If we cut through the surface images of the two presidential debates – aggressive confident Romney, subdued and passive Obama, jeering Biden, and polite Ryan – the Obama/Biden team has little chance of winning any of the four debates. Despite recent improvements in survey numbers, the vast majority of Americans think the country “is headed in the wrong direction” and almost eighty percent are “dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States.”
Reduced to fundamentals, Obama and Biden must defend the status quo, which voters believe is a disaster. They cannot offer major makeovers because that would amount to admitting policy mistakes, and they must somehow make voters believe that they have done a good job or that the sorry state of the country is not their fault. It goes without saying that this is a tough and almost impossible sell after three and a half years in office.
Romney and Ryan have their hands free to blast the status quo, focus on the policy errors of the past three and a half years, and explain what they would do to fix the mess we are in.
When the current team manager is having a losing season, fans decide it is time for a new one. Romney and Ryan can play the role of the new manager with new ideas which can turn the season around if given the chance. Obama and Biden are left with explaining why, due to weather, injuries, and other things beyond their control, they have lost so many games. Fans don’t want excuses. They want wins.