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Andrew Sullivan is quite agitated over the recent Pew Poll numbers which put Romney ahead.  Without a doubt, Romney put a substantial dent in Obama’s lead.  But there is no need to fret just yet.

A few things.  

First, how Sullivan extrapolates the complete self destruction of the Obama campaign from one poll is strange.  Yes, it shows Obama losing his lead amongst women and shows voters becoming more comfortable with faux Romney, who transformed in ninety minutes from a  “severe conservative” to a middle class crusader.   But it is one poll, and other post-debate polls still show Obama ahead by one to two points.

Second, polls which track people’s reaction the day or two after the debate are of course going to reflect the public’s strong initial reaction to the debate.  Obama took a drubbing, and anyone who watched it surely had a visceral reaction to it, one way or another.

Third, Sullivan tepidly suggests that Obama embrace Simpson-Bowles to curtail the damage.  Running to the right will not help Obama, especially when Romney just did so well running to the left last week.  A cornerstone of the Simpson-Bowles proposal is the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for homeowners.  It will not go well for Obama when, during the next debate, Romney claims he wants to “protect” the deduction and the middle class while Obama wants to gut it by taking away its biggest deduction.

Fourth, Sullivan does not think that exposing Romney as a cheat and a liar will be convincing enough in round two or three to stop the bleeding.  I completely disagree.  Obama does not need to scream at the top of his lungs that Romney is a liar (leave that to Biden), or even destroy or clearly defeat Romney.  Instead, he needs to calmly and coolly dismantle Romney’s lies with facts, and then clearly and concisely contrast his own proposals with Romney’s nonsense.  And it is nonsense at this point–Romney’s platform is completely incoherent.  Just take the preexisting conditions item.  He is against forcing coverage of them before the debate, for it during the debate, and then his campaign tells the press after the debate that he is actually still against it.

Fifth, Sullivan seems to think Obama’s performance was worse than Bush’s first debate performance against Kerry in 2004. What is he talking about?  Bush’s brain and everything that came out of his mouth was mush that entire debate.  Yes, Obama was horrible, but he was not incomprehensible and he did not walk away looking as dumb as a rock, as Bush did.

Finally, it is foolish to doubt the Pew polling results or methodology, but nobody should be so quick to issue judgement based on one poll, especially while other polling done at the same time show dramatically different results.  The Pew Poll is the canary in the coal mine, and not the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Public sentiment is extremely volatile right now.  We just went from a solid Obama lead with an organized and impressive convention to within the margin of error after a confused and disappointing debate performance–with Romney achieving the exact opposite results.  Let things settle a bit before we start to truly panic!

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Comment Preferences

  •  While I generally like Sully (0+ / 0-)

    (or his current incarnation), he remains a bit of a deficit scold.  OK, he remains a LOT of a deficit scold.  He suffers from the same disease that many journos do--he thinks his priorities are the nation's priorities, and that the election will go to whoever is the bigger deficit hawk.  Much of his support for Obama is based on the notion that the GOP are fiscal frauds--who only care about the deficit when Democrats are in power, or it can be used to undermine liberal programs; but he seriously believes that Simpson-Bowles (or Bowles-Simpson) is the president's ticket to re-election.

  •  Yes. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    57andFemale, Deejay Lyn, freerad

    I can't remember any parallel, on either side, to what is happening to so many Obama supporters here and elsewhere right now.

    Obama LOST A DEBATE.  Just like most of the guys who ended up winning.  Sucks, but why are people treating this like it's Armageddon?   The Right has been behind for months, and clearly disgruntled, but they soldiered on nonetheless.  But for us, it seems like one stumble and some folks are ready to throw in the towel.  

    All the evidence I've seen on balance indicates that, despite the race tightening, we're still winning this thing, and we WILL win, unless we surrender to panic.  And last weekend was Rmoney's high-water mark.  Let's keep calm and carry on.

