04 October 2012

A setback, perhaps a useful one

The debate snap polls make it pretty clear that viewers judged Romney the winner.  While I doubt most of us are freaking out as badly as Andrew Sullivan did, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Debates rarely move the needle much in the over-all race.  That will be especially true in a highly polarized electorate like this, where there are relatively few undecided or easily-swayable voters left.

2) There are two more debates to go (three counting the VP debate), and now Obama and his team know they need to do better.

3) Romney's performance was based on the same thing his whole campaign has been based on -- lies.  The public already mistrusts him, and Obama now has a new array of lie-vs.-fact contrasts to exploit in ads.

4) The factors which have lately been moving the needle our way, such as the 47% speech, were obviously not uppermost in the minds of snap-poll respondents just after watching the debate -- but they will continue to work.

This analysis comes close to my own view of things.  It will take a few days to see whether the national or swing-state head-to-head polls have been moved at all, and if so, whether it will last.  Until then, there's no grounds for panic.  We've gotten used to seeing Romney floundering, so much so that it's almost a shock to see him do well at anything, but the man couldn't have gotten where he is if he were totally inept.  If anything, this setback could even serve as a useful antidote to the complacency that risked setting in as we watched Obama's poll leads widen over the last couple of weeks.  Complacency can be even more dangerous than panic in discouraging effort.  We need to remember both that we're in a real fight and that we're most likely to win -- if we all do what we can for it.

[Image at top found via Mashable.]


Blogger Tommykey said...

It's all part of Obama's rope-a-dope 11 dimensional chess strategy. Everything is going exactly to plan. LOL!

I have to confess I didn't bother to watch the debates. Each side is going to spout their buzzwords and talking points.

04 October, 2012 09:40  
Blogger Green Eagle said...

What you say is absolutely true, but it still doesn't absolve Obama. Everyone knows that Romney's strategy is to tell lies about Obama and to say whatever he thinks his current audience wants to hear about his alleged positions. Obama was utterly unprepared to deal with that.

What bothers me is not that Obama lost the debate but that, after four years of being subject to savage abuse and betrayal by the Republican party, he still cannot admit to himself that they are not good faith partners in running this country.

Right now, the Republican party has done a thousand times as much damage to the United States as Al Qaida could ever hope to do, and until Obama openly deals with that, he doesn't have a chance of protecting the country from the endless series of economic and political disasters that are all the Republican party has to offer.

04 October, 2012 16:59  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

You're so right about the danger of complacency. I hope you're right that this slip-up will clear that cobweb out of a lot of heads.

Debates can be crucial; I've seen it happen. I strongly suggest that Obama go for a long walk, or treadmill session, the day before the next one, then get a good night sleep. Twenty minutes before showtime he should drink a tall cup of Starbucks' finest. It couldn't hurt.

04 October, 2012 17:01  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

I've read Green Eagle's comments; there is nothing I can add but to only nod in agreement. If the Dems haven't learned to come out swinging with gloves off by now, they never will.

Bush was a complete dolt in every way one could compare him to Romney... Bush won TWICE!!

I've thrown up my hands at this point. All I can do is take my ballot to go through the motions. I'm not optimistic.

04 October, 2012 22:22  
Blogger Tommykey said...

I strongly suggest that Obama go for a long walk, or treadmill session, the day before the next one, then get a good night sleep.

S.W. Anderson, that might be good advice, except that he is also serving as the president, which can be a demanding, stressful job, or so I've heard.

05 October, 2012 05:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

TK: Yeah, some people are going a bit overboard with the spin. The fact is, Obama lost a battle. But it wasn't a very important battle in the broader war.

GE: I don't think Obama needs to be "absolved". In the campaign in general he's run rings around Romney, with better ads, a better convention, and far fewer and less serious gaffes. I don't know why his debate performance was as weak as it apparently was, but we can't expect him to never ever lose anything.

SWA: Thanks. Obama may not have been able to prepare for the debate as thoroughly as Romney because he has the burden of the Presidency occupying his attention, but winning re-election is also important -- and is really part of the job.

RtS: The gloves have come off in other areas. The ads attacking Romney's 47% speech have been pretty brutal. I don't think Obama still has any delusion that today's Republicans are honorable or decent people. But he has to tread carefully to avoid evoking the "scary angry black man" image, especially when he's on TV in person, as in the debate.

TK: He does operate at an innate disadvantage in that sense -- but some incumbent Presidents have managed to perform well in debates. On the other hand, he probably realizes that the debates aren't likely to sway the election outcome much, and aren't the best thing to devote his energies to.

05 October, 2012 07:30  

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