The Unpolitician

But that’s what I like about Barack Obama. He’s so authentic. He is not your typical politician, glad-handing and kissing babies and promising everybody everything. To the extent that he does some of that, it’s because David Axelrod makes him do it, because that is how you get elected in America.

Ed about the first debate.

By Ed McManus

I watched the debate last night. No, not the third debate. The first one. And I think President Obama won it. And no, I haven’t lost my mind. Let me explain:  On the evening of Oct. 3, I had a speaking engagement. I got home in time to hear all the TV commentary about how bad Obama was and how good Gov. Romney was, and of course we all have heard that ever since. So last night I decided to finally sit down and watch the debate–on YouTube.

Too honest
Too smart for a politician.

It is true that Romney was much more dynamic. He was cheerful, and he acted like he was excited to be there and excited about maybe becoming President. Obama looked tired–who wouldn’t be, leading the Free World and all?–and he came across as the university professor that he is. But that’s what I like about Barack Obama. He’s so authentic. He is not your typical politician, glad-handing and kissing babies and promising everybody everything. To the extent that he does some of that, it’s because David Axelrod makes him do it, because that is how you get elected in America.

But the real Obama came through in that debate–an honest man, not a phony.

I consistently defended the President when all my liberal friends were trashing him for not standing tough against the Republicans in Congress. Obama stubbornly clung to the notion of bipartisanship when it obviously was a lost cause, but I firmly believe he did it because it is the right thing to do, regardless of the political consequences. (Also, frankly, as the first black President, he knew he would be held to a higher than usual standard.)

Many people believe it is foolish for politicians to not be political, and I guess they are right in that the only realistic way to win an election is to compromise some of your principles. But isn’t that a sad commentary on America?

At least two other people in the nation think Obama won the first debate. My friend Sherry said, “If it were judged on honesty, knowledge of the debate subjects, and nuanced ways of dealing with the topics, he really won, but as many have said, it’s form over substance.” My friend Penny said Obama was trying to be polite. “He didn’t feel he could keep telling Romney, ‘You’re lying.’ Obama was trying to follow the rules of a debate.”

Obama’s associates say he hates doing things that he considers transparently political. Fortunately for us, he listened to his advisers and performed much, much better in the second and third debates. But the fact is that it is still a very close contest, primarily because of the public’s reaction to the first debate.

The Obama campaign needs money for this final push, and I’m proud to say I am playing a part in raising it. I’m no longer ringing doorbells; now I have become a small-time “bundler.” If you will go to the following link . . .

. . . you will find my own personal “Donate” page with a picture of my smiling face! This is my answer to the big spenders who are trying to dominate American politics. The Obama campaign has recruited little guys like me to solicit small donations.

Please consider donating something today. All you have to do is enter your name and credit card and hit “Donate Now.” As you can see, the website is “” so the money goes directly to them (not to me!). As of this writing I have raised $1,795, including three donations of $10 each and one for $500. I set a goal of $1,000 and eventually increased it to $2,000, and hopefully I can continue increasing it. If you have already given, consider giving again.

Many of us may wish that our candidate was a bit more aggressive and political. Me, I like the real Barack Obama. But I guess I have to admit that I enjoyed the second and third debates more than the first!

(Ed McManus is a Wilmette, Il, attorney and a former Chicago Tribune editor/reporter. Comments welcome:

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One thought on “The Unpolitician”

  1. Ed as one of your liberal friends who trashed Obama… I gotta say, I am glad Obama didn’t make you really proud in debates 2 and 3. According to Nate Silver just prior to that debate Obama’s probability of reelection was about 87% . He had Romney on the rope.

    Mitt’s backers were backing OUT, he was kaput! But post debate 1 Obama’s likelihood of winning dropped to 61%… (There just aren’t enough Ed McManuses out there in TV land). He has now inched back up to about 75%. Obama is a good man, but blowing that debate might have and still could cause us to have Romney and his political hacks for 8 years.

    I want my President to stand up for what is good and just, and to do that he needs to remain in office. In the last two debates he was forceful and polite, but was not sleepwalking. He simply screwed up in round 1.

    Furthermore, by not being stronger and more confrontational in his first years to people who only wanted one thing and that was to remove him from office and send him back to “Kenya”, he lost a tremendous amount of enthusiasm of young progressive voters.

    As you know, the problem for Obama, it is not that his former supporters are now voting for Romney, many are just not voting… many are no longer enthusiastic. The GOP is going to have great turnout because they simply hate Obama, the Dems are going in to have a harder time, not because a majority hate the man, they lost interest in the man. The scariest prediction is that many who prefer him over Romney may just not want to take the effort to vote.

    Jackie Robinson was the first person of color to play in the major leagues. He remained a gentleman; he ignored the racial epithets cast his way, but he hit the ball and stole home base like no one before him. He was hired by Walter Alston, and Walter had expectations of him regardless of his skin, many voters had expectations of Obama, chief of which was to stay in the damn office. I am delighted you are raising money for his re-election. I am also delighted you are not running his campaign.

    Oh, yeah I just made my second donation to Obama, the first was after his speech at the convention and the the second was after that second debate…the campaign worker called after that first debacle (my term) and was politely told I want my funds going someone who can help prevent this country from a Supremely Reactionary Supreme Court, and if Obama screwed up again my money was going to a gutsy senator or representative.

    If the President is successful on Nov 6 nobody will be talking about debate #1 if loses, it will go down in history as the turning point in this election. I am glad you liked the second and third debate; could that be the real Ed?


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