The election of presidents in our country truly seems to involve descent into mass psychosis.
Psychosis: A loss of contact with reality that usually includes: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions); Seeing or hearing things that aren't there (hallucinations).Our latest national psychotic episode involves the narrative that Obama's and Romney's fortunes rest on their debate performances. If this is true, it says more about our collective insanity as a people than it does about our politics. Whether someone is good at looking and sounding confident and firing pointed verbal barbs at others manifestly should have nothing to do with whether or not we vote for him.
Personally, I do not care a whit if Obama, Romney, Biden or Ryan is a good debater. And I can't understand why anyone would care.
The president occupies a position of extreme political power with the ability to impede the creation of federal laws, to control the behavior of the civilian and military forces, influence the interpretation of the constitution, and to spend unimaginable amounts of money in the purported interest of Americans and others around the globe. To anyone who is not a complete and total moron, there really are only two relevant questions:
1) Do I share the president's policy goals?
2) Is the president sufficiently competent to put them into practice?
In the case of Obama, the answer to both questions is (on balance) yes. At this point, in the case of Obama, the answer is based on experience. In the case of Romney the answer to both questions is clearly no. This answer is based on the simple fact that Romney is a demonstrated liar. The only question that remains about Romney is who, in fact, is he lying to? Is his intention to screw the democrats or the members of his own party? I will take a pass on finding out.
The election really is that simple. Debate performance is completely irrelevant. With the amount of messaging already expended, no one in America today should need to see a debate to know who to vote for. If Romney and Ryan were the greatest debaters on earth brimming with "confidence" and verbal showmanship, who gives a rat's ass? Should anyone buy a load of horseshit because the horseshit salesman is really polished, well-informed and confident? This is the "narrative" that we have to advance between now and election day. Focus on the issues and encourage voters to just skip everything else.
Boiling it down, this is our point:
Do you want to go back to war around the globe and scale up military expenditures, diverting resources from rebuilding America?
Do you want to weaken Social Security and Medicare and programs that serve communities and the poor?
Do you want to further enrich those with most through additional tax cuts?
Do you want further escalation of the deficit and the debt to serve the military-industrial complex and the wealthy while the rest of the nation suffers?
Do you want to roll back regulations on critical industries, including the financial sector?
Do you want to risk another complete societal meltdown?
And about 50 others...
If the answer to these fundamental questions is "no," then you must vote for Obama, even if he is the shittiest debater on earth, even if Romney were to leave him speechless and weeping at the podium. It just doesn't matter. Only one thing matters: What will this president do when he is elected?
That is more than a "narrative." That is the simple truth. We have nothing to gain from the debates but more lies and confusion from our opponents.
We don't need Obama to be the inspiring, well-spoken leader of the free world. (And he has already demonstrated that competence anyway.) We just need him to do what he says he will do on those points of policy that matter to most thinking human beings. That will be inspiring enough.
Any other framing is a self-inflicted wound.