Within the last two weeks I published a post which questioned what an incumbent candidate for re-election could do if he changed his mind. The title of the piece was How Does A President Say “No Mas?” It contrasted the Obama-Romney first debate to Cassius Clay’s fight for the heavyweight championship. Clay won the first fight, changed his name to Muhammed Ali, and then went on to leave an indelible mark on boxing and the American scene. Liston actually “quit” in the first fight, refusing to come out for the seventh round. There was a rematch in which Liston was felled by an “invisible” punch and lost in the first round, arguably another quit.
The point of the article was that Liston knew he was beaten, in both fights. He knew Clay/Ali was better than him and there was nothing he could do about it other than get beaten again for another payday.
That was my impression of Obama in the first debate. He was Liston and Romney was Clay. Obama was rocked by an upstart. That never happened before. It was never supposed to happen to the man who has doors opened for him at every turn. Obama, not Romney, was the man of privilege. He had never suffered defeat or humiliation. For that matter he had never even been challenged. His road had been paved with shortcuts and favorable treatment. He was not used to being hit and unable to fight back.
Today’s accompanying article deals with Obama’s problem with reality. He does not live in a real world and never has. Nor can he deal with reality when it is thrown back at him. His is a world of fantasy, imagery and lies which he has been allowed to get away with his entire life. Romney was unwilling to roll over for him. Instead he steamrollered him.
The second debate was probably a draw or maybe even a slight win for the tag team of Obama-Crowley. It was not enough, at least according to the polls which produced no bounce for the incumbent. Perhaps the outcome stemmed his decline, but he is now behind. A tie when you are losing is a battle wasted.
Since the “No Mas” piece, others have suggested that Obama no longer has the willingness to fight. Yesterday, Marco Rubio came close to saying that on ABC’s “This Week.” According to TheHill.com:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Sunday charged that President Obama had “given up” on trying to present voters with a second term agenda.
“The most startling thing that has happened here the last month over this campaign is the president has completely given up on outlining any sort of agenda for the future. What’s his plan for the next four years?” asked Rubio, a prominent surrogate for GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney, on ABC’s “This Week.”
Whether it be a desire to quit or an inability to present a future that is no different from the last four years is indeterminate. The “No Mas” article dealt with the former and today’s accompanying article deals with the latter, specifically Obama’s unwillingness to deal with reality.
Either way, Obama looks weak and without a will to fight. Perhaps he knows Romney is the better man. Or perhaps he realizes that people no longer believe his empty and meaningless rhetoric. He may not have realized that he lost the first debate, but the polls are probably telling him he cannot win this election. It was supposed to be a walkover. But then so was the Liston-Clay bout.