October 4, 2012

"He didn’t bring up the 47%!"

"He had a whole, you know, area to discuss the role of government and he didn’t talk about a philosophical divide!"

Obama must have determined in advance not to use the 47% material. The question is why. Perhaps the thinking was: Everyone will perk up, this will be the sound bite of the debate, and Romney's expecting it. He'll be prepared. He knows what you'll say, but you don't know what he'll say, in whatever excellent remarks he'll have planned. You'll have to think on the spot, and his whole plan will be to have something you'll stumble over on the spot, perhaps something you once said that you might stammer over explaining, as this sound bite of the evening is being recorded for exploitation everywhere.

He played it safe, which you may say wasn't really safe. But you're not seeing what would have happened down the road not taken.

***

I shall be telling this with a sigh   
Somewhere ages and ages hence:   
Two roads diverged in a debate, and I—   
I took the easy one to travel by,   
And that has made all the difference.

120 comments:

furious_a said...

Althouse: He'll be prepared. He knows what you'll say, but you don't know what he'll say, in whatever excellent remarks he'll have planned.

It's correct courtroom procedure for an attorney to NOT direct a question to a witness where the answer isn't already known, isn't it?

LincolnTf said...

As much hay as the Left has made of the "47%" remarks, the majority of the country agrees with Romney. They have to be very careful with it.

Methadras said...

Let the armchair butthurt begin...

YoungHegelian said...

The reason Obama didn't bring up the 47% quotation is because it's a great sound-bite just as it is for the Dems.

If Obama brings it up then Romney gets to explain just what the hell he was really trying to say. If Romney did that there's too big a chance that some independents in the audience would go Ohhhh.... That kind of makes sense....

That bolt has been shot, and Obama was wise not to use it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Obama doesn't want to bring it up, since it would give Romney a chance to be heard and to make his points about this topic, in it's entirety instead of being chopped up and distorted by the MSM.

Plus.....most people agree. We are being ground down by the entitlement mentality and the free loaders.

Methadras said...

Romney would have easily countered the 47% statement because he would have told the president and the rest of the country that didn't here the 'erased or missing' 2 minutes afterward what was said and he may not have liked the answer and in that not knowing decided it would be prudent not to bring it up. They know it would have been a loser and chose not to do it.

Aridog said...

What Furious_A said ... and Obama is smarter than the media pundits who wailed about "the 47%." The media folk are too fond of their own voices to actually *think* ... about things like how easily the 47% concept can be de-constructed.

Either that or *Brittany* refused to go on stage for the evening.

//necessary??

Methadras said...

Let the armchair butthurt begin...

exhelodrvr1 said...

The sooner you admit that Obama is not a good debater, is not good off-the-cuff, has no administrative or management skills, is deliberately racially divisive, and won in 2008 because people pretended he was something he wasn't/isn't, the better.

Tim said...

Bringing up the "47%" has some risk for Obama too.

Right now, his ads tar Romney with the statement, without context, explanation or defense by Romney.

Bring it up in a debate, and Romney not only gets to explain the remark, he gets to explain the moral hazard of the 47% to the future well being not only of the 47%, of the US as well.

We cannot survive when 47% of the population, and growing, as it is under Obama, are net takers rather than contributors.

Ann Althouse said...

"It's correct courtroom procedure for an attorney to NOT direct a question to a witness where the answer isn't already known, isn't it?"

Excellent analogy.

"Let the armchair butthurt begin..."

Putting the anal in analogy.

Jay said...

Obama must have determined in advance not to use the 47% material. The question is why

Um, because to people not in the bubble, the remark isn't at all controversial.

YoungHegelian said...

@DBQ,

Great minds not only think alike, they seem to be able to post at almost the same instant to say pretty much the same thing!

Chip S. said...

So the President of the United States is asking the people to keep him in office, but is afraid to state his principal talking point in a forum where his opponent can reply to it?

What an impressive guy.

Methadras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Methadras said...

Ann Althouse said...

"It's correct courtroom procedure for an attorney to NOT direct a question to a witness where the answer isn't already known, isn't it?"

Excellent analogy.

"Let the armchair butthurt begin..."

Putting the anal in analogy.


And analysis.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I don't remember Mitt Romney bringing up "you didn't build that" either.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"It's correct courtroom procedure for an attorney to NOT direct a question to a witness where the answer isn't already known, isn't it"

Unfortunately, that's not how being President works.

bagoh20 said...

I repeat from a post a couple hours ago because here it is even more appropriate:

Obama supporters I hear keep suggesting that the President should have hit him with the 47% or some other point like that would be the holy grail, but Romney was clearly very well prepared and practiced. I have no doubt that he not only had a prepared rebuttal for those, but was ready to hit them out of the park, and probably is disappointed they didn't come up. That's what proven competency does. It gives intelligent people confidence in what they have not seen yet - both the people handling the task and those depending on them to do it. Incompetence is very scary for us all.

