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Sun Sep 30, 2012, 02:38 PM

Debate

Presidential Debates:

October 3 (Wednesday): on domestic policy.

October 16 (Tuesday): “town meeting” format.

October 22 (Monday): foreign policy.


Vice Presidential Debate:

October 11 (Thursday): domestic and foreign policy.


Long-time forum readers may recall my saying that “all of life imitates the sport of boxing.” Truer words have ever been uttered in human history. And, intentionally or not, the presidential and vice presidential debates offer definitive proof of this, every four years.

2012 will be historic. No matter if one is a political junkie, excited about this year’s contest, or if one has little interest in, or understanding of things political, presidential debates are like a good heavyweight championship bout. Almost everyone watches. More, everyone has an “opinion” -- which is often based upon their favorite candidate/fighter from times past.

The first debate, featuring President Barack Obama defending his title against challenger Willard Romney, takes place on Wednesday, at the University of Denver, Colorado. The moderator/referee will be PBS News Hour’s executive director, Jim Lehrer. The general public will be judging the bout.

D.U.’s sports forum participants know that when there is a good boxing match on television, I always play host to a number of fight fans. Some are, like myself, retired boxers; others are young, amateur fighters. And still others are people who never boxed, but love the sport.

Last night -- before the HBO Boxing After Dark card -- I attended a birthday party for the lady who now serves as my editor. She is also one of my three top advisors/associates in socio-political activities. The other two include my cousin, who won numerous amateur titles in the northeast in the 1970s, and my younger son, soon to turn professional. By no coincidence, my cousin helps me train my son. More, my editor will now be working as his “cut man” in his upcoming fights.

The third corner man was also at the party -- he, too, left early, to watch the fights. There were about fifty people at the party, mainly school teachers and social workers (including a couple social workers who also teach/taught at the high school, college, and university level). About half of us went from a lengthy discussion of recent boxing matches, to a hilarious chat about this Wednesday’s debate. Quite a few of those folks will be coming to my house Wednesday. After our evening meal, we’ll invest an hour or so in work on a couple of local elections, including setting up a five candidate debate for one important town. And we’ll be working on the epidemiological study of an area village ravaged by toxic industrial wastes. Then, we’ll settle in for the presidential debate.

My house was a stage coach station in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Thus, the largest section of the ground-floor is an open area, surrounding a central chimney with three fire places and a couple of Dutch ovens. I have a television set with a 66” screen. My younger son had insisted that I purchase it a few years back, to watch boxing in “high definition.” It comes in mighty handy when there is a small crowd here to watch presidential debates, too!

When I post a “pre-fight” essay on the sports’ forum, I like to include not only background information on each fighter, but also a general description of what I’ll be looking for during the fight. In this case, I think that we’re all very familiar with both President Obama and Willard “Mitt” Romney. There’s no need to review much about them, except for perhaps a few thoughts on their showings in their recent debate contests. So here goes:

The challenge goes into Wednesday’s contest with significantly more recent debate experience. However, all of it was in the republican primaries. This will be his first date at the Big Dance -- and that arena holds far greater pressure for Willard. Also, in the context of primary debates, the truth is that Romney lost literally every debate in the 2008 contest. The 2008 primaries had far stronger candidates than the 2012 contests. And in ‘08. Romney couldn’t beat a tired, confused John McCain.

Though there were no democratic primaries this year, we have a good idea what to expect from President Obama. In 2008, he was engaged in one of the Democratic Party’s legendary primary struggles, against Senator Clinton. I’m convinced that if you took only the strengths of the ‘08 and ‘12 republican fields, and combined them into a single pre-programmed candidate, that person could not compete with the skills of Clinton in 2008. Although there were several other talented candidates, the Obama vs. Clinton contest was all that mattered …..it’s significance in American history ranks high.

