Seriously. Obama’s body language was so fucking passive. He practically pretended Romney wasn’t in the room. He looked at Jim Lehrer, the camera, the crowd, his hands, birds in the fucking distance— anywhere but DIRECTLY AT HIS OPPONENT. And so, the sweet camera angle that SHOULD HAVE BEEN Obama staring Mitt down was appropriated by DUN DUN DUN— the male gaze:
Meanwhile, Romney was super aggressive. He ALWAYS looked directly at Obama when responding. Answered his questions DIRECTLY. Gestured AT him with this hands. Sorry, Obama but this is not a fucking piano recital. You don’t just go up there and share your neat little talking points and wait for the nation to tell you you’re so smart. That’s not how this works. It’s a debate. I mean, it almost didn’t even matter what Romney said. He LOOKED like he was winning:
I’m not gonna let this country and this planet go down the tubes because my president doesn’t know how to FACE HIS OPPONENT in a debate. Mind you, this “I’m-just-gonna-pretend-you’re-not-here” aloof bullshit is Rebuild the Dream 101. Van Jones called him out on this a long, long time ago and our dear president still hasn’t learned. See Rebuild the Dream Big Mistake No. 3: White House Ignores Charges that Obama is a Socialist.
We cannot lose this election to Obama’s tried and truly ineffective passivity.
Please join me in begging Obama to amp up his body language for the next goddamn debate.
Let us travel back in time. Here’s the same exact body language dynamic playing out in 1992. Bush turns away, Clinton opportunistically employs male gaze:
Clinton proceeds to make direct eye contact, gesture at his opponent, invade his space:
Who won that election again? CLINTON.
“Some debates turned on visuals and body language: John F. Kennedy mastering the new medium of television even though Richard Nixon may well have bested him on the issues; Al Gore’s miscalculated eye rolls and alpha-male posturing in debates with George W. Bush; Bush the elder glancing at his watch and stumbling through a town hall format that Bill Clinton nailed.”