The night we've all been waiting for, all of us, that is, for whom this election's outcome meets the criteria of a "matter of life or death." With all the run-up to the debate rhetoric of what Romney must do, the question now turns more to the debate itself and its aftermath, courtesy of the Thursday morning quarterbacks.
Between the released 2007 film of Obama's Hampton College speech, his "it's a drag" debate prep, will President's mien of race-transcendent, cool, detached confidence and invincibility be punctured by a go-for-broke, piercing Romney performance. We've seen what happens when the President doesn't have his teleprompter, or goes off his prepped remarks, as in "you didn't build that." We can only hope that the Almighty has replaced Romney’s tin ear with one of platinum.
During the course of the Romney campaign, we’ve all had our moments of, “what is this man doing? “Arrggh!” or “light my hair on fire, Mitt.” Through it all, Romney’s been Romney, sticking to his game plan. The issue for many political pundits and strategists is that Romney has not run the type of traditional, political campaign that, after John McCain’s implosion, should have been run in their judgment. Romney has been vague, when he should have been specific. Romney’s had missed opportunities. Romney should have said “xx”, when he said, “yy.” But Romney is, at heart, a businessman, not a life-long politician. Successful CEOs lead differently, conduct themselves differently, and that’s what we’ve been seeing over the last 18 months.
Tonight, Romney will debate for the first time since Michigan and the all important Florida debate, where he turned the corner. As ABC News wrote the day after the Florida debate:
“On Thursday night Mitt Romney finally looked like a candidate who wants to win this election. On the debate stage Romney was confident and focused. More important, he was aggressive and disciplined, and never allowed his chief rival, Newt Gingrich, to get the upper hand.”
Romney was asked this campaign season as to what advice would his father have given to him, and his reply was that his father would have told him “go bold.” If that’s the Romney who shows up tonight, the Romney who remembers South Carolina, Obama will have what I term a “Mitt-fit.” The President’s inevitability will crumble before even his most ardent supporters. Obama hates being confronted with facts, as in his Univision interview, and quite frankly, his own “eye candy” ego and narcissism have contributed to his Presidency being one of riddled with ineptitude, cronyism, and nihilism that have cost the American people dearly.
On the other hand, if Romney channels his inner “remember your father’s gaffe,” and plays it safe as has been his tendency to do, Republicans and Independents leaning-Republican may be faced with a fait-accompli, reduced to fingers-crossed in the general election.
There are three Presidential debates, (Oct. 3, 16, 22) and one Vice-Presidential debate (Oct. 11). The stakes couldn’t be higher, especially given the gravity of first impressions. True leaders, whether he/she be CEO or a corporal on the battlefield, rise to the occasion when called upon. What we’re going to see tonight, I hope, is Mitt Romney, the leader, but with the humanity of the husband, the father, the grandfather. He will convince us, and in subsequent debates reinforce in us the confidence that he can do the job, that we can turn it around, find the solutions, and rebuild an America for everyone.
Cross-posted at www.political-woman.com