Check out this weekend’s Noonan column, “When Americans Saw the Real Obama,” in which she explains that if Barack Obama loses the election, the reason will be his performance in the first debate. From the column:
Nothing echoes out like that debate. It was the moment that allowed Mr. Romney to break through, that allowed dismay with the incumbent to coalesce, that allowed voters to consider the alternative. What the debate did to the president is what the Yankees’ 0-4 series against the Tigers did at least momentarily, to the team’s relationship with their city. “Dear Yankees, We don’t date losers. Signed, New Yorkers” read the Post’s headline. America doesn’t date losers either.…
What he couldn’t do was present himself, when everyone was looking, as smaller than you thought. Petulant, put upon, above it all, full of himself. He couldn’t afford to make himself look less impressive than the challenger in terms of command, grasp of facts, size.
But that’s what he did.
And in some utterly new way the president was revealed, exposed. All the people whose job it is to surround and explain him, to act as his buffers and protectors—they weren’t there. It was him on the stage, alone with a competitor. He didn’t have a teleprompter, and so his failure seemed to underscore the cliché that the prompter is a kind of umbilical cord for him, something that provides nourishment, the thing he needs to sound good. He is not by any means a stupid man but he has become a boring one; he drones, he is predictable, it’s never new. The teleprompter adds substance, or at least safety.
She writes that all the efforts to explain the disaster that the first debate for the One may be over thinking the situation.
Maybe what happened isn’t a mystery at all.
That, anyway, is the view expressed this week by a member of the U.S. Senate who served there with Mr Obama and has met with him in the White House. People back home, he said, sometimes wonder what happened with the president in the debate. The senator said, I paraphrase: I sort of have to tell them that it wasn’t a miscalculation or a weird moment. I tell them: I know him, and that was him. That guy on the stage, that’s the real Obama.
I can confirm that statement. People who were in Springfield when Obama was in the Illinois State Senate, and had the chance to interact with him, have said the same thing. He was a dismissive, arrogant, thin-skinned, lecturing, pompous empty suit. He hasn’t changed.
Recall what Professor John Lott said on the Teri O’Brien Show about trying to have a civil conversation with him about their disagreements over the 2nd amendment. Here’s the audio:
Ms. Noonan concludes by referencing Bob Woodward’s new book, “The Price of Politics.”
Mr. Woodward’s portrait of the president is not precisely new—it has been drawn in other ways in other accounts, and has been a staple of D.C. gossip for three years now—but it is vivid and believable. And there’s probably a direct line between that portrait and the Obama seen in the first debate. Maybe that’s what made it so indelible, and such an arc-changer.
People saw for the first time an Obama they may have heard about on radio or in a newspaper but had never seen.
They didn’t see some odd version of the president. They saw the president.
And they didn’t like what they saw, and that would linger.
Yes, it has lingered. As my very wise late grandma used to say, when it’s bred in the bone, you can’t beat it out with a stick.
That “like ability” that supposedly so many saw has evaporated, and with it, the One’s re-election chances.