Skip to comments.Rumbling Toward a Knockout
Posted on 10/27/2012 4:16:08 AM PDT by Kaslin
Reporters and pundits writing about politics and particularly presidential debates can't resist the metaphors of the ring. And why should they? The metaphors work.
"The incumbent fought with a challenger's aggression, while the GOP nominee mostly avoided heated disagreement, except to make jabs on the economy," reported the Hill, the Capitol Hill political daily. "But if Obama looked to lay Romney out on the canvas and the Republican preferred a rope-a-dope strategy, neither candidate was wholly successful."
Rope-a-dope was the clever name that Muhammad Ali, as clever with language as with the finer points of the sweet science, called his strategy in his famous "rumble in the jungle" against George Foreman in Zaire in the 1974. (His press agent actually coined the term.) The champ faked passivity on the ropes, absorbing repeated punches on his arms and body, until the hard-hitting Foreman, finally punching air in frustration, grew weary. Ali then struck swiftly, going for a knockout.
But there was no knockout in the final presidential debate. There was a lot of sparring in the clinches. You could see the president itching to draw his opponent into a slugfest, but the challenger played it safe, a thinking pugilist who expects to win by remaining cool.
Even when the president descended into condescension in their back-and-forth over the declining size of the Navy, Romney didn't retaliate. When the president tried an uppercut in answer to Romney's jab about the number of Navy ships, observing that America has fewer ships afloat than it did in 1916, the challenger stepped aside to let the president appear glib and merely slick with his own observation that "we also have fewer horses and bayonets."
Romney didn't counterpunch, and the next day the fact-checkers did it for him, reporting that the Army has 419,155 bayonets in its inventory, the Marines another 195,334 and has ordered 175,061 more this year, and horses, mules and even jackasses have been used in remote mountainous regions of Afghanistan.
Neither candidate looked like he was in a championship fight. Romney arrived with the momentum from his big win on points in the first debate. President Obama, who made an adequate comeback in the second debate, held his own in the third, if only proving Woody Allen's famous remark that "80 percent of success is showing up." But he ultimately failed because he couldn't make the crowd forget that Mitt Romney is no longer the candidate portrayed in $10 million worth of negative television advertising unleashed earlier in the campaign.
Gone is the 97-pound weakling who needed muscle-building lessons to deal with bullies on the beach who were forever kicking sand in his face. He's now the cautious fighter who knows when to raise his fists and when to hold his punches.
Romney telegraphed his safe strategy in the opening of the third debate when he didn't try to send the president to the canvas for his changing stories about what he did and didn't do in response to death and humiliation in Benghazi. Conservatives at ringside, who could see that the president's jaw was made of thin and fragile glass, wanted the challenger to land the haymaker to take him down. But the challenger was playing to a larger crowd, including independent women who might be turned off by blood in the ring. And the president's story about who knew what and when about Benghazi continued to unravel as the week wore on.
The president's snarky aggressiveness in the final debate was no doubt precipitated by the polls reflecting the Romney surge. The flurry of Obama left hooks, meant to reveal the challenger as a rich man out of touch with the common folk, no longer landed with damage.
"For the first time in this race," Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told The New York Times, "I'd rather be us than them. They spent months building him up as one thing, and in one night he disproved it."
With less than a fortnight to go, nobody is on the ropes, and every fight fan knows the dangers lurking in the late rounds of any fight. My father, Bo Bregman, was a fight promoter, and I grew up on of cautionary tales from ringside. Daddy had matched young Buddy Baer against Joe Louis on a warm night in May 1941 at Washington's old Griffith Stadium. "The Brown Bomber," as all the newspapers called Louis, was then in his prime and was everybody's favorite. Only two minutes into the fight, Baer knocked Louis through the ropes.
Baer continued to punish the champ, and the crowd of 35,000 smelled upset. Louis was hurt again in the fifth round, but early in the sixth the champ caught Baer with a left to the jaw. With another right to the head, Baer went down. He couldn't come out for the seventh round.
In life, in the ring, as in presidential politics, you have to watch out for the final rounds.
But the challenger was playing to a larger crowd, including independent women who might be turned off by blood in the ring.
Ok...But he is not in that ring now and he needs to hit this hard. Benghazi will win this for him.
Because the CIC is a murderer who killed 4 people. He cannot be allowed to “play out the clock” or to argue, like he has, that he didn’t know personally because he has peeps to do it for him. ITS HIS FREAKIN JOB TO KNOW!!!
Authorize a PAC attack...get Ryan to hit it.. whatever it takes. But don’t be the dunce here....People are p-oed mightily. TAP THAT!
And get that POS CIC out of the People’s House!
Hopefully, President Obama will soon be selling cookware on TV.
While I agree with you as do many others, I also have to believe the campaign strategists are similarly aware and have made a strategic decision as to how this Benghazi thing will be handled. It may indeed be as you suggest, the PACS may run with this.
So far Romney has run a very good campaign and you must agree they are in command of many more sources of info as to how the terrain lays now then are we.
I'd much rather see him washing cookware in prison.
He has run an excellent campaign, I agree.
But since the potus is trotting out his “trust” pony, this is an excellent opportunity to highlight the lies being told here.
If he is going to do something or have it done it needs to be sooner than later to catch the early voters...heck seems like half of NC has already voted! Nov 6 itself will be a mop up here...
He cannot coast in this last week...I hope he is not playing it too close.
Basketball metaphors work too; especially obnoxious is the term “pivot”, to indicate dynamism, energy and thoughtful action.
Most obnoxious are the war metaphors; only to be used by Progressives and when used by Conservatives are mean, cruel and inciteful to violence by “right wing extremists”.
(Will there ever be an end to their obnoxiousness?)
Nah . . .hopefully in a year or two, he’ll be stamping out license plates at Leavenworth. . . .
I heard they are looking for a new SHAM WOW guy!
I agree that something more needs to be done since the MSM is doing everything!! within their power, pulling out all the stops, to make sure this news does not reach voters before the election.
The GOP-E will not be the ones to put up the ball and run into the end zone.(repeat that sentence).
So who, what and when? That’s a good question.
Romney telegraphed his safe strategy in the opening of the third debate when he didn't try to send the president to the canvas for his changing stories about what he did and didn't do in response to death and humiliation in Benghazi. Conservatives at ringside, who could see that the president's jaw was made of thin and fragile glass, wanted the challenger to land the haymaker to take him down. But the challenger was playing to a larger crowd, including independent women who might be turned off by blood in the ring. And the president's story about who knew what and when about Benghazi continued to unravel as the week wore on.Thanks Kaslin.
he's following his own path....he won't listen to the gop-e if he doesn't agree with him....
afterall, the gop-e ditched him 4 yrs ago for that neanderthal McCain....
I think you are on to something. The PAC should run an ad with Obama carrying on (the way he does) about how we can count on him to be honest - as he did in the last debate to the extent of being nauseating for those of us who know him and his administration for what they are. Then cut to his speech to the UN where he lambasted the video for causing the violence - then cut to his claims that he “just didn’t have all the information” to move forward. The fact that the media has covered for this fiasco borders on being evil and complicit. Obviously, the media considers the lives of those four Americans less important than re-electing the President who allowed it to happen - and then tried to bury the event, all in an attempt to keep the image of “having stopped Al Quada from being a risk to Americans.”