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President must face ‘reality’



Published: Sun, October 7, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


Barack Obama apparently believes that America is “Masterpiece Theater,” when, in fact, it is “Honey Boo Boo” — as the ratings for the television programs attest. Reality TV has taken the country by storm because it is, by and large, mindless.

Failure to recognize that if the U.S. Constitution were being written today it would be a sound bite may explain why the president flat-lined in Wednesday night’s debate against his Republican rival in the Nov. 6 general election, Mitt Romney.

The former governor of Massachusetts is being criticized today for his lack of specificity on his economic plans, but he gave the millions of viewers exactly what they understand: jibberjabber.

Obama, on the other hand, was so intent on proving that he is, indeed, a policy wonk, that he came across as wonky (British slang for shaky, groggy or unsteady.)

Post-debate polls show Romney to be the clear winner — in terms of getting the better of Obama on a discussion of domestic issues (the topic of the debate), and improving his “likability” rating.

Political reality

What happened to the president? He failed to realize that he was participating in the political version of the hit television reality show “Honey Boo Boo.” (A quick glance at one episode will fill in the blanks.)

Obama was on cruise-control — but it was the wrong kind of cruise.

Had his campaign staffers picked up a copy of Wednesday’s Vindicator, they would have found the perfect issue with which to make Romney eat his words — the ones that appeared in the New York Times in November 2008 under the headline, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

Here’s the headline from the front page of The Vindicator: “Cruze ranks No. 1 in US in sales of small cars.”

Now, that’s the kind of Cruze-ing Obama should have done during the debate.

The federal bailout of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Corp., which the president identified as a cornerstone of his economic recovery plan and which Romney publicly opposed, is a winning issue for the Democrats in auto manufacturing states like Ohio.

And yet, Obama didn’t push Romney to defend his position that GM and Chrysler should have been allowed to go through a managed bankruptcy.

In the New York Times opinion piece, Romney offered this observation:

“If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

“Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.”

The Chevrolet Cruze, built in GM’s showcase assembly plant in Lordstown, certainly has proved Romney wrong. Indeed, the financial turnaround of both automakers clearly demonstrates that Obama was right about not letting the industry implode; Romney was wrong.

Obama could have referred to The Vindicator’s front-page story about the Cruze and asked his opponent this question:

“Gov. Romney, do you believe that the Cruze is an example of the product inferiority you predicted if GM were bailed out?”

There are two more presidential debates, one a town hall setting, and the other a traditional one that will focus on foreign policy.

Obama must show some passion, or he’ll lose.

Personal attack

A personal attack on him via Twitter during Wednesday’s debate should get him fired up.

It was sent on KitchenAid’s twitter account and read, “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president.”

Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Payne Dunham, who helped raise him, died the same week as the 2008 election. The president mentioned his grandmother Wednesday during a segment on Medicare.

A top official for KitchenAid has issued several apologies.

But, Obama, who seems dispassionate at times, must not let the insulting tweet from that twit go unanswered.


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