(ThyBlackMan.com) During the first presidential debate, liberals looked on in horror as President Obama did his best Timothy Mozgov impression, allowing Mitt Romney to posterized him with a thunderous presidential debate performance reminiscent of Blake Griffin’s most famous dunk. The fallout was as swift as it was unprecedented. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews’ short circuited on air, Newsweek’s Andrew Sullivan nearly flung himself from a ledge, and Al Gore took to hypothesizing about the perils of Colorado’s altitude to explain the President’s passive performance. Previously steady polls flipped like Gabby Douglas during an Olympic floor exercise. Suddenly clinically depressed Democrats began scouring Groupon and Living Social hoping to secure discounted plane tickets to Canada before Mitt Romney’s impending inaugural address in January.
Then everything changed during the vice presidential debate when Joseph Biden Jr. stepped to the stage with his high top fade and proceeded to blow it up Democratic “House Party” style.
Joe Biden did everything short of dropping the microphone to the floor after the battle with Paul Ryan, leaving him defeated as Tisha Campbell and Jodie’s mom laughed at him like he was a sucker. As far as style is concerned, the President and his Veep couldn’t have been more polar opposite if Obama stood at the lectern repping Santa’s hood and Biden debated while decked out in baggy jeans and shirts designed by 1990’s clothing company South Pole. While the President was subdued, Biden cackled, when the President was pensive, Biden pounced, where the President seemed unnerved, Biden became unhinged, and during those moments the President looked down at his notes, Joe Biden lurched up at the heavens grinning with sheer delight.
After the dust settled from both debates the consensus was clear to even the President’s most loyal supporters that Biden’s was the performance President Obama should have given. It also happened to be the very performance that the President could not give. President Obama couldn’t deliver an impassioned, full throated defense of his policies like the vice president because he couldn’t risk infecting potential voters with Baracknophobia. Webster’s Dictionary defines (not really) Baracknophobia as an irrational and unfounded fear of an African American President who emotes in any form or fashion that makes his white constituents feel uncomfortable.
In order to fend off potential Baracknophobia outbreaks, President Obama and his advisors work diligently so he is perceived as safe, warm, and non threatening. In many ways he is the Jackie Robinson President who will never charge the mound even when a pitcher throws a “you lie” fastball at his head during his State of the Union address. Being the Jackie Robinson President means you have to actually be Jackie Robinson and not attack even when provoked. In other words, it doesn’t much matter that Josh Gibson hit a lot more home runs than Babe Ruth because Josh Gibson was too Black and scary to be allowed outside the confines of the Negro Leagues which is why he never had one at bat in the Majors.
President Obama didn’t emote during the debate for the same reason Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Derek Jeter have never expressed an opinion on much of anything during the height of their respective careers. Doing so would have alienated their white fan base and been irreparably bad for their business. White fans want their Black athletes to dunk balls, make putts, and swing bats not voice their opinions. Similarly, white voters want their Black President racially antiseptic and not to say things like the cop who arrested Dr. Henry Louis Gates in his own home acted stupidly, or if he had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin. This could cause a Baracknophobia flare up.
No one disputes Mitt Romney lied his magic underweared butt off during the first presidential debate. Actually, lying doesn’t accurately capture what the governor did on that stage in Colorado. Romney didn’t so much lie as he built an unholy monument to untruths. He peppered 60 million viewers with falsehood after falsehood as Jim “the scarecrow” Leherer stood by idely as if the birds would be too frightened to land on his shoulder and peck his eyeballs out before destroying the crops he was stuffed with straw and charged to protect.
President Obama’s supporters frothed at the mouth and yelled at their televisions pleading for him to call Romney out. Instead the President didn’t react at all, knowing that to engage in this way would likely cost him a second term. So President Obama focused all his energy at hiding his annoyance with the man standing at the podium opposite him pretending to be Mitt and with the man sitting in front of him pretending to be moderating. In the process he lost the debate, his momentum, and the confidence of his supporters.
Leading up to the first presidential debate, experts agreed the President needed to avoid a “you’re likable enough, Hillary” moment. The President’s off the cuff joke made during the debate on the eve of the New Hampshire primary proved very costly in 2008. Then Senator Obama was leading by nearly double digits heading into the New Hampshire Primary but went on to lose that matchup and reinvigorate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Though the surprising turnaround is often attributed to Hillary’s tearful moment during a local television interview, the truth is primary voters were beset with a sudden bout of Baracknophobia. “Peevish“, “snide“, “scornful”, “terse“, “icy“, “condescending“, “arrogant” were the terms the media used to describe the joke. Misplaced adjectives are one of many symptoms of Baracknophobia, as is revisionist history, which the media used to twist then Senator Obama’s benign joke, into a mean and vicious attack of some sort despite the fact the joke was so well received in the room and that even Hillary Clinton couldn’t help but giggle.
Even despite his considerable losses, President Obama was right not to let his emotions show during the first presidential debate. Had he done so the damage would have been irreparable. He and his advisors calculated that he can rebound from a poor debate performance but there is no coming back from an October outbreak of Baracknophobia.
In fact, just a day before the first presidential debate there was a blatant attempt to incite a Baracknophobia outbreak when Matt Drudge “reported” on a four year old video clip that featured then Senator Obama criticizing George W. Bush’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina. Suddenly the clip was looped on Fox News, you know, the very same Fox News that has never broadcasted an image of the President’s visage that wasn’t scowling. Apparently it was very important for everyone to know that President Obama once referred to FEMA’s incompetence as “colorblind“. Matt Drudge and Rupert Murdoch submitted the video to the public as definitive proof the President secretly harbored a bottomless pit of unbridled Black rage inside of him. They not so gently reminded their audience to keep an eye out for this secret rage lest the President get all “Plymouth Rock landed on us” during the first presidential debate.
So perhaps it should come as no surprise that despite the great pains President Obama went through while actively trying to mask his obvious disdain for Mitt Romney he was still pegged with the “he looked angry” label after the first presidential debate. Fortunately for him as far as Baracknophobia symptoms are concerned, “looking” angry amounts to the sniffles while “acting” angry will cost you an election.
Looking ahead to the second presidential debate there may be an infinite number of possibilities that could unfold but rest assured seeing President Obama emotional or angry is not one of them. The risk of Baracknophobia is simply too great. It’s hard enough being a Black man in America, even if you happen to be a Black man who is the leader of the free world.
Staff Writer; Justin Michael Carter
One may connect with this brother via Twitter; J. Carter.