Skip to main content

I was rubbing my hands together with glee before last night’s debate. So many damning truths, so many positives for the economy, and the promise of the Bain stain getting the spotlight; these would all be possible with the free-flowing, direct response format for the first debate. I was at a watch party in Rohnert Park, CA with about 20 new progressive friends, and the anticipation for annihilation was rampant. But after 25 minutes, none of our desires had been satiated.

Where was the mention of 30 straight months of jobs growth? Why not mention the effective turnaround of the auto industry, when Romney is on record urging to let it all die on the vine and start over? Why didn’t the president mention the Republican obstruction of his jobs bill, or even last week’s snubbing of the VA jobs bill? What about the DOW doubling in the last four years? All this dangling red meat, and no nibbles taken.

And that’s just a snippet of the lost opportunities President Obama had on economic issues. There were similar opportunities on Obamacare, and a few were taken, but it still seemed the big guns were holstered.

Why? Who tied Obama’s tongue? Surely he was coached to say these things at one point. Who made the choice to not use them? I can’t believe he was just rattled or nervous and forgot to bring them out.

I’m thinking that somebody told him NOT to produce an effective attack. Was it Big Oil, or Wall St., or the defense industry, or Big Pharma, or just a bevy of billionaires? Did somebody give him the word, throw the fight or we’ll throw another $500 million to the Romney superPAC, and another individual $200 million to House races as well?

This wasn’t a ploy to give Romney enough rope to hang himself. There is no strategy that would explain this. Allowing weakness is never part of a campaign. You never give away momentum, never give an opponent a chance to have an upswing that will help them generate more campaign donations, big or small.

Could the pressure have come from the DLC, the Democratic Leadership Council, which resides within the corporatist wing of the Democratic Party? Obama is not a true progressive like Dennis Kucinich, but we’ve known that all along. You can see that through his opening up more offshore oil leases, talking about “clean coal,” and funding new nuclear power plants.

So who is holding the strings? The DLC? The Koch brothers? Some ex-Clinton advisers  who have their own agenda? Is it the threat of more money flooding into the Romney coffers? Was there a warning shot across the bow from the corporate titans? Is it the Republican Party kingpins saying, lay down here and we’ll take impeachment off the table? What was the bargain? Who are the players?

Why wasn’t President Obama the man we expected him to be last night? We’ll never know, most likely.

But whatever the deal, we still have to minimize the effects. Obama must be reelected, and ALL down-ticket Democrats need to win on federal, state, and local levels. We must remember and value all the work that we’ve put into exposing the Republican CORPservative machine, and not let it achieve its goal of putting the final nail in the coffin of the middle class.

While enthusiasm may have wavered, our approach must not. We’re voting for more than just a man. Love them or hate them, Democrats in office provide the only path towards any of the goals progressives hold in terms of fairness, equality, equal opportunity, and in keeping up the qualify of life for the poor, elderly, and infirm. And there’s always at least a few strong willed, kind hearted Democrats to champion because their views mirror ours, idealistic as they may be.

And lets face it; idealism has driven us for a long time. But Obama let us see that it can have a tangible effect, and it still will, but now it will be our idealism that will push his. We will be the spine solidifiers. In the next five weeks, President Obama needs to see that. He needs to understand that not only can we push him to a second term, we can give him a progressive mandate that, if fully embraced, can make him one of our great presidents. A progressive surge can turn the tide on corporatism, and by revising and strengthening the tax codes so the rich pay their fair share, there will be money give schools, our infrastructure, and our cities a shot in the arm.

So whatever they’ve said to President Obama, let’s make sure that it doesn’t have the desired effect. If Obama doesn’t call out the lies directly, WE MUST DO SO ON THE STREETS. With great enough numbers, maybe he’ll realize that our big push provides his best shot at a lasting legacy.

So don’t despair. Don’t get down, double-down on activism. Keep calling for the change Obama promised, and let him know we understand that we’re a key cog in the gears, and we’re up to speed. Even without the torque we expected Wednesday night, we’ll keep on turning no matter what.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annecros, rmx2630, psyched, importer

    Winner of the American Dream Scholarship by Democracy for America and Rebuild the Dream for the concept of miniprotesting. This unique approach to curbside activism is fleshed out at

    by ProgToddNorCal on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 01:36:21 PM PDT

  •  I remember watching the 2008 debates - (6+ / 0-)

    especially the primary debates - and thinking to myself, "well, he sucks at debating."  

