Tora, Tora, Tora
Can Obama Claw Back Into the Race?
Barack Obama should have just ignored whomever advised him on debate eve, “Mr. President you have it all over this poser; go easy on him so you don’t look like a heavy.”
Obama’s re-election campaign may not survive his lackluster performance during the first presidential debate. Sure, there are two more presidential debates (and the one and only VP debate), but in two weeks Obama likely earns a draw because he goes to the other extreme to avoid looking soft, again, and instantly becomes “that guy!” You know the one who everyone tells you not to be?
Barack Obama did more than just give CPR to a dying Romney presidential effort, he put the “paddles of Life” on GOP races and interests all across the country.
Even that may not have been the worst thing which Obama’s fecklessness produced.
That, I believe, was the doubt he placed in the minds of “independents” and even some Democrats, inclined to hold their noses and vote for him, when he hadn’t totally won their hearts and votes.
I know hind sight is 20-20 but as smart a man as the President is—and certainly likes to project—he did some dumb things in the first debate, like not putting his foot on Romney’s throat figuratively and leaving there all night.
Can Obama still win? Certainly, but he’s made the race much closer and much harder for himself.
Romney as I wrote last week was determined to make himself more likeable and appear more thoughtful and succeeded in doing that with those who doubted him on both counts.
Mitt May Be More Likeable, But He’s Still BSing
What Romney didn’t do and hasn’t done—and I still hope this matters to the American voter desperate for help—is to end the misstatements about his beliefs and policies.
If voters care, that con job behavior makes the former Massachusetts Governor look shallow, lacking substance and core principles. He's just another political opportunist looking for a place to chill.
Mitt’s a chameleon at best and a liar at worst.
As a friend noted, “He’s a guy who was born on Third Base and thinks he hit a triple.”
(BTW. Here’s the kind of candidate Romney coattails can sweep into office.)
Romney has changed his tune and positions more than newlyweds mimicking the Kama Sutra.
He’s been flailing around cursing one thing or another trying to find which stands get him the presidential politician’s Holy Grail, an Electoral College edge.
If you’re for or against something, be patient Mitt soon will join you.
If Obama can expose Romney’s broad inconsistencies, he can exploit Mitt’s and the GOP’s weak points, about which even Republicans were worried not too long ago.
Romney scored well despite making misleading statements about his tax, economic, and healthcare plans, as well as misstating his belief that opening factories overseas doesn’t produce tax benefits. (I kept wondering—after claiming his Bain experience didn’t export jobs—how Mitt was so familiar with the issue and wrong, as it turns out.)
The fact checkers caught all that but, according to polls, not a lot of potential voters seemed to react.
Flipping and Flopping: Now, About that 47%
After reaping editorial Hell, with R’s and D’s smacking him, the former Governor did the math or had someone do it for him and realized that those 47% he demeaned in his cash pitch to wealthy GOP donors are voters he’ll need to defeat an incumbent President.
Following the debate, “Flipper Romney” went into a major “I was against you, now I’m for you” mode and backed off his infamous, patronizing and ideological obscenity (paraphrasing) “47% of the American people are so tied to their federal benefits that they refuse to fend for themselves.”
The Governor has been vague, at best, on his economic reform policies, his proposed deficit reduction, which federal program he would cut, why he wants to spend even more then the military wants, and exactly how his tax reform plans will work.
To many of those he says that it is wise not to let his opponents know his plans, but it’s the American people who are asking these questions not some hypothetical political adversary.
The AEI Ain't Independent/Non-Partisan
I laughed when Romney—fighting back against Obama and other Democrat claims--said the Romney/Ryan his “no details, may not add up” tax plan, was superior to the President’s because it had been endorsed and verified by an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) “non-partisan and independent study.”
Haff gaff, Gag, choke, barf!
“Non-partisan and independent,” that's certainly the Gospel, just ask AEI board members Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich.
I think the AEI may now require tri-cornered hats at all of their meetings, which still resemble a coffee klatch of the Junior L:eague' men's auxillary.
Housing interests may remember some other AEI “non-partisan and independent” reportage—which seemed to start in and then quickly return to the Republican playbook--when the AEI, relying on fallacious statistics supplied by the “Brothers Grim,” Ed Pinto and Peter Wallison, suggested that Fannie Mae loaded up on poor performing mortgage loans during the 1990’s, when Jim Johnson was Chairman and CEO.
The congressional and media Right lapped up and carried that “non-partisan and independent work,” too, except it was a “no sale” with the President’s Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, and many others, which rejected these AEI shibboleths, in writing and by name. (For those wanting them, I’ll provide links that counter the AEI claims.)
These institutional rebuttals of AEI cant didn’t need rhetoric to shout down the AEI contentions, they merely pointed to facts. Fannie Mae’s public financial records—contrary to the AEI broadsides—showed that Fannie had very few mortgage defaults and no net loan losses in those years.
That positive record extending well into the next decade, when Frank Raines succeeded Jim Johnson, despite the intentional mischaracterization of the assets the company acquired.
I asked earlier if President Obama can reboot his campaign and win this election.
Put on the Heavy Pads
Of course he can, but he needs to put on his “big boy football uniform” and go to work kicking his opponent hard and continuously, primarily where Romney is vulnerable.
Like news of his tax returns, the former Governors’ policy proposals by design still are vague and brief, so people won’t know what he’s for or against, until he gets in office; the Romney tax plan still looks unrealistic and a boon to the wealthy, no matter how many words he uses to pledge “rich won’t pay more”; the large insurance companies seem the winners in Romney kill “Obamacare,” parts of which Romney now says he likes after months of excoriating it; and his Medicare schemes, once again, seem to benefit the big insurers not the public.
Where Is the Obama Support?
The President’s performance may have been flat, but Obama’s leadership on the auto industry rescue should continue to resonate in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, especially since Mitt opposed it.
Romney’s Medicare schemes--relying on insurance and medical interests, which seldom have been consumer friendly--should repel Pennsylvania and Florida voters, not to mention his hazy, fuzzy etch-a-sketch federal budgets slashes.
Romney’s changing immigration façade—no matter how many times he fantasizes about being a Hispanic or Latino (without mentioning that his grandfather moved the family to Mexico because that country didn’t enforce monogamy laws and allowed Grandpa to enjoy five wives)—can’t help him with minorities in California and Texas.
Today, smiles adorn the GOP and Mitt Romney. It’s up to President Obama to bring back those tears they were shedding 10 days ago.