So, I expect that President Obama is going to focus on a good “body-attack” on Wednesday. And that is not simply an attempt to be clever by the use of a boxing term: President Obama will be looking to knock the wind out of his opponent by exposing the weaknesses and cruelty of Romney’s supposed strength, domestic policy. Those infamous 47% statements are going to be slammed home, each and every time Willard attempts to deliver a sound-bite zinger. In doing so, President Obama drastically increases the likelihood of Romney, in a state of panic, attempting to over-compensate in reaction.

Finally, I find it singular that the blow-hard governor of New Jersey is raising the bar of expectations for Romney on Wednesday. I’ve seen his on television twice this morning, saying that Mitt’s performance will absolutely and totally change the dynamics come Thursday morning. Yikes! One could think that he is looking to exploit Mitt’s losing campaign, in order to begin laying his own for a 2016 run.

I hope that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy this year’s debates. And I’d appreciate hearing your predictions for Wednesday.

Your friend,
H2O Man

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply Debate (Original post)
H2O Man Sep 2012 OP
livetohike Sep 2012 #1
H2O Man Sep 2012 #2
DCKit Sep 2012 #5
DollarBillHines Sep 2012 #3
H2O Man Sep 2012 #6
DCKit Sep 2012 #4
H2O Man Sep 2012 #7
Control-Z Sep 2012 #8
H2O Man Sep 2012 #11
Beringia Sep 2012 #9
H2O Man Sep 2012 #12
jsr Sep 2012 #10
H2O Man Sep 2012 #13
bleever Sep 2012 #14
H2O Man Oct 2012 #15
MrMickeysMom Oct 2012 #16
H2O Man Oct 2012 #17
MrMickeysMom Oct 2012 #19
H2O Man Oct 2012 #20
myrna minx Oct 2012 #18

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 02:41 PM

1. My prediction is Romney will be so over prepared and nervous that he will

ramble on and those zingers he has been memorizing will pour out of his mouth at the most inappropriate times. Like a robot with a short circuit .

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Response to livetohike (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 02:42 PM

2. Great point.

It is as dangerous to enter the ring "over-trained" as "under-trained." The same will likely hold true on Wednesday.

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Response to livetohike (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:05 PM

5. Thanks for an excellent mental image. nt

 

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 02:50 PM

3. It's all about timing, isn't it?

Strength (as in campaign money) rarely trumps timing.

Romney is wooden. Obama has timing.

I'm seeing Liston vs Clay.

As my friend Steve says, "Life is mostly attitude and timing".

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Response to DollarBillHines (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:06 PM

6. Right!

Cassius Clay's combined speed and timing allowed him to land harder, more meaningful shots than Liston, one of the division's legendary power-punchers. Cassius came out without a scratch on his handsome face; Sonny came out cut, bruised, and battered.

I like that! Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:04 PM

4. Jim Lehrer? Somebody we know (but don't love) had better be wearing his magic Depends.

 

Lehrer isn't going to stand for any B.S..

Dog, I'm so hoping NPR will play it live and, just in case, I'll ask the S.O. to record it to the DVR. It might be epic. Almost wish I could stick around for it, but I've got to be somewhere without TV reception, telephone, cell phone or internet access this week.

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Response to DCKit (Reply #4)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:08 PM

7. Ha!

I agree. (Wish you were watching it live, and here on DU during the debate.)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:44 PM

8. I think he'll deliver his zingers

as well as he delivered "cheesy grits" and liking cars. He always wants to say more after he delvers the approved lines. He really likes cars. And to prove it he had to add that Ann drives two Cadillacs.

If we're lucky he might sing a little Star Spangled Banner at some point.

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Response to Control-Z (Reply #8)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 06:06 PM

11. Interesting.

Do you think that there is a good chance that Mitt will try to show that he is actually a better friend to women and minorities than is President Obama? I think that, much in the vein you mentioned, Willard will attempt to communicate this lie. And, if he does, I am confident that Barack Obama will splatter him.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 04:11 PM

9. I think that of course Obama will do better than Mitt


I remember when Kerry debated Bush II, that Kerry was so obviously the better candidate and yet Bush had many supporters and liked his swagger. And that Kerry should have come down harder on Bush.

