When I watched the 'debate' of the two American presidencial candidates, I got out a small handbook I was given in secondary school. Ok, no I didn't have to wheel it out on a hand cart with stone wheels...we had papyrus then...of course the beating it into a pulp was hard and drying it was an excuse acceptable not to do homework.
The handbook is called 'The Art of War', a 'military manual' attributed to Sun Tzu, a general, and war stratigest. "The Art of War' is the most well known of the seven Chinese military manuals, and gives a brief, but very to the point description of the strategem of war.
Sun Tzu had three very important points to make about war. The first was, that although it is 'necessary', it should be avoided, and should be the last resort. The second is, that wars should be short, lest a long war become a burden economically on a nation, and you beat your enemy soundly, and before he becomes a 'long term' threat, and, that one should take the country, and it's army whole, and treat the people...even the soldiers with dignity and respect after capturing them.
As I watched the 'debate', a point from the first 'chapter' called 始計，始计 (don't ask...but sort of like pondering options, making assessments, consulting with experts, running seneros...well, somthing like that in English)
OK, I wanted to bring up the 'saying' from the military manual, and show how I percieved the 'debate'.
Please read under the curly thingy.
"...All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away;when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand..."Personally, I to let Romney talk unfettered was part of the plan. (to hold out baits to intice him) What better weapon do you have against an opponent, than the one your opponent hands you? I think letting Romney have as much time as he needed to explain his plans unchallanged, then use them as campaign ordinance against him. Let him belive he is in the board room, amonst people like him. Notice that all of the very strong points Obama's side have made voting 'against' Candidate Romney have come from Romney and/or his own staff when they believed they were in 'friendly territory' among 'friends'.
From 'The Art of War"
I saw using Romney's temperment against him is also a tactic of the debate. Romney seems very 'impatient', especially when he doesnt 'command' the situation. Notice his own family says that about him. He..for example cant wait for his grandchildren to eat before he 'gets at the pot'. Romney proved this when he constantly 'interrupted' the moderator, as Romney saw the moderator as 'inferior in rank' (much like the empty chair speech) Perhaps this is why his campaign doesnt seem disiplined...because he is going against those who are advising him.
Romney has placed himself in a bind. He has three factions he must appease...but two of them are opposite each other. The first are the ones he has, no matter what, are those who hate President Obama personally. They will vote for Usama bin Laden just because he isnt Barak Obama. These are the people he appeases by throwing in racially charged cues...such as 'the food stamp president', or 'give Black people jobs', or, 'thier culture makes them poorer (as he looks across the border of one nation into the oppressed people of another) and those who hate "Obamacare'...because it is an accomplishment of Obama.
The second faction is the 'ideological right', those who want to socially engineer America to a sort of 'Christian shari'a state. Romney must appease them by supporting people who belive that 'women cant become pregnant of they are raped...and pregnancy is evidence that a victim was not raped'
The third, and most rational faction are those who are conservatives, and independant thinkers who think of a candidate as someone who will benefit them, thier situation, thier families, communities, and ultimatly the nation. There are those among them...probably most...who understand that fiscal responsibility means hard choices...but choices must add value to the nation (such as children's education, healthcare for the poor are examples).
So, Romney must take both sides of an issue depending on where he is, and who he is speaking to. Romney's mindset is geared more as a CEO trying to 'seal the deal', and will say whatever it takes to do it...even if it is deceptive. As we know, this tactic doesnt work while standing next to his opponent.
I think Obama simply gave Romney enough leverage...as the thoughtful sort through all of what was said...to put him at defence (that is not letting him rest) against...himself.
Smart tactic Mr. Obama.