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An angry Black man standing up to a bully
It was painful to watch President Obama debate Mitt Romney for the first time on Oct. 3. Literally, physically, painful. The president, despite clearly having the advantage over his opponent of rhetoric, intellect, and mastery of the facts (plus some increasingly good looks), appeared to simply be phoning it in. The whole night. The most painful part was that, despite the escalating outrageousness of lies, lies, lies that Mitt Romney brought to their meeting, Obama never pushed back. Never really tried to score a rhetorical body blow in response to the attack dog Romney was playing on TV. Not once.

This left many of his most fervent supporters discouraged, disillusioned, and very frightened (no matter how much bravado some tried to show after the fact; indeed, a student of psychology could argue that the more bravado expressed, the more fear they were actually feeling.)

It didn't help calm any nerves when the polls confirmed that Romney had run away with the debate in the minds of the court of public opinion (aka the potentially voting public) rather than being jettisoned for being a lyin' liar of epic proportions willing to say anything to become President that everyone knows he is and that Romney confirmed he is that very same night (to anyone who was listening to substance and comparing it to truth, anyhow). It went from bad to worst when Romney, who had been looking almost hopelessly out of the running before the Oct. 3 debate, by Oct. 15 had closed President Obama's commanding lead in the polls.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

Naturally, given that folks expected a far different outcome from Oct. 3, the speculations about why President Obama had done so poorly ran wild. President Obama was unable to prepare because he was busy running the country. He was suffering from altitude fatigue. He "didn't really" lose, after all.  

Things were even more perplexing when, given who President Obama really is, he immediately was back in the high mojo zone as soon as he got back on the campaign trail. Indeed, the very next day Obama was rightfully taking the rhetorical fight to Romney, saying point blank that if someone is going to run for president, they “owe the American people the truth” about their policy positions. This merely resulted in huge swaths of the president’s supporters scratching their heads, saying:

Where was this guy yesterday?

Setting all excuses aside, when for whatever reasons he took the pedagogic, wonkish approach that he did at the Oct. 3 debate (when the largest number of people who are not partisans would be watching and evaluating him for President), President Obama arguably forfeited (temporarily, at least) the clear advantage over Romney he always had as a master campaigner and a master politician. He jettisoned the Vision Thing that had excited America into sweeping him into office in 2008 for something far more humble and muted, in what some say was a deliberate change in strategy for this election.

But he also did something else. He opened the door to application of negative stereotypes about him to explain the change.

For example, President Obama's debate performance was so bad that it gave Romney's folks the cover to shamelessly Go There with one of the most powerful anti-Black stereotypes operating in America: that the President was "lazy."

The "lazy" stereotype was not the only stereotype at issue, however, or even the most dangerous for the President when it comes to his reelection chances (particularly given the blowhard who was calling him lazy). Instead, the most dangerous stereotypes that appeared to be at issue for President Obama were two others, one of which was not even really articulated after Oct. 3: the perjorative stereotypes of the "Girlie Man" and the "Angry Black Man."

Stereotype has enormous power when it comes to American politics in general and picking presidents in particular. After all, it's not as if voters are picking presidents based solely, or even primarily, on their actual qualifications for the job. Most Americans simply do not closely follow the minutiae of a candidate's policy positions or that candidate's actual political record. When it comes to picking “the best” candidate for president, much of the time the country is trying to pick the best campaigner, its closest proxy for identification of who is the best “leader.” Not the best policy wonk. Or bureaucrat. (The fact that “leadership” requires skill at all of these things to a certain degree seems almost secondary.)

And, at least in America, one of the key campaign moments for presidential elections is the debates. But debates are unbelievably short moments in time in which the candidates try to make their impressions to the tens of millions of people watching. Since no presidential can thoroughly discuss any single subject of importance when he has at best 2-3 minutes to speak on it, debates are in effect a compilation of (hopefully) sexy soundbites, surrounded by what many viewers are really interested in: a candidate's projection of strong, forceful leadership and vision.

The trouble is, that the unconscious mind is readily affected by cultural "norms" about what strong visionary leaders are supposed to do and how they are supposed to act.  And about who they are supposed to be.

Here's what they are not supposed to be:  

Passive. Timid. Weak.

What has been called, in a political context, the "Girlie Man."

As popularized by that former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the culturally Neanderthal term "girlie man" is used in politics is used to describe a politician who is not brave, has no guts and is a wimp. It is a term born of the unholy marriage between misogyny and homophobia. Yet it also reflects our ongoing cultural biases about what strong politicians and leaders are supposed to be. And what they are not supposed to be.

Now, we all know that on the campaign trail, President Obama is a forceful, commanding persuasive leader. His genius stuns us all, at times (such as his most recent genius, "Romnesia"). But the trouble is that speaking at campaign events is speaking, largely, to people who partisans, often quite passionately so. In contrast, the tens of millions of people who make up the audience of televised debates are mostly not political partisans. Many who tune into the debates on TV try not to think about politics at all except once every four years. And many have little information other than that which they garner from the debate itself. Which is why, lacking information, image (which is affected by stereotypes) looms particularly large in the political debate context. It is what people see, far more than what they hear, that is most likely to sway a potential voter.

But a strong, forceful leader is not what President Obama projected on Oct. 3. By not doing so, he fed into a narrative that the right wing has been telling for years: that President Obama is a weak politician. A "Girlie Man."

The debates are not the first time that Romney, a bully if there ever was one, and his minions have taken rhetorical advantage of Obama behaving as if he were hamstrung by his refusal at times to fight with guts and gusto for what he believes in. Assessments that Obama was a brilliant politician but a weak leader have gone back for years, during the fight over the Affordable Care Act, and last year's debt limit showdown. It therefore makes sense that Romney was more than happy to Go There when a U.S. spy drone crashed in Iran and the president (a sane person) decided that use of the military to retrieve or destroy it was not on the table: "He was extraordinarily timid and weak at a critical moment." Now, at that time, Mitt Romney had exactly zero standing to say anything about Obama; he had not yet secured his party's nomination. But it didn't stop him from making the claim anyway. This line of attack on the President—that he is weak—was ratcheted up to "11" by the right wing after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, which said that the attack was the consequence of Obama's weakness. This narrative jumped the shark completely when gasbag John Sununu, a key player in the Romney attack machine, referred to President Obama as both "weak" and "timid." Why? Because he "waited too long" to take out Osama Bin Laden?!?! Indeed, the craziest of the crazy right wing has now even gone so far as to claim that Obama is gay on the down low—the ultimate childish American "insult" these days (as if being called gay is something that one should feel insulted about, which it is only to troglodytes).

The right wing has been trying, largely without success, to take this overt narrative of weakness to the next level of rhetorical intensity, to the overt label of "Girlie Man" being tagged onto the President, for some time now. The "Girlie Man" trope has been occasionally brought out, starting a couple of years ago, first with reactions to President Obama pitching a baseball. It was raised within the context of him going on "The View". Indeed, one of the most racist pieces ever penned by a mainstream journalist about President Obama's approach to politics referred to him outright as "our first female president" (even as the author said that she wasn't calling him a "girlie man."  Post-Benghazi, you had a Republican politician on the stump reiterating this scurrilous meme, pitching for a Romney/Ryan election on the grounds that this would put "real men" in the White House, with the unwashed masses listening to them screaming "No Girlie Men!"

Until Oct. 3, the charge was so ludicrous to most of the uninformed masses of the American people that it never got any traction. And, indeed, spoken plainly, it is ludicrous, the idea of the President as a "weak" politician. A political "Girlie Man." But no matter how one slices it, the reality is that President Obama's horrible Oct. 3 debate performance was that he projected, without meaning to, the image of weakness. Of timidity. Of being defeated. Even to his fierce, passionate supporters. And that image caused many people subconsciously and consciously worry that that President Obama was simply not up to the task of renewed leadership; not enough of a "Real Man" to be re-elected President. Based upon the unspoken stereotypes of what being a "Real Man" and not a "Girlie Man" means, and how a "Real Man" is supposed to react when another man is attacking him unfairly with lies and bullying. Like Mitt Romney was on Oct. 3.

Look at the fact that the group that seemed to have been most affected in their support for President Obama's re-election by the Oct. 3 debate was women and you have to seriously consider the impact of stereotypes about "Real Men" and "Girlie Men" (even when they are NEVER consciously thought of in those terms) and how they relate to political leadership and the presidency. Prior to Oct. 3, President Obama's lead over Romney with women voters was in the double digits. After Oct. 3? Obama's polled lead among women began eroding rapidly. And it was an erosion that even Democratic strategists were willing to link to President Obama's debate performance on Oct. 3.

Since only a crazy person would believe that women were all of a sudden flocking to Mitt Romney based upon either his rhetoric or his record on women's issues, this change had to be explained by something else.

One, quite plausible explanation, is the subconscious impact of the "Girlie Man" stereotype on the perception of strong political leadership in those voters who are not passionate partisans, but regular people:

I really appreciated that Romney took it upon himself to look at Obama, look him in the eyes,” said Megan Hoffman, DC resident. “And Obama, he was kind of - he would look down or wouldn't exactly address Romney."
The true power of this stereotype of the Girlie Man and its impact on President Obama's changes was demonstrated, however, not just by his Oct. 3 debate performance, but by the reactions to his Oct. 16 debate performance, in which all of the behavioral triggers that scream "weakness" to our unconscious mind were gone.

With the result that the polls are, once again, showing President Obama surging.

But this was not the only insidious stereotype quietly at work. The Angry Black Man stereotype also played a huge role in shaping the character of President Obama's debate performance on both nights.

The albatross of the "Angry Black Man" stereotype has hung around President Obama's neck since the day he became a serious candidate for President. The right wing has made been singing this narrative loudly with it since before Day 1 of President Obama's tenure, and has never let up. There is not enough room on the blog screen to link to the stories reporting the latest iteration of this canard by the right wing. President Obama's entire term has been a demonstration of his doing everything he can to avoid getting tagged by that label, knowing the nation's fear of a Black president.

Yet equally passionately, the Left has also been enslaved by the narrative; enslaved and fearful. Each and every time that the President was called to task for not being forceful, for not fighting for what he believes in or the policies he wanted for the country or and especially for not calling out the Republicans as the lying, hypocritical, obstructionist jackasses that they are—each and every time he was being called "weak and timid" (in other words, being called a "Girlie Man" without anyone consciously thinking about or using the phrase)—the knee-jerk response was that he could not. Because he could not afford to be seen as an Angry Black Man.

So, immediately before the debates, at the same time as it was taking its claims that the President was "weak" and "timid" to a renewed high, Romney and his surrogates were also making bank on this president's campaign's heretofore demonstrated terror of being labeled "Angry" in the same phrase as "Black" in white voters' minds. Immediately before the debates, they launched what partisans legitimately recognized as a pitiful attack strategy grounded in a five-year-old speech in which President Obama righteously discussed the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina and what should be done in terms of reinvestment in New Orleans. That strategy was a full-throated embrace of the "Angry Black Man" stereotype, no question.

Yet despite this, no matter which political side of the aisle they were on everyone agreed that Obama simply couldn’t "go there." Ever, as President. They were still saying this, even after Oct. 3. Indeed, in response to Joe Biden's trouncing of Paul Ryan, folks noted white privilege as the reason that President Obama couldn't really fight during the Oct. 3 debate - the fear that he would come off as Angry Black Man, and the right wing would go insane. This idea, that President Obama lost the Oct. 3 debate because he was hamstrung in his ability to respond to Romney's shameless attack-dog lying by the "Angry Black Man" stereotype, has been repeated quite a bit since. The possibility has been raised that, in particular, the right-wing noise machine's raising the ABM spectre right before the debate (with the attack on President Obama's five-year old Katrina speech) signaled the President that he could not afford to be anything but chill on Oct. 3, no matter how righteous he might have felt.

Given this unique combination of negative stereotypes and how they play upon perceptions of our nation's first Black president, President Obama's Oct. 3 debate performance, despite the desperate excuses made for it, was devastating to his public image as a leader in the minds of those who are not partisans, not passionate about politics, but put a lot of weight on things like debates to show them who will be the best choice as leader of the country. Presidents have given weak debate performances before, but never before have they given them faced with the twisted synergy between the right-wing narratives of the President as weak and timid ("Girlie Man") yet also as potentially out-of-control savage comin' to git white folks ("Angry Black Man") that the right-wing noise machine has relentlessly been terrorizing folks with for the past four years. That synergy ultimately devastating to the perceptions of President Obama.  And it showed, in key post-Oct. 3 debate polls after the event.

One can therefore see the Oct. 16 presidential debate ultimately as the ultimate collision of two powerful American stereotypes: the stereotype of the Angry Black Man and the stereotype of the "Girlie Man." It certainly was a collision between the President that got rolled in his first debate with Romney (and he did; I’m not a believer in pretending reality isn’t reality just because it feels embarrassing or bad—that is behavior that has been perfected by the other side) and the President who, rhetorically, crushed Romney in the second debate with his confidence, certainty in the rightness of what he was saying and belief that he was entitled to be taken seriously—especially by the likes of Romney.

He appeared to be channelling his inner Angry Black Man. Just as some of the "Very Serious People" had hoped for.

And that's the good news in all this.

In that collision, whatever else one could say about the insidious power of stereotypes and how they play out with (or sometimes wreak havoc on) Obama's tenure, the truth is that an Angry Black Man won the Oct. 16 presidential debate against Mitt Romney.

Now, the Angry Black Man who won the debate on October 16 is not the ABM that folks who think they are cute sometimes make Obama posters that say, "Chill out ... I got this!" with false bravado. It was ABM with real bravery, the one that recognizes that sometimes, your fears may be your worst enemies because your enemies will use them against you.

Despite all the fears that have hampered him using the bully pulpit that he owns as President, this change of approach from passivity to "in your face" doesn't seem to have done President Obama's standing with the American voters anything but good.  Indeed, there has been precious little negative written since Oct. 16 about Obama's debate performance (except for the shrill hue and cry of the meanness of it all from the right wing, and you knew that was coming). No one has accused Obama of being an “Angry Black man” despite the fact that Obama confronted, with conviction, righteous indignation and a refusal to be bullied, each and ever piece of tripe that was being spewed by his opponent. He did so with firmness, and clarity. He pointed his finger. He scowled. Hell, at one point he and the Mitt were even pacing off toward each other, no doubt causing a few viewers who have seen a few throwdowns to reflexively go, “Oh shit!” as they were approaching each other. He ultimately realized that his "cool, calm and collected way of politicking ... didn't do him any favors." He was just too polite when the circumstances called for something different:

They called for him to defend himself. Defend his record. His dignity. His entitlement to respect for having worked hard and accomplished good things, even if they weren't perfect things. And his right to not have posers the likes of Romney dissing him through lies and misrepresentations. And his right to put a stop to it. To fight, if necessary.

As a "Real Man" always does.

Ultimately, the boogeyman of the Angry Black Man that some have argued haunted Obama in the second debate (and haunted his entire presidency) and stayed his moves gave way to the stereotypical unconscious demand to "Be a Man" (in that stereotypical man kind of way) which arguably REQUIRED him not just to push back against lies. Not just to correct misimpressions. But to do so forcefully without hiding exactly how irritated—how pissed off—he was about Romney and how much he got on the President's last nerve.

Today? It does not appear that there was a single written article by any credible journalist accusing Obama of being an angry Black man, even though he was in Romney's FACE a good part of the night. And that is what an angry Black man really looks like when you’re judging one fairly, rather than through the racist lens of fear. Strong. Firm. Confident. Bullshit gets no quarter. And legitimate anger gets expressed, in a positive, productive way.

Even if it's with a raised eyebrow, a flat hand extended, effectively saying, "Now hold on just a damned minute." Decisive. With no downward glances into a notepad. Instead, with a straight, steady gaze, at one's opponent. And more significantly, at the American people watching him. Dominant, because he has a right in the particular circumstances to be.

Presidential, with just a small helping of righteous anger. Yet always with a smile that says, "Hey, I know I'm a good guy. And I know I'm good for America."

With no apparent fear of the albatross called the "Angry Black Man" stereotype that one could see hanging around his neck like a cement weight just two weeks before. On Oct. 16, 2012, President Obama appeared to maybe, finally, be losing his fear of being the "Angry Black Man."

Which stereotype scares America more when it comes to putting someone in charge of the whole country, by electing them president? The Angry Black Man? Or the Weak Man? It seems, judging by the comparison between polling reactions to the Oct. 3 presidential debate and the Oct. 16 presidential debate, that America would rather have an angry Black man President whose anger results from him getting tired of being lied on and misrepresented than a weak Black man President, and most definitely would rather have the ABM than the angry white man President whose anger is his version of entitled petulence.

But this also begs the question of whether all the serious strategists who insisted that Obama "couldn't" be angry were really just as enslaved by the false racist narrative of what it means to be an angry Black man as the President himself seems to have been this past four years.

Food for thought.  

One could argue that it appears to have taken the fear of the stereotype of a political "Girlie Man" to overcome the fear of the stereotype of the "Angry Black Man." That's a depressing sadness we should not overlook and should reflect upon deeply as well.

