Obama’s Hustle?

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I didn’t watch the presidential debates. But I have read that Mitt Romney “won” the initial debate and the Obama supporters are in a dither. The talking heads are having a field day though Ted Koppel seems to be having apoplexy wondering why Obama didn’t play all the cards in his hand — why didn’t he mention that he had bailed out two of America’s largest car companies thereby saving thousands of jobs? Why didn’t he allude to Mitt’s blunder in his presentation to the fat-cat Republicans who were giving him money by the boatloads by failing to reference the infamous 47%? And so it goes.

From what I read Barack Obama seemed somewhat disinterested after hugging his wife and mentioning to the world that they had been married for 20 years. What sort of game was he playing? Or didn’t he come to play at all? These are the types of questions that people are asking. I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that these debates are really entertainment staged for TV and presented to audiences with short attention spans. I still maintain that this is the case: all of the comments I have read focus on the impressions the two debaters made and none of this has anything whatever to do with which man would make the better president.

In any event, I take solace in the fact that Obama is a master politician and I suspect he knows what he is doing. His fundraisers have been filling cyberspace and the phone lines with appeals for more money to hold off the millions of dollars people like Karl Rove and the Koch brothers are spending in swing states to buy their man the election. I hesitate to suggest that Obama is involved in a clever ploy to raise more money to fuel his campaign in the final weeks. But I do think the man knows what he is doing and that he realizes that while he has lost this battle in the eyes of the voting public, he has not lost the war. The ploy may have begun when he downplayed his debating skills before the debates began, though we know better. This may well be Obama playing Minnesota Fats to Romney’s Fast Eddie: it may be a hustle designed to get the opponent to relax his guard until the final debates when he will come out fresh and primed for the contest and use the final moments on national TV to vault him back into the White House.

In any event, it has certainly made for interesting TV and will assuredly raise viewer interest in the final debates, which tends to fall off historically. One down and two to go! But whether or not this is the case, as I say, it has nothing whatever to do with the central question at issue: which of these two men will make the better president? Perhaps we should worry less about how these men performed on TV and worry more about which one would perform better on the world stage as this country enters an uncertain future.