Now we’ll see how much debates really matter. Often they don’t matter much. But the presidential debate Wednesday night might matter a great deal, not because of what the candidates said, but what the debate told us about who the candidates really are.
Barack Obama was revealed to be the empty suit with a great gift of gab and a talent only for appealing to the nation’s guilty conscience. Some of us recognized the empty suit four years ago. Like all great salesmen, he can charm prospective customers when he tries, but without a teleprompter he’s hopelessly lost at sea. On Wednesday night, he forgot whether he was selling rubbing alcohol or ladies’ corsets, and it showed.
Like all presidents, he’s accustomed to watching everybody swoon when he steps into the room, and the only tune on his iPod is “Hail to the Chief,” which he plays often. When Mitt Romney confronted him with something less than a genuflection, the president was rattled for the rest of the evening. Life outside a bubble is tough, particularly for a president.