Carol said...

It's okay. Next time there will be questions about birth control, gay marriage, court nominees (i.e. abortion).

ricpic said...

No matter how much of a dolt he shows himself to be the Obama's a subtle thinker shit will never end

SteveR said...

David Gregory licking his chops to have that become a part of the debate in no way means it was a good idea for Obama to lead with his chin on it. Lehrer didn't give him an opening either.

Patrick said...

If the President had any idea how to respond to what Romney would say he'd have brought it up, if only as fodder for his base. The President however, neither thinks on his feet well, nor speaks well without his teleprompter, and was afraid.

Patrick said...

Plus what Bagoh said.

Chip S. said...

I don't remember Mitt Romney bringing up "you didn't build that" either.

And if you can find instances of Romney supporters complaining that he didn't do that, then you'll have established a parallel here.

The point you're missing here is that to Obama's supporters, "47%" is the key message of his campaign.

Well, aside from "Romney's a bad, bad man," of course.

edutcher said...

It was very clear the Romster was in command as to the depth of the Depression in this country.

If Zero had raised the issue, he would have been buried by how bad things are for many of that 47%.

And, as someone here mentioned, a lot of the 47% either don't want to be part of it or don't think they are, so he could have opened a very nasty can of worms for the Romster to exploit.

If he even thinks that deeply.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Why does Valerie Jarrett have more protection, 24/7, than the Benghazi Consulate?

Media disinterest in this simple question, and where the answer might lead, is nothing short of criminal.

gmama3 said...

Obviously they did focus group polling on it and they determined that 53% of the people were in agreement with Romney, they also determined large number of voters they called via Obamaphone were unlikely to watch the debates.

AprilApple said...

Read those MSM exchanges. The "news" anchors/news team are actively rooting for Obama. They are actively advising Obama and attempting to help and encourage Obama. It's gross.

Methadras said...

There were a couple of times there watching Romney take Urkel to the woodshed, that it looked like Urkel was going to belt out a "You Lie!!!"

What's funny is that afterward, my wife told me that basically this was was worse than watching Carter get the shiv by Reagan.

Methadras said...

AprilApple said...

Read those MSM exchanges. The "news" anchors/news team are actively rooting for Obama. They are actively advising Obama and attempting to help and encourage Obama. It's gross.


Networks no longer give you the news, they disseminate propaganda from the DNC. They have no shame, they simply do not care anymore and they know that after last nights performance, the HMS Urkel just hit the iceberg Romney.

Colonel Angus said...

I'm part of the 53% who pay income taxes and part of the top 10% that fund 65% of the federal income tax and Obama is telling me I need to pay my fair share. I'm sure that sits well with the 47%.

With me not so much.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Young Helgian Great minds not only think alike, they seem to be able to post at almost the same instant to say pretty much the same thing!

I know!! It's cosmic!

Sloanasaurus said...

The reason Obama didn't bring up the 47% quotation is because it's a great sound-bite just as it is for the Dems.

I think this is half right. The truth of this quote is Romney was talking about something else. Bringing it up at the debate would allow Romney to close the door on the empty criticism.

The other half is that most imdependents agree with Romney on this issue and the idea that the welfare state is out of control. The people who don't agree are liberals and conservative commentators who worry about what liberals will say.

gmama3 said...

Interestingly enough CNN did a poll of people who watched the debate. It came out 67-23 for Romney.

It was repeated several times that the poll slightly over sampled Republicans by a few points. On the CNN site it now says "37% Democratic and 33% Republican". Doesn't sound like an oversample on the Republican side to me.

Michael Barger said...

Re "He's standing like a girl" - check out this morning's Drudgeposition.

Pastafarian said...

Consider all the things Romney didn't bring up: Fast and Furious, the worst scandal since the Johnson administration (Andrew, not LBJ); GM's impending bankruptcy (again); the ongoing WARN/Lockheed scandal; and on and on.

Romney didn't have time, because he spent the first half-hour defending his tax plan.

Basically, Romney, with one hand behind his back, took Obama down and gave him a bad haircut.

Maybe F&F will be mentioned in the next debate. Should be fun.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann,

You'll have to think on the spot, and his whole plan will be to have something you'll stumble over on the spot, perhaps something you once said that you might stammer over explaining, as this sound bite of the evening is being recorded for exploitation everywhere.

That's just it. Obama is not at all good at "thinking on the spot," for all his reputation as The Greatest Orator The Modern US Has Ever Seen. Better to stay well away from the obvious traps.

Not that it exactly worked, in the event, but it might've been even worse.

Anyone else notice the number of times Romney said that the middle class has been "crushed"? Who needs opponents when you have Joe Biden?

AF said...

