Why The Shock That Obama Lost?
Forbes, Opinion, October 4, 2012
The Mainstream media and the Democrat Left are traumatized by Obama`s clear loss of the first presidential debate in Denver. Obama campaign operatives blame Jim Lehrer for letting the debate get out of hand. Others use the excuse that Obama`s famous debating skills are rusty. Both sides seem to agree that Obama played defense to protect the lead the polls are giving him. The most zealous Obama fans pulled their hair and asked “Where was Obama tonight?”
Being in Berlin, I watched the debates this morning on YouTube, immediately after reading the pundit consensus that Obama had an off night and had lost the debate. After watching the entire debate, my take was quite different. I saw the regular campaign-trail and White-House-press-conference Obama and a slightly energized Romney, not much different from his better primary debates. I would have thought that the average viewer would have called this a tie. Obama was Obama. Romney was Romney. Obama made his usual campaign-stump points. Romney made his, although in a better prepared manner. Both Obama and Romney performed as I expected, except that Romney seemed more energized and comfortable.
If my impression that both performed up to capacity is on the mark, why the media and Democrat shell shock about Obama`s “disastrous” performance?
The sources of the media and Democrat trauma are obvious: The mainstream media and the Dems are firmly convinced that Obama represents the cause of truth and good, and that Romney represents dark forces and kookiness. In a rare moment of candor, a New York Times editor called this the elite media’s “political and cultural progressivism.” As today’s Times’ editorial put it: “The guy with the weaker case made the stronger statement, falsehoods and all, and that is a dangerous thing to allow so close to Election Day.” The public should know better: Obama is right. Romney is wrong. Case closed.Election over.
This media template of Obama has not been tested by a primary challenge. The White House press corps treats him with the softest of gloves, does not challenge his press representatives, complains little of the lack of press conferences, and ignores inconvenient news items (such as the claim that our Libyan ambassador was killed by a spontaneous mob or the newly surfaced video of Obama singing the praises of Reverend Wright).
Romney out-debating Obama, scoring stinging points about the economy, debt, Obama Care and the size and role of government was a sobering revelation to the media and Dem operatives. Obama reacted to Romney`s attacks as best he could almost as a virtual rookie in the field of political combat. That Romney spoke with passion and conviction was even more vexing. Surely, the viewers must understand that he is lying, the network anchors must have thought to themselves!
What the media and Dems could not comprehend is that what Romney was saying made eminent sense to the American public, which public opinion polls have long told us is more attune to the Romney limited-government message than to the Obama expansive-federal government Weltanschauung. And here was Romney speaking directly to voters without the necessary filtering of the press elite, which, in the words of a New York Times editor, reflects a cosmopolitan-urban view of the world. Well, the American voter does not have such sophistication as the media elite.
In a campaign dominated by push calls, negative advertising, opposing talking heads neutralizing one another, the Obama campaign must worry about more unscripted moments when their candidate must go one on one against a well-informed, articulate, and passionate advocate of a world view that corresponds to the opinions and sentiments of the majority of American voters.
The thought must send chills down their spine.
Paul Gregory’s new book The Global Economy and its Economic Systems will be published shortly by Cengage.