There has been a lot of back and forth about who came out the big winner in the three presidential debates. However, there is one point that has been missed by the pundits in all but the last of the trilogy. Finally, Charles Krauthammer nailed it after Monday night’s yawner: The president is “playing small ball.”
Obama has not only been playing small ball, his behavior has mimicked that of a Chihuahua. You’ve all seen this play out on “Animal Planet” or your own home. A tiny Chihuahua, or another pint-size canine, is intimidated by the presence of a Doberman or similar breed. The large dog gives the tiny one little notice. Then, as the Doberman is going out the door, the tiny one barks ferociously and, if the Doberman is on a leash, may nip at his heels in an effort to show some belated bravado.
In all three debates, Obama used a parting shot of nastiness that was anything but presidential:
In debate No. 1, after appearing like a deer caught in the headlights for 90 minutes, in his closing argument – when Romney had no opportunity to respond – Obama said this: “Governor Romney, when it comes to his own party during the course of this campaign, has not displayed that willingness to say ‘no’ to some of the more ‘extreme parts’ of his party.”
To whom was he referring? Those voters he so disdains who “cling to their religion and their guns”? The tea-party movement perhaps?
And what is so extreme about Romney’s policy? Wanting to cut the government down to size or bringing the pay of government workers back in line with the private sector?
We will never really know because Romney refused to engage him in anything this petty.
In the second debate, Obama’s last words were, “When he said, behind closed doors, that 47 percent of the country considered themselves victims who refuse personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about. Folks on Social Security, etc., etc.”
That, too, was far below the bar that had been set in the second debate. Clearly, Romney misspoke when he used that figure. There are those who are content to live off the taxpayers – because they can – but a high percentage of those receiving government checks would much rather have a job.
Had Romney wanted to capitalize on similar remarks made by Obama, he could have used “They didn’t build that”or Obama’s reference to the four Americans killed in Libya as “bumps in the road.” Obama threw out that 47 percent remark when Romney was, in effect, out the door.
Now, we come to debate No. 3. The president is behind and things clearly are not going his way, so the little Chihuahua bared his teeth much earlier.
On the very first question, Obama said, “But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.”
When discussing the economy here at home Obama said, “And the way you define small businesses includes folks at the very top. And they include you and me.”
In a discussion on the size of the military, Obama reached his low point in this now-infamous remark, “We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”
In a discussion on China and later on Iraq, Obama pounced again, accusing Romney of holding investments in China (through a blind trust).
And in his patented parting shot, Obama asserted that Romney wants to take us back to the Bush policy that includes making “sure that folks at the very top don’t have to play by the same rules that you do.”
These nips were so ludicrous that Romney let them roll off his back. He patiently laid out his case as to why this administration has failed and what he would do as the leader of the free world.
Obama has not, and cannot, defend his record. The thrust of his campaign is to try to demonize Romney and make us afraid of him. His petty, baseless attacks against his stronger opponent remind us of a scared little Chihuahua.
This is not the image we want to project from the White House. We need the disciplined Doberman, dependable, highly intelligent, fiercely loyal and able to strike with lethal force when necessary.