Big Bird, Biden, Binders and Benghazi
Don't always believe the pundits.
President Obama didn't lose the first debate. He certainly didn't win it! But the most talked about moment two days later was no longer his poor performance, but was Romney's threatened hit against Big Bird. Add to that the good jobs report and Romney being forced to say he was wrong about the "47%" statement and the first debate's impact for Romney was minimized. He got a modest bounce in the polls that had many people talking, but he still came off looking like a nasty SOB for threatening Big Bird.
Is that a big deal? Yes. Because people don't vote based on logic or self interest. Neurological studies show people vote almost purely based on emotion and the main emotional moment from the first debate was Romney wants to gun down Big Bird. The mathematical stupidity that he somehow thought this would save America is more damning to me than his actual choice of words, but to most people that subtlety was lost and the main emotional moment was simply Romney wants to kill Big Bird.
Now I had a theory from the start about the first debate. President Obama knew it didn't matter much so he basically used it as a chance to give Romney enough rope to hang himself. "Rope-a-dope" was the term many used and it is apt. However I think it was more than simply "rope-a-dope." It was a recognition that the media almost ALWAYS declares the Repub a winner of a Presidential debate if that Repub doesn't flop as badly as expected. Romney was destined to be anointed winner by the media as long as he didn't drool or defecate on camera. The best strategy was to let Romney take the first debate so that the expectations would be reversed from then on. At the moment Romney, despite declaring jihad on Big Bird, was declared the winner, it was now easier for Obama to "win" from then on. The expectation game was reversed and as long as Obama did a reasonable job he would win.
President Obama plays a long game. While everyone is viewing the debates as a boxing match, Obama is playing chess and basically sacrificed a piece to set up a stronger position for later.
The VP debate was a forgone conclusion. Ryan is a lightweight by any standard. And, as long as he isn't plagiarizing British politicians' speeches, Vice President Biden knows how to handle himself. In fact even his image as a loose cannon then becomes a contrast to Obama's cool demeanor. While Romney and Ryan drone talking points, the Dems come off as a team with the old school tough guy allied to the cool in all circumstances boss. It looks like a good team...as long as in the next debate President Obama looks good.
Which he did. The first debate was all about rope, whether of the "-a-dope" kind or the "enough for Romney to hang himself" kind. The second Presidential debate was about dancing like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. Obama lured Romney into fumbling on one topic that Romney thought he had an easy win: Benghazi. Claiming that Obama didn't call the attack an "act of terror" when the words "acts of terror" were right in the transcript made Romney look like an idiot. I guess Romney was thrown by the plural or something. Not the brightest bulb on the stage it seemed. What made it worse is that Romney didn't even strongly assert his claim (and by "claim" I mean "lie"). He stuttered it as if even HE didn't believe what he was saying.
Finally, the Republicans are teaming up to create the biggest gender gap in history. From Aiken's "legitimate rape," to McMahon's "emergency rape" to Romney's "binders of women," the Republican party is looking about as anti-woman as their Saudi friends these days. Funny thing is, if they just refrained from SAYING these things, people might not notice their horribly anti-women policies. Remember, people vote mostly based on emotion, not reason. Saying horribly offensive things like "legitimate rape" and "binders of women" evokes an emotional response in women: gut wrenching disgust. That is not the way to win votes, through gut-wrenching disgust. Now as long as Aiken and McMahon were the ones saying gut-wrenchingly disgusting misogynistic statements, Romney could kind of pretend distance. But now he has defined his stand on women as a woman's place is in his binder. So now the gut-wrenchingly disgusting Republican jihad against women falls solidly in his lap.
Personally I think this year's top Halloween costume for women has just been suggested by Romney: a binder.
Obama plays a long game. And he uses Biden to conduct diversionary strikes. President Obama is a supreme strategist. I don't think he understood just HOW bad he would look in the first debate, but he DID know it didn't matter much and could even set him up for easier wins in subsequent debates, that even if he did look bad there would be enough stupid statements from Romney that Romney's win might well by Pyrrhic (could he afford any more victories like his killing of Big Bird?), and he knew that in the long game he would win.
One of the most successful tactics on any battlefield in history is luring the enemy into what they think is an easy victory but is actually a trap. This was the master strategy of the Huns, Mongols, etc. and plays out on many modern battlefields.
Obama pulled the same strategy on Romney.
Now we just need to keep pushing our advantage.
Donate here to win the House (my goal is to raise over $2500 on this site)
Donate here to win the Senate. (my goal is to get this one to $2000).