HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » Re the debate - "The...

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 10:37 AM

Re the debate - "The Etch-a-Sketch Moment"

At the debate in Denver, it finally happened—but Obama looked like the one who was shaken.

By John Heilemann


When Mitt Romney took to the debate stage at the University of Denver Wednesday night, he was shouldering both a blessing and a curse. The blessing was that of expectations so low they were practically subterranean: According to the polls, voters believed by nearly a two-to-one margin that Romney was fated to be beaten by Barack Obama. The curse was that of an almost impossibly high bar to clear in order to be seen by the political-media class as having won. He needed to alter fundamentally a campaign dynamic that was ushering him inexorably to Loserville. He needed to challenge Obama forcefully while improving his dismal favorability ratings. He needed to be tough but likable, aggressive but not assholic. He needed to be convincingly presidential but also recognizably human. He needed, in other words, to be the Mitt Romney whom no one has glimpsed for, oh, the past six years that he’s been running for the White House.

And then, lo and behold, he was. Now, to be sure, the effusiveness of the post-debate praise for Romney on the right was at times over the top. (No, Michael Barone, he was not Sitting Bull at Little Big Horn.) But Romney was clear, crisp, confident, and in command of his bullet points. His indictments of Obama were energetic but not shrill. He came across as a pragmatist, a manager, a moderate and not an extremist—like the Romney who ran for office in Massachusetts in 1994 and 2002. That Romney was always a plausible president, and his sudden appearance made you wonder: Where the hell has this guy been?

Then there was President Obama. It would be easier to grade his performance had he bothered to show up. Obama was the man who wasn’t there—passive and pedantic, enduring the experience rather than engaging it, not an ounce of verve or fight or passion in him. Some wags joked that Obama seemed to be debating as if he were on Ambien. Well, I know Ambien. Ambien is a friend of mine. And this was no Ambien performance. It was more like Obama had been sucked into a K-hole, or was suffering from aphasia.

The question, of course, is what the actual, tangible effect of the debate will be—and the answer is that it all depends on what happens next. History tells us that presidential debates rarely alter the electoral outcome, and the drop of the unemployment rate to under 8 percent for the first time since Obama took office may prove more consequential. But make no mistake, this debate mattered. Overnight, the wind and weather of the campaign shifted, and Romney, on the brink of entering a Bob Dole–like death spiral, was endowed with new life.


well worth reading, and has some promising bits at the end.

1 replies, 901 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 1 replies Author Time Post
Reply Re the debate - "The Etch-a-Sketch Moment" (Original post)
NRaleighLiberal Oct 2012 OP
BrainMann1 Oct 2012 #1

Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 06:47 PM

1. Look at Al Sharpton

segment Romney walks back 47%. Joy Reed states it eloquently.And it really did not put Rodney any closer in the national poles; tangible or actual.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread