Hey, you professional political experts. Get off my back, neck and chest. How dare you warn me not to get too excited over Romney’s first debate performance, and that Obama can bounce right back; Obama can win even without bouncing back! I haven’t been so bummed out since the army had me scrubbing floors on New Year’s Eve. Please spare me one more repetition of “This thing isn’t over yet.”
Of course, there’s no guarantee of a Romney victory, but Romney’s given us at least as much right to be smug as the Obama crowd had before the debate.
So, enough, already, of your feckless whining that “Romney isn’t a real conservative.” “Romney isn’t likeable.” “Romney isn’t a good candidate.” “Romney had to buy the nomination.” And so on.
My life no longer pinwheels around the hope you’ll slip and say something nice about Romney. I don’t need you any more. Last Wednesday’s debate spoke louder than you ever did. I want to celebrate. I want to hug strangers on the street and holler “Whoopee!”
In fact, I’m not so sure you’re all that expert. Let’s see if you’re wise men or just wiseguys. Question: What is the real importance behind Romney’s debate victory: The votes he won or the cash he raked in?
Ride with me back to the boxing world of the 1930s. Joe Louis was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. And he was even more of a champion in the squared-circle than Obama is in the Oval Office. After destroying Germany’s Max Schmeling in 1938, Joe Louis defended his title almost monthly. All I remember is, challenger Billy Conn put up a good fight; Two-Ton Tony Galento almost crashed through the floor of the ring when he fell; and mystic Lou Nova was sent into a quick trance by Louis.
Then after the war, in 1947, Louis took on Jersey Joe Walcott; real name, Arnold Cream, with 16 children. The fight went all 15 rounds, and Walcott had Louis on the mat twice. But the decision went to Louis, because in that day there was a tradition that if the champ walked out of the ring by himself, he remained the champ.
However – and here comes the knockout punch against all of you busy warning me to shut up and stay scared – Walcott, in decking Louis twice, destroyed the myth of Joe Louis’ invincibility. And Louis’ subsequent decline was heartbreaking.
War teaches us the same lesson. Adolf Hitler pasted countries in Europe from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean into his scrapbook. Then. in January 1943, the entire German Sixth Army was cut off and lost at Stalingrad. That destroyed the myth of Nazi invincibility.
Wait a minute! Didn’t the British victory over the Nazis in North Africa a few months earlier do that? (Benghazi was a household word in 1942!) No, it didn’t. That was not enough. North Africa was considered a sideshow. Sideshows don’t count. Didn’t German failure to take Moscow do the trick? No. The Russian winter got credit for that. When the little white flag poked out of Nazi headquarters in Stalingrad, that was no sideshow; that did it. The Soviets once and for all demolished the myth of Nazi invincibility.
The Romney-Obama debate was no sideshow, either.
Destroying the enemy’s myth of invincibility is the gift that keeps on giving. After Stalingrad, every Nazi down to the rank of corporal was watching his rear, trying to pin blame on others, living the invidious lie that post-Stalingrad Germany could somehow still win, and blaming Hitler – which was valid – without being seen as blaming Hitler – which was fatal. A lot of doors were slammed by Nazi officers into the faces of other Nazi officers. Profanity ended what had been brotherly conversations since kindergarten. Once the myth of Nazi invincibility was broken, goose-stepping occupiers became unhappy campers.
It was my personal pleasure plus journalistic good fortune to befriend a German soldier who was in a “Hollywood” kind of confrontation toward the war’s end as the unstoppable Americans closed in. Another German of equal rank in that German village called out for “jihad,” suicidal resistance to the last man, woman and child. My friend, Klaus, called him an idiot and took his weapon away and surrendered to the first approaching Americans. Klaus told me it wasn’t hard to take his weapon away!
Now Obama’s myth of political invincibility has been broken.
Instead of hearing and heeding the lugubrious warnings of those peddling the startling news that Romney hasn’t won yet, I plan to enjoy watching the confidence of the Obama machine disintegrate like an Alka-Seltzer tablet under Niagara Falls as we enter the “red zone” of less-than-a-month to go before election.
What fun it was the weekend after the debate to hear TV reincarnate those screaming-meemie reporters yelling at Romney, “What about your gaffes?” There’s no denying, Candidate Romney has more than microscopic traces of residual egg on his face; all removable by one more debate performance like the initial one.
But you on Obama’s side have one “Humpty-Dumpty” of a major reconstruction project on your hands.