Monday, September 24, 2012

Managing expectations for the debates

But America would be lucky to have me. Just ask Ann.

The game of managing expectations is one of the more interesting parts of politics. It's all nonsense, but it's fun to watch.

Senior Obama campaign advisor Robert Gibbs has let it be known that he thinks Mitt Romney has the advantage going into the presidential debates, as he said on Fox News this weekend:

Mitt Romney I think has an advantage, because he's been through 20 of these debates in the primaries over the last year.

Um, do I think Gibbs thinks Romney really has the advantage? No, no I don't. But it's a good thing to say just in case too many people think Willard is such a dullard that managing to stand at the podium for the whole time is a fabulous feat.

My guess is that much of Obama's debate preparation centers around finding ways to get Romney annoyed. We saw a bit of how unpleasant he can be when other debaters get too him. He comes across as some privileged jackass who can't believe anyone has the nerve to dispute his claims. He laughs that goofy laugh, cocks his head, and looks like an utter fool.

If no-drama Obama can just maintain his cool, which is generally not a problem, that should be enough.

Romney will need a knockout or two in the debates. He'll have to press to get them. Pressing is what makes him look really bad. Obama just has to stand there and let it happen.

The first round is October 3rd in Denver. Can't wait.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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  • I'm with you, although I think that the "20 debates" argument is strong. But the reason I believe Obama will do well is, as per Primary Colors, "Because our ideas are better." I feel uncomfortable when I see Romney interviewed; he has to talk around his policy ideas because they are so toxic. Obama is under no such onus. Or at least not nearly as big an onus.

    But I'm a Democrat, so naturally I predict that everything will go poorly.

    By Anonymous Frankly Curious, at 10:50 PM  

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