I’m going to date myself with this one, but for anyone who has seen Muhammad Ali fight, particularly when he beat the formidable George Foreman in Africa, I believe the other night I lived to see defense turned to offense for a second time. (i.e. – See Rumble in the Jungle documentary – When We Were Kings with the Fugees).
I am of course referring to the wonk-filled first US Presidential debate between GOP Candidate Mitt Romney and incumbent President Barack Obama held at The Magness Arena on the campus of the University of Denver last Wednesday night.
The much anticipated verbal battle between the two major political parties happened to take place on the 20th Wedding Anniversary for the President and was as dense, wonky and technical as two guys arguing over the merits of Blue Ray Discs versus DVD’s.
The 90-minute debate was the first of three between Romney and Obama and was moderated by venerable Jim Lehrer of PBS, who had the un-enviable task of making these two talking heads stick to their allotted two-minute retorts.
While GOP’ers marveled at finally seeing their guy come to life and react like a human, a really good android or at least a very good Japanese Actroid robot, for me, it was like seeing the Ali “Rope-A-Dope” boxing move with new eyes.
Some of you will remember, Ali fought the seemingly undefeatable World Heavyweight George Foreman during the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire. (Zaire is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
Ali knew he was a better boxer than the brutish Foreman and calculated that if he let the former Olympic Gold Medalist punch himself out in the African heat, the fight may be his for the taking in the middle rounds.
By way of history, I’ve actually come to understand that it is customary for the incumbent to concede this first debate, so I didn’t go all crazy at the end of Wednesday night event, however everyone else went batshit.
The after debate panel on PBS whined about Obama’s lack of zing and obvious non-aggression.
One PBS pundit even said Obama looked tired and not really interested in being there. The same analyst said, “Romney looked like the Pro from Dover!” Ironically that term refers to a Con job where a person acts important in order to get free golf time. I wonder if Mr. Pundit knew that and he was trying to be ironic?
I saw a tweet from Joy Behar who whined about Obama’s missed opportunities and I later heard Al Gore’s blaming the altitude for Barry O’s “flat” performance.
Then the unthinkable happened.
The President lost support of the low-information sect, which we’ll just nickname – “the Clueless.”
Former supporter and African-American actress Stacey Dash evidently turned coat after not enjoying The President’s debate performance.
Dash, who was an enthusiastic Obama supporter in 2008, evidently ditched all of the reliance on facts, and took to Twitter shortly after the event. She tweeted: “Vote for Romney – The only choice for your future.”
We all knew the low-info sect was also the short-attention span sect, so it’s not surprising that the President would lose those folks. The feeble minded usually cannot be trusted to use their brains; they’re better suited for being told what to think.
Days later, the View crew invited former GOP candidate Donald Trump on their show to partake in an odd gloat and whine fest.
Sitting on the same stage the President and Mrs. Obama occupied just weeks earlier, Trump, a birther, who has stopped short of publicly calling the President “boy,” joined right-wing host Elizabeth Hasselbeck in smugly trumpeting all things Romney.
Although I was not surprise by Trump’s assertions, I was appalled by how the remaining panel members were left to lick their wounds and somehow apologize for the President’s performance.
“He had an off night,” a brow-beaten Whoopie Goldberg said of the debate as a pre-amble to one of Trump’s narrow-sighted rants.
All I could think was: “What a delusional bunch of cry-babies.”
Now maybe I’ve taken too many shots to the head myself, but during the debate, all I could see was Ali.
Bobbing and weaving against the ropes, taking body shot after body shot to the chagrin of the boxing world at the time.
What was he doing?
Why wasn’t he attacking?
George is going to kill him!
By the fight’s 8th round, the heat and exhaustion got the better of big, bad, George Foreman and a few combinations later the unbeatable Heavyweight Champion of the World to a dirt nap and crumbled to the ground in a heap.
Ali had done the unthinkable and despite popular memory, he was criticized for his tactic during and after the bout.
Now, Obama does not face quite as steep a climb when it comes to defeating Romney, but it’s hard to tell after reading all of the media reaction after the first debate.
First of all, the points on which the Romney-bot kept harping were largely vague and inaccurate.
At first glance, his economic plan – “making all of North America energy independent and improving the education system so that everyone gets a better education and everyone gets a job – would probably take as long as – the accomplishment of world peace.
He said the $716 billion from Medicare at least 5 to 10 times, and even though it’s been proven inaccurate he kept stating it as fact over and over again.
His tax plan seemed to call for tax cuts for everyone and government reductions to funding to the arts, PBS, the “closing of loopholes” and little else.
Economic stimulus – sure, he wants to cut the tax rate to “small business owners” so they can hire more people at higher wages. Those people with the higher wages would buy more things and get this one, be able to be taxed more. – Huh, didn’t he just say he wasn’t going to raise taxes on…oh never mind.
In the end, no-one, The President, the media, no-one – stopped Mitt and his imaginary views from inside the bubble. Moments later, the media jumped on the bandwagon and began bemoaning the President’s efforts and again telling him what he shoulda-coulda done better.
Further, in true despicable, mob mentality fashion, all of the entities decided to pile on in the hopes that they can get their jab in while he’s vulnerable.
The reaction, more than the debate, has gone on to prove how thin a margin of error there is for African-Americans. The width of that margin is defined by all of those apologists who believe: “he blew it,” or “he had a bad day,” and somehow forget why he was elected just four years ago.
I just hope at the end of this dust-up, Obama will come out as deft and victorious as Ali was in 1974 and be able to continue the work of making America more equitable.