The Great Communicator he wasn’t. I’ve always been impressed by President Obama’s ability to deliver a stirring speech. But the first presidential debate between him and Governor Romney put the President in the worst possible light. I really got the feeling he didn’t want to be there, and that he wasn’t all that prepared. There were no major gaffs by the President, though I did think the time when he asked Jim Lehrer to change the topic was about as close as it gets to asking Regis to Phone-a-Friend.
Romney on the other hand, was more aggressive than I’ve seen him. He looked like he was ready to pounce, loaded with ammunition, and willing to use it. I don’t think the President was prepared for this. I think he thought he and Romney would both give stump speeches, highlight their differences, and move on. But the Professor took a beating from the Millionaire while their wives and millions of others looked on. It never got nasty, but it did the one thing the President was hoping to avoid. It made Romney look presidential, and made the President look like an empty suit.
3 responses to “Carville, Rove, and Eastwood – Political Masterminds”
Hi again, Chris. Nice concise post.
Here’s an observation I’ve been sharing with folks today: At one point, I guess about halfway through the debate, there was a back and forth that was very revealing about the juxtaposition of their views towards/against gov’t and towards/against the free market. The President used the phrase “at the mercy of the insurance industry”. Then it was Mr. Romney’s turn. He cited several private enterprise hospitals (like the Cleveland something-or-other hospital that the President had already complimented, and the Mayo Clinic and others) that are doing well BECAUSE they are private and able to be creative and competitive. Romney said the benefit of allowing private choices to compete with Medicare is that a consumer can drop an insurance company and switch to another if they’re dissatisfied, which is the incentive for insurance companies to try to please the consumer, an incentive that wouldn’t exist in a government-run system. Then it was the President’s turn again, and his rebuttal again used the phrase “putting people at the mercy of the private insurance industry.”
It’s just so interesting, and so telling, to see them characterize the VERY SAME THING so oppositely.
I think this is the starkest presidential choice between two completely different ideologies that we’ve had since Reagan/Carter in 1980.
I agree with you, Jeff, on a number of things. It is indeed interesting that the President and Romney are so diametrically opposite in their views of private enterprise, and that, I feel is the crux of the issue this election cycle. Have you noticed, as I have, over the last four years that the President always, ALWAYS turns to government to solve whatever problem is looming? I think it will be interesting to see how Romney backs government off and allows private enterprise to do what it does best, work through difficulties on its own, with minimal interference from government. I also agree with you on the stark contrast between the candidates. It is truly, as Romney has pushed in his campaign, a choice between two competing views of the future of America.
Yes I have noticed that the President thinks the gov’t is, and MUST be, the center of everything. When he talks about jobs, he may “generally” speak of small businesses because that’s a catch phrase. But when he starts to specifically list jobs that he’s “created or saved”, listen to his list: teachers, auto workers (union jobs), green jobs, etc. All of these are members of the broad Democratic coalition.
Speaking of how interesting it will be to watch how Romney “backs government off and allows private enterprise to do what it does best…”:
I have a theory that, even for conservatives ones, politicians (who are of course only human) have a natural tendency to want to be appreciated by their constituents for being good public servants. They prefer being appreciated to being reviled. So once elected, many (most?) of them gradually move away from their original limited-government roots and towards policies and tendencies that increase the likelihood that the public will say “thank you for helping us.” So I wrote an article saying that us conservative “consumers” of government need to learn a different way of praising them. We must remember to regularly compliment our conservative elected officials for how little they’re doing. If we really want limited government, we need to earnestly & publically thank them for doing only limited things for us. We even need to remind them that the less they do for us, the more we’ll vote for them. THAT is the kind of “positive” feedback that we need to give our conservative elected representatives. If you care to read it, it’s called “How to Train a Political Animal to Restrain Itself.”