National Journal wonders: Where’s the beef, Mr. President?

posted at 11:21 am on October 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

President Obama’s apologists have found lots of reasons why Obama lost the debate on Wednesday, some of them pretty creative.  They range from Mitt Romney lied so much that it stunned Obama into ennui to Obama meant to do that to lull Romney into a false sense of security! Al Gore thinks it’s altitude sickness, and I agreed with him on Twitter … sort of:

However, National Journal’s Ronald Brownstein probably has the best answer seen so far.  Obama lost because Obama has nothing left to offer:

President Obama didn’t have many good moments in this week’s first presidential debate. But it was telling that the few came when he was raising objections to Mitt Romney’s tax, spending, and Medicare plans. The president had much less to say about his own ideas for the next four years.

In that way, the debate spotlighted the biggest hole in Obama’s reelection effort: the paucity of specifics he has offered about his second-term agenda. To a remarkable extent for an incumbent, Obama and his team have redirected this campaign into a referendum on the challenger—a reversal of roles that Romney has facilitated with a monthlong series of gaffes and missteps. (Until Wednesday night, pretty much nothing good had happened for Romney since the minute Clint Eastwood inexplicably lugged that chair onstage on the final evening of the Republican convention.)

But the 90-minute expanse of Wednesday night’s debate proved too long a stretch for Obama to keep the focus on Romney. And when the spotlight shifted back to the president—either his record or his plans—he often seemed diffuse, if not listless. As one undecided woman in a Las Vegas focus group of “Walmart moms” put it, the president seemed “defeated, a little bit.”

Telling, indeed.  We’ve been waiting for the mythical second-term agenda for months now.  Most of us expected to see it unveiled by the Democratic convention, and some of Obama’s own advisers promised that would happen in his acceptance speech.  The omission of a second-term agenda finally got the notice of the Washington Post four weeks ago, the day after Obama’s pedestrian speech in Charlotte:

An acceptance speech is not a State of the Union laundry list of specific proposals. Its role is to set out a vision of the country’s future path. Mr. Obama was correct that he and Mr. Romney have dramatically different visions of government’s role, and that the Republican prescription of tax cuts to address any woe has left the country in terrible shape. Mr. Romney has been inexcusably vague in outlining his program, fiscal and otherwise, and he did nothing to mend this deficiency in his acceptance speech. But Mr. Obama’s speech also fell short — of his own proclaimed standards.

He vowed, “I will never turn Medicare into a voucher,” but he gave his audience no indication that his solution — controlling health care costs — might involve sacrifice on the part of seniors. He promised “responsible steps to strengthen” Social Security, which he has neglected throughout his first term. As to which steps those might be, not a word. “My plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet,” Mr. Obama said. What plan would that be? …

But the attractiveness of that vision made all the more frustrating Mr. Obama’s refusal to fill in any substance, his once again promising hard truths that he did not deliver. “They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan,” he said of the Republicans. If Mr. Obama has a plan, Americans who listened Thursday don’t know how he would achieve it.

Four weeks later, Obama still has nothing to offer.  He has nothing left in the tank; he’s mailing it in.  All he can do is offer the Geithneresque approach, picking apart Romney’s plan while having nothing of his own to offer.  And if he doesn’t have anything to offer by now, Obama simply doesn’t have it at all.


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Still; the best fast food commercial of all time.

lorien1973 on October 5, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Where’s the beef, Mr. President?

Ask Reggie Love.

Bitter Clinger on October 5, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Still; the best fast food commercial of all time.

lorien1973 on October 5, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Yep. I had lunch there yesterday.

aunursa on October 5, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Where’s the beef, Mr. President?

The cattle are accounted for.

Where I want to know is, where the heck are my dogs?

CorporatePiggy on October 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Pffft. This is chess so complicated that the Starship Enterprise main computer would self-destruct trying to decipher the strategies involved, and chess that only Bark can play.

Bishop on October 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Obama does have specifics to address the nation’s problems. However, all of his solutions are out of the socialist playbook and would horrify most Americans so he dare not say them until he’s reelected. If he wins you can expect specifics immediately.

Charlemagne on October 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Looks like O’s Energy of Secretary Chu’s dream of $10 a gallon gas is slowly being realized. In California, overnight, gas went up 20 cents, after a week of price rises. Many station simply closed down. As a price example, near Thousand Oaks gas is selling for $5.69 a gallon. It is CA today, but the rest of the country will follow. In light of these questionable employment numbers, we need to also make more of O’s war on energy.
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Calif-gas-prices-jump-by-up-to-20-cents-overnight-3921155.php

anotherJoe on October 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Obama does have specifics to address the nation’s problems. However, all of his solutions are out of the socialist playbook and would horrify most Americans so he dare not say them until he’s reelected. If he wins you can expect specifics immediately.