    Not much has changed, IMHO.

    •  Same Said Mike Papantonio on Ed Schultz Radio Show (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      this afternoon. He said Obama was not terribly effective against either Hillary or McCain in terms of debating.

      He had outfoxed Hillary on the state nomination races and then he had the crashing economy flummoxing McCain, both of which minimized the pressure to star in the debates.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 01:53:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ever seen Devil's Advocate?.............. (0+ / 0-)

      Well they went to that same guy that killed the goat down in the basement and had him put a hex on Obama.  

      Seriously, Obama doesn't like confrontation.  He has found over the years that it doesn't serve him well, and he gets further by being more low key - no drama Obama.  

      Romney changed his stance on everything.  How do you attack a guy who says he wants the same thing you do or that he really doesn't want a $5 Trillion tax cut.  Obama probably prepared to debate a sane person, that's not what was on the stage.  

  •  Debates aren't what Obama loves; everyone (5+ / 0-)

    knows that.  He's a non-confrontational personality; it is out of his comfort zone to be the sort of "annihilator" you seem to be hoping for.  

    And  don't know why you would think this was some big conspiracy to "tongue tie" him.  He just is not the street brawler you seem to think.  We have known this about him for many years now.  I truly don't understand how you've come this far with him and still failed to grasp this core element of his personality.

    •  Thing Is You Can Be Confident At Non-Confrontation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Look at the camera, make missed points of accomplishments of the past 4 years. It's the same thing I was screaming about in 2010: whatever your strategy, you still have to sell it in a convincing performance.

      It seems to be more basic than simply not being confrontational.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 01:56:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can I R you a thousand times. You stated it (0+ / 0-)

        perfectly. Wish Obama and his team could memorize it.


        It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

        by auapplemac on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 01:59:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps he's just Not Very Good At Debating. (0+ / 0-)

        Oh well.  Shrug.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

        Obama's best out on the campaign trail talking to rallies and connecting with people on a personal level.  That's where the Presidency will be won or lost, not on debating ability.

    •  Good points, Loquatrix (0+ / 0-)

      But why did President Obama use NONE of his big guns in defending his policies on the economy? And he is a member of the DLC, the folks that gave us NAFTA. So my concerns aren't unreasonable.

      As to his not being a "street brawler" as you see, I know that. He's been coached no doubt to avoid being seen as "an uppity black man" by those seeing through the filter of racism. But the man has pride and ambition, and those things should've led him to speak to his own successes in the economy even if he wasn't willing to confront Romney on his lies.

      But he didn't. I think asking why is a valid question. Regardless, I'll be supporting the man fully through the election. After that, after he has a secure second term, then we can be critical about his actions and through our progressive might shift both he and Congress more to the left.

      With the president reelected, then we can shift towards the next big potential victory:  ending the filibuster's unreasonable choking of actual democracy in the Senate. You're next on our list, Harry Reid. Don't let this opportunity to change the Senate rules for the better slip by again.

      Winner of the American Dream Scholarship by Democracy for America and Rebuild the Dream for the concept of miniprotesting. This unique approach to curbside activism is fleshed out at

      by ProgToddNorCal on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 02:06:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i suspect the stonecutters guild n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jeff in nyc
  •  Tongue Tied by .. (0+ / 0-)

    I loved this post.  This was exactly the question I asked myself when I first contemplated the depressing disaster that was the first nationally televised debate between Obama and Mittens.  But I didn't contemplate the same tongue-tiers as the diarist.  I thought more of That Which Shall Not Be Named, the powers behind the Presidency, the secret Deciders whose identities are never revealed.  Viz., Obama the candidate prior to his election in 2008.  He was a different man from Obama the President.  You can still see him somewhat on the campaign trail in 2012, but he was absent in last night's debate.  What happened?  What changed our man?  Notice how all the "viers" for the position are always so chummy with each other, no matter what side they're on?  The knowing looks, like it's all a game for the public.  If they were truly oppositional forces, they wouldn't be able to be so damn charming to each other.  And if it were Big Oil or Wall Street who act as the master pupeteers, we would know it by now.  Someone else usurped our Democracy a long time ago.  (I'm still voting for O, by the way).  Who the hell is it?

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site