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U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney listens during the final U.S. presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS USA PRESIDENTI
I've clearly been obsessed the last few days with the reality-evading bubble the GOP constructed for itself the last few months. We've discussed their poll unskewing ad infinitum, but there's at least one more place where it had a significant impact on the campaign: the debates.

The liberal reaction after the first debate was swift and fierce. President Barack Obama performed poorly, to put it mildly, and he got no quarter or benefit of the doubt from his supporters. But this reaction (though overwrought in some quarters) forced Obama to deal with the setback:

After the debate, Mr. Obama called Mr. Axelrod on his way back to the hotel room. He had read the early reviews on his iPad.

“I guess the consensus is that we didn’t have a very good night,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Axelrod.

“That is the consensus,” Mr. Axelrod said [...]

After watching a videotape of his debate performance, Mr. Obama began calling panicked donors and supporters to reassure them he would do better. “This is on me,” the president said, again and again.

Mr. Obama, who had dismissed warnings about being caught off guard in the debate, told his advisers that he would now accept and deploy the prewritten attack lines that he had sniffed at earlier. “If I give up a couple of points of likability and come across as snarky, so be it,” Mr. Obama told his staff.

Compare that to Mitt Romney's performance in the second debate. While not as obviously bad as Obama's first performance, it was still terrible. The snap polls—despite being weighed heavily Republican (they watched the debates in greater numbers)—found that Romney had gotten trounced.

But unlike Democrats who refused to crawl into a hole and deny reality, Republicans did just that. They claimed Romney had done well, beaten Obama, done what "he had to do," and generally announced mission accomplished. They blamed Candy Crowley for challenging Romney on his Benghazi lie, then claimed it wasn't a lie despite the clear video evidence to the contrary. Denying that reality was a huge mistake, as the third debate proved.

Already, the vice-presidential and 2nd presidential debates had turned around the polling trendlines:

National trendlines, Obama v Romney, showing Obama rise well before Hurricane Sandy/.
Romney's tiny national lead was nearly gone, while he had failed to close the gap in the necessary battlegrounds. Romney needed to once again change the dynamics of the race, like he had done so the first debate. And that meant being aggressive and once again taking the fight to Obama.

Instead, we saw Romney do his best imitation of Obama's first-debate performance. He was tentative, hesitant, played it safe, looked bored, tired, aloof, agreed a whole hell of a lot with Obama, and let Obama interrupt him and dictate the terms and pace of the debate.

He was playing it safe, deploying a prevent defense, and it was backfiring on him the same way it backfired on Obama when he attempted it the first time around. At the time, I remember thinking, "Why would you do that if you're not ahead?" Well, now we know that they did think they were ahead. But worst of all, he had made no adjustments based on his second-debate failures. He had bought the right-wing spin that he had done just fine, and didn't make the necessary corrections to account for a different debate partner.

What had worked against a listless Obama wasn't working against a lively one, and rather than pretend he had done well the second time out, he would've been better served with a healthy (if painful) dose of reality.

Originally posted to kos on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 10:49 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  First debates dont matter, thats the conclusion (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hopi13, avsp, politicalceci, matt2525

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 10:51:08 AM PST

    •  Wow, that's not even close to the conclusion. (14+ / 0-)

      Seriously, did you actually read the diary?

      The real enemy of the good is not the perfect, but the mediocre.

      by Orange County Liberal on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 10:57:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, but it did. NC briefly switched to Obama and (9+ / 0-)

      then went back under the red waves.

      Kinda sucks.

      No, REALLY sucks.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 12:49:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I don't believe that. (5+ / 0-)

        Anyone who permanently turned against Obama after the first debate was merely looking for a reason to do so. And had Obama done well in that debate, the MSM/GOP would have fixated on a word or phrase or exhale and that would have been their turning point. Romney sucked in the first debate. He was rude, pushy, untruthful and unpresidential. They would have found a way to boost Romney, no matter what happened in that debate.

        We gave the Romney campaign hundreds of millions of dollars and all we got was this stupid t-shirt! - The Koch Brothers.

        by kitebro on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:24:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then how do you explain Obama's rise after (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the VP and second debate?

          To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

          by sneakers563 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:30:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sam Wang of Princeton Election Consortium's (0+ / 0-)

            blog suggested that Romney's improvement in the polls after the first debate was a bounce and was caused more by enthusiasm among Republican voters than by "switching".  He cites a state poll in Wisconsin which showed more likely Republican voters than earlier but very little change in "undecided" voters.  He also noted that the upswing toward Obama, or the "debounce" as he calls it, which we saw after the VP debate was too soon to have been directly caused by it (it takes a few days to process and publish poll data).

            In other words, the first debate made a lot of apathetic Republicans get really excited and want to run out and vote for their guy but it wore off quickly.

            If this is, in fact, the correct explanation, Republicans may have shot themselves in the foot by limiting early voting in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere.

        •  Totally agree with you kitebro (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matt Z, kitebro

          and thanks for pointing it out.

    •  I would say that my conclusion was (15+ / 0-)

      that reality based reality is always preferable to bubble or faith based reality. First debates can matter - they nearly did this time. But by listening to the truth, President Obama course corrected.

      Something Republicans just don't do.

      Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

      by Bobs Telecaster on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:34:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Did you *see* the polling graph? (7+ / 0-)

      The first debate did matter, quite a bit. Yes, he wound up making up for it, but it certainly was a near-term setback.

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:05:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the data graphed is not in a vacuum (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Code Monkey

        Yes, these are all interesting conjectures, but off the top of my head I can think of several other, simultaneous factors that contribute to the downward slope from that first debate.

        For example, the opening debate this is traditionally the time when low-info, disinterested, and genuinely undecided voters start paying attention. It is likely that anyone in those categories might reasonable drift toward the new guy, ie Romney, before a sufficient number came to their senses.

        The jury is still out, IMO.

        "Archaeological description is . . . an abandonment of the history of ideas, a systematic rejection of its postulates and procedures, an attempt to practice a quite different history of what men have said." --Michel Foucault

        by Adelard of Bath on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:26:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But the way they start paying attention (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is by watching the first debate.

          I agree, though, that it may be an overstatement to attribute the whole downward slope to Obama's poor debate performance. The first debate marked one final massive lurch to the center for Romney, really serving more as a product roll-out for Romney 7.0 than anything else. He maintained that new position through the rest of the campaign, and he was clearly stronger for having shaken the mighty Etch-a-Sketch one last time. So while Obama could've done better at countering that initial shift, it seems likely there would've been movement in Romney's favor just for his better positioning (Obama probably couldn't have prevented that entirely from succeeding, at least in the short term).

          Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
          Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
          Code Monkey like you!

          Formerly known as Jyrinx.

          by Code Monkey on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:40:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't see the effect of the first debate. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I have seen this graph many times and, based on where the First Debate arrow is pointing, I don't see any debate effect. The line is going down before the debate and continues down after. With no change in slope. Whatever caused the drop seems to have been happening before the debate.

