Last night, I finished watching the Romney/Obama debate, ate a bowl of ice cream in a daze, and was about to go to bed when I got an email from the President:
I hope I made you proud out there explaining the vision we share for this country.
Now we need to go win this election -- the most important thing that will happen tonight is what you do (or don’t do) to help in the little time we have left:
Usually I love getting chatty emails from the most powerful man on earth. But last night was no ordinary night. He should’ve sent this instead:
SUBJECT: Holy shit did I fuck that up or what
Hey. Please don’t delete this email out of spite before reading it. I just watched a tape of my debate with Governor Romney. Wow—did I blow it? Michelle’s a straight shooter, and she just told me Beyonce and Jay-Z probably aren’t going to be our friends anymore.
There’s not much time left in this campaign. That’s why it’s so weird that I let Governor Romney dominate every aspect of tonight’s encounter. He actually managed to come across as more empathic than I am. Mitt Romney! The man has all the charm of a bus schedule. Hey. What was I thinking?
Actually, I know exactly what I was thinking: “Just play a solid defensive game and give Romney enough room to make an ass of himself as he’s done with awe-inspiring consistency for the past few months.” Hey. It seemed like a solid strategy. But I understand if you’re probably asking yourself, Does Barack want this job or not? After all, I knew tens of millions of Americans would be watching the debate; I should have figured out a simple, punchy argument for my re-election -- or, at the very least, a way to string two sentences together without risking a spontaneous, nationwide nap explosion.
Couple more things. Hey. Watching the debate footage, I can’t get over Romney’s weird smile whenever I was talking. On the one hand, he looked like a used-car salesman trying to put his best face forward after popping the trunk for a customer and finding a corpse in the wheel well. On the other hand, as Michelle said before slamming the door in my face: “At least HE was trying.” He probably burned a month’s worth of calories keeping that grin in place. Undecided voters (ie. the biggest bunch of idiots on God’s green earth, but what can you do) will probably give him credit for deigning to act like he actually cares what people think of him. (He even deployed the Clinton Thumb of Emphasis! I wonder if Bill licensed that move to Romney, just to needle me?)
In contrast, Michelle was right when she said I looked like I was “auditioning for a mattress commercial and resenting every minute of it.”
The fact of the matter is, Romney had the easier argument to make: “Mr. President, you’ve had this job for four years and people are still hurting. Why should voters give you even more time?” Never mind that his plan for reducing the deficit is to cut funding for PBS! PBS, whose share of the budget is so goddamn small I’m surprised they can afford capital letters.
Maybe now I should admit that I spent 90% of my mental energy during the debate trying to solve the sudoku puzzles I smuggled onto my podium I wish I hadn’t. I also wish I had countered any of the heaping shovelfuls of Rafalca-grade horseshit Mitt Romney kept flinging around the debate hall. What can I say? The Japanese make good number puzzles.
No more excuses. If you’ve ever donated to my campaign, expect a full refund via Federal Express in the next 24 hours, with my sincere apologies. I can’t justify—let alone explain—why I chose tonight of all nights to perfect my imitation of a barnacle sliding off the hull of a ship.
If you truly feel compelled to donate money this evening, please give to the candidate who actually acted like he wants the job:
PS: Hey. I always assumed Romney would smell like vanilla, but he actually reeked of butterscotch. How weird is that?