Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

God Forbid Should Biden Not Perform Perfectly

If he doesn't, he'll end up with teeth marks in his arse -- courtesy of the same fleet of fickle liberals who have been eviscerating Mr. Obama over the past week for not performing perfectly. After all, the price of admission was paid and he didn't deliver the goods. How dare the man?

Imagine, if you will, an opera singer who belts out almost pitch perfect arias for 10 years until one night he stumbles and croaks throughout the entire performance. His devoted fans boo him off the stage, toss rotten cabbages, and demand their money back. The reviewers spend over a week proclaiming the singer's career dead as a doorknob. Nowhere in the outcry is it mentioned that the singer was sick as a dog with pneumonia, had a temperature of 104 degrees and a rotten case of laryngitis to boot.

I'm not suggesting that Obama was sick during the first debate of this nauseatingly long campaign nor am I about to say that his performance was pitch perfect. Far from it and I was just as disappointed as everyone else. What I am saying, however, is that while we liberals know for a fact that Obama is not a Muslim, we still haven't learned much about him beyond that over the past 3 1/2 years.

From the moment Obama walked out on stage and before he even opened his mouth, I sensed he was "off." He was actually pale -- strained and drawn looking. At the time, I didn't know about the situation in the Middle East but I did think something had happened to shake him up pretty badly and knock him off-balance.

In a comment on Oh!Pinion, "Octopus" reminds us, or probably more accurately, informs us:
Hours before the debate, an international incident occurred – one that did not get the media attention it deserved.
The Syrian military lobbed artillery shells across the border into Turkey killing 5 villagers. Inasmuch as Turkey is a Nato member and all members are bound by the terms of the treaty, an attack against one is considered an attack against all.
I am willing to conjecture this: Obama spent considerable time that day on the telephone urging restraint among Nato leaders in order to avoid a larger Middle East conflict. Obama has always been focused on performing his job; spouting “blah-blah-blah” before TV cameras has never been his top priority.
Obama flew into Denver late that afternoon to debate a man with nothing to do that day but prepare while the president was dealing with a very serious international crisis, one that our own media pretty much overlooked, at least as far as connecting it to why Obama was "flat."

And don't forget, Romney came charging out like a bull in a China closet, ignoring the rules, changing his stripes yet again - moving from the extreme right to a more moderate stance - and lying and bullying his way through the entire debate. How exactly does one prepare for that?

Don C. Reed makes an astute observation that should be, but isn't, obvious to the media - not even to the hyperventilating Chris Matthews and the rest of the MSNBC crew, not even to the freaked-out Andrew Sullivan, and not even to many liberals apparently.
For an hour I watched the arrogant aristocrat violate the rules of established behavior. He could not even be polite to Jim Lehrer of public television, laughingly announcing his intention of eliminating that program's funding. Romney thought it was funny, joking about how he still liked Big Bird: "Oh, and you too, Jim, haha!"
If Romney is that clueless, rude and uncaring while the nation watches, what will he do when the cameras are turned off, and he is alone with the power of the presidency?
Apparently, "performance" is the new measuring stick by which to judge a debate winner. Not substance. Not truth. Not consistency. Just ask Michael Tomasky who wonders if Obama even wants to be president again.
. . . well, pal, millions of people are kind of counting on you here. All Americans, even the ones who hate you, need you to do your best every day to fix the economy, and you owe that effort to them—even the ones who hate you. Ditto to do your best to protect everyone from violence or attack. And to the people who support you, you owe something else: your best efforts to advance the agenda they wanted you to advance when they voted for you.
Well, I have this to say to Mr. Tomasky:

Hey, Pal: He may be the President but he is first and foremost a human being, subject to the same frailties the rest of us mere mortals are. I realize that this may come as a shock to you but he is not a God nor does he have a magic wand. And you know what, pal? I'll take Mr. Obama, warts and all, any ole day over a highly skilled circus performer who has the money to buy a different costume for every performance and the chicanery to be whatever character he wants to be for any given performance. I also suggest reading this endorsement for Obama in The Nation.

My advice to you and all the knee-jerk liberal whiners out there in la-la land? Take the time to actually read the transcript of the debate. That way, you might not be distracted by cheap theatrics but actually "hear" what the candidates said.
NOTE: Inevitably I end up with far more articles than I can use, so rather than letting them go to waste, I'll share them here.

