Sunday, October 7, 2012

Panic! At The Campaign (Part Deux)

Hey kids, remember in June when the Obama campaign was supposedly panicking? I sure do. That's why I wrote about it.

Well here we are again at a crisis point in the race. The debate went very badly for the president. He seemed uninterested, unengaged, unfocused, blah, blah, blah. In fact, he was all of those things. But to think that this race is over or that the debate performance means that he's going to lose is hogwash. Bunk. Horse puckey. Wrong.

Obama was losing some steam in state and national polls right before the debate as his convention bounce and Mitt's 47% comments propelled him to an unsustainable lead. He's lost even more steam over the weekend as polls that generally have a Republican lean (Gravis, Rasmussen and Claris Research) show him losing anywhere from 3-5 points off his lofty perch. Don't get me wrong: I'm not dismissing those polls as unreliable or anti-Obama by choice. They could be the vanguard of a larger shift evidenced by more polls we'll be sure to see this week. It's just that these are the early polls and a fuller picture is sure to emerge after PPP, NBC/WSJ, CBS/Quinnipiac and ABC/WaPo weigh in. Those polls will also include any effects of the positive unemployment rate from Friday and Obama ads over the weekend that highlighted Romney's, shall we say, evolution, on the issues.

Far be it from me to get in the way of a full-scale Democratic screaming, sweating freakout, as I enjoy irrationality as much as the next person (and if the next person is Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum, then it's a gold star day as far as I'm concerned).

My point is that it's not necessary to panic. Let's not give too much credit to the Romney campaign. It wasn't that he did so much better in the debate; it's that Obama did so much worse. The polls will move towards Romney. Then they'll move away from Romney because the movement is based mostly on GOP enthusiasm after the debate. This is the same enthusiasm gap the GOP was supposed to have from the beginning, but didn't because Mitt was/is such an ineffective candidate. The media will have something to print (print; what a dinosaur I am). But in the end, all the GOP has is Romney, and that should brighten the day of every Democrat and liberal in the country.

And it doesn't matter when Obama calls him on the 47% comment, as he surely will on October 16. Mitt's tried to admit that the comment was wrong, but I think he had that line all cued up for the debate. Since Obama didn't mention it, he never got a chance to deliver it in front of 80 million people (as if that would make up for its offensiveness). So he had to go on FOX to say it, and the comment was then promptly buried by the good jobs numbers. At the next debate the country will be reminded of Mitt's policies and will find them lacking, just as they did before the debate. You could say that Mitt's peaking a bit early and is set up for a fall. If you don't want to say it, I just did.

If you really want to panic, then go ahead. For me, good jobs numbers always beat debates. And truthers. And bad ideas like killing PBS and only covering people with preexisting conditions if they already have insurance but otherwise leaving them to the mercy of insurance companies. And turning Medicare into a voucher system. And being on the wrong side on women's health and rights. And dismissing 47% of the country as being dependent on government aid and saying it was wrong to say it, but not wrong to think or act on it.

Gee, all of a sudden, I feel much better about this election. Go. Fight. Win.


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