There will be four different debates, from four different mainstream media sources with four different moderators, from: PBS, ABC, CNN, and CBS respectively. I notice FOX isn't on the list.
Do you remember the Republican primaries, those crazy months when nobody could tell who was going to be the nominee? The endless debates were maddening, the way the lead changed and changed and changed again. Four more debates remain, and in those debates Romney has one more shot to win this. The media has control over the show; they're the partisan referees; they get to choose the questions, but they can't change the nature of the game and they can't change the performance of the players. I remember well one debate when Newt Gingrich was race-baited by Juan Williams:
The conventional opinion for quite some time in those heady days, was that Newt was the strongest debater. Newt's common sense and his fearless refusal to kowtow to the race card flashing moderator resonated with the Republican base. We're so very sick and tired of this ragged and frayed old race card the Democrats keep waving around. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. He was a Republican. Martin Luther King, Jr., through his heroic struggle and because of his eventual martyrdom, succeeded in winning equal rights for all people—including black people. He was a Republican.
Romney are you studying this debate? This is how you win a debate. This is how you win a presidency. I'm almost certain that at some point they'll play the race card. They'll bring up Romneycare. They'll ask about Bain Capital and tax returns. Romney's style is unfortunately unaggressive. He's as politically correct as they come. The mainstream media has been studying him as attentively as an NFL coach studying the opposition. For this reason I expect the questions to be asked in the style of: Aren't most rich white men inherently racist? Don't you have to be selfish and evil to be as rich as you are, Governor Romney?
Obama will be asked: Was it difficult for you, growing up as an African American in an endemically racist culture and did experiencing that racism first hand cause you to want to finally be in a position to change that about America?
Romney will be asked: You grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth and wore magic underwear. Why do you imagine that you understand enough about the problems facing everyday Americans to ever be their leader?
The secret to winning a debate is answering questions that haven't been asked while ostensibly answering the one that was. If they bring religion into it don't cringingly deny or evade, instead attack. That's the only way through this gauntlet. They want to talk religion? Talk religion! Remember that every question is a two-way street. Romney should talk about Mormon values, about family values, about respect for elders and authority, and above all patriotism. That's what a Mormon is, not some weirdo in magic pajamas, but a hard worker a family man and a patriot.
But since we're talking about religion, why not unleash a few lightning bolts? I don't imagine Obama would enjoy defending his twenty years in attendance at the feet of the racist and America hating pastor, Jeremiah Wright. When they bring a knife you bring a gun. Isn't that how it goes? Mr. President, what positive moral values and philosophical understanding were imparted to you when you sat quietly in your seat while listening to your pastor scream "God Damn America?"
When they ask about failed steel mills and Bain Capital, talk about the successes, which were many. Talk about the fact that an executive makes tough decisions and that it is capitalism and a free market that has allowed the greatest expansion of wealth in the history of the world. When a business in the private sector succeeds it brings wealth not only to the owners, but to its employees, to its vendors, even to its clients. All those in any way related to a successful business are enriched by its success.
But since we're talking about successful businesses in a free market—President Obama—what successful businesses have you been a part of? What—if anything at all—do you know about how a business is run, about the challenges it faces, challenges which are now so much greater thanks to your administration Mr. President?