I don't think Obama will be as gentlemanly as Kerry. He has grace and a peacefulness, but he will use advantages that he has to make Mitt look bad.

And I don't think Mitt has Bush II sense of playing it like being a "good ole boy". And Mitt won't be able to play off Obama very well.

So I think Obama will do well.

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Response to Beringia (Reply #9)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 06:12 PM

12. President Obama

is a "gentleman," but he has an edge to him in competitive situations. I absolutely agree that President Obama will respond very differently to openings, than did Kerry in '04.

Romney's only potential advantage at the Big Dance would be to play on his business experience and his time as governor. But these are also his two weakest spots -- which really says something, considering how weak he is in everything but fund-raising. (And his fund-raising is despite the republican party's dislike of him.)

Barack Obama strikes me as someone who understands what all great fighters know: attack your enemy's strengths. That said, I'm looking forward to an entertaining night on Wednesday.

Enjoy the debates!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 04:16 PM

10. Willard forgets to fart. TV networks declare Willard winner.

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Response to jsr (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 06:25 PM

13. Decades ago,

when I had the opportunity to hang out with Abbie Hoffman as he prepared to speak at an area university, he was describing a person similar to Willard Romney. My memories from that afternoon/evening are not as clear as I'd like, and so I can only paraphrase him ..... and probably not doing justice to him, because he was so funny ....

Anyhow, one person referred to the person in question as an "asshole." Abbie noted that the person lacked all the wholesome qualities of an actual sphincter. Rather, he said, the person was simply the hot air that at times passes through a sphincter.

Thus, I would say that while Mitt may forget to fart, he is nothing, if not that small passage of hot air. And the media reports that pretend he did a noble job are, in effect, the stains left by that process.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 06:45 PM

14. Obama is really good at getting in his opponent's head.

And I think Romney lacks the discipline (or sense) to resist provocation. Somewhere along the line he'll go off-script, or let his demeanor slip.

I have a friend with a very forceful personality with a political career. I keep reiterating to him that the most important part of having and wielding power is finesse. Romney has none.

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Response to bleever (Reply #14)

Mon Oct 1, 2012, 07:52 AM

15. I agree.

Being able to deliver one's best shots with a smile is a good way to get inside the opponent's head. I remember one night, in a distant city, when I was fighting the home-town Golden Boy. He landed his best shot, and his fans were cheering. I pulled him in, and said, "Is that all you got, boy? Well, you are introuble now!" He looked me in the eye, and I gave him a big smile.

That unnerved him. To the point he began to try too hard to land something to wipe the grin off my face. Foolish move on his part. He paid the price for that.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Oct 1, 2012, 07:57 AM

16. I predict that each side will claim victory, initially, but it will be Rmoney who will win...

I do hope Jim Lehrer runs around Philadelphia and drinks energy nogs with real eggs in them after taking his Geritol!

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Response to MrMickeysMom (Reply #16)

Wed Oct 3, 2012, 10:27 AM

17. I'm old enough

to be Jim Lehrer's grandfather!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #17)

Wed Oct 3, 2012, 07:48 PM

19. Oh... NO!!!

That makes you older than DIRT!

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Response to MrMickeysMom (Reply #19)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 09:00 AM

20. Way older.

I remember when dirt was born.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Oct 3, 2012, 10:59 AM

18. The People, who have been struggling, are looking for specific policies and leadership not "zingers"

Since Romney has already announced part of his silly and insulting 'zinger' strategy, I believe the President will engage the People directly, in a sober yet reassuring manner and not indulge Romney's foolish hijinks. If Romney requires months to rote memorize "zingers", I think it's safe to say he'll go the route of Sarah Palin and provide his own answers to questions unasked by the moderator. Considering his whirling "Etch-a-Sketch" campaign, he cannot debate on his ever pivoting positions, because they can change within a single sentence.
Romney: Strange, awkward laughter. Defensiveness.
The President: Measured, calm and commanding.




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