It was hard not to feel sorry for President Barack Obama during what was the first of three presidential debates. The dejected demeanor and the perpetually lowered gaze conjured an unprepared student peppered by a pedantic teacher with questions he could not possibly answer.
The president’s pose spoke to the beating he was receiving at the hands of his opponent, Gov. Mitt Romney.
Obama campaigner Chris Matthews – a proxy for this president, who cloaks himself in the raiment of a newsman – demanded to know: Why was Obama staring down at his “notes” and scribbling? What was he waiting for?
To describe what Gov. Romney had done in the course of the 90-minute debate, Matthews, who possesses a nimble intelligence his candidate is without, reached for wild man Charlie Sheen’s zinger: “What was Romney doing? Winning!”
Moderator Jim Lehrer is an old-school newsman who has never in the course of a long and distinguished career revealed his own political bias. Now the pack men of the media were piling on the PBS anchor for not controlling the debate’s outcome, and for allowing a free to-and-fro between the men.
And since Mitt won hands down, the moderator must have been bad. Or so goes the loser’s lackluster logic. Never mind that reasoning backward is an error in logic. So how does post hoc ergo propter hoc work? Had Obama won the debate under the same emcee’s minimal intervention, Lehrer would have been lauded.
“Passive and unprepared,” chimed another MSNBC regular.
“I was stunned,” confessed thug extraordinaire Ed Schultz of “The Ed Show.” The vulgar and venomous Schultz has openly and repeatedly referred to Republicans as “the enemy,” on his MSNBC extravaganza. If what we saw was indicative of what was to come, Schultz lamented, Obama was in serious trouble.
Arrogant to the end, press pack animal Chuck Todd conceded that Romney’s debate on Oct. 3 qualified him for the first time as a “credible candidate.”
In the left’s peanut gallery, comedian Bill Maher is a philosopher-prophet. Tweeted Maher: “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter.”
Also at MSNBC, Rachel Maddow provided the ultimate rationalization, which her co-hosts on the network and elsewhere quickly embraced. “The presidency spoils your ability to be a good debater.”
“In psychology and logic, rationalization (also known as making excuses) is an unconscious defense mechanism,” writes Wikipedia. It is intended to shield the fragile ego from reality.
Like Maddow, presidential hagiographer Douglas Brinkley took cover from real life on Fox News’ “Cavuto.” The yang to Lincoln idolator Doris Kearns Goodwin’s yin, Brinkley diminished Romney’s intellectual victory by applying that most stringent historical test to the governor’s performance: It was without a Reaganesque zinger. Obama, however, had not damaged his brand, claimed Brinkley. He was still a gifted “retail politician.” (Read community organizer.)
Indeed, CNN’s ecstasy meter – a monitor of women’s response to the candidates – crescendoed whenever Obama noodled on aimlessly.
To their credit, the groupies at MSNBC were far more cognizant of the failures of their man than their colleagues at, say, the Huffington Post. “Obama played offense and defense admirably well,” diarized one diarrhetic blogger during the Wednesday night “wipeout.” Or the New York Times, which framed the president’s intellectual flubs as no more than a tactical or stylistic tic. “Cool Hand Barry” they continue to call him.
Once an enthusiastic supporter of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, crunchy con Andrew Sullivan has for some time struggled to stay relevant. (I won’t bore you with the hackneyed hoaxes Sullivan once spewed for Bush, only to say here that there was not an occurrence he didn’t trace back to Iraq: anthrax, September 11 and too few gays in the military – you name it; Iraq was behind it.) Sullivan’s latest (always forgiven) faux pas was splayed on the cover of Newsweek, just the other day, and was provocatively titled, “President Obama: The Democrats’ Ronald Reagan.”
The ever-wrong Sullivan is no longer salivating for the guy “I love.” “… this was a disaster for Obama,” he tweeted. (Never mind, Andy. America loves you, whether you urge her sons to go to war needlessly, or make literary love to her dictators. And love means never having to say you’re sorry.)
For one reason only was Obama on the ropes, while Romney floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee: Romney’s superior intelligence, his ability to store immense amounts of information and apply it to bolster his arguments – abilities his rival, Barack Obama, manifestly lacks.
The belated scoop is this: The Child was not born in a barn and was never a brainiac.
Four years after his election–and a week since CNN’s Jessica Yellin revealed nothing but her own adoration in “Obama Revealed,” an agonizing hour with the president – a Washington Examiner investigation divulged the following facts, belatedly:
Obama was a child of privilege, not of hardship. He lived in Jakarta’s most exclusive suburb. His white grandmother (whom he once tarred with the taint of racism and with whom he lived in Hawaii) was a bank vice president. She sent him to an exclusive private school. Later on he was a shoo-in at Columbia and Harvard Law School. During his 12 years as a lecturer at the University of Chicago’s Law School, his student-approval ratings were low. In fact, he was one of the lowest-ranked professors in his last five years at the university. There, did he teach tort law or bankruptcy law or civil liberties or civil procedures or criminal appeals, or, perhaps navigate the shoals of intellectual property law? No. Obama taught “racism” related law. He left no record of legal, scholarly writings.
Make no mistake; should he succeed in vanquishing Obama come Nov. 6, Romney’s brand of “repeal-and-replace statism” – not to mention maniacal militarism and Sinophobia – will be no victory for liberty.
If not for liberty, last night was, however, a small victory for reality.
Read Ilana’s blog.