Actually, Obama clearly alluded to Romney's 47% comment in his answer on entitlements, explaining why he doesn't think people on Social Security and Medicare are "dependent." He went for the substantive, dignified approach rather than the bitch slap. Seems like that was too subtle for most people.

bagoh20 said...

OK, so what we have left here?
No longer cool
No longer a great communicator
No longer really smart
No longer sexy

He remains half-Black, and I doubt that's just hype. That may still be enough. I know it is for some.

I actually feel bad about this, but can you just imagine that anniversary night with Michelle last night?

"Barack, don't bring that wonky shit up in here. Oh fuck it, just sleep on the couch."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann,


Putting the anal in analogy.


I'm keeping that. Tell me, as a lawyer: Do I owe you royalties?

granmary said...

Obama knows that only the media & leftist loons don't know what Romney meant. Ordinary Americans know what he meant & most of the country agrees with it. This won't work any more than free birth control, free abortions or any of the other redistribution/class warfare schemes work.Stealing from some to buy votes from others is losing it's appeal as we all go broke together.

Bruce Hayden said...

I have no doubt that he not only had a prepared rebuttal for those, but was ready to hit them out of the park, and probably is disappointed they didn't come up.

Notice what Romney did with the (expected) $4 billion or so oil company tax loopholes? First, he pointed out that they didn't apply to Exxon and Mobil, and then turned it around, and pointed out that the President has spent some 50 years of oil company subsidies on "green energy", listing some of the better known failures, and then got in his quip about not picking winners and losers, but just losers.

That is what being prepared looks like, and why, I think, that Obama didn't use the 47% attack.

n price said...

Ms. Althouse's posts have begun to feel alot like 2008. I can't stick around for another endorsement of BO-tepid as it might be. Enjoyed reading, but time to go. I'd like to say you deserve BO if you vote for him, but we don't. See ya.

MadisonMan said...

That one changed line ruins the poem.

Marshal said...

It's all about priorities. Obama found time to demonize profits and successful companies throughout the event. Apparently he thinks that's the key idea to winning votes. Personally I love the idea that because a company "doesn't need any more money" government should be allowed to confiscate it. Since that's the cornerstone of Obama's governing philosophy I think he should make it the cornerstone of his campaign advertising.

Yesterday Rasmussen published a poll showing the candidates' "certain" support is 44/43. This is where Romney's victory can come from. When you throw out the 2 percent who will vote third party and the 4 percent (2 each) pedants who are only uncertain in the sense that they could be run over by a bus in the next month, there are still seven points up for grabs. A normal 60% to the challenger gives Romney a .5% win, and this debate is going to push him over the 60% split mark.

Colonel Angus said...

Interestingly enough, his debate performance mirrored his job performance.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Pastafarian,

I will be surprised if "Fast and Furious" doesn't come up in the foreign policy debate. Our deliberately arming Mexican criminals with no particular idea how to track the guns, and without coordinating with the Mexican government, looks like foreign policy to me.

FleetUSA said...

Maybe Choom is now playing the prevent defense as he thinks he has it sewn up (by hook or by crook as in Chicago).

We know the prevent defense often ends up losing the game.

Also, we know how co-dependent he is on the teleprompter and words written by others.

Go Mitt Go.

Sorun said...

The "news" anchors/news team are actively rooting for Obama. They are actively advising Obama and attempting to help and encourage Obama."

With friends like that...

Credit the Obama campaign for being smarter than the news readers.

Jay said...

Colonel Angus said...
Interestingly enough, his debate performance mirrored his job performance.


Yep.

Which is why I'm laughing at the people asserting "Obama will get better"

Really?

McTriumph said...

Obama didn't bring up the 47% because the average voter knows it's basically true, only MSNBC hosts thinks it's important. Most likely DNC internals polls say this.

It's interesting, if you are familiar with both candidates' ads, Romney's debate points follow his. Obama's debate points did not, because most of his ads are absurd. As Obama gets more desperate that may change.

hawkeyedjb said...

I was lukewarm on Romney until I heard the 47% remark. That's when I perked up and began to think that there may be something to this guy. I wonder how many people felt the same way.

X said...

Obama is the equivalent of an NFL coach with a 1-63 record and an expiring contract. He kinda reminds of Wayne Fontes the way he tosses people under the bus to save his own skin, but Fontes at least made the playoffs once.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Before we go any further, how many times are we allowed to say Romney won before it becomes racist?

Seeing Red said...

Mitt should go in for the kill about F&F. Univision was the only TV station doing its job & the president's wife just got appointed to the UN.

That will go over well because it will look like hush money.

Christopher in MA said...

Actually, Obama clearly alluded to Romney's 47% comment in his answer on entitlements, explaining why he doesn't think people on Social Security and Medicare are "dependent." He went for the substantive, dignified approach rather than the bitch slap. Seems like that was too subtle for most people.

