My Case that Obama Threw the Debate

It’s published in Splice Today today. I argue that the president likely threw off the first debate to stave off boredom. Seriously:

It’s broadly acknowledged that President Obama got beat like a drum by Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate in Denver. Even Slate, that bastion of phony contrarianism, couldn’t find a single pundit foolish enough to argue Obama had won it on points or on style. Every poll of debate watchers found at least a clear plurality thought Romney had won. When you take out all the undecideds and people who would never say anything nice about a Republican, the verdict was unanimous.

Obama didn’t manage to win it on word count either, though he steamrolled over moderator Jim Lehrer to speak four minutes longer than Romney. There were too many pauses and hesitations and uhs and ums and ahs. The President looked distracted and bored and pissed off, and that’s precisely how he debated. He tried a few canned attacks and when Romney deflected those effectively, he shrugged and passed the time [more...]

  • Bobby B.

    If, as your original article suggests, that Obama underperformed just to give himself a challenge, then the man is not qualified to be president. Being President is not a game, it is more than just hoopin it up with friends.

    • Susan

      Agreed. Not to mention that he has acted like the celebrity-in-chief not the head of the executive branch of the government and president of the United States. His has been extremely divisive and polarizing with his class, race, gender, and so forth “wars.” There is a long list of dishonesty yet to go, but let’s mention Benghazi, Fast & Furious, and the long list of running around congress and thereby ignoring the balance of powers that keep the president from treating the nation like he is the king (eg: telling contractors to break the law and ignore the WARN act and promising contractors that taxpayers will foot the legal bills and payouts from lawsuits. Sheesh.

    • John

      But we already knew he wasn’t qualified :-)

  • ExRat

    What Bobby B said. Do we really want a man who is that bored with his lot as Leader (“from behind” or otherwise) of the Free World?

  • http://therandomtexan.wordpress.com Mike Anderson

    Farfetched, but not nearly as whacky as Al Gore’s Altitude Excuse. I’m staying tuned for the next exciting episode, where O. claims the dog ate his homework.

  • Bubbatroid

    Interesting, but not persuasive. You mentioned all the personality traits that make your theory plausible – essentially boredom and a lack of passion for a contest that he believed he was winning handily (I never bought into this, incidentally, but I”m sure he did). But far more likely, it seems to me, are the personality traits that have made him such an awful president – arrogance, dismissiveness, detachment, and a sense of entitlement. He thought he could “phone it in” like he phoned in his entire presidency. His bored demeanor during the debate wasn’t because he thought “I can’t be bothered until this is a true cat fight.” It was “I can’t be bothered because I deserve this and that jerk doesn’t.”

  • Dan

    I’m struggling to connect with your argument here. For one thing, I’m not convinced the “free fall in the polls” for Republicans was real. The behavior of the liberals did not reflect that of a group certain of victory. Second, it gives way too much credit to Obama as so intelligent and gifted he must manufacture challenges. I think the more likely explanation is Obama really doesn’t enjoy being President and is overwhelmed with responsibility. His heart is not in being President for a second term. But he’s trapped by forces larger than himself and he has no real choice but to run. A second term for Obama is going to be either (a) pure hell, as he’ll be lame-duck from day one, or (b) he’ll go almost entirely absent, leaving the presidency largely unfilled for his second term.

  • Normie

    Why didn’t he challenge himself with, say, getting the economy growing at more the 4% GDP? Or maybe get the labor participation rate up over 65%? Hey, how about keeping Al Qaeda from retooling and promoting liberal democracy throughout the world? Oh yeah, those challenges do not leverage his true gift. He is a BS savant.

    • http://www.thegantry.net/blog Casey

      That’s gonna leave a mark… :)

  • Eileen

    I don’t buy the “he’s so smart that everything bores him” line. Every truly brilliant person I’ve ever known has had a voracious curiosity and an insatiable desire to learn, along with a quick mastery of any subject, and the ability to grasp and argue the facts — along with an unbelievable intellectual “data bank” to draw from at the drop of a hat. I have yet to see a whole lot of evidence that Obama is actually smarter than average, particularly for a guy of his education and background. What I have seen is unmitigated arrogance, and that in abundance. I think arrogance — the belief that he doesn’t, or shouldn’t, have to do this crap to keep his job, and that Romney is just another loser jerk he shouldn’t have to put up with — goes a lot farther to explain his performance, than “boredom.” I get your example of yourself as a bored kid in a high school gut course, but the presidency is hardly high school, and it’s not “easy.” And that’s what seems to gall him most of all.

  • Bill C.

    Agreed. If, as he states, the future of our country is at stake, and yet he’s playing adolescent games to make things interesting, then he is the most narcissistic and childish person ever to occupy the office of President, and therefore is unfit for reelection. YOLO is not a governing principle, although from the way he spends our money, it seems like he thinks it is.