But either way it is inarguable that the Very Serious People on the Left did reward the President for finally getting "angry" (especially as it related to Romney's getting SPANKED over the President's post-Benghazi Rose Garden speech), albeit some begrudgingly. He was praised, not criticized, as he should have been. This was despite those (to some people perhaps) "scary" debate moments where, if you know lots of big bruising men, Romney and Obama looked like they were on the verge of throwing down right there in front of Candy Crowley, physically getting into each other's space as, one article analogized, prize fighters circling each other and landing blows.

That President Obama was rewarded for projecting strength, certainty, and yes, power is hopefully is an indication that our culture's fear of the Angry Black Man may have been weakened more than could ever have been imagined coming from a debate. It appears to be that for the first time, a Black man could get up in a white man's face, tell him where to get off, get an attitude, and take control in front of millions of people.

America could stand to see more of this, if for no other reason than the chink in the subconscious wall of fear of the “Angry Black Man” that Obama's masterful performance unquestionably resulted in on Tuesday night.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar for the President (243+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phil S 33, raina, blue jersey mom, Denise Oliver Velez, CocoaLove, Vetwife, CherryTheTart, sngmama, LincolnDuncan, Troubadour, historys mysteries, MsTribble, AnnCetera, Alice Olson, reddbierd, Ian Reifowitz, hester, vmm918, ursofakingwetoded, jjellin, dehrha02, grumpelstillchen, jnhobbs, billlaurelMD, poco, spooks51, gramofsam1, GreenMtnState, wishingwell, indie17, 42, Aunt Pat, Pinto Pony, gulfgal98, marleycat, PapaChach, mdmslle, myboo, pateTX, powderblue, arizonablue, Burned, KibbutzAmiad, TheGreatLeapForward, Tommy Aces, Molly Weasley, SaintC, JenS, nominalize, here4tehbeer, dkosdan, vcmvo2, annieli, ybruti, Lorinda Pike, Fighting Bill, Debbie in ME, IdeaTipper, Linda1961, david78209, SottoVoce, JustBecauseImOnPoint, jeannew, politicalceci, OLinda, jam, greenchiledem, pioneer111, emmasnacker, deha, leighkidd, OldDragon, BoiseBlue, elginblt, Chi, brooklynbadboy, stevenwag, Southcoast Luna, SueM1121, RonV, tbirchard, Square Knot, HudsonValleyMark, matrix, lonespark, scarvegas, oysterface, Dreaming of Better Days, tytalus, janinsanfran, Stuart Heady, valadon, Oye Sancho, Dustee, Onomastic, wuod kwatch, anodnhajo, leonard145b, rubyclaire, seefleur, Dave the Wave, cactusgal, funluvn1, sawgrass727, HappyFeet, doroma, edsbrooklyn, Laurence Lewis, peregrine kate, wasatch, SteelerGrrl, I am a Patriot, sabo33, remembrance, susan in sc, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, cbythesea, wu ming, Melissa J, Assaf, KevinLV, FlyingToaster, Woody, AnnieJo, xanjabu, Leo Flinnwood, missLotus, Kane in CA, swampyankee, mellowinman, slatsg, Hill Jill, exNYinTX, Caneel, Lorikeet, slinkerwink, xanthippe2, princesspat, breathe67, pipercity1, Jack Hare, NYWheeler, Jennifer Clare, La Musa, dotdash2u, Jaleh, byteb, Little Lulu, collardgreens, Iron Spider, cacamp, StellaRay, surfermom, mrsgoo, moodyinsavannah, librainseattle, Mylies Voice, Joe B, Marjmar, Sychotic1, dclawyer06, GeorgeXVIII, jck, oortdust, quill, Bob Novak Douchebag of Liberty, pdxteacher, jhb90277, Most Awesome Nana, CS in AZ, lanshark, codairem, LSmith, Wife of Bath, Gorette, GwenM, AaronInSanDiego, Meteor Blades, navajo, Suvro, zesty grapher, mwk, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, diggerspop, Bulldawg, klamothe, Panbanisha, ivote2004, deminva, Monitor78, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, zizi, Bob Duck, SpringFever, blueoregon, Kalidurga, evergreen2, FyodorFish, ljb, ChurchofBruce, tofumagoo, sethtriggs, OregonWetDog, CA ridebalanced, basket, Pilgrim X, oculus, LaFeminista, FogCityJohn, AmazingBlaise, 1BQ, ActivistGuy, bloomin, retLT, Black Knight, Plantsmantx, sephius1, reflectionsv37, monkeybrainpolitics, Kitsap River, TexDem, KCBearcat, Fire bad tree pretty, Scandalous One, DeadHead, DaveVH, where4art, tin woodswoman, Seneca Doane, lirtydies, Liberal Granny, greengemini, accio, Renee, mallyroyal, One Pissed Off Liberal, bryduck, DFJtoo, legendmn, Fiona West, glorificus, cotterperson, awesumtenor

    For being what many of us hoped he would be, one day, despite all the naysayers and scared people:  a living example that a angry Black man is not a scary Black man coming to git ya.

  •  I'm an Undecided Voter (6+ / 1-)

    I'm only watching the debates because I am waiting for ne of the candidates to say, "If you elect me, I will veto any legislation that cuts Social Security benefits for current and future participants in the program." So far, all I've heard is mysterious comments about how both agree what needs to be done with regard to it.

    I'm just not going to vote for Obama unless he stands up for this program.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:09:06 AM PDT

    •  a great strategy (47+ / 0-)

      to remain undecided until a candidate says something during a debate.  Because, as we both know, things said during debates magically come to pass.

      Wholly-owned subsidiaries are people, too, my friend.

      by deminva on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:17:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  srsly, undecided? I am speechless. You don't get (33+ / 0-)

      what you want so you don't vote? Thank goodness others of us are different.

      There is so much I wanted the Potus to do and say that he hasn't. He has disappointed me a lot.

      But not vote for him? outofthefuckingquestion.

      "Say little; do much." (Pirkei Avot: 1:15)

      by hester on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:21:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Our two party system is depressing. (10+ / 0-)

      How we get Democrats to abandon Wall Street and move back to the party of working people, I'm not sure.   I agree with you on Social Security.   All they need to do is pay back everything we boomers paid in and lift the cap if it isn't enough.  We have no jobs left, thanks to Clinton and NAFTA, and keeping people in the labor force longer is exactly the opposite of what needs to be done.

      Same thing with Medicare.  If we had passed Medicare for all and really tackled the cost, it would have been one hell of a stimulus.  

      Our choices are not good for us or democracy.  The two party system as is truly sucks.

      If money is speech, then speech must be money. Call your mortgage company and pay your rent now.

      by dkmich on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:26:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  bink...just see this and you should (14+ / 0-)

      not be undecided long...


      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:26:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But Mitt is for sure going to go with vouchers (14+ / 0-)

      and cut social security and raise the age limits. This we know for sure !!! I am not sure that helps on this issue but MItt  and his crew have never, ever been in favor of medicare or social  security. The Ryan plan is what Mitt would go by as though it was the Bible.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:29:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Raising the eligibility age and the ceiling on the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        contribution to the program are better than means testing because means testing is only going to anger the higher income people and will be divisive as far as class distinctions.  I think if you raise the age, some flexibility will be required for those who do heavy physical work like construction to make allowances for physical hardship.  We all have to accept the reality that the baby boomers are a huge jolt to the system as is the drop in the number of workers per paying versus those receiving.  The Medicare problem is a much bigger problem and will take some great thinkers, but they are out there.  We just have to, in the short term, prevent the crypt keepers, Romney and Ryan from gaining power.

        •  it might be easy for the younger among (5+ / 0-)

          us to say "sure, raise the retirement age, a little, over time."

          I am 58 years old. I have a desk job. It is stressful, but I am not outside digging ditches or climbing phone polls.

          I am in fairly good shape, no chronic conditions, etc.

          If someone said to me today, you are not going to be able to retire for another 10 years, I would tell them to go f-themselves.

          This country is not known for great ACCESSIBLE healthcare for all. We are not eating the best of foods because it's too expensive. We don't exercise enuf because many of us are working long hours just to make ends meet in this cruddy economy.

          So, we are not magically able to just keep truckin' and work longer than we used to. Sorry. As far as I can see, raising the retirement age, a little, over time, is just another way of saying:

          "The amount of time you are going to have, to just enjoy life, is shrinking."

          Like I said, this reality does not really hit you square in the eyes until you are facing it. Don't kid yourselves. My Mom is still alive. She is 92. She can't do much. She doesn't have the money or the energy.

          Heck, if I was making a boatload of money and had a maid and chauffer and took nice long vacations every year, Sure, I could see cranking along in a job until I was 70. But, reality is that lots and lots of people in low-middle class America are just squeeking by. We work very hard, come home tired, drop into bed mentally and physically drained only to get up and do it all over again the next day.

          Our last union contract, we lost all our holidays. We have to earn them out of our accrued time. In total, I get 20 days of time off per year. This covers SICK, vacation, and holidays. Thats 20 days per YEAR. Europe and Great Britain start at 4 weeks vacation per year, and sick and holidays are on top of that.

          So, I am looking at my retirement as a time to stop the treadmill, and to just BE.

          Don't you dare take that away from me.

          Obamacare covers Romnesia

          by karma13612 on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 10:03:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly, my husband has severe athritis in his (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shanikka, karma13612

            feet and he cannot work much longer in retail on his feet all day and he is only 55.  He is not sure if he can ever retire. I have a single friend who said she will have to work her entire life as she has only ever had a couple of part time jobs due to caring for elderly parents for years.  She has not been able to find a fulltime job with benefits for over a decade now.  She is facing age discrimination and a short resume although she has 2 college degrees.  

            Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

            by wishingwell on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 04:39:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  this country discriminates against (0+ / 0-)

              old people
              "ugly" (non-model) people
              sick people
              poor people

              I am very sorry to hear about your hubbie.

              Mine is 65, and quite fit. But, since I have to wait until I'm 65 to retire, he will be 72 years old when we can both enjoy our time together, unhindered by the demands of a daily grind.

              it's disgusting. And it certainly won't get any better if we elect Romney.

              Also very sorry to hear about your dear friend. If I was unmarried, I would seriously consider moving to another country. Hubbie is British, and we lived over in England for a few years in the early part of the century (2000-2003). It was way too expensive to stay. We could never have afforded our own home.

              Here in the states, we have a modest home and live in a peaceful area with low crime, and lovely clear skies and clean air. Very few opportunities, and the healthcare is a bit sketchy, but we are getting by.

              With Obama in office, I am hopeful things will turn around. With R-Money, I would never get a wink of sleep.

              I am an Angry White Woman and I vote. Mr President: I've got your back

              by karma13612 on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 05:16:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  sorry happyfeet (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hester, wishingwell, shanikka

          I might have come across a little strong in my comment. I was speaking in a rhetorical sense, as if I was standing in front of Mittens and he was telling me that he was going to raise the retirement age on me.

          I am rather passionate about this as a solution to keeping Social Security and Medicare solvent.

          Obamacare covers Romnesia

          by karma13612 on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 10:16:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Both candidates intend to include "entitlements" (10+ / 0-)

      (SS, Medicare, Medicaid) in their plans to reduce the deficit.  The difference, as I see it, is that the president may agree to increase the age for collecting full benefits from Social Security - he has already addressed Medicare and Medicaid spending through the ACA - but not much more, while Romney would agree to at least partial privatization of both programs and block granting Medicaid to the states.

      If these are my only choices, I know voting for the president at the very least gives the opportunity to fight another day for these programs.  Under Romney I don't believe they'll survive in any recognizable form.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:33:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Choice between quick death and slow death (3+ / 0-)

        Isn't really much of a choice at all.  Maybe Obama needs to support the New Deal programs working people depend on, instead of signaling that he intends to cut them.  

        •  Oh, I agree he should, as well as (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TimmyB, shanikka

          Medicare and Medicaid.  But he put Social Security on the table in 2010 when he accepted the Republican and bond market  lines on the need to cut the deficit and address the country's long-term debt.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 01:27:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Rather than getting at angry at bink, let's engage (10+ / 0-)


      I understand your commitment to preserving Social Security, and I believe President Obama shares it.  But I'm afraid it's unlikely you'll hear him say exactly what you want to hear, since the only debate left is on foreign policy--not exactly the most likely forum for taking a position on this program.  However, if you go to his campaign's website, you can find what I've pasted below.  Perhaps it will help sway you.  Of course, I'm sure there is plenty of other evidence on the distinct differences between Pres. Obama and Rmoney on this topic:

      Protecting Social Security benefits


      President Obama is committed to protecting and strengthening Social Security for future generations, without putting current retirees at risk. He won’t accept reform that slashes benefits for future generations or turns Social Security over to Wall Street.


      Mitt Romney’s plan for Social Security would mean deep benefit cuts of up to 40% for some current workers. His running mate Paul Ryan was the author of a plan that would have privatized Social Security, subjecting it to the ups and downs of the stock market and the whims of Wall Street traders.

      •  also re:Obama on soc sec (4+ / 0-)

        he's stated he's committed to preserving it [as is] as has Joe Biden. But negotiating w. Republicans is an intricate process. He won't necessarily show all his cards before negotiations start

      •  Those statements from Obama are complete bullshit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Lets read them closely.  By stating that he will not put current retirees at risk, Obama is clearly stating that future retirees are at risk.  If Obama intended to protect the system for everyone, he could have said that.  However, his distinction between current retirees and everyone else shows that all those who are not current retirees are going to be treated much differently.  Here, Obama is stating future retirees are at risk.

        Same with his use of the word slash.  There is a large difference between a cut and a slash.  Here, Obama is stating that he will cut benefits.  However, no matter how deep those cuts, Obama will not characterize those cuts as "slashes."  Thus, here Obama is promising cuts.

        Here, what some claim is a promise to preserve our most valued social program is really a mealy mouthed promise not to.  Obama could have just as easily put out a strong statement supporting S/S, but he intentionally decided to put out something much different.  

    •  It doesn't work that way. (6+ / 0-)

      Always vote no matter what. You could vote for a third party if there's one that has the exact positions you are looking for, but never abstain.  

      If you abstain, nobody knows why you didn't vote so you fail to get your point across. However, if you vote for the major party that is closest to your positions, you have clout within that party to nudge them in the desired direction. (e.g. tea party and R's)

    •  Pre-existing conditions across the US thank you (17+ / 0-)

      for your hesitancy. As do all the women with a wand shoved up their vagina before they can practice control over their reproductive freedom- thankfully, they'll be spared that embarrassment after SCOTUS overturns Roe V Wade.

      The LGBT federal workers thank you for removing the small bit of equality they received thanks to President Barack Obama, as do LGBT military members.

      I mean, it is a tough choice. Who to vote for? The guy who says SSI needs to be fixed, but he will not fix it on the backs of the middle class, or the guy who says "involve the free market?"

      Yes, I can see how you'd be conflicted about that. Romney, after all, just wants to give us all a "choice" about "entitlements." We can "opt out" and get "vouchers."

      Sorry. I'm nowhere near retirement, but I have been working half of my life and have already paid into the programs. That goes away completely under Romney's plan. I'm not confused about that, and I'm not going to stubbornly refuse to remain undecided because I don't like what Obama says about "clean" coal. He's wrong on some issues. Romney is wrong about ALL of them.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:46:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama has stood up for his programs even when (13+ / 0-)

      Democrats have abandoned him such as when he fought for the ACA when many on the left were condemning it and wanting it killed. Obama fought through criticism from Democrats and Republicans and despite being abandoned by some on his side, got the bill passed. Yup, that's the President I know....

    •  And what information do you bring to that? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shanikka, Onomastic, HappyFeet, sethtriggs

      I suggest you vote for the person you TRUST.

      I suggest you recognize that you cannot know all that needs to be known to understand why some decisions are made in governing this country.

      I suggest you find humility and consider the greater good.

      I suggest that, since you cannot deny you lack the knowledge you need to make the "right" decision on that particular issue, one way or another, you vote on the man you can TRUST TO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU.

      TRUST, bink. The world is not simple. Decisions are not simple. And heaven knows that Social Security and its relationship to deficit, debt, and the economy is NOT SIMPLE.

      Everyday, you trust people with your life: Surgeons, police, bus drivers, the guy in the car next to yours going 80 miles an hour. You toss your trust out there for next to nothing when it comes to your immediate health and safety.

      And yet when it comes to your long-term health and safety, you replace trust with...with what? A single, simple outcome that you don't even have the capacity to fully understand (not because you are stupid--none of us who are not experts really understand most of this stuff). You let simplicity (and the strong possibility of a lie) take precedent over trust.

      Indeed, you have expressed an appalling willingness to vote on the basis of simplification personified.

      I don't mean to end with insult, but you may take this that way.

      I take it factually:

      You are the voter who rewards Republicans for lying.

      It is ignorance which is hopeless.

      by IdeaTipper on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:02:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  bink: why don't you scare the shit out of (4+ / 0-)

      yourself and watch The Choice--currently running on Frontline (PBS)?

      If you are still  "undecided" (aka underinformed/undereducated) after watching what Romney is all about, then you are beyond reach.

      If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

      by livjack on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:04:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That was an excellent and factual (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shanikka, sethtriggs, lirtydies

        profile on both candidates.

        •  the comparison of their lives is so drastic, so (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shanikka, hester, sethtriggs, lirtydies

          profound in their differences, I found it breathtaking.

