My father was a lifelong Democrat,as am I, as was my mother and most of the kids I grew up with. In his eighty years, he spent most of his adult life as either a salesman or a sales manager for various major appliance and retail outlets of all kinds. He was good at what he did in part I suspect because he took it for granted that you had to sell yourself as well as the product the company you worked for had to offer. To do anything less was to give your competition a sale.
One day my father and I were watching a basketball game on television. The team we were rooting for., the Portland Trailblazers, were playing another NBA team. The Blazers were as good as a team of five guys can be at getting the ball down the court and passing it back and forth. But nobody was actually wanting to risk taking a shot at the basket until the shooting clock was almost down to zero.
"The can't close," my father said. They have a lot of real good dribblers and passers and nobody on the court wants to take the risk and shoot. And then he alluded to the Presidential race at the time between Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, and his rival, President Bush, the man who led us into Iraq and helped along the worst financial disaster since 1929. "And that's the problem with John Kerry," my dad continued, eyes still on the television screen. "He has to deal with a dirty bunch of Bush's guys like Karl Rove. He's got to get down and level with people and close the sale. Otherwise he's done."
I find myself rather frustrated at this point with President "44". Obama should have known what kind of "shape-shifting" crap Romney might pull on him. He also should have known that Mitt Romney was a capital equity guy and would go hard and fast to "close the sale". That's what salesmen do, and if Romney's father hadn't been a rich man Willard Mitt Romney likely would have gone to a nice state university somewhere in Michigan or New Hampshire and got himself a job running about closing deals . He might even have built himself a nice little used car or truck business.
Now Barack Obama is a different guy. He went into the debate I believe feeling that the facts were on his side, that he had inherited a mess from Bush and all and that there was growth in the economy and the troops were out of Iraq and he was debating an out-of-touch plutocrat who would reveal himself as such. He didn't think he had to call Romney out on his lies, talk about that heartless speech Romney gave about 47 percent of us being either moochers or entitled jerks. Luckily Joe Biden did so in his debate.
But Obama must do it now! He has to be proud and spirited and go after Romney. Obama has to climb down from the Oval Office perch and hit back. Otherwise he will lose. And millions of us in the working and middle classes will lose a voice and a power we need in the federal government.
But I think Obama forgot that you have to "close the sale". You have to show passion for whatever it is you are selling, especially when the most customers are there to buy. And, frankly, Obama should have tried harder.
Luckily he will get another chance in about three days at Hostfra University in New York state. I'm sure he knows now what Romney is capable of doing. I'm sure he's smart enough to go after him this time. But he has to be willing to sell his ideas and his policies and his administration's goals and he has to make plausible any shortcomings. He cannot be lofty. He cannot be academic. He cannot be disengaged.
He must be willing to roll up his sleeves figuratively at least, and ,yes, close the sale. I can't wait until Tuesday to find out.