  • Bill

    I read the whole thing and if it’s even vaguely accurate the man is unfit for office.

    He’s unfit for office on a lot of things, but that just adds to it.

  • Charlie

    Dude, if you really believe any of this, you are the biggest tool in the history of tools.

  • rc

    Interesting theory. I don’t buy it. I think the evidence is overwhelming that he’s fundamentally lazy and since debate prep is hard work so he just didn’t do it. He tried to coast (which he has always gotten away with in past) and got burned.

  • John Fembup

    What we know about Obama’s self-image, ego, and thin skin, it seems beyond reason to think that he would knowingly allow himself to look stupid or unprepared or just . . . wrong . . . in from of the largest audience ever to watch a presidential debate.

    He was trying. He just doesn’t have the horsepower he thinks he does.

  • Rolyat136

    A theory so off-base, it’s not even wrong.

  • Pudge

    Yeah, that’s it ! He threw the debate to stave off boredom. Got it. Looks like the greatest President ever has been throwing this whole presidency thing over for the last 3+ years to stave off his boredom. One of the most enjoyable things since the debate has been to read and watch all the Obama cultists tie themselves in knots making ever increasingly absurd excuses for this incompetent, unqualified and overwhelmed President.

  • JimGl

    I think a much better theory that he threw the debate, would be Ali’s old “rope-a-dope”. Make the opponent think he’s got you down, he comes in for the kill,drops his guard and you sucker punch him.
    ie make the Romney team think he’s an easy win and ‘Bama comes on strong and looks twice as good.
    Probably not, but it’s a reason for us and Romney to keep his guard up and don’t make studpid mistakes. Remember Obama hasn’t really had to campaign or explain his programs in his previous elections. In the Presidential all he did was claim he’d “make the oceans subside etc, etc.

  • Beto Ochoa

    It is the Acme of arrogance and irresponsibility for a President to purposely present himself so rudderless and grasping. That gets people killed.

  • Bcorig

    I don’t think so. You go for the knockout as early as you can, get a landslide and then do what you want in the next years. It’s not the the thrill of the game, it’s winning the game that matters in Presidential, or any other, politics.

  • Kelly

    No way. A Presidential race is considerably more important then an earth science class. I can’t imagine the President, any president, taking such a reckless gamble especially when he was already in the lead. In your instance, many things were set in stone. You didn’t have a panel of voters you had to influence.

    I think Obama tried to adopt what had seemed to work for him in his 2008 debates. Remember the no drama Obama? He thought he had to only appear calm, cool and collected; above it all basically. Instead, he came off as detached, arrogant and angry.

  • ZombieEckert

    Please tell me this piece is satire—I use the term loosely—or another attempt by the author to stave off his OWN boredom (unfortunately at our expense). Otherwise, it is truly moronic.

  • Cable Guy

    The Republicans were in freefall? Really? Days before the debate, every poll imaginable had tightened to within the margin of error.

    Are the pollsters bored, too? Are they trying to make this a race? If so, what does that say about the people we rely on for information?

    Methinks you’re trying to put lipstick on a pig– much like the media has been doing for four years. Don’t worry, when there’s a Republican in office, you’ll be able to be real journalists again.

  • Robo

    This is absurd wishful thinking. Obama is an unqualified, inexperienced empty suit and proves it every time he speaks without a teleprompter. As far as Obama wanting to make things interesting, he hates competitive races and has, up until he ran against the hapless John McCain, been able to use dirty tricks to eliminate qualified opponents. A brief look at his campaigns in Illinois will illustrate what I am talking about. The next two debates will in all likelihood be replays of the first debate.

  • Matt S.

    So his failure was in effect like the smart kid in class trying to mail it in on an assignment that ultimately doesn’t matter for his final grade?

    Even if that were true, that’s a very foolish thing to do. You don’t play games with the presidency, especially for an election as critical as this. Debates don’t matter, like the homework in your class? They’ve turned elections before on more than one occasion.

    If you insist on using the school analogy, then this wasn’t homework, this was Obama failing the first of three major exams (debates) which could very well shape his final grade. I would define his ‘homework’ as doing the actual day-to-day work of his office, but he’s failing that as well given that he seems to prefer golf and going on various entertainment shows to facing reporters and foreign policy.

    Nevertheless, that wasn’t why he lost. Nor was it the altitude, the moderator, Romney’s magic handkerchief, or some cunning plan of Obama’s to appear weak so he could come back strong later. He got his butt kicked because he 1) was completely unprepared and looked like he didn’t want to be there, 2) was trying to defend an indefensible record and Romney picked him and his talking points apart on that basis, and 3) because Romney isn’t the person they’ve tried so hard to paint him as. That was the real Romney out there, smart, savvy and sincere, faced with a very faded Obama far removed from the one they were presented with four years ago, and people recognized that.

