The Debate

"You sit on a throne of lies." 

It’s pretty stressful being on Barack Obama’s mailing list. Normally, I can deal with email spam and junk mail in my inbox – my landlord has thoughtfully provided a big plastic bin under the mailboxes specifically so we can throw away the coupon books and spraytanning leaflets that make up 90% of all mail – but mail from Obama is different. Even though I know he didn’t write the messages, and that it’s really no different from anybody else asking me for money, I’m powerless when I see shit like this:

Of course I am, dude! You know I’m with you! I write nice things about you on my blog and fantasize about hanging out with you post-presidency and shooting the shit about healthcare reform while watching SportsCenter! I’m so sorry I gave you the impression that I wasn’t with you! How much money would make you think I was with you again?

Oh my God, really? No, thank you, Mr. President! I’ve done so little, but you’ve personally seen to it that I’ll have healthcare for the next two years and ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell! I mean, you also paved the way for indefinite military detention of American citizens and are killing fucktons of Pakistani teenagers with drone strikes, but you are so fucking cool I don’t even care.

He’s taking such a loose, conversational tone! It’s almost like I actually have a black friend! Who also happens to be President of the United States!

The letters are worse, because they look so nice that I can’t bring myself to throw them away. I almost want to frame them and hang them on the wall and pretend that they were sent to me personally.

“You see that letter? Michelle Obama sent me that letter. What? No, of course it’s not a form letter. See how they use my name at the start there? DUH.”

I am exactly what Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter talk derisively about whenever somebody sticks a microphone in their face – the early 20s Hollywood liberal who’s been completely suckered into the Obama Cult of Personality. I follow his policies pretty closely and I think he’s a pretty good president in a lot of ways and a pretty terrible president in a few ways, but job performance aside, the dude is undeniably the coolest president this side of Teddy Roosevelt.


I’m a registered Independent because I still haven’t forgiven the Democrats for their milquetoast showing from 2000 until 2008. For eight years the GOP’s best and brightest were strutting around the world starting wars, cutting taxes on the rich, and fingerblasting the environment while the Democrats stammered helplessly, Jim Lehrer style.

But in the past few years, what with the healthcare and the Bin Laden getting shot in the face, I was getting to like the Democratic Party again, as opposed to just voting for them because they were the neutered, simpering lesser of two evils.

I mean, Jesus, people, did you watch the Democratic National Convention? That shit was like the end of Top Gun! Everybody was slick and charismatic and happy! In spite of their prior animosity, Iceman gave a huge speech about how cool Maverick was, and then they hoisted Maverick up on their shoulders and everybody was like, “Let’s go fly some fucking fighter jets to the White House, already!”

I was so jazzed after that, and Obama’s resulting bump in the polls, that I was giving serious thought to filling out the paperwork and knowingly opening myself to the junk mail avalanche of formally joining the Democratic Party.

And then, the debate. A 90 minute trainwreck where the dude who publicly stated that he’d put Big Bird out of a job still somehow won.

One of my coworkers pointed out that Obama lost because he was prepared to debate the facts and was caught off guard when Romney started lying his face off. Which would make sense if Mitt Romney hadn’t been lying hisface off for well over a year. Obama either didn’t have the facts to call Romney out on his falsehoods – shame on you, Mr. President – or he simply didn’t want to call Romney out – shame on you again, Mr. President.

The good news about all this is that Obama is still going to win this election. Mitt Romney won a big, televised debate, yes – but so did the liberal version of Mitt Romney in 2004, and look who won that election.

President Obama is polling around 70% among Latinos and between 97% and 100% among African Americans – it’s not like these voters are saying, “Damn, Mitt really schooled Obama on Medicare – I think I’m voting for Romney now!”  Mitt Romney has been a shitty candidate for months upon months – the fact that he took a 90 minute vacation from sucking at the debate is not going to swing this thing.

I don’t think the debate swung any undecided voters, because I don’t believe in undecided voters. We have two incredibly polarizing presidential candidates. I’ve never met anyone who’s ambivalent about Barack Obama – likewise, I bet the Romney campaign wishes more of their base was simply ambivalent toward their candidate instead of outright hostile or dismissive. For a big chunk of the electorate, the presidential election is as simple as voting for the guy who’s pro-life, and no amount of debating or campaign commercials are going to change that.

What this debate did was show us Barack Obama standing on a stage and letting Mitt Romney call him a liar. That won’t change the course of the election, but it will dampen enthusiasm among Obama’s supporters – the people he’s been successfully begging money off of based on the strength of his charisma and their faith in his leadership.

I’m not as excited now when I see his name in my inbox. All I can think is, how can I trust this guy to stand up to Wall Street, Iran, and China when he can't even stand up to one dorky, Mormon millionaire? 

Truman Capps doesn't want PBS to lose funding, but he'd be perfectly happy if Jim Lehrer gets fired.