"Goddamsonofabitch, you motherfuckers!" That's what I would have said if I was Mitt Romney last night after the debate, standing there with my debate prep team, watching every news channel show the clip of Barack Obama in the Rose Garden, over and over and over. Act of terror. Act Of Terror! ACT OF TERROR!!! "I've got my goddam balls out there on the block, and you dipshits have me out there looking like a grown up asshole! What the fuck?"
Of course, I'm not Mitt Romney, so it was probably something more along the lines of, "Well, golly gee, guys, this certainly was not what I was expecting when you all assured me to a man that Barack Obama did not use the EXACT SAME WORDS THAT HE MOST CERTAINLY LITERALLY DID USE THE VERY NEXT DAY YOU STUPID ASSHOLES!!" Even a Mormon can only take so much incompetence before he is forced to resort to profanity.
So Mitt got his ass kicked last night. That much is for sure. It was difficult to know how bad it was for him without flipping over to FOX to see how they were spinning it - and I'm talking about the Conservopundititry, not the incoherent drunken ramblings of Reince "The Tank" Prebius, or any of the other official surrogates for either the campaign or the Republican Party that rule the airwaves at that network. So, I was actually pleased to see ol' Charles Krauthammer, and hear his verdict...which was "Obama won on points."
Holy shit! Not even Charlie K could look at that brutal pounding and have the balls to call it a tie.
Ok, so when I wrote this diary (and by the way, oooops...), I was challenged in the comments about whether I would have been as nonchalant had Obama delivered in the first debate, the kind of performance we saw last night. So, now I guess we get our answer. Kind of. And I mean that in every sense.
First of all, we kind of get the answer because, in retrospect, debates are obviously more important than I thought they were way back in the glory days of 2 weeks ago, when Nate Silver had PBO as a better than 4-in-5 favorite to win the election. Now that we've seen one debate take that number all the way down to 3-in-5 (now it's 2-in-3), that has to be taken into consideration.
Secondly, the answer is, "kind of." Don't fool yourself into thinking that this debate made all right with the world again. Mitt Romney is no longer perceived as the stumbling, bumbling fool of a candidate who could do no right. His win in the first debate made people look at him as a serious candidate for the Presidency, which isn't going to be undone by one trouncing.
As for that Libya exchange - yeah, it's a rough visual that the campaign is going to have to deal with from here on out, but the fact is it was a stupid argument to begin with. The Conservative base loves them some arguments over semantics and symbolism, but the rest of the country doesn't give a rat turd whether PBO called it an "Act of Terror" or a "spontaneous demonstration" or a "riot gone wrong" or a "bad day in Benghazi". The fact that Mitt Romney went out of his way to start a semantic argument which he promptly lost was fucking hilarious, but I can't imagine it'll be much more than a pleasant memory 3 weeks from now.
So what does it mean? Well, it stopped the bleeding, that's for sure. It's got the momentum back in the right direction. But don't expect a full poll reversal - I don't think we'll be back at 4-in-5 at 538 any time before the next debate. My guess is we'll see 3-in-4, tops.
But it's damn nice to be feeling good again, isn't it?