem isn’t Obama, in any case, but the political structure or dynamic. One person can make a difference but only insofar as he or she can intervene at the level of altering that political structure in a substantive way or at least opening it to the possibility of change. Given that Hillary Clinton would have likely chosen a similar set of economic advisors as Obama did and that her economic thinking does not appear any more advanced than the President’s, I have difficulty seeing that she would have had the country in a substantially different place today than Obama, and lord knows where we would have ended up with McCain. And really what other choices were there in 2008?

        More disappointing than Obama’s performance in the debate—which I see more as the first sucker punch of post-truth politics (I admit to being shocked: not that Romney was so loose with the truth but that he would be prepared to assume positions, if only for debate, as far to the left as he did)—has been his campaign’s inability to take back control of its message. Since the debate, they have not found an effective new line on Romney nor been able to return in a meaningful way to their older lines. They allowed themselves to get caught flat footed on the unemployment numbers, which for some reason they thought would go unchallenged. The blogging left went into meltdown and rather than refocus in a useful way on the task at hand instead wondered why Obama couldn’t be a bigger dick than Romney. (It’s not in Obama’s nature to be a dick in that way, so if anyone wants to offer some useful armchair analysis, it’s best to focus on what is Obama’s best play given that nature.) The liberal pollsters were not ready to counteract an entirely predictable push by the conservative pollsters to win the post-debate spin. In any event, I don’t know what happened here, other than all elements in support of Obama seemed to believe their own press and forgotten that they had been working hard for the past year to make that press happen. It’s not so much Obama who has the glass jaw, but apparently the entire political left.

        • says

          Observing the panic on the left the past few days, I’m even more convinced that the fundamental issue is not Obama but rather the a most dysfunctional left public sphere. The political left has managed to turn a pedestrian but serviceable performance into a crisis. Even in their current state of disarray, conservatives would never have stumbled this badly. No leader, however talented, is going to be able to find an effective strategy to counter movement conservatives so long as supporters fail so spectacularly to understand the stakes. On the other hand, I’m shocked that the Obama campaign didn’t have a shiny object in reserve to deploy after the debate to feed the media. They should have been prepared. I will ding them for that.

    • oom says

      Anything more aggressive and y’all would be agreeing Obama was the “Uppity Negro”

      He still needs white votes in this post-racial society.

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