          It also was made clearer to me just how much Romney has been hounding--lusting--after the Presidency all these years, just biding his time.  This is a man with delusions of grandeur and should the GOP and its moneymen steal it for him, he would be about the worst thing to happen to this country ever.  

          He is so far worse than Bush--and I didn't think that was possible.

          And I'm throwing this out there just for consideration:  is multiple sclerosis actually curable?  Because Anne seems to have been "cured."

          If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

          by livjack on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 08:57:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's a type of MS that can go into remission, (0+ / 0-)

            according to what I've read.  Presumably, it'll be back.

            --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

            by Fiona West on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 02:31:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I a truly mystified that (9+ / 0-)

      someone--especially someone like you who is paying attention--could remain undecided in this race when the differences between these candidates are so stark.

      If you are worried only about Social Security (Obama's potential tweaks and Romney/Ryan's clear threats) but give no thought to the myriad of other ways our lives will be impacted by who occupies the White House, then you're not looking at the whole picture.

      From increasing the Pentagon budget, to war-mongering, to starving renewable energy while boosting drilling everywhere, to eliminating equal protections for women, immigrants and LGBTs, to rewarding outsourcing, to nominating right wing Supreme Court justices, to decimating Medicaid, to voucherizing Medicare, to repealing Obamacare, to reinstating the worst of the Bush era cronies, to eliminating unions, to boosting torture, to eliminating arts support, to working to replace public education with a for-profit model, to gutting Amtrak, to cutting the VAs budget (the list goes on and on), all for the benefit of the top 1%, the Romney/Ryan ticket goes far beyond the single issue of Social Security.

      The election is looming.  It's time to widen your perspective and consider the consequence of your vote.

      "My dear friends, your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union." ---Representative John Lewis

      by SottoVoce on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:05:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Since the last debate is foreign policy (4+ / 0-)

      you're probably not going to hear anything more about Social Security in the debates. What you did hear, however, ought to have been enough. Biden and Ryan discussed Social Security and Medicare in more detail. I heard what Biden said about it.

      And with regard to Social Security, we will not -- we will not privatize it. If we had listened to Romney, to Governor Romney and the congressman during the Bush years, imagine where all those seniors would be now if their money had been in the market. Their ideas are old, and their ideas are bad, and they eliminate the guarantee of Medicare.
      And more:
      VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Quickly, the bottom line here is that all the studies show that if we went with Social Security proposal made by Mitt Romney, if you’re 40 -- in your 40s now, you will pay $2,600 a year -- you get $2,600 a year less in Social Security. If you’re in your 20s now, you get $4,700 a year less. The idea of changing -- and change being, in this case, to cut the benefits for people without taking other action you could do to make it work -- is absolutely the wrong way.

      These -- look, these guys haven’t been big on Medicare from the beginning. Their party’s not been big on Medicare from the beginning. And they’ve always been about Social Security as little as you can do. Look, folks, use your common sense. Who do you trust on this? A man who introduced a bill that would raise it $6,400 a year, knowing it and passing it, and Romney saying he’d sign it? Or me and the president?

      Does it sound like they're for cutting Social Security? Do you have enough data to figure out who wants to cut it? Who's got the plan on the table to cut it? Looks like Romney. Looks like an easy decision to me.

      "Governor Romney doesn't have a five-point plan, he has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules." -- President Obama

      by tytalus on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:36:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Undecided? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shanikka, sethtriggs, lirtydies

      You are most definitely NOT going to hear that line, "I will veto any legislation that cuts Social Security benefits for current and future benefits..."


      Think about it.  Think about the discussion here.  With this much at stake, this is a fencing match with real sharp blades.

      One of the things that is most striking about politics at this level is how much it does not sound like a debate between a couple of cab drivers.  

      The English being used represents skillful professionalism and the most scalpel like approach to saying exactly what needs to be said and to not say anything that might allow the opponent to promote a misunderstanding that cannot easily be undone.  When you really listen, you hear what is being said as a thread running through it.  

      This is very high stakes.  Those people who want to hear something that might be in a TV script are thinking wrong about this.  This is not about voting for the one who makes the best TV character in the national sitcom.

      Do the work of being a citizen.  Listen.  Do homework.

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:39:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is coming from a person who posted a diary (5+ / 0-)

      That they would like to see Social Security benefits increased 15% and the retirement age dropped to age 55.  Someone in political La la land. Elections in this country are a choice between only two competing views.  Obama will make a serious attempt to preserve and protect the current system.  Romney is more likely to mean Medicare vouchers and Social Security privitization.  A liberal or progressive voting for a Green candidate or not voting is equal to a vote for Romney

      I am not saying that your logic for this type of change is economically wrong or that we shouldn't advocate for this type of change.  It is just that you are taking this position 2 weeks before a monumental election.  If we lose Romney will do things that are 100% against what you stand for.  That is a guarantee.

      If Obama was a pandering politician, you would have gotten your statement.  And you would have been completely disappointed at the result.

      Republicans run elections to win and rarely seek popular support for any policy they implement.  Bushes Social Security privitization scheme or Scott Walkers union busting legislation are great examples of what happens.  Political upheavel and social unrest. Democrats run elections to set parameters on how they will govern.

    •  If I might, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shanikka, sethtriggs

      Please realize the Congress he has been and is dealing with.  He can make all kinds of promises, but in doing so, he cranks up the anti-Social Security forces which are substantial in the House.  I think you need to listen to what he says about the program to give you your answer.  He knows what that program meant to the grandparents who raised him and to Michelle's mother after her father passed.  On the other hand, Mr. Romney has never been closely related to anyone who needed social security or Medicare in any way.  He may talk about members of his church, but that just isn't the same as a close personal or family relationship with someone who depended on it for the majority of their livelihood.  When Romney and Ryand use the words "protect and preserve" social security and Medicare, those are the words of the infamous wordsmith, Frank Luntz who functions for the Republicans as the person who finds nice phrases for unappealing policies.  Take for example, "job creators".  This is the term he created to counter the image of the wealthy who want tax cuts.  It is a marketing tool just like "Tea Party" was just the rebranding of Republican candidates in 2010 to mask the bad taste left from the Bush years.  Good luck with your decision.

    •  This is not an HR worthy comment (5+ / 0-)

      I don't like the sentiment, and I certainly believe that bink is smarter than what he wrote above, but it is NOT HR worthy. Geez, people. Some of you are way to quick to click the circle on the right.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 08:23:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rhetorical device (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shanikka, bink, betsyross

      How so many of you are missing this is beyond me. He's not undecided. He's speaking in the hypothetical voice of a low information voter.

      Mitt Romney loves women so much, he keeps a whole binder full of them*.

      by MasterKey on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 08:29:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MasterKey, shanikka

        The thing is -- we're parsing the debates looking for things that I don't think the average voter is looking for. They are looking for the president to make a statement on how his policies will directly impact their lives.

        Not just low-information voters but many voters of different stripes.

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 09:07:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bank on this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      With the help of the Teapublicans, Romney will change it and not for the better. There issues in this election that go beyond Social Security. Don't allow yourself to become bogged down on one issue or one ill phrased statement. You know full well that the President will do everything he can to protect this program.

      Read your tagline, who believes corporations are people and who doesn't?

    •  you could read the truckload of policy positions (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      published and spoken about by Obama time and time again, as well as the conflicting, shifty ones from Romney, and use that to decide. No need to hear specific catch words in a debate; Obama's positions on it are well known.

      Moreover, it's never a good idea to state a specific policy decision for all points in the future with absolute certainty. That's the kind of thing Grover Norquist does, and make the House as able to govern as a pile of pet rocks with the word 'no' painted on. Government needs to be intelligent.

    •  I disagree profoundly with what Bink said; (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoiseBlue, shanikka, TimmyB, Meteor Blades

      however, Bink is not a troll, and the HR is uncalled for.

      Uprated.  So sue me.

  •  A Deep Discussion to this Effect (35+ / 0-)

    Last week I had a significant discussion with a distinguished black teacher of government and civics (college level, relatively senior). He said exactly the same thing, and several other college faculty agreed.

    Obama spent his formative elementary years in an Indonesian public school. There he was taught not only how prejudice works (worse than in US) but how to cover emotions because you could NEVER get angry.

    Then a black teen in an American high school--NEVER show your anger.

    I actually think it is hilarious when someone on the media interprets some gesture of Obama's as anger. He is about as physically controlled as anyone I've ever met.

    And yes, his supporters wanted him to just erupt in the first debate. The media is now saying he "interrupted" in the second. What did they say about Romney's rudeness in the first? Zip! Zilch! Nada!

    Don't know who taught him that great body thing: "Please continue, Governor..." but he needs another half dozen of those feints in the next debate.

    •  Thanks for your Comment (41+ / 0-)

      I agree that the "Please continue, Governor..." moment was one of the greatest debate set-ups of all time. You could see the President saying "I'm about to clean your clock, bro." You could see it all over his body language.

      Yet it was very clear to me, especially in the one area where he could arguably "get away with" anger -- his statement in defense of Senator Clinton and in rebuttal to Romney's shamelessness in saying that the Administration played politics with security in Libya -- that the President was angry. Not angry in a destructive way, but a constructive one. We fear anger so much on the Left, and I honestly don't know why. Out of control, to be sure it can be a disaster. But anger is a healthy, human, emotion. And President Obama has every right to be mad at Mitt Romney. The man insults him, lies on him, and doesn't even have the pride to just take a position and stick with it. He may have also been a bit angry at himself, given what happened in the first debate. It wouldn't surprise me. But either way, you could see it.

      If he constructively uses anger like he did in the second debate, I don't see anything but good coming out of it.

      •  I agree with your diary shanikka and I think (9+ / 0-)

        I'd take it even a slight step further and say outright that the ABM fear thing is a leftist thing.

        yeah, I said it.

        that's not to say the right wouldn't run with it once it happened. but as you said in the diary, the left is the one who's been talking about "walking a line" since...forever. It's been crippling. I'm not sure how much of that is from Obama's own issues or from pressure from the left or the enormous historical pressure he faces everyday.

        I just hope he's over it.

        there's a time to be angry, for fuck's sake.

        Not to mention the whole other issue of how this expectation that black men cannot express anger plays out in real life with real black men. Maybe it's time to show that yes, black men have emotions too. and maybe people ought to get over it.

        For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

        by mdmslle on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:33:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  very interesting, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Another instance of redefining stereotypes I'd argue.

      •  Wow (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lirtydies, shanikka, bryduck
         We fear anger so much on the Left, and I honestly don't know why.
        Nailed it. Absolutely nailed it. And I see it most often here.

        As an added bonus, sometimes we find it easier to get angry at "our own" (politically).

        Now, my initial response to these assholes is probably too angry, so it's probably a good thing I'm just an anonymous jerk on a blog. (My first reaction to a diary yesterday about a wealthy CEO threatening to fire employees with Obama stickers on their car was to fantasize about firing squads--that's probably too much anger :)). But, yes, I am VERY angry. I'm not going to apologize for it. Fuck these fucking fucks.

        "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

        by ChurchofBruce on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 12:35:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit... (6+ / 0-)

      No one wanted him to "just erupt" in the first debate.  No one.  That's absolutely ridiculous.

      What we wanted was for him to stand up for what he believed in and shine some light on the lies Romney was spreading.  

      I don't know what you're smoking if you believe people were hoping for Obama to erupt.  As if that would look good, whether black or white.  

    •  high school in Hawaii, not 'typical' (4+ / 0-)

      In Hawaii Obama would not have encountered the 'black teen in an American high school' experience of which you speak.

      In Hawaii, white people are more subject to harassment than you can imagine. Punahou School, where Obama was from 5th thru 12th grade, was approx 50% white, whereas public schools would be 90% non-white. Non-white: Hawaiian, Tahitian, other Pacific Islander, Japanese, Chinese, Samoan, Fijian, Filipino, and just about any combination thereof imaginable.

      Hawaii, the melting pot of the Pacific, has its own peculiar kind of tribalism, if you can call it that. Obama, walking down the street - your first thought is not "oh, he's African-American" - no, any number of other possibilities spring to mind.

      As as brown skinned person, he would be less likely to encounter the local prejudice that a white skinned person would. It wouldn't be until he left the Islands to go to college at Occidental that he encountered the racism and discrimination that brown skinned people on the mainland have to deal with on a constant basis.

      •  if you read his autobiography (6+ / 0-)

        he does in fact talk about the 'black teen in an american high school' experience, growing up in hawaii. but i'm sure you know more about that experience than the president.

        •  yeah well I did go there too (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          guinea, mimi, shanikka

          same school, same town.
          Just sayin'.

          •  You think it has changed over the years? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shanikka, Zorge

            Is it the same today as it was, when Obama went to high school there ?

            •  Hawaii is not like the mainland (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fiona West, mimi

              Island life is different in so many ways. Those of us who were blessed to grow up in Hawaii keep that green and glowing place in our hearts, no matter where we go.

              Punahou School is one of the top 10 college prep schools in the nation. It is not just academically challenging, but also challenging for the many students who come from very ordinary circumstances and are given scholarships. It has merit based admissions, you have to pass a test...unless of course you are a legacy student. Therein lies the challenge for the kid who comes from a different strata of local society. Not due to race necessarily, but due to economic or social status.

              They say Obama is from Chicago. More like he has been living in Chicago for many years, but he is from Hawaii. A lot of that calm demeanor and seeking of consensus comes from the Hawaii factor I believe.

              Recently at a West Coast fundraiser, he talked about being able to go 'mental bodysurfing' at Sandy Beach on Oahu, when things got tough, he could just call upon that place to relax and connect.

              •  yes, I understand a little bit about it, (0+ / 0-)

                I have a "obama-like" son who loves Hawaii for the nature, the weather and the native cultures and the music. He is very aware of all the undercurrent tensions between the different "tribes" on Hawaii. I just asked the question if you think these "tensions" have become deeper than they might have been 35 years ago.

                Thanks for your input. I definitely believe that Obama has been influenced by his Hawaiian teenage years and his childhood years in Indonesia. I think he experienced the Chicago- and Mainland influence through Occidental college, the east coast and finally through his wife and his Chicago years. Pretty straight forward, don't you think?

              •  I just checked out your diary from 2008 (0+ / 0-)

                about Obama's deep roots to Hawaii. Will study it later when I have wind down from a hectic day. Very nice just to read the first two paragraphs.


    •  i grew up in indonesia (12+ / 0-)

      One of the fundamental cultural rules is NEVER show anger.  Saving face and preserving harmony is absolutely central to the way their culture works.  If there is a disagreement, no matter who is factually in the right, the person who loses their control is wrong.  Period.  Showing anger is just not done.

      Now I'm not saying that Obama necessarily absorbed this and operates under those cultural rules as an adult, but as a third-culture kid, you can't help but incorporate a lot of the subconscious cultural cues from the various parts of your life.  I speak from experience here.  In any case, just another perspective.

      •  wow. that link to "third-culture kid" was (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mali muso, shanikka, Caneel, Sychotic1

        great. Did you write that?

        We certainly need more TCKs in this country. (Yeah, I'm one too, and as I'm sure you must know--gets damn lonely out here sometimes ;-)).

        •  hello fellow TCK! (7+ / 0-)

          it's always great to find another member of the "tribe". lol.

          wish i had written the article, but no...I just saved the link.  Here is another one that I find really interesting, written right before Obama took office.

          According to a body of sociological literature devoted to children who spend a portion of their developmental years outside their “passport country,” the classic  profile of a “TCK” is someone with a global perspective who is socially adaptable and intellectually flexible. He or she is quick to think outside the box and can appreciate and reconcile different points of view.  Beyond whatever diversity in background or appearance a TCK may bring to the party, there is a diversity of thought as well.
          But TCKs can also feel rootless and detached. The great challenge for maturing Third Culture Kids is to forge a sense of personal and cultural identity from the various environments to which they been exposed. Barack Obama’s memoir, Dreams of My Father, could serve as a textbook in the TCK syllabus, a classic search for self-definition, described in living color. Obama’s colleagues on the Harvard Law Review were among the first to note both his exceptional skill at mediating among competing arguments and the aloofness that made his own views hard to discern. That cool manner of seeming “above it all” is also a classic feature of the Third Culture Kid.

          The TCKs’ identity struggles can be painful and difficult. The literature documents addictive behaviors, troubled marriages and fitful careers. But meeting this challenge can become a TCK’s greatest strength. Learning to take the positive pieces from a variety of experiences and create a strong sense of “This is who I am, no matter where I am” gives a steadiness when the world around is in flux or chaos”—which helps explain “no-drama Obama.” (my emphasis)

          In the globally interconnected world in which we live, I think we TCKs are only going to become more common, at least I hope so.  I think we have a lot to offer. :)
          •  as a mother of a TCK child I can confirm (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mali muso

            that the above quoted excerpts are very much to the point. Though altogether seeing the positives more than the negatives I would say that Obama's fate as a TCK child has been a very lucky one. And it's very much dependent on what the third, first and second cultures were the children were involved in. Not speaking about the FCK  - Fourth culture kids - even.

            So many tribes, so few roots.

      •  Thanks for this (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mali muso, princesspat, Caneel, Sychotic1, mimi

        I had not heard the idea of a "third culture kid" before but it's fascinating and it makes a lot of sense. So thanks for the link!

