Green Room

Why Obama is likely to blow Debate 2

posted at 5:30 pm on October 15, 2012 by

The short answer is: because he’s got nothing.  There is no record to run on, no argument to make for four more years.  The ideology that drives him is outdated and bankrupt.  He has, in fact, implemented his policies – Republicans have had little means of stopping him – and those policies are the problem.

But there’s a slightly longer answer too.  Obama’s advisors will read the mainstream media assessment of the vice-presidential debate – they actually think a debate that turned women across America off of Biden was a draw, or a Biden win – and conclude that what the president needs to do is find his inner Joe Biden.  Appeal to his base by going on the attack, perhaps interrupting, being visibly annoyed at the trend of Romney’s statements, and vigorously asserting untruths in the interest of racking up effective soundbites.

Petulant attack-doggery isn’t Obama’s style, so I don’t predict that he will simply adopt the Biden posture for this week’s debate.  What I do think is that Obama and his handlers will be looking to enhance the president’s trademark pace and balance in public speaking (which does descend rather often into a sonorous drone) with more Biden-like spice.  This won’t come naturally to Obama, any more than his occasionally put-on “black accent” sounds natural.  It’s not who he is, and he won’t be good at it.

Of course, the townhall format this week can be worked to Obama’s advantage, and no doubt will be.   Obama need not be thrown softballs, but he will get questions framed to suit the answers he is likely to have – and he probably won’t be troubled much with questions framed in a confrontational manner.

Romney probably will be.  He will have to think more quickly on his feet, turning hostile questions into jumping-off points for getting his message across, while conveying a sense of goodwill and avoiding red herrings.  If there is a “silly question” for the debaters – say, “If you were an Oscar-winning movie, which one would you be?” – it may well be barbed with false implications about conservatism, Republicans, or even Romney himself.

Romney will have more choices to make in his approach and substance.  There are a lot of things he could say; what will be the most effective?  We can reasonably suppose he will perform again as well as he did in Debate 1.

Obama doesn’t have those choices, because he’s trying to stay in office – to tend cronies and inflict ideological constraints on the people – using arguments that don’t accurately represent what he’s been doing for nearly four years.  He has no intention of changing course, regardless of what the current course is inflicting on the American people.  Yet he can’t argue in the campaign for his current course – at least not to anyone but his base – because it is so ridden with failure and the scent of corruption.  Americans continue to turn against his signature legislation, ObamaCare, and even the New York Times is beginning to doubt the effectiveness of his foreign policy.

So we can expect to hear more about Romney giving a “$5 trillion tax break” to the richest Americans, along with the other canards about Romney-Ryan policy (e.g., tossing Grandma off the cliff) being trotted out over and over by the Obama campaign.  These mendacious soundbites have lost their impact, but what else does Obama have?  Personal attacks on Romney?

If the president makes a decision on retaliating in Libya before Tuesday night, he may be able to speak at the debate from a perspective of putative decisiveness, the commander-in-chief moving forces around.  A new line of tactical operations would blunt Romney’s justifiable criticism of how the White House has handled the whole matter.  I don’t foresee this dynamic winning the debate for Obama – a belated military response has little hope of trumping the public’s nearer-to-home concern about the US economy, the national debt, and constitutional freedoms – but if it comes off, it will probably be gratifying for his Amen corner in the MSM.

Gratifying them is not enough, however.  Whether he plays to his base or the MSM, Obama will not be playing to the constituency that matters: the majority of likely voters.  His appeal to that constituency in 2008 depended on his being an unknown quantity, and that’s what he no longer is.  Obama doesn’t have any more tricks in his bag.  This is it.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Weekly Standard online, and her own blog, The Optimistic Conservative.

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There is no record to run on, no argument to make for four more years.

Oh yes he does. And its all bad.

If the president makes a decision on retaliating in Libya before Tuesday night…

I figure he’s hoping for a friendly environment tomorrow and hold the attack in reserve for the next debate.

cozmo on October 15, 2012 at 5:45 PM

His appeal to that constituency in 2008 depended on his being an unknown quantity, and that’s what he no longer is. Obama doesn’t have any more tricks in his bag. This is it.

Yup–Obama’s cornered, and Team R&R are making surprisingly good use of the opportunity to get ahead. I’m actually feeling really good about our chances for November.

Mr. Prodigy on October 15, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Your first paragraph, J.E., is the gospel truth. The reason he and his acolytes yammer on about Romney’s having lied is to deflect attention from the reality that Romney didn’t have to lie (and in the final analysis was no more dishonest than Obama has been for the past four years). Obama’s putative second term is already a reprise of the promises he broke during his first term–e.g., cutting the deficit in half–but with the same lack of detail as in 2008.

As for his channeling Biden, apart from his not having it in him as you note, I’m not sure that Biden’s antics will ultimately play that well with Millennial voters, which Obama claims to be courting again. I suspect his campaign already has internal polling data on this that shows that young people were turned off by “grandpa” lecturing the young upstart.

Howard Portnoy on October 15, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Look for the inevitable middle finger scratching ear . . .

BigAlSouth on October 15, 2012 at 6:00 PM

my guess is that Obama is unable to think on his own (ok…he’s a fraud) and can only repeat the “talking points” that come from somewhere else…given the fact that the number of “talking points” is decreasing as they are fact-checked, I think we will hear a lot of “um’s and uh’s”.

