The Not Quite Knute Rockne Moment Of The Romney Campaign
“Play like you’re positive on the victory, even though
they’re leading big now.”
– Knute Rockne
In sport, the coach usually has an inspirational talk with his team before sending them out on the field. Typically, he and his assistant coaches have also spent more than just a bit of time pumping up the media and fans before the big game.
In that vein, this letter has been sent to the mainstream media and other interested parties by the Mitt Romney campaign in advance of the first Presidential debate. Give it a read and then we’ll chat.
From: Beth Myers, Senior Adviser
To: Interested Parties
Date: September 27, 2012
Re: 2012 Presidential Debates
In a matter of days, Governor Romney and President Obama will meet on the presidential debate stage. President Obama is a universally-acclaimed public speaker and has substantial debate experience under his belt. However, the record he’s compiled over the last four years – higher unemployment, lower incomes, rising energy costs, and a national debt spiraling out of control – means this will be a close election right up to November 6th.
Between now and then, President Obama and Governor Romney will debate three times. While Governor Romney has the issues and the facts on his side, President Obama enters these contests with a significant advantage on a number of fronts.
Voters already believe – by a 25-point margin – that President Obama is likely to do a better job in these debates. Given President Obama’s natural gifts and extensive seasoning under the bright lights of the debate stage, this is unsurprising. President Obama is a uniquely gifted speaker, and is widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history. This will be the eighth one-on-one presidential debate of his political career. For Mitt Romney, it will be his first.
Four years ago, Barack Obama faced John McCain on the debate stage. According to Gallup, voters judged him the winner of each debate by double-digit margins, and their polling showed he won one debate by an astounding 33-point margin. In the 2008 primary, he faced Hillary Clinton, another formidable opponent – debating her one-on-one numerous times and coming out ahead. The takeaway? Not only has President Obama gained valuable experience in these debates, he also won them comfortably.
But what must President Obama overcome? His record. Based on the campaign he’s run so far, it’s clear that President Obama will use his ample rhetorical gifts and debating experience to one end: attacking Mitt Romney. Since he won’t – and can’t – talk about his record, he’ll talk about Mitt Romney. We fully expect a 90-minute attack ad aimed at tearing down his opponent. If President Obama is as negative as we expect, he will have missed an opportunity to let the American people know his vision for the next four years and the policies he’d pursue. That’s not an opportunity Mitt Romney will pass up. He will talk about the big choice in this election – the choice between President Obama’s government-centric vision and Mitt Romney’s vision for an opportunity society with more jobs, higher take-home pay, a better-educated workforce, and millions of Americans lifted out of poverty into the middle class.
This election will not be decided by the debates, however. It will be decided by the American people. Regardless of who comes out on top in these debates, they know we can’t afford another four years like the last four years. And they will ultimately choose a better future by electing Mitt Romney to be our next president.
It’s a damn good thing that Ms Myers is not a football coach because Knute Rockne she ain’t. Imagine any football coach contacting the media and advising them that his team was probably going to lose on Sunday because the other team had better coaching, a better quarterback and….well….were just better at it the game than his team even though their record sucked.
While she did take the obligatory shots at the record of President Obama, she spent as much time positively fawning over his rhetorical and debating skills, even detailing his past successes.
Everything Ms Myers wrote is true. President Obama is an experienced debater and an excellent orator. It is equally true that his record in office is one of the worst in modern history. It seems to me that if you want to win the election, you just keep pounding away on that record rather than laying down in front of the world and admitting that your ‘boy’ doesn’t stand a chance in the big game. You might just as well toss in the towel and admit that your campaign is done.
I’m wondering why in hell anyone would be supporting someone they think is going to get the stuffing kicked out of them in a debate with his opponent. Does Ms Myers lack confidence in her candidate to the point where she believes he is incapable of holding his own against President Obama? If that is the case, how could she possibly believe he could hold his own with Congress or world leaders, especially with the likes of the President of Iran? (I’d use his name but I can’t pronounce or spell it properly.)
What would ever possess an election campaign to publicly undercut its own candidate and lower expectations of his performance? I suppose some will think that it is a devilishly clever strategy to create a bit of over-confidence in the Obama ranks with the intent of blind-siding him during the debate. Give me a break. If that was the strategy it was clearly poorly thought out and the result of desperate over-thinking…..or perhaps not thinking at all.
I’m also wondering how Mitt is feeling after this underwhelming public endorsement from one of his senior campaign advisers. Imagine that metaphorical football coach getting the lads together in the locker room and telling them they were about to get the Bejesus kicked out of them on Sunday because they weren’t as good as the other team. That’s definitely not one of those inspirational speeches that gets recorded for posterity or that drives a team to strive for victory.
Hollywood doesn’t make too many movies about coaches who announced in advance of the big game that their team didn’t have the experience or measured up to the other team; so for pity’s sake, don’t expect much from them.
It continues to amaze me at just how bizarre this election campaign continues to become.
Personally, I think the entire problem with elections is exemplified by this presidential campaign. There is too much money, too much spin and too much strategy. What is lacking is a rational discourse on the record of the current president and specifics about policy to get America back on its feet from his challenger. Somehow that doesn’t seem important though. There is so much focus on winning that the actual purpose of the election has been long forgotten.
It’s more of a popularity contest now than a process to select the best person to govern the country. It’s like an America’s Got Talent audition without the good will, the humour or the talent but an overabundance of stage moms behind the curtain.
Churchill was right. Democracy is the worst form of government, it’s just better than all the rest. Isn’t it a shame that it’s the best we could come up with? I hate to admit it but some days, dictatorships and monarchies start to look attractive to me. Even if kings, queens and dictators didn’t govern all that well; we wouldn’t be any worse off than we are now and at the very least we wouldn’t have put up with a year-long circus of division and stupidity at horrendous expense.
I think we should just elect a king or a queen and divide the $10 billion being wasted in this election campaign amongst everyone. Those in favour raise their hands and say aye. Those opposed can go ahead and tune in to the debates next week although we already know who will win; the Mitt Romney campaign has made that clear.
You don’t think Ms Myers actually is a Democrat do you? Nah, me either…but….
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