      •  Yes, Mali you are correct (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mali muso, shanikka

        people get embarrassed FOR you if you raise your voice or lose your temper in public.  Also, you have to watch out because in many SE Asian countries people don't want to admit that they don't know something or don't agree with you so you might get 'wrong information' as the person you are dealing with seemingly agrees with you.

        I mostly ran into this related to bechak (sp?) rides where the driver always knew how to get where I wanted to go...even if they didn't.  I learned to bring a map and  show them where I wanted to go, which  really cut down on misunderstandings.

        "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

        by Sychotic1 on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 09:33:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, I have been praying for (8+ / 0-)

      "I am Barack Obama, and I AM the President" moment and I think the "proceed, Governor" was the closest we are going to get.  I watched at a debate party at the Dem campaign office.  The crowd was half and half racially and, to a person, the reaction to that was stunningly positive.  It was the most velvet condescending thing I have ever had and was delivered with the kind of grace and elegance I doubt I could ever muster.  In short, priceless.

      •  Yeah, I'm thinking a WH (0+ / 0-)

        (re?)screening of "The American President" is needed STAT.

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 08:25:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for taking on the complex (31+ / 0-)

    tangle of racial/historical stereotypes in play here - and specifically how they play out not just on the right but on the left.

    I plan to discuss your piece in class.

    This is key:

    The albatross of the "Angry Black Man" stereotype has hung around President Obama's neck since the day he became a serious candidate for President. The right wing has made been singing this narrative loudly with it since before Day 1 of President Obama's tenure, and has never let up. There is not enough room on the blog screen to link to the stories reporting the latest iteration of this canard by the right wing. President Obama's entire term has been a demonstration of his doing everything he can to avoid getting tagged by that label, knowing the nation's fear of a Black president.

    Yet equally passionately, the Left has also been enslaved by the narrative; enslaved and fearful. Each and every time that the President was called to task for not being forceful, for not fighting for what he believes in or the policies he wanted for the country or and especially for not calling out the Republicans as the lying, hypocritical, obstructionist jackasses that they are—each and every time he was being called "weak and timid" (in other words, being called a "Girlie Man" without anyone consciously thinking about or using the phrase)—the knee-jerk response was that he could not. Because he could not afford to be seen as an Angry Black Man.

    I hope you will also write a similar piece about Michelle Obama, and the typecasting for sisters.

    Good morning (I know it is really early for you out on the left coast)

    "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now". Rev. William Barber, If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:10:32 AM PDT

  •  Way overwritten (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fwcetus, shanikka, farmerhunt

    and so repetitive. You could have made this point in 1/10th the words. The constant hearkening back to the first debate and constant repetition of the easily understood idea of "girlie man" as an American trope ... just not helpful, nor enlightening.

  •  A very ardent supporter here! (16+ / 0-)

    Yeah, through the two debates and now I support President Obama without apology. I do believe some of his responses are framed because of the ABM syndrome that is unfair and rampant in this society.

    However, as someone called an ABW a time or two, I know there are times that it is better to be yourself. Let the haters use their labels. Speak your truth. Someone will appreciate you for this. THAT is the Barack Obama who showed up at the second debate. He schooled Mitt on comportment as CIC when honoring the four diplomats who were killed in Benghazi.  The so called serious journalists haven't criticized him. If anything, the handwringers and moaners raised that issue more than anyone.

    I have no time for handwringing and moaning. It's a waste of energy. Yes, I do it at times. Not in this case, though. That is what the GOP wants -- for us to get frightened, tuck tail and run away from voting, and depress other potential votes for the president. Don't buy the hype folks!

  •  Absolutely superb post, Shanikka! (17+ / 0-)

    Yes, this debate, and the positive reaction to it, demonstrates something very important. Your closing was just perfect, so I'll repeat it here:

    That President Obama was rewarded for projecting strength, certainty, and yes, power is hopefully is an indication that our culture's fear of the Angry Black Man than could ever have been imagined coming from a debate. It appears to be that for the first time, a Black man could get up in a white man's face, tell him where to get off, get an attitude, and take control in front of millions of people.

    America could stand to see more of this, if for no other reason than the chink in the subconscious wall of fear of the “Angry Black Man” that Obama's masterful performance unquestionably resulted in on Tuesday night.

  •  They also saw an Angry White Dude (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, slinkerwink

    The problem for us is that if Americans were looking for an option - if it were only about who was tough - Mitt gave them one twice...Obama was in absentia that first one, and the second one Romney didn't back down...didn't move me, but it looks bad here in Ohio...after those two debates TONS of Romney signs are up in my neighborhood, which is a blue-collar, union one, that has trended Democratic the past few years...worried.

    •  Mitt Romney doesn't come across as tough... (18+ / 0-)

      he comes across as an asshole.  There's a big difference.

    •  I Think (11+ / 0-)

      That the President's angry dude was a different one than Romney's. Romney strikes me as a man who feels entitled (pretty much he admits he's entitled.) Entitled angry is diferent in character; it's not grounded in objectively-observible wrongs, but in a sense of feeling like other folks are beneath you and therefore have no right to burst your personal bubble of happiness.

      Maybe folks will see the difference crystallize tomorrow night.  I sure hope so.

    •  I have wondered if the Republicans are paying (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shanikka, wishingwell, politicalceci

      people to advertise their candidate.  They are so low.

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:50:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Something is going on with the signs (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shanikka, politicalceci, Vetwife

        rigt after 1st debate, Rom signs spring out from nowhere. It is weird.

      •  We noticed 4 years ago, tons more McCain signs (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        politicalceci, shanikka, Vetwife

        in counties around PA that went for Obama.  Some of it was because OFA offices were running out of signs.

        Republicans are big on signs, and they will deliver signs to supporters upon request.  I see Democrats doing that less and less.  We could not even get a sign either year even if we went to get one. ..they were out.

        I have noticed for a long time that Repubs are big on signs and offer signs to anyone, go to great extents to deliver signs..I Have never seen Democrats do this and go to that extent with signs. Democrats are bigger on getting people to the polls than delivering signs.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:17:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What are you hearing from OFA canvassers in (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shanikka, Melissa J, lirtydies

      your neighborhood? How well do you know your neighbors and if they are registered Republicans or Democrats or independents?  Did you do GOTV in your region and get an idea if some or most of these people voted for the President 4 years ago?  

      As I see a lot of Romney signs around here but they are all Republicans.  My friend saw 5x more McCain signs than Obama signs, yet her couny voted for Obama.

      I still think Obama supporters have fewer signs out as we keep running out at our local OFA, same thing happened 4 years ago. Yard signs are not always an indicator.  

      I cannot picture registered Democrats having Romney signs in their yard if they were voting for Obama before or strong union Democrats. There are union people who are Republicans, sadly we know a bunch in my town.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:13:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •   (0+ / 0-)

        I'm going around A LOT, but I have not seen huge numbers.  I don't want to piss people off, maybe we're all doing it solo, but I have never been in a car with more than one other house has been hit with NRA lit...Ohio Republican Lit...Buckeye Firearms lit (had to look them up)...Romney lit...and the local Catholics are doing A LOT of pro-life work, they used to be with someone just told me that there are TWO parties of local tea party people...when did this crap happen?  I have received ONE thing from OFA...they don't NEED to send me anything, but's easy to campaign as if we were 10 points down, but it feels like we are 20 points down, and no one is talking about that...sorry, I am just annoyed at it all

  •  The right's depiction of Obama is schizo gibberish (11+ / 0-)

    depicting him as a dangerous, militant radical foreign invader intent on raping white women and obliterating "decent" society...but also a weak, effeminate, fearful powder puff incapable of decisive action, and all the times when he engaged in profoundly decisive action, well, that was all someone else's accomplishment.  Or it never happened, because Bin Laden is really still alive, and the "real" jobs numbers that say whatever Republicans want them to say are in a secret vault guarded by UN black helicopters.

    Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

    by Troubadour on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:19:03 AM PDT

    •  that's a common trope (11+ / 0-)

      those shiftless welfare queens were also extremely industrious when it came to putting in the effort to defraud the honest (white) taxpayers  out of brazillions of dollars, and groups like ACORN were full of lazy gubmint employees working tirelessly to fill the voter rolls with fictional black people...hell, their bogeyman of voter fraud requires the belief in millions of people too lazy to work for a living designing and executing massive conspiracies to cast illegal votes in a country that seldom gets more then 50% turnout. The internal contradictions are astounding.
      It ain't just for Obama, or any one person. They are entirely comfortable with this dynamic supposedly describing the entire left. And every example of Republicans actually working tirelessly to destroy voter registration forms or preserve tax loopholes for billionaires who do little but write checks for the service only reinforces their beliefs.
      If it weren't for the hypocrisy, there would be nothing but empty space in their pointy little heads.  

      R-Money/R-Ayn, the ENRON Ticket, is not a campaign; it's a hostile takeover bid.

      by kamarvt on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:32:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Comfortably holding contradictory beliefs (8+ / 0-)

        is a standard feature of the psychotic mind.  When the facts confront them with a reality they can't or won't handle, they just flip their little internal switch from one extreme to the opposite, and barely miss a stride in the process.  

        That's how they can believe Jews represent a massive international conspiracy to destroy civilization with a stranglehold on money and culture requiring the strongest efforts to break, but they're also weak and diseased and incapable of productive action.  And, as you say, how they can believe black people are lazy, stupid, and ignorant, but organize massive, highly competent criminal conspiracies to defraud the government on a perpetual basis and get away with it.

        And, of course, on their own side of the coin, how they can live in utter luxury with everyone around them kissing their asses and global political leaders hopping to their beck and call, but consider themselves victims.  Hate has its own diabolical logic that boils down to doublethink as George Orwell described it.  These people have hearts full of evil, and their minds do what is necessary to rationalize it.  After all, "We hate those whom we wrong," and they do nothing but wrong to other people.

        Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

        by Troubadour on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:49:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Of Course it is! (6+ / 0-)

      But when has stereotype ever been rational? It's not; it's largely subconscious and therefore resistent to linear thought process.

  •  I am beginning to suspect that (10+ / 0-)

    The president knew full we'll what he was doing in that first debate: he was protecting the senate.  Many we're of the opinion that the presidential race was over.  I happen to still think that it is.  If he had destroyed Romney in that first debate, the big money on their side would have abandoned Romney and poured their filthy lucre into senate races.  I dare say that if we win senate seats in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Missouri, Montana, maybe even Indiana and Arizona, it will be because their money men clung to the foolish belief that Romney had a chance, and that will all tie back to that first debate.

    In ten years Obamacare will be as popular as Social Security and Medicare, and Mitt Romney will be demanding all the credit.

    by Fiddler On A Hot Tin Roof on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:19:05 AM PDT

  •  Incumbent President trap (6+ / 0-)

    The President was likely out of practice not debating in 4 years.  Most incumbents fall into that trap with the exception of Bill Clinton.  What really made it bad was the way the media jumped all over the first debate including the left leaning pundits.  Okay, so that's water under the bridge so to speak.  We have a big win from the President last week.  Let's get out there and do something.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:19:15 AM PDT

  •  As someone who is also cursed with an (8+ / 0-)

    "above average" intelligence, I learned early on that just walking away from bullies, liars and other sociopaths was a necessary survival trait. Every day I thank the intelligent people who choose to enter politics, even though it is not a very rational choice. I couldn't do it.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:20:41 AM PDT

  •  Or we could just do this: (17+ / 0-)

    Which is my strong preference.

    I'm sayin'.

    For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

    by mdmslle on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:22:43 AM PDT

  •  An angry black man (8+ / 0-)

    The president should own it. I think he should come out and say, " yes I am angry at Wall Street for crippling American home owners, I am angry that tax cuts have hurt our economy, I am angry that 1 party has attacked education, the elderly and the infirm. I am a black man who is angry at what the right has done to this country." A black man who is angry at what the right wing vision for America is so much different that an angry black man. Hell, I want my president angry that he has had to spend his first 4 years cleaning up Bushco's mess and pushing back against republican obstructionism.

    •  Forgot to add (6+ / 0-)

      We need the squishy pundits on our side not playing into this meme. The response of Oct. 3rd's debate should have been....." when does style count more than substance?". We on the left always call out our side, rightfully so. At some point tho, we also need to defend what we know is right and not play into that " it's not perfect so tear it down ".That we were not happy with his level of his engagement does not change who he is, thoughtful, sincere, deliberate, empathetic. We did not vote for Barney Frank here.

  •  James Lipton nailed it... he's a BOSS (15+ / 0-)

    not a President.

    Mitt Romney tends to channel that Bad Boss everyone has had at one point.  I've got one in mind.  The one who raised his bulky 6 feet something frame up in a doorway and SCREAMED at the market research people (female, age 20-somethings) when they couldn't give him the answer he wanted.  The one who finally calls his direct reports in for a meeting on crucial product line decisions that need to be made SOON (thank goodness) and then answers his cellphone 10 times in 30 minutes - just jumping up and leaving the room without word of acknowledgement (or direction -- should the presenter stop?  keep talking? when will we ever see this guy again?  how much work will engineering have to redo if he flakes out on us for another week?)  The one who gets other departments to do his most important management reports for him - and if the news is not good, to present the report, too, with no support from him.

    I know this guy.  

  •  single moms and violence.. (8+ / 0-)

    I'm surprised that no one seems to have documented the real reason for Romney's very strange answer for the gun violence question. Romney's reply that single parent households were the main problem left everyone perplexed at the time and making him appear a little "out of it" on the question. He was not. In fact it was a deliberate, planned personal assault on the President and his mother in order to enrage Obama, get him distracted, and bring out the "angry black man". Thankfully the President handled it well. It does show the depravity to which Romney will sink, willing to take a hit for a baffling answer on the surface in order to accomplish a much darker, sinister goal.

    •  That's a pretty weak attack... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shanikka, sethtriggs

      How was that supposed to ruffle the President's feathers.  He knows that he turned out fine, regardless of his mother being a single parent.  If anything it makes Romney's statement laughable, rather than infuriating.  

    •  I Don't Think It Was (9+ / 0-)

      An attack on President Obama's mom. I  think it was an attack on urban Black people generally using stereotypes about violence and what weapons the violent ones use. Unfortunately, the president's response did not help the situation; it too was rife with stereotypes about urban black youth and education.

      Even though nobody said the word "Black" either time.

    •  I don't think that's accurate (10+ / 0-)

      That was Romney's religion showing. Everything that's wrong with our society can be tracked back to single moms and the breakdown of the nuclear family. This is a big part of the Mormon belief system. They place family on a pedestal- which isn't a bad thing, but it's also very short-sighted when talking about complex issues.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:06:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Single mom homes = violence is a RW talking point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs, lirtydies, shanikka

      provided by the Heritage Foundation's ","

      Youth Violent Delinquency. Adolescents living in intact families are less likely to engage in serious violent delinquency compared to peers living in non-intact families. Compared to peers in intact families, adolescents in singlemother, single-father, and mother-stepfather families were more likely to engage in serious violent delinquency, controlling for adolescents’ and parents’ characteristics as well as family processes (such as parental involvement, parental supervision, parental monitoring, and parent-child closeness).

      Sometimes people stray from the norms cited by the Heritage Foundation.

      Occasionally children of well-to-do, "in-tact" families assault fellow students and shave their heads or direct blind teachers into doors or strap their dogs to the roof of their cars as adults.

      While some offspring of single parents grow up to be centered, unflappable Presidents who ask such unhinged, violent children of "in-tact" families to 'please proceed Governor.'

      The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

      by FiredUpInCA on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 10:57:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The whole "Angry Black Man" fear is way overstated (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, shanikka, Chi, dkosdan

    Standing up for yourself and defending your beliefs isn't the same as being angry.  I also don't think that the majority of people in this country view Obama (or other black people, for that matter) through that lens.  

    I really feel that the whole ABM fear is a result of some liberals to exaggerate how pervasive racism is.  Racism does exist, but some seem to believe we're still living in the 1960s.  

    The fact that Obama could even be elected at all shows that things have changed for the better since then.  Old stereotypes like the ABM just aren't as powerful as they once were.  And the way to overcome these stereotypes is now to cower and hide from them in fear, but to confront them by setting a different example, perhaps as Obama did in the second debate.  

    So, in that respect, Obama was right to be more forceful.  It's got nothing to do with being a "girlie man" or a "real man".  It's about showing he has the backbone to lead this country.  If he can't even stand up to a huckster like Mitt Romney, how can we expect him to stand firm for anything?

    To be honest, I don't really know how much anything in either debate has to do with stereotypes, and how much it just has to do with Obama just putting in a lackluster and very uninspiring performance in the first one, and correcting in the second.  

    If he was really afraid to be passionate because of stereotypes, then I hope he's finally managed to get over it.  The best way to destroy a stereotype is to act like a real person and demonstrate how the stereotype falls laughably short.  

    •  1960's? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shanikka, wishingwell, bewareofme

      More like 1950s, if you ask me.

      Would that we were back in the 1960s--wouldn't mind a do-over on a couple of issues, with the benefit of hindsight.

