I think it’s safe to say that the 1st debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney is one for the history books. Despite the fact that I feel the President didn’t do nowhere near as bad as people thought he did, pundit hyperventilation and hand-wringing had framed the narrative that the President absolutely got his clock cleaned. That meme was so ingrained that I expected to hear some talking head late Tuesday night say, “Yeah, the President was just re-elected, but what about that 1st debate?”
But now that the smoke has cleared from Tuesday night – and after I’ve successfully told as many Republicans on twitter that they can “go fuck themselves” and performed extremely spirited 80′s era endzone dances in the faces of people that I know to be unrepentant bigots – I’ve come to the conclusion that the 1st debate turned out to be just as harmful to Mitt Romney. What that 1st debate did was give Mitt Romney false hope. If you remember, Romney had been getting massacred by Team Obama ever since he won the nomination. Matter of fact, up until the 1st debate you’d be pretty hard pressed to find a single week that the ex Massachusetts Governor actually won. So, the first debate came and went – and sure Romney got a little bump. Chris Matthews damn near had a coronary. Andrew Sullivan had to have his shoelaces taken away and was on suicide watch. Liberals were acting like stereotypical black characters in Vietnam movies. But despite the hoopla the math was never really there, and any lead that Romney ever had quickly returned to pre-1st debate levels.
But with Conservative media living in it’s own bubble, poll deniers and people actually believing their own spin aplenty – Mitt actually thought that he could win this thing. And that’s why I feel that the 1st debate was bad for Mitt Romney – it not only kicked his entitlement into high gear where I think it lent itself to overconfidence, it set his supporters up to be absolutely crushed in the event of a Romney loss.
See, even though John McCain supporters in 2008 were highly upset that he was defeated – Sarah Palin had been making a horse’s ass of herself for months and his campaign was in constant flail mode – Republicans, if they were honest with themselves during that campaign, had to admit that they didn’t need to be clairvoyant to see concession speeches in John McCain’s future. The reason why the anger this time from Republicans is so visceral, despite damn near every poll showing the President leading in Ohio and an electoral college path for Romney that looked awfully narrow – was because of the false glimmer of hope that that first debate provided. It’s like losing a loved one after their long battle with a terminal illness as opposed to the the sudden death of a loved one – there is sadness either way, but you are more emotionally prepared for the former. Hence the current batshit behavior. Hence Mitt being “Shellshocked“. I definitely look at that 1st debate in a different light now.