“I really think that one of the profound decisions the American people have to make now is whether they want to be governed by a president, or a boss. And I mean a boss!” ––Bravo Television’s James Lipton in conversation with Chis Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball Show.
Halloween is close enough to the date of the 2012 American presidential election that the idea of the country waking up to either a trick or a treat on November 7 serves as an appropriate metaphor for the intense anxiety that has characterized much of the current campaign for the White House’s Oval Office.
Critics of Democrats have accused them of guerrilla decontextualization trickery in the form of a presidential administration that has delivered less that they believe it should have over the past four years. Likewise: critics of Republicans have charged them with attempting to force upon the country a potential leader whose potential administrative policies seem to shift and adapt to audience preferences.
In one sense, critics of both parties can claim the opposing candidate guerrilla decontextualized himself during the first 2012 presidential debate on October 3. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney did so by passionately presenting his political platform in much more moderate terms on such issues as affordable health care, women’s rights, and taxation than in the positions previously stated in live campaign appearances or the notorious 47 percent video. This penchant for reversing positions has been described by Mother Jones Magazine, Mr. Obama, and the Urban Dictionary as “Romnesia.”
Republicans can claim the president engaged in guerilla decontextualization during the first debate by playing the role of a timid schoolboy allowing a classmate prone to bullying others to, in the consensus of the news media and much of the Democratic base, walk all over him and straight to a first-debate victory. For the second debate on October 16, it was Mr. Obama who executed the U-turn, not so much where his stand on fundamental issues is concerned but in regard to how dynamically he presented and defended his position. Whereas he had previously appeared somewhat reticent or even docile while Romney drove home point after point, in the second debate he repeatedly stood and challenged Romney’s contentions to such a degree that the two men often appeared more as if they were engaged in a boxing match rather than a debate.
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