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Obama needs to stand up for Himself

Updated on January 18, 2013

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.


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    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

      Obama needed to solve problems, problems that he promised the voters in 2008. Promises that haven't been met as he spent this entire year too date campaigning, fund raising all across the country, and playing golf. With most of his 2008 promises not met, he puts forth new promises to the voters. Yet, if he had any solutions, he could have started implementing them this year, but he didn't do that.

      Actions speak louder than words, and President Obama is Golden, as in Silence is Golden.

    • Nathan Orf profile image

      Nathan Orf 5 years ago


      At this point, I still think Obama will win, as long as he maintains his lead in Ohio and Nevada. He only needs Ohio to get him to 264 electoral votes, and after that, he needs just one more state, which is Ohio. Right now, I predict an Obama victory of 280 electoral votes, and the electoral votes are all that matter.

    • rehtnab51 profile image

      rehtnab51 5 years ago

      I am worried that President Obama's lack of performance at the first debate just might cost him the election. Things seem to be slowly turnning for the better. I am not thrilled with the president's performance but Mit Romney is scary.

    • profile image

      Dorf 5 years ago

      I agree with all of your comments, but you failed to include in your list the awesome speeches at the DNC by Julián Castro and Deval Patrick who both also hit home runs.

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      But both Obama and Romney work for the Corporate Party (Goldman-Sachs and their economic thugs).

      Just look at how much the economy has been ruined by Obama (and Bush before him). The national debt has skyrocketed under both and accelerated far more under Obama. Now it stands at a nightmarish $16.3 Trillion!

      That's like someone who makes $50,000 per year taking on a $1 million debt and keep spending like a drunken pirate with a stolen credit card.

      These guys are purposefully trying to dismantle America. Why? Because this country is the only thing standing between them and a One-World government, enslaving all of humanity. The spirit that once was America could've stopped their plans, but America has been duped.

      Their Corporate Party media has done an excellent job of keeping alive the illusion of choice and normalcy.

      It is now possible for the government to put your away for life without charges, without a warrant, without your access to an attorney, and without a phone call. That's bone chilling! Wake up! The Constitution is being shredded before our very eyes.

      Like the Germans 80 years ago, we've been lulled by the seduction of the silver-tongued devil.

      Want hope? Try this on for size:

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

      I agree with you 100%. Something was really off during the Obama/Romney debate. I tried to excuse it mentally by thinking he was ill or under the gun because it was his anniversary. I can't help but wonder if he's not being ill-advised by his campaign team because I know he's better than what we're seeing. Great hub!