My after-debate analysis and what I wish Obama had done.
Romney the smirking bully:
Romney clearly held the President down and pummeled him with his riding crop most the evening. The patrician bully smiled throughout and lied masterfully, while the president tried not to squirm.
“Please sir, you’re hurting me,” he might have said.
What he should have said, keeping his presidential cool was, “You, sir, are a hypocrite. You sir, are a liar. You sir, are making this stuff up and I’m not buying it.”
On the $5 trillion tax cut, Obama should have spat in Romney’s smug mug and asked, “Where, sir, are these deductions and credits coming from? Middle class mortgage deductions? Education deductions? Let’s see the damn plan.”
When Romney insisted he’d get rid of Obamacare and let the states do what they will, the President should have said, “Oh, what's ok for your state - to insure all its residents to keep costs down and quality service up - is too good for Texas, for Alabama, for those states who don’t have the money to implement their own plans?”
Vouchers, vouchers, vouchers:
And when Romney said he’s all for education, but the “money should follow the child,” Obama should have called him on voucherizing the educational system (as he did call him on his Medicare plan), something that is sure to drive down the performance of public schools. “Do you want the market dictating who gets educated and who gets left behind?” Eyebrows raised. Incredulous look. Would have been nice. Would have let the American people know what Romney does want.
And when Romney blithely stated he preferred to have private insurance for himself, so that if he didn’t like the policy he had, he could just go out and buy another one, the President should have said, “OK for you to say that, Mr. Bain Capital, but the average American can’t just up and change insurance companies at will, without incurring higher premiums, because of how the market, unfettered the way you like it, works.”
And yes, he should have brought up that 47% remark. He should have looked right at Romney and said, “You sir, have already written off the middle class; don’t go telling me you’re now all warm and sympathetic to their plight. Not when you tell 47% of Americans they are freeloaders and moochers. These are hardworking Americans, with kids, with aging parents; the ones who worked their whole lives, and now may enjoy retirement secure in the Social Security benefits they have paid for; and what about the disabled? Would you have them sleep in the streets, or look for a handout from a charitable organization, who, by the way, will likely have less to give, if one of the deductions you are eliminating is charitable donations. Which we are all still waiting for you to tell us.”
No more 90 Pound Weakling:
Remember the old ad in the back of comic books, where the bully kicks sand in the face of his scrawny victim, laughing, until the skinny guy takes a Charles Atlas body building course?
Well, my advice to President Obama is: Bulk up. Take some jujitsu between now and the next debate. (Let Clinton give you verbal sparring lessons. He's the master.) Show the patrician bully that the Presidential geek can give as good as he gets.
And please let Joe Biden loose to channel his inner street fighter and dominate the zombie zealot Paul Ryan in the Vice-Presidential debate next week. Make Ryan own his economic plan, his ties to the Tea Party, his extreme beliefs. And do not let him get away with his claim that Romney was just being “inarticulate” when he talked about the 47% at that dinner party. We know he’s not inarticulate; we saw it last night. He lies with aplomb. Call him on it.
My dream Biden zinger: “We know your running mate is not inarticulate; we saw him on TV last week; so tell me, Paulie, was he lying to his peeps at that dinner party when he said that he believes 47% of Americans are moochers? Or was he lying to the American people in the debate when he claimed to care about the middle class? It’s one or the other buddy. Which is it?”
Ba ba bing! Ba da boom!