The entire political media, since Wednesday night's presidential debate, has been doing plenty of reading. Mostly of President Obama's twitches, pauses, umms, ahhs, looks down, looks up, all in an effort to understand every single one of his missed opportunities in his first encounter with his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. But for all the Thursday morning quarterbacking, perhaps the best evaluation of the debate was written before it even took place.
Alec MacGillis, writing about Romney's biggest strength and weakness on Wednesday morning in The New Republic:
It is no secret that Romney does not do well mixing with the hoi polloi—the 47 percent, the 99 percent, however you want to define the great unwashed. He tells women they don't have their makeup on yet (3:00 mark), he startles moribund elderly people in cafes, he lets the dawgs out, he insults local bakeries’ products, he declaims about cheesy grits (0:55 mark), he makes fun of people’s rain ponchos (2:15 mark), he pretends to understand their economic anxiety. Most of all, he condescends. ...In debates, Romney loses this affect. He snaps to attention and he’s firing on all cylinders, because he feels challenged: put simply, he is amongst his fellow 1 percenters, where he feels most comfortable, and he wants to show his wits and win the exchange.
it is arguable that Romney considers himself not simply equal to the President, but quite superior. It doesn't take a lot of reading to understand that. Obama is no mere hoi polloi, mind you; he did make a point of speaking directly to him. But what is key is that the President didn't exploit Romney's biggest flaw, according to MacGillis: the etch-a-sketchitude of his positions. And as a result, President Obama made his biggest mistake -- he made the alternative more palatable to America.
To start off today's show, Melissa will offer her read of the debate, and yesterday's positive jobs news. Other topics we'll get to today include Romney targeting Big Bird, the third grade (yes, literally), and what education researchers call the "Matthew Effect." Melissa will also kick off another edition of This Week in Voter Suppression!™, one which will carry particular import for out-of-state college students looking to vote nearby their campuses. Oh, and Melissa will offer her response to this nonsense George Will wrote, and delve into the "angry black man" stereotype which the Drudge/Carlson/Hannity triumverate tried to bait America into buying about the President the day before the debate.
Guests will include:
- Ari Berman, contributing writer for The Nation and author of "Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics."
- U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democrat from Maryland.
- Dan Dicker, CNBC contributor and principal partner at MercBlog.
- Annie Murphy Paul, Time magazine contributor and author of "Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives."
- Raul Reyes, attorney and NBC Latino contributor.
- Matthew Segal, president of OurTime.org, a non-partisan youth empowerment organization.
- Maya Wiley, founder and president of the Center of Social Inclusion.
As always, folks -- be sure to interact with us during the show here in the comments of this post, on Facebook, and on Twitter, using the hashtag #nerdland. We look forward to having you join us at 10am ET on msnbc!