Debate of Ideas

By Louis Avallone

Poll after poll, before the first Presidential debate on October 3, was all concluding the same: Obama would win the debates. In fact, just 2 days before the first debate, an ABC News/Washington Post national poll indicated that 55% of likely voters agreed that Obama would win that first debate, with only 31% saying that Romney would be victorious.

But like Rocky Balboa, who almost always was told he didn’t have a chance, and shouldn’t bother, Romney came out swinging…and never looked back. He ignored the critics, and the polls, and left Obama looking dazed, and confused.

MSNBC host Chris Matthews explained Obama’s stunned appearance, “He had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it.” Faithful Obama supporters like comedian Bill Maher even said Obama “looked tired” and “had trouble getting his answers out.”

Obama would remain up against the ropes all night during that debate. Some say his poor performance was because he was tired, but some say it was his planned strategy – to make himself the underdog. Al Gore even suggested that the mile-high altitude in Denver may have had some effect on his seemingly diminished fighting spirit and general sluggishness to counterpunch Romney. Even Romney himself felt compelled to note Obama’s confusion during the debate, saying, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

But the criticism of Obama on his debate performance is really out of place. It’s not that he was not “on his game” or didn’t have that “eye of the tiger”, but rather his sluggishness and uncertainty, during the debate, was merely a reflection of the paralysis our nation is enduring under his policies, from the economy to national security.

You see, despite the explanations and excuses, Obama’s performance (or lack thereof) was less about Obama’s debate acumen, and more about the simple truth that you can’t make chicken soup from chicken poop.

I mean, what did folks expect from Obama during that debate, in the eleventh hour of his presidency? A miraculous makeover of the ill effects of his administration’s policies? That’s a tough one, considering his own vice-president recently confessed that the last 4 years of failed Democrat policies have “buried” the middle class. And that his administration is peddling an economic recovery that is the weakest since World War II; in an economy where household incomes have fallen 8.2% since he took office.

Plus, there are now 23 million Americans who are unemployed (or underemployed), and of that total, 6.7 million have completely given up looking, but still want a job. Of course, you know that unemployment has been above 8% now for 43 straight months (and among African-Americans, the unemployment rate is even higher – 14.4%).

So, how do you credibly defend your own policies in a debate of ideas, when your results are so abysmal? What do you do when there’s an additional $6 trillion in new national debt since you took office?

What can you say to the American people when you are blocking a Canadian pipeline and choking the fossil fuels industry, all while the price of gasoline has nearly doubled under your watch?

What debate maneuver would dress up the idea of accelerating the bankruptcy of the Medicare program, by raiding $716 billion from it and funding Obamacare instead?

President John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” And the same is true here.

You see, persuasiveness and platitudes make for entertaining political fodder, but they don’t change the facts. Animated stump speeches don’t help the 50% of college graduates this year who can’t find work. “Words” don’t provide the 47 million Americans on food stamps the means to move from poverty, to prosperity.

Theoretical discussions about how our foreign policy “should” work doesn’t reduce the threat from a nuclear Iran or North Korea, nor from terrorist attacks against our embassies, or the murdering of Americans overseas.

This is why the criticism of Obama’s debate performance is out of place. It’s not about his energy level, or enthusiasm. Nor was it his grasp of the issues, recall of the facts, or the lack of a teleprompter.

It’s simply this: His policies are indefensible. And without a record to run on, and unless the American people will accept his “intentions” alone, to do good (once again), how much better could anyone have expected him to perform in a debate of ideas; especially when the only ones he has had, have turned out so poorly?

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