By Carole on Oct 7, 2012
Spin is nothing new in politics and sometimes it reaches the level of outright lying. When recently asked about campaign ads being "misleading" and "just not true," President Barack Obama admitted that "somebody could dispute how we are presenting things." No surprise there but what is surprising and exceedingly dangerous for Team Obama, is that they have started to believe their own presentations.
Even before the general election campaign began, the president's main strategy was to define his presumptive opponent as an out-of-touch, rich guy from Massachusetts who didn't earn his fortune. That was somewhat effective in firing up disappointed Democrats as it re-enforced a prejudice against both Republicans and wealthy people.
Of course there was always the risk that voters who had not yet made up their minds would listen to Governor Mitt Romney's message for themselves, but in politics you play the percentages and Team Obama was willing to lose some of those undecided voters in order to energize his base.
But here is where politics as usual morphed into self-delusion on the part of President Obama and his top political advisers. With the critical debates approaching, Team Obama chose a sparring partner that was a perfect match for their caricature of Mr. Romney but was nothing like the formidable opponent the president would actually face.
Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) is a rich guy from Massachusetts. He's tall, white, in his 60's, has held political office and has run for the presidency. But that's pretty much where any similarity to Governor Romney ends. While Mr. Romney earned his fortune by starting and running a very successful business that spawned many other successful businesses, Mr. Kerry got rich by marrying a wealthy woman. He then got richer by divorcing his first wife and marrying an even wealthier woman.
While Mr. Romney has executive experience in both business and government, Mr. Kerry has none in either sector. Mr. Romney's career has been called "stellar" even by Obama supporter and former President Bill Clinton. Mr. Kerry's career is best known for the fact that he was for something before he was against it.
While Mr. Romney has straight-forward plans for the country which he more than competently articulated in Wednesday's debate, Mr. Kerry is known for his "nuanced" approach to, well, everything.
Yet, in what has to be the worst case of political wishful thinking ever, Senator Kerry was chosen to prepare the president to debate Governor Romney. Some members of Team Obama are now blaming the senator for not challenging the president during their sparring sessions. But it’s unfair to blame a mouse for not becoming a lion on command.
No, the blame for President Obama's poor debate preparation definitely belongs to the president himself who somehow fell for his own spin and believed Governor Romney was Kerry-like. But the reason for the president's overall debate loss is still the indefensible result of his own policies.
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