As I watched last night’s debate, I noticed Obama’s normally deep baritone rising in pitch until he seemed almost whining, his vocal cords stretched in tension. Apparently I was not alone in that observation. Dave Perkins:
I also noted vocal stress in Obama as he tried to seem more aggressive. His voice went higher and higher in pitch and strain as he went farther and farther out on the limb of the moment. I was left thinking of Stewie Griffin on Family Guy, stressing out over his plan for world domination. 🙂
And what about that moment of indecision, when Candy-bar instructed both men to return to their seats and Obama did what he was told, while Romney maintained his standing posture? It was quite telling, I thought. Jay E. observed:
I enjoyed the non-verbal dominance of Romney. At the beginning when Crowley told them to sit, Obama obediently turned, walked to his chair and half-sat. Romney stayed in the middle of the stage and stood erect. This forced Obama to half stand back up with one foot on the chair and one on the ground. Very weak. I have no doubt these basic tactics are as foreign to him as running a paper route would be and I am sure he behaves that ineptly with all foreign leaders, even the ones he doesn’t bow to.
Dave Perkins’ response:
Jay’s observation about the awkward foot-on-stool crouch at the beginning was superb. Obama is a follower. The split second he realized that Romney had no intention of sitting down, Obama was done for. He had “half sat”, and had no idea whether he ought to continue sitting or stand back up again, so he froze in place and tried to look cool. A man who was confident would simply have either stood up again, respecting the situation, or sat down, in confidence that he was his own man doing what he felt was right. The “freeze-crouch” showed desperate indecisiveness and a fear of not looking right.
“they didn’t coach me on this! What should I DO? It’s too late now! I should have finished sitting and ignored Romney! Agh, I should never have sat in the first place! Now I look like the woman at a dinner table!”
And the wrap-up from Jason Ivey:
Another revealing moment that illustrated Obama’s REAL attitude, as opposed to the one he tries to pull off (bullshitting the public – I hope that focus group phrase sticks) was when he attacked Romney for having personal investments in China. First of all, anyone who has diversified investments likely will have money in China, along with a lot of other foreign places. Romney could have claimed Obama was making foreign investments more attractive, but he really nailed Obama when he asked him if he’d looked at his pension. Obama’s response: trying to be cute, saying “Well, it’s not as long as yours, so . .” This is his instinct — class warfare, rooted in envy, all the while bullshitting people about how he’s pro-business, pro-entrepreneur, etc. Almost every answer had a revealing moment.
Romney missed some opportunities. I didn’t like his answer about education and Pell Grants. I would have preferred it if he explained why liberalism is responsible for the high cost of college as well as the lack of jobs once out of college. He could have brought up Obama/Biden’s promise to put coal out of business. The contraception moment was a missed opportunity to talk about the proper role of government, as well as freedom to choose if you’re a church or business. He could have done more explaining than answering with platitudes about his 5 point plan (which sounds a little Stalinist). I’m nit-picking, and overall I think we were correct back in the primary days that that fight toughened Romney for the stretch. He took shots at Obama and drew blood. Personally, I’d like more of an attack on Obama’s ideology, not just his competence. But whatever works.
If the focus groups are indicative, a lot of people are seeing the obvious. And I liked Jay’s comments about the body language. I noticed it too. Romney was a man, Obama a girly-man.
Ms. Crowley was out of bounds by selectively attempting to offer real-time fact-checking — endorsed by Obama (“Say that a little louder, Candy!”) — and fact-checking, no less, that was not quite factual. Nemesis struck when, in the middle of her clumsy attempts to offer a lifeline to a stumbling Obama on Libya, she had a deer-in-the-headlights look and an exasperated stutter, almost as if to say, “Why am I giving myself away?”