          I would like to see a graph with a longer timeline and some indication of when the polls were taken because this graph doesn't support the story.

        •  The first debate mattered because the R campaign (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eden4barack08, Justin93

          and the media were looking for anything that would save him and they jumped on the narrative, that was in part unwittingly supplied by R. Maddow and C. Matthews.

          I think there could have been a "reality based" critique of the debate that didn't springboard Romney. I wish they'd thought twice before speaking.

          Personally, I was with Sharpton, who immediately noted that Romney lied his ass off all night.

          I just heard a remark from C. Matthews that continues his narrative.

          I agree that we are "reality based" and they aren't, but we should also develop a "killer instinct" when we have them ( and they are bad guys) barely able to respond to a standing 8 count.
          Instead, we started throwing rotten tomatoes at our guy.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:56:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I find these lessons learned discomforting... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      New Dawning, vadasz

      If our conclusion is that:

      1. Obama lost the first debate using an approach that emphasized a calm and reasoned deliberation of visions concerning preferred solutions to MSM chosen issues.

      2. Romney won the first debate in a ground altering landslide by aggressively interrupting both his opponent and the moderator, lying repeatedly even after being rebutted or corrected (though calmly).

      3. Obama and Biden decided to rehearse zingers and posture themselves more aggressively to win the rest of the debates.

      how do you think debates in future elections will look? I mean, if campaigns are looking at this, looking at the way the media reacted to this, and looking at the "public opinion shift" that (never) occurred as a result, they will advise candidates to just go up there and yell political stereotypes and epithets at one another without end. It'll make for great entertainment, but then we'll be scratching our heads wondering why policies have less and less correlation with reality (like now, but worse). Further, we'll wonder why voters remain ill informed on most substantive issues.

      First, as all of the polling data and Kos's own image shows, the race was on a tightening trajectory before the first debate even occurred, so the debate had nothing to do with the race tightening. That was bound to happen. It was probably held a little tighter at the margin for a little longer than it otherwise would have been because liberals rand around with their hair on fire like a bunch of morons instead making some (legitimate) critiques of Romney's performance of their own, and the media wanted a close race, so they kept that narrative running unopposed (remember, the only plausible opposition would have come from our now flaming-headed liberal media representatives). As I've said in diaries and other comments, the most plausible explanation is that after a long, hard-fought primary that left the conservative base unhappy with the nominee they got, in the build-up hype of the first debate, the base started coming home. The race was always going to be close in national polls, so the debate had nothing to do with that. And the debate didn't change the electoral college numbers at all.

      Now, and I've said this before too, so I'm just going to paste it here:

      I feel like what happened is here at Kos we pride ourselves on being "reality-based" and consistently mock Republican refusal to ever own up to any wrong-doing or failures. I think the unfortunate side effect is we are too quick to find "errors" on our own side, as a strange "evidence that we can recognize our screw-ups." I think an unfortunate consequence of this is that we sometimes play into conservatives own hands by acknowledging failures that aren't failures, and I think this debate was one of those times. People will point to polls to reaffirm, "See, no denying it, Obama lost," but in my mind, if we had been more forceful in our defense of what was, in all reality, a strong performance from Obama, the media coverage, and thereby the public perception of the debate, would have been dramatically different.

      Let's take Biden/Ryan as an example. Biden crushed Ryan, both in substance and style, but conservative pundits and the noise machine came to their man's aid and said Ryan looked "calm and presidential" and critiqued Biden's aggressive style. This blunted the effects of the debate. Biden won in the public's mind, but not by a landslide. A similar defense would have been even more legitimate for Obama's first debate, since he had his facts straight (Ryan [and Romney at the first debate] didn't) and laid out a clear and coherent vision for term two (again, Romney didn't in the first debate). We could have acknowledged that Romney would be perceived a winner but offered some forceful push back against the substance, tactics, and even the rude, childish style that Romney used. The acknowledged loss would still have Obama face reality and improve, but we could have stemmed the media narrative that followed all the way to this day about how amazing and tide turning Romney's performance was, thereby discouraging future use of such tactics.

      But no, we'd rather prove we are "reality-based" by leaping at the opportunity to admit defeat from an onslaught of lies and rudeness. And we wonder why our discourse and the range of policies we discuss and problems we focus on isn't better aligned with the nation's needs.....

      Blogs: Twitter: realsteveholt

      by steveholt on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:02:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Way to miss the point (0+ / 0-)

      by actually denying reality.

      Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

      by Joe B on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:08:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you referring to me? (0+ / 0-)

        If so, explain to me what I've posited that I did not support with some evidence or rational argument. Seriously. You really think that lying incessantly and rudely interrupting everyone is a debate win? Really? That's sad. What the hell reality do you live in? If that's the case we might as well just turn politics into WWE wrestling matches.

        I'm so sick of hearing other progressives pretend Obama got crushed. Sure, he should have pushed back harder on the lies, but most intelligent people can understand when something has been rebutted and can recognize when already refuted remarks are being repeated. I understood Kos' point just fine, thank you. My point is that in the reality of what happened in the debate, there was plenty to point out in critiquing Romney's performance that wasn't made until days later, when the narrative had already been set in the public's mind. There is a way to acknowledge a loss without crying or irrationally throwing your candidate under the bus or running around screaming about a falling sky. There's also a way to manage a loss without unreasonably ceding a debate to a guy that lied his way through it while being an asshole. You know, thing's like saying, "Yeah, Obama could have done better [sending a signal to Obama], but he remained calm and reasoned while Romney flailed about and interrupted incessantly. Not very presidential. Oh, and let's talk about Romney's slew of lies." Boom. Obama knows to do better, reality is acknowledged, and we can still CRITIQUE THE REALITY THAT THE OTHER GUY SUCKED TOO, IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

        Blogs: Twitter: realsteveholt

        by steveholt on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:21:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We are not pretending that he got crushed, he did! (0+ / 0-)

          And it wasn't because we said so, it was because they viewers thought so overwhelmingly. The snap polls demonstrated this clearly.

          I am afraid that you are not engaging with reality on this.

          Ok, so I read the polls.

          by andgarden on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 08:57:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. Snap polls are not scientific polls. (0+ / 0-)

            It is you that is taking the narrative baked by the MSM and megaphoned on here for the weeks that followed and repeating it to make it reality. Essentially, the MSM, took unscientific snap polls and screamed
            "Romney won" unopposed by our own pundits. There are interaction effects between media narratives and scientific polls because the first nationally representative sample wasn't until two days after the debate was over and the narrative had solidified. It is you that is just repeating a fictional account to the point that it has become true in your mind. Re-watch the debate, and do it with a clear head, knowing that the election's over and it doesn't matter now. And just watch.

            Listen, I'm not opposed to critiquing President Obama when he deserves it, and there are plenty of areas where he deserves it. For instance, he was not forceful enough in requesting a large enough stimulus, allowed the health care debates to get way out of hand before joining the fight, and when he did, he was timid. My point is that although I think Obama is a great president, I have a laundry list of complaints with Obama and am not afraid of saying when he's wrong. On this, he's and everyone parroting the "he got crushed" meme is just taking a lazy person's route to analysis. Any rational, informed person watching the debates who knew the issues would say Romney won on style and Obama won on substance. That's the reality of what happened in the debate without any of the hyperventilating Kossacks or profiteering pundits screaming "Game Changer!" nine thousand times. And that should have been our messaging after words.