Charlemagne on October 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Yep, this is it exactly.

PatriotGal2257 on October 5, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Four weeks later, Obama still has nothing to offer. He has nothing left in the tank; he’s mailing it in. All he can do is offer the Geithneresque approach, picking apart Romney’s plan while having nothing of his own to offer. And if he doesn’t have anything to offer by now, Obama simply doesn’t have it at all.

What the debate also showed was a choice between an affable, determined over-achiever and a listless, affirmative action under-achiever. One, who, all his life has exceeded expectations, and another who, all his life, has seldom met them and, when failing, blames everything and everyone but himself.

TXUS on October 5, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Wendy’s commercial: Where’s the Beef?

1984 Democratic Presidential Debate

aunursa on October 5, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Great article Ed. A few of the body blows that Obama did land on Romney, that his ideas were so good that he was keeping them secret, can be parried in future debates by pointing out the lack of substance of the president. A few artful and memorable lines would be nifty.

Obama may complain about Romney keeping his good ideas secret now, but Obama’s been keeping his good ideas secret for four years, which is why we’re in the mess we’re in.

STL_Vet on October 5, 2012 at 11:37 AM

At this point all we can expect to hear is: ‘expecting a policy is racist!’

Or: ‘Expecting a plan is racist!’

Or: ‘Math is racist!’

Or: ‘Numbers are racist!’

That last just before they decide to abolish names and hand out numbers, instead.

ajacksonian on October 5, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Looks like O’s Energy of Secretary Chu’s dream of $10 a gallon gas is slowly being realized. In California, overnight, gas went up 20 cents, after a week of price rises. Many station simply closed down. As a price example, near Thousand Oaks gas is selling for $5.69 a gallon. It is CA today, but the rest of the country will follow. In light of these questionable employment numbers, we need to also make more of O’s war on energy.
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Calif-gas-prices-jump-by-up-to-20-cents-overnight-3921155.php

anotherJoe on October 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM

..anecdotal support of anotherjoe’s comment: my fave gas station $3.99 last Saturday for the cheap stuff was at $4.59 this morning!

OUCH!

Sure glad we paid that $90 billion to the green energy folks who will ride in and rescue us any moment now.

The War Planner on October 5, 2012 at 11:37 AM

National Journal wonders: Where’s the beef, Mr. President?

…if you saw the picture on Drudge yesterday that was linked here….of JugEars and Mooch leaving the stage as Romney is standing at his podium smiling and collecting his notes…just look at her stance!…there’s something between them thighs!

KOOLAID2 on October 5, 2012 at 11:38 AM

It’s about time someone started asking for Obama’s specifics. The left’s talking points for the last few weeks has been telling Romney to give specifics to his programs. I get sick of hearing Bob Beckel, Juan Williams and Alan Colmes harping on it every chance they get. Obama has almost four years of specifics he needs to explain. In fact he has a whole lifetime of specifics I’d like to hear.

iamsaved on October 5, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Oh,come on, this is easy. Forward . . . toward socialism; money be damned!

RobertMN on October 5, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Obama’s been pretty clear about his second term agenda:

Spend and tax and redistribute to cronies

gwelf on October 5, 2012 at 11:38 AM

The cattle are accounted for.

Where I want to know is, where the heck are my dogs?

I quote, Never but never offer Obama a hot dog. He might say the gators got him.

logicman_1998 on October 5, 2012 at 11:39 AM

He needs more flexibility before he can reveal his plan.

NeighborhoodCatLady on October 5, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Why was he so bad? Arrogance. That Barry has to even participate is below him, in his mind. Who is Romney to question him? Noone has questioned Barack his entire life. That’s partly why he has to setup strawman arguments in every question. There’s no real equal to him. Barack wants to go through high school choomin along? Sure, why not, just do what he wants. Sell/use drugs in college? Heck yeah. Magically transfer to an Ivy League school? What me worry about qualifying or paying for it? The one private sector job he had, he hated it and faked his whole persona during the stay of course to his own benefit.
Barry wants into the Illinois senate? Surely so, open up those sealed divorce records.
The list goes on and on.