    •  Here is a group that don't buy into the ABM (7+ / 0-)
      Jeff Waltrip, 56, is a retired electrician and retail worker who has voted Republican all his life. But in his view Obama "has done a good job with what he was left with, and I truly believe that allowing Mitt Romney in there is going to make the world a whole lot worse than it is now." Waltrip said he liked the Republican ticket in 2008 because McCain is a veteran and because Sarah Palin "made me laugh."
      The McCain-to-Obama switchers are 55 percent male, and 34 percent of them are 55 or older. (Overall, Obama trails Romney 34 percent to 52 percent among white men over 50.) About 72 percent of them are white.
      Even though 38 percent of all voters believe the economy is the election's most prominent issue, just one-third of the McCain defectors agree. Character matters more.
      "Right now if I had to choose it would be Obama, because he's more personable," said William Holliday, a 58-year-old retiree from Convis Township, Michigan. "Romney has changed his position so many damn times, you don't know what he thinks at all. But they're both liars."
    •  One of the Things (3+ / 0-)

      That's most important to remember about stereotypes is that most people do not consciously think of them ever as impacting what they do or how they approach something. I don't think the President is any more immune to that than most people.

      Who knows what precisely he was thinking? I doubt that he actually thought about the stereotypes of how he was perceived either time and especially not using the terms I labeled them with. Doesn't mean that they were not operating, however, in shaping his strategies anyway.

  •  I turned it off at that first "oh shit" moment (3+ / 0-)

    Reflexively. I felt punches coming and ran.
    Todays debates and politics in general are a huge scam on the American people, imo. But I trust your take, and I'm glad to see something good for the soul of our country came from this debate.

  •  More optimistic than I am..... (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this well written diary.  But I disagree with you on a couple of points.

    First, I strongly believe that had President Obama presented the same demeanor in the first debate that he did in the second he would indeed have been labelled with the ABM stereotype.  The press had decided in advance that they were going to crucify him for his debate performance in order to narrow the gap he held.  It was simply a matter of waiting to see HOW they would crucify him.  And there is no doubt about the role the media played in this debacle.  The snap polls about his performance in the debate immediately after were not nearly has negative as they were four days after the fact and after we had been treated to four days of media bashing.  If he had demonstrated the same tactics in the first as he did in the second the narrative simply would have been different.  I personally felt that had he simply made a stronger closing statement in the first debate the narrative would not have been nearly as negative.

    Second, after the first debate performance and the 13 days of media bashing, he was "allowed" to demonstrate that strength in the second debate without the ABM label.  But even then I've seen comments that did not appear to be simply trolls stating they did not appreciate his performance, found him now "unlikeable" and will not be voting for him for a second term.  And I have found it very sad that he has been criticized by some as too aggressive while the same has not been applied to Romney despite his utter lack of civility and respect.  

    In short, I simply am not as optimistic as you are that we are ready to accept his righteous anger and indignation without the racist label.  He can get by with it now without too much negative connotation but ONLY because of his passive performance in the first debate.  We still have a very long way to go in this country and I am saddened by the incredible burden this man has to carry each and every day, far beyond anything expected from those white privileged presidents or candidates.

    Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. "

    by FoxfireTX on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:33:03 AM PDT

  •  2nd debate: Righteously Indignant Black Man. (8+ / 0-)

    In the first debate, Obama gave Romney the benefit of the doubt: that a serious Presidential candidate would come to the table with ideas and would play by the rules of civil discourse. Because being serious and civil is Obama's modus operandi, he was thrown off stride when that didn't happen.

    In debate #2, Obama knew what sort of opponent he was meeting: one who would lie and bully and stalk the room as if he owned it. Obama had prepped for that kind of opponent and showed, in the Benghazi exchange in particular, genuine righteous indignation.

    Every honest communication poses a risk that we will hear something that could challenge or change us. -- Kenneth Cloke

    by GreenMtnState on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:33:41 AM PDT

  •  "Angry black man" thing is a chimera (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, shanikka, Chi, dkosdan, slinkerwink

    People expect leaders to show some conviction and passion about their principles.

    Do you really think fear of that stereotype is what led Obama to be so passive on 10/3?

    I find that hard to believe ... but what do I know.

    Thanks for an interesting piece.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:33:45 AM PDT

    •  i'm not sure it was fear of stereotypes but (8+ / 0-)

      i might have been, even if subconsciously.

      I think Obama, as much as I love him, has issues with trying too hard not to offend people. Trying to be a mediator and make everything a win-win for everyone involved. Most times li life that works. And it probably has served him well up to this point. So much so that I think it's part of his nature. It's really hard to overcome one's natural inclinations.

      for example, people have told me I should run for office. I know better. I don't have the personality type for it. I don't tend to mince words and I often don't care how I say what I say. (see sig line).

      It would be very difficult for me to become more...conciliatory with regard to politics.  Maybe as hard as it is/was for Obama to be confrontational.

      For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

      by mdmslle on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:48:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beltway Democrat BS (8+ / 0-)

    This is all fairly simple.  Obama listened to the remaining old school fools in the Democratic party. These are the people who seem to believe that a calm formal presentation will make a person look good. This might be true in some places, but absolutely not in politics. The Republicans have known this for years, and the absurd, "I'll turn the other cheek" standard reply by Dems has been a HUGE millstone for decades now.
    What is especially frustrating is you would think the election where the party of a washed out AWOL drug and alcohol abusing frat boy got away smearing a decorated war veteran. This sounds like something that no one on Earth would have the balls to try and pull off, but it did tremendous damage, and the corporate owned "liberal" (biggest joke in the world) media did everything they could to promote the story.  So it's no wonder Romney is ab;e to get away with painting himself as looking to protect Medicare from Obama.

    •  Personally I think this is more Obama's true (5+ / 0-)

      nature than the gloves-off person. He seems to like to discuss things and think about answers. Sadly, the electorate and media pillar such a man and give points to a man who lies through his teeth but looks smooth doing it.

      As for angry black man, I think we saw Obama angry in the second debate as he gave Romney the "angry eyes"(thanks Key & Peele.

    •  I think this diary shows very (4+ / 0-)

      clearly that it is far from "simple" to navigate the intersection of politics and race.  I was thrilled to see this diary because shanikka says just what I've been thinking about re-visiting the ABM meme and its political impact.  

      I think that four years as President and a moderate record should give Obama plenty of leeway- it's not like '08 when he had to deflect the ridiculous suspicions that he was the second coming of Huey Newton and Michelle was Angela Davis.

      And I'm again reminded of that moment in the '08 campaign when Obama listed the offenses of the Bush years and said "Enough!".  It was the same righteous indignation that he displayed in the second debate, and the applause was deafening.  I'm all for more of it.

  •  Bingo. (6+ / 0-)
    And that is what an angry Black man really looks like when you’re judging one fairly, rather than through the racist lens of fear. Strong. Firm. Confident. Bullshit gets no quarter. And legitimate anger gets expressed, in a positive, productive way.
    Except that I would say it may be the difference between anger and outrage: I can get "angry" about many things--personal insults, petty theft, someone stealing my place in line. And, very often, that means there's a whole lot of shouting going on.

    But outrage? That's another story altogether. Outrage is bigger than anger--it is anger on behalf of something greater than yourself. Outrage, at least in my experience, is much more useful, and, ironically, much easier to enlist as tool or a vehicle to achieve the goal of eliminating its source--because there's so much more at stake than "your own damn self".

    ABM? Maybe not. Methinks this may be what an OBM looks like. ;-)

    Thank you so much for this great analysis.

  •  Just super excellent! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, shanikka

    Am hotlisting.  

    Interesting that Iran is coming to the table now but waiting until after the elections.  I believe that Iran knows a Romnesia president will attack them. I think this will give the President a boost in this Monday night's debate.

    President Obama must win!

  •  How hard is it to throw a debate? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If you’re willing to let the opposing party off the hook for torture, war-crimes etc., throwing a debate is trivial and not very hard to imagine. Just another rescue-the-republicans move (and it put Romney back on the map, as designed).

  •  "Oh, ye of little faith!" (10+ / 0-)

    The last thing you want is for your candidate to peak too soon. Mid October is a good time for the Republican to peak.

    That said, the President is both a humble man and a man secure in his own skin. It is difficult for him to take an insult seriously. However, what I think he finally realized was that Willard Romney was an insult to the American people when he attacked their President and had to be called out for that.
    It's one thing to turn the other cheek; it's another to stand silent when someone else is being abused. In having their President belittled, the American people were being abused.
    Of course, the Republican party has made a habit out of abusing the citizenry. Many have gotten used to it. They've also gotten tused to Democrats referrring to these abusers as "my friend across the aisle." Then they are surprised that people don't change their vote.
    Why would anyone vote for someone who's too stupid to recognize a bully when he sees one standing in front of him?

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:42:27 AM PDT

  •  It was sad to see Maddow, Matthews and ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, Whitefish, JoanMar

    ... Schultz and now you perpetuate the same fiction. Lies do not defeat facts in a debate. The ultimate false equivalency is allowing distortion and prevarication to somehow equate to "body posture." Sorry, but if you actually watched and listened to the debate, you'd know the following:

    And this is where there's a difference because Governor Romney's central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut, on top of the extension of the Bush tax cuts, so that's another $2 trillion, and $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn't asked for. That's $8 trillion.
    Now, Governor Romney's proposal that he has been promoting for 18 months calls for a $5 trillion tax cut on top of $2 trillion of additional spending for our military. And he is saying that he is going to pay for it by closing loopholes and deductions. The problem is that he's been asked a — over a hundred times how you would close those deductions and loopholes and he hasn't been able to identify them.
    When you add up all the loopholes and deductions that upper income individuals can — are currently taking advantage of — if you take those all away — you don't come close to paying for $5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending. And that's why independent studies looking at this said the only way to meet Governor Romney's pledge of not reducing the deficit — or — or — or not adding to the deficit, is by burdening middle-class families.

    The average middle-class family with children would pay about $2,000 more. Now, that's not my analysis; that's the analysis of economists who have looked at this. And — and that kind of top — top-down economics, where folks at the top are doing well so the average person making 3 million bucks is getting a $250,000 tax break while middle- class families are burdened further, that's not what I believe is a recipe for economic growth.

    Well, for 18 months he's been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election, he's saying that his big, bold idea is "never mind." And the fact is that if you are lowering the rates the way you describe, Governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. It's — it's math. It's arithmetic.
    And we do have a difference, though, when it comes to definitions of small business. Now, under — under my plan, 97 percent of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up. Governor Romney says, well, those top 3 percent, they're the job creators. They'd be burdened.

    But under Governor Romney's definition, there are a whole bunch of millionaires and billionaires who are small businesses. Donald Trump is a small business. And I know Donald Trump doesn't like to think of himself as small anything, but — but that's how you define small businesses if you're getting business income. And that kind of approach, I believe, will not grow our economy because the only way to pay for it without either burdening the middle class or blowing up our deficit is to make drastic cuts in things like education, making sure that we are continuing to invest in basic science and research, all the things that are helping America grow. And I think that would be a mistake.

    I would just say this to the American people. If you believe that we can cut taxes by $5 trillion and add $2 trillion in additional spending that the military is not asking for — $7 trillion, just to give you a sense, over 10 years that's more than our entire defense budget — and you think that by closing loopholes and deductions for the well-to-do, somehow you will not end up picking up the tab, then Governor Romney's plan may work for you.

    But I think math, common sense and our history shows us that's not a recipe for job growth.

    Look, we've tried this — we've tried both approaches. The approach that Governor Romney's talking about is the same sales pitch that was made in 2001 and 2003. And we ended up with the slowest job growth in 50 years. We ended up moving from surplus to deficits. And it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    Bill Clinton tried the approach that I'm talking about. We created 23 million new jobs. We went from deficit to surplus, and businesses did very well.

    So in some ways, we've got some data on which approach is more likely to create jobs and opportunity for Americans, and I believe that the economy works best when middle-class families are getting tax breaks so that they've got some money in their pockets and those of us who have done extraordinarily well because of this magnificent country that we live in, that we can afford to do a little bit more to make sure we're not blowing up the deficit.

    You know, when Governor Romney stood on a stage with other Republican candidates for the nomination, and he was asked, would you take $10 of spending cuts for just $1 of revenue, and he said no. Now, if you take such an unbalanced approach, then that means you are going to be gutting our investments in schools and education. It means that — Governor Romney talked about Medicaid and how we could send it back to the states, but effectively this means a 30 percent cut in the primary program we help for seniors who are in nursing homes, for kids who are with disabilities — And that is not a right strategy for us to move forward.
    If we're serious, we've got to take a balanced, responsible approach. And by the way, this is not just when it comes to individual taxes.

    Let's talk about corporate taxes. Now, I've identified areas where we can, right away, make a change that I believe would actually help the economy. The — the oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. Basically, they get deductions that those small businesses that Governor Romney refers to, they don't get. Now, does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money when they're making money every time you go to the pump? Why wouldn't we want to eliminate that?

    Why wouldn't we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets? My attitude is if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.

    When it comes to corporate taxes, Governor Romney has said he wants to, in a revenue-neutral way, close loopholes, deductions — he hasn't identified which ones they are — but thereby bring down the corporate rate. Well, I want to do the same thing, but I've actually identified how we can do that.

    And part of the way to do it is to not give tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. Right now you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. I think most Americans would say that doesn't make sense. And all that raises revenue.

    Transcript, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney Debate (October 3, 2012)(Note the selections above are only from the first half of the debate. Go to the link for much more).

    I think that, first and foremost, the media has to do their jobs. Call out a liar when he lies and then lies about his lies. Secondly, we, who are political activists, have to call out the media for not doing their jobs. (You know Fox News isn't going to call out Romney's lies). Finally, we have to call out the lies. This post would be three-times longer if I included Romney's lies in the first half of the debate.

    I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

    by Tortmaster on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:43:14 AM PDT

    •  I'm Confused (6+ / 0-)

      What "fiction" am I, in your opinion, perpetuating? The only one I can think of is that you believe it is fiction that he lost the October 3 debate. If that's so, we just have to respectfully disagree. Despite Romney's being an ass, and a liar, and a bully that night. I don't think that an objective eye can rationally conclude otherwise.

      •  you're 100% correct. anyone who watched that (6+ / 0-)

        debate and thinks Obama "won" is delusional. It had zero to do with the "media".

        Jesus fucking christ. I wonder what world people are living in when the obvious is so far from their view. this is just as bad as teabagging idiots who only see things from their own dim bubble.

        i guess it feels good to blame the media and other "leftists" for what happened. as if. i don't even watch tv news or commentary shows like Maddow and I watched the debate on CSPAN - sans commentary. So should I believe my own lying eyes or what? It was a bloody massacre.

        And as for "lies do not defeat facts in a debate" - this is so divorced from any understanding of the american electorate that I have to wonder if this person is even sentient. "Lies do don defeat facts in a debate..."

        Jesus Christ.

        For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

        by mdmslle on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:57:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I presented fact. Actual words that ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shanikka, sethtriggs

          ... happened. You presented ad hominem and are apparently basing your thesis on polls that were shaped by the media -- and by people like you. Here are some more actual facts:

          Romney's first substantive sentence and all but one of his statements in his first two substantive paragraphs were lies:

          "... not the one the president describes as a top-down, cut taxes for the rich. That's not what I'm going to do."  Mitt Romney (Debate, 10/3/12)
          "Mitt Romney has proposed huge tax cuts that principally benefit the wealthy, while refusing to say how he’d pay for them by closing unspecified loopholes. This lacks credibility and may become one of the rare tax-cut promises that is a political loser.


          On taxes, it’s Romney who’s ducking. He has proposed a tax cut of more than $4 trillion over 10 years, an across-the-board 20 percent reduction in individual income-tax rates, the elimination of the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax and taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest for those earning less than $200,000. The corporate rate tax rate would come down to 25 percent from 35 percent."  BLOOMBERG (9/16/12)

          "One, get us energy independent, North American energy independent. That creates about 4 million jobs."  Mitt Romney (DEBATE, 10/3/12)
          "Romney's job-creation claim comes from a spring Citigroup report arguing that North America could achieve energy independence, creating between 2.7 million and 3.6 million new jobs in the United States by 2020. But according to the report, independence would require implementing Obama's new fuel-efficiency standards for cars, which Romney opposes." (emphasis added) (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE 10/4/12)
          "... crack down on China, ...." Mitt Romney (10/3/12)
          "Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.
          During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission."
          WASHINGTON POST (6/21/12)

          "The 2011 tax returns his campaign released on Friday show that Mr. Romney’s family trusts had invested in shares of a Chinese-owned state oil company but got rid of those investments this summer as Mr. Romney’s anti-Chinese rhetoric heated up on the campaign trail." THE NEW YORK TIMES (10/4/12)

          "And over the last four years, small- business people have decided that America may not be the place to open a new business, because new business startups are down to a 30-year low. I know what it takes to get small business growing again, to hire people."  (DEBATE, 10/3/12)
          Americans don't move to China to start up small businesses. This is nonsense. Also, the financial institutions crashed in 2008 -- caused by your boy George W. Bush -- cratering lending for small businesses. The other part of Romney's first two paragraphs dealt with ensuring workers have skills and students get education -- platitudes with no specifics. Me (10/4/12)

          As you can see, all lies and one nonsensical statement. The media got lazy. That was only Romney's first two paragraphs! It is hard to deal with a person who will lie like a fire hose and flip-flop like they have sleep apnea, but to give up on truth is to surely surrender.

          I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

          by Tortmaster on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:19:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  someone advocated giving up on truth? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            If you tried to understand the other side of this particular disagreement, things might go better.