For Facebook users, this one is a must read.

From Lorraine Devon Wilke:
I am stunned at my fellow Democrats. Stunned. I have never seen such overwrought, hysterical reactions -- from pathetic whimpering and finger-wagging admonishments right down to screeching denouncements and door-slamming party-defection -- all in response to one slightly anemic debate against a Republican challenger high on his own hyperbole. . . .
Writer Buzz Bissinger -- a supposed "lifelong Democrat" -- has loudly and publicly disavowed the president to declare his vote for Romney

Electablog asks, "Really Democrats, have you learned so little about Barack Obama in the last five years?"

This ain't the 90s, says Earl Yazel at The Raw Story.

Paul Krugman criticizes the media for not being able to handle flat-out untruths.

Maureen Dowd as Maureen Dowd.

SNL mocks debate reaction.

Ezra Klein recommends reading the transcript as well but beyond that we differ a bit:
Reading the debate doesn’t necessarily change your impression of who won — Romney’s answers are still crisper and more focused than Obama’s — but it did give me more appreciation for how specific both candidates were in what they were saying. A few notes. . .


  1. There's a certain kind of person who flies into panic mode at the drop of a hat. I feel it's more the punditocracy than the rank-and-file or blogosphere Democrat, though.

    Actually attacking Obama as a few have done is despicable, but I suspect those are the same people who trashed him when he was able to deliver only 90% of the policy they wanted instead of 100% (health-insurance reform, etc.)

    There are already some indications of the polls moving back Obama's way. Historically, debates rarely have much long-term impact on a Presidential race.

    1. You're right about the polls. I guess Andrew Sullivan hadn't seen this Pew poll when he had his freak-out.

  2. Exactly. I kept wondering why people would think that it was legitimate to say that the best "performer" won. Romney was just an act, and a rude one at that.

    1. I can't believe how many media idiots I heard say he was civil and on point. I really had to wonder if they were watching the same debate.

  3. As someone who is dizzy after all the post-debate spin I find it hilarious that Romney was given so much credit for his "performance." I guess that is the acceptable term for damn near going 180 degrees on ever position he has held since his campaign started.

    My concern is less with the media pundits who would probably sell their grandmothers on eBay if their corporate bosses demanded than the seemingly intelligent people I talked with who had no problem with Romney's latest very sudden flip-flops.

    Despite a nice set of national delusions saying the opposite Americans have never been a very cerebral people. However, we have been taking our shallow, image-based society to new levels of depravity the last couple of decades.

    Speaking honestly here I figure its 50-50 whether Obama will win the election. I have long since learned like Menken said: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

    1. It's not just a lack of intelligence, although that's certainly a factor, but I really have to wonder that people are being taught or if they're even being taught. Are they getting any classes in history and civics anymore?

  4. I think that far too many people want their information in sound bytes. They don't want to have to follow a substantive analysis of a point of view; instead, they want all information boiled down into a 30-second ad.

    1. I couldn't agree more and I think this applies to journalists as well as to the general public.

  5. Analysis of debate:

    Romney: RUDE, RUDE, RUDE.
    President Obama: President Obama.

  6. Excellent points in the post and comments as well.

    I attribute part of the reaction to two things. First, more Republicans have become more in-your-face belligerent and combative in recent years. It's pretty bad when they're in power and several orders of magnitude worse when they're not. I think there is an unbecoming yet very understandable desire on the part of many liberals to have "give 'em hell" leader who will take the fight to them the way Harry Truman and Ted Kennedy did. The closest we've come in a long time was a couple of speeches Al Gore gave late in George W. Bush's first term, and floor speeches by Alan Grayson and Anthony Weiner. Slim pickin's, IOW.

    The other thing is that over many years, the news media have fostered a horse-race mentality about elections, especially presidential elections. Horse-race questions are quick and easy to ask candidates and can make for usefully short, sound-bite-size answers. They're easy for winning candidates and their surrogates to answer, and they're easy for the public to digest.

    Of course, what we need is knowledgeable, thinking candidates giving sensible, thoughtful, thorough answers to serious, probing questions. Honesty is helpful too.

