Thursday, October 04, 2012

Debate round one: The rope-a-dope strategy

Judging from the mass meltdown in my twitter stream, clearly a disappointing night for liberals. I seem to recall the same wailing and rending of garments from the left at this point in 08. They wanted Obama to draw blood and he didn't. Hell, he barely put up a fight. But I also remember when this meme was invented in response to the same sort of doom-saying.

Debate is three round fight. Rope-a-dope strategy dictates you hold back and deliver the knock out punch at the end. Good to remember that media over-built expectations for Obama. Now expectations are raised for Mitt. Which raises the pressure on Mitt to deliver the same performance again. Mitt cracks under pressure. Also, this will make Mitt over-confident. Think about his European tour. Mitt went into that over-confident too. How did that work out for him?

If Obama clobbered Mitt out of the gate, the media narrative would have been angry "blah" man and Mitt would looked much more human and sympathetic. It felt to me Obama was deliberately holding back to raise expectations for Mitt and to calm down Mitt's big money donors. Which is another big picture strategy. Congressional races are just as important, if not more so. Initial post-debate reports tell me all those big pocket donors that were about to bail on Mitt and put all their money into Congressional races are now back on board with Mitt. To the extent that we keep those resources split, it's to our benefit.

Also, conservatives get really obnoxious when they think they're winning. It brings out the worst in them which will remind those few persuadable voters outside the hard core 27% why they don't want to be associated with them. And don't forget, Mitt was supposed to come across as more personable. He failed on that score. He came across as arrogant and aggressive and he lied his twitching face off. He was supposed to dish up some specifics about his mystery plan to save America. The only thing he was clear about is his intention to kill Big Bird. I'll be interested to see how that plays out in the few days.

A month is long time in politics. No one will remember the first debate by the time next two are over. POTUS always moves to his own timetable. Just because he doesn't instantly respond to the demands of the internets doesn't mean he doesn't have a plan.Obama played out plenty of rope last night. As the old maxim goes, give a man enough of it...

Think I'll wait a little longer to freak out.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home