Debate No. 1 – Romney Wins. But Did He Really?
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Oct 4, 2012
Watching the debates last night, I pretty much think I had the same initial reaction as everyone else. Romney played the schoolyard bully, President Obama let him, and Jim Lehrer was wondering where his waiter was so he could order soup. I avoided CNN because of silly snap polls and those distracting live graphs showing immediate reaction of undecided voters, as if I care what people who are still undecided at this point actually think.
The MSNBC pundits were ranging from disappointing anger (Ed Schultz and Chris Matthews) to devil’s advocates (Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes) to Romney pom-pom shaking (Steve “I gave you Sarah Palin” Schmidt) to rational thought (believe it or not, Al Sharpton). So I slept on it and tried to think logically before writing about it to avoid sounding like Chris Mathews blowing a gasket.
The perception was that Mitt Romney won the night because he dominated the discussion. I wouldn’t so much call it dominating as much as hijacking, bullying his way through the evening and running roughshod over moderator Lehrer, who obviously should have been in bed by the time the debate began and most likely forgot to take his vitamin supplements. But perceptions are key and anyone watching last night who was still “undecided”(if your definition of undecided is low information moron) probably leaned Romney. I doubt that anyone voting for Obama had their mind changed last night.
While most of us were waiting for Obama’s knockout punch with the 47% line, or Bain Capital, or Romneycare, or Massachusetts job creation numbers while Romney was governor, the realization is that President Obama is NEVER that guy. While his stump speeches are fiery, he has always been reserved and muted in his debates which Bob Cesca rightly pointed out in one of his tweets last night, complete with a video link to the first debate of 2008 with John McCain.
That being said, Obama’s had better debate performances in the past, maybe in part due to the “no rules” format last night – or at least rules that didn’t seem to apply to Romney, because the rules seemly never apply to rich people. I do agree that the President didn’t seem prepared with counter arguments to Romney’s Gatling gun barrage of bullshit. But don’t expect to see stump Barack “Fired Up! Ready To Go !” Obama behind the debate podium, though I hope they recalibrate for the next debate. Romney’s aggressiveness and playing fast and loose with his policy positions, along with the low expectations of his performance (zingers, anyone?) won him the night.
I believe there is a very concerted effort on the part of the Obama campaign to avoid at all costs, the appearance of President Obama being angry or worked up for fear of the “Angry Black Man” moniker. He’s the Jackie Robinson of the Presidency and it seems they feel he has to go out of his way to look measured and calm, and never get riled up when challenged in these types of situations.
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