".. the corrective counterpunch Democrats hope for will probably never arrive."
-- Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine
I thought the same way as like Chait that Obama has 'missed' the bus as far as moving public opinion via debates (and quite possibly the election as well). Chait exactly explains why the 'town hall' kind of meeting will be nothing like previous and hence lessons learned from the first debate will not be sufficient. More needs to be done there. President will have to do basically 3 tasks at the same time:
- defend his record
- mesh those first term policies with vivid articulation of his policies for the second term and
- he has to do all this while exposing 'contradictions' in Romney's answers.
That is not easy. Erase, that is simply not possible for probably for any human and that Obama is nowhere defying that kind of herculean pressure.
When it comes to his record, Obama has to make clear that deficit in last four years is more because of significant drop in revenue collection due to recession and there are no 'increased regulations' (figures will help) which are holding back economy to take off. To start with Economy is healing, his measures have helped and to the extent it could have been faster; it is the GOP intransigence which has contributed to all that uncertainty. No more 'manning up' (else he will have his whole life to sulk after Nov 6); Obama must speak what 'games Republicans' have played.
Same goes with Romney's Tax Plan. Other day Obama Press corp officer recited how Romney Tax cuts total to 5 Trillion. Obama needs to keep hammering those numbers with details and having answers ready for every counter argument Romney would offer. The goal here should be to make it plain to Americans that in the end GOP plan to finance these tax cuts is based on 'fairy tale' of higher growth rate despite contradictory evidence (growth in higher tax rate economy of Clinton whereas lackluster growth in lower tax rate economy of Bush).
For Romney, what he is trying to prove is, politics is nothing but 'talking to make the audience feel good'. Whether it is 47 % comment or his argument that he would not have tax cuts with deficit during the first debate; the operating philosophy of Romney is 'say what the audience wants to listen'. If more Americans have this jaded view of politicians; those Americans would regard Romney's operating style as the sign of a skilled politician and will back him. For Obama, exposing that to Americans is the best bet, regardless what Americans decide in the end.