Tonight is presidential debate #2, townhall style this time. After his drubbing in the first debate, President Obama will probably come out more aggressively than he would have ordinarily. The real question is whether he will pull a Joe Biden or be more calm in his aggressiveness. The biggest problem he faces, though, is his tendency to come across as arrogant. I can see how an aggressive Obama might trigger his inner arrogance for all to see. What’s particularly fascinating to me is the insight into his mind after the first debate: he actually thought he had won. So we’re dealing with someone who entertains delusions of grandeur—but we already knew that.

His other problem, of course, is to try to steer the conversation away from his record. So he will attempt to continue the theme that Romney is an unlikeable, coldhearted money grubber. Why, he even hates Big Bird. He wants to defund him. For the Obama team, that seems to be the height of outrageous behavior. They’ve even run a campaign ad on the subject. Who would have ever guessed that Big Bird and Sesame Street would become a centerpiece of the Obama strategy?

I guess they figure they can push this narrative enough to overshadow all the other pressing issues. I mean, what could possible be more important than saving a make-believe character?

Some people are even planning a “Million Muppet March” on Washington. Right. By the way, you don’t have to feel too bad for Big Bird; the entire Sesame Street gang are taken care of quite well through all the merchandise they sell. The free market has worked its wonders for them; they don’t need taxpayer dollars.

It’s foolishness like this that turns people off from genuine political debate. Even the debates themselves can be hijacked at times and follow a familiar pattern:

We hear a lot of talk about the demise of civility in politics. Sometimes those who decry it the most are the most ardent practitioners of that demise:

The remedy is to look more closely at the record of the one using the “liar” term so loosely:

Did you remember all those? I have provided this reminder as a public service. While watching the debate tonight, it would be good to keep all these fact-challenged statements in mind.