What does the Obama campaign have left? Just desperate personal attacks on Romney and lies about his proposed policies.
Overhanging all this will be the character argument, with the press no doubt more eager than ever to "fact check" every Romney-Ryan utterance. The Obama campaign is looking to turn Mr. Romney into John Kerry—who won the first debate in 2004 and still lost the election.
Mr. Romney's Denver performance is the (now proven) model for how to answer these coming attacks. Bold. Specific. Energetic. A smile, and a touch of humor. The bigger the Romney campaign is, the smaller (and clothes-free) Mr. Obama's will seem.
Liberals just don't get it. The problem is not that Obama is a poor salesman for his policies. It's that his policies are so bad.
Even Dana Milbank blames Obama's insularity from real questions from the media for his poor performance in the debate. Of course, that would be assuming that the White House press corps would actually challenge Obama with tough questions. I haven't seen much evidence of that so far.
George Will explains why Romney was so dominating during the debate; he was able to make his own case and also expose how terrible the Independent Payment Advisory Board of Obamacare will be. People need to know more about IPAB because it is so deeply atrocious.
The Independent Payment Advisory Board perfectly illustrates liberalism’s itch to remove choices from individuals, and from their elected representatives, and to repose the power to choose in supposed experts liberated from democratic accountability. Beginning in 2014, IPAB would consist of 15 unelected technocrats whose recommendations for reducing Medicare costs must be enacted by Congress by Aug. 15 of each year. If Congress does not enact them, or other measures achieving the same level of cost containment, IPAB’s proposals automatically are transformed from recommendations into law. Without being approved by Congress. Without being signed by the president.
These facts refute Obama’s Denver assurance that IPAB “can’t make decisions about what treatments are given.” It can and will by controlling payments to doctors and hospitals. Hence the emptiness of Obamacare’s language that IPAB’s proposals “shall not include any recommendation to ration health care.”
By Obamacare’s terms, Congress can repeal IPAB only during a seven-month window in 2017, and then only by three-fifths majorities in both chambers. After that, the law precludes Congress from ever altering IPAB proposals.
Because IPAB effectively makes law, thereby traducing the separation of powers, and entrenches IPAB in a manner that derogates the powers of future Congresses, it has been well described by a Cato Institute study as “the most anti-constitutional measure ever to pass Congress.” But unless and until the Supreme Court — an unreliable guardian — overturns it, IPAB is a harbinger of the “shock and awe statism” (Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’s phrase) that is liberalism’s prescription for curing the problems supposedly caused by insufficient statism.
Before Denver, Obama’s campaign was a protracted exercise in excuse abuse, and the promise that he will stay on the statist course he doggedly defends despite evidence of its futility. After Denver, Romney’s campaign should advertise that promise.
Robert Samuelson explains the myth of the $5 trillion tax-cut attack.
Wednesday night's Romney is the one Republicans have been waiting for. And the country got to see the Obama that conservatives have seen since he first appeared on the national stage: a guy who can give a good speech but is really an empty suit with bad ideas once he gets away from his teleprompter. Jonah Goldberg puts his finger on what conservatives have always known about Obama - his supposed wonderful political skills are just a storybook fantasy liberals sold to themselves because they were so hungry for a winner.
For a guy who supposedly gives wonderful speeches, he rarely persuades the unpersuaded or inspires those he didn’t already have at “hello.” That’s partly the fault of his speechwriters, who always did him the disservice of producing the kind of pedantic and clichéd boilerplate that Obama mistook for soaring oratory. He thought he smashed through the Democratic primaries like a battering ram through concrete when he mostly pushed on open doors.But now he has a record as president and he has to deliver more than personification of liberal fantasies.
As president, he’s convinced himself that he is a policy wonk with a deeper understanding of the machinery of government and the mysteries of the economy than even his advisers. And yet he had to learn on the job that “shovel-ready jobs” were magic beans sold to him by party hacks hungry for pork. He bought a stimulus that only stimulated political cronies. In the debate, he touted windmills and solar power as the energy sources of the future as if he still honestly believed that.
The media’s infatuation with Obama and/or their contempt for his critics only served to reinforce his delusions. When the press laughs at all of your jokes and takes your glib excuses as profound insights, the inevitable result is a kind of flabby narcissism. Kings can be forgiven for thinking they are the greatest poets when the court weeps at their clunky limericks.
Obama is the "god who bleeds."
Some analysts hypothesized the president’s problem is that he has surrounded himself with supplicants and sycophants and no one challenges him. This is true, but it has been so for his entire career. Mr. Obama’s sense of entitlement is born of years of fawning reinforcement. In the left-wing academic world he was immersed among nodding heads. In state politics and as a U.S. senator he took the easy, expected liberal positions. In the White House, he has walled himself off from contrary views. He avoids meeting with the opposition, escaping the hard work of compromise. The mainstream media has given him more passes than are thrown on a typical NFL Sunday.Jay Cost explains why October may be a difficult month for President Obama. Cost also blows away the idea that Obama just had a off night on Wednesday. What we saw was the real Obama.
As a result, Mr. Obama was helpless when faced with a true alpha-male challenger. His buffers were gone and he had nowhere to hide. He stood on the stage alone, sans teleprompter, sans chanting crowd, looking pleadingly to moderator Jim Lehrer to simply make the beating stop.
Meanwhile, Obama is not a good debater. Any non-loyalist who has watched him closely over the years knows this. He struggled in the pre-primary debates of 2007 to distinguish himself in the multi-candidate field. It was, instead, his fundraising capacity, his ability to give a great scripted speech, and his one-on-one appeal that broke him through in Iowa in late 2007. In head-to-head debates against Hillary Clinton, his responses were regularly unfocused and his demeanor often prickly – i.e. exactly what we saw on Wednesday night. He won the general election debates in 2008 in large part because he was debating John McCain, a poor debater whose candidacy was in grave danger by that point.
Actually, Obama's debate performances are quite similar to his press conferences, which he now avoids for good reason. Watching Obama on Wednesday night reminded me of his press conferences during the health care debate; I half expected him to accuse pediatricians of doing needless tonsillectomies for profit! He has two venues where he excels: a big audience where he can give a scripted speech to the anonymous masses, or a one-on-one interaction where his personal charm can win out. Debates and press conferences occupy a middle ground where he must engage in impromptu, unscripted speechifying; he has always struggled with this.
By the way, even the Washington Post fact-checker rejects the argument that the Bush tax cuts led to the economic crisis.
Robert Costa has an interesting inside look at Romney's debate prep. Mike Allen and Jim VanderHei talk about the Romney campaign's plans for the rest of the campaign.
Why is it so terrible to call a terrorist a "savage"?
Politico highlights 10 quotes that are coming back to haunt President Obama.
While the Obama administration has tried to blame the intelligence efforts for the failure to protect Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi, the intelligence community is not taking the fall without protest.
The real problem for Obama after that debate performance is that he won't be able to conduct the campaign without talking about his real record as president.
Why do we have to pay millions of dollars to PR firms to hawk Obamacare?
Fred Barnes pays tribute to Jim Lehrer as a debate moderator. I liked what Lehrer did - he threw a topic out there and basically got out of the way. We don't need the cleverly phrased gotcha questions. We just need to hear these guys talk about the issues of this campaign.
You knew it would happen that liberals would find some way to portray Romney's performance in the debate as racist. And so it has come to pass.
Gosh, I'm so pumped for this movie.