Obama needs to stand up for Himself
Obama needs to stand up for himself, because at this stage, his cautious, pragmatic style is becoming a problem. Here is some evidence to back up my point; Obama's debate performance. At first, I thought it was a terrible performance, but that it did not matter so much, because debates rarely decide elections or change votes, which is a fact. But then I saw the polls, and after several days of hearing Mark Shields declare that "this debate mattered" and reading gloating columns by conservatives, I realized just how utterly bad Obama's first debate was. It was so bad, that I can find only one other way to describe it, and if I described it here, I would be thrown out of HubPages.
Obama looked down at his podium when Romney was talking. He seemed to smirk at anything he disagreed with. His answers were long and professorial, with none of the usual passion shown at campaign rallies and events. He moved little, seemingly unaware that more than 50 million people were watching his every move. In fact, looking back on it, Obama might have been more concerned with his wedding anniversary than with his being reelected. All of that played into his lousy debate. But there was something else, too. In 90 minutes, Obama did nothing to explain his record, or even to defend it, in any meaningful way.
Another perfect example of Obama's problem comes from a very different, more positive point of the campaign, the Democratic Convention. On the first night, Michelle Obama gave a heart-stopping, tear inducing appeal worthy of a standing ovation, which it got.Then came Bill Clinton, with his arithmetic, his folksy style and his capacity to make anyone understand exactly what any policy is and how it should work. Then there was Joe Biden. He didn't say much that was memorable, but he was being Joe Biden, and that counts for a lot. Then came the big man himself, and it was a tad disappointing. If the DNC had been a baseball game, then Michelle would have hit a home run, Clinton would have hit a home run, and Biden would have hit a home run. President Obama got to first base.
In his debate against Mitt, Obama got struck out, and that was mostly because he failed to swing at all. And Obama has a lot of opportunities to put Romney in his place, by bringing up the 47 percent line, or challenging Mitt on Medicare. To hear Obama put it, there is no discernible difference between him and Romney on Social Security, which flies in the face of the entire campaign theme Obama has built. The next day, the real Barack Obama returned, but the damage had been done. And Michelle, Bill and Joe went back on the trail, explaining Obama's record better than Barack Obama himself.
Joe Biden's debate against Paul Ryan was everything Obama's first debate was not. Biden mentioned the 47 percent three times, pounded Ryan on his Medicare plan, told nothing less than the truth about the investigations on the Benghazi attacks that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans. In short, Biden explained Obama's record, defended it, and attacked the Republicans for all of their malarkey. If only Obama had done this on his first debate, with, perhaps, a little less of the derision Biden displayed.
Therein lies Obama's biggest hurtle as campaign 2012 winds down. He must become the Explainer-in-Chief. He must speak of his record, on his own terms and in ways that all Americans can understand. Obama must tell us why he deserves a second term, and he must make it clear, in no uncertain terms, that the Romney-Ryan ticket will seek to undue everything he has done. And he must show passion and vision. A good place to start would be the next debate.