  • Dean

    Interesting, but given Obama’s history in Illinois of getting challengers disqualified so he won’t have opponents, I don’t think he would throw a debate. Look at what he did the day afterwards: he said that Romney was lying on stage after what he said during the last year. Only it was Obama’s version of Romney that didn’t show up.

    Romney talks about what he wants to do, Obama lies about what Romney wants to do.

  • steve

    idiot.

  • Tom M

    Your article takesthe cake for stupidity. It makes Al Gore’s comment look freaking billiant.
    I normally doen’t respond to such rubbish but the shear stupidty of your article pushed me over the edge.

  • Engineer

    A amusing contrarian fantasy , that is all. Obama simply is not smart enough to pull his punches for any reason, nor is he capable of standing up to a debate. He can read from a teleprompter and that is about the limit of his skills. Over sixty million people just saw that on national television.

    Look for his handlers to arrange within the next six days, a plausible excuse for Obama to skip any further debates.

    How about a war?

  • Old School Conservative

    Nope, sorry, don’t buy it. That walkin’ talkin’ pile of narcissitic ego didn’t let himself look like crap to build his inner excitement. I think it more likely the curtain has been finally pulled aside and we see the snake oil salesman from Kansas (or Chicago, or Hawaii, or wherever) revealed in all his less than impressive glory. Romney better brace himself for the next debate – the LSM won’t let their darling get mauled in a fair fight a 2nd time, and the moderator(s) will do their best to screw Governor Romney to death.

    In 2007 and 2008 an empty suit was presented to the world as the smartest man in history complete with a good delivery and teleprompter. Madison Avenue could not have done a better sales job, and the Lamestream Media was complicit. Buried under all that gloss was nothing more than a Chicago thug with a love for communist ideals and a hate for traditional America and capitalism.

  • Guest

    There is a problem of evidence and the idea of falsifiability. When Obama seems to do well it is because he is an awesome candidate and a man with a plan. When Obama seems to do poorly it is because he is an awesome candidate and a man with a plan. With this dichotomy in mind the immediate question becomes what would have had to occur for us to definitively conclude that Obama had simply lost the debate?

  • Bruce

    It appears he “threw off the economy” for 4 years too.

  • tony

    A simpler explanation and one many of us have known for years is that obama isn’t very bright and ot make it worse he’s lazy. Add to that his arrogance born of being told all his life that he is ‘special’ but knowing going into the debate that he’s out of his depth and what you get is what you saw.

  • ThomasD

    I know when I have a sit down with my boss in attendance I often set out to look like I’m in over my head. Just so that I know he’s paying attention. Because I’m brilliant like that.

    Or maybe it’s the lack of oxygen up in the suites that does it.

    /sarc

  • dnb03

    Bobby, my sentiments exactly. (And, Obama is not qualified to be presidents for many other reasons also.)

  • James

    There is one hole in your theory (I guess 2):

    1. Obama didn’t do anything he didn’t do at any press conference since he bacame president. He talked about nonsense – which is what he always does when asked questions. What evidence do you have that Obama could do any better – has he ever demonstrated it anywhere else?

    2. Obama last debated John McCain. When he did that, he acted as a centrist. That was easy, he had no record to defend. McCain had no idea what to do because Obama would never own up to what Obama really wanted to do. Now Obama had the most leftist record in his lap from 4 years of governing, and he had to defend it. What evidence do you have that any better arguments even exist?

  • RebeccaH

    Sorry, I don’t buy it. This is more of the “Barack Obama is just too smart for the rest of us” line. Anyway, who could trust a politician, particularly a President, who throws a debate just so he won’t be bored next time around?

  • MJN1957

    Is there ANY humiliation that defenders of Obama WON’T go to try to defend him?

    He has never had to earn anything in his life, never had to work to keep a job, never had to meet expectations…

    Now that he DOES, he can’t, and he knows it.

    He isn’t bored…he has conceded that the jig is up and enough people are on to him that the skids aren’t greased now and, unlike ever before, it’s hard.

    It isn’t just he doesn’t want to do it…he CAN’T without a hidden cast of enablers shoving their had up his a$$ and moving his lips in sync with their script.

  • stephen

    Understand but don’t buy that its that concious a strategy. I believe he was briefed into strategy of being low key. Normal strategy for an I incumbent.

    I think the elephants psyched out the donkeys. Look at Christies comments and others pre debate. The GOP led them to believe Romney would call the president a liar, be nasty etc. That a spirited Romney showed up wasn’t the surprise but that it wasn’t a fire breathing red meat tossing Romney.

    Obama couldn’t pivot. And Obama being Obama gave up, passive aggressive that he is.

    That and Obama has a higher opinion of his own abilities. We will see how hard he prepares. You can over prepare for these.

