Dulik vs. Pierro
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 02:10
Sam Dulik Analysis
Put simply, Mitt rocked it. Romney delivered a crisp, effective and compelling performance that has silenced those who once crowed his political obituary.
I found one element of President Obama’s performance deeply disturbing. I cannot for the life of me determine what Obama would actually seek to accomplish in another four years. Romney repeatedly referenced the initiatives he would champion: education reform, trade expansion in Latin America, spending cuts, promoting the development of American energy, and so on.
But except for some vague generalities about fighting for the middle class and making “wealthy” people (that is, many middle class families and thousands of small businesses) pay their “fair share,” the president was silent about what initiatives would be on his agenda in another term.
This president cannot run on his record, and he so he didn’t in the debate. He cannot run on his vision for the future, so he didn’t do that either. The American presidency is not a journey of self-discovery — we need leaders who are bold and effective. They should be judged by their concrete accomplishments and specific plans for the future. At the end of the day, there is only one reason why Mitt Romney emerged as the victor of the first debate: He met that test, and President Obama flunked it.
Daniel Pierro response
On the whole, I agree with you. Obama’s performance at the debate was hardly presidential. He was as passive as he was unable to form substantive counterarguments.
But do not forget that his message and principles still resonate well with his base. I cannot seem to understand why. He failed to bring a public option to the table in the healthcare legislation, he did not close Guantanamo Bay, he's deported more illegal immigrants than George W. Bush, but according to the Obama campaign we are still making leaps “forward.”
So, yet again, you're right that he cannot run on his record, and this may be why his record went so unmentioned at the debate. But I think you may be overlooking the reasons as to why Obama is not being so specific.
He failed to meet the demands of progressives in his first term. But he did not do so for no reason — he needed to be reelected. I think his vagueness stems from his desire to pursue a more progressive agenda in his second. If he were to do this in his first term with a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, he would have definitely been a one-term president. I personally think that Obama has been much more moderate than his speech in his campaigns would suggest, but I expect him to be more liberal if he is elected to a second term.
“Messages and principles” don't put more Americans back to work, or increase energy independence, or defeat terrorism. Leadership does, and real leaders have the courage to lay out specific plans. Romney's done so, and Obama has not. It is insulting to American democracy that an incumbent president would run a reelection campaign with a staggering paucity of concrete proposals for a second term.
If I went into a job interview and said “I don't want to discuss my experiences, I don't want to discuss what I'd do in this job and I don't particularly care about this discussion, but hey, hire me for the heck of it,” that wouldn't work out so well for me. I challenge the left to tell me why Obama should be treated any differently when he does the same thing. Daniel sounds like he's pretty dissatisfied with President Obama — join the club, and hop onboard the Romney wagon. It sounds like you want an America that's freer and stronger than what we see under President Obama right now. A President Romney can make it happen.
Daniel Pierro Analysis
In the words of Democratic Party strategist James Carville, “Romney came with a chainsaw” to last week’s presidential debate. The general consensus among pundits is that Romney won, and a post-debate CNN poll says that 67 percent of those watching the debate agree.
Yes, Romney had a lot more time to prepare. Yet whether President Obama had two days or two months of preparation, there is no reason whatsoever for Obama’s inability to defend the ideas that are the linchpins of the Democratic platform. This was essentially the Obama campaign’s most salient pitfall.
Obama did not seem presidential at the debate. His passiveness and inability to steer the debate in his direction could negate the progress he made in securing reelection.
Al Gore attributes Obama’s poor performance to altitude sickness and the fact that Romney had more time to prepare. He says Obama arrived in Denver “just a few hours before the debate started” after being 5,000 feet in the air on a plane.
But I would like to ask Gore this question: If Obama was a Republican incumbent president and delivered the same performance, would Democrats not pounce on him for the errors he made?
With the next round of debates fast approaching, I expect to see Joe Biden’s plan of attack mimic that of Romney. In order to regain the steam, Biden must do exactly what Obama failed to do: control the moderator, steer the debate and dominate talking time. I expect to see many more references to Romney’s “47 percent” gaffe and attacks on the intellectual credibility of Romney’s tax plan and the ethics of his ad campaign.
Sam Dulik Response