            "Yes, Romney won on style, but he lied a lot and didn't offer any plan. Obama won on substance. Further, I thought Romney was a little rude at times." You see? That is an accurate, reality based assessment based on the debate itself. Not critiquing the president's posture, or where he looked, or how much energy he showed. That's small-minded theater critiquing that makes modern television journalism a joke and should have NO place in discussing the policies that affect us all. Period. If you truly believe that what matters in political discourse is how forcefully someone shouts their lies, then it is you, not I, who is no different from the blowhard pundits on the right.

            An informed understanding of polling data would tell you that the inability of separating debate effects from post-debate narrative means you only have a partial view of what the population's actual take away from the debate itself was. In other words, you don't know what the "reality" was in the public mind on the debate alone, as there's no comparison in which Obama was defended by the left. As I said above, Biden/Ryan would provide more insights as an approximate point of comparison, because the style dynamic was similar, but conservatives, even those that acknowledged that Ryan lost, pushed back by saying Biden was rude and Ryan looked presidential. Of course, not really true of Ryan, but it helped stem the damage a bit, and the national polls (the scientific ones, not the snap polls) showed Biden winning, but only by a thin margin.

            The reason I think this matters, as I stated above, is what the hell will our discourse look like when shouting down people, lying incessantly, and refusing to provide any policy details at all is considered an objectively landslide win in a debate?

            Blogs: Twitter: realsteveholt

            by steveholt on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 09:17:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Let me clue you in on something: (0+ / 0-)

              The snap polls merely confirmed my own reaction. I didn't need Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, or anyone else to tell me how the debate went (in fact, I didn't watch them). I already knew.

              Ok, so I read the polls.

              by andgarden on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 09:31:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  but.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Wasnt the Crowley / Benghazi thing actually the 3rd debate?

  •  Tough love. It works. nt (12+ / 0-)

    Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusets, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, Washington D.C. and California (pending)

    by cooper888 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 10:55:12 AM PST

  •  Yes, the fact that Romney et al drank the (22+ / 0-)

    cool aid peddled by the unskewers is the truly astounding part of this campaign. That is beyond clueless, it is total denial and self-deception.

    Further, affiant sayeth not.

    by Gary Norton on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 10:58:17 AM PST

  •  Seems like Rmoney was a "cowboy" who is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    avsp, shaggies2009, UTLiberal, Bob Love

    all hat and no cattle.  The Rethugs were were out watching their version of the submarine races and just knew their submarine was winning.

  •  A-Fuckingmen! (6+ / 0-)

    And will the clap louder crowd please read this article about 10 times so that it might sink in.

    Last 2 debate performances by the President were almost flawless. I can only recall one unforced error. The one with something about 80's called and wants their policies back. Whoever gave that to the Pres should take a spanking.

  •  Several Chunks of Conservative Leadership Were (27+ / 0-)

    not fact checking their polling. That'll never happen again. Donors and institutional supporters will cross check the bloviators and the campaign from now on.

    I have to admit being stunned to learn that the Romney team evidently wasn't lying, that they actually still believed they were winning on Election Day due to their goofy electorate modeling.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:03:54 AM PST

  •  Diary is solid, substantiated analysis... (25+ / 0-)

    ...with which I concur. For the record, I thought the President bombed on the first debate, and spoke out about it before many (here). But, I simultaneously stated I still thought he'd win the election.

    What struck me was the other side of this coin: the lengths that some people went to, within this community, to claim that the President won the first debate...or, even "kicked Romney's ass."

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:04:28 AM PST

  •  This was the article (5+ / 0-)

    I distinctly remember reading when I posted a comment on the other diary. Thanks for reminding all of us of what really happened.   The President is a human being and he fumbled the ball once, but he made up for it and scored when he needed to.

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:06:16 AM PST

  •  I don't think Romney could have (14+ / 0-)

    done things much differently in the third debate, even if he'd wanted to.  He could have acted more aggressive, sure, but he was in unfamiliar territory. Foreign policy is not just not his strong suit, it's his clown suit.  His overseas trip to make him look "presidential" was one of my favorite disasters of all time, so he had that in his negative column, and had to tread carefully. He doesn't even know enough basic geography to fake it, and when he tried, he got it laughably wrong, and looked foolish.  He tried as often as he could to pivot to domestic issues where his lies played well with his base, and he was comfortable, but he really couldn't handle the stated topic of that debate.  He could have played an aggressive fool, and had a repeat of his summer trip, or been quiet on foreign policy and tried to pivot.

    "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

    by middleagedhousewife on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:07:06 AM PST

  •  I never thought Obama did as bad in the first (21+ / 0-)

    debate as everyone seemed to say.  Most of my friends didn't either.  I think Ed Shultz and Chris Matthews overreacted really badly and kind of set the tone for the post debate critique, which was very unfortunate.  They should have known better.

    Hey, Republicans, the whole world is watching.

    by TAH from SLC on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:07:13 AM PST

    •  I heard a story (17+ / 0-)

      on NPR the other day that said some instapolls found it to be fairly even immediately after the first debate, but the media tone afterward set up the idea that it was a disaster of epic proportions.

      I tend to agree, I didn't think he did well but it wasn't as calamitous as the media made it seem. It was their opinions rather than the actual event which pushed things Romney's way.

    •  He did bad (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bush Bites, Bob Love, Matt Z

      I think everyone pretty much knew it. That's life, it happens.

      But really - he didn't have a great night.

      Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

      by Bobs Telecaster on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:35:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly this. There is a lot of middle room (5+ / 0-)

      Between denying that Obama did fine in the first debate (like the Republicans did with Romney regarding the second and third debates) and completely melting down like Matthews, Shultz, and many commentator here did.

      Because of that I don't agree with Kos' premise that it was the freak out that led to the better second debate performance.  I think Obama would have done better in the second debate with the middle ground of saying you lost and need to do better instead of the complete meltdown.

    •  Him looking down as Mitt scolded him was sad. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NedSparks, blueoasis, Matt Z, Laconic Lib

      Sorry, he looked like he was being taken to the woodshed.

      Might have sounded better than it looked, but it looked bad.

      Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

      by Bush Bites on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:41:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree. Democrats reacted horribly. And they (4+ / 0-)

      helped the Republicans with their argument to this very day of how great Romney was in the first debate, I maintain and will always maintain that this is wishful thinking....

      I've read where some Democrats said they had all the right to be demoralized after the President's debate. Demoralized? As if they were being introduced to Barack Obama for the first time, the same Barack Obama we saw during the debate is the same Barack Obama we see today. Cool calm, cogent.... Romney? He on the other hand is never ever the same person at any two consecutive dates.... Democrats...once again....unbelievable....