I’m hoping Romney has the ability to refute (nicely of course…no eye-rolling/cackling like Biden did) any of the remaing “talking points”. Coming from where he did, should be an easy job. If he fails on that, then maybe I vote for BigBird.

teejk on October 15, 2012 at 6:01 PM

It will be Candy Crowley’s job and the media’s job to see that Obama “wins.” And they’ll do their yeoman’s best. This will mean interrupting and stifling Romney, attempting to rattle him with weird and loaded questions freighted with anti-conservative premises, and spinning the results like never before. All Obama has to do is show up and read his talking points. Obama has “won” — it’s already been decided.

rrpjr on October 15, 2012 at 6:22 PM

rrpjr on October 15, 2012 at 6:22 PM

given Obama’s record, any attempt to “prop him up” will only work against him I think. People that voted for him in 2008 are already wondering why and I think are actually wondering whether there is anything between those big ears.

teejk on October 15, 2012 at 6:31 PM

The great thing about debating the left is that they telegraph all their arguments, it’s just up to Romney to pick up on the clues of what obama’s going to say.

1. Teachers. Always with the teachers.

2. Libya. Paul Ryan cut the budget to the embassy.

3. Libya. As I’ve always said, I never personally heard the ambassador request protection, why do you ask?

4. Romney only pays 14% of taxes.

5. GM alive, OBL dead. amirite?

6. Iran? What do you want to do? Start a war? You must be the crazy one, the sanctions we have in place are like totally stifling.

That’s it, that’s what they got, except for this golden oldy they’ve been trying to perfect:

7. Ummm. Clinton was good right? We’re in the same party, and besides the failed policies of the past (which I have no intention of identifying), failed under Bush, therefore let’s run to the ruins of Europe and Japan.

joeindc44 on October 15, 2012 at 6:32 PM

The problem with Republicans is that we insist of playing by Marquess of Queensbury Roles when our opponent is a street thug.

For years I have said that our candidate should never accept a debate moderator from the MSM, get a coal miner or a cab driver. Never allow yourself to be interviewed by the MSM without bringing your own audio/video crew so you can release the unedited footage after the MSM screws you.

clippermiami on October 15, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Also, watch Obama debate McCain on foreign policy, he was IIRC kinda peppery and huffy, so it can happen.

To the liberal pathology, Obama lost round 1 because he’s too polite. So, how hard is it for a hate filled lefty to act out and thrash around in poor manners?

It’s in their nature…

joeindc44 on October 15, 2012 at 6:44 PM

If Obama yells a lot, stamps his feet, and throws tomatoes at Mitt Romney, the MSM will love it and declare it a historic achievement.

TarheelBen on October 15, 2012 at 6:54 PM

joeindc44 on October 15, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Axelrod has apparently decided that Obama will play “good cop”. I expect him to bring out the ghetto speak when it get’s tough.

In that regard, Obama’s “redistribution” audio was released on the morning of debate 1 (coincidence I’m sure)…no “um’s, ah’s” and perfect english…no ghetto speak at all).

teejk on October 15, 2012 at 7:04 PM

If you had the stomach to watch Obama over the years, you know that he gets all street thug/community agitator on the campaign trail when he knows the MSMedia won’t show him mocking, taunting, and acting like a big jerk.

When BO has big audience, prime-time he tries to look cool, calm, dignified/presidential (I’m laughing while I write this part).

I think BO is totally insecure and lost without that teleprompter. He was exposed as nothing more than a media-fabrication in front of 70M people–it’s in his head now.
Obama is a fraud–can’t hide it anymore.

bailey24 on October 15, 2012 at 7:21 PM

People that voted for him in 2008 are already wondering why and I think are actually wondering whether there is anything between those big ears.

teejk on October 15, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Oh, there is. There is.

Mary in LA on October 15, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Romney is self-made.
Barackabama is affirmative-action.

The differences were stark the last time. They’ll be even more so tomorrow.

SouthernGent on October 15, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Once started, a Preference Cascade only builds. It doesn’t dissipate.

Joe Mama on October 15, 2012 at 7:44 PM

and conclude that what the president needs to do is find his inner Joe Biden

Never go full Biden.

Blue Hen on October 15, 2012 at 8:47 PM

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Allahpundit on October 16, 2012 at 1:07 AM

Also, watch Obama debate McCain on foreign policy, he was IIRC kinda peppery and huffy, so it can happen.

To the liberal pathology, Obama lost round 1 because he’s too polite. So, how hard is it for a hate filled lefty to act out and thrash around in poor manners?

It’s in their nature…

joeindc44 on October 15, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Dead on target.. if Obama decides to be aggressive, as noted by the author, he does not do that well…. surely not when his target can fight back..

Not like the SOTU when he scolded the Supremes, knowing they had no way to fight back..

I expect Obama will try and be a bit aggressive.. and will of course conclude early on, he’s just killing Mitt with his dashing self.. boyish charm..

the breaking point, will be if he see’s in the eye’s of the journalists..

He’s loosing badly…

facepalms.. rolling their eyes.. shaking their heads.. these are his crew, and if they give it away, he’ll know all his dreams and certainty are slipping out of his grasp.

-

Then..

It’s meltdown time,.. and the sputtering, stuttering enraged leftist will make it’s appearance. He does that the bottom feeding left’s 15% will go into orgasm.. and the rest will be completely repulsed by the pompous ugly swaggering elitist snob, who really thinks everyone else is a moron next to him… see’s us all as peasants to be ruled.. and in that epic explosion of left wing hate..

He’ll beat Mondale.. and kiss off all fifty states..

He may have better self control..

but not if he see’s it all slipping away.. then, he’s got nothing to loose by going full black racist liberation theology, redistribution, socialist revoltionary.. not in his mind..

The true radical is the most honest.. and dangerous..

when they loose their one chance, and are fully exposed.

mark81150 on October 16, 2012 at 2:42 AM