And since I'm willing to bet that Romney doesn't consider them dependent either, then it makes Obama too clever by half. Which is laugh out loud funny.

bagoh20 said...

"That is what being prepared looks like..."

Exactly, Bruce.

Every time Obama attempted to make a strong point, Romney was right there with a complete set of bullet points in rebuttal. He was very very good.

DADvocate said...

The reason Obama didn't bring up the 47% quotation is because it's a great sound-bite just as it is for the Dems.

If Obama brings it up then Romney gets to explain just what the hell he was really trying to say. If Romney did that there's too big a chance that some independents in the audience would go Ohhhh.... That kind of makes sense....

That bolt has been shot, and Obama was wise not to use it.


Very true. Plus, the video was shot in secret, unbeknownst to Romney, in what was a "private" setting. The entire, unedited video has not been released.

Why not? In all likelihood it's flattering to Romney. Romney could have brought up all that also.

Playing videos, in context and the speaker knowing he/she is being recorded, on the Internet showing people talking about Obamaphones and riling up racial animosity over Katrina and the Stafford Act is ugly, very ugly, nasty ugly, set your face on fire and beat it out with a rake ugly. But, recording in secret, possibly illegally, and playing back only an edited version clearly meant for nothing but political gain, is uglier. And, Obama knows there are people who won't vote for him if his supporters do such ugly things. At least, that's what Romney tells him.

rhhardin said...

Frost, however, was ridiculing the importance of the moment idea.

rhhardin said...

You don't have to prepare to refute Obama. You just have to know stuff.

Seeing Red said...

Ouch - via Insty about a Cali snap poll:

...Not surprisingly, Obama narrowly won with one demographic group.

In fact, African Americans were the only demographic group in California to see Obama as a winner — and only narrowly, the CBS 5 poll found.

Whites, Hispanics and Asians all viewed Romney as the clear winner, according to the poll results.

Among other demographic breakdowns, men by 24 points and middle-income viewers by 27 points saw Romney as the clear winner.

Only younger Californians, those age 18 to 34, saw the debate as a draw. Viewers age 35 and over all said Romney won.

phx said...

I don't know what the outcome in November will be - personally I thought he traded reelection to push through Obamacare. A year ago I would have been surprised it was this close.

I think Romney's supporters have the right to an endzone dance right now - Mitt earned it for them. But it's still early, and there's a lot of GOP hubris out there. Hubris can never be good!

I know that's the rap a lot of people want to lay on Obama: hubris and arrogance. But that is more than matched by some of Romney's supporters. It's playing out like a Greek tragedy.

To his credit, and I sincerely mean this, I don't get a whiff of any of that off Romney himself.

Joe said...

Last night in the gym, I saw, but didn't hear, what I thought was a heavy hitting pro-Romney commercial, only to be surprised by the small type telling me that if I can donate to Obama if I text a number. Seriously, that was the only clue to the ad.

Obama thinks he'll win simply because he can't conceive that he won't.

My guess is that Obama was convinced that he'd win the debate last night due simply to his presence. Hence, there was no strategy on his part.

gmama3 said...

I'm not buying that Obama was being high minded or subtle. Was the phase "jerking around" another example of his sterling subtly and oratory?

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seeing Red said...

"bitter clingers" phx.

bagoh20 said...

I don't usually consider debates a good way to judge Presidential ability, but the problem for Obama last night was that on that stage there clearly was only one person who either was qualified for, or wanted to be President enough to get the job. Debates don't usually shake out that clearly, but there was no gotcha moment, no zingers to muddy the waters. There was just steady continuous - as they say in economics - "differentiation" between two men.

Chip S. said...

phx, good observations.

When the insiders' tell-some books are written, I wonder if we'll find out whether the trade of a second term for O'care was a conscious one.

heyboom said...

I was pleasantly surprised to find both of my college age daughters glued to the television watching the debate. It will be the first presidential election vote for both of them. I also have a dear friend who is a recently retired senior, and she told me yesterday that she is afraid of another Obama term. And she voted for him in 2008. Her husband is in the same camp as well. I have to believe there are many more folks out there who share this emotion.

As an aside, if Obama has some great plan to save this country, why hasn't he implemented it already? Wouldn't that guarantee his re-election?

phx said...

"bitter clingers" phx.

In war if my opponent's been an asshole to me, I never repay him in kind. I pocket it as an IOU, but I don't spend it that way.

Seeing Red said...

Via Drudge:

Breaking from two decades of tradition, this year’s election exit poll is set to include surveys of voters in 31 states, not all 50 as it has for the past five presidential elections, according to multiple people involved in the planning.

...The National Election Pool — a joint venture of the major television networks and The Associated Press — has not announced the states that won’t be included, but the decision is sure to cause some pain to election watchers across the country.

Voters in the excluded states will still be interviewed as part of a national exit poll, but state-level estimates of the partisan, age or racial makeups of electorates won’t be available as they have been since 1992. The lack of data may hamper election night analyses in some states, and it will almost certainly limit post-election research for years to come.....

