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Brandon Bowlin Headshot

Mr. President: Make It Plain.

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A successful agenda requires hard work but, in a debate, you are the only one there to defend that work. Waiting for the fact-check or surrogate filter doesn't take into account the working stiff with a kid in school, a recital to watch, a broken sway bar or another job. What if this is the only debate they see?

So... what did y'all do Wednesday night?

Me too. Excuse me for a moment.

Mr. President,

It's never been clearer that you need to drop the laser pointer, step from behind the lectern, remove the suede-patched sweater-jacket, and take a page from Malcolm X's notebook.

Mr. President, "Make it plain."

No need to panic, flail in the wind, or dip for desperation. Simply bench the person who advises you to be nice and, from now on, say exactly what you want to say exactly how you want to say it. Nothing drastic, just use some of those words that curled your lip once or twice Wednesday night. Although these hard times are seeing daylight, we aren't yet within the realm of insouciant niceties, so drop them. Everyone knows who Gov. Romney is and although framing him close to your views may seem stealthy, no one believes that's the case. Even when Mitt tried to co-opt them. Americans are fighting every day and we need to know that, against some of the most pessimistic and downright cruel idealism, you will fight for a better today and tomorrow.

Yes, many of Gov. Romney's facts will be proven wrong, maybe false, and certainly in opposition of what he said two minutes before, but you don't have to give a long and exhaustive explanation. Like say, why the government of the United States of America should help the people during times of need. It is simply what we do when we have to. We did it after the Civil War, during WWI, during the Depression, and during and after WWII. Moreover, we were greatly successful every time we did so. And, if conservatives didn't, as they promised, block every move, government could help more today.

You don't have to defend Obamacare down to each and every penny to a man who believed in it once, dropped the idea for political convenience, and will never have to worry about not having health coverage...or having a family member without it.

And finally you don't have to strain to show the difference 'twixt you and a man who flipped on so many issues in the past year he'd make Gabrielle Douglass dizzy. Rather, you simply need to ask which Mitt you're addressing at that moment. The one who thinks corporations are people or the one who has abandoned 47 percent of us.

The deeper part about this debate is how easily Gov. Romney threw most of his hard right agenda overboard. After all this time he suddenly seemed to agree with you on education, Wall Street, and distribution of resources (taxes). Apparently Mr. Romney has a Socialist agenda under his car elevator. Still, he can recrank his position now because he knows that his base will vote against you no matter what, so he has the luxury of an Etch-a-Sketch moment and morphed into kind of a greasy Obama-grey. As opposed to his Univision orange. But he still presented himself as a man who wanted it vs. a man who had it.

To your supporters it was your "out-of-bodiness" that was a bit unsettling. When someone repeats untruths about you to your face, it's okay to stare him down, call him out on it, and tell the world why you did just that. Do not take the "above it all" stance. It's a rigid one and simply put, you are not above any of it. Please go and talk to John Kerry about this very specific issue. Mr. President, it is okay to show contempt for a man who would threaten Big Bird and laugh about it.

I'm serious. Sesame Street. The Children's Television Workshop was created in 1968 by the Carnegie Corp. and the Office of Education. Today it is mostly funded by (private) monies it gets from licensing characters that I grew up with. That damn near all US children grow up with...along with 120 million more viewers all over the world.

And for the latch-key or drop-off children of parents who work(ed) 2 or 3 jobs later than school but earlier than dinner, those moments in front of PBS began the walk to math and language skills with great wonderment. In ways more inventive and creative than ever thought possible. All made available because we the people once felt that educational TV was the least we could offer next to a landscape of droning entertainment.

It is one of the single most successful endeavors of government/private ventures ever created in the USA. One of our finest exports. And one of the greatest ads this nation has ever produced.

And just because not everyone can afford a nanny-tutor or boarding school to catapult their young'uns to, doesn't mean that there should be a clarion call for the evisceration of such a solid and proven tradition. Yet, Gov. Romney flippantly boasted that he'd cut it...right in front of you.

During your acceptance speech, there was a moment when you said,

"I am no longer a candidate, I am the President."

The crowd went wild, but I saw that you were taken aback a little because that wasn't the "pop" line. It was the build-up. But your constituents loved the idea of THAT kind of confidence and it is the price they exact for the door-to-doors, the money, the votes. Because it rubs off, Mr. President, and, believe it or not, such confidence can help someone make it one more day. An agenda requires hard work but, in a debate, you are the only one there to defend that work. Waiting for the fact-check or surrogate filter doesn't take in account the working stiff with a kid in school, a recital to watch, a broken sway bar or another job. What if this is the only debate they see?

Despite their tactics, you're not on trial. Your record is. But it's a strong one, even with Republican intransigence which has help to stall progress for the middle class, you can boldly tout your accomplishments.

Mr. President, Wednesday's debate put Gov. Romney back into the game. So
...rather than dip and take the ten-footer...
...it's time to drive the lane
...and dunk on some fools.