LOOKING PRESIDENTIAL

After watching Obama underachieve in his debate with Mitt Romney, I knew I would wake up to the instant analysis by “liberal” reporters in the LA Times and elsewhere that Romney had “won” the debate and made the contest for the White House much more “interesting.” Really? what was interesting and so telling about the LAT, NYT and the MSM in general was how saying that Romney “looked presidential” indicates that “looks” are what count in our shallow and debased political discourse as narrated by such focus group hucksters as Wolf Blitzer.

The truth of the matter is that Governor Forehead steamrolled over the anemic PBS host Jim Lehrer and disarmed Obama with the audacious force of a psychopathic liar, unabashed in his cynical mendacity, knowing that fact-checking is for college nerds. There, that’s my lede. No wonder I’m not writing for The New York Times.

Yes, I was disappointed that Obama, like so many in his party, seemed oddly afraid of reminding Americans not traveling by limousine or private jet that it’s the Democrats who have lobbied and legislated for a more equitable society, with justice and health care for all. Where is the downside to speaking up about this? And when Mitt shamelessly tossed out that slur about Obama being incapable of reaching across the aisle to work with Republicans, why didn’t the President hit that one out of the park like a hanging curve ball:

Maybe Governor Romney has some advice on how I could have reached across the aisle more effectively to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who announced in 2009 that the single most important thing the Republicans in Congress wanted to achieve was for President Obama to be a one-term president — not create jobs or improve our schools, end poverty, address climate change, make America energy independent, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and help the middle class from disappearing…NO, instead, with utter disregard for the welfare of his fellow Americans, the leader of your party in the Senate told the whole world that he was going to devote all his energy to what I would call extreme and unpatriotic partisanship. What would you call it, Governor?

But the fact that Obama did not take the fight to Romney and was all too polite in parrying his fusillade of lies remains  less significant than the media’s treatment of the debate as sheer theatrical performance, as if that has anything to do with the qualities required of a president. The Dallas Morning News (but of course) actually said the debate made evident a clear choice in the contrasting policies of the two men. (!) That’s like saying you have a choice between rooting for the Dallas Cowboys or a fantasy football team — although even fantasy football teams are graded by real numbers and statistics, unlike the purely imaginary playbook Romney held up in Denver.

About Sean Mitchell

SEAN MITCHELL is a journalist, critic and former staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Herald Examiner and Dallas Times Herald. His articles and reviews have also appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, USA Today and other publications. He is the recipient of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing about music and the George Jean Nathan Award for distinguished drama criticism. Born in Bethlehem, Pa., he grew up in Dallas and is a graduate of St. Mark’s School of Texas and Brown University. He lives in Dallas.
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One Response to LOOKING PRESIDENTIAL

  1. Thank you for your words. I have to speculate that Romney and Obama had some words exchanged before they went on air, that gave the awkwardness we witnessed on Wednesday. I think the real question is why Obama would be silent when he knew that night he needed to call Romney out on his utter bullshit? I am mad, scared and depressed that Obama finds time to appear on the view with a response to each and every one of their nagging questions, while when it comes to a National Debate he clams up and retreats. What in the words does Romney have over Obama’s head? Anyways. I am just venting. Thank you for your piece. I had to add mine.

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