There was a prize fight in 1990 in Tokyo in which Mike Tyson was predicted to pummel Buster Douglas and easily retain his world heavyweight championship.
Tyson was a mere 23-year-old who had won 30-something straight fights. He had defended his title against eight previous pretenders. Douglas was 29 and overweight and a heavy underdog. Yet, in the 10th round, Douglas, who had been laying the wood to Tyson since the early rounds, blasted the champ a final time and took the title (only to lose it in his first defense to Evander Holyfield).
Many people were reminded of that fight — considered one of the biggest upsets in sports history — this week when President Obama was supposed to deliver a final staggering blow to challenger Mitt Romney on the way to a second term.
Until then, national polls seemed to indicate the race was over, needing only the vote count on the night of Nov. 6 to confirm Obama’s re-election.
Romney changed all that Wednesday night with an epic upset. The Republican soundly whipped Obama, who must have gone into the debate overconfident that his challenger would stumble (as Obama’s handlers probably had told him to expect). Perhaps Obama hadn’t put in the long hours of debate prep that Romney had undergone. Who really knows why Obama made such a shoddy showing?
I think the president had been reading too many press clippings saying the race was over.
He hardly landed a punch. You know things went badly for Obama when even diehard Democratic strategist James Carville admitted Romney’s strong performance.
Several national pundits said after the debate that Obama in the last four years “probably hadn’t been talked to” the way Romney talked to him, leaving him unprepared. That likely changed the next day when Obama advisers, including First Lady Michelle Obama, turned up the verbal heat on him as they looked to the next debate, set for Oct. 16. (The vice presidential debate on Oct. 11 will produce more fireworks than Obama-Romney.)
Folks, don’t expect much governing to take place between now and the election.
I was shocked that Obama did not jump Romney for his recent secret remarks about the 47 percent of Americans who he claimed don’t pay taxes and depend on the government to take care of them. Obama missed a golden opportunity to try to show that Republicans — as most Democrats believe — aren’t concerned with ordinary, middle-class citizens. As utterly ridiculous as those remarks were, there is still time for Obama to land that jab.
Romney landed several good punches on his charges that Obama has done little to turn around the economy and that he had cut $716 billion from Medicare to help pay for his controversial health care program. Near the end, Romney admitted that neither he nor Obama would do anything to harm those of us already on Medicare and Social Security, thank you very much.
Romney talked a good game about ending the extreme partisanship that exists in Washington. He said he would always consult Democratic leaders on major issues like repealing “Obamacare.”
That’s a campaign promise all of us should embrace.
Mac Gordon is a retired reporter who lives near Blakely. He writes an occasional opinion column for The Albany Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.