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The Big Bird counterattack

Posted by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 8:03 AM
  • 12 Replies
4 moms liked this

I just love Charles Krauthammer.


No mystery about the trajectory of this race. It was static for months as President Obama held a marginal lead. Then came the conventions. The Republicans squandered Tampa; the Democrats got a 3- to 4-point bounce out of Charlotte.

And kept it. Until the first debate. In 90 minutes, Mitt Romney wiped out the bump — and maybe more.

Democrats are shellshocked and left searching for excuses. Start with scapegoats: the hapless John Kerry, Obama’s sparring partner in the practice debates, for going too soft on the boss; then the debate moderator for not exerting enough control.

The Obama campaign’s plea that the commander in chief could find no shelter under Jim Lehrer’s desk did not exactly bolster Obama’s standing. Moreover, the moderator’s job is not to control the flow of argument, but to simply enforce an even time split.

Lehrer did. In fact, Obama took more time than Romney — 41 / 2 minutes more — while actually speaking 500 fewer words. Romney knew what he thought and said it. Obama kept looking around hoping for the words to come to him. They didn’t.

After the scapegoats came the excuses.

Obama had a bad night. He was off his game.

Nonsense. This is Obama’s game. Great at delivering telepromptered addresses to adoring Germans and swooning students. But he’s not very good on his feet.

His problem is that he doesn’t think so. He not only believes his own press, he believes his own mythology. He actually said (in 2007): “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And . . . I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Obama is a man of considerable intelligence. But he’s not half as transcendently smart as he thinks he is.

He needs a servant in his chariot reminding him that he’s not an immortal. Of course, after the debate the entire Democratic Party told him he’s a dud. Wrong again. He’s neither lord nor commoner. He’s just an above-average politician who needs a very good night in one of the next two debates.

He was weighed down by the burdens of office.

Ah yes, the burdens of office. Like going on “The View” while meeting with not a single foreign leader at the United Nations. Like flying to a Vegas campaign rally the day after a U.S. consulate is sacked and the ambassador murdered. Like rushing off to New York for a night with Jay-Z and Beyonce.

Rocky Mountain altitude is a better excuse than that. (Thank you, Al Gore.)

Reductionism.

Stephanie Cutter and David Axelrod both said (amazing coincidence) that Romney won on “style points.”

So, the most charismatic politician since Pierre Elliot Trudeau was beaten by an android — on style? I concede that Obama’s reaction shots were awful. But he lost on radio too. And in print. Read the transcript. This wasn’t about appearances. Romney didn’t win on style. He won on an avalanche of substance, on a complete takedown of six months of Obama portraying Romney as enemy of the middle class, friend and footman of the rich.

That was the heart of the Obama campaign. After all, with crushing debt, chronically high unemployment and the worst economic recovery since World War II, Obama can’t run on stewardship. Nor on the future. He has no serious agenda. Nothing on entitlements, nothing on tax reform, nothing on debt, nothing on the fiscal cliff.

So when Romney completely deflated that six-month “kill Romney” strategy — by looking reasonable, responsible, authoritative in demonstrating how his policies would help the middle class by stimulating economic growth — what did Obama have left?

Big Bird. The stupidest ad in memory. Has any president ever run an ad so small and trivial? After an unprecedented shellacking in a debate about very large issues, this is his response?

The Middle East is ablaze, the country drowning in debt, the fiscal cliff looming — and Obama’s great pitch is that only he can save the $130 million enterprise that is the Sesame Workshop?

An inspiring second-term agenda: subsidies for Big Bird and free contraceptives for Sandra Fluke.

Obama has two debates to come up with something better. If he can’t, he will double down on his “Romney the menace” line. It might still work. But a word of advice: Your administration having prevaricated unceasingly — and scandalously — about the massacre in Benghazi, I’d be cautious about the “he’s a liar” line of attack.

letters@charleskrauthammer.com

by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 8:03 AM
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gsprofval
by Gold Member on Oct. 14, 2012 at 8:09 AM
1 mom liked this

This is a great article.  Just wait for the nay-sayers to respond--they have nothing to stand on because Romney is too good an opponent for obama.

The next debate should be very interesting. Haven't heard anything about Romney prepping for it, but I bet he is and will be obama down again.

Carpy
by Platinum Member on Oct. 14, 2012 at 8:28 AM
3 moms liked this

Obama will be a bit stronger on his game this time, but I do not think he can match wits with Romney, without the teleprompter.

Quoting gsprofval:

This is a great article.  Just wait for the nay-sayers to respond--they have nothing to stand on because Romney is too good an opponent for obama.

The next debate should be very interesting. Haven't heard anything about Romney prepping for it, but I bet he is and will be obama down again.


pvtjokerus
by Gold Member on Oct. 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM
1 mom liked this

Brillant!

1) "That was the heart of the Obama campaign. After all, with crushing debt, chronically high unemployment and the worst economic recovery since World War II, Obama can’t run on stewardship. Nor on the future. He has no serious agenda. Nothing on entitlements, nothing on tax reform, nothing on debt, nothing on the fiscal cliff."

2) "But a word of advice: Your administration having prevaricated unceasingly — and scandalously — about the massacre in Benghazi, I’d be cautious about the “he’s a liar” line of attack."

pvtjokerus
by Gold Member on Oct. 14, 2012 at 8:49 AM
1 mom liked this

I doubt that one will see any nay-sayers comments.....

Quoting gsprofval:

This is a great article.  Just wait for the nay-sayers to respond--they have nothing to stand on because Romney is too good an opponent for obama.

The next debate should be very interesting. Haven't heard anything about Romney prepping for it, but I bet he is and will be obama down again.


Carpy
by Platinum Member on Oct. 14, 2012 at 11:06 AM
1 mom liked this
It would be tough to come up with something.

Quoting pvtjokerus:

I doubt that one will see any nay-sayers comments.....


Quoting gsprofval:


This is a great article.  Just wait for the nay-sayers to respond--they have nothing to stand on because Romney is too good an opponent for obama.


The next debate should be very interesting. Haven't heard anything about Romney prepping for it, but I bet he is and will be obama down again.



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broncfan
by Silver Member on Oct. 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM
5 moms liked this

I haven't checked this out, just got it in a email this morning. 

The Quote of the Decade:

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America 's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, "the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

Correctly Attributed

Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Oct. 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM
5 moms liked this

My only disagreement with the article is that Obama didn't get a bump out of the convention, Bill Clinton got a bump, as soon as the people remembered Obama was the candidate, the bump went away.

imamomzilla
by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM
4 moms liked this

 LOL! Charles is great. :-)

brandydesiree
by Bronze Member on Oct. 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM
2 moms liked this
Great article. Has anyone noticed that the liberals are getting quieter? Of course they are still going to vote for their beloved leader, but they just don't have a leg to stand on.
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SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Oct. 14, 2012 at 2:08 PM
3 moms liked this

Good article, Carpy. The transcript puzzles me. It includes Obama's intro, but not Romney's. Remember that cute joke he made about Obama choosing the most romantic location for his anniversary, "being up here with me". Not in the transcript. I wonder what else is missing.  

What's missing from the transcript for sure are the 318 "uh's"/um's" for Obama vs. 46 for Romney. 

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