Big Mike said...

First of all, why "must have"? Obama wouldn't be the first debater to forget one of his points in the heat of the debate, and he wouldn't be the last. And that supposes that Obama really is a good debater. He's good at reading a teleprompter, but even when he gets softball questions at a press conference he stumbles and can't seem to organize his thoughts. Maybe he's overrated as a speaker? Just askin'

Second, there is evidence that the 53% mostly agree with the 47% remark, even the way the Dems and their lackeys in the mainstream media have spun it. The part of that remark I saw suggests he meant that people who pay no income tax don't have much interest in tax policy.

Which leads to ...

Third, what YoungHegelian and DBQ said upthread. Give Romney a chance to qualify his remarks and even some of the 47% will go along with it.

Seeing Red said...

Oh, please.............

neanderthal, slope forehead knuckledraggers

racists

haters

I call bullshit on you saying Romney supporters are acting badly.

n.n said...

While the "47%" remark does not reflect a comprehensive assessment of the disparity in contribution, it does identify a progressive dissociation between individuals with and without a vested interest in the development of our society. There is no reasonable justification for normalizing involuntary redistribution schemes enforced by government authority. There is an interest to promote the general Welfare through short-term, focused, and accountable rehabilitation programs. The welfare system needs to be replaced with a rehabilitation system to aid individuals who may falter throughout the course of their lives. While a true welfare system may be made available to only a small number of people who are involuntarily physically and mentally incapacitated.

We cannot develop a stable civilization when a large minority of members are net negative contributors to society. The current welfare (i.e. non-contributory) system is a sponsor of corruption, both of the providers and beneficiaries, institutions, culture, and society.

aritai said...

re: 47% and MC^2. I thought the original comment was in the context of 47% don't have a stake in the size of government because they don't see it in their income tax - because they aren't paying any. Difference between how a chicken and a pig view a bacon and egg breakfast.

With regard to Medicare and Medicaid payees not being dependent on government, that's only true if their contributions plus, say, treasury note returns cover their bills. Else it’s like a bad defined-benefit plan negotiated by a union - save that unlike (most) businesses, the government won't go bankrupt quickly if they make a bad business wager on this type of open-ended benefit (especially one without a co-pay). Like not paying federal income taxes, those on a defined benefit plan are free not to worry (until everything collapses) about the financial health of their benefactor. Best if defined-benefit everything were regulated out of existence for anything paid for by the public. Ditto the private sector save for institutions that are guaranteed to fail-fast (and never allowed to become "too big to fail). Meaning private insurance companies can still make a business taking (annuity-like) wagers, but their customers have to know they may well go out of business, and out of business even faster if the country ever takes an anti-business, pro-left-communitarian turn. So they will think about these things when they vote, and if I could, I would put these words in the fine print of every contract, insurance policy, etc. where the benefits depend on business success. I'd even put it on every ballot - a warning - every vote for the left and redistribution is a vote to ruin your future health and wealth.

phx said...

I call bullshit on you saying Romney supporters are acting badly.

For me that's not really a moral judgment. It's more about strategy.

furious_a said...

Pasta: Consider all the things Romney didn't bring up: Fast and Furious, the worst scandal since the Johnson administration (Andrew, not LBJ); GM's impending bankruptcy (again); the ongoing WARN/Lockheed scandal; and on and on.

Romney is in a target-rich environment. He has only half of the remaining three hours of debate, and assume half of that (45 mins) after playing defense. Consider the media have been unable to squeeze in those issues for 3+ years.

Romney needs to choose his targets and his timing wisely.

Ned said...

Why bring up the 47%??? He's already got the Althouse vote! The rest of us were looking for Mitt to offer hope that we can get America back on track...the 47% hope he fails!

harrogate said...

"So the President of the United States is asking the people to keep him in office, but is afraid to state his principal talking point in a forum where his opponent can reply to it?

What an impressive guy."

Chip, you *do* know that Romney was free to bring it up on his own, don't you? I mean, if he had such a great response and all, while not go full on Rogerian Argument. Bring up your opponent's talking point and then knock it down with your Most Excellent Response.

Indeed while watching the dabet last night I interpreted it as some sort of Old West Standoff over the Wildean Quote-That-Dare-not_Speak-Its-Name. Whou would bring it up? Who was ready to draw first?

If it never comes up in any of the debates, I shan't be shocked. Too many landmines potentially for both the President and the Contenda, on that front.

phx said...

harrogate maybe Romney didn't bring it up because it might be worth saving for the right moment. Without the context of Obama bringing it up it could fall flat.

In chess GMs will sit on a "theoretical novelty" sometimes for years, waiting for the right opponent, the right time to spring it. It's a fact that sometimes they never get a chance to unleash their brilliancy.

roger said...

