Thursday, October 04, 2012

Post-Debate Thoughts

I had a screening of Argo last night the same time as the presidential debate (review coming soon!), so I ended up listening to the first forty-five minutes or so in my car. This actually proved beneficial for me, as I was able to focus more on the content of what was said rather than how it was being delivered. But even while listening, the sense I got was that Romney came prepped and ready to play, freely interrupting whenever it suited him and riding roughshod over moderator Jim Lehrer, while President Obama seemed to be on defense most of the time.

Later in the evening, after watching the thing in its entirety on my DVR, my earlier suspicions were pretty much confirmed. It isn't even that Romney came out ahead on poise or looking presidential. If anything, his constant interruptions and omnipresent smirk just cemented his pre-existing rep as abrasive and aloof. But if politics is perception, that didn't matter. Nor did it matter that he was letting fly so many contradictory and flat-out untrue statements about his policy initiatives. Nope, in the perceptions game, Romney was on-task, and Obama was out to lunch.

I'm not sure what kind of debate the prez was expecting when he walked into that auditorium, but whatever it was, he didn't get it. The analogy I made on my Twitter feed, and which I feel is entirely apt, is that President Obama went into last night's debate like Rocky Balboa at the beginning of Rocky III. Cocky, overconfident, and a few years away from his last real fight. If he was expecting to walk through the proceedings without cracking a sweat, that didn't happen. Instead, Mitt Romney made like Clubber Lang, and Obama made like this.

The fact-checkers are doing their work today, and it sure looks like they're earning their paychecks based on all the whoppers they're beating back (from both sides). But in the short-term, all that matters for the respective campaigns is that Romney won the night. And by extension he won the week. Does this effect the general sweep of the election? My gut says no. The candidates' respective supporters have made up their minds already, and my guess is that the undecideds who'll end up swinging the election couldn't even be arsed to watch.

So, as far as the state of race this morning, we have a slight stanching for Mitt Romney which brings with it a much-needed infusion of enthusiasm for his unenthusiastic base and even more need infusions of campaign cash. There's still the veep debate next week, which could reset the dynamic yet again (and should prove fascinating), as well as two more presidentials before the countdown to the election is up. If he wants to avoid another routing like last night, President Obama would be well advised to seek out whatever Apollo Creeds there are in his life and figure out how best to restore his "Eye of the Tiger."

1 comment:

Tyler said...

"You know, since everyone in the media seems to feel that Romney won the debate, maybe that means the liberal bias we complain about so much isn't so real after all."---no one on the right