Barack Obama is a nice guy. He debated with Mitt Romney like he would handle any topic: respecting the other party, focusing on solutions for the common good.
Today, the POTUS forgot he was in a Presidential debate, that the aim was not to convince Romney but to convince US voters. And while he focused on issues and sense, Mitt Romney was the only one campaigning, without opposition. Obama won the rational debate, Romney the political one, the one that matters.
And it doesn't matter if Obama talked more (don't expect the Jim Lehrer kind of debate animation from Candy Crowley). Romney was allowed to play his role of the day.
Doctor Mitt the debater destroyed all the arguments of Mister Romney the candidate because that's what voters want to hear, not his embarrassing - and theoretically off the record - briefs at fundraisers. Heck. Obama was almost happy to have for once a Republican on his side.
John and Jane Smith probably didn't notice the fact that Romney kept hammering what he wouldn't do as a President (the opposite of what he'd always said he would do until then), but never specified what he would do. What they heard what a well prepped candidate who tuned his voice to Reagan level, loaded his speech with encounters with actual human beings he met in his spin doctors' dreams, a man who seemed to know his priorities even if he used the same "that's number one" mantra for every issue.
I still don't have any clue about Romney's plan. Scratch that. Tie the dog to the car's rooftop, kill Big Bird, it's coming in slow motion, but I start seeing some pattern. Zoophobia?
Grey, tired, elsewhere, Obama didn't fight. And did Romney offer him occasions to get beaten? You betcha: when he said "high income people are doing fine", when he said he had no idea about overseas tax breaks, he the outsourcer, he of the accounts in 30 tax havens... un-be-lie-va-ble.
Who trained Obama for the debates? John Kerry played Mitt's role. I love this guy*, but precisely, as I was watching this debate, it seemed like Kerry-GWB redux, the sincere guy winning in substance, the fake one winning in image. The difference? Polls showed that Kerry won the debates, and here (according to a CNN flash poll before the usual spin room), Romney won not only very easily overall by two to one, but on every single issue.
Romney aides must be wetting their pants right now, and I hope independent voters won't get fooled again.
I cannot imagine the same scenario for Debate II. Barack Obama will have to show some teeth, and expose the Cayman behind Doctor Mitt.
Since 2003, nonsensical posts about noncritical issues in nonenglish (get your blogules transfusion in French)
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* again, what a speech at the 2012 DNC (see "Bubba Clinton rocks DNC 2012: GOP Unity My Ass!")
Video: "Mitt Romney Style", after PSY's Gangnam Style. If you know Seoul a bit, it can't get Gangnamier than this
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