The candidates didn't raise this figure for differing reasons. 47% is the type of hook/symbol which the public easily grasps. Like "bitter clingers" as mentioned downthread. For the President the threat it too great that the population will indeed be reminded that 47% of the population appears to be contributing insufficiently.

For Romney the point has already been made and it resonates. (See the original obamaphone lady.) No need to overplay one's hand.

furious_a said...

phx: It's playing out like a Greek tragedy.

If by "Greek tragedy" you mean it's playing out more like those faux-Doric columns at Obama's covention acceptance speech in, coincidentally, Denver.

MnMark said...

I think this is the explanation for Obama's flatfootedness in the debate: he has never in his life had to stand and account for his performance in a job before. Because he's never had a job long enough to be an "incumbent" and need to defend himself.

He was only a U.S. Senator for a couple years before he started running for President.

He was only a state senator for a relatively short while before running for U.S. Senator.

He had short tenures in previous community-organizing-type jobs.

He's used to skating by on platitudes like "hope and change" because he's always been the outsider who could attack the incumbent's record.

Last night, for the first time (since of course he had no need to debate during the Democratic primaries) he had to stand there, live, facing a hostile opponent who could reel of four years' worth of Obama's failures, and Obama had no emotional experience with dealing with that. He thinks of himself as the visionary, the harbinger of change, not the incumbent having to actually defend the concrete results of what he's done. He just didn't know how to handle the barrage of criticisms coming out of Romney.

phx said...

By Greek tragedy I mean competing protagonists who each deserve what they get - but justice can only be meted out to one.

I kind of love the suspense of it all.

Hagar said...

I think Obama is quite capable of thinking on his feet, etc., when debating among his own people on his own ground.

However, it is not so easy to be "thinking on your feet" and respond quickly and accurately in a debate where you are pretending to be someone you are not.

Real American said...

I love how the big attack line from the guy who's 2008 campaign was based primarily on "hope and change" is that Romney hasn't provided enough details of his plans.

anyway, is it really surprising that a guy who was unprepared to be president showed up to a debate unprepared?

Chip S. said...

Chip, you *do* know that Romney was free to bring it up on his own, don't you?

Sure, if he wanted to blast Obama as a demagogue. But you *do* know that Romney kept saying "Let's get back to Medicare," which is pretty much "bringing it up on his own." Also, as I said upthread, it's Obama's supporters who are whining about him not chanting "47%," not me or any other Romney supporter.

Christopher in MA said...

Screenwriter / producer / blogger Robert J. Avrech made an interesting comment in his analysis of the debate. It's worth bringing up in light of the "never been challenged" and "unprepared" criticisms of Obama we've been discussing:

. . .would like to draw your attention to one small moment in the debate. It wasn’t a show stopper, there were no memorable zingers, and it wasn’t particularly dramatic, but the moment was emblematic of the entire evening.

Obama claimed that there are tax incentives for Americans to do business on foreign shores. The implication being that the tax system favors clever (evil) business people who take jobs away from Americans.

Mitt Romney responded that no such tax incentive exists. “I have been in business for over twenty-five years and I’ve never heard of such an incentive.”

In short, Obama was lying.

And Obama has never been in business for one day in his entire life so the false claim is made even more outrageous.

Barack Hussein Obama is a narcissist, a pathological narcissist. He has skated through a life of privelege being told by all around him how wonderful and absolutely brilliant he is. And with the aid of a compliant media, Barack Hussein Obama slithered to the highest office in the land.

But finally, seemingly out of nowhere, Mitt Romney — where has he been hiding? — unmasked Obama as a pile of nothingness, a man who, at one point in the evening, once again — and really, this was just desperation — summoned the evil specter of, dum-da-dum-dum: corporate jet owners.

Class warfare plays to the debased base of the Democrat party, to those creatures like Sandra Fluke, spoiled brats who wallow in their resentment and their selfish needs. But for most Americans, it is ugly, divisive and un-American.

If Romney keeps this up, Obama will get buried in November and our long national nightmare will be over.

P.S. You can expect Obama to start bombing Libya some time next week. Anything to deflect.


n.n said...

He also didn't bring up Romney's criticism (recorded at the same event) of Federal Reserve policy, which has permitted small but progressive inflation. This is one of the contributing causes for increased costs of medical care, food, housing, education, etc. It's significant because it suggests a monetary policy which does not reflect a true valuation of our economic productivity and a progressive discrepancy in forecasting its potential. It is significant because this forecast influences other policies, including immigration quotas. It is significant because it explains why special interest groups demand progressive compensation for the devaluation of their purchasing power.

Then again, perhaps our monetary policy is directed to accommodate a progressive demand for material instant gratification. People want something and they want it now, and politicians promise them a return which is inconsistent with the constraints imposed by reality.

It's not straightforward to distinguish between cause and effect.

