Confession: I did not watch the debate last night. The spouse and I are in the midst of a family crisis -- we need to find a place for his mom that will give her the level of care she needs, so we're in the midst of looking at places, emptying her current senior apartment, figuring out what she'll need and what can go into storage (most of the places we've looked at will have her in a studio, then move her to a 1-bedroom apartment when one is available), and miscellaneous other detritus. (Feels like she turned old and cranky on us overnight -- we're both trying to maintain patience with limited success.) So yesterday I was hanging out at her place waiting for someone to come pick up some equipment, then we went out for a much needed dinner.
On perusing my Twitter feed that night over soup and salad at Fresh Choice, you'd think the election had been held, and we were facing the prospect of a Romney Presidency. And it's pretty much the same thing this morning.
But really, what happened? Two guys stood up, answered some questions...one guy threatened to fire Big Bird and the rest of the Muppets, and now the world is about to come crashing around our shoulders.
But did anyone out there really change their minds? Did any Obama supporters say, "Wow, this Romney guy's pretty cool after all -- I think I'd better vote for him after all"? Or did it just give the media another chance to spin the "horse race" mentality?
Along with politics, I follow some fellow sports fans -- some are on the liberal side (a few were in a quandary whether to watch the Democratic convention or an important series involving the San Francisco Giants; fortunately Obama's speech was on an off night), some pointedly conservative (I skim past the political rants and find the gems complaining about the Giants bullpen instead). I'm not going to post the actual Tweet because I don't want to embarrass the dude, but I think this sums up many of the conservatives I've seen in my feed:
I didn't like him in 08, so voted for McCain. Now I've seen him lead. Despite flaws, he's a fine leader and a great dad who loves AmericaUnlike the media talking heads and the hand-wringers out there, I don't think last night was a game-changer. I don't see a bunch of states suddenly swinging into the Romney column on the basis of a single debate. To use a baseball analogy, it's a 3-game series and it looks like Romney may have taken Game 1. Maybe Obama needs to tighten up his game a little more, maybe go to the bullpen a little sooner or work on the defense to avoid costly errors (like Josh Hamilton should do for tomorrow's wild card matchup).
This isn't 1960. We're in the era where statements can be proved false with the click of a mouse or trackpad, thanks to Google and YouTube and other services. We can call Romney and Ryan out on their bullshit, and already are (even Politifact is out there with their "False" ratings of Romney's statements last night. We can expose the lies and spread the truth through Twitter and Facebook and viral e-mails. And I really don't see this debate, or any of the subsequent debates, as substantially changing the political landscape. Perhaps they'll wake up a few of us who were starting to get complacent, and remind us not to underestimate the opposition, and in that case it's a Good Thing. But let's cool off on the panic, okay folks?