With a few days’ perspective since the Rumble Filled With Jumble, I’ve gained some additional perspective on the first presidential debate. And that perspective has led me to one inescapable conclusion: Nothing’s changed – President Obama was terrible.
Now I could go through all the things he did wrong in taking on the Forbes 500 Fabricator, but most of them, such as the never-mentioned “47 per cent ,” Bain, Mitt’s man-sized Cheney safe where he keeps his tax returns, social issues and naming one of his kids Tagg, well, that’s water under the drawbridge you need to cross to get to each of Romney’s estates.
But I am here to tell Barack Obama (and to a lesser extent Vice-President Joe Biden) what he should do in the coming debates, when taking on someone who takes more positions than yoga guru Bikram Choudhary, and will likely continue to bob and weave like he’s Big Bird trying to escape Rick Santorum’s teeth.
Now let’s give credit where it’s due, this idea comes from my wife’s immediate reaction to the big debate the other night – and as she has at least a 100-IQ-point head start on me, she gets it right as always.
So here it goes: President Obama needs to go into the next debate with a simple theme – one which happens to have the benefit of being true. There is the Mitt Romney you see in public, and then there’s the Mitt Romney behind closed doors.
Public Mitt Romney loves all of humanity like it’s a baby cuddled close to his breast for protection. Private Mitt Romney thinks 47 per cent of us are moochers who are not worthy of his attention because we don’t support his candidacy, as we’re somehow not bedazzled by his heartlessness towards children of undocumented workers, attacks on women’s rights and serial abuse of hair product.
Public Mitt just hates offshoring. Behind-closed-doors Mitt used to attend secretive meetings while at Bain where he invested in a company that pioneered new methods for taking American jobs to China. Public Mitt just loves, (loves I tell you!), Medicare. The more private Mitt is meeting with his vice-presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, to figure out how to voucherise it.
Finally, you have public Mitt chastising President Obama for not being more “transparent”. Yet, Private Mitt thinks he should have the right to only share one year of his tax returns with those who would make the most powerful person in the land -breaking a tradition his father started and all modern presidential candidates have adhered to (although, in his defence, it may be because he got tax amnesty for 2009 and earlier, for using UBS accounts to avoid paying taxes for years – and that could make him look like a rich brat who lacks respect for the laws of the US, or something).
The President picked up on this theme somewhat in a speech in Denver the day after the debate. He pointed out that he didn’t know who was up on the stage with him, because his opponent looked like Mitt Romney, but said things that didn’t match reality about his tax plan, Medicare plan, offshoring and the like. This is also known as lying, something Mitt Romney does like it’s a bodily function. Don’t expect that to change anytime, well, ever.
So Mr President – if you’re reading this, and I’m sure you are – I have a real problem with your lack of action on the gun violence plaguing our country. Your seeming embrace of Simpson Bowles is nothing short of terrible policy and politics. Your decision to go after whistleblowers confounds me, and frankly is morally wrong.
But you have done many good things, particularly when it comes to healthcare, the Supreme Court, minority rights, the auto bailout and knocking off that bin Laden guy that Mitt Romney would’ve – by his own words – spent less time worrying about than finding new offshore homes for his lucre. You, Mr President, are the man for the job.
So please don’t let this prevaricating, Ken Doll come in next time and get away with re-writing his history for what, the 4th time? 5th time?
The man thinks Russia is our biggest foreign policy challenge, the poor are doing just fine and that airplanes should remove their windows in flight. We can’t afford that in the White House. We tried that in 2000, and I give you 5 words: 9/11; Katrina; economic crash.
So come out strong in your next debate. Bring the fire. And remind people that there are two different Mitt Romneys: The public Mitt, and the one behind closed doors. And God help us if we give either of them a chance to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients.
Follow him on Twitter: @CliffSchecter