In the second presidential debate, Romney inartfully explained that as a newly elected governor of Massachusetts, he did exactly what liberals and Democrats should have wanted him to do: go out of his was to find qualified women for top jobs. "And so we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our Cabinet," Romney explained. "I went to a number of women's groups and said, 'Can you help us find folks?' And they brought us whole binders full of women."
Instead of conservatives fretting over this nod to identity-politics bean counting, we saw liberals, egged on by the president, freaking out over the word "binders" as if it meant, well, something funny, important and damning about Romney. After all, we know that real leaders organize their documents in file folders, not filthy, stinking, yucky binders.
At the end of an interview with Rolling Stone, an editor there told Obama that his 6-year-old daughter had a message for the president "Tell him: You can do it." Instead of replying with an aw-shucks thank you, Obama immediately snapped back with a remark about how little kids can tell Romney's a "bull----er."
I know what you're thinking: Classy. Presidential. High-minded.
The irony, I think, is that the president was projecting a label better applied to himself, and voters were catching on to it in ways they hadn't before, even when he promised to make the oceans heel to his command. I still expect the president to fail in his bid to be re-elected. But if he squeaks by, it just might be because he was saved from himself -- by the very oceans he failed to conquer.