    Watch and see how the GOP tries to head fake again before the foreign affairs debate.

  • Kiddoc

    Maybe he isn’t as smart as the liberals claim, and his policies have never worked wherever they have been tried. As they say, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  • Oldflyer

    Someone summed up Obama’s performance pretty well with a sports metaphor. He must have felt like getting in the arena and suddenly realizing that you out of your league, and it is going to be bad, really bad. You just want to get through it, and get it over with.

    .

  • Servius

    You’re also assuming that Obama _has_ an ‘A’ game. Up till now he hasn’t had a real opponent in his races.

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  • keaner

    Really? I think it was more a case of a seasoned, experienced senior executive and CEO debating an inexperienced community organizer. The ‘soaring orator’ was lost without the safety net of his teleprompter.

  • Brian

    An interesting theory, but I’m not sure I buy it. You say that while Obama is bored with government, he loves campaigning. But debates are one of the hallmarks of campaign season and Obama has been crowned by some as a guy with a knack for grand and soaring oratory. For a guy who loves to campaign, this like the playoffs. If he’s bored with the day-to-day of being president, certainly campaigning for re-election is a nice diversion. Lots of opportunities for oratorical greatness, an evening he can get away from the same old stump speech and, oh by the way, millions of people on hand to witness. Despite saying he is merely an OK debater, Obama thinks far too much of himself and his own abilities, particularly speechifying, to just brush off the first nationally-televised presidential debate for his own entertainment.

    If he did throw the debate as you suggest, then we need to be concerned about his state of mind. There is no way a campaign strategist would’ve signed off on or even tacitly encouraged such a strategy. There is also no way he can be enjoying the mountains of criticism he received in it’s wake, and he would’ve had to have seen that coming.

  • Diggs

    Ah, the “Mighty Casey at the Bat” syndrome. As with the original, there will be no joy in Leftville.

  • gk1

    No need to over think this. Obama stunk and was outmatched the whole evening. But I would say this, it is more plausible than the theory of Mitt “cheating” by having a super secret hanky that gave him all the answers.

  • Jim

    His ego won’t allow him to play a game like that, after all, BHO is the smartest president ever. Just ask him.

  • M. Report

    Death wish.

  • Akatsukami

    I’ll float a contrary hypothesis: Obama wants to BE President, but he doesn’t want to (or can’t) DO President; i.e., he wants the title and prestige, but doesn’t want to (or can’t) do the gritty, tedious work of learning about the nation and the world, of making decisions, and of winning debates.

    After the 2000 election, a lot of leftists were huffing and puffing about how every “civilized” nation elected its president by popular vote. Of course, they failed to comment that every “civilized” nation gave its popularly-elected president just enough power to sneeze, and perhaps to blow his own nose if he got an order countersigned by the appropriate minister; all the REAL power was vested in a head of government selected — not elected! — by the lower house of the national legislature.

    So, let us have a Constitutional amendment whereby Obama can be head of government, with no need or power to do more than perfect his golf swing, and the real power is given to and the real work done by Prime Minister John Boehner.

  • Tex Taylor

    No way. Not with that Mt. Everest ego. There’s absolutely no way this coddled narcissist could possibly admit he’s out of his league. You need to go back and review Obama’s acceptance speech in 2008 – the man believes he’s divine.

    I don’t know why it is so hard for either side to simply admit the obvious. Mitt Romney is smarter, quicker, more professional, and more capable. Romney trumps Obama in every capacity.

    The bottom line is Obama ain’t that intelligent, ain’t that great.

  • Bruce

    Seeing as all the other lame excuses have been claimed, I hereby take dibs on being the first to declare that Obama did not lose the debate – his double, Clyde, did. Obama was called away to the White House, at the last minute, to stop the oceans from rising and to heal the planet. The existence of Clyde is, of course, a state secret not previously disclosed.

    Now if you’ll excuse me I need to change my tinfoil hat.

  • http://2012.ak4mc.us/ McGehee

    This is something I might expect to read from someone who simply cannot consider the possibility that Obama isn’t the smartest empty chair in the room. It’s disappointing to see it here.

    • Blake

      McGehee,

      I second your disappointment. It’s been widely reported that Obama is lazy and arrogant. Couple lazy and arrogant with a media that constantly tells Obama how wonderful he is and you get the debate performance witnessed by America. Finally, America was introduced to the real Obama without any media filter.

  • Astro

    Take a step back and re-examine your analogy.
    If Obama had been turning in A-class work so far, your analogy might be tenable. But he hasn’t. He’s gotten an F on the deficit, an F on job creation, an F on average household income, an F on energy policy, an F on Obamacare and an F on foreign affairs. The B+ he got on space policy doesn’t give him anything like passing marks. If he wants to continue for another 4 years, he needs to ace his finals, not deliberately bomb the first one.
    To use your analogy, he’s acting more like a drop-out.