Now will this be seen in the second debate? Absolutely not. Barry will act however he needs to in order to win that second debate. Romney needs to be prepared to get buried in the press. The papers are going to blare incompetence and lies. Sometime before the third debate a tiny little story will be put out how Barry was “distracted” during the first debate by some national security issue. Be it negotiations to stop Israel’s attack on Iran, or Iran’s attack on Israel, or something Al Qaeda related to subtly tie in Bin Laden.

smfic on October 5, 2012 at 11:42 AM

He needs more flexibility before he can reveal his plan.

NeighborhoodCatLady on October 5, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Surrender.

STL_Vet on October 5, 2012 at 11:42 AM

This is chess so complicated that the Starship Enterprise main computer would self-destruct trying to decipher the strategies involved, and chess that only Bark can play.

Bishop on October 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Not hard at all if you apply the right set of assumptions from the beginning.

For example:

1. Assume you’ve got an elected leader that wants to do harm to the United States. That he wants to punish the US for not feeling the same level of suffering as one of the third world rat-holes he and his family grew up in.

2. Assume that you’ve got an elected leader who has never held a real job, has no understanding of making payroll or otherwise lived outside the world of academia and public sector funding.

3. Assume that you’ve got an elected leader who has leftist ideology down but has never had to apply it to public policy.

4. Assume you’ve got a media which is happy to act as propagandists who routinely ignore administration scandals and allow the creation of the most corrupt executive branch ever.

In short Obama is only complicated when you start with the idea that he believes in America and Americans. Once you realize he is a rat-eared traitor who doesn’t care then it all falls in place. 2,000 troops killed in Afghanistan (60% under his surge strategy)- what does it mean to Obama politically. Consulate attacked and an ambassador brutally killed- how can we hide the facts so it doesn’t hurt politically. Hundreds of Mexicans killed- Declare Executive Privilege over the relevant facts to the US government deliberately allowing criminals to buy firearms so that you can go out after the Second Amendment.

Happy Nomad on October 5, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Where’s the beef, Mr. President?

Obama is giving us the other end of the bull

faraway on October 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Pffft. This is chess so complicated that the Starship Enterprise main computer would self-destruct trying to decipher the strategies involved, and chess that only Bark can play.

Bishop on October 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Fortunately for Berry he has people to figure all this “stuff” out.

“Old Maid” is probably his favorite card game, and I doubt he’s wone a hand yet – on his own.

Cody1991 on October 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM

What the debate also showed was a choice between an affable, determined over-achiever and a listless, affirmative action under-achiever. One, who, all his life has exceeded expectations, and another who, all his life, has seldom met them and, when failing, blames everything and everyone but himself.

TXUS on October 5, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Sununu nailed it. Obama is lazy and disengaged. Emphasis on the lazy. Obama will be fully engaged when it matters to him personally but otherwise not so much.

Happy Nomad on October 5, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Obama is completely out of ideas, something we’ve known for a while. Did anyone catch his campaign speech today? There was nothing new. Same old tired talking points.

William Teach on October 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

wone-won….pimf!

Cody1991 on October 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

CorporatePiggy on October 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM

In the tummy.

antisocial on October 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

The sad thing is, even mailing it in, he’s still got a chance to win.

Waggoner on October 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Now how can Obama have altitutde sickness? He spends plenty of time on Air Force One, and that’s pressurized only to 6,000 feet above sea level (higher than Denver, BTW).

Now if someone said he had attitude sickness, I could believe that.

Steve Eggleston on October 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

EdMorrissey

I buy that Obama’s debate failure was from altitude sickness … like the kind Icarus had.

Awesome, Ed. Awesome.

UltimateBob on October 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Did anyone catch his campaign speech today? There was nothing new. Same old tired talking points.

William Teach on October 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Yup,caught just enough of it this morning to make me want to throw something at my TV. He just kept repeating lies that Mitt beat his ass over Wednesday night.

SWalker on October 5, 2012 at 11:50 AM

What a surprise! A man who brought nothing to the table to start with now sits there staring at an empty plate while adding nothing to the dinner table discussion.

I remain firmly convinced that Obama has a lot more to lose in the second debate. If he cannot prove that he can overcome the epic fail of his first debate (a perfect metaphor for his first, and it is to be hoped, last term), then he has no credibility whatsoever when it comes to convincing anyone that he can turn things around if given a second term.

natasha333 on October 5, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Obama is completely out of ideas, something we’ve known for a while. Did anyone catch his campaign speech today? There was nothing new. Same old tired talking points.

