Almost as disheartening as the debate itself and Obama’s poor performance is the overwhelming desire of Obama supporters to deny reality. He lost. Yes, Romney won through lies and deceit, yes, CNN rigged its poll, Yes Lehrer did an absolutely awful job with his questions and his failure to moderate, but the truth is Romney won, Obama lost, the polls will shift, the only question is by how much.
Just look at the arguments being made to pretend Obama didn’t lose:
1) Romney’s lies will give Obama ammunition to use in future ads.
First, this doesn’t address the immediate result of the debate, it pins its hopes on some future ads that may or may not get made/aired and that may or may not have an effect. My favorite (sarcasm here) is the argument that Romney’s “Big Bird” moment will hurt him. Really? With people worried about jobs, the economy, the budget deficit, and DC gridlock, people are going to change their vote because of Big Bird? Seriously? We do know the debate hurt the President, we don’t know if he can effectively use Romney’s dishonesty from last night against him. One is certain, the other is just hopeful.
2) The CNN poll rigging proves the snap polls are wrong.
What CNN did was just utterly contemptible and huge props to TheSilverMonkey for that find. This is basically CNN’s Watergate; just like Nixon was going to win even without the break-in and other dirty tricks, CNN could’ve conducted an honest, balanced sampling and would have had a poll that showed Romney winning, albeit by a much smaller margin. But instead it rigged the results because it didn’t trust Romney to deliver. So yes, that CNN statistic of Romney winning the debate 69 to 25 is a joke, but it doesn’t change the fact that Romney won, even Obama’s own campaign is admitting that. It is simply error to conclude that because that poll was rigged, Obama must have won.
3) Romney didn’t win by enough.
Well, at least this argument admits Romney won, and this argument hopefully proves to be true. But it misses the point. Ever since the Republican Convention, everything has been going wrong for Romney and almost everything has been going right for Obama. He needed to keep that momentum going to cement his lead and end any chance Romney had of winning. The reverse happened. This debate gives Romney a win and something to build on. This just made the race closer and made Obama’s - and our - work that much harder. It was a badly missed opportunity.
So I’ll probably get criticized for once again being a “downer” and I’ll probably be accused of working for the other side. But the truth is that one major difference between Democrats and Republicans is that we live in reality; they live is a false, constructed reality. We see the world as it is and see people as they are; Republicans see the world as black and white, us “good”, them (whoever the “them" of the moment is) “bad”. And Romney is the worst abuser of the false reality. It’s one reason why he’s been losing. People can see that the would-be emperor has no clothes. So it frightens and disheartens me when my side engages in phony-thinking and constructs a false reality. Not only does it make us look insipid, not only does it make us look equal to the opposition, if we truly believe the false construct then we harm ourselves. We need to accept the fact that our job just got harder.
I didn’t write this to demoralize, I wrote this to encourage each of you to do more, work harder, meet the challenge. Every community has phone-banking going on right now. If you haven’t been phone-banking, start. If you have, do more. And every community is planning for GOTV for the days leading up to the election. Sign up. Now. Plan on taking time off to knock on doors and encourage folks to vote. And every polling place will need volunteers, especially in states with voter ID laws. Even though in many cases the courts have enjoined those laws, that doesn’t mean that Republicans won’t try to implement them anyway and demand ID as a way of scaring away voters. We have a lot of work to do, let’s not pretend that we don’t. Let’s double and redouble our efforts, because this race isn’t over, not by a long shot.