Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The End of the Debates

The Boston Herald has a typically bombastic reaction to last night's debate filling the front cover today. "SNARK ATTACK" in 415 pt. font. Stay classy, Herald.

But it points to the problem Obama has in the last two weeks of the campaign. It's still his campaign to lose but he hasn't found a sure way to win it yet. I would never vote from Romney under any circumstance. I think he's incomprehensible chimera who, to borrow someone's tweet from last night, would ultimately do exactly what Obama is doing, only louder. That said, the guy has momentum heading into the election. He is creeping up in the national polls and he's picking away at the battlegrounds. Slowly but inexorably. It don't like to write that. I think Romney would make the same kind of president he was as a governor: an indolent pompous twit.

But the guy bought the right people for his campaign.

I think back to the lead-up to the first debate with increasing chagrin. There was a New York Times piece on debate prep that basically won the expectations game for Romney. "Debates are all about creating moments" and Romney was memorizing zingers to highlight those differences with Obama. Here's a fairly typical article in the lead-up to that first debate. He had us snowed. You know how you really lower the bar before a debate? Provide lots and lots of evidence you are a complete buffoon and then fail to show up in your clown make-up. A pillbug could've cleared that bar.

Obama has gotten back to his groove these past couple of debates and I think, again as a biased observer, that he has thrashed Romney like an old rug. Is it enough? I doubt it. This election will be won or lost in Ohio and what's going to win it is people remembering to vote in their own interest. If they remember, Obama gets another four years; if they like the shiny mirage Romney is presenting, he will not.

A strange thought has been circulating through my head these past few days. I've been listening to an iTunes U collection on Greek Mythology recently to help me plan one of my classes. The professor was very amused by one incident in the rise of an Athenian tyrant, Peisistratos where he hired a very tall farm girl to portray the goddess Athena and ride beside him into Athens. The professor: Dr. Gillian Shepherd, (whose course I recommend, btw) was incredulous that the rational Athenians could be so taken in by such a patent absurdity. She suggested that something else explained Peisistratos' return to power.

I'm not sure which is the bigger absurdity: the idea of Athenians suddenly believing Athena would suddenly walk through Athens or that $5 trillion of tax cuts can be paid for by a few loop-holes tightened on the rich while simultaneously lowering the deficit by half in four years.
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