    As we saw last week, that leaves Romney and Paul "No Time To Do the Math" Ryan out. Obama did fairly well, if judged only in those terms.

    Given that he consistently gave the best responses in every one of the 2008 Democratic primary debates, I look for Joe Biden to do very well in his match with Ryan. Biden was a senator most of his life. That means he's taken part in a whole lot of debates. He knows how to be polite, and he knows how to deliver a verbal roundhouse punch when someone asks for it.

    1. "Obama did fairly well, if judged only in those terms." Yes, and it's why I urge people to at least scan the transcript. I do believe that in doing so you get a much better feel for what each of the candidates said.

      Re tonight's VP debate: I just hope that the pressure we're putting on Biden to "save" the election doesn't become more of a burden. I think it's important to remember that he was debating a real nincompoop last time. Ryan is a lot craftier.

    2. L.P., you should go see this. It's well worth the click.

  7. Now that I am an incurable golfer, I've learned something about execution and performance. There will be good shots, and there will definitely be some bad ones. After a bad shot, you have to put it behind you, or the next one will surely be a bad one, too. Thus is life. Thus was Obama's performance. On to the next shot.

    1. Good analogy - having been a golfer in my past life.

  8. Here is part of an excellent opinion piece by Charles Blow:

    "I can understand a certain amount of unease in the Obama-supporting public in general, but within the left-leaning press it’s inexcusable. Only the laziest political commentators could look at the current state of play and see doom for Obama. In fact, the panic among professional liberal pundits is a bit like screaming fire in a theater showing a Michael Moore documentary. Cut it out and grow up!

    While the profession is still obsessing about the last debate and Obama’s stumbles, Mitt Romney is strutting around with his bad math pitching himself as a born-again moderate. He is selling vast tax cuts on the vaguest of specifics. It’s like one of those childhood lullabies that sounds good until you realize what it’s actually saying: that the bough breaks and the baby falls.

    Also as part of the new “moderate Mitt” offensive, Romney told the Des Moines Register on Tuesday that

    There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.
    What kind of wishy-washy, sidewinder statement is that? Do you even know what a simple, declarative statement is Mr. Romney? Did no one teach you that at your fancy boarding school?

    Not only is the statement squishy, but, based on Romney’s previously stated positions, it’s a lie. As Planned Parenthood Action Fund pointed out:

    Let’s be clear: Mitt Romney wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, end federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s preventive services, end insurance coverage for birth control, and repeal health protections for women.
    Romney changes positions the way a pop diva changes outfits. There is no way to know what he actually believes. That is not the mark of an honest man. That should be the focus of all of our attention and consternation. Obama’s debate performance was disappointing, but Romney’s allergy to the truth could prove disastrous.

    The best cure for a bad debate performance is another debate, and the vice-presidential debate is Thursday night. So let’s get ahold of ourselves. Hysteria is uncalled for and unseemly.

    Paul Ryan can come across as having bought into his own hype as a higher order thinker. The beltway-anointed “policy wonk” and “numbers whiz” often tries to avoid answering questions by saying that the answers are too complicated. I call that an incredibly condescending cop out: “Don’t worry your pretty little heads with these big ugly numbers. Just trust me.”

    Ryan has convictions — those that the Romney campaign would let him keep — but he hardly strikes me as a genius. Furthermore, he can be quite an awkward speaker, trying a bit too hard to appear earnest.

    Vice President Biden, on the other hand, has demonstrated that he’s a strong debater. Although can be a bit of a loose cannon, he is also very good at summarizing complicated concepts in simple ways. And he has passion aplenty.

    I’m not predicting winners and losers for Thursday’s debate (the first presidential debate should have demonstrated the hazards of that), but I am saying that the vice president has the advantage. Whether he will leverage it is another question.

    My only real prediction is that there will be more twists between now and Election Day. Anyone wanting reassurance will be left wanting. The race will remain fluid. The candidate who has a good day is not guaranteed a good tomorrow. Overconfidence is a curse. Momentum can turn on a dime.

    This means that voters and pundits must take the long view and not a short one. Winning an individual battle is good, but winning the war is the goal. Resist the urge to panic when you’re down and to celebrate when you are up.

    And for goodness sake, get off the ledge."