Hi everyone. First, let me say that this is my first diary. I love to come on this site and read diaries and comments, but I must admit, I was a bit afraid to step out there and actually post something. I was afraid of people not caring or being interested in what I had to say, or being ridiculed because I'm not as well versed in the issues, or that I'm simply repeating someone else's views posted in a diary I missed. But after last night's debates, I feel the need to say something and I really want to say it here. If no one or a few hundred people read this post, I am now strong enough to say it doesn't matter to me either way, because ultimately, posting this will somehow make me feel better and that is what I need right now. Second, since this is my 1st time, I'd like to introduce myself to those of you who do choose to read this, as I hope this will be the first of many diaries I post, and I want to become a part of this very special family that I have watched from behind the curtain for so long.
I am a black female from the south who is a very proud mother, wife, and democrat. I am also a trial lawyer. I spend every day fighting for people who have been injured by products made by corporations who spend their days trying to figure out how to make as much money as they can selling products that can seriously harm or even kill the consumers who use them. I am used to being berated for my choice of career, until someone actually needs me, then they want me to move heaven and earth to give them justice. I follow politics not just because I'm interested in it - I follow it because in a lot of ways, it sets the framework for what I do, and the mechanisms by which I can try to achieve that justice. It is exhausting work but I do it because I believe in giving average people a voice against a raging and very noisy machine.
I am used to speaking to juries and trying to find ways that I can deliver a set of facts in a way that convinces them that I am on the right side, so I can sympathize with what political candidates have to go through in debates. It is about much more than just what you say. Everything is being judged - your looks, your demeanor, your body language, your tone, your inflection, your sincerity, your passion (or lack thereof) etc. etc. etc. That is why it is so hard to declare a "winner" in these things, because some people are going to hold more value to one or more of these things than others. That's how we all watched the same debate but came away feeling very differently about it. And I realized that after arguing with my husband last night about whether or not Obama "won" or "lost" the debate, and after reading many of the diaries that have been posted on here so far. Last night, I actually said Obama lost the debate, but now I've done a 180 and here's why: WIN THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS, NEVER THROUGH ARGUMENT
The 48 Laws of Power, while cold and calculating in its approach, actually has some statements that ring pretty true. Law 9 - Win through your actions, never through argument - is what I consider to be Obama's signature law and his supporters must admit that it has worked well for him. His coolness and calmness has always been his strength up until last night when a lot of us (myself included) called it his weakness. We wanted a fight, we wanted a calling out of the lies, we wanted that passion. We wanted it to be about more than just what he said - we wanted it to be about how he said it. At the end of the debate, we wanted Mitt Romney left squirming under the lecturn like a vanquished Voldemort after he thought he had killed Harry Potter, and anything less than that was a loss. But it took my husband, some posts on this site, and reflection about the President I know Obama to be to change my mind. Obama wins through his actions, not his argument. He has done it for the last four years - he did it with the passing of Obamacare, he did it with the killing of Osama Bin Laden, he did it when he saved the auto industry and the auto worker just to name a few. He has done it NUMEROUS times. To those of us here who are disappointed, feeling sick, scared, or downright frustrated at Obama's performance last night, we must remember that Obama has always won with his actions. Last night, he made a deliberate act to not roll around in the Romney weeds, and engage in argument that would undoubtedly have ended up as circular (i.e. Obama says, your plan is X, Romney says, no my plan is Y, Obama: no its X, Romney: are you kidding me, I said its Y). If he had, it probably would have left a more sinking and disappointing feeling in our guts than the one we already feel. Part of why we love Obama is precisely because he doesn't do that. A debate with a liar and a panderer isn't a debate, and Obama is smart enough to know that.
On the flip side, Romney ran afoul of another law of power - Always say less than necessary. "When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control." Romney was full of words last night. Words we've never heard, words that contradict his own party's platform, words that contradict his OWN platform, words that promise a lot of things that he cannot deliver on. He is a liar who will do or say anything to win. We all know that about him. That fact doesn't change just because he talked on stage for 90 minutes without falling all over himself. From now until the next debate, there will be a weaving of all that talking into a perfectly circular rope that will ultimately hang him. At best, he gave his party confidence in him again, which he needed to do. His base is happy with him. Yay for Mitt - they haven't been happy with him for a long time. But did he really sway any rational thinking person with all that jibber jabber? No, because at the end of the day, he's still a liar who will do or say anything to win and now Obama has even more flip-flops in his arsenal to prove it.
Did I want to see a strong, punching, Mike Tyson-like Obama last night? Yes, I think I did. But today, what I see is what I've always seen in him - the kind of President that always seems to be two or three steps ahead of my impatience, the kind of President who sets the trap for the bear, not the mouse; the kind of President who is cool, calm, collected, and poised; the kind who doesn't change himself for politics, only principle; the kind of President who wins. Anyone who thinks he didn't "win" last night is playing a short game. Obama is still two to three steps ahead of our impatience and he's just waiting for us to catch up.