Friday, October 5, 2012

Quick Hits - October 4, 2012

Of all the spin trying to explain the President's dismal debate performance last night, that offered by former Veep Al Gore was probably the most asinine.  Mr. Gore blamed the President's performance on an insufficient amount of time spent by the President to acclimate to the lower levels of oxygen at the 'mile high' city of Denver where the debate took place.

This is just slightly more vapid than what former Clintonista now media sycophant George Stephanopoulos claimed when he asked, 'Does a tie go to the challenger?' when he was asked to name a winner.  Many of the usual sycophants embarrassed themselves as they tried harder to spin the President's loss than many of the senior Obama campaign team.  We heard complaints about Jim Lehrer's moderation - and letting the candidates talk, forgetting about how Lehrer rushed several times to the President's assistance as he was 'on the ropes' or gave the President about 4 minutes more talk time to make his case.  We also heard complaints about the format as well as the accusation that Mitt Romney 'lied' throughout the debate.

Today, the two leading memes that I am seeing are based on doubling down on the 'lies' of Mitt Romney - a case of projection if we've ever seen one - and on the effort to diminish how successful Romney was by playing up his message as being a 'major move to the political center' and trying to create division within the GOP.

All but stating that Mitt Romney had won the Denver debate, Axelrod conceded that the performance aspect was 'not the President's strong suit in these events' but insisted that 'I don't see us adding huge amounts of additional prep time'.

Axelrod, speaking on a campaign conference call, made an appeal to reporters to make the points that Obama himself had failed to make in the debate 'All of you who travel on the road with Governor Romney know that he just few weeks ago stood up and said we didn't need any more teachers,' he said. 'Last night he couldn't be more enthusiastic about teachers and more teachers.'
None of these will have any real traction because nearly 68 million people across the country saw and heard a Presidential debate that shattered a number of memes that defined the race to this point.

We saw a person on that stage who looked and acted Presidential.  Who looked and acted confident, articulate, and knowledgeable with numerous key points - far more comfortable and knowledgeable than his opponent.  We saw about $150 million in negative campaign advertising directed towards Mitt Romney evaporate in effectiveness because the candidate on the stage was nothing like the person depicted over the last year in attacks by the Obama campaign and mainstream media.

But as that depiction of Mitt Romney evaporated, I also believe that for many of the millions watching, the depiction of Barack Obama also underwent a fundamental change.

The cult of personality around Barack Obama received a huge wake-up call.  The person who 'uhmmed' and 'ahh'ed' his way through that debate didn't match the depiction of one of the greatest orators of our time.  The person who has been proclaimed as one of the smartest who have ever occupied the Oval Office demonstrated at best a superficial depth of knowledge on key issues - far too often repeating the 100,000 ft level campaign slogans and progressive agenda points while failing to offer a cogent argument as to why these ideas are superior to those being offered by his challenger.

His challenger - that's another consideration.  In his time in office, Barack Obama has been rarely challenged.  The majority of the media will not challenge him or his policies.  In other venues, he has responded to challenges with characteristic thin skin and hubris - ending any further challenge or discussion with a curt, 'I Won'.  But last night, Barack Obama was challenged for the first time in a venue where he could not just claim ownership of the ball and end the game.  He couldn't even offer the vapid promises around 'hope and change' he did in 2008 - leaving the details (as he is wont to do) to others to fill in.  He has a record and that record is the baseline for his goals for the next four years if he is reelected.

Perceptions met reality last night when it came to both the personality of Barack Obama and his vision for the country.  We learned last night that the emperor is indeed not wearing any clothes.  He was unable to effectively defend his agenda and policies because, fundamentally, the progressive agenda and policies are indefensible.  They do not work.  They do not build a vibrant economy. They do not uphold or encourage traditional American values.  They do not bring peace or stability.  The only way they do unify is by bringing more and more under the heel of an overreaching government bureaucracy - all in the name of fairness and social justice.

On the stump today, the President is not fundamentally changing his stump speech even though more can see the reality of the situation moving to the forefront.  He is still trying to build a perception that we are to ignore what our lyin' eyes are telling us - and accept the platitudes and promises of fairness and social justice.  Projection remains a key element - accusing his challenger of lying while he callously lies about not only his agenda but the effects of that agenda.

It seems as if his hubris is so great that he can't accept or believe just how much of a game changer that debate was....and that will lead to an even greater fall.

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