The left is outraged. Why did President Obama stumble and bumble? Why the apparent lostness and lack of sharpness? And why was Governor Romney wiping the floor with him? Why was Romney so comfortable out there?
The answers to these questions are very simple and related.
Mitt Romney is what we conservatives unaffectionately call a “squish.” He is a man of the center. He does not revel in conservative ideas and plans for government. This is not a great asset in a primary. It explains why he suffered so many assaults by Cain, Gingrich, and Santorum, all of whom should have been marginal candidates. In the primary, they could rip open their shirts and scream, “LOVE ME CONSERVATIVES!!!!” Mitt couldn’t do that.
But Governor Romney is made for the general election. He fits right in the middle of the bell curve of American politics. In a debate for the general, he feels very comfortable being himself. And that’s what he did. It was a big advantage.
President Obama, on the other hand, can’t be himself. In his heart, he is a true blue man of the left. Anyone who examines his past associations and background knows this fact. But he is wise enough to know that straight leftism won’t play in American politics. So, he has to adopt a more centrist-sounding stance. The price of that strategy is that he cannot simply speak from the heart in a debate. He has to spend his time carefully picking his way through potential minefields. A slip could be damaging.
The reason this problem didn’t hurt him last time around is because McCain was not a strong debater and did not have the ability to create a need for Obama to have a truly outstanding performance. Mitt Romney is playing at a higher level than John McCain. Now, just when Obama needs to reach for that higher gear, he has to question whether he wants to take the risk of shifting into fifth. He’s a Ferrari, but he’s a Ferrari of the far left. In the center, he’s more of a Chevy (like the ones made by Government Motors).