Would Humility Work in Tonight's Debate?
A week or two back, King Prawn asked "How Do You Argue?". What followed was an interesting discussion about how best to change the minds of those we disagree with.
The consensus, I think (though there may not have been one), was summed up by Prawn in a comment: "Sometimes a little humility goes a long way, especially when it is shown willingly and first." Question: Could that same humility, so effective at winning friends, influencing people, and changing minds at the personal level, be effective in a presidential debate?
Yes, I'd say, and an early showing of it could win tonight for Romney. For example, Romney must blunt the "47%" attack that is surely coming this evening and which has been positively ruining him in ads in Ohio (an attack that he deserves, by the way, since he indulged in a lazy, nasty, self-congratulatory canard).
A little humility right out of the gates could flip the matter to his benefit: "You know, I deeply regret that comment because I was wrong. Of course the vast majority of Americans do not consider themselves victims, and of course they are not content being dependent -- and thank God for that. My worry, however, is that President Obama's policies could lead, in time, to exactly that sort of disasterous state of affairs. Take Obamacare, for example ....[etc]".
A bit of preemptive humility and contrition would break down the knee-jerk defensiveness of his audience and make it receptive to a calm, gentlemanly evisceration of the President's policies. It would also frustrate and disarm Obama in the one battle he most wishes to fight, this evening and for the duration of the campaign.
Edit, post-debate: Nevermind. :)