Does Obama want to be Al Gore? My worry is that his phlegmatic, even temperament may blind him to what we just saw: a president incapable of defending his own record clearly, of rebutting the mis-statements and arguments of his opponent, and of telling us what he’ll do for the next few years. Do that again, and you’re sinking.
So in reality, we recall that Obama actually set up a Simpson-Bowles Grand Bargain, but Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, vetoed it (as was his prerogative on the commission, unlike a real fiscal conservative, Tom Coburn) and made sure it never got to a Congressional vote. Obama, in the worst mistake of his presidency, decided then to bob and weave on this, rather than risk embracing it alone.
That we are having this discussion at all reflects the enormity of Obama’s implosion. This race is now Romney’s to lose. Not just because Romney is shameless liar and opportunist. But because Obama just essentially forfeited the election. In the first match-up between the two candidates, one was a potential president; the other a dithering wonk. I’m still reeling. I’m sorry if these are not things an Obama supporter should say at this point. But the demoralization is
Perhaps by the next debate, the president will have a clue what he wants to do for the country and the world - and be able to communicate it. But I’m also angry. If Axelrod couldn’t see the Etch-A-Sketch coming, when Romney’s campaign all but told us they were cynical enough to do and say anything to win, then he truly is incompetent.
I’m trying to see a silver lining. But when a president self-immolates on live TV, and his opponent shines with lies and smiles, and a record number of people watch, it’s hard to see how a president and his party recover. I’m not giving up. If the lies and propaganda of the last four years work even after Obama had managed to fight back solidly against them to get a clear and solid lead in critical states, then reality-based government is over in this country again. We’re back to Bush-Cheney, but more extreme. We have to find a way to avoid that. Much, much more than Obama’s vanity is at stake.
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