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Obama performs better when his back is against the wall; he has some subconscious need to put himself in challenging positions. That makes it hard for him to surf success and intensity; he just suddenly runs out of gas and stops fighting, leaving revved up supporters confused and deflated. “That’s just his rhythm,” said one adviser.

He often fails to pin his opponents on the mat the first time he gets the chance; instead, perversely, he pulls back and allows foes to gain oxygen. It happened with Republicans in the health care and debt-ceiling debates and when he let the Tea Party spread narrative about “death panels.” Now he has let Romney spread a phony narrative about moderation and tax math.

Obama arrived at the podium with disdain for debates, which he regards as shams, as Carter White House adviser Gerry Rafshoon puts it, where “people prefer a good liar to a bad performer.” Plus, he’s filled with disdain for Romney, seeing him as the ultimate slick boardroom guy born on third base trying to peddle money-making deals. Surely everyone sees through this con man?

It is that distaste for salesmanship that caused Obama to refuse to muster his will and energy, and urgently sell his vision. But by doing so he undermines arguments for four more years.

Reminds me of Carl Rove's psychoanalysis of Obama during the 2008 campaign:

At a breakfast with Republican insiders at the Capitol Hill Club this morning, former White House senior aide Karl Rove referred to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, as "coolly arrogant."

"Even if you never met him, you know this guy," Rove said. "He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."

I hope Obama wakes up and gets some fire in his belly.
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