      •  Saw an interesting comment from a Chicago alderman (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NedSparks, kj in missouri, Toes

        He was in the Illinois State House with Obama and he said the first debate was "State Senator Obama." That's what he was like down there.

        He said the next two debates were President Obama.

        Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

        by Bush Bites on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:48:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree, Obama's behavior is forever consistent. (0+ / 0-)

          Chris Matthews?? Ed Schultz?? Some Democrats?? The way they laid into the President, to this day, was stunning to me....

          •  So are you saying his performance was consistent (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laconic Lib

            throughout the three debates?

            Sorry, I didn't see that at all.

            I empathize with Matthews and Schultz. After months of pure bullshit from the other side, you expect your man to bring his A game in one of the few instances where both men are in the same arena.  

            Messaging and ads don't deliver the same punch, not IMHO.

            •  Are you saying Obama is inconsistent? Democrats (0+ / 0-)

              should know this man after 4 years.... Let me just add, Republicans + Democrats + the Media laying into this President = deflated poll numbers.

              This was a very sad and distasteful event. The sad part was Democrats attacking this their own candidate.... We need to take some lessens from the Republicans in this regard....

              •  His First Debate Performance was Inconsistent (0+ / 0-)

                When you let someone completely redefine themselves in a debate and fail to immediately jump on their hypocrisy, you're doing a poor job.

                He did a lot better in the next two. Just because you don't pick up the poms-poms and praise a guy for doing a poor job doesn't mean you're attacking him. It's called honesty.

                I'll let the repubs keep their guy in the bubble.

                •  Honesty you call it? Fortunately we have what is (0+ / 0-)

                  called a transcript:

                  The President pointed out the fallacy of Romney's argument:

                  When you add up all the loopholes and deductions that upper income individuals can -- are currently taking advantage of -- if you take those all away -- you don’t come close to paying for $5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending. And that’s why independent studies looking at this said the only way to meet Governor Romney’s pledge of not reducing the deficit -- or -- or -- or not adding to the deficit, is by burdening middle-class families.

                  The average middle-class family with children would pay about $2,000 more. Now, that’s not my analysis; that’s the analysis of economists who have looked at this. And -- and that kind of top -- top-down economics, where folks at the top are doing well so the average person making 3 million bucks is getting a $250,000 tax break while middle- class families are burdened further, that’s not what I believe is a recipe for economic growth.

                  The President schooled Romney on math:
                  Well, for 18 months he’s been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election, he’s saying that his big, bold idea is “never mind.” And the fact is that if you are lowering the rates the way you describe, Governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. It’s -- it’s math. It’s arithmetic.
                  Did we watch the same debate? The President used the Clinton record to indict Romney and his claims:
                  Jim, I -- you may want to move on to another topic, but I would just say this to the American people. If you believe that we can cut taxes by $5 trillion and add $2 trillion in additional spending that the military is not asking for -- $7 trillion, just to give you a sense, over 10 years that’s more than our entire defense budget -- and you think that by closing loopholes and deductions for the well-to-do, somehow you will not end up picking up the tab, then Governor Romney’s plan may work for you.
                  But I think math, common sense and our history shows us that’s not a recipe for job growth.

                  Look, we’ve tried this -- we’ve tried both approaches. The approach that Governor Romney’s talking about is the same sales pitch that was made in 2001 and 2003. And we ended up with the slowest job growth in 50 years. We ended up moving from surplus to deficits. And it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

                  Bill Clinton tried the approach that I’m talking about. We created 23 million new jobs. We went from deficit to surplus, and businesses did very well.

                  This is what you said:
                  When you let someone completely redefine themselves in a debate and fail to immediately jump on their hypocrisy, you're doing a poor job.
                  You have just been contradicted by the facts. But I have no doubt you'll deny the facts presented here.... Fox news bubble you say?
    •  actually, my observation was (12+ / 0-)

      that Obama did not perform well (nodding when attacked), not responding to the attacks, not looking engaged. However, Romney's performance was far worse. His lack of respect for both the moderator and his counterpart, his constant pit-bull like attacks (largely based on lies) and his demeanor were just incredibly off-putting. To see the analysis afterwards extolling Romney's virtues made me wonder whether I watched the same debate.

      But thankfully this all matters no more. The vulture capitalist is history, at least as a politician.

      We don't inherit the world from the past. We borrow it from the future.

      by minorityusa on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:45:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, and he was doing the same thing in the second (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vcmvo2, ladybug53, politicalceci

        Candy Crowley had all that she could take of it and I guess that some polling showed that Romney was being so aggressive that it was turning off women.

      •  I agree. To me, Romney came across (4+ / 0-)

        as incredibly rude, loud, and pushy, with canned comments that weren't true.   He struck me as being emotional, domineering, and unreasonable.  Anti-intellectual.

        I read Obama being initially somewhat shocked, and then kind of hunkering down so as not to arise to 'the bait' that Romney was putting out.  

        I was thinking Obama thought he had  come to a debate involving words and reasoning,  and wasn't planning on physical combat, which was what Mitt was projecting.

        It was the first time I'd really paid any attention to Romney, and I was really revolted by his style.  

    •  um...I (6+ / 0-)

      didn't need Ed and Chris to tell me he did bad. He did bad. When he said he and Romney weren't far apart on Social Security I was ready to throw things.

      "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

      by JackND on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:57:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  TAH, what you are saying is closer to the truth (7+ / 0-)

      than this the President fucked up blah blah blah meme. Before the media went crazy (including the Libs over at MSNBC) most people seemed to think that the President got it on substance and was weak on style. Before the media freak out, people were still dealing with the reality of the Romney bullying and lie after lie after lie.
      Then...the freak out and people forgot what THEY thought and what THEY perceived and let others shape their reality.

      Also, they made a champion of an asshole who showed not the slightest shred of integrity throughout the whole debate. This is what we stooped to -- bashing the President for being decent and respectful. What a freaking world.  

      "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

      by rubyr on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:10:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No one bashed the President for being "decent and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bdop4, Laconic Lib

        respectful".  He was decent and respectful in all three debates.  They bashed the President after the first debate because he let Romney frame the debate.  If I hadn't known better, I would have thought that the President was cutting 700 billion from Medicare.  

        To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

        by sneakers563 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:40:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I thought it was pretty bad, but I didn't freak (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      out like Chris and Ed, who I think we're just waaay over the top. Hell, Chris was in such an apoplectic rage, I almost called an ambulance for him. But, in view of kos' article, which I think makes an excellent point, perhaps that's what was needed for the President to know that he really, really had to change course for the next debates cuz that shit wasn't going to work.

      •  The Prez says he never watches any cable (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, Laconic Lib

        news shows. But at the Al Smith dinner, he made what seemed to be an authentic off-the-cuff comment about Matthews' reaction.

        So either he's lying or someone thought it was worth showing the Matthews reaction clip to him.

        We never know what influences people in politics.

