First diary, but must get these thoughts out...
Before I discuss why I am feeling MORE confident after this debate, let me get into a bit of a diatribe about the debates themselves by getting two things out the way below the orange croissant (Jump down to "So, why am I more confident?" if you want to skip this part):
Firstly, I'll just repeat what has already been said today: Romney won the debate (Now, before anyone posts rebuttals to this, let me continue).
Second, OBVIOUSLY Obama won on substance. However, as we all should know, "winning" a debate and/or giving a great speech is (more often than not) about more than just presenting a list of facts.
Diatribe: You need to have a well organized framework built around those facts that help convey what they really mean in a very "layman" and easy to digest way. Your arguments must be made in as concise and well structured manner and must also be dictated clearly (for all of you that had debate/speech classes, you should remember losing points for having too many "uhms" and "uhs"). You need to display confidence and an almost zealous belief in your argument (regardless of whether your argument is supported by actual evidence). To that point, you may need to make emotional appeals and speak directly to the viewers (ei, to the camera) or the challenger (and use the pronoun "you") and you must be aware of your body language.
It is all these aspects about debates/speeches that, for example, made Bill Clinton's convention speech so amazing. It had BOTH the emotional appeals and a presentation of the facts that would help even the most clueless voters understand them. He also bought along with the facts some humor, which he used to help people see the absurdity of Republican policy (again, making them truly comprehend the facts and understand what they mean for normal people in their everyday lives).
CONCLUSION: An upbeat, confident (in his lies), and forthright Romney combined with an unusual stammering (again, "uhms" and "uhs"), indirect (almost always using the pronoun "he" even though Romney is right next to you), and almost malaised Obama came off as a win for Romney (purely based on optics). If you present the truth, but with an almost unenthusiastic and disinterested tone, that is, in fact, bad debate/speech practice.
Now the other side of this is that usually Obama is above average at this type of stuff (well-structured arguments, engaging body language, upbeat tone), but he is a human being and can't always be knocking them out the park. Furthermore, Romney seems intent on setting a record for how many times one can lie under a minute (see Gish Gallop), so expect some good attack ads and know that Romney has opened up new avenues of attack for Obama by being able to etch-a-sketch on and on without interruption. There is also STILL time to solidify down ticket Democrats and maintain leads.
So, why am I more confident?
The reason is simple: GOTV!
Perhaps you think differently my fellow Kossacks, but I was actually getting a little nervous with the whole "we've got this in the bag" attitude. Not so much actual diaries and front page posts, but more in the comments sections not only on this site, but on other sites like Huffington Post (and even the CNN comments section, which is surprisingly liberal). And let me tell you, I read a lot of comments (I like to suss out people general feelings on the current political news).
Even in my everyday life, there was a huge complacency among my less-politically-inclinced friends. A kind of "the election is already won, so no need to stress it" or "there is just no way the American people will vote for rMoney!" attitude.
Since Labor Day, the media have released about 20 polls on the presidential race. Three show a dead heat, one shows George W. Bush leading by a single percentage point, and the rest show Al Gore leading by one to 10 points. In the latest polls, Gore leads by an average of five points. It's fashionable at this stage to caution that "anything can happen," that Bush is "retooling," and that the numbers can turn in Bush's favor just as easily as they turned against him. But they can't. The numbers are moving toward Gore because fundamental dynamics tilt the election in his favor. The only question has been how far those dynamics would carry him. Now that he has passed Bush, the race is over.Obviously no, I do not think that Obama is in the same soft position that Al Gore was in, but complacency is a risk.
Remember: I remember people saying similar things in 2004 "Bush is just awful! We've got this! Don't stress it!" Well, we all know how that turned out. Furthermore, I feel that some folks were getting a caricature of Romney in their heads of him being 100% incompetent on everything (when reality would dictate that for him to have the positions he has had as a major leader in an unpatriotic/cruel, but profitable company, he would obviously have to have some level of competence/shrewdness/deception). It is this deception that was a factor in him "winning" the debate (along with others).
On top of this, everyday I kept hearing more and more about voter suppression and more about Republicans committing actual voter fraud in the same breath!
Finally, it seemed that just before the run-up to the first debate, people were commenting less (not necessarily here, but on other liberal sites and in everyday life) and seemed to disengaging a little bit (assuming victory?).
All these factors combined were starting to worry me a bit.
However: After this sub-par debate, I am suddenly seeing these same people reengage in the election (online and everyday life), recommit to Obama's reelection by donating (I've witnessed this several times today), and reconfirm the reasons why a president Romney will mean a failed America.
My people, this election was never in the bag to this Kossack's eyes. Even during the hilarious Republican primary, the height of our convention, the height of the convention bounce (which we still feel), the weeks on end of Romney flubs, and the rise of the "poll truthers" (as enjoyable as they all were), I never felt "comfortable" knowing that on Nov. 6, the American people could potentially obliterate our coming American comeback by electing Mitt Romney. And the fact that everyday I saw others that appeared to be totally complacent made me feel less comfortable.
The good news is that this "wake-up call" of sorts happened early on in the "debate cycle". And Obama can recover from this (as previously discussed).
If it wasn't before, now is the time to realize that although we still have an advantage, we need to stay vigil and keep hitting the GOP where it hurts! And although many progressives already realized this (ei., pushing to also win the Senate and HoR), now is truly a wake-up call: GOTV!
Yes, it sucks to lose the first debate, but to see so many progressives reengage in this election (and actually re-expressing concern for the potential turn out on Nov. 6) is, for me encouraging.