            Election protection: there's an app for that!
            Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

            by HudsonValleyMark on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:39:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I Think You're Missing the Point (7+ / 0-)

            If American voters were persuadable solely by the facts, we'd have never had some of the catastrophic presidencies this nation has faced. So while everything you say about President Obama's mastery of the facts is true (something I noted in my diary I believe) it's not enough. Most folks who don't hang out on blogs or at partisan political events are not interested in the litany of facts. They are looking to see who they believe is the best leader. On the (often false) assumption that the best leader will necessarily be telling the truth.

            The media is necessarily not going to go into the litany either. Whether they should or not (I agree with you that they should.) Why? Because they know exactly what the majority of voters are interested in in terms of informational detail, and what they tune out. They act accordingly, in their self-interest of selling more newspapers. Even when it's wrong, and they do things like shade the truth to make it look like the candidate's positions are closer than they actually are.

            What is operating is not rational, no doubt. But it is operating against the wonkish approach President Obama took in the first debate. Again, there's no serious denial of that, if you're looking for the truth and not just a place to avoid bad news. I don't believe that denying the truth helps the President at all, and it never has.

            •  Why should the media not ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              ... have "Truth Teams" to report on the debates? Why don't they have 30 fact-checkers--these can be interns costing the networks nothing--to go over every statement in real time? Instead, they have one factchecker or two who (1) will be overwhelmed, and (2) will play the false equivalency game.  

              By myself, I did a real-time fact check of Romney's "major foreign policy speech." There was no team, there was only me. This is what I posted immediately after that speech:

              From the Romney speech today: Romney needs to tie, with evidence, the radicals who attacked in Benghazi with the airplane hijackers from 9/11 or he's just another CTer. That's gutter slime politics at its worst.

              Romney claims that President Obama wants to "lead from behind." Yet, it was Romney who said he would not "move heaven and earth" and "spend a billion dollars" to get bin Laden.

              Romney wants to send troops back to Iraq! Weeee! (There was no other way to obtain the results that Romney wants now in Iraq). And he wants to do something -- unspecified of course -- about Syria.

              Risk for conflict higher now than when the President took office? WTF? We were in a war against Iraq at that time. CBS News reported this for 2009:

              "Overall, there are about 146,000 forces in Iraq, and that number is expected to dip to about 142,000 by mid-July when that last unit is all out. That total is at least 7,000 more than the number of troops in Iraq before the buildup began early last year."

              Romney wants to call on our allies to spend 2% of their GDP on their military. The US spent 4.7% of its GDP on the military in 2010, and Romney wants to add $2 trillion to that!

              Romney unequivocally said that President Obama has never signed a Free Trade Agreement. That's a lie. The President signed three in 2011 alone, agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.  

              Even Bloomberg BusinessWeek called Condi Rice out on this lie -- a long time ago -- back at the Republican National Convention. Moreover, Bloomberg noted:

              "But it’s hard to accuse Obama of taking the China trade threat lightly. The administration is in the midst of negotiating what could be the most ambitious free-trade deal ever. The Trans-Pacific Partnership involves nine countries, including Singapore, Australia, and Vietnam. If it goes through, the treaty will pave the way for a lot more U.S. investment in the region, challenging China’s dominance there. Hardly, as Rice said in her convention speech, 'abandoning the playing field of free trade.' ”
              Additionally, another poster responded within seconds with proof of an additional lie (while I was typing up one lie, Romney was telling another! That's why there needs to be "Fact-Checking Teams"):
              Some vigorous shaking of the etch-a-sketch ... going on.... Lest we forget, here is the real Mitt Romney [The commentator then quotes Romney from the secret "47% Tape"]:
              On the other hand, I got a call from a former secretary of state—and I won't mention which one it was—but this individual said to me, "You know, I think there's a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections."

              I said, "Really?" And his answer was, "Yes, I think there's some prospect." And I didn't delve into it but you know, I always keep open the idea of, I have to tell ya, the idea of pushing on the Israelis?—to give something up, to get the Palestinians to act, is the worst idea in the world.

              That is Mitt Romney. That is how he really feels -or doesn't feel -  about the region. Callously indifferent. I do hope that our sychophantic punditocracy will remind their audiences of this even as they treat this pretend-presidential speech as if it were the SOTU address.

              To say that the media cannot fact check a speech or debate in progress when two eager bloggers can do so--with citations and quotations--is not the way I want to see the media progress, especially since we know that Romney is going to be lying out his butt in the upcoming debate! We should never surrender to lies, and we should always call them out. Hat tip to commentator JoanMar.

              I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

              by Tortmaster on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 08:53:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I Don't See the Inconsistency (0+ / 0-)

                But think it is incredibly naive because it assumes that even if the media did all this, folks would be swayed by it.  I don't believe most would if they otherwise thought that someone is a "good leader."  That's the point.

          •  Tort I agree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mdmslle, shanikka

            If the presidential debates were actual debates, the President won by a landslide on substance.

            But these debates have never been real debates in the tradition of say Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debating policy for 3 hours.

            From the moment Nixon and Kennedy went on air with the first televised presidential debate, these exchanges have been about appearances, not substance.

            Decades after that debate, no one ever brings up a single detail about policy positions that either Kennedy or Nixon argued in that debate. They only talk about looks--Kennedy was handsome and smooth, Nixon was sweaty and nervous--this many years later.

            Romney won the the first round on style and the President won the second round on style and substance in a way that is telegenic and convincing to pundits and supporters.

            The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

            by FiredUpInCA on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 11:12:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Are you insane? I saw the debate. I SAW it. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shanikka, lirtydies

            I don't need your recap. Obama stood there and let Romney run a truck full of lies back and forth over his body for 90 fucking minutes.

            Are you so sheltered that you believe Americans base all their descisions on facts? Because if you believe that, I have a fucking bridge to sell you, dear.

            Do I wish we lived in a country where "lies do not win over facts in a debate"? Um, duh. Do we live in that country, no. Obviously. And if you can't see that I actually feel sorry for you. I really do.

            And yes, obamas poll numbers cratered. Are you suggesting none of that happened? That's it's a huge media conspiracy fueled by hysterical leftists and not the result of a good chunk of the 67 million Americans who never watch a political or news show in their life but who tuned into the debate and saw Romney not only steam roll the sitting president but who presented himself, not as the crazy fuck he has been running as for the last two years, but as some sort of reasonable white alternative to the guy who hasn't gotten us out of the recession?

            Are you daft?

            This is not hard, sweetie. It is what it is. We do not live in a country where most of the people watching that debate even KNEW Romney was lying or had said anything crazy before. That's where your theory breaks down. They are ignorant of his lies so a statement that "lies do not win over fact in a debate" presupposes that people know he was lying. They did not. And lord knows, Obama did previous littler to tell them point blank that Romney was not only lying but that he was spouting a diametrically opposed position just weeks or months prior. (Show me that in the transcript).


            For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

            by mdmslle on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 03:34:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And btw, the "media" did a fair job of fact (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lirtydies, shanikka

            Checking after the fact.

            But guess what? The 20-30 million non partisans who watched the debate don't watch political news shows (or even most evening news broadcasts). They don't read political blogs. They're busy "pinning" recipes on Pinterest or creating crafts to sell on Esty.

            Romney understood the American electorate: largely unengaged and ignorant. He presented himself as a moderate alternative to the "one whose policies have failed to get us out of the recession". And it worked for him.

            In 90 minutes, just once, if Obama had simply said: "we'll this is a different mitt! Just 3 months ago, governor, you held (this position) on the subject. Now, strangely, tonight, you offer an opposite position in front of millions of Americans. So I think the American people have to decide, if they're considering voting for you, whether you'd do what you're saying here now, or whether you meant what you said a month or so ago. Here's what I'd do..."

            You show me anything even resembling that in your " transcripts" and I'll stfu.

            It's not there. But it was in the second debate. So he's learning, thank god.

            For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

            by mdmslle on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 03:54:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with much of what ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JoanMar, shanikka

        ... you wrote, shanikka. There was no doubt in my mind that President Obama would have to somehow deal with the "Angry Black Man" stereotype. I think that's keen insight on your part.

        On the other hand, I will never cede a debate to someone who filled up his or her time with lies in it. That's what I call "Conservative Creep." They want us to base science on faith. They want us to base math on lies, and they want us to judge debates on body posture. Those are things I will never do.

        So, we will respectfully disagree on that, and that part only, of your thesis.  ; )

        I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

        by Tortmaster on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:39:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, that all looks very good (4+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, people don't read the debates, they watch them. Presentation is everything. I'm sure the transcripts don't include

      ROMNEY: The president wasted $20billion on Solyndra!

      [Obama nods in agreement.]

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:09:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  He just has so many strikes against him. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, shanikka

    I've questioned the existence of God. I try to believe. He pops up in my mind, unbidden, a lot -- not just now, but He always has.

    But if Obama loses, I don't think I'll be able to acknowledge Him. I may even whack-a-mole him as I proceed to chalk his unbidden presence up to the same neuroscience that produces near-death experiences.

    Since Obama started running for president, I began discovering that this is not the country I thought I lived in. I was naive about that. I may also have to accept that I have been naive about the existence of God.

    It is ignorance which is hopeless.

    by IdeaTipper on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:47:05 AM PDT

    •  I Do Believe in God (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I also believe, as I was taught, that God works in mysterious ways. Much as I love President Obama and intend to do what I can to help him get reelected, nothing can shake that. And I don't think that anything about politics, no matter who is involved, should.

  •  and like Jackie Robinson.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ......the first one always pays the price :-(?
     I'm not sure I'm ready to concede the underlying argument to explain his performance in the 1st debate.  I also don't know if the closure in the polls is all related to the debate. However, the broader narrative is absolutely spot on.  There is no question that BO has been brought up in a context where there probably were no Angry Black Man (ABM) who broke through the ceiling.  And I sure pray that the validation that he needed to show that he could and is an angry man when he needs to be - without having to see this post about it-meaning without there needing to be a concern about the B in ABM is:

    A.  Not too late(shudder)
    B.  Not temporary
    C.  but most importantly, carries over into his 2nd term because that would be oh so sweet!!!

    Because the right wing absolutely ran with that narrative and had 2 weeks between the 2 debates.  If this was some kind of strategy by the BO team to give him "room" in the 2nd debate so that he could be an ABM - I hope it wasn't a strategic miscalculation in terms of recovering from it(shudder).  And I hope they had told us so we wouldn't be freaking out :-).

  •  Invisible Obama is both angry and girlie (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, happymisanthropy

    I have never understood the ABM thing. I mean, I understand why he can't give people that impression. I don't understand why white folks are so terrified of an ABM. I know why they are. But I don't know why they cling to that fear. To me it's akin to being scared of letting your children hang around a gay man because they're pedophiles. It's a fear of dinosaur people.

    Or it should be.

    I am also baffled that when Obama stands up for what he believes, when he articulates it well and forcefully, he's labeled as angry. I didn't see an angry man, I see a man who is strong in his convictions.

    Which means I may still subconsciously fall prey to the "girlie man" thing. I LOVE Obama when he's fired up. When he's not I get agitated, keenly aware that he looks disengaged and, yes, weak.

    Food for thought, for sure.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 06:55:58 AM PDT

  •  Tiny thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Instead of

    He was praised, not criticized, as he should have been.
    Word it He was praised as he should have been, not criticized.

    In as much as we cannot know what goes on in President Obama's mind, we certainly can deduce what goes on the the "serious minded beltway idjits". And I think you have the right of it there. I think, being in the beltway bubble cannot help but influence President Obama's thinking to some degree.

    American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

    by glitterscale on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:06:16 AM PDT

  •  Excellently written. (4+ / 0-)

    You hit the nail on the head when you stated that this entire argument is one viewed through the lens of white privilege.  It is the same lens that often infantilizes the POTUS by saying that "someone else" has to "teach him something" in order to be stronger at the next debate.  

    That same view even has some using their position to fingerwag Mr. Obama as if he needed to be smacked with a rolled up paper for being essentally "too polite" while Romney was quintessentially being "himself" with no apology.  Mittens was even being rewarded for being a monstrous asshole to the nth degree.

    For our President to show his true power as the leader of the free world, it would be putting some in the dominant culture at a subjugated position.  

    Essentially, this is why we are not in "post-racial" America.  

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

    by politicalceci on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:07:35 AM PDT

  •  I guess I'm one of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, reginahny

    the few exceptions because to me the President showed more composure and maturity in the first debate, even if many of us feel he was not at his best that night and that he should have countered. Bullies and "manly men" just don't appeal to me...still, I don't think I'd ever describe the President as a "girlie man." What is definitely wrong in this country is the perception of what constitutes a strong leader...or a strong man for that matter.

    I was listening to Rev. Jackson's program this morning. He had a guest who was describing, what he thought were the psychological  differences between the two men. Romney, he asserted, had a strong father figure, but what probably influenced Romney, according to his theory, was the political humiliation his father faced. If true, he seemed destined to live a different life than his more esteemed father. And nowhere is that more evident than in his bullying and business practice.

    Obama, on the other hand, was raised by strong women and had an idea about his father as a conciliator, a person who tried to bridge differences between people. It was a trait that he probably admired because he knew so little about his father, but he seems to have taken the strength of his mother and grandmother and incorporated his father's manner of operating in the world. Who would we pick as a better man or leader with this small snapshot in time?

    "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."- Albert Camus

    by valadon on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:17:47 AM PDT

  •  Fox News is outdoing itself (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the propaganda, capitalizing on the recent Libya tragedy.  Hammering it over and over.

  •  Good grief (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Obama was off his game he lost and it didn't matter. This type of front page post is an embarrassment.

    This constant attempt to push the blame onto others is damaging.

    Way past time for this site to become reality based again.

  •  Virginia - GOTV! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, mali muso, lirtydies

    We need door knockers and have lots of great organization and offices, but we need more boots on the ground here in Virginia.  Anyone from MD and DC contact OFA in VA and help win this important state for the President!

  •  I have a sightly different take. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HudsonValleyMark, valadon, shanikka

    Anger is righteous when called for.  If certain people cannot be angry when called for, then we are not equal.  This means women of any race, African Americans, etc.

    During the first Presidential debate earlier this month, most of us did not require President Obama to be obnoxious the way Mitt Romney was, but to simply point out falsehood when it occurred. And the Social Security comments were disconcerting to me.

    President Obama did exactly what one wanted to see in the second debate.  He made his case.  Perhaps the first debate was to assess who Mitt was, to gather data, and get Mitt on record and video telling lies and contradicting his own stated agenda.  If so, mission accomplished!  And on to the final stretch of this election!  I am so ready to early vote next weekend!

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

    by Chi on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:25:05 AM PDT

    •  I Agree with this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      valadon, Chi
      Anger is righteous when called for.  If certain people cannot be angry when called for, then we are not equal.  This means women of any race, African Americans, etc.
      I agree with you. It's one of the reasons why every time someone asserted that we were post-racial, I cringed.
    •  Chi, you are one of my favorites, and ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, shanikka

      ... I am excited to cast my vote too! I did want to discuss the Social Security matter a little more. These are the President's words in full:

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I suspect that on Social Security, we've got a somewhat similar position. Social Security is structurally sound. It's going to have to be tweaked the way it was by Ronald Reagan and Speaker — Democratic Speaker Tip O'Neill. But it is — the basic structure is sound. But — but I want to talk about the values behind Social Security and Medicare and then talk about Medicare, because that's the big driver —

      You know, my grandmother, some of you know, helped to raise me. My grandparents did. My grandfather died awhile back. My grandmother died three days before I was elected president. And she was fiercely independent. She worked her way up, only had a high school education, started as a secretary, ended up being the vice president of a local bank. And she ended up living alone by choice. And the reason she could be independent was because of Social Security and Medicare. She had worked all her life, put in this money and understood that there was a basic guarantee, a floor under which she could not go.

      And that's the perspective I bring when I think about what's called entitlements. You know, the name itself implies some sense of dependency on the part of these folks. These are folks who've worked hard, like my grandmother. And there are millions of people out there who are counting on this.

      So my approach is to say, how do we strengthen the system over the long term? And in Medicare, what we did was we said, we are going to have to bring down the costs if we're going to deal with our long- term deficits, but to do that, let's look where some of the money is going. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars we were able to save from the Medicare program by no longer overpaying insurance companies, by making sure that we weren't overpaying providers.

      And using that money, we were actually able to lower prescription drug costs for seniors by an average of $600, and we were also able to make a — make a significant dent in providing them the kind of preventive care that will ultimately save money through the — throughout the system.

      So the way for us to deal with Medicare in particular is to lower health care costs. But when it comes to Social Security, as I said, you don't need a major structural change in order to make sure that Social Security is there for the future.

      COMPLETE DEBATE TRANSCRIPT (w/o the moderator's inappropriate interruption). President Obama, in that long exposition, (1) provided a great example for why he backs Social Security, (2) attempted to censure the term "entitlements," (3) noted how he's strengthened Medicare, and (4) explained why Social Security is structurally sound and doesn't need anything more than modest tweaking.

      A lot of people were thrown off by the President's first sentence in that response, which I would guess relates to Obama's desire to appear bipartisan (or to shanikka's thesis, not appear as an Angry Black Man), but then the POTUS used six paragraphs to explain exactly why he was diffrent from Romney.

      Take care, Chi, and happy voting!!!   ; )

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:55:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Shanikka! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, happymisanthropy, lirtydies

    For recommending my post on race and Obama. I'm glad you liked it.

