Good Figarists around the world are getting out their chili recipes, unpacking their foam No. 1 signs, and buying team regalia. It’s Presidential Debate time! The first one’s October 3. Bring your vuvuzela!
Wait. Only Figaro brings his vuvuzela to debate parties?
In a tight election, everything makes a difference. In this election, though, the difference the debate will make will be, um, different.
Each candidate will use code language to signal the fringes without turning off moderates. Consultants call this technique dog whistling, because it sends messages in a rhetorical frequency only insiders can understand. Obama will talk about fairness, community, level playing fields, and following the rules. Romney is practicing his scriptural phrases, military jargon, and coded messages about Israel.
Meanwhile, the campaign’s spinners are trying to lower expectations for their own candidates and flattering their opponents. If Romney does very well, looking decisive and presidential while attacking Obama in jovial, Reaganesque fashion, he can outscore the president. And that will gin up enthusiasm among Republicans.
Which is the end game for Romney. He rouses his party or he loses. Be there for the kickoff!