So the consensus of Obama’s performance in this past week’s debate is pretty simple, he sucked. The question is why. Maybe it was:
- Hey, it was the dude’s wedding anniversary. Pretty sure taking your wife to a political debate is like the worst way to celebrate an anniversary ever!
- He was drowning in Mitt Romney’s B.S. I’m not sure how anyone was able to breath in there, because Mitt was laying it down thick! (But I’ll give him this, he was laying that B.S. down in a confident assertive way! Apparently that counts for a lot.)
- I was bored by the debate. Obama looked bored, too. Presidential debates tend to be boring. Obama just couldn’t fight off the human nature of being bored by boring things.
- The competitive nature of Obama felt like he needed to let Mitt look good just so he could get back in the race and it would be more fun at the end. Elections that go down to the wire are just awesome! Just ask Al Gore.
- Obama misinterpreted the Clint Eastwood convention moment, and thought he should imitate the chair because that chair was wildly popular.
- Maybe it was just our expectations. The hope and change Obama was exciting. It’s what a lot of us wanted. But that hope and change Obama from four years ago? That man is dead. Washington killed him. You just can’t sell that line again after four years of things not really changing there (and probably are even worse now). It would be nice to have that feeling again. But we are now too cynical to believe that, even Obama. Now the Obama line is pretty much things won’t be as bad under me than it would be under that other guy. And that’s just not going to be a very inspirational sell no matter how you package it.
- And maybe Obama was not really that bad. I guess if you judge debates by who gives the best performance, then Mitt was better. But based on substance? Well Mitt didn’t have any of that. But neither did Obama really. I just thought the debate was bad. But it’s in the media’s best interest to have a close race. So if they had an opportunity to change the narrative to ‘Mitt, the comeback kid’, they were going to do that. Obama gave them that opportunity, because he definitely didn’t win himself.
So some of that is not-so-serious reasoning, and some of it is (at least somewhat). But I do think Jon Stewart summed it up pretty well on his show. We all have parts of our job we don’t like but we have to do if we want to stayed employed. Presidential debates are part of the job process when you are President. And if you are going to constantly beg your supporters for money with urgency and passion (and I am on their campaign’s e-mail list, so when you hear about those constant urgent e-mails, know it’s absolutely true!), you probably should show at least a little urgency and passion yourself. Or people may just start believing that your disinterest in debates represents a disinterest in keeping your job.