Later, perhaps, he got scared that Romney, with seemingly endless energy, was getting the better of him, embodying optimism. It's almost... Reaganesque! People are supposed to love me, that's the given of this race. What if they love him?!
Obama didn't have a way to change his own demeanor, to veer away from the game plan, mid-debate, and as he relied more and more on studied dullness, hints of his own disappointment in himself showed through. He tried, it seemed, to stave off those feelings by flashing his famously beautiful smile — which, we could then see, does not emanate from a place of joy or pleasure.
I'm reading Andrew Sullivan's his live-blog. His last entry is widely quoted:
But this was a disaster for the president for the key people he needs to reach, and his effete, wonkish lectures may have jolted a lot of independents into giving Romney a second look.That corresponds to the theory that Obama had a strategy that turned out to be bad. And scroll down to 10:29:
How is Obama's closing statement so fucking sad, confused and lame? He choked. He lost. He may even have lost the election tonight.The closing statement is a part Obama would have planned in advance. There's no reason for that to come off badly. Even if he'd been tired before and disappointed in himself and surprised at Romney's strength, the event was almost over. Summon up a final burst of energy and deliver that little speech you've got memorized. That is the thing you're best at — other than that smile — delivering a sermon. Nail that last little bit and maybe that's what people will remember. End big. Why wasn't he ready to do at least that?
Speculating, I'm able to come up with only 2 ideas: 1. He has some burdensome real emotions behind that smile, and 2. He actually doesn't want to win.