  •  I don't like the assumption... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, shanikka

    that the President was "enslaved by the false racist narrative of what it means to be an angry Black man" and the further assumption that it this narrative has informed him for FOUR years in office. For one, I dislike ascribing motivations to those who I don't know and haven't spoken with at length, and for two I don't care for the use of the word "enslaved" for someone who is not a slave -- of which there are still millions in the world today. Call me a delicate flower, but there you have it.

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -- Einstein

    by reginahny on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:36:12 AM PDT

  •  "Can you say that a little louder, Candy?" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thank you for that schadenfreudasm, Mr. President. Believe me we are going to be asking that on election Night.

    Slow thinkers - keep right

    by Dave the Wave on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:38:07 AM PDT

  •  I feel like this article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    should have waited to come out after after election day.

  •  It was a trap (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, guinea

    that was laid for Obama the 1-2 days before the first debate when Drudge/FOX brought out that 5-year old campaign video of Obama and hyped it up as proof that he has been an angry black man all along. PBO did what he had to do to avoided what not just a general ABM stereotype, but a deliberately timed and intentional trap.  What a difference it made for Obama to enter the 2nd debate after 2 weeks of people clamoring for him to Be More Angry.

  •  Maybe America needs to be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    confronted by the fact that he is half white and white folks also get angry, think Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh less the theatrics.  This idea that only black men get angry is a joke.  I hope most of America has by now seen that one photo of Mitt walking away with his back on the President.  The look of rage on his face is palpable and don't recall seeing any black man, much less the President, look any angrier.  It gave me chills.

  •  this is SO damn good! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, slinkerwink

    as usual...

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:47:37 AM PDT

  •  if you were looking for a street brawl in the oct (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, Assaf

    3rd debate like edshultz,chris mathews you were in for a hugh disappointment, considering romney used the gish on obama there was no way he could have responded the way he wanted to any way, what obama did was hang back took notes & listen carefully to what he was saying & how he flipped do he would now how to handle the next go round, romney is a bully who is also a serial liar a good liar who takes over it was apparent in all his debates even in the primaries he has no respect for obama what so ever, the night before he leaked the that tape w hannity & carson to get in his head yes it got in obamas head to portray him as an angry black man , as any noticed romney called him a liar & a "boy " in coded language that night. though the pres hold the most powerful office in the world there is a fine line he still cannot cross over because he is black going against a white man. there an ad running in VA claiming that pres obama did not give romney respect & he lied , people go the romney rallies with tshirts that say put the white in the white houseromney is aware of this he play on this.
    so biden job was to bring out all the talking points & negative issues on romney that needed to be stated. romney was prepared to use the same talking points he use on the stump to attack the pres he thought he was going to pull a the same crap but he did not think that the pres was going to fight back he did. romney is impatient, short tempered, he shows his hand you know which way he's going because he phony the pres is aware of this, & that romney is dangerous for this country for many reasons  

    •  I'm not Sure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That anyone was advocating "a street brawl" in advocating that President Obama should have been far more forceful in the first debate.  

      Indeed I'm not even sure why "street brawl" came to your mind in response to my arguments about how stereotype played out in that debate. If you were talking about the second one I could see it, because at one point the two candidates were literally advancing on each other pointing fingers and stuff. But the first? I don't understand.

      •  what i was referring to ed /chris was looking for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the street brawl but in my opinion i believe the pres was checking him out he did get some points out but as stated romnet used gish on him & i was impossible to rebut him so he had to know what kind of game plan romney was going to use, romney does not go off script he will use the same line he use on the stump as well in the debates. as far as the second debate i did not see anything wrong with the pres pushing back romne is a bully he used the same tactics on everyone even in the primaries, where romney made his mistake he showed no respect for the president where people took offense to. obama  had to every right to point his finger at him to let him know he was the commander in chief that was the action romney would understand to backdown

  •  well, I am an angry white woman, with an angry (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, Caneel

    black son, and we both are in support of Obama, despite being "disillusioned" about the strength of the Democratic Party. But if Obama just could listen to his instincts and fight against right-wing, bullshitting, stereo-typing, bad-ass rethoric, I would be more than pleased. And if he had the guts to bring the Afghanistan war and the drone wars to an end, he would have two super-happy supporters ... for now. Then later, if he gets reelected I will certainly hold his feet to the fire and come up with all the other demands I would have to feel my interests to be represented fairly.

    I am so glad to hear and read voices like Shanikka's. I am so happy to see this diary at this specific moment on the front page. It helps me a bit to not completely lose hope and trust for a while.

    Thanks, Shanikka.

  •  Thanks for your thoughtful, cogent, and detailed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, Caneel, lirtydies

    diary, shanikka. I disagree with the commenters above who think it should have been shorter; the complexity of the ideas you're discussing deserve the time and space you gave them.

    I am sorry to do a comment-and-run, but I have a GOTV shift to do shortly. What I'd like to add is a follow-up to your discussion of the girlie-man stereotype you mention here to good effect--well, actually, to the girlie-man in juxtaposition with the ABM.

    One of the core racist stereotypes has to do with distorting the sexuality of black men (and black women, too, absolutely) so as to reduce black men's behavior to stereotypical extremes. I think that racist reaction of hatred and fear (to be blunt) of black men's sexuality is often just barely under the surface in many people's reaction to PBO, who is a confident and yes, sexy, black man, able in most circumstances I can recall to thread that needle and be fully himself, in his own skin.

    One of the things I greatly enjoy on a subliminal level (though not so subliminal if I am going to mention it here~!) is the evident love, affection, and suggestion of passion between the POTUS and FLOTUS. I think it's a beautiful, affirming part of their public persona, which does seem to be pretty close to their private one (though what do I know, really). But this, too, does not fit in the racist script about how black men and women are "supposed" to act toward each other.

    I appreciate your analysis here, and if anything think it could be expanded.

    Thanks again for a provocative start to my own long day!

    I'm seeking to organize DKos members in SE Michigan--roughly, from the Ohio line at Lake Erie NE to Port Huron, W to Flint and back S from there. If you'd like to join our new group, Motor City Kossacks (working title), please Kosmail me.

    by peregrine kate on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 07:59:23 AM PDT

  •  It is OK to be angry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Telling individuals they should not be angry when they and others are victimized or treated badly is wrong. A person should be angry when they are subjected to suppression, discrimination and victimization. Teaching someone not to be angry invalidates a person's feelings, teaches a person anger is wrong and teaches the person not to trust his or her emotions.

    Obama should admit he is angry and tell the world the reasons. We are behind him because we are angry at the same issues. It is Republicans who have taken God, morals, ethics and values out of America. We are all being victimized by wealthy white man and their big corporations.  The white poor and middle class men, women, and children are also victims of the rich and corporate owners.  Victimization by republicans is an equal opportunity issue. Republicans don't give a crap who they victimize if it gets them richer and more powerful.The republican party isn't interested in morals or ethics. Their idea is at long as it gets them where they want to be, how to get there is irrelevant. It's the end no matter what the means.

  •  A great analysis we should see more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, Caneel

    One of the things that amazed me after the first debate was the lack of this analysis.  It isn't like this is hidden stuff.

    I grew up in Central Texas.  I am all too aware that it wasn't that long ago that Jim Crow created an environment in which an "uppity" black man daring to treat a white community leader as an equal would certainly have suffered various kinds of reprisals.  

    Thus, to this day, when you meet successful black people, there is a steely reserve to them because they still have to be very very careful to a degree that whites don't have to be.  I can see that and I appreciate what these people have to go through.  

    I know a woman who is a doctor and one who has taught in medical school.  She has to be aware that when she goes into a store the security staff treats her as if she were a known thief.  She could buy the store out and yet she has to deal with that constantly.  

    I think Obama is amazing.  He is dealing with a huge amount of racist animosity, a lot of it simply unconscious.  Yet, he is showing a great deal of poise and grace under fire.  I think he and Michelle are about the most classy people who have ever served in the White House.  

    I think the real debate Obama is engaging in is not with Romney, but with American History.  Whatever happens, he will go down in history as being absolutely impeccable in his professionalism.  He will have set a standard.  

    I sure hope enough people can see that that he wins.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 08:07:04 AM PDT

  •  What a fantastic piece. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, Caneel

    That's really all I have to say.

  •  Interesting piece, Shanikka. (4+ / 0-)

    I am a bit confused (so what's new?) because you wrote this:

    This left many of his most fervent supporters discouraged, disillusioned, and very frightened
    Your readers may take that to mean that you are of that group. And, indeed, this diary seems to be written from the point of view of a fervent supporter of the president.
    But you are not...and never have been. And that's cool, too.

    This quote is very revealing, imho:

    But no matter how one slices it, the reality is that President Obama's horrible October 3 debate performance was that he projected, without meaning to, the image of weakness
    I am of the fervent supporter group, as you well know, and I was disappointed after the first debate. However, using the words "horrible" and "weak" hadn't even occurred to me.
    The people who so readily reached for those words to describe that debate performance, are the same ones who have been thinking of him in that light every since he declared his intention to seek his party's nomination for the presidency.
  •  U Discuss the Right Points - But Wrong Conclusion? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, zizi

    Stereotypes are playing a huge role in 2012.

    But I think it is predominantly racial stereotypes at play, not sexist ones.

    To wit: Obama's bounce post Oct. 16 is not nearly as large as Romney's post Oct. 3. In some polls (e.g., RAND) it is actually negative. We are 5 days post-debate, it's enough to see the difference between the two debates' effect.

    I'm afraid that many of the Middle America undecided white viewers, did not like the "Angry Black Man" standing up for himself and for the office of the Presidency.

    They only saw a black guy - with the help of a woman moderator, Heavens forbid! - "gang up on a white guy".

    On the other hand in Oct. 3, what many of these voters (esp. undecided/Obama-leaning women surrounded by opposite-minded men) is the white guy succeeding as passing himself as a Reasonable Alternative.

    It was not so much Obama's "perceived weakness", as it was his inability that night to pop the "Reasonable Romney" balloon. Because in the minds of most middle-aged and older Americans, a white guy as President is the only reality they feel comfortable deep inside.

    All Romney had to do on Oct. 3 was show up and look reasonable. Obama was right to be reluctant of being perceived as an "Angry Black Man" - but his campaign miscalculated the task at hand, namely blocking Romney from appearing reasonable.

    They did not realize that for the very same reason Obama can't be too aggressive - namely innate prejudice among a large chunk of undecideds - he does need to be aggressive enough to undo Romney's charm offensive.

    Now, I'm afraid, the 2 things for us in the time remaining is 1. GOTV and 2. Whenever talking to undecided and encountering the teeniest hint of innate racism against a nonwhite man in the White House, CALL IT OUT.

    Find a way to call it out, because once out in the open there's a chance to change people's minds. For example, ask the person, "is it really about policies and personalities? How do Romney's plans differ from the Bush plans that got us into this mess in the first place? What part of his character do you find more Presidential than Obama's?"

    Unless that person is a die-hard Republican, they won't be able to come up with reasonable answers to this.

    •  I Think it's Both (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Assaf, sethtriggs, lirtydies

      Gender and racial stereotypes at play within the context of the debates, though. Whether one has more weight than the other ultimately in terms of his presidency remains to be seen. We do agree that the racism always has to be called out, just as it was called out when folks were running around calling the president "weak."

      •  Thx for reply. Strangest election I've seen! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shanikka, sethtriggs, zizi

        I think the racial issue is paramount.

        If not for racial stereotypes against Obama, GOP would have never gotten away with its off-the-wall behavior since 2009, its scorched-Earth defense that hindered economic recovery, etc.

        So come 2012 we reached a situation, that if the GOP could put up a reasonable candidate vs. Obama, I'm afraid we would have no chance.

        But they cannot, simply because they have been as unreasonable as can possibly be, and a bit more. Rather than learn from the Bush debacle, the specter of an "Angry"/"Weak"/whatever black man in the White House, has driven them completely bonkers. To the point that they cannot accept any halfway-reasonable politician to lead them.

        So they came up with Romney, the less-weak option they had - but still, on the merits Romney's the weakest Presidential candidate in a very long while. Yes, weaker than even W who at least had the personal charm and the family thing going for him (personally I hate dynasties but other people seem to like them).

        So: we have an economic situation which could have been much better if the President was white and has gotten more cooperation from GOP and the media. Making the President vulnerable.

        We have a completely out-of-control GOP, driven mad by racism to the point of not being able to put up any reasonable candidate.

        We have Middle-America whites flocking to Romney, and everyone else flocking to Obama (look at those Latino numbers, despite all the disappointment they've had with this admin!).

        As a result, we have a race where the challenger is several levels inferior to the incumbent, on pretty much every objective measure possible. But still the race is tight. Because of race. Because white voters are still about %70 of all voters.

        And we have an entire campaign season, with the mainstream discourse and both parties' main story lines dancing around that Elephant in the Room race issue, not daring to mention it.

  •  *Something* happened between the debate practice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, shanikka

    and the debate on Oct 3. I don't know whether it was altitude fatigue or something else, but part of Obama just wasn't there. If it really was altitude sickness, an Advil (ibuprofen) might have helped save the day; Romney looked as though he had taken something a bit stronger than Advil.

    I suppose we won't know for many years. This will be forgotten if Obama wins a second term. If he doesn't, the Oct 3 debate will be historic. It would be pretty awful if turns out that an Advil could have prevented WWIII.

  •  shanikka, I read all of your diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and would agree with some of the comments that it may have been a tad too long. You made many good points but it did seem repetitive at times.

    The challenge here is that there are so many great diaries being posted here that it's difficult to find the time to read them all. Sometimes I skim through to get the gist of the post but in your case, I did make the time to read it all because you obviously worked very hard to present your argument.

    AND, please be cautious of using terms that are considered slurs in the Chinese-American community. The word chink is viewed offensively by most in this community.

    America could stand to see more of this, if for no other reason than the chink in the subconscious wall of fear of the “Angry Black Man” that Obama's masterful performance unquestionably resulted in on Tuesday night.

    It takes time to practice generosity, but being generous is the best use of our time. - Thich Nhat Hanh.

    by Frank In WA on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 08:22:39 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for the Feedback (0+ / 0-)

      I appreciate it on both fronts, although I admit that I thought the word "chink" was a word that wasn't a slur unless it was directed at a persons or people (since it means "a narrow opening or crack.") It certainly wasn't directed at persons or people in this diary. It was used with the traditional meaning; to wit, a "chink in the wall".

  •  Shanikka covered a lot of important topics (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, BoiseBlue

    As one of the leaders of an organization going thru massive change due to healthcare reform, I see expressing anger and being assertive mixed up with race and culture and personality all the time. We are a minority-majority organization and too many of our people need to be nudged to express their valid opinions. Is that surprising in our culture? I am Asian - we are taught to respect our elders and tradition and I struggle with that often.

    So we now see it playing out on the national stage and almost half of America want to go back to the old days when one culture controlled the conversation....

    A great diary in my humble opinion.

  •  Really??? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is what makes it on the front page of KOS nowadays? Aren't there any standards left? Four thousand words of the most mind-numbing, disorganized and utterly foolish drivel makes it? This should be pulled yesterday.

  •  Thank you. Best analysis I've seen on the debates (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, Denise Oliver Velez

    and their cultural context. I truly hope the President shows up again tomorrow night, and I look forward to your next analysis.

    Right now in this country, it is Angry White Men who scare me, not angry anyone else. President Obama's anger in the debate was a righteous anger, entirely appropriate and controlled and focused. I hope to see more of that from him.

    "Everything can be found at sea, according to the spirit of your quest" Conrad

    by Captain Marty on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 08:35:28 AM PDT

  •  It's such a double edged sword, right? (3+ / 0-)

    If he's not angry, he's weak and his opponents always win the narrative that way. That he's triumphed over so much thus far is a testament to his tenacity and artfulness.

    Corporations are driven by the bottom line, not by concerns for health, safety or the environment. This is why we need government regulations.

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 08:41:53 AM PDT

  •  Lot More Examples Of People Fearing That Someone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will look too angry in a debate than there are examples where there is lasting criticism after a debate of looking too angry. It's politics. Differentiate or perish.

  •  I totally agree with your description of the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, Denise Oliver Velez, ybruti

    stereotype of the ABM and how it probably created the "weak" performance we witnessed on Oct. 3, but as a white woman, surrounded by two white males and two other white women witnessing this debate, we all thought PBO won with honesty and calm, even though we all wanted him to punch Romney in his lying nose.  We understood it wasn't presidential and we were just dreaming.  But ironically, we white folks didn't think that level of violence would have made him appear like the scary ABM, but a strong leader unwilling to take shit from a lying bastard trying to take his job.  White folks don't have to be careful or worried about anyone's perception of their actions based on the color of their skin, so they have no clue that people of color have a very different road to travel.

    And another thing, whenever I hear Romney's voice, I cringe.  He's so CREEPY, his voice makes my skin crawl.  And whenever I hear PBO's voice, I instantly FEEL calm and secure, even when he's expressing righteous anger, as he did over Libya.  Calm and proud and happy and SAFE.

    May tomorrow's debate expose the real Mitt Romney for all to see and REJECT on November 6th.

    GOTV for the:

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 08:56:16 AM PDT

  •  To be succinct... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This blog's intentions may be good, but it quickly loses its message through verbosity.

