- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2012


The problem with making jokes about Barack Obama is that his followers don’t think they’re funny. Still, adding a dash of humor is the best way for Mitt Romney to make an impact in Wednesday’s presidential debate.

Mr. Romney reportedly will spend the debate fact-checking Mr. Obama, calling him out on bogus claims used to inflate the administration’s record. This is necessary but not sufficient. If the race were solely about competence, it would already be over. Mr. Obama has demonstrated that he is not a capable leader. The economy is so bad he’s had to cut back to one teleprompter per speech. Mr. Obama has made so many bad calls the NFL wants him to ref.

Mr. Obama has run out of ideas. His campaign is so green it runs on recycled promises. Mr. Obama believes all he has to do is keep repeating the same phrases for the next six weeks to win. His media allies will see to that. If Mr. Obama stepped in a puddle, their headlines would read, “Obama walks on water.”

The Obama team will try to harness familiar TV-generation archetypes to put down Mr. Romney. They will seek to make it a contest between the hip modern president and the square, 1950s throwback. This is an approach presents an opening for Mr. Romney, because it hearkens back to a decade when the United States was a true global power, not the pale imitation is has dwindled to under Mr. Obama. The liberal Washington Post ran a cartoon over the weekend characterizing the debate matchup as Mr. Romney in the guise of “Mad Men’s” cool sophisticate Don Draper versus Mr. Obama as a Carter-esque, sweater-clad Mr. Rogers.

Mr. Romney needs to channel Ronald Reagan, who had a matchless ability to deal with a put-down. He could turn a verbal jab back with a grin and disarm his opponents — most famously with his quip about Walter Mondale’s “youth and inexperience.” Mr. Romney also has to find ways to deflate Mr. Obama’s considerable pretentions without attacking him directly. He could say the most important part of the Obama tax plan is allowing taxpayers to write off a second Obama term. Like most bullies, Mr. Obama can’t take the heat. Being the butt of the joke throws him off his game.

Obama campaign traveling press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr. Romney will pull out “every zinger in the book.” There’s a lot of material to work with. Perhaps he can allude to Mr. Obama appearing as self-described “eye candy” with the ladies on “The View” instead of meeting with world leaders at the U.N. He might mention the president’s record-setting number of golf outings — because golf is a lot like Mr. Obama’s economy, you eventually wind up in the hole. Even with the Mideast in flames and foreign policy unraveling, Mr. Obama will keep dancing in the end zone about the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. We know bin Laden really is dead because he’s registered to vote in Chicago. Nevertheless, if re-elected Mr. Obama promises to kill him again.

There is a term for someone like Barack Obama. Hopefully not two terms.

The Washington Times

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