I began to be bored by tonight’s Presidential debate very early on. I was sitting in a bar and half listening, but mostly talking to a girl. All I know is that I listened out of the corner of my ear and I was soon bored and depressed. I don’t know if Romney won or not, but he looked and sounded okay, and Obama definitely underperformed. He clearly hadn’t prepared. I know what it’s like to half-prepare for something and then go out there and just blow it. That’s what Barack did tonight. Way to go, guy.
In a 9.19 post called “Mild To A Fault,” I wrote the following: “My concern is that Barack Obama, convinced as everyone else is by now that Mitt Romney is going to lose, is going to do his usual courtly, combat-averse, close-to-genuflecting routine when he debates Romney on 10.3, 10.16 and 10.22. He’s figuring Romney has already dug his own grave to why box a dead horse? Obama doesn’t like to scrap, much less take off the gloves. I’ve always seen that as a failing.”
Sasha Stone and Glenn Kenny called me dead wrong and clueless, but I was right, wasn’t I?
It was almost as if Obama sat down with his team this afternoon and said, “I don’t want to commit hari-kiri opposite Romney…I want to hold my own as best I can and maintain my dignity…but I think I kinda might want to lose, strange as that sounds.”
Adviser #1: “You want to lose?”
Obama: “Yeah, I do a little. Because, for me, anything is better than manning up and scoring points against Romney because, as you guys know, I’m deathly afraid of looking or sounding too aggressive. Now, can I lose by just being mild and unruffled or…?”
Adviser #1: “Well, I think you might want to try to pretend that you’re not the President and that you’re just some history professor at Andover. Try to seem as wonky as possible. Lots of stats and policy jargon. That’ll bore the piss out of everyone and people will stop listening. That’ll get the ball rolling.”
Obama: “Okay. Then what?”
Adviser #2: “No matter where the debate goes, don’t bring up Romney’s 47% gaffe. Pretend like it didn’t happen. Don’t bring up Bain, don’t mention offshore tax shelters, don’t mention his history as a company killer and a job outsourcer, don’t mention his disastrous European trip. Everything that makes him look bad or clumsy or mercenary, don’t mention. And if he lies about your record, let him get away with it.”
Obama: “Got it. Anything else?”
Adviser #1: “That’s enough for now, I think. You’ll be seen as a loser by the liberal pundits if you do what we’ve just suggested, and then we can talk later on how to lose the second debate.”
Obama: “Fine. Thanks, guys.”
Oh, and Jim Lehrer is finished. He’s too old, not sharp enough, his voice is too high-pitched, he’s over. He’ll never moderate a Presidential debate again.