Looks Like All Those Republican Debates Were a Good Idea After All

Remember that long awful stretch of endless Republican debates that everyone was tired of. A long grueling schedule of 27 debates. Who could that possibly help?

Mitt Romney, apparently.

Obama came to the McCain debates with some experience after the primaries, but this time it was Romney who had gone through his own trial by fire during the primaries. Romney had gone through plenty of high profile debates before, but the epic Republican primaries in 2012 had been the debates that never ended. The debates may have worn on our nerves, but after going up against Gingrich and Perry, the showdown with Obama was smooth sailing.

Obama had faced off against fairly weak debaters like Hillary Clinton and McCain and that was a while back. Since then he’s had an adoring media corps carry his bags. No one has talked back to him or argued with him and focusing on doing The View and Glamour Magazine did not help prepare him for this.

Obama is still uncomfortable speaking without a strong crowd reaction. He reads lines off a teleprompter more naturally than he recites them from memory. He’s used to being adored, not to being challenged and his instincts have gotten rusty since the last time he did this.

Romney has gotten used to playing to tough crowds and getting audiences who don’t like him personally to accept him. His opponent is a lot weaker with an emotional support network. After four years, it’s clearer than ever that Obama has never really been tested.

  • Miriam Kaplan

    I don't think that was the whole problem for Obama in the debate.

    My opinion is that Οbama has occupied the Oval Office for the last four years but that in fact he has not been the president. He has been playing golf, going on vacations and campaigning. He comes out to the Rose Garden to make some statements and turns away when reporters want to ask questions. He has not been attending those security briefings.

    So who is running things ? Valerie Jarrett ? We know for sure that she had a significant role in the delay of the hit on Osama bin Laden. That revelation is probably only the tip of the iceberg. She is present at most high level meetings of Obama with members of his cabinet. There is no doubt in my mind that it is she who reads all the briefing papers, studies the issues, and defines policy goals. It is she – and her office – who provides Obama with his talking points.

    When Obama responds to questions, his body language tells me that he is trying to remember the points he has been instructed to say. That is, when he is not speaking in generalities. He is never in command of the facts – either the numbers, the situational facts, or the policy facts.

    There is a video made in Denmark showing Obama speaking to the representatives of five small countries in which he says to each of them the exact same line – that their country has 'punched above their weight'; and to the representatives of about eight other countries that they are 'among our strongest allies'. This repetition – with appropriate pauses to make it look like he is actuallly speaking extemporaneously, but in fact more likely because he is trying to recall his lines – betrays the fact that he has no knowledge of the particular individuality of our relations with any of these countries – or even the specialness of each of the countries.

    In fact, Obama, for all his claims about being a teacher of Constitutional Law, is an ill educated and poorly informed individual. That is what those gaffes of his show: the US has 57 states, Austrian is a language, the Supreme Court cannot declare a law passed by Congress unconstitutional. His ignorance is a yawing abyss.

    Obama is an inspirational speaker. He moves crowds, but he moves them with appeals to a hopeful dream. I was present when he spoke in Washington Square Park in SEP 2007. The NYU students were swept off their feet. I turned away at the end with the realization that he was a demagogue. Demogogues promise the world to get the vote; they appeal to emotions, prejudices and ignorance. I saw him doing that to a mostly white audience. The recently released video from JUN 2007 shows him doing the same to a black audience.

    Valerie Jarrett realized that he had the appeal, the ability and the smile to get elected. Once elected she would let Obama have the perqs of the office while she would be the brains behind the scenes and see to it that the policies both she and he favored would be implemented – this included getting their kind of people as cabinet members and reorganizing the executive into tzar-dominated departments. But she knew very well that Obama did not have the sitzfleish or the intelligence to oversee those tasks.

    In my opinion that is why Obama did so badly in the debate. He had never immersed himself in the details of the office. He never knew the details of the legislation. He has had no oversight of his departments – Justice, Homeland Security, EPA, etc. He wouldn't know and doesn't care if they are overstepping themselves.

    They may train him for the coming debates. But such training will never stubstitute for having studied the documents and the books and for having struggled to formulate responses to a different way of seening the world. Whatever knowledge he may absorb in the coming weeks will be learned – but not owned. Watch his body language when he tries to call up a response. Watch his eyelids flutter, how he adopts that supercilious professorial angle of his head, how he gestures with his hand, how he clears his voice and utters 'uhums'. They are all a cloak to hide his insecurity, an insecurity based on the uncertainty as to whether he has remembered his lines correctly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/katy.mccain.3 Katy McCain
  • pyeatte

    Obama is a conflicted individual – trapped between his childhood, steeped in Islam, and his adulthood Christianity mixed with Marxist Liberation Theology. At his core, he is a left-wing ideologue, incapable of seeing any other way or compromising. To see what Obama is all about, it is important to read two books:
    (1) The Amateur, by Edward Klein
    (2) Spreading the Wealth:…, by Stanley Kurtz
    Anyone reading these would be hard pressed to vote for Obama if they believed in the Constitution and the American way of life.