Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

2012 Debate I: Romney’s aggression impressed the masses

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President Obama would have been better off if Rob Portman had argued for him in Denver. Mitt Romney did a lot better than John Kerry ever would.

We would have better off watching Portman and Kerry debate each other. Jim Lehrer would have been a lot happier.

Al Roker tweeted about the license plate of the truck that hit Lehrer during the debate. This statement isn’t said too often: Al Roker was funny.

Romney wants undecided women to vote for him, but his hyper, aggressive bully approach appealed to undecided men and his base. You had a 51-year-old incumbent who came across like he was on Valium and a 65-year-old guy who doesn’t consume caffeine who was hyper.

Romney’s hyper nature came across in his response to the Middle East protests. His handlers don’t want to hear this, but if the race is close, their candidate will lose because he doesn’t look presidential. John McCain suffered from similar issues in 2008.

Obama left so much on the table. And when he came close, he didn’t land the punch. Obama might have won on looking presidential, but Romney came across as tough.

How could Barack Obama on a debate about domestic policy not bring up the auto bailout?

Barack Obama got a good taste of what would have happened if the far left ran a candidate in this year’s Democratic primary. Too bad that the other guy on stage that night isn’t running for president.

Romney came across in the debate as someone who was concerned about those who are suffering economically. Most of the campaign has been about Romney doing the complete opposite. Romney scored points in the debate for legitimate points against Obama’s record. The problem for Romney is that he has no intention of fulfilling those promises.

If you are looking for Romney’s cynicism beyond the shores of the first debate, check out his “admission” that was “completely wrong” about the 47%. Why now? Why only after the debate does he respond?

Romney is trying to make us literally forget the person he has been for the last 5 years in 90 minutes. He just might convince 47% of the people of this, but it won’t be the right 47% to make that work.

Many said Obama looked tired. Maybe he is brilliant and trying to lower expectations for the final two debates. Or he knew that incumbents never do well in the first debate.

The problem with the first debate for Obama is that he woke up two constituencies. His flank to the left, which he has steadfastly ignored since the fall of 2008, is more furious with him than ever before. The far right, even though Romney blew off everything they believe in, are more excited about the presidential race.

Obama’s master plan could involve the GOP being more excited about taking back the White House so they pour more money into Romney at the expense of the House and Senate races. This may indeed happen, but this is not the plan from the White House.

The GOP has had more consecutive years where they controlled the whole enchilada — 2001-2007 — under George W. Bush than the Dems have had in the last 32 years. Why Bill Clinton and now Barack Obama don’t fight harder to get their party to be in charge in Congress is absolutely befuddling.

Whether Obama gets re-elected or loses, the Democratic Party is going to want someone in its next leader who will fight up and down the ballot. Barack Obama has two more debates to show that he can be that person.

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