Why Obama Was Struck Dumb in that First Debate

John Otim
John Otim is the Editor of Nile Journal



In just a few days it will all be over, and we will know the winner. But following the first of the Presidential debates it was clear that Mitt Romney, who had been almost laughed off the Presidential race by pollsters and ordinary Americans alike, had pulled off a remarkable comeback. Today many agree that this election is going to be one of the tightest in American history. How did this happen? How did Obama loose his considerable early lead?

Romney’s strategy and tactics were simplicity writ large. Romney attempted to do the following. He would make himself likable, in the face of an opponent who had natural charms. He would make himself believable in face of his own past gaffes, especially the one about the 47% of Americans Romney claimed were spongers. Finally Romney would cast himself in true to life presidential mould, in face of an opponent who was in fact the President and who looked presidential.

To do this Mitt Romney had to tell lies and do a lot of turn-around. With a straight face and in full view of the cameras and the 65+ Americans who were tuned in, Romney ditched the entire extreme right wing platform he recently deployed so successfully against opponents during the Republican primaries. This accomplished, with no apparent challenge from Obama or the moderator, Romney moved swiftly and easily to the center stage of American politics, wherein success dwells. As he did so Romney made himself appear reasonable and not at all threatening.

It was this new and unfamiliar Mitt Romany of the first debate that so unhinged Barack Obama and drove him off course as a skilled and master debater. Obama was stunned; even annoyed, at someone who could with so much ease, tell lies so blatantly. But Obama did not wish nor could he afford, in that first debate, to be the angry black man, in the mold of Jesse Jackson some two decades back. This I believe was the reason Barack Obama presented to America viewers, and viewers across the World, the image of a man defanged and struck dumb, in that first debate.