President Obama Wins Debates When He’s Not Challenged

Soapdish is a hilarious 1991 comedy well worth revisiting (it is available on DVD) since it serves as a metaphor for President Obama’s public persona. The movie stars Sally Field who portrays the reigning queen of a popular, long-running television soap opera, “The Sun Also Sets.”

Field’s character, Celeste Talbert, is entirely self-centered. She oozes affection for her fans . . . right up until the moment they are out of eye-shot. She does not deal well with adversity; she has tantrums. She has meltdowns.

At the last gasp, Celeste Talbert has a unique way of dealing with disappointment. The parallels between Celeste Talbert and the president are worth noting.

First, the fiction. When it seems that people are turning against her, Celeste has her best friend and head writer on the show, Rose Schwartz (played by Whoopie Goldberg), drive her to a New Jersey mall. Rose will wait for a sizeable crowd, and then yell “Look, look! Isn’t that Celeste Talbert?” This causes the throng to cluster around Celeste, hanging on her every word and fighting for autographs. Celeste gets her ego recharged from the adoring public. Life is now worth living again.

The president, like Celeste Talbert, is a total narcissist. He cannot and will not tolerate contradiction or disagreement. When it does strike, he retreats to the safety of his “mall moments” where he is secure in the bosom of his unquestioning followers. In real life, he even has Whoopi Goldberg flogging his “brand.”

The president’s mall appearance took place at Bascom Hill, in Madison, Wisconsin, the day after he got spanked in the first presidential debate. The president proceeded to regale the doting crowd with the invective against Governor Romney that they are accustomed to. He impugned Mr. Romney by saying the man on the stage with him the day before (“who looked like Mitt Romney”) was “an imposter.”

He accused Governor Romney of wanting to “crack down on Sesame Street instead of Wall Street.” The president persisted in trumpeting accusations of a fallacious “Romney tax cut of 5 trillion dollars,” “favoring the rich.” This was an especially brazen lie given that Romney had disputed the president’s fabrication, no fewer than three times, in front of a television audience in excess of 67 million people during their debate the night before. But facts don’t matter. The audience lapped it up.

The adulation was what the president required in order to erase the bitterness of having been exposed on national television. The president’s litany concluded in the best Soapdish fashion: “I believe in you and I’m asking you to believe in me.” The crowd went wild. Just as with Celeste Talbert, this whimsical pronouncement of mutual faith was nothing of the sort. It had nothing to do with the “audience.” It was all about him.

The faithful, interviewed after the speechifying, were fairly unanimous in their verdict. They were of the opinion that the president should have kneecapped Romney the night before. Common comments sampled like this:

  • “He should have done last night what he did today. He came out like his old self today.”
  • “This was definitely the Obama we expect.”
  • “I wish he would have called out Romney last night like he did today.”

The local Portage Daily Register concluded “Post-debate boost needed.” Ya think? Like the plot of Soapdish this experience gave the president that boost. Unlike Soapdish, however, there is a problem: This is real life. What the fans want, the president just can’t deliver.

The president licks his wounds like Celeste Talbert. He retreats to self-serving demagoguery in front of his acolytes for a self-esteem fix. The only opportunity the president really has to lie about r Romney, unchallenged, is when addressing a crowd that will offer no disagreement. But it doesn’t work that way when facing a live adversary.

In real life, challengers fight back. In a debate the guy at the other podium can’t be controlled by his opponent’s script. Whether the president likes it or not, his contest with Romney is a real fight for the presidency of the United States. And in the real world, Romney is winning when he’s unfiltered by the media.

Every day the lies are taken to task by usually biased Obama sources. More disturbing facts about the Lyin’ King and his administration emerge daily. Stay tuned for a potentially ruinous scandal involving the president’s campaign funds; it may be exposed this week. Breitbart has already published the opening salvo. Of course, there may be a media cover-up.

The president doesn’t absorb body blows as well as Celeste . . . but then, Celeste Talbert is a fictional character in a scripted world. The president would do well to enjoy his “trips to the mall” while he can. Perhaps he can take Whoopi Goldberg with him. This is real life, not a soap opera. And in the real world Mr. President, “The Sun Also Sets.”