#rsrh Some thoughts on tonight’s debate.

In vague order:

  • President Obama is unlikely to do worse today than he did two weeks ago.  That means that at least one major network (and MSNBC) will declare him the winner tonight.  If Obama does do worse, then the election is over and we need to start thinking about how to increase our Senate majority*.
  • Whether he actually wins tonight will depend on whether Barack Obama was able to successfully transform himself into a personally likeable and attentive listener (with a healthy amount of ambition, but very little hubris) in two weeks. I was going to add ‘charismatic,’ but you can’t teach that**.
  • What we’re likely to get is instead someone in attack mode.  This is certainly what people on the Left are advocating; and I suspect that not many of them have contemplated that Barack Obama has had very few opportunities to participate in ‘fights’ where the other side can hit back (don’t remember where I saw this point made first, sorry). Couple that with Obama’s tendency to drone, and drone, and drone…
  • Mitt Romney, on the other hand?  Needs to be relaxed, needs to be peppy, needs to not get rattled, needs not to make stupid jokes, needs to not get cocky, and generally needs to see this whole thing as being a contested business pitch to a bunch of uncommitted but receptive stockholders, which is actually not too bad an analogy. That’s pretty much it.  Romney’s not the one who has to play catch-up, here: it’s Obama, and Romney can do well for himself by simply making it as difficult as possible for Obama to recover.  Bottom line is: Romney’s got a margin, and the goal here is to not lose the margin.
  • This isn’t going to be a cakewalk, though.  Obama will lash out.  He will get at least one hit in.  You have to be ready for that happening, going into this debate.  We cannot legitimately hope for a replay of the first one.  Sorry.

I think that covers it.  Summation: we’re in a good place, but we can still lose.  It that concerns you: volunteer.

Moe Lane

*Yes, I know that it’s a Senate minority for the GOP right now.  But you can safely assume at least R+4 if Obama collapses.  And possibly even if he doesn’t.

**Barack Obama is not charismatic.  Bill Clinton was charismatic. George W Bush was charismatic. Ronald Reagan was charismatic.  Barack Obama is inspirational.  The difference is subtle, important, and currently biting Barack Obama on the tuchis.


  • David says:

    You can’t teach charisma, and you can’t learn a lifetime worth of competency in two weeks. Obama has been relying on staffers so longer that there is no there there.

    Obama’s problem last time was, in part, that he could not provide detailed answers for anything. Wondering if he can do that any better tonight.

  • tnfriendofcoal101368 says:

    I’d add two things:

    1) Tom Brokaw and Joe Klein are right; the President has no cogent reason to tell the electorate as to why he should be re-elected. Unless, he comes up with one Sully and MSNBC are going to be hitting the whiskey around 8:00 on November 6th. Obama is no longer in a position where he can coast to re-election on “hopey dopey lame change”. Romney should press this home at every opportunity.

    2) Romney has a remarkable political gift that Barack Obama doesn’t: the ability to call the other guy a hopeless loser or a filthy liar and come off as polite. He has successfully eviscarated every debate opponent this cycle using that gift.

  • Kay B. Day says:

    I got to see Romney up close when I covered a private event here in Jacksonville. At that point, I knew I’d vote for him (primaries were over), but I wasn’t very up about it.

    I had a pleasant surprise. He came across as a genuinely down to earth guy. When he talked about solving the debt/deficit/whatever problems, he really got excited. You could tell he likes a challenge.

    What really impressed me though was how well he did with the Q&A–they weren’t scripted. Most of the people there were big GOP supporters and quite a few had gone for another candidate in the primaries. But Romney did very well in that small townhall type setting, so well it surprised me. I told one organizer he should let the public see more of that side of him.

    I think he’ll be stepping through landmines tonight; I find myself wondering if the audience will be rigged like (I think it was CNN) in the last election.

    That’s my major concern because I think Donkey Media is pretty corrupt and hellbent on re-electing a president simply because he’s a Leftwinger who preaches to the choir every chance he gets.

  • tnfriendofcoal101368 says:

    One other thing, if Obama melts down again – surely Tina Brown has thought to have EMT’s on standby at Sully’s house. Surely she has thought of this, hasn’t she? Oh and as bad as Axelrod looked on Chris Wallace, OfA should have them at his location as well.

  • acat says:

    At the risk of giving offense .. Paglia makes a good point here:
    (and whoever photoshopped her in front of fictional Star Wars {heck}hole Mustafar is kind of a genius)
    The bulk of it is her bloviating about her art book and how the internet killed bookstores and culture (nevermind that the same culture is now available on the same internet …) but she goes on to signal to the Boston Brahmin wing of the Dems that it’s okay to vote against Obama.

  • tnfriendofcoal101368 says:

    I have been telling my liberal friends when they complain Obama’s no different than Romney: “You’re right, vote for Jill Klein”. Way to go Camille – vote for Jill Klein.

  • Catseye says:

    I think better than a debate would be to have them out in a field with 2 six inch diameter saplings and hand them each a chainsaw and ask them to cut down the tree. Odds are Romney strikes me as someone who can do it with no problems and O’Bama strikes me as someone who if he managed to get the chainsaw started he’d probably hurt himself or drop the tree on himself.

  • tnfriendofcoal101368 says:

    “For Obama the bar is rather low compared to the 1st debate all he has to do to is string a few sentences together coherently, to make eye contact with a single sentient human and show the slightest animation in his face.” = Charles Krauthammer – ouch and true

  • acat says:

    Moe, I linked the Paglia piece because, evidently like you, I think she’s an interesting person who explains her views (that I disagree with) well. She’s good with words, unlike myself.
    I will admit I was less concerned about offending you than of offending a narrow subset of your readership.. and apologize for the error.

  • Luke says:

    I don’t see Obama doing much better tonight.
    I haven’t seen much evidence that he’s capable of learning from his mistakes.

  • Jack Savage says:

    Well, Joe Biden didn’t set anything on fire and didn’t accidentally kill anyone, and the left was in one big group hug after his debate. I think the hope for Obama is about the same.

  • Doc Holliday says:

    The winner of the debate is already clear to me. The winner is Statism. From Obama, to Romney, and CERTAINLY to the so called “undecided voters”, statism is the clear winner.

    I guess no one seems to ask if government should have every answer, and be involved in every single facet of our lives.

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