By Armani Scott
American politics is the gift that keeps on giving. Where else can you watch real life global drama play itself out, for free -- sort of, on your favorite cable news channel?
The scale of the drama is massive in that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
The drama also is the ultimate interactive experience; where everyone from President to school custodian can play their part.
I personally get a kick out of watching how the U.S. politicians “perform” during debates and press conferences and how the citizenry “acts” when they vote.
The first 2012 Presidential Debate provided classic drama… a prizefight, on stage with the politicians and a sociological study, in the audience with America’s reaction.
The conventional analysis after the Colorado debated ruled Romney the clear winner. His supporters cited his confidence and assertiveness. President Obama seemed perturbed and failed to make enough eye contact during Romney’s grinning insults, I mean assaults.
The venerable moderator, Jim Lehrer, also made news allowing Romney to flaunt the rules of the debate, frequently talking over his allotted time and over Lehrer, all be it “confidently”.
The mood at the barber shop was nervous the day after. Folk wanted to know, “Why hadn’t the President checked Romney on his lies?” The consensus 8 to 8 Barber Shop Wit held that the President needed to fight back more, dare I say, speak up for himself and by extension, Us!
At the time, I was neither enthusiastic nor forlorn about the debate performance of America’s first Technocratic President. The President had previously exhibited an effective rope-a-dope style in the past; remember how Obama did not bludgeon Hillary Clinton in the ’08 debates and won? More recently, how do we really feel about that whole Affordable Health Care Act thing that he signed into law?
As frustrating as his rope-a-dope style may be for his supporters, the President seems to always get the laugh last, especially with overly aggressive opponents (good luck with that re-election Bibi Netanyahu). I avoid judging him prematurely. My contribution to the 8 to 8 Barber Shop Wit was that folk needed to relax; there were two more Presidential debates coming and this President always finishes strong.
Besides, one person’s aggressor is another’s obnoxious. We are conditioned in this country to shoot first and think less often. Imagine the reaction in this country if President Obama had let the Gorilla out on Romney’s insolent barbs and Lehrer’s feckless moderation.
And is it good form to talk over the moderator and interrupt your adversary?
From my vantage, Obama took Romney’s best shot and was still ahead on points. And by the way, all that matters is the scoreboard. Just ask Custer.
We already knew what was coming with the Vice Presidential bloodletting, I mean debate...
Turning from politicians to citizens, American voters need to really start voting substance over style. What is the score between those nameless, stoic technocrats from China and our hawkish, right wing cowboys stretching from Nixon through Reagan and Bush II?
The days of judging Presidential debates like a high school debates for class president are over. Choosing the wrong guy based on juvenile criteria like race or slogans or willful ignorance place us all in further danger and Americans know it so…
Let the rope-a-dope run its course I thought. An increasingly mature and better informed American electorate (thank you Internet) was not calling this fight based on the theme music that Romney played upon entering the stage and his first round performance.
Stay sharp America, now more than ever.
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