Stop fretting over the perception that Barry Obama “lost” the debate. The concept of winning or losing a debate is incoherent, and this wasn’t a real debate anyway. It was an opportunity for both candidates to do one and only one thing: fuck up colossally, and neither candidate did that.
Well, sort of. In an alternate universe where politicians are accountable for lying through their teeth, Governor Romneytron 3000 would be in a right old spot of bother this morning.
It’s easy to “win” a “debate” if you cold make shit up about:
- your own nonexistent tax plan;
- your opponent’s record on healthcare reform;
- your own healthcare reform plan, which conveniently retains all of the most popular, easily understood features of the DREAD OBAMAKARE but contains zero specificity about how it would be different in any other respect; and
- the efficacy of the private sector in dealing with the unique product that is healthcare provision.
By parroting the same debunked silly nonsense about “ZOMG $716 billion cut to Medicare!” despite repeated objections from Barry, Mittens Romney is banking that swing voters will simply trust his words more than the President’s. That’s a bold maneuver considering that Mittens’s words change depending on where he is in the election cycle and what part of the country he’s in.
I guess you could say that Mittens “won” the “debate” because he exceeded the low expectations placed upon him by the librul media, and Barry seemed sluggish and even distracted. Mitt Romney is clearly more comfortable talking about the margins of centrist tax policy than he is at pandering to the God, Gunz & Gayz Brigade, and in that respect alone is a formidable opponent to Obama.
Mitt Romney, the Mexican Space Lizard, might have been more sharp and energetic at the “debate” last night, but he had to be. To use the metaphor of a boxing match, Señor Romnero is in the late rounds of a match that he’s losing on points, and he knows it. There isn’t enough time left to recover unless he can knock his opponent out, and that entails some aggression (i.e., shameless lies and distortions).
Barry, on the other hand, knows that he’s sitting pretty. He knows how the judges’ scorecards in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada look, and as long as he doesn’t let Mittens goad him into calling Romney a jive-ass honky on national television, he’s probably going to win reëlection.
As the excellent FiveThirtyEight blog has noted, first debates often help challengers in the polls. HOWEVAH, the candidate who leads in the polls in the aftermath of the first debate has won the Electoral College going back to at least 1976.
We’re late in the game, Mittens Romney is throwing haymakers, and he hasn’t (yet) landed any of them. The ultimate body blow would be a scandalous October Surprise (or better yet, Cocktober Surprise), but aside from rehashing videos of press events from 2008 where a black Barack Obama talks to black people (THE HORROR! /faints) it doesn’t seem likely on either side.
True to form, Barry is just closing out the game by being resolute on defense. As the days go by and Mittens remains more or less where he was in the polls yesterday, he’ll come out swinging that much harder. But that doesn’t mean he’s “winning” in any sense of the word; it means he’s losing and he knows it.