11 October, 2012
Amen, Mr. President. Amen!
President Obama says of tonight's vice-presidential debate, "Joe needs to be Joe."
I expect Paul Ryan to wipe the floor with Joe Biden tonight in any case. But with the Veep, you can never tell what's going to come out of his mouth. Tonight could be a classic in the annals of comedy.
But the real show will be Oct. 18 at Hofstra University, when POTUS and Gov. Romney meet in a "town hall-" style debate covering both domestic and foreign policy (leave your watch at home, Mitt!) This should be Mr. Obama's best shot. As we saw in the first debate, Romney is a much better debater than he is. But the president's forte is "connecting" with crowds. The less formal format will enable him to be folksy, charming, charismatic. and rhetorical. He will be in his element.
Gov. Romney, on the other hand, will be out of his. And this could well be the evening that decides the election. The president will be aggressive to the point of being nasty. He will be rude. He will probably be insulting. And he certainly will spend the evening telling America that he knows Romney's real positions and real plans better than Romney does!
Romney sharply corrected him on that point during the first debate. And- as you probably know- the Obama campaign has been running a mind-numbing ad accusing Romney of being dishonest for saying that he doesn't plan to raise taxes on the middle class!
Obviously being confronted by the truth doesn't bother the Democrats. They just keep repeating the lie, hoping that- as Dr. Goebbels' is alleged (probably inaccurately) to have said, if you repeat a big enough lie often enough, people will believe it.
Romney will need to be aggressive right back- and to make the point over and over, not only during the debate but throughout the rest of the campaign, that he- Mitt Romney, and not President Obama, gets to decide what Mitt Romney's positions are, and that it's the Democrats' ongoing effort to put words in his mouth that is the real dishonesty in this campaign.
But I get ahead of myself. Tonight, I don't think the question is who is going to win the debate. The question, I think, is simply by how big a margin. Paul Ryan is a great deal smarter than Joe Biden is, has a much better command of the facts- and is much, much less likely to self-destruct.
It should be another good night for the Romney-Ryan ticket.