Blame Obama's lousy debate on John Kerry

In the debate’s aftermath, Michael Moore began the blame game over Obama’s bloodless performance by honing in on Senator Kerry. In truth, one does have to wonder what possessed the White House to select the guy who lost to George W. Bush as their “debate coach.” I suppose if the Obama campaign really expected Thurston Howell III to show up on stage last night—the rich and oblivious character they’ve created in their campaign ads—than Kerry is as good a choice as any. This after all, was the guy who praised the Ohio State Buckeyes in Michigan, managed to call our troops in Iraq “uneducated,” and made one of the biggest political gaffes of all time (“I was for it before I was against it”). Oddly, the guy who sounded most like Kerry last night was Obama, ponderous and lecturing. In fact, at his worst Obama is more like Michael Dukakis, the passionless, know-it-all technocrat, who famously answered a question about his wife’s theoretical rape and murder as if he were debating a new study on the benefits of ethanol…

What the president needs as a debate partner is a guy filled with ambition, someone desperate to please, able to recite facts and figures as if they mean something while biting his lip, talking about his “Mama,” and trying to sound as “average American” as possible. A guy who has no problem abandoning any position if it helps his chances, and gets away with it by pretending he hasn’t changed a thing. Don’t know who I mean? Here’s a hint: he’s on the phone right now in Chappaqua telling anyone who’ll listen how much better he (or Hillary) would have done last night. Yes, bring Bill in as debate coach. He might be helpful. But hey, at this point maybe Obama ought to ask for pointers from Vice President Joe Biden. He can’t foul things up any worse for the ticket. Right?