I'm a pessimist, as everyone knows. To me, the answer to the question about the half-full or half-empty glass is, I'm not thirsty, the glass is dirty, and the water is infected with e.coli.
On the other hand, there's no use in not seeing what's right before your eyes.
First -- I'm in the TV business, after all -- last night's ratings, which were pretty good for a debate that ran against football and baseball. From Deadline Hollywood:
UPDATE, 2:49 PM: The third Presidential debate of 2012 pulled in 2.7 million more viewers last night than watched the third debate between Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008. Pulling in 59.2 million viewers, last night’s debate was down 10% from the 65.6 million viewers who watched the second meeting between Obama and Mitt Romney on October 16 and down 12% from the 67.2 million who watched their first debate on October 3.
Fewer viewers than the previous two debates, but still an awful lot of viewers. And it's hard to imagine that undecided viewers who watched last night's debate came away with the impression that Mitt Romney is unfit for the office. Which is what Barack Obama's thinning hopes for re-election are pinned to.
And now, from the reliably left-wing Gawker.com, comes this screed:
One of the many little thrills of being a part of the Obama campaign four years ago was a deep and abiding sense that, finally, a political leader had come along who could live up to our highest aspirations. Yes, Obama was cool and played basketball and was conversant in ironical youth culture, but when it came down to it, he was overwhelmingly serious. The other guys were hauling unlicensed plumbers onstage and suspending their campaign at the drop of a hat, but Obama kept his eyes on the prize and played the grown-up. Now he's talking about "Romnesia."
The cracks are starting to show. About Obama's lame joke at the top of the debate, "The 80's called. They want their foreign policy back," apparently it didn't go over so well with the faithful:
That's a middling joke. It should by no means be coming from the president of the United States, let alone one who promised to put away childish things. It's a dumb "zinger," transparently crafted to appeal to the Mark Halperins and Politicos of the world. That's not to say that humor has no place in political rhetoric or that Obama betrays his promise every time he deigns to insult his opponent. But to graft a pre-planned VH1 Best Week Ever-level joke onto a nationally televised discussion about life and death and our role on the world stage is scarcely less pathetic than the desperate flailings of the McCain campaign that I smugly scoffed at four years ago.
It's not just that joke. Obama has taken to using "Romnesia" to describe Romney's inability or unwillingness to hew to a policy position for more than two weeks. "He's forgetting what his own positions are, and he's betting that you will, too," Obama said at a rally in Virginia last week. "We've got to name this condition that he's going through. I think it's called 'Romnesia.'" Today, summing up the debate, Obama called Romney's performance "at least Stage 3 Romnesia."
This is very, very dumb. Maybe "Romnesia" is a funny, handy term that usefully carries an important anti-Romney message. But even if it is, it is just too juvenile and jokey to be coming from the president. He shouldn't be making jokes based on his opponent's name. That's what vice presidents are for. Put it in John Kerry's mouth. He'll say anything.
I agree with everything above. Except this: it's not a "middling" joke. It's a dud. If you pitched that in my writers' room, you'd be wondering about your job security.
But these are the signs: Obama is starting to stink like a loser. And there's no way to come back from that.
-- If you wish to join the conversation on this post, we invite you to become a Ricochet Member. Enjoy great content and podcasts, post your own opinions, converse with leading figures on the Right, and much more. Ricochet - The Right People. The Right Tone. The Right Place.