Seeing Red said...

So last night wasn't the "real Mitt Romney?"

Oh, brother, but was it the real Barry?

Seeing Red said...

He doesn't want to be held accountable to the Real Mitt Romney's decisions?


and then his lips fell off.

IT'S BOOOOOSH'S FAULT!

JohnJ said...

"Obama must have determined in advance not to use the 47% material."

Just as likely, he fully intended to use it and was waiting for the ideal moment. But, after taking several hard, unexpected counter punches directly on the chin, he decided to forgo the haymaker Romney surely had prepared.

n.n said...

He also didn't mention the 10% of GDP federal deficit, which is an effective tax on all Americans and their enterprises (e.g. VAT). This covert tax is effectively a regressive tax because its effects are most significant to individuals with low earning potential.

Rusty said...

I told you before,Althouse, the man can't think on his feet.

BarryD said...

"As much hay as the Left has made of the "47%" remarks, the majority of the country agrees with Romney. They have to be very careful with it."

Yup

Nathan Alexander said...

Why hasn't Obama ever explained exactly how much the "just a little more" is that he wants the millionairesandbillionaires that make $250k/year to pay so that they are paying a fair share?

Maybe it's just me, but you'd have to reduce the tax rates the rich pay to have them pay their fair share.

Why do I think Obama is using a different definition do 'fair' than you would find in a dictionary?

phx said...

He didn't bring up Romney's taxes either.

Kelly said...

Based on performance, I think Obama simply forgot or he couldn't figure out how to work it in. The man isn't exactly quick on his feet.

Blue@9 said...

It's also not a policy argument.

It would have been really strange and incongruous to hear Romney talk about policies to help American families and then have Obama make a 47% retort.

Does anyone think Romney should have brought up "bitter clingers"? It would have been dumb in a debate about policy and numbers. A zinger about "You don't care!" just sounds like a lame personal attack in that context.

Synova said...

"Difference between how a chicken and a pig view a bacon and egg breakfast."

A visitor to a farm noticed that one of the pigs in the pen had only three legs. "Hey, what happened to your pig?" he asked the Farmer.

"Well you see," the farmer said, "we had a fire."

"Oh no! And that's how the pig lost its leg?"

"Nah, the fire was up at the house. When the fire started the pig broke through the pen over there."

"And that's how it lost its leg?"

"Nah, the pig was fine. Ran up to the house and broke through the front door."

"Wow, and that's when it lost its leg?"

"Nah, got through the door fine, went through the smoke and saved the wife, pulled her out of the fire."

"That's amazing! That pig is a hero!"

"Yup," said the farmer, "And I gotta tell you. A pig like that, you just don't eat all at once."

Methadras said...

phx said...

harrogate maybe Romney didn't bring it up because it might be worth saving for the right moment. Without the context of Obama bringing it up it could fall flat.

In chess GMs will sit on a "theoretical novelty" sometimes for years, waiting for the right opponent, the right time to spring it. It's a fact that sometimes they never get a chance to unleash their brilliancy.


I certainly hope you are not equating or attempting to equate Urkel as a sly fox chess GM waiting to spring his master opener, attack, closer strategy years from now? Are you? He has 4 years to do it, he failed horribly. He could have revealed something awesome last night and he ended up looking like an animal backed into a corner looking for the nearest exit.

Methadras said...

JohnJ said...

"Obama must have determined in advance not to use the 47% material."

Just as likely, he fully intended to use it and was waiting for the ideal moment. But, after taking several hard, unexpected counter punches directly on the chin, he decided to forgo the haymaker Romney surely had prepared


Oh, you could see Romney was waiting for it and was ready to deflect it like the gnat it is.

Methadras said...

phx said...

He didn't bring up Romney's taxes either.


Because there is nothing there and they know it. The whole leftist canard of Romney releasing his taxes because there is some nefarious double-dealing in there was stupid and Urkel's supporters carrying that water dropped the bucket. They have nothing. Nothing. The whole house of cards collapsed last night. The Urkel pyramid scheme is finished.

Dante said...

I'm trying to think about "Gotchas" in this debate. Was it my imagination, or was this a relatively clean debate?

Or perhaps Romney is so good at sticking the knife in, I simply didn't notice. The "wan smile" suckered me into thinking this wasn't a major heavyweight fight with Romney landing blow after blow.

What a change from Al Gore's sighs.

Regarding a comment someone made (Crack or Bagoh20), I do have to wonder if Obama wants the job. I wonder if he is really isolated. Maybe Pelosi did put the man on mute. Maybe he didn't get the deal with Bhoener, and it's a disaster he doesn't know how to deal with. Maybe he feels isolated, even with his own party. Maybe he is disillusioned about his theory working out in practice. Perhaps he wishes he were still a community organizer.

