Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Barack the Knife

I loved last night's debate. It combined the appeal of hand-to-hand combat with the high stakes of deciding who gets to run the United States for the foreseeable future. Obama came roaring back, yes, but his style as a debater contrasted sharply with Romney, whose verbosity is backed by the bravado of a school bully who knows he is right. I liked both of them; I admired Romney's tenacity and drive, and i appreciated Obama's cool demeanor and lawyerly intellectual swagger, plunging the knife in the appropriate procedural moment. Watching the Twitter feed, the one that stood out for me in the early going was -- #debate @Obama could have gone in for the dunk but takes soft fadeaway jumper.
It seemed to sum up the night.
I think Obama won on points, and the polls seem to back me up, but he still could have been more forceful and convincing in his presentation of where he wants to take us in the next four years. He began to outline a longer term vision in his energy policy, but he needs to spend some more time before the next debate figuring out how to communicate the big picture aside from renewable energy. What kind of society is he aiming for? I mean, wind, solar, what are we talking here? Go big, Barack. Think global, act local. In the third and final foreign policy debate, this is what he wants to be talking about: the United States leading the planet into a sustainable, democratic and vibrant century past the dangerous shoals of climate change and societal disruption. He needs to turn on the well-known rhetorical flourishes and get away from bashing Romney. That's been done already. Not with loud shouts or Biden style heat, but with poise and confidence. The best moment of the debate: Obama telling Romney, "proceed Governor," and Romney pressing him instead on his initial characterization of the Benghazi consulate attack as an act of terrorism, which Romney doubted. But the wager was proved wrong, as the moderator, fact-checking, backed the president up that he'd labeled the attack as terrorism the next day in the Rose Garden. "Can you say that louder, Candy?" Obama called from the bench. Romney, pacing the floor, controlling the territory like an attack dog, looked like he'd been slashed.
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