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How To Debate When You Have Nothing To Say

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By Ron Jager

President Obama, after serving nearly four years in the White House, should have been able to easily explain the state of the American economy. Obama should have been able to easily clarify why reelecting him would fix America’s problems, despite his first term’s lackluster record. Yet just when Obama had the opportunity to share his words of wisdom and connect to 62 million Americans watching the debate, we got to see Obama in his natural state: seemingly out of focus, unsure of what he is talking about, and uncomfortable with having to go beyond terse sound bites, a benchmark of his communication skills for the past four years.

His lack of ability to explain himself without the protective shield of the enlisted media—his inability to convey a basic sense of trust between himself and the American public—only reinforces the doubts that much of the American public harbors. This basic lack of trust between the president and the public, in addition to a lack of any substantial previous public record, is probably what makes many Americans wonder who Obama really is. The only conclusion that can be made, as writer Charles Krauthammer did, is that Obama’s natural capabilities are far more limited and mediocre than Americans have been led to believe.

With the heightened focus and attention of the American public in response to the first presidential debate, and the renewed doubts of Obama’s competence, it was expected that the vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan would take on strategic significance and would represent the White House’s response, showing just how desperate the Democratic party and its leader Obama are.

It was only natural that Joe Biden would come out slugging; likewise, it was expected that the moderator would enable Biden to more or less say anything he wished without interruption.

But Biden’s attempt to generate an appropriate response to Obama’s losing battle at the polls since the debate against Romney fell flat. Democrats and liberals were obsessed over Biden’s combativeness and mocking tone as he interrupted Ryan 82 times in 90 minutes. Rather than convincing viewers that Obama needs four more years, Biden intentionally attempted to demonize his Republican opponent. This kind of behavior eclipses the routine nastiness we’re accustomed to during elections and has become the mainstay of the Obama campaign against Romney and the Republican Party.

Biden evidently found a way to outdo Obama’s superciliousness. He laughed and sneered his way through the debate, lecturing the American people, because even Biden couldn’t defend Obama and his poor track record.

The last time Joe Biden opened up his mouth big time, slugging away, with the intention of attacking the Republican Party, was this past summer, when at a campaign appearance in Danville, Virginia, he claimed the GOP would revive slavery, nothing less. Producing a Southern drawl for the benefit of his Virginia audience, Biden lambasted the benefits of a free-market economy that creates more prosperity by unchaining Wall Street.

Biden drawled, “They going to put y’all back in chains.” Despite all attempts at damage control, Biden’s outburst was a clear-cut case of racial incitement. Unless he is referring to having the Jews returned to slavery some 3,500 years after the Exodus from Egypt, the only possible inference here is to the re-enslavement of African-Americans. This kind of racial incitement is more than just political exaggeration, and as we have witnessed during the debate between Biden and Ryan, shows just how desperate the Democratic Party is.

Biden’s uncivil and downright nasty behavior during the debate shows that in this election, there is nothing to which the Obama campaign would not stoop, all this to hide the fact that the empty chair has nothing to show for the four wasted years of the Obama adminstration.

Four years ago, the Obama presidency was hailed as the beginning of a Democratic and liberal renaissance. Despite the almost blind obedience on the part of liberals to the Obama agenda, it is the failure of Obama’s so-called successes that have cast a dark shadow on his reelection chances. The failure of the stimulus bill to create work for Americans, the failure to convince the American public on the health-care bill, the failure to create economic growth—these are all part of Obama’s signature “accomplishments.” The persona behind these initiatives has been unable, or as we saw in the debate last week, unwilling, to fight for what he believes in, to defend with certitude. Obama’s traits of avoidance and flight have made his presidency a cluster of empty rhetorical gestures, lacking conviction.

Obama’s supporters want Obama to be who he was in 2008. But that’s not who he is anymore (and perhaps he never was). The empty chair has spoken, and it has nothing to say. Let’s move on. v

Ron Jager is a 25-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, where he served as a field mental-health officer and as commander of the central psychiatric military clinic for reserve soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty in 2005, he has been providing consultancy services to NGOs, implementing psychological trauma treatment programs in Israel. Ron currently serves as a strategic advisor to the director of the Shomron Liaison Office. To contact him, e-mail medconf@netvision.net.il.

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Posted by on October 18, 2012. Filed under In This Week's Edition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.