  • John Galt

    Yeah, because it couldn’t just be that Obama is an empty suit who excels at reading ghost written speeches from teleprompters, but whose head is mostly full of anti-capitalist mush that he understands would alienate 75% of the electorate if he said what he really thinks out loud. No, we can’t let ourselves even consider that possibility, can we ? alGore was probably right, he just didn’t have time to adjust to the altitude. The more I think about it, the more sure I am it was the altitude. /sarc

  • dwdude

    obama is outclassed…romney has dealt with democrats like him while governor. that’s why he’s going to smoke him again. obama is a wounded narcissist, they get angrier, not smarter. put him out of his misery with more shots of the truth about his record.

  • Leo J. Knaff

    I think your theory that Obama wasn’t really trying is correct but your reasons wrong. The underlying assumption is that Obama is an accomplished debater and so intellectually gifted that he can afford to treat this as a mere game to play. On what real evidence can make that assumption? Stellar performance at school? Nothing there. President of Harvard Law review? Elected office as opposed to Editor where actual scholarly work is required. “Professor”? Not really..Senior Lecturer (honorary title). Accomplishments as State and U.S. Senator? Zero. The selling of this man as an intellectual heavyweight and a political genius to the American electorate exceeds anything P.T. Barnum ever dreamed of.
    I have a different theory of why he did so poorly in the recent debate. At some level he recognizes that he has neither the requisite experience nor knowledge to function effectively as president. He also knows that a great effort would be required to remedy and correct them, if possible, and he doesn’t want to bother with that.
    So?
    HE’S MAILING IT IN! He doesn’t really care much if he doesn’t win the election. What more is he going to get out of four more years? Being an ex-President is sweet!

  • Tedd

    I’m not great at this layers-of-irony stuff. Somebody set me straight: He’s joking, right?

  • Morgan

    maybe he should stave off boredom by keeping a promise or two from 2008.

    if it were true he’d be less qualified than eve he appears. voting is happening. now. it’s not like a november 6 snapshot of competence can fix this.

    i do believe the president and a lot of his followers might be able to convince themselves he threw it, so much the better.

  • Dr. Deano

    “The interesting question is why our normally very competitive president charged into the debate with all the enthusiasm of a boxer who’d taken a big bag of cash to take a dive.”

    I have to agree on that point at least. Barack “I won” Obama did not show up to the debate. The man who did show up was “distracted and bored and pissed off”. Though I won’t be voting for Obama, I do realize that being President is extremely stressful and give him points in the bank for that fact. However, he lost those within the first five minutes of the debate.

    I don’t think Obama threw the debate. To me it seems he just didn’t care about the debate. He showed up because he had to and just existed as best he could through the time allotted. He tried but was unprepared and/or incapable of battling Romney, who to his credit, came prepared and ready.

    Obama is I think tired and done – mentally and emotionally. As a narcissist, he *hates* to lose, but he’s had “wins” handed to him by white guilt, gushing, fan-boy journos, and sycophantic starry-eyed fans/voters.

    He’s got tepid to bad apparent record – and as to longer-term effects, many of his policy chickens have not yet come home to roost – I’m a doctor and I promise you when Obamacare finally kicks in, it is going to drive medical costs through the roof while simultaneously creating significant shortages of doctors and other medical caregivers. At some level I think he’s learned that lofty speech-a-fying only goes so far and at some point a president has to govern – and that is very, very hard work and requires knowledge and experience Obama does not have – still.

    Further, I cannot shake the impression that Obama does not *really* believe in America – the real America the one founded in 1776 and whose values and ideals are laid out in the Declaration and Constitution. And that is dangerous for the nation.

    I wish he’d do what I suspect he wants to do: Just quit and kick back, enjoy his family, make millions as a speaker/author, TV show guest, and enjoy his pension.

    Note that he has not exactly been tripping over himself to make clear what exactly he is going to do in his second term – and that worries me. The nation is in a very, very volatile state and if he goes hard left especially at the expense of taxpayers and the economy, I’m very concerned there will be massive ‘civil disobedience’ and worse in the streets within his second term.

    • robin

      Where is the “like” button??

  • John Davies

    So you’re saying President Obama has the emotional maturity of a college freshman?

  • MingoV

    Projecting your personality and past motivations onto Obama does not provide insightful analysis. It makes you appear almost as self-centered as our narcissist-in-chief.

    Obama lacks the brains to beat Romney in any debate. Obama has never spoken well without a prepared speech: he either mutters no-content platitudes (hope and change) or reverts to mimicking Reverend Wright’s racist rantings or some left-wing loony’s class war claptrap.

  • tmcandrews

    Mr. Lott hopes to be Whitehouse Press Secretary in Obama’s 2nd term. This article was posted as his resumé. Baghdad Bob, please call your office.