What happened to all his people? They don't seem to be supporting him. Where is take no prisoners Pelosi, the harpy Wasserman Schultz, Reid, Rahm Emanuel. Where's the support crowd? They seem absent.

Amartel said...

"P.S. You can expect Obama to start bombing Libya some time next week. Anything to deflect."

Why now? Why sudden urgency NOW rather than, oh, I don't know, BEFORE? This question will linger, whether or not Obama makes himself available to answer it, because the general public now strongly suspects that Obama is dishonest and maybe not such a nice fellow after all. The shine is well off the star.
(Which is why it's important to give people visual evidence of the opportunistic, glib dishonesty even if the reminder is overhyped and "ugly".)
The man and his sycophants spent weeks after the Benghazi attack blaming a Youtube video so to turn around now and be all, "Well, I never" and "where are the carriers?" would be too much wag the dog even for John Q. 47%.

Chip S. said...

Yeah, "chess grandmaster" is exactly what people were thinking as they watched Obama cringe and smolder and listened to him stutter and flounder last night.

Tee hee.

Amartel said...

"He didn't bring up Romney's taxes either."

Yes, at least he didn't step on that landmine.

Nora said...

"He played it safe,..."

Did you really expect any different from a former senator who, with few exclussions (one of them being voting on the bill that waved 10% provision for Louisiana, among other hurricane hit states just on 5/27/07, appx a week before his divisive speech on 6/5/07) voted 'present'?

Obama have no good reason to feel confident during debates, because while he and his campaign can lie on campaign track and in the adds and count on media to cover up, he is on his own during debates and Romney knows the facts and can bring them up into the open.

Pomney also can talk and argue, i.e. debate, while Obama without teleprompter can only bring up tired talking points. I don't think mediator letting him talk more was good for him, because he had time to jump through several talking points, making him even more incoherent.

hombre said...

The 47% works as an ad when there can be no response. Obviously, Obama also works best when there can be no response.

Synova said...

Remember a couple weeks ago when Obama told Univision that Egypt wasn't an ally and the white house had to explain afterward that the question wasn't expected so his staff wasn't able to prepare the answers and that's why Obama answered the way he did?

What did ReasonableMan say that answer was? Shrewd?

Chip S. said...

Is "shrewed" a synonym for "henpecked"? As in, "Poor Barack is shrewed by Michelle and Valerie?"

carrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
furious_a said...

"P.S. You can expect Obama to start bombing Libya some time next week. Anything to deflect."

FBI finally on the ground in Benghazi twenty-three days after Ambassador Stevens' and the other three Americans' murders. The local CNN reporter can fill them in.

In other news, as someone noted in yesterday's WSJ letters to the editor, each of the returning victim's coffins had six Marines as honorary pallbearers, or exactly 24 more than Ambassador Stevens and the other Americans' had on the day of the attack.

Methadras said...

This sums up Urkel's entire existence.

Talking Heads Once In A Lifetime Lyrics:

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
You may find yourself in another part of the world
You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
You may ask yourself, how do I work this?
You may ask yourself, where is that large automobile?
You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful house
You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful wife
Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again, after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/t/talking+heads/once+in+a+lifetime_20135070.html ]
Water dissolving and water removing
There is water at the bottom of the ocean
Remove the water, carry the water
Remove the water from the bottom of the ocean
Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again, after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
Into the blue again, into silent water
Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground
Letting the days go by, into silent water
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
You may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?
You may ask yourself, where does that highway lead to?
You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong?
You may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?
Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again, after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
Into the blue again, into silent water
Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground
Letting the days go by, into silent water
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Time isn't holding us, time isn't after us
Time isn't holding us, time doesn't hold you back
Time isn't holding us, time isn't after us
Time isn't holding us...
Letting the days go by, letting the days go by, letting the days go by, once in a lifetime
Letting the days go by, letting the days go by, letting the days go by, once in a lifetime

Geoff Matthews said...

I heard Rush say that the soundbite only works if it hasn't been answered. The 47% are really those people who won't vote for Romney under any circumstances (short of Obama doing something really stupid). Once this is clarified, the soundbite is diminished for them.

Better to keep the ambiguity up.

John Lynch said...

...or Obama just forgot. I don't think there was much of a plan at all, if you listen to the closing remarks.

Penny said...

He didn't have to bring it up. Every show I watched after the debate brought it up though.

Smart move to let the main stream media carry that dirty water for you!

Penny said...

Honestly, I got the heartiest chuckle that Obama never mentioned it. These stations get some of their stuff prepared in advance without wanting to appear that they did that. No one even CONTEMPLATED that Obama wouldn't use their current favorite anti-Romney sound byte.

Can you imagine all the fretting that caused for directors of post debate shows? ha ha

MarkD said...

He can say what he wants to about what a President Romney might do. His problem is what President Obama did and didn't do.

That blank slate needs an industrial strength eraser this time around. They don't come big enough.