William Teach on October 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

He never had any. Socialists, Communists, Fascists, Totalitarians, Dictators have only one objective – power over a compliant populace ( or beat them into complacency).

BO is just history repeating itself. The gamble on the part of the Dems was that he was ‘magical’ enough to sustain the fraud for two terms.

Cody1991 on October 5, 2012 at 11:53 AM

EdMorrissey

I buy that Obama’s debate failure was from altitude sickness … like the kind Icarus had.

Two serious flaws in that argument Ed,

1) Icarus “FLEW”
2) Icarus had “WINGS”

Obama is running around on the ground flapping his arm pretending that he has wings and pretending that he is flying. To hell with getting to close to the sun, Obama biggest worry is skinning his knee when he stumbles and falls.

SWalker on October 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Still; the best fast food commercial of all time.

lorien1973 on October 5, 2012 at 11:24 AM

I disagree.

Parts is Parts.

JPeterman on October 5, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Where’s the Beef?

In Wendy’s buns!

If Gary Hart would have made that reply, he might have been president :-)

LouisianaLightning on October 5, 2012 at 11:56 AM

If Gary Hart would have made that reply, he might have been president :-)

LouisianaLightning on October 5, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Nope, nothing was going to save Gary after getting caught on his yacht fondling a woman that wasn’t his wife while Ted Kennedy looked on approvingly.

SWalker on October 5, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Two serious flaws in that argument Ed,

1) Icarus “FLEW”
2) Icarus had “WINGS”

Obama is running around on the ground flapping his arm pretending that he has wings and pretending that he is flying. To hell with getting to close to the sun, Obama biggest worry is skinning his knee when he stumbles and falls.

SWalker on October 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Obama’s head is, at a minimum, at a geosynchronous orbit.

Steve Eggleston on October 5, 2012 at 11:58 AM

SWalker on October 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Obama’s head is, at a minimum, at a geosynchronous orbit.

Steve Eggleston on October 5, 2012 at 11:58 AM

True… But it’s in a geosynchronous orbit around Moochell’s moon sized ass…

SWalker on October 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Two serious flaws in that argument Ed,

1) Icarus “FLEW”
2) Icarus had “WINGS”

Obama is running around on the ground flapping his arm pretending that he has wings and pretending that he is flying. To hell with getting to close to the sun, Obama biggest worry is skinning his knee when he stumbles and falls.

SWalker on October 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

You mean, like Big Bird?

TXUS on October 5, 2012 at 12:03 PM

The Dems are saying that,in the debate Obama was using the Pee Wee Herman strategy – “I meant to do that!”

Uniblogger on October 5, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Why is Obama so secretive? What is he hiding?

HumpBot Salvation on October 5, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Barry has no other “plan”. He’s stuck in his socialist box.

GarandFan on October 5, 2012 at 12:04 PM

SWalker on October 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

You mean, like Big Bird?

TXUS on October 5, 2012 at 12:03 PM

BINGO…….

SWalker on October 5, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Sununu nailed it. Obama is lazy and disengaged. Emphasis on the lazy. Obama will be fully engaged when it matters to him personally but otherwise not so much.

Happy Nomad on October 5, 2012 at 11:46 AM

He has never really worked a day in his life and it shows.

CorporatePiggy on October 5, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Four weeks later, Obama still has nothing to offer. He has nothing left in the tank; he’s mailing it in. – Ed

And that was so painfully obvious that a wee bit of schadenfreude is in order.

§§§§§§§§§§ ~(Ä)~ §§§§§§§§§
GOP Attack Squad Since 1972

Karl Magnus on October 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Where’s the Beef?

In Wendy’s buns!

If Gary Hart would have made that reply, he might have been president :-)

LouisianaLightning on October 5, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Turned out the beef was in Donna Rice.

Bitter Clinger on October 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

EdMorrissey

I buy that Obama’s debate failure was from altitude sickness … like the kind Icarus had.

Ed, that is really good. Put that on twitter and it will get a billion re tweets.

SparkPlug on October 5, 2012 at 12:09 PM

SWalker on October 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

You mean, like Big Bird?

TXUS on October 5, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Hahaha. Good one .

SparkPlug on October 5, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Ed, that is really good. Put that on twitter and it will get a billion re tweets.

SparkPlug on October 5, 2012 at 12:09 PM

You’re assuming that one billion people know who Icarus was.
Sadly, most Americans don’t.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on October 5, 2012 at 12:13 PM

If Mr. Obama has a plan, Americans who listened Thursday don’t know how he would achieve it.

Barky says:“You have to elect me to find out what’s in it.”