    Frankly, many problems have been with Obama's advisors and their lack of polish. Case in Point: David Axelrod's performance on Meet the Press today was LOUSY and even worse compared with the performances of Senators Portman and Rubio.

  •  Some 'likely voter' polls screen out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    people who say that they "frequently comment on blogs".

    I don't know what "frequent" means, but it could mean that a lot of people are being excluded from likely voter polls.

    "The press just doesn’t know how to handle flat-out untruths," ~Paul Krugman

    by Nimbus on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 09:10:34 AM PDT

  •  Nice analysis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I just want to point out, I suggested this some time ago:

    Look at the fact that the group that seemed to have been most affected in their support for President Obama's re-election by the October 3 debate was women and you have to seriously consider the impact of stereotypes about "Real Men" and "Girlie Men" (even when they are NEVER consciously thought of in those terms) and how they relate to political leadership and the presidency. Prior to October 3, President Obama's lead over Romney with women voters was in the double digits. After October 3? Obama's polled lead among women began eroding rapidly. And it was an erosion that even Democratic strategists were willing to link to President Obama's debate performance on October 3.
    And was promptly told that it was the most offensive comment ever posted on dKos.  Guess it depends on who is saying it.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 09:13:08 AM PDT

  •  I agree but would also mention Romney's etch (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a sketch move where he suddenly attacked Obama from the left. That moved a lot of low info female voters, I am sure.

    Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

    by Joe B on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 09:13:55 AM PDT

  •  Not entirely convinced... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, OldDragon

    I'm not sure Obama could have pulled off the second debate performance without more push back from the pundits if there hadn't been the clamoring for him to be more aggressive over the two weeks prior.

    I think the first debate was more of a disaster than it needed to be -- but I don't think there was anyway that it wasn't going to be a loss for Obama in the public eye, given the weak moderator, vague, fiscally-focused questions (nothing on social issues), and the desire of the press to have a horse-race to talk about.

  •  Brilliant post...until the end. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Unfortunately, the post debate #2 polls now trickling out show no Obama surge. The WSJ/NBC poll issued this A.M. indicates a tie, vs. a 5 point Obama lead prior to debate #1.

    If we do wind up with President Romney, debate #1 will become political legend and Barack Obama will be forever marked as a shooting star, a failure.

  •  Bullies love a weakling. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The truth is that Republicans have been bullying Obama since he first took office, because they know he dislikes confrontation and will not stand and fight.  Obama's performance in the second debate may have been heartening, but it does not change the fact that his temperment is ill-suited to the contact sport that is politics.  If he is reelected, I expect to see more of the same weak leadership that has characterized his first four years.  Sorry, but drone assassinations and killing Bin Laden are relatively easy compared to standing up to Wall Street and their minions in Congress.

  •  so basically what you are doing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is letting the right frame Obama, even though he isn't playing into their frame?
    Let's look at it another way-This was a classic case of rope a dope. Romney was all flash and lies,in the first debate, but he gave away his plan and weaknesses. When Romney went into the second debate, he thought it was a repeat of the first, but Obama let him walk right into an expose of Romneylies, and Mitt made a fool of himself. Now we have #3 coming up, and I am sure that Rove has been coaching Mitt, and Mitt will continue with his lying and bullying ways. What did Obama learn from #2? That Romney will take the bait easy and he is too stupid to know when he's walking into a trap. And Romney is very short tempered when questioned by his "Lessers". This is one side of the scissors. Mitt knows he cannot win on the issues, because he is not informed enough, nor does he have any plans. This is the other side of the scissors. Mitt does not know how to debate at all- my guess is Obama will get him to lose his cool on TV and blow up.

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 09:47:12 AM PDT

  •  Obama is actually more non-confrontational Asian (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My first thought after the first debate was that the Republicans would take the emasculation tactic. And they did.

    I will be sadly disappointed in this country if Romney is elected. Because I think it would be a commentary on how lazy Americans are, to vote for a cosmetic appearance of power.

    Actually, I think the Republicans will steal this one. Again.

  •  Fascinating post and discussion thread (4+ / 0-)

    Another very interesting- amazing to me actually- moment was Obama  in response to Romney's bullying about Obama's pension "invested in China".  Multiple levels in Obama's response, one of which is that he's taking control of the stereotypes.

  •  Great diary, shanikka... (4+ / 0-)

    President Obama did a great job of expressing firm and righteous anger at the accusations being leveled against him. And he did it without creating the "youtube ABM moment" the RWSM has been pining for since his inauguration.

    That's no mean feat because, among other things, Mitt Romney makes his opponents crazy. Not because he's a fearsome opponent or a clever rhetorician, he's neither. But he's so cravenly opportunistic and insincere that he manages to stand out even in today's political climate.

    But President Obama is too emotionally-centered to fly off the handle and react viscerally to the grotesque horror that is Mitt Romney.
    ~I'm delighted President Obama has stabilized in the polls I know he'll finish strong!

  •  Oh, can someone write an "Angry White Woman"... (6+ / 0-)

    What's up with Ann? I have yet to see her display even one moment of warmth or graciousness. She's all sharp elbows, angry lunges and icy stares.

    Has she ever had to navigate a social space that required concern for other people?
    I'm thinking "no."

  •  Thank you, shanikka (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, shanikka

    What stunned me about that first debate was that I've seen Barack Obama do angry Black man quite well...and he did it a white woman, Hillary Clinton (in South Carolina).

    A campaign to this point that had been so effective really needed to figure out how to thread that needle. That the president and his team failed to do so in the first debate was their failure.

    Let's hope it wasn't fatal to his presidency.

  •  Could we avoid "girlie man" trope? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I understand that it's a concept that resonates with men (and probably some women), but it seems to me ironic than a piece that delves into racial stereotypes does so by invoking gender stereotypes.

    •  I Don't Believe That is a Solution (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think that one of the reasons that sexism, racism and homophobia continue to control most of the nation is because too often the prescription has been "ooh - don't talk about that you're just making it worse."

      I've been alive long enough to know that it is quite the opposite.  Just because folks find it difficult or squirmy doesn't mean differently. This diary used the stereotype because it exists and IMO was a factor, however unspoken, relating to the debates. Of course, reasonable minds can disagree on this, as of course yours does.

  •  More Baffled by the Day (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, OldDragon, zizi

    ASSAF, I totally agree with you.  All these anchors keep pushing this BS, that it is Obama's policies they don't agree with.  The Entire Fox Organization is nothing but the KKK in "Wolves"....Their objections are purely RACIST.  When you have the GOP leaders meeting on the night Obama is being sworn in planning to bring him down, just what do you really think this is about.

    They refused to even attend the inauguration!  The idea that a black man, whom ancestors cleaned and built the whitehouse, was too much for these RACISTS could take.

    Like some have said, if this was a white president, the Repubs would not be arguing that he has down nothing, instead, just like they have done ages, would work with WHITE president, passing bills that would boost the economy.  As that Turtle Head Mitch McDonnell said, "their main goal is to bring down this President" come hell or highwater....They didn't care that they contributed to bringing the countries Credit Rating down, they didn't care that they continued to keep millions of people out of work, they didn't care if NO ONE received unemployement benefits.  So they threaten Obama and said if he let's the tax cuts for the rich expire, they would not pass the extension for unemployement benefits. If Hilary had won, the Republicans would be working with her not against her.

  •  Obama has to be The Angry Black American President (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    To fight Mitt Satan Romney, Obama has to be the Angry Black American President - the Freedom Fighter for all of us Americans.

    Only by channeling his inner angry black male can Obama fight the evil forked-tongued Mitt Romney - the best Devil's advocate the world has ever seen.

    Go Obama!

    Once you go Black, you won't go back!  Forward, Obama!

  •  Reality CHECK!!!!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, shanikka

    The black man have every right to be mad.  Of course, these Repubs are living in the past.  I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee during the late 50's, 60's 70's.....Black were treated like they were still slaves like before the 1900's...White people could just see you walking down the street and they wanted to hit you, spit on you or beat you up, nothing could be done about it. We had the signs on public places which read, "FOR WHITES ONLY" AND "FOR COLORED ONLY".  If a black guy stared at a white woman for too long, he could be beaten.  The "N" word was used like saying hello.

    We got menial jobs. Alot of black women back with no education or a high school education who had families were still doing domestic work, cleaning white people housed....the police beat my brother to a pulp, his face was unrecognizable, even in court and the case was dismissed against the white cops. My mother, who was very pretty and part indian, was raped by a white cop when she younger,nothing was done because she was too afraid to speak. I was 18 and in my senior year when King came to Memphis to assist the garage workers, we had standing room only that night of his speech, he was killed the next day. So yes, the black man and woman have a lot to be  angry about, and that is what the REpubs want Obama to do is become that angry black men that WHITES can IDENTIFY with. Yes Obama gets angry but is controlled angry...Back in the day there was no way to have controlled anger, when your life is literally on the line, EVERYDAY.

  •  An albatross of his supporters' making. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The albatross of the "Angry Black Man" stereotype has hung around President Obama's neck since the day he became a serious candidate for President.
    Please, don't say "the Left" were fearful of the president appearing 'angry.' Many of us who are the most critical of the President have been arguing that the President needed to do exactly what he did in the second debate since the first day of his presidency.

    It's been those who consistently excuse the President's missteps who argue that he daren't appear 'angry.'

    The real enemy of the good is not the perfect, but the mediocre.

    by Orange County Liberal on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 12:03:24 PM PDT

  •  I've always noted (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that I've heard far more about how Obama couldn't show strength because that would mark him as an "angry black man" comning from establishment, centrist/hegemonic Dems than from the Republican right.  It was always my opinion that it was self-serving bogus bourgeois BS on behalf of maintaining the Obama White House strictly within the purview of the ruling overclass.  

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 02:27:36 PM PDT

  •  To Be Honest.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, shanikka

    People really need to get over the first debate. I think although there were some valid points in the diary, it is  over analyzing the situation.

    I think the Obama people went into the first debate with a strategy, but unfortunately the strategy failed. I don't accept it was the 'angry 'black man' concern that directed Obama's performance at all.

    I have been involved with debates myself. A common and sometimes effective technique, is to simply not engage your opponent. This is to signal to your audience that your opponent is not a worthy opponent. Treat your opponent with a somewhat dismissive attitude, as if what they are talking about is so off-track, it barely warrants a response, and simply press home your own case and stick to your own facts.  This can be very effective if you pull it off, as it becomes very frustrating for your opponent who has come ready for a duel, and they get flustered and frustrated, so you come out looking more dignified, more believable and unflappable.

    I think the President went in with the approach that he was going to be cool, calm and Presidential. The only thing they didn't bank on, was that Romney was going to take to the debating stage, and basically lie his face off in front of the entire world.

    I have also maintained since the debate, that Romney was always going to win big, simply because he was so appallingly bad leading up to the debate. Who could forget the stammering and stuttering after the Libya crisis. Suddenly it was apparent to everyone, that Romney could actually string a sentence together. That is why historically the challenger near always wins the first debate, this time was no exception.

    Obama was never ever going to maintain the lead he had going into the final weeks of the campaign. Was simply not going to happen. So my advice, stop talking about the first damned debate, one that in all likelihood Obama was set to lose even before it began. Nobody can ever be sure why they adopted the tactics they did, and at this stage it really doesn't matter.

    The 'angry black man' debate theory is simply that, a theory, and not one I am entirely convinced by.  What is not theory however, is that people need to get over it. It's done and just vote, and get everyone else out there to vote....a better way to direct your frustration may I suggest.

  •  You've missed the point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The only way to deal with a bully like Romney is to punch him in the mouth. Obama finally did and he better do it again in the next debate.

  •  Romnesia may have originated here on DKos. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, shanikka

    The earliest use of it in diary text that I can find is in a diary by Meteor Blades entitled "The bully's bully: Mitt Romney's consigliere Eric Fehrnstrom":

    Mitt Romney's credentials as a bully made a big splash Thursday. In a typical display of what Kossack AlyoshaKaramazov calls "Romnesia," the all-but-official presidential nominee conveniently couldn't remember the incident in which, aided by some of his pals, he attacked a gay student at his prep school and, while others held the boy to ground, whacked off his non-conformist long hair because "he can’t look like that."
    I am not saying this to take away in any way from our excellent President, but I think it's cool that it may have originated here. It is extra cool that our President is apparently reading Daily Kos, or that someone in his campaign or administration is. (I hope it's President Obama because that would be just ultra-cool.)

    Fantastic diary, Sis! I have seen that response to critics of the President, that he could not respond in a more forceful manner because of the "angry Black man" stereotype and the fear that engenders in much of white Amierica, over and over and over again. I learned a lot from you today in your exploration of the crossroads between the "Girlie Man" stereotype (and I could still throw rotten eggs at Ahnold  for that) and the "Angry Black Man" stereotype with which he has been saddled, as all Black men are, probably from the the time he became a pre-teen. Brava to you!

    Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

    Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

    by Kitsap River on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 04:08:16 PM PDT

  •  It was painful. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, shanikka

    I can see how the media focused on Romney's aggressiveness and Obama's passiveness.  They were all up front about that in the pre-debate discussions about how they wanted to see body language and zingers.  (This is one reason I think we should do away with debates).

    What was painful for ME, the point where I just lost it and ended up having to turn the channel, was when Obama stood there and said that... paraphrasing, "Governor Romney's position on Medicare and Social Security is essentially similar to mine."  Some crap like that.  

    Where the fuck did that come from?  I couldn't take trying to parse that out.  It wasn't just a gaffe.  It was like, "Oh goodness, these entitlements are such a burden to defend, I'll just jettison them so I don't seem contentious."

    And it brought up my own already existent worries that he wasn't going to defend entitlements after the election.  To think that here, on the one point where he could have crushed Romney by just mouthing the usual Democratic platitudes about not cutting SS and Medicare... he punted the ball.  

    Couldn't take it.

    I'm glad he's back in the saddle, but I'm still angry about that, and I don't think he addressed it adequately for ME.  I don't think he will, either.

  •  I disagree with both premise & conclusion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The issue that should bother us all is not whether debates 1 & 2 featured ABM Prez Obama or not. It is the frightening fact that his opponent is accorded unlimited opportunities to make egregious mistakes while Prez. Obama is vilified and over analyzed just because of one panned debate performance?

    The real problem is the demand on Prez Obama to ALWAYS be superlative in his actions yet the white guy gets a pass for his mediocrity. What does that say about our country? Who can be superhuman?

    More importantly the fact that you and many others zero in solely on the Prez, without talking about the entire lacklusture support of the Dem/Lib political and messaging machine, is troubling. Prez Obama is not a prize animal in the Roman Coliseum that we prod and subject to the microscope from our comfortable perch as SPECTATORS. The other side summons their mighty Wurlitzer to mow down all opposition regardless of the caliber of their political candidates.

    Diaries like yours make interesting cultural and psychological analyses (I teach stuff like this as well) but still place the ENTIRE ONUS on this one man to carry the whole fight all by his human self. What about us? What allowance do we make for human shortcomings in how WE respond and cover for said lapses so that our GOALS are accomplished regardless?

    Republicans build institutions to amplify their dangerous ideology & narratives, and decide all they need is a warm body with working fingers to sign their odious beliefs into law. Conversely, we charge individuals with impossible tasks to bear our torches, and when they are less than superlative we shred them to pieces. That is no way to save our republic from GOP fascists.

    So if the 3rd debate does not replicate debate 2, whether justified ABM shows up or not, then what?

    One thing to remind ourselves about: Prez Obama is NOT the be to lose if we don't prevail. We do.

    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

    by zizi on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 08:01:54 PM PDT

    •  Suffice it to Say (0+ / 0-)

      I disagree.  With your analysis and conclusion.

      Nobody is "putting it all" on President Obama. That's what all the ground game is doing, making sure the foundation of his reelection is taking place, writing pieces to combat the Republican lies, you name it.  

      But never forget that tens of millions of people are going to vote based upon what they see in debates. The image. Not the substance. Only President Obama himself can control that. That's just reality, and folks who whinge when someone states that President Obama screwed up by being too polite (the President's words, not mine) are really just trying to avoid that ugly reality. All the partisan machinery in the world working for him could not stand behind that rostrum and make him look any better. IMO it doesn't help to pretend differently, and the poll plummeting that took place after that first debate, which we partisans cannot control, confirms that the approach of pretending it wasn't so bad is not a winning approach.

      BTW, President Obama's task in office has been extremely difficult, and he definitely has had to face BS that no other president before him has faced. But it has not been impossible.  He himself doesn't make that claim.

  •  AhHahahahahahaha! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You said

    to anyone who was listening to substance and comparing it to truth, anyhow
    You were talking about American voters, right? AhHahahahahahaha!
    How do you think Republican get mor than 93 votes if they were paying attention?

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 03:29:05 AM PDT

  •  Maybe I am one of few but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't think 10/3 was fully accidental screw up of debate style. I feel like it was classic rope-a-dope. Chess not checkers. Do I think it could have been better...absolutely. But I like the set em up knock em down.

    The double edged sword of being lazy and/or angry is a fine line many travel. I know I for certain do in the finance world.  The question is always how to balance it without it defining you as a professional.

    Everyone who doesn't deserve a holiday bonus is getting one.

    by Jonzee on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 01:31:34 PM PDT

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