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Thursday, October 4, 2012
Politics ...

After watching the first Presidential candidate debate last night, the thing that comes to my mind, along with thousands if not millions of other would-be pundits, is whether Barack Obama still really wants to be the President of the United States. Many commentators did sense a lack of enthusiasm on his part in his performance against Mitt Romney last night. E.g., Ms Franke-Ruta in The Atlantic.

Andrew Sullivan said that Romney started reminding him of Ronald Reagan during the debate. That briefly crossed my mind too last night. What was even more scary was Obama’s dispirited closing remarks about his not being a perfect man or a perfect President. (Back to Mr. Sullivan for a quick second, he also accused Mr. Obama of “political malpractice” in his debate performance.) This all reminded me of the incumbent President that Reagan beat in 1980, Jimmy Carter. I’m specifically thinking of a clip that I saw on American Experience of a very exhausted Mr. Carter making a short speech to a campaign crowd in the early morning hours of Election Day. His closing words to the crowd were “help us”, spoken in a rather dejected, rather pathetic fashion . . . as though he already knew what was coming. In a way, I sensed that the soon-to-be-ex-President was saying “help ME”; and I also sensed that the best way to personally help this man was to lift the great burden of world leadship off his shoulders, let him have a long rest.

Which is how things turned out. And after Jimmy Carter had that long rest, he returned to the public scene and did many, many good things for both our nation and the world overall. And he’s still not through. I don’t at all relish the idea of Mitt Romney in the White House; but Mr. Obama would probably make his greatest overall contribution to human-kind by going the route of James Earl Carter.

PS, we saw another situation not long ago here in New Jersey where a dis-spirited Democratic incumbent (ex-Governor Jon Corzine) failed to hold off an energized Republican new-comer (now-Governor Chris Christie). Some people are energized by both political battles and real military battles (e.g., Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan), while others just don’t hold up (Carter, Corzine, and apparently, Hilary Clinton). Last night, it appeared that Barack Obama belonged to the latter group. We shall soon see if it was just a bad night, if he can somehow get his mojo back.

Oh, my vote for the most naive review of last night’s debate goes to Gail Collins at the NY Times. She seemed to be whistling past the graveyard, repeating the old saw about Presidential debates seldom making a difference. Meanwhile, her liberal friends at MSNBC (most notably Chris Matthews) were expressing their great angst over how Obama had just thrown his entire campaign and his Presidency into the sewer!

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:54 pm      
 
 


  1. Jim, Well, I guess I join Gail Collins and her “most naive review” for my few words on the debate. I anticipated the debate with enthusiasm. I, who can become interested in practically *anything at all* lasted some few minutes into the debate until my eyes started to glaze over. I can see why Obama seemed to be uninterested and/or dispirited–so was I.

    The one thing in the debate that *did* catch my attention was when Jim Lehrer (sp?) said, “Isn’t this *fun*?” What!?! Is he kidding? Now that made me laugh!

    Rather than think that Obama lost the debate, I found the way the moderator handled the topics boring, boring, boring…..(how many more times can I say it?) Lehrer demanded, the minute either candidate started to bring in something where I started to think, “now I want to hear *this*: There was Lehrer: “Let’s stay on topic!” What?! I tho’t the candidate *was* addressing the topic, with something that actually caught my interest. Yet, it was Lehrer who several times insisted that both candidates “stay on topic”, that is, not bring in something that might be very interesting, pertinent (maybe even a “zinger” here or there), and keep my attention, my eyes from glazing over. and that I might possibly be really interested in. And then Lehrer would say something about how much “fun” it all was! Please!

    They tell us that “north of 60 million” people watched the debate; I heard one commentator say. Well, I was one who *watched* the debate. *But*!! I ask: How many of those “north of 60 million” actually paid any attention to the debate. I had a book out, was reading, one ear listening for something that didn’t put me to sleep. Then, I’d hear something that caught my attention. Unfortunately, most of the time it was always Jim Lehrer immediately cautioning the candidates to “let’s not get off topic”). And then my eyes would soon glaze over yet again. I wonder how many of those 60 millions did the same thing I did.

    Even Romney could not hold my attention, and I was definitely willing to pay attention to what he had to say. For the life of me, I wondered how the 2 debators managed to keep from falling asleep during the whole thing; in fact, when it was all over, I asked myself, how could Romney possibly sound so enthusiastic over the boring way this debate was handled. Thus, I can see Obama looking as he did and I don’t blame him one bit. Maybe he felt the same way I did. This may be a naive review; but I wonder just how many people, if they were honest, felt the same way I felt. I say it again, sum up the entire debate in one word: Boring. MCS P.S. And for the life I me I cannot figure out why it is that the networks need 30 minutes to tell us what we just heard and/or what we should think about it. Seems to me the purpose of that 30 minutes is to let us know how important *the pundits* are who can tell us what we just heard. Naive again, I know. Can’t help myself. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — October 5, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

  2. Jim, Can’t help but think–what a difference a day makes. Today jobs are up, not down as was actually predicted. Suddenly, everything seems so different. Just proof that politics seems about like Chicago weather. They say here that if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. (It will change.) Seems politics is the same. If you predict one thing, wait a minute…. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — October 5, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

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