        © grover

        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:27:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, thought about that mention too but remembered (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53, kj in missouri

          that someone else writes his jokes. But the article Markos cites says he read reviews on his iPad. Too many stories to count mentioned Chris's freak out because it was Almost no doubt that he at least heard about it.

  •  The common wisdom (15+ / 0-)

    is that the President performed poorly in the 1st debate and that Mitten's resurgence was based entirely on the President's performance. While I agree the President  was  not at his best, I disagree with the common wisdom and believe Romney would have received a significant uptick no matter what the President had done,  given Romney's performance and the corporate media's refusal to call out his lies  and disavowals of his prior positions.  Any candidate standing on the same stage as  the President is going to seem  more substantial and lets not forget this  was probably a  vast majority  of the audiences first look at Mittens. So lets not put the blame for the uptick in the polls entirely on the President's poor  performance.

  •  I think Nate Silver's chance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Code Monkey

    of winning charts might be better to tell the story than the one above. Since the O / R lines are the inverse of one another in Silver's charts, the action appears more stark.

    With the chart in the diary, I can definitely see the impact of the first debate, but the subsequent debates don't appear to cause any inflection in either line. It just looks like Obama slowly fought his way back over the last month. But I think we all agree that the next three debates were instrumental.

    "In text, use only a single word space after all sentence punctuation." - Oxford Style Manual, Oxford University Press, 2003.

    by shaggies2009 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:18:59 AM PST

  •  Part of the decrease after the first debate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaggies2009, saluda

    was the switch to likely voter models, if I recall correctly. So the effects of the first debate have been (rather hysteriously) overestimated by a sizable portion of the esteemed community here.

    Anyways, I did watch the first debate and I thought the President did a reasonably good job. But obviously the country is not made in my likeness:-) And the success of a debater has to be judged by the outcome, so it was a poor performance. Luckily the President is a quick study.

    He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

    by Sophie Amrain on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:23:42 AM PST

    •  State Polls (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKinTN, Sylv, OldDragon, Code Monkey, ladybug53

      If you read the Time story on the campaign they make the point that Ohio populace never changed after the first debate.  All it really did was solidify some soft-Romney voters.  Obama's voters (at least there) never left him.

    •  C'mon you know better. Switch to LV started on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slinkerwink, Code Monkey, Vicky

      Labor Day.

      Luckily the President is a quick study.
      Luckily enough of us spoke out to let him know there was a problem.
      After the debate, Mr. Obama called Mr. Axelrod on his way back to the hotel room. He had read the early reviews on his iPad.

      “I guess the consensus is that we didn’t have a very good night,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Axelrod.

      “That is the consensus,” Mr. Axelrod said [...]

      After watching a videotape of his debate performance, Mr. Obama began calling panicked donors and supporters to reassure them he would do better. “This is on me,” the president said, again and again.

      •  So you don't think Obama knew he didn't do (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vcmvo2, politicalceci, kj in missouri

        well in the first debate and had it not been for the freak out would have lived in a bubble where he thought he had?  Yeah I give the man more credit than that.  It was an off night and he knew it but it wasn't worthy of a freak out of epic proportions like many a pundit and poster on here had.  

  •  Two thoughts (14+ / 0-)

    I think there should be some things that should not be said in public. If Democrats had not gone into a collective public freak out after the first debate, I think the polling impact of the president's performance could have been mitigated.

    The second observation is that the Romney campaign seemed to believe their own spin, and that of the rightwing echo chamber. Romney actually seemed to believe, genuinely, that the President had not called the Benghazi attack an act of terror on the day afterwards. Why did he think that? It can only be because he swallowed the rightwing meme uncritically.

    It seems that Romney actually did believe he was going to win the election, right up to and even for some time after Fox News called Ohio. Let's pause, swallow, and say a prayer of thanksgiving that someone THAT divorced from reality didn't make it into the Oval Office. For whatever else we dodged from avoiding a Romney presidency, that has to be the biggest bullet.

    •  Would you please elaborate for me how we wouldn't (5+ / 0-)

      be believing our own spin by not saying in public what we know to be true. Is there a super secret fort somewhere that we can use to discuss our missteps?

      Did you read the article where it said the President utilized the "early reviews" in forming the opinion that he had done poorly. Did you want a second debate performance like the first?

      •  Ok, how about this (8+ / 0-)

        The President didn't have his best performance last night. He's running a campaign at the same time as he's holding down his day job as leader of the free world at a time of unprecedented challenges both here at home and around the world.

        Governor Romney was certainly energetic, but listen to what he said. He lied repeatedly about what he had previously said he would do, and he continued to refuse to tell the American people any specifics about what he plans to do should he be elected president. You have to ask yourself: is he hiding the details of his proposals only because those details are just so good?

        Something along those lines.

        •  Of course he lied. Why do you think so many of us (7+ / 0-)

          were upset with the President? He didn't call him out on any of it. The public sure as hell wasn't going to find out about Romneys lies from the press, he'd been doing it the whole campaign.

          Look, I really hope the President has the best term of any President ever. But, it will never have a chance of happening if his friends don't let him know when he's going down the wrong path.

          •  Lot of room between constructive criticism (7+ / 0-)

            And the meltdown of epic proportions people like Matthews, Shulz, and many a poster here had.  

            •  I gave my strongest constructive criticism (6+ / 0-)

              online for it to be recorded and noted and attended to, and I did that politely, recalling President Obama's basic tendency to respond and react to strong words stated out of care alongside his tendency to dismiss hair-on-fire stuff (which has been long noted).

              It was because it has been his style to come back with a vengeance when he gets it wrong that I knew the first debate, even though I didn't really care he did poorly per se (it seemed like a "whatever" to me), because that's been his style, I stated clearly online what I thought: please do better next time because that wasn't good, and I want you to win.

              I think there's such a distinction between going into meltdown panic mode to explain yourself and being direct.

              If someone's shrieking and angry, and we've all been in that situation in our lives, it's hard to hear them and easy to tune them out. If someone's firm and clear about their disappointment, we tend to constructively respond to them. That's why I tried to respond to the first debate without the screaming panic, but firmly and truly (I didn't think it was a clunker, but it sure wasn't good).

              I had full trust that Obama would win the next debate with enough sensible feedback. I'd have bet money on it. It is his style going way back. When you think he's down, and when he sees it, he bounces back. Like the Rev. Wright speech on race. Like with Hillary Clinton in the Primaries. He bounces back if he sees his supporters didn't like what he did.

              But he also does seem to tune out true panic. He seems to respond better, in my humblest observations, to firm, calm, sensible critique. I'm glad for those of us who gave that to him.

              And all that aside, why are we doing this post mortem now?

              WE JUST WON THE ELECTION. Handsomely. With new States and swing states too. With a very Progressive roster of new Senators. Why look backward right now? If there is a benefit to doing this right now, I can't really think what it is?

              •  I can't figure it out either (5+ / 0-)

                Enough about the debates. We won! The Repugs are making up new shit about Petraeus and Benghazi as we sit here shredding our clothes over something that happened on October 3rd!

                Sheesh! Enough.

