The day of the first Presidential debate has come -- but even though this has been billed as Romney's last opportunity to turn the race around, I'm not worried. From the wordsmith who gave us "I didn't ask you a question" and "the trees are the right height here", I shall fear no zinger. Indeed, when I first read that
Romney's team had "equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized" and that he had even been practicing
them on his aides, my first thought was not only to agree with Booman that "I don't think this will go well", but also to wonder why the campaign would even let this out. The image it evokes -- a clumsy and thoroughly phony effort to appear spontaneous -- just reinforces one of the worst aspects of how Romney is perceived. How many people watching the debates will be distracted by waiting to detect a zinger? Won't that make them sound even more forced and phony when he emits them?
As with Eastwood's empty-chair schtick right before Romney's convention speech, the campaign has once again created a pointless distraction right before their man's big performance. Although it is kind of fitting
We all know that debates rarely have much effect on a Presidential race; neither do zingers. The greatest debate zinger ever was Bentsen's "you're no Jack Kennedy" line against Quayle, but it didn't change the outcome of the election. If these "sneak preview" zingers
are anything like what Romney has in his debate arsenal, he'll fare no better.
Watching this debate could be an almost painful experience, but you can always play Zingo
to keep your spirits up. And based on Romney's track record, I'm betting that by the end of the debate we'll all be spelling "zinger" as G-A-F-F-E.
: Funny write-up on Romney's debate prep