Pundits across the political spectrum are all starting to look forward to the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates, which are going to kick off next week in Denver as President Obama and the Republican challenger Mitt Romney square off over domestic policy issues. For a long time, the first debate was considered to be the one, sure-fire lock for a Romney win. After all, the economy has still been sluggishly recovering and Romney was supposedly the economy guy. But now the polls are shifting, and depending on which poll you look at, Romney and Obama are either tied on the economy, or in some cases Obama has the lead.
Combine that, with the growing leads Obama has in nearly all of the crucial “swing states” and you’re starting to get the feeling that the GOP and its SuperPAC backers are going to put the Romney-Ryan ticket on a small boat and do them in Fredo Corleone style. At some point they’re going to want to actually put their money in a winner, and more and more it’s looking like Romney-Ryan is out of gas, out of reboots and most importantly, running out of time.
But all is not truly lost in Romney Land. It is still September for three days, and those all-important debates are still on the schedule. So I started thinking, “What would Mitt have to do in the debates to win them?” After all, with the country starting to doubt his financial prowess (calling half of us moochers certainly helped speed that process up), he’s going to need a bit of a miracle to come out very decisively on top. So with that in mind, here are five things I think Mitt Romney can do to win the debates.
#5. Employ the Pee-Wee Defense
I’m a big fan of Pee-Wee Herman, and as much as it pains me to put Pee-Wee and Romney in the same sentence, let alone suggest that Romney borrow some argument styling from the bow-tied brilliance that is the man-child Herman, the fact is that a solid Pee-Wee Defense could work with the less-informed crowd (Romeny’s base). What is the Pee-Wee Defense? It’s quite simple. No matter what the charge is that President Obama levels against Romney, Mitt simply needs to look at the President and say, “I know you are, but what am I?” Every single time, the entire debate. And if all else fails, and he’s feeling back on his heels, Romney can simply wait for a time when Obama is speaking for an extended period of time, wait for two seconds after he’s finished, then simply say, “I love that story.”
#4. Legally Change His Name To Barack Obama Just Before The Debates
Think of how confused President Obama will be when he steps out on stage and hears, “Ladies, and gentlemen, the President of the United States, Barack Obama. And his challenger, Republican Barack Obama. I mean, unlike the Tea Party, even those of us who support Obama understand in many ways he’s turned out to be a Progressive Republican in a lot of ways. So why not go for the ultimate psych-out move and take his name away from him? For bonus points, Mitt can go in brown-face again like he did for his Univision interview last week. That seemed to go over well, and this would be another opportunity to see that classic Mitt Wit.
#3. Plead The Fifth
For this entire campaign, Mitt has managed to stay tight-lipped about a great many things. He’s not told us which tax loopholes he’d close in order to pay for the tax cuts he wants to give everyone, especially the rich. He’s only revealed two years of tax returns. Romney has tried to stymie the press at every turn in attempt to keep those pesky journalists from asking tough questions, the answers to which might make him look bad, so he should just continue this trend in the debates. After every time Jim Leher or Candy Crowley asks a question of him, he should just turn to the camera and say, “Under advisement of my attorney, I am invoking my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.” After all, as Mark Twain once said, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and have everyone think you’re an out of touch plutocrat than to open your mouth and prove it.”
#2. Turn The Debate Into A Spelling Bee
Both Obama and Romney are Ivy Leaguers. So while they may not be on equal footing when it comes to whether Americans like them, they are conceivably both very good students. Perhaps if Romney proposes to Obama that instead of discussing important domestic or foreign policy issues, they have a contest to show America who the best speller is. Sure, this might be a really terrible idea, and frankly it very likely is, but what else do they have to lose at this point?
#1. Don’t Show Up
Sure, he can’t really claim victory if he doesn’t show up, but at least he won’t actually lose the debate. By not showing up, he’s telling America that he’s a bold leader who won’t have his schedule dictated to him. If he needs a good excuse, he can just play sick and send out a tweet and Facebook update saying, “I’ve got like a weird stomach thing or something, so I’m going to stay home and rest. For all the debates.” Honestly, would this be any more strange a move than picking Paul Ryan as your VP pick and then stifling all his radical Right Wing rhetoric that was going to energize your base in the first place? Or going overseas and managing to insult at least one group of people in ever country he stopped in? His campaign has been operating like a traveling circus for weeks anyway.