Maybe it stems from his work as a community organizer.Maybe it stems from not wanting to appear the "angry black man." But Obama is simply not a confrontational man. All one needs to look at is his interaction with his congressional opposition to see that here is a man that can make a fiery speech, but who avoids being confrontational.
I admire Obama for wanting to change the partisanship in Washington by setting a conciliatory tone. Violence begets violence. Partisanship begets partisanship. Turning the other cheek may eventually break the gridlock and turn the tide of a do nothing congress.
But crushing this current version of the Republican party at the ballot box could certainly speed up the process of rebuilding a government that actually can get something done. We can't afford a nuanced debate performance. We can't afford to wait a couple of days for the fact checkers to point out that Obama was able to nobally rise above the avalanche of lies unleashed on him by Romney. Obama probably lost votes last night. Those voters may not be waiting for verification from what is left of our free press.
Obama may be leading in the polls, but the forces of lie, cheat and steal are in full swing on the other side. Election officials in swing states are poised to turn away potential Obama voters despite recent court rulings. We will have to overcome voting machine errors, impossibly long lines in democratic districts, hanging chads and god knows what else. The right wing spin machine will shout from every media outlet, the "high points" of Romney's debate victory. Can Obama afford to be the calm voice of reason in the next two debates? I don't think so.
It seems likely that Joe Biden will do well in his role as attack dog, but fewer people will see the VP debate. In the next two presidential debates, let's hope the "real" Obama does not show up.