The Sunday morning political pundits only commented on the fact that the normally verbal, sometimes professorial, but always meticulous and empassioned speech reader President Obama failed to show up for the first presidential debate in the 2012 Leader of the Free World Election. "Showing Up" is the first key to success, we are told. Well perhaps, Mr. Obama was feeling generous and confident enough to "share the success." Gov. Romney was present and presidential.
Barack was somewhere else.
The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan opined on George Stephanopoulos's ABC
show this morning that the president just didn't want to be there. The normally brilliant Paul Krugman came in with a curved comment about how the president doesn't go for the jugular but just the artery on the same show. What's that?
Republican Strategist Mary Matilin retorted that the president can not think on his feet. Paul Krugman maintained that the Romney facts are just not true.
But the facts are not the issue at these debates. Presence, appearance, no sweat on the upper lip, eye contact, and looking like a leader are the essentials in these visual presentations/performances.
So if you seem to evaporate, zone out on a Rocky Mountain high, and look at your shoes as if they were skis heading down a mile-high slope, you cause Chris Matthews to go diastolic and Saturday Night Live to do a whole show on the missing president and people to wonder if you want to be a one term president, skip the whole messy Senate/House persuasion negotiations and go straight to the hallowed land of Bill Clinton. That place where you get to have your own think-tank initiative, make gobs of money, be sentimentally revered and let your wife travel the globe as possibly the country's finest Secretary of State. I.e., you get to be a Clintonian,a de facto President, Fundraiser, global Commentator , World Leader and VOICE of Experience.
If my memory serves me correctly as I was incapable of watching the Denver Disaster
a second time, President Bill Clinton was evoked twice by Obama during the debate and wasn't it the previous president, Bill Clinton who delivered THE presidential address at the recent Democratic Convention?
The Democrats and the pundits on Stephanopoulos's Sunday show this morning assured us that the Missing Man -- I read The Invisible Man, I know about these things -- that the president gone missing would show up -- and how loud and tough -- for the second debate and that come November Barack would "be in" for another four years.
I don't doubt it. I'm from Chicago. I know Obama and the team pre-presidency.
What I did see when the Quiet Man took his place and the glittery vision of doing great and noble things from the Hill that has been Obama's vision was replaced by the grim reality of daily in-fighting on the Hill, a bailing first stringer staff; Robert Gates gone to be that educator Barack may desire to be one day, Bill Daley returned to Chicago in record time, Hillary packing her bags for her last round of world assignments on Obama's behalf, and the woman without a true title but a BIG Secret Service Detail, Valerie Jarrett, left to fix and nix while embassies are exploding and the EU economic tsunami is crossing the Atlantic.
(George Soros told me about the EU economic Hard times coming our way, so I know a little about that from the world's most brilliant business brain.)
When a president decides NOT to meet with the World Leaders at the UN General Assembly and go do The View, one of my favorite shows because of the irreplacable Barbara Walters, I wonder if NOT showing up has been coming for a long time.
I worked with a few White Houses. Showing up is expected.
Did Obama lose his groove in Colorado?
Knowing Obama, he will recover it and go on to rule four more years. But the president showed his vulnerability and perhaps chagrin at the hard road ahead to make things happen on that Shining Hill. And as Paul Krugman said this morning on the ABC political morning show, Obama does not go for the jugular, but a newly emboldened Mitt Romney might.
Looking forward to seeing all present at the next debate.