LANCASTER, OH - OCTOBER 12: A supporter of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Republican vice presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) waits for a campaign event to begin on October 12, 2012 in Lancaster, Ohio. Ryan debated U.S. Vice President Joe Biden the evening before and Romney is scheduled to debate U.S. President Barack Obama for the second time on October 16. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)Link to photo on Getty Images
This is what President Obama is up against. We shouldn't kid ourselves. A part of this poll swing is Mitt Romney making himself acceptable to a subsection of white America that was looking for a reason, any reason, to turn away from Obama.
I don't know what can be done about this. Probably nothing. And it makes me sadder than I thought it would.
It seems, sometimes, like this country gave the black guy a chance to try to pull us out of the greatest, scariest financial crisis since the Great Depression. He did that. And now that we're not so scared anymore, we're ready to toss him aside for whatever safe, nonthreatening white guy who looks like all the other Presidents comes along.
This is not just me talking. My 71 year old mother is a peach. She adores President Obama. She wants him to win with every fiber of her being. But when she watched the first debate, she told me afterwards, "you know, I can see how someone would be taken in by Romney. If I wasn't so for Obama, I could have been swayed by him. To a typical middle class white woman like me, he came across as reasonable and he just looks like what we expect a President to look like." I was flabbergasted that she phrased it that way, and she made it clear she was definitely for Obama and was not swayed by Romney. BUT, she could see how others like her could have been swayed by the performance and the visuals.
This depressed me so much I can't express it adequately, because it was what I feared this election might be about, subconsciously.
So, with that off my chest... I want to make a humble suggestion for Obama's next debate.
Yes, he has to vigorously defend his record. No, unfortunately, he can not afford to be as aggressive as Biden was or even as aggressive as Romney was in the first debate. Sad to say but true. People will turn against him if he appears to be attacking Romney or calling him a liar. He needs passion, not aggression.
He needs to get people to understand all that he's done over the last four years, all that could be undone if Romney/Ryan get into office and why this matters to the American people.
He needs to be passionate about how much he cares about the people of this country.
The woman with pre-existing medical conditions who can now get health insurance.
The auto worker in Michigan who still has a job due to the auto bailout.
The middle class families who rely on tax credits.
His theme needs to be this:
We have clawed our way back from the greatest, and scariest, economic crisis to hit the world since the Great Depression. Three years ago, in my first year in office, the unemployment rate hit 10%. The stock market was collapsing. It was questionable whether the world economy could survive.
We have not come all the way back yet but we have come a long way. Unemployment has dropped from 10% down to 7.8%. It has been dropping for over 2 years. The auto industry, the backbone of the Midwest, is coming back. The stock market has nearly regained all it's losses.
I'm not saying we have reached the end of the road to recovery but we are ON the right road. Progress has been slow but steady. But it's been real.
But it's still fragile.
I do not want to give Mr. Romney, Congressman Ryan and the Republican Congress free reign to destroy the hard-fought progress we have made. Romney/Ryan want to pull the rug out from under every family that has come to rely on the provisions in the Health Care Reform legislation, with no clear path to replacing it with anything. Their prescriptions, tax cuts for the rich, more defense spending, higher deficits, vouchers instead of Medicare, repealing Health Care Reform, are a return to the policies that brought us to the brink of disaster. Please do not waste this progress we have made.
I have served as your President for nearly 4 years and I have worked hard every day to do what I feel is best for the people of this country. I hope I have done enough to at least earn your trust.
I am asking for your continued trust.
I am asking you to give my policies more time. We've gone through a terrifying economic crisis together. We've come out of the nosedive and are starting to grow. Now is not the time to slam on the brakes and throw the car into reverse, and risk everything we've done.