  • Meremortal

    Throwing a debate is extremely risky and completely out of character for Obama. This article is silly. The analogy used doesn’t fit the situation either. A huge ego like Obama doesn’t embarrass himself on purpose in front of 70 million people.

  • http://beldar.org Beldar

    You pay too much attention to polls, I think. And you assume too much rationality on the part of a guy who’s so deep in over his head that he certainly doesn’t need to make his position artificially HARDER for himself.

    Maybe you haven’t noticed, but Obama has never actually earned a “A” in any of his public offices. He was a symbolic but otherwise undistinguished state legislator who was given bills to sponsor by the Democratic machine in Illinois, who otherwise voted straight party-line (including on issues on which “moderate” Dems peeled off); other than his party-line votes in the U.S. Senate, he left not a fingerprint on that institution; and he’s been a spectacularly ineffective president, as demonstrated not necessary by the polls (although they’re coming around slowly), but by every OBJECTIVE metric. And so there’s absolutely no reason to believe, and much reason to doubt, that he can just turn on the afterburners, re-invent himself again, and cruise to the same success you had in your too-easy college course (which isn’t a very good proxy for the American presidency, I’d respectfully submit).

  • Ziv

    It is becoming so obvious that Obama is an empty suit, promoted way past his level of competence, that even New Yorker is making cartoons about it. Now that is a bitter pill for Obama to swallow.
    And even the Huffpo is acknowledging it:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/new-yorker-debate-cover-obama-poor-performance_n_1943947.html?utm_hp_ref=media

  • MR BURNS

    fun but silly article . will he throw the next debate too so as to make the third one even more exciting ?

  • Richard

    Silly theory. No presidential candidate will deliberately blow the chance to speak directed to 58 million people. Silly, silly, silly.

  • Ernst Blofeld

    You’re over-thinking this. Obama is by lazy and not accustomed to performance reviews. His default mode is gassbaggery about himself. He’s never been accountable for running anything, and certainly not receiving a critical review about how he’s run anything. He’s out of his comfort zone.

  • Jack Ryan

    So the guy who has TWICE clinched a win because his opponent’s divorce records have been magically unsealed really just wants a fair fight?

  • Arty

    Sure, I buy that. Just like he threw his term as president of the Harvard Law Review, his stint as senator and only (hopefully) term as president of the US. If he was God the universe would still be a chaotic mass of gasses with a few lumpy solids drifting in loose formation. Just another contraption started, but left undone, by the dilettante-in-chief.

  • firefirefire

    I hate to quote Nancy Pelosi but..” Are you Serious?..You’re Serious?!”

  • jenny

    You’re giving him more credit than he deserves.

  • emcclendon

    “…All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away;when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand…”

    From ‘The Art of War”

  • punditius

    Dr. Deano: I think Obama’s plan for after the election is to do whatever he damn well wants, through executive order. Of course, he can’t very well say that out loud.
    On the next debate, I kind of hope that Jeremy’s supposition is correct. This is because I believe that Romney will be prepared for that possibility, and Obama will walk into a buzz saw if he tries it.
    But in reality, I think that Obama doesn’t believe that he has anything to either win or lose in the debates. He’s running a campaign directed at victory in the Electoral College. I think he believes he has the EC votes he needs right now, and simply has to make sure that he doesn’t lose them. He’s a basketball guy. He has a good lead late in the 4th quarter. He’s going to pass the ball around, run down the shot clock, and play it safe.
    And that’s what he did on Wednesday. If you talk to the run of the mill Obama supporter, the reaction you get from him is “well, yeah, he lost, but he’s still got my vote.” Sure, Romney won. Sure the Republican base is fired up. That might make the final score closer, but Obama still has his 275 EC votes, as explained by Nate Silver at http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/04/oct-3-romneys-electoral-challenge-and-more-on-debate-instant-polls/

  • Jim

    Who the (BLEEP) did you vote for ???

  • jms

    No, it’s just that Obama’s talking points are so weak and thin that they can’t stand any scrutiny. He tried a bunch of them and Romney dismantled them one at a time. Notable ones included:

    “under my plan, 97 percent of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up.”

    Romney replied:

    “But those businesses that are in the last 3 percent of businesses happen to employ half — half — of all of the people who work in small business. Those are the businesses that employ one quarter of all the workers in America.”

    Now that talking point is dead as a doornail. 47 million people just saw it dismantled. Obama can’t use it again. Another one:

    Obama: And part of the way to do it is to not give tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. Right now you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. …”

    Romney: “The second topic, which is you said you get a deduction for getting a plant overseas. Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

    Romney really threw down the gauntlet on that one. If this was a valid point — if there was actually some sort of provision in the tax code that specifically provided a deduction for moving a plant overseas, Obama and his campaign would have jumped all over it by now — because Romney professed ignorance. Instead, they know that it’s a paper-thin talking point, and they have been utterly silent about it. Now that talking point is ruined. They can’t effectively use it again.

