A Tiny op-ed: To see the details, click each of these links to read – Hillary Clinton decides to take the fall for Obama but will not allow Ambassador Rice to speak about who in the Obama administration told her to lie about the movie trailer; Riots planned if Obama loses; Look what Obama, the President of the United States has time to do; Women are now pushing Romney ahead in key battleground states; Desperate people trying to make the presidential run racist; New twist to Obama’s cover-up on Libya.
For details about tonight’s important debate, see Luke’s post here.
A kiss goodbye last Sunday after worship services (Photo: Reuters)
Since the first Romney-Obama debate, you probably read everything you could on the subject, as I did. Though interesting, most of the pieces I read missed the point I think (this one informs us Obama thought he won!). It was not about style or Obama’s lack of eye contact or his lack of energy or enthusiasm; those were simple signs of a greater truth. Mr. Obama does not know how to defend his record of failure. The best analysis I found was by Victor Davis Hanson, “The Game Changes.” (it is outstanding!)
Usually after a presidential debate, both sides spin the results. But after the first face-off between President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, Obama’s exasperated handlers made no such effort. How could they when most opinion polls revealed that two-thirds of viewers thought Obama lost?
Within minutes of the parting handshake, the liberal base went ballistic. Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, and Michael Moore all but accused Obama of embarrassing the progressive cause. The post-debate spin focused not on whether the president had been creamed by challenger Mitt Romney, but rather on how that had been possible.
Why, then, the hysteria over a typical Obama performance? What was radically different was not Obama’s normal workmanlike performance, but two novel twists.
As David Gergen said right after the debate, it appeared that Obama, as a first-time chief executive, had been surrounded by people telling him one of two things for his entire term: “Mr. President, that was a wonderful decision.” Or, “Mr. President, what you just did in that state [or country] was historic.” As a rookie executive, Mr. Obama actually believed he had clothes on!
This was the first debate in which Obama has had a record to defend. In 2000, he ran for Congress in a primary race against Bobby Rush and attacked the incumbent. In 2004, he ran successfully for the U.S. Senate, offering all sorts of promises — but never ran for reelection on their fulfillment.
In 2008, a blank-slate Obama ran for president and won by lumping in challenger John McCain with unpopular incumbent president George W. Bush — while offering banalities like “hope and change” and “yes, we can!”
The debate with Romney, however, marked the first time in his national political life that Obama has had the harder task of defending a record of governance. That he could not make the case onstage for a successful four years suggests either that his record is nearly indefensible — 42 months of unemployment above 8 percent, more than $5 trillion in new debt, record numbers of Americans on food stamps, anemic economic growth — or that Obama believes voters don’t care that much. Perhaps they will again be mesmerized by his promises of millions of new green jobs, more government entitlements, and more attacks on the better-off who haven’t paid “their fair share.”
Barack Obama has always felt that it was enough to show up rather than to achieve. We all know that he got into Occidental College and Columbia University, was law-review editor at Harvard, was offered a professorship at the University of Chicago Law School, and was elected senator and president. But we have rarely heard of a significant record of actual achievement as a student, academic, or legislator — until his first term as president.
This was also the first time that Obama has faced a skilled debater. In Obama’s 2000 debate with the plodding Rush, the latter coasted — rightly assuming that his long incumbency would be enough to defeat the so-so challenger Obama.
In the 2004 senatorial race, Obama’s main rivals in the primary and general elections imploded due to mysteriously leaked divorce records. The last-minute fill-in candidate in the general election, Alan Keyes, was deemed wacky and not a serious opponent.
Obama ended up mostly achieving draws when jousting with Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries. He won two of the three debates with nondescript presidential rival McCain by consistently attacking Bush and blaming the 2008 financial meltdown on Republicans.
In previous debates, Obama sounded not much different than he did last week against Romney. Obama customarily looked down, gave disjointed, off-topic sermons, and stuttered uncertainly.
Obama’s handlers know all this. No wonder what worries them is not that Obama was off his game against Romney, but that the game itself — not Obama — has suddenly changed.
For tonight’s debate, a selfish hope of mine is that Governor Romney will not allow Mr. Obama to skip out on why he had Susan Rice repeat a lie about the movie trailer, why he repeated the lie himself several times, and how his administration could allow an ambassador to effectively “go naked” without security on the riskiest day of the year among radical Islamists.
As to last week’s debate, based on my life’s experience, I believe Biden’s debate “offense” of the Cheshire cat smile is a ‘tell.’ And I believe that we will see that same ‘tell’ with Obama. It is a poor attempt by the weak to appear strong. Since they don’t really know how to respond with strength, they smile big hoping the uninformed with give them the benefit of their doubt and dismiss the person challenging their record. Mark my words. Tomorrow, when Mr. Obama’s record is challenged, he will look just like Biden on that stage, smiling from ear to ear! When Governor Romney is challenged, I am confident he will redirect right back to Mr. Obama to continue to hold him accountable to his record. 90 minutes simply is not enough time to have Mr. Obama support the 30+ major promises he made in late 2008 and in 2009 and 2010.
Also, lest anyone forget, the first presidential debate was lopsided in favor of Mr. Obama as he was given a whopping four minutes extra talking time by the moderator! Also, the vice presidential debate favored Mr. Biden as the moderator interrupted and challenged Congressman Ryan far more times than she did Biden. Candy Crowley knows this and should even the tables this time (I stopped holding my breath this afternoon).
See additional excellent debate analysis from the WSJ here … Click here to read more.