                I'd personally like a few more moments dancing on Rmoney's grave instead of having a pie fight about who was righter about the first debate!

                We Won! Let's act like it!

                In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

                by vcmvo2 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:37:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  One point I'd like to make to make to your comment (3+ / 0-)

                though I agree, we won so let's move on.

                The only review that we know the President heard for sure was from what some are calling Matthews hair-on-fire critique. We know because the President joked about it. I'm not aware of any evidence for your contention that he tunes that out. Sure a lot of people do but I couldn't say that the President is one of them.

                •  Evidence like that he posted to this site (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  once and then dropped his account. I guess that was one thing I was thinking of. And watching him for the past few years in general.

                  Sorry to not be more specific... we're having a household issue right now, suddenly...

              •  I love your comments (3+ / 0-)

                But I also think reflection is always great after an election. It's never easy to just walk away from a presidential campaign without at the very least sharing war stories with each other.

                It's all part of it. Reflection. I think it's a good thing.

                And I really do owe a debt of gratitude to people here who kept their heads, which in turn helped me keep mine, which in turn provided me an opportunity to be the calm one during the stormiest days to Obama supporters in my life.

                So many of them apologized to me the day after the election, but I just smiled and gave them a hug.

                They are the unfortunate ones. They only read the headlines and listen to the screaming.

        •  you are calling... (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slinkerwink, bdop4, jec, Matt Z, Laconic Lib

          Romney out from a POV where you know he was lying and when and about what.

          That's not true of the vast majority of the 70 million people who wathced the debate, seeing Romney sounding perfectly reasonable, and the president spending half his time nodding in apparent agreement and the other half looking down as if he's guilty of what Romney is saying.

          That was horrific and needed to be called horrific, stat.

          "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

          by JackND on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:01:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He needed the jolt (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jec, JackND, Matt Z

            I know the CV is that debates don't matter, blah, blah, blah.

            But the fact is that it's the only time candidates directly interact with each other and viewers see how well each candidate's positions stand up to the opposition.

            It's an event that has happened at some level throughout the history of humanity. In the beginning, it was mortal combat between two champions. Today, it's rehtorical combat between two ideologies.

            Either way, the outcome impacts a very deep strain in our cultural psyche and Obama needed to know how important these contests are. I don't think he would have gotten the message if we had softly delivered "constructive criticism."

    •  Amen to that last paragraph especially (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jantman, politicalceci, Matt Z

      The prospect of a Romney presidency, however remote it might have been, horrified me worse than the thought of GW's second term. And that was before the event your observation refers to.

      " can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem." Mitt Romney

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:44:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We are the reality-based community (4+ / 0-)

      and we recognize when the President doesn't do well, and recognize when he does do well. The truth is that he didn't do well in the first debate, and it showed. He did well in the second and third, and we sang his praises for it.

      •  The complete meltdown many a poster had (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Was not reality based at all.  It was having a complete meltdown.  Reagan did far worse in his first debate with Mondale (he looked downright addled) and I don't recall a complete Republican meltdown after that even as quite a few admitted he came off badly.

        On the other hand people thinking it was some sort of brilliant strategy by Obama was not reality based either but I will say I saw far less of that than the OTT meltdowns declaring the election is over, he lost it last night, we might as well say hello to President Romney.

        Reality based were the posters saying Obama lost the first debate but he didn't blow the election.  That is was an off night but it wasn't the worst debate performance in the history of debates.

        In other words reality based is not recognizing when things go wrong but it is also recognizing that things are not near as dire as pundits like Matthews and Shulz are saying

  •  i for one (2+ / 0-)

    am glad I have a 'reality based president' and that we on the whole interact with the real world. :)

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:37:45 AM PST

  •  GOP Reality (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Creating and living in an alternate reality has been part of the GOP playbook for a while, certainly since the days of Regan's "Dawn in America" while he led the country into a deep recession. Regan fabricated a little war  in Grenada to divert attention from the Beirut Marine barracks bombing in 1983 that killed 241 American servicemen.  The reality distortion machine went into full gear creating the myth of WMDs to justify going to war in Iraq while we let OBL escape in Afghanistan.  It reached it zenith during Obama's 1st term while trying to shift blame for the economic crash from 8 years of reckless spending to Obama care and the stimulus debt.  The election has blunted some of reality distortion momentum, but I doubt it has been extinguished.  Conservatives are conservatives precisely because they lack the DNA suited to self-criticism and analysis.  Conservatives see the role of public discourse as a means  to confirm the status quo, looking for the facts no one else sees to support a vision of life as it should be based on what it was in some distant past. Even their notions of revolution, starting with the Regan Revolution, are a cover for returning to the past.  That backward view is the fatal flaw of conservative thinking, and this election will provide a brief respite, but conservatives will be back peddling the same tripe in short order, as soon as they have created the alternative reality that will explain why they lost.

  •  can we ever change (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive

    "pie" to "pudding" ?

    * Join: OBAMA'S TRUTH TEAM * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:57:26 AM PST

  •  Kos, FWIW, we on the East Coast in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, lighttheway, vcmvo2

    the hurricane zone were actually starting to think about the storm days earlier than when it hit.

    On Friday before the storm, my grocery store was already cleaned out.

    On Saturday night I received an email from Joe Biden titled "This is serious" and opened it thinking he was telling us to prepare for the storm that was coming.  Turned out he was talking about the GOP out raising the dems.  

    Anyway, the point of the story is that by Sunday we were all already in Sandy as she started to affect our weather and had already altered our normal routines.  

    Personally, I thought a lot about Katrina and how I was glad that we didn't have the free marketers in the White House that we did then.

  •  obsession! :) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive

    I've clearly been obsessed the last few days with the reality-evading bubble the GOP

    I'm glad you have been obsessed with their reality distortion field. It has made for very entertaining and informative reading.

  •  This is a President who learns from mistakes. (10+ / 0-)

    That's a rare and precious thing, folks.  Cherish the next four years for the gift they are.

    "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

    by Troubadour on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:37:31 PM PST

  •  Mitt trying to protect a non-existent lead. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WestWind, OldDragon

    Pretty funny.

    Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

    by Bush Bites on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:38:29 PM PST

  •  "Reality"? Did you say (0+ / 0-)

    "reality" in that last paragraph?

    Granted you didn't say "Romney", but you did hint at him, and even a hint of Romney in a paragraph about reality just doesn't work . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:41:33 PM PST

  •  Holy crap--you read my mind! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've been thinking the same thing.  Rethugs don't learn from their own mistakes, which they don't acknowledge, let alone the mistakes of their opponents, whom they disdain as unworthy.  They keep trying the same old useless shit, expecting different results.  Isn't that the definition of insanity?  

  •  A lot of our folks argued (11+ / 0-)

    that even if we concluded the President lost the debate (which some continue to deny) it was better if we just went ahead and said he won anyway. So as to prevent a negative media narrative, or something along those lines. That would have been the same kind of error the Romney camp made: convincing yourself of things that are objectively untrue.

