1. Romney decides to embrace this. Yes, he’s been a terrible and terribly plastic candidate so far, but now he decides to be “real Romney” in public, ignore the conventions of centrist appeal, and just go lustily after his own base voters.
2. We in the press think this is hilarious, but also kind of more compelling than his usual shtick. He keeps our interest.
3. Obama builds this material into all of his stump speeches, and the “47 percent” thing becomes a laugh line for Democrats—but a rallying point for conservatives and Obama-haters. Finally! A candidate—the formerly timid Romney, no less—with the guts to call out America’s handout culture in forceful terms.
4. Romney goes into the debates with expectations utterly in the basement. He exceeds them. How? By preparing hard and landing some good one-liners. (He has shown he is capable of doing this occasionally.)
5. As the nation looks on, Obama gets irritated, as he often does, by the very fact of having to spend time on the stage with Romney This is exacerbated by the fact that Romney seems actually to be doing pretty well. Obama says something stupid. (He has shown he is capable of doing this occasionally.)