Obama is the laziest, least involved President possibly ever. He really cares little about policy and has no taste for the engagement of the political process. He likes the pleasures of office, just doesn’t like what it actually requires, like knowing things in depth and thinking things through to the end.
The debates are, however, the real thing, and he is about to take on someone who knows what he thinks and has developed his ideas in the best way possible, by writing a book. Romney wrote No Apology: Believe in America in 2010 and it showed in the debates he had within the Republican side. He understood each issue and has an articulate and soundly based conservative perspective on every issue that matters.
He would therefore be a very good president, possibly a great president. But there are two halves to this. To be president, great or otherwise, requires someone to be elected president first. For reasons largely invisible to me, Obama is seen as the great campaigner and a great orator. While it seems to me he is capable of reading his script with the best of them, off his teleprompter, not so good with many big time errors along the lines of “you didn’t build that”.
And of course there is the media which largely shares his deep leftist views who will for that reason do everything they can to get him through. This matters a very great deal. But really, when I think of what will work for Obama, I am reminded of this, which will be at the centre of everything Obama says. It is from Peggy Noonan and I have quoted it before many times because I think of this as the single most important fact of the Obama presidency and campaign. She wrote this in 2011:
The other day a Republican political veteran forwarded me a hiring notice from the Obama 2012 campaign. It read like politics as done by Martians. The ‘Analytics Department’ is looking for ‘predictive Modeling/Data Mining’ specialists to join the campaign’s ‘multi-disciplinary team of statisticians,’ which will use ‘predictive modeling’ to anticipate the behavior of the electorate. ‘We will analyze millions of interactions a day, learning from terabytes of historical data, running thousands of experiments, to inform campaign strategy and critical decisions.’
What Obama finds a drag is to be without his teleprompter but needing to get into his largely dim mind the conclusions from these terabytes of historical data so that they can be stated exactly right.
The debate in the US is on the evening of 3 October. For fans in Australia it starts at 11:00 am Thursday morning on SBS.