Yes, I heard that, although Obama gave back some, Romney apparently got the upper hand, at least in the pundit/perception game. The problem, as usual, is that our side is busy trying to explain and tell the truth, while their side continues to lie through their teeth. And gee, it’s a lot easier to “win” when you don’t feel constrained by “dumb” stuff like facts, reality, measurable statistics from reputable sources…you know, what thinking adults generally process and absorb mentally in order to know how to live our lives with as little difficulty as possible.
But here’s the way I look at it.
I had a feeling Obama would have a tough time with the perception thing because the Repug presidential primary was such a slug fest full of noise and not much else, and I totally expected that to be carried forward (and it was). And again, harking back to the “truth versus something other” thing I mentioned above, Obama (and most Dems in my experience, with the possible exception of Bill Clinton) do better in an environment where you’re dealing with “good government” types (for lack of a better way to put it) versus the rabble with an agenda, like the crowd during the 1,345,272 GOP presidential debates for this election (a crowd which sometimes wore trifold hats and waved copies of the Constitution about which they claim to be experts…some in the crowd anyway). And the challenger has a built-in advantage at the debates anyway, because that person is on equal footing with the president at last, something they’ve spent months trying to achieve.
(The example I always use is this; I once saw Al Gore talking on C-SPAN in the spring of 2000 at Beaver College in these parts. He spoke about the environment of course, along with progressive legislation in general. He was in command in front of a friendly, mixed-gender audience of different ages and ethnicities. I thought to myself, “He’s going to kill that nitwit from Texas in the general election.” And of course, we know how that turned out.)
That being said, we know the Repugs come from a whole other universe when it comes to trying to win elections. In my experience (with very few exceptions), they try to win people over by appealing to their basest emotions and aligning themselves with institutions of authority (see Church, Roman Catholic). And unfortunately, they’re very good at it.
I don’t know of any Democrat that has been successful at playing that game. And as far as I’m concerned, no Democrat should be.
It’s tough to know when to look statesmanlike and presidential versus when to look combative if you’re this country’s first African American chief executive (lest you be judged as “arrogant,” which, to me, is nothing but updated code language for “uppity”). If Obama had sounded off to Romney a little more, the headlines in our corporate media just might be something like “A Combative Obama Confronts Romney But Provides Few Specifics” instead of what we’re seeing today.
Could he have done more? I guess (again, I didn’t see it – didn’t see the point to it).
The presidential and vice-presidential debates are, as far as I’m concerned, nothing but a sideshow, a byproduct of the “horse race” mentality of our corporate media/political industrial complex. They should not be judged as having any more significance than that (though, obviously, they are…as an example, John Harwood of the New York Times wrote something yesterday along the lines of “well, we don’t know what the debate questions will be, but we think they’ll be this, and here is our ‘fact check,’” which to me is all totally ridiculous). What matters is rigorous examination of the evidence at hand and sound media coverage intended to educate and inform us about the issues – the stuff you can find on al Jazeera and not too many other places.
Besides, I made up my mind on this whole thing months ago. If you’re rich and you want government to do absolutely nothing except shower you with tax breaks, reward bad corporate behavior and repeal every entitlement and piece of legislation benefitting everyone else (the “99 percent,” if you will) that has been enacted since the New Deal, then of course you should vote Republican.
But if you’re part of that “99 percent” yourself, why the hell would you even imagine doing anything but voting for a Democrat?
(Oh, and one more thing, Obama campaign – I want to see you hang this guy around Willard Mitt’s neck right up until November 6th. He is still electoral poison, and yes, you can make the case…and don’t forget this.)