From the land of the snark and the snide: We’ve been re-watching Wednesday night’s debate.
Obama is doing better this time. It’s amazing how much expectations affect what a person sees.
That said, most people who watched the Wednesday night fight thought Romney walked off with the prize. He seemed brisker, more aggressive, more focused.
It seemed he might have prepared himself a bit more thoroughly. That possibility made us recall the snark and the snide we had seen on some cable TV shows.
It was Monday evening, September 3—Labor Day itself! The GOP had held its convention the previous week. The Dems were about to begin.
On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow was snarking about the way Romney was spending his weekend. She posed as the world’s leading authority, as she so frequently does.
How was Romney spending his Labor Day weekend? Badly, Rachel Maddow said. He ought to be touring the country with Ryan, the world’s leading expert informed us:
MADDOW (9/3/12): Today, in this past weekend, there`s sort of a weird interregnum, over the holiday weekend but between the two conventions. Republicans just had their 72-hour infomercial for Mitt Romney and for the Republican Party.Romney was supposed to be taking a tour, the way those other candidates did. But Romney wasn’t doing any such thing!
In this interregnum, and maybe through the Democrats’ three days this upcoming week, the Republicans are supposed to be capitalizing on what they did last week. They’re supposed to be capitalizing on the momentum they built with their 72-hour infomercial. This is the part where you’re supposed to be campaigning at warp speed.
In 1992, after the Clinton/Gore convention, these guys [Clinton and Gore] did a 1,000-mile bus tour right after their convention.
In 2000, after the Republican convention, George Bush and Dick Cheney left straight from their convention to Ohio and Michigan and Illinois to tour it by train.
In 2004, John Kerry and John Edwards did the same sort of cross- country tour through Pennsylvania and West Virginia and Ohio and beyond.
In 2008, Barack Obama and Joe Biden went straight from their convention to Michigan and to Pennsylvania and to Ohio by bus.
You’re supposed to go out there and make it stick, right? It is post-convention momentum time.
Rachel continued to snark about Romney’s strange inaction. Just listen to what he had done:
MADDOW (continuing directly): Mitt Romney today is not on a bus tour, or a train tour, or any kind of tour. When you get to be the presidential nominee of your party, you have what’s called a press pool that follows you around at all times. It’s basically a small pool of reporters who track your every movement all day long 24 hours a day and then they distribute that information to the rest of the press.Rachel agreed that the Romney campaign could do whatever they pleased. But she was sure it was wrong.
Well, today, the Mitt Romney press pool was informed at 10 AM that Mr. Romney was down for the day. That he had no events scheduled. The press was essentially told to stand down, Romney watch is over for the day, nothing to see here. You can leave, you got nothing to cover. That was at about 10 AM.
Then, an hour and a half later, this almost never happens, the press was called back into action. After being told that he was down for the day, they were informed an hour and a half later that Mr. Romney actually was going to be on the move. So the press pool immediately had to snap into action in order to cover this event.
(Videotape of Romney in boat)
Mr. Romney taking his boat out for a spin, on a lake. Instead of a cross-country whistle-stop tour, Mr. Romney spent the day boating, and also jet skiing with his family in a lake in New Hampshire.
They reopened the press pool for that, after closing it for the day earlier. Mr. Romney had no campaign events yesterday. He had no campaign events today, unless something is happening on this boat, and he had no public events scheduled for the rest of the entire week.
You know, that’s their call. They can do whatever they want to do. They can put Clint Eastwood on network primetime coverage instead of the candidate intro video, do what you want, it’s your campaign. But it’s not like they have it in the bag here and they can be this relaxed.
Rachel Maddow snarked at length about the way Romney was wasting his weekend. But then, the rubber hit the road.
We learned what Romney was doing:
MADDOW: I mean, the news isn’t all totally bleak. There do seem to be little upticks in Mr. Romney's favorability numbers and his numbers among Latinos, very small upticks. We'll be talking about those a little bit later on. But basically, the Republican convention appears to have a negligible political impact and by the broadest measures, it appears to have no impact at all.Posing as the world’s leading authority, Maddow told us how stupid it was that Romney was prepping for the debates! Is there any chance that this expert was wrong in her snark-laden assessment?
And now the Romney campaign is responding to that by doing absolutely nothing to try to improve on that! I know they won’t take advice on me on how to campaign, but it’s a little weird.
Their story is that Mr. Romney is too busy to do events this week because he`s doing debate prep for next month. But dude, there he is on a boat! Maybe Rob Portman is hidden on the boat prepping him and we can't see him because the boat is going too fast or something.
Is Rob Portman in the glove box? Do boats have glove boxes? I have no idea.
On the other side, the Obama/Biden ticket is not taking time off. Vice President Biden was in Michigan today. He addressed the AFL-CIO. President Obama again was in Toledo talking to autoworkers.
Maddow often poses as the world’s foremost authority. After Romney whipped somebody’s keister this week, we found our thoughts drifting back to this snark-laden expert report.
More recent snark from Mouseketeers Lawrence and Krystal: By late September, the boys and girls were eager for the debates to begin.
Last Thursday, Lawrence and Krystal were snarking about the approaching carnage. Disaster was still six days off:
O’DONNELL (9/27/12): [Republicans] are, of course, desperately trying to lower expectations for Mitt Romney in the debate to the point where if he can just stay standing for the 90 minutes, it will be considered a victory. Team Romney says, "It’s clear that President Obama will use his ample rhetorical gifts and debating experience to one end attacking Mitt Romney. Since he won’t and can`t talk about his record, he’ll talk about Mitt Romney. We fully expect a 90- minute attack ad aimed at tearing down his opponent."On The One True Pseudo-Liberal Channel, you frequently get the snark and the snide. In the aftermath of Wednesday’s defeat, our mind wandered back to the snark and the snide about Mitt Romney’s foolish debate prep.
Krystal Ball, the president will not be allowed to speak for the full 90 minutes of the debate, I don’t think. Surely, Jim Lehrer will get something in there too. So I think the most we could possibly expect is maybe a 30-minute attack ad on Mitt Romney?
BALL: Although you never know. You know, the Romney camp, given how ineffectual he has been at talking at all, maybe they should put that in the rules that President Obama can just opine for 90 minutes instead of Mitt Romney having to say anything.
In fairness, Obama is doing better this time as we watch the debate on tape.