  •  A cold mackerel (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deejay Lyn, cthon1c

    I think that many of us were getting complacent, the campaign included, in imagining a landslide ahead. All the gloating over poll numbers was giving me some concern -- I know from hard gained experience that karma invariably comes back and kicks you in the ass when you start to getting too cocky. And we knew that the ruthless GOP wasn't going to let this go without pulling out all their big guns.

    So the Pew poll was like a cold dead mackerel across the face. Wake us up. The race isn't won yet. Keep working. I hope Obama campaign (Obama himself) will put aside his commendable but misguided idea that talking facts in a low key way isn't going to beat a ruthless bald-faced liar. I hope he comes out swinging from here on out.

    And Andrew, of course, gets very emotional, bless his conservative British heart.

    •  I have to ask (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deejay Lyn, Commoditize This

      What if PBO doesn't completely change who he is, and doesn't fulfill our fantasy of Obama the Prizefighter?  Will we freak out and lose another precious week we can't afford?

      Republicans NEVER would have filled the blogosphere or the airwaves with their freak out, and certainly wouldn't have continued the narrative for a week.  this is 2010 all over again.  This is ACA all over again.  Unless PBO says exactly what we want, exactly how we want him to say it, then we'll bail.  Republicans would have pivoted -- as ONE voice -- to the weaknesses in their opponent's debate performance, and Romney gave us tons of ammunition.  And yet we're still here, screaming doom, blaming everything that's wrong on Daddy's bad night instead of having his back for once and pivoting strongly.  Instead, we fight amongst each other.  

      We did this with ACA and helped to lose 2010.  medicare wasn't perfect when first enacted; SS wasn't perfect when first enacted, and yet if ACA wasn't perfect we were going to blow our opportunity to trumpet the largest step in the right direction toward universal health care for all that this country has ever seen.  

      We cannot afford to lose this election.  this country is doomed under Romney in ways we cannot even imagine yet.  It's about our character as progressives as well -- we better get our act together.  I'm ashamed of how many on the left have handled this.  We have a great candidate with a great heart and intellect -- we can't support that and move this progressive march in the right direction?  

      •  Agree (0+ / 0-)

        I totally agree with you on all points. The president was savaged in the press for a low-key debate that would have been fine under any other circumstances. I couldn't believe the MSNBC freakout. They could have freaked out over Mitt's bald-faced lying, but chose to savage the president instead.

        I expect to see this kind of emotional handwringing on dKos and of course Andrew always has his emotional ups and downs. But i think we need to badger and bludgeon the press for their failure to address the outright lying.

  •  This is the same attitude (0+ / 0-)

    That got Scott Brown elected in MA and Rick Scott in FL.  Martha Coakley and Alex Sink ran pathetic campaigns, refused to ignore warnings, and then refused to attack the oponent which left a jerk elected in MA and a criminal in FL.

    This type of attitude will put another jerk/criminal Romney in White House.

    We need to pound and pound and keep punching till it hurts Bain Capital and Tax Return Ads.  No other issues.  And when hurts punch again.  Run the Bain Ads with Romney saying "I like to Fire People" at the end - run them over and over till it hurts.

    Run Ads that tell the american People they are electing a Tax Cheat who paid no taxes for 10 years.  

    Run Ads on how economically patriotic Bain is - outsourcing kings, jobs in India, China, ect, ect, ect.

    Please.  Either do it or lose.  

    •  Yes. But I want to add one other concept: (0+ / 0-)

      "Mitt vs. Mitt"

      Use his own words against him. Nothing else works better.

      "Because only three percent of you read books - and only fifteen percent of you read newspapers - but right now there is a whole and entire generation that didn't know anything that didn't come out of this tube." - Howard Beale

      by Audible Nectar on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 05:35:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rachel Maddow explained how incumbents lose (0+ / 0-)

    a good percentage of the first debates. I think it was Friday night, and it was thorough. It was also sensible advice to take a deep breath and see how things play out.

    In the meantime keep promoting Obama's goodness, and Romeny as a liar wherever you go.

    Encourage people to Vote for the President.

    "Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind."- Henry James

    by Canaryinthecoalmine on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:16:24 PM PDT

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