BacaDog on October 5, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Facts are racist. Figures are racist. Details are racist. Expecting details is racist. You are not capable of understanding the genius of Obama which is also racist.

However, in his magnificence, Emperor Barack will change a few ‘details’ and ‘number’ such the latest unemployment numbers if that will make you unwashed imbeciles happy. Such is his greatness. Now shut up and get back to work making some money for his magnificence to spread around.

ghostwalker1 on October 5, 2012 at 12:23 PM

The Plan: Tax and Spend. It’s so easy a fifth grader could do it.

JimK on October 5, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Now how can Obama have altitutde sickness? He spends plenty of time on Air Force One, and that’s pressurized only to 6,000 feet above sea level (higher than Denver, BTW).

Now if someone said he had attitude sickness, I could believe that.

Steve Eggleston on October 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

AF1 is also the most luxurious way to travel by air ever devised. He can sleep in a full-sized bed and take a regular shower any time he wants.

slickwillie2001 on October 5, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Here is a zinger Romney must deploy in the next debate (or some variation of it): “The President can’t just pull numbers out of thin air” (an obvious reference/tweak about the high altitude excuse).

It will no doubt be talked about in the after debate commentary and people will have another opportunity to laugh at Obama’s lame excuses.

OxyCon on October 5, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Have you ever noticed that the more bullsh!t that one spews the less beef there is? Sort of the opposite of where there’s smoke there’s fire.

Flange on October 5, 2012 at 12:38 PM

We (I mean you) silly Americans. Barry has already implemented his plan / policy. It just remains to play itself out in the second term. You think he wants to improve / fix? He wants to take us down the marxist road. But he can’t tip his hand and paint the obvious for the thickheads. That is why he has nothing to say, can’t say it. Steady the course.

But of course Barry can’t say that!

steveracer on October 5, 2012 at 12:39 PM

The plan Obama has is to further choke the economy. To get more people on the government dole and to finish destroying the energy industry. When you add that to his making sure that the muslim brotherhood bring their terrorism to our shores and the only things he’ll have left to do is get rid of the 2 laws Obama hates the most…The 1st & 2nd Amendments!
Final UPDATE for those following:How to take on the Obama Enemy media: http://paratisiusa.blogspot.com/2012/09/an-open-letter-to-those-who-should-know.html?spref=tw

God Bless America!

paratisi on October 5, 2012 at 12:40 PM

His second-term agenda is the same as his third-, fourth-, and fifth-term ones.

Ward Cleaver on October 5, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Four weeks later, Obama still has nothing to offer.

Obama has an agenda for a second term, he can’t and won’t really tell us what it is because he knows he’d be thrown out on his (big) ears.

TulsAmerican on October 5, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Obama lost because Obama has nothing left to offer:

I get you guys constantly attacking our president, but nothing to offer is ridiculous…

First of all he has his budget which he has offered, it’s not his fault he never received one vote, not even a democrat vote for his budget…

And he does have something else to offer, an Ambassadorship to Libya, it’s not his fault no one wants to work for Hillary or him.

And he has green energy to offer us, just because he threw away 90.5 billion doesn’t meant the next 90.5 billion hits a jackpot…

So you see? Don’t pick on Obama, he hasn’t done anything…

right2bright on October 5, 2012 at 12:46 PM

… Don’t pick on Obama, he hasn’t done anything…

right2bright on October 5, 2012 at 12:46 PM

That right there would be a brilliant bumper sticker.

AZfederalist on October 5, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Still; the best fast food commercial of all time.

lorien1973 on October 5, 2012 at 11:24 AM

I’ve always been partial to THIS ONE…Although it’s a tad before my time…wth did drunk-arse people do without 24 hour drive-thrus at 2am? Eat at Howard Johnson’s?

Although for sheer creepiness, the first Ronald McDonld ad takes the McCake :/

JetBoy on October 5, 2012 at 1:13 PM

(Until Wednesday night, pretty much nothing good had happened for Romney since the minute Clint Eastwood inexplicably lugged that chair onstage on the final evening of the Republican convention.)

Maybe people are starting to see Clint’s point in talking to that empty chair after Wednesday nights’ debate. Clint knew something no one on the left could see………’til now

Herb on October 5, 2012 at 1:37 PM

We have to reelect him to find out what’s in him!!!

/

Mary in LA on October 5, 2012 at 4:49 PM

BacaDog on October 5, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Rats, ya beat me to it. :-)

Mary in LA on October 5, 2012 at 4:51 PM