    What Barack Obama really needed to come out of this debate was for it not to have happened at all in the first place, because all his arguments and premises are weak. If Romney had his say, they would be debating every day until the election, because Romney spent the entire debate dismantling every single talking point Obama tried to play.

    The obvious conclusion is that Obama’s best strategy, given the weakness of his platform, was to run the clock out and say as little as possible, to avoid giving Romney the opportunity to demolish his campaign talking points. Barack Obama is a weak, unprepared candidate running a weak, disingenuous campaign, and Romney simply lit into him. Obama just needed to survive into the next round, and he barely did that.

    On to the Ryan/Biden debate.

  • Cathym

    That debate was NOT what O wanted – you could tell by the way he kept clenching his jaw. He was not happy. Also, thinking he’s the smartest man ever, he probably never expected Romney to just make every point without skipping a beat. It was a thing of pure beauty!

  • Red Dragon

    That’s a pretty funny post about Obama throwing the debate. I know you’re not serious because not only was Obama really really lame, but Romney was energized & fully in charge of the exchange. What did Obama offer Romney to get him to be so good while Obama deliberately sucked?

    Seriously, though, no sane candidate would be deliberately bad in the first debate, because that is the one where people’s impressions are fixed. Most of the time, the remaining debates just don’t matter in affecting the vote. So if Obama threw it, it would have to be because Romney offered him a payoff–maybe a cushy no-work job at Bain Capital.

  • ccoffer

    Brakabama is a dullard. I doubt he’s ever had an original thought in his entire life. He’s a programed marionette.

  • vech

    You people are arguing like you think there is merit to this story. And you criticize birthers. Obama is a dolt. What are you going to say when the results of the next debate are the same? And the one after that? Face realty-the man can’t reason, doesn’t understand basic economics, can’t grasp facts, and can’t manage to spew out two consecutive coherent sentences. You are learning what we knew all along…this man is incompetent. But, even knowing that, you will vote for him again. I imagine “your” moderators for the next debates are feverishly planning on how to make your God look Godlike.

  • bee

    Not very likely. He failed because his ideas don’t ring true to Americans for even himself. The economy is a disaster and his policies failing more badly by the day. What could Obama have said – Romney is a better choice to escape the despair we are all headed towards if I remain in power.

  • Claire

    If he threw the debate, it’s because he’d rather go off to live in Hawaii than be president. Fine with me.

  • george

    This is a very silly piece. You don’t “throw” a debate – you might “come out all softly-softly in the hope of changing the public’s perception of you, but you don’t voluntarilly lay down and take it up the arse by the challenger. Obama didn’t “throw the debate.” He lost the debate – what a silly post this is.

  • Dismuke

    If Obama threw the debate in order to not get bored with the campaign, why did he not do so when he was up against McCain? McCain didn’t even TRY to fight – he was so terrified that if he did the media would call him “mean” or perhaps even “racist.” McCain went so far as to actually say that Obama would be a good president.

    I think one thing you have to give Obama credit for is that he is committed and loyal to his ideological vision and agenda. That vision is a very, very hard Left one – and Obama is smart enough to know, for that reason, he cannot be up front with exactly what that agenda is and where it will lead. Obama is too loyal to his ideology to take needless risks with it. A second term – where he would not have to worry about popularity or electoral consequences – is way too important for his agenda.

    I think the explanation is more simple. I think Obama’s weakness is that he only has so much patience for people he regards as fools – and, make no mistake, he regards Romney and a very large portion of the American electorate along with anybody who has views antithetical to his own as fools. I think Obama has a very real contempt for Romney as well as for all those who have, in one way or another, voiced opposition to or stood in the way or slowed down his agenda over the past four years. I think he genuinely feels it is beneath him to have to stand up in front of such people and justify himself and, above all, to pander to certain portions of the electorate he needs to win but can’t if he is up front about the extent of his hard Left views. Perhaps one can call it arrogance – but it could also be the result of zealous passion for his agenda. And, for whatever reason, on Wednesday night, Obama was unable to disguise his contempt and genuine feelings for the whole process.

    So does Obama REALLY enjoy campaigning? I really don’t think so. What Obama enjoys is carefully scripted, one-sided events where he is able to pontificate and read a lofty speech to large crowds of carefully selected adoring fans – the sort of a speech that a Fidel Castro or a Hugo Chavez type ruler gives. But campaigning is a contact support which, by its nature, involves give and take and an effort towards persuasion. Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher enjoyed such combat. Obama hates give and take – for example, notice how he has avoided press conferences and interviews where challenging questions are likely to be asked. Again, Obama has little patience for people he considers fools and, on top of that, he is very thin-skinned.

