Many of us were—naively, I see now—looking forward to the debates as the chance to draw out the differences between the agendas that have been clear for months, and to do so right at the point that millions started paying attention. Sure, Mitt’s campaign telegraphed that the etch-a-sketch would soon be shaken, but given the “severely conservative” positions he’d staked out, I thought it shouldn’t be too hard to point the shape-shifting out to people.
But it is harder than I thought, and the debates are actually a tough venue for that. Instead of the debating the salience of the terribly pressing challenges we face as a nation and the very different agendas for meeting them, as President Clinton so masterfully did at the convention, the President and VP are basically stuck saying, “folks, that’s not your mom and dad—it’s a shape shifter!”
To my mind, that’s why Obama was so flummoxed in debate one. He came to argue about visions—something he does well—but, in a colossal prep failure, he had no strategy against shape-shifting.On The Economy
The Immense Challenge of Defeating the Shape-Shifters