    The strong and instant fiery pushback from quarters like ours was a wake up call. That call was heard, accepted and corrections were quickly made. The second debate bore that out as Democrats were roundly supportive and happy with the second debate. The approach was followed up in the third which President Obama dominated.

    In politics, much like the mind altering substance business, it is always best to never get high on your own supply.

    •  And I would argue that the Obama team and Obama (5+ / 0-)

      himself are not stupid people.  They knew they lost the debate and while I don't agree in sugarcoating I also don't agree in having meltdowns which is what I saw far more than reasoned pushback.

    •  the same kind of error? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      That would have been the same kind of error the Romney camp made: convincing yourself of things that are objectively untrue.
      where do you ref?

      how do you define "winning?"

      does "freakout" = winning in your book?

      "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

      by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:13:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Amen, Brother (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kj in missouri

      We gotta tell it like it is.

      •  of course we do (0+ / 0-)

        and in that moment, we can also define what is "winning."
        being a liar and a puppet isn't "winning."

        i'm not at all against holding feet to the fire, that is our job, i think that is our responsibility and i accept it.    AND we also have a chance to define what is success and what is crap.  and that's where i think the progressive echo chamber went off the rails.  

        not that Obama was lackluster, he was.  but he didn't "lose" on substance.  and that was not pushed by progressives who were too busy echoing 'zomg we lost!' meme.   we are responsible for meme pushing, eh?  yes?   factual memes?

        "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

        by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:13:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unfortunately, Substance is Relative (0+ / 0-)

          When Romney turns 180 degrees on every position taken during the primaries, and there is relatively no pushback, the average viewer just tuning will take that to be substance.

          The MSM surely isn't going to engage in forceful pushback, so it's up to the opponent. Obama didn't forcefully make our case in debate 1. He did in debates 2 and 3.

    •  i respect your intelligence. (0+ / 0-)

      and i think this is a straw man:

      A lot of our folks argued (6+ / 0-)
      that even if we concluded the President lost the debate (which some continue to deny) it was better if we just went ahead and said he won anyway. So as to prevent a negative media narrative, or something along those lines. That would have been the same kind of error the Romney camp made: convincing yourself of things that are objectively untrue.
      i don't think you'll see my point anytime soon, and i also think reducing opinions to a binary argument "sux/rocks" seriously reduces the left's ability to define society.   yep, that's how big i go with this stuff.  way outside the WWW box.

      we're not going to change the conversation by yelling louder or deluding ourselves that setting our hair on fire works.   slow, steady build-up of factual memes over a long period of time trumps a wrestling match any day.   example:  War on Women.  

      but i'm tired and not going to change or influence any minds here tonight.

      "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

      by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:56:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kos, leave Mitt alone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Both Mitt and the Republican Party did just fine.  We should be encouraging them to continue jumping off the cliff instead of pointing out their behavior.  

    For crying out loud, we should be acting like RedState zombies wondering why Mitt didn't win.  He must not have been conservative enough....he didn't listen to the Tea Partiers....the polls were skewed...etc.

  •  One thing that would make debates awesome: (0+ / 0-)

    If you're a hockey fan, you know what a playoff beard is. For those of you unfamiliar with the term: The NHL playoffs are a two-month marathon, and most players adopt the tradition of not shaving for the duration, thus looking more manly as the playoffs progress.

    Imagine if our politics did the same thing.

    It would mean absolutely nothing, but envisage if by the third debate, President Obama and what's-his-name came out sporting unruly, shaggy beards.

    It would be awesome.

    And imagine the kinds of discussions it would spark on the post-debate gabfest on CNN. All 700 people on the CNN set -- David Gergen, John King, that giant Hispanic dude, James Carville, the two brunette women who I'm pretty sure are the same person, Wolf "Tie" Blitzer -- would all chime in on who had the stronger beard or which beard could better handle the economy, and whether or not a mighty beard could have blown Hurricane Sandy out to sea.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:43:38 PM PST

  •  I'm still astonished at the clear evidence (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Luhks, slinkerwink, ranger995, MikePhoenix

    that the first debate had a distinct and undeniable impact.  I honestly never thought before that anyone but die-hard political junkies would be noticing or caring about the debates.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:44:21 PM PST

    •  The reason is that there were millions of people (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MikePhoenix, blueoasis, bdop4, schnecke21

      who knew next to nothing about Mitt Romney before the first debate, and at that point that was their first look at Romney in action. The same thing happened in 04 with John Kerry.

    •  There was a big, big audience. (10+ / 0-)

      Bigger than any debate audience in 2008.

      Fact is, if you believe the polls, and after what we've just seen you have every reason to, the debate mattered. It didn't cost Obama the election, of course.

      Guess why? The RESPONSE from DEMOCRATS. That is what led to corrections and the corrections not only stopped Romney cold, but lifted President Obama and his supporters.

      This is kos' point. We are all better off living in a world of reality than mythmaking.

      •  Yes, we admitted and corrected in time (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brooklynbadboy, slinkerwink

        but dang there was quite a bit of correctin' to be done.  In an already fairly tight race, that hit was significant.  And I just never would have believed it, in advance. But when it happened I believed it, and yes that IS the difference right there.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:56:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  So you honestly think team Obama wouldn't have (4+ / 0-)

        made course corrections if people didn't meltdown?  Seriously they are not stupid people.  They had to have known it was not a good night.  There would have been the needed changes if people had reasoned criticism instead of what happened.  

        •  the hair-tearing was over-the-top (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          President Obama looked distracted.   he didn't however, lie out his ears and flop all over the stage like a flip-flop master.

          and while he stayed steady, if unanimated and dull and gave Mitt the stage to become yet another New Mitt, Mitt "winning" was only in the mind of the WWW group which then became the meme, echoing far and wide until it circled around on itself and then became... "reality."

          a debate is not a wrestling match.  people are actually a little tiny bit smarter than so many pundits thinks they are.

          "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

          by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:30:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  in other words, (0+ / 0-)

          polls reflect how people are thinking.

          polls do not, in themselves, give a person a reason to vote for or against unless those people only vote on the basis of being on the winning or losing side of an election.

          "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

          by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:33:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What I read afterwards (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laconic Lib

          Is that there were "concerns" among his team that Obama wasn't taking the debate seriously. Apparently, no one had the guts to take him aside and tell him to get his head straight. I would have hoped either Biden or Kerry would have done it.

          So, no, I don't think anyone on the inside would have administered the shock treatment needed to fire him up. Conflict is not in his nature so a cattle prod was needed.

        •  You equate every negative response with meltdown. (5+ / 0-)

          Fact is, most of the folks here did not have a meltdown. Especially those on the FP. There was some pretty cut and dry "bad night" calls. One of our bunch pointed out how absurd it was for the President to say his position and Romney's position on Social Security were the same. That is objectively false as a casual perusal of both campaign websites proved. The campaign quickly had to come out and correct that.

          Were there people saying "oh no..thats it...were finished...its over" well yes their was. They were having a meltdown. But they were few and far between. I think most argued that this was not good, but fixable, and it shouldn't happen again. President Obama publicly agreed with this assessment.