    So, my thought is that the explanation is as simple as the fact that Obama was having to do something he did not want to do and thoroughly dislikes doing. And, for whatever reason, his ability to “fake it” and pretend otherwise was not present Wednesday evening.

  • No Dog

    Jeremy,

    I guess denial really is the first stage of grief.

    You might also wish to consider the ramifications of your argument. What else might a “bored” Obama do? Start a war? Risk one? Risk his presidency and all those supposedly critical things he needs to do? Over mere “boredom?” You’re describing a pyschopath, you know. Sure you wanna go there?

  • Nate Whilk

    Mr. Lott, your theory is what’s known as “grasping at straws”.

  • Murgatroyd

    Your theory reminds me of the old story of why Egypt lost the war against Israel: they had Russian military advisers who convinced them to use the strategy that worked so well against Napoleon and Hitler. “You let the enemy advance deep into your territory … and they you wait for the snows of winter to wipe them out!”

    Do you *really* believe that Barack Obama will do better in the next two debates? He’ll have to defend his record in foreigh relations, including the Libyan debacle, the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhod, the lack of action on Iran, the screwup in Afghanistan (that was the important war, remember?), and the betrayal of Israel. Lots of luck with that.

    Here’s a counter-theory for you: Barack Obama wants to lose, so when the fewmets hit the windmill as a result of his diplomatic, economic, and military screwups, Romney will be left holding the bag.

  • Deoxy

    One minor quibble, and one major point.

    Quibble:

    Given the Republicans’ free-fall in the polls lately

    Um, what? Seriously, the polls have largely been even, even with D+10 and even HIGHER sampling. Considering that A) a large number of people aren’t going to admit that they aren’t going to vote for the black guy, B) the DISMAL response rate on these in general, which puts the whole thing in question (are the 10ish % of people who respond representative?), C) the polling changes to certain reputable polling groups after the DoJ signed on to a lawsuit against them (after complaining to them first about their polls), and D) the likely voter breakdown is going to be d+0 to R+5… yeah, that’s not anything remotely resembling “free-fall”.

    Major point:

    The interesting question is why our normally very competitive president

    What do you base this statement on? His competence, as best I can tell, is reading from teleprompters. The VAST majority of his extemporaneous speaking is AWFUL. Seriously, it’s not like this is a secret. Go to any video you like of him in the last 5 years – he speaks very well from a teleprompter, and he speaks decently with prepared notes… A parrot could do that.

    The whole “competence” and “intelligence” thing has been attributed to him a LOT, but other than speaking from a teleprompter, I haven’t seen it. Once. And yes, I’ve been looking.

  • ed

    The absolutely most completely lamest excuse for Obama’s poor performance I have read to date.
    If the author is in the tank for Obama, he should do himself and Obama a favor and admit that Obama has nothing to debate with. No record, no competence, no knowledge. If anyone could mail it in it would be Romney, but he won’t. He understands the gravity of the office, the gravity of the country’s situation and the seriousness that both require. Obama is clueless about what it takes to be president and has proven that these past four years.

  • ed

    ‘Your theory reminds me of the old story of why Egypt lost the war against Israel: they had Russian military advisers who convinced them to use the strategy that worked so well against Napoleon and Hitler. “You let the enemy advance deep into your territory … and they you wait for the snows of winter to wipe them out!” ‘

    When I first read this I L’d OL. But then I realized it was the Russians and the Arabs and figured it might actually be true. Both groups are alike in one respect: ignorant incompetence at high levels of government.

  • MassJim

    NAH, he ain’t that smart.

  • http://www.thegantry.net/blog Casey

    So the writer has the brain the size of a planet, sees Obama as himself (or the other way around) and hypothesizes that Barry did this to keep things “interesting.”

    The word which comes to mind is: novel. The next? Silly.

    The President walked into that studio the same way Apollo Creed walked into the ring in Rocky. His opponent was someone who shouldn’t even be in the same ring with someone with his (Creed’s) abilities. Barry felt the same way, after four years of the press and his staff feting him at every opportunity.

    The difference between the two was that Creed was smart enough to see he was up against someone who could beat him. Obama probably still thinks Romney got lucky.

  • Jeremy’s brother in TX

    Jeremy, well done sir! You stirred the pot and got some very spicy responses. I love the creativity of this article and the what-ifs…I think it’s interesting that people are so dismissive of your theory. Do these politicians really deserve any benefit of the doubt that your ideas are not a viable possibility. I mean look at Al Gore’s loony responses to, well, everything and he served as vice FREAKING president! They are ALL so out-of-touch with reality and are clueless about how to govern this country effectively…hint, it starts with less government and more personal responsibility and likely includes us all taking a dose of painful medicine for a while to get our fiscal house in order.


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