          The folks who had the meltdown, in my view, were those arguing in several recommended dairies that there was nothing to see here, Obama won, and anybody saying otherwise didn't understand 11th dimensional chess.

          That's a view NOBODY agreed with. Especially not the Obama Campaign or Obama himself.

          Now who had the meltdown?

          •  :-) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mahakali overdrive

            it comes back to the definition of "winning."  

            i'll push that "winning" is based on facts and policy, not the dance Mitt did.  and i had no problem echoing the idea that President Obama stayed honest, if dull, and let Mitt change his positions yet again because, guess what, that actually happened.

            but the Social Security comment burned, yes.

            "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

            by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:21:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The problem is we weren't the intended audience (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bdop4, kj in missouri

              for the debate ;)

              That was for the morons who hadn't yet decided how to vote. So there's no winning there on facts because they don't have a clue what the facts are or they'd have already been Obama voters.

              Thus said, I think it's all moot now. We won. Won won? We won! Something went right in the end. To me, the definition of winning is the part where we count the ballots and see who did, in fact, win.

              •  yes, we won! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mahakali overdrive

                and i'm still doing the happy dance.   :-)

                occasionally i'll push to see if there is any interest here in becoming more than an echo of the echo chamber in the rank and file and i think the answer is clear... there are a few front pagers who fit that bill and some fantastic diaries on the side.  i know who writes in ways that challenge my thinking and i know who writes copy i could write.  ha.  

                i'll be happy dancing for quite awhile.  holding the Senate, picking up seats, all our women in that body, wow.  that will keep me cheering for a quite a long time.  President Obama winning a second term?   pinch me.   ;-)

                good to see you kaligirl.   {{{mahakali}}}

                "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 07:41:25 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  No actually I don't. I think quite a few people (2+ / 0-)

            had reasoned responses but I also think many of those were drowned out  by the hair on fire responses of many, especially the pundits on MSNBC.

            I think that fact that people are STILL dwelling on it shows that the response to what was a bad night was OTT is many a corner.

            Say it was a bad night and move on.  

          •  The FP here kept it pretty collected IIRC (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kj in missouri

            It was really on the rec list, and in comments, much of which seemed driven on by teevee pundits with a vested interest in a close horse race or who were certainly out for blood one way or another. But I think the FP here generally remained level and I did appreciate that. I also saw the site deal unusually well with trolls who played screaming mimis. There was still some noise on this site, but this is a Democracy, and a messy one at that, so the concern was a bit much at times, the tone was a bit intense, but all's well that ends well, and in this case, we kicked motherfucking ass all the way to the polls, so I am quite pleased! Thus I offer you my rec on your comment. Also, I think the President did look to online reactions to gauge his performance, not because he's foolish but rather because he's intelligent; any intelligent person seeks audience feedback for any performance that they give.

            My singular contention is why are we talking about this instead of being like, "FUCK YES, WE WON" and in spite of a clunker of a debate. Or, "FUCK YES, DEBATE 2 and 3 WERE OUT OF THE PARK!" I guess it's a matter of perspective and priority and that I'm just missing something integral here? Because Hell if I'm not happy today! I'm very, very happy with our win.

            I'm also happy that we saw that degree of mendacity from the GOP because I think that's their albatross now to work off in the public eye. Rebuilding their "trust" with the electorate after the 98,000 lies of Mittens will take some time.

      •  Nailed it, BBB (0+ / 0-)

        At the time, people were just beginning to think about the race and the debate represented a starting point for a lot of voters.

        When Romney started reversing every single position he held in the primaries, and Obama said nothing, those positions became the TRUTH. And you know the media isn't going to call Romney out.

        The debate opponent has to do it right then and there, and in no uncertain terms.

        That's how Biden did it.

      •  maybe the whole yelling louder (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive

        could be converted to speaking smarter.
        like Kos' diary on debate night.
        not like Chris and Ed on debate night.

        "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

        by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:48:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ughh. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    politicalceci, leney

    I guess I'm still the only one that thinks Obama did well in the first debate. He was the one that told the truth and didn't act like a petulant child. I guess maturity and truth don't count for anything in politics anymore (or ever have for that matter)..

    "Javelin, Jockey details, all posts, discontinue."

    by bradreiman on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:45:38 PM PST

  •  It's a consequence of the "hack gap," isn't it? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bdop4, leney

    After the first debate, Kevin Drum argued that Romney had benefited from the fact that the left suffers from a "hack gap":

    The hack gap is a liberal problem of long standing. Put simply, we liberals don't have enough hacks. Conservatives outscore us considerably in the number of bloggers/pundits/columnists/talking heads who are willing to cheerfully say whatever it takes to advance the party line, no matter how ridiculous it is.

    My conservative readers may scoff at this notion, but rarely has the hack gap been on such febrile display as it has since last Wednesday's presidential debate. Ask yourself this: can you even imagine Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh tearing their hair out over a weak debate performance by Mitt Romney the way that liberals have been over President Obama's? I can't.

    Drum was complaining; his point was that Obama suffered more of a blow to his election chances after the first debate because liberal pundits (Matthews, Schultz, and others—you saw them) blasted him in ways that right-wingers never would resort to if Romney had been similarly beaten. ...And subsequent debates showed Drum was right about that.

    Well, the points Kos is making in this post show the other side of that coin: sure, having hacks who will slavishly back you up rather than allies willing to deliver you (admittedly over-the-top) "tough love" can be helpful in the short run, but it comes with costs, too. Kos's point calls into question whether the "hack gap"—which does indeed exist—is actually the benefit, overall, to the right that Drum thought it was.

  •  Wow. Who would have thought their reality creation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, politicalceci

    would turn out to bite them in the butt and hurt them worse than the Dems ever could?

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:46:22 PM PST

    •  Well, I was living in my own alternate reality... (0+ / 0-)

      It was a false reality that said "The whole Romney upper campaign organization can't be making decisions based on delusional BS".  Boy, was I living in a fantasy land!

  •  Polls were tightening before the debate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, politicalceci

    And they were going to tighten anyway because Republicans always fall in line.  The debate along with the collective freak out was the vehicle by which they tightened to the best point they would be but if it wasn't that it was going to be another event or series of events.

    Beyond that Romney could have come on there and been dang near incoherent and he would have been declared the winner because the media was itching for a comeback story after a brutal August and September for him.

  •  So the "annoying liberal freak out" you disparage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive, Laconic Lib

    in your other diary actually changed, for the better, the way Obama decided to debate? Is that the gist?

    "I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth." --- Bill Hicks

    by voroki on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:48:55 PM PST

  •  I thought (4+ / 0-)

    Obama won the first Debate on logic and rationality,

    even though the constant split-screen gave a different impression.

    And I told people so.

    Romney was the one that had flipped almost 180,
    on so many different positions.

    Stuff his campaign had to quietly and immediately retract after the debate was over,

    and 60M+ people had just been duped.

    Isn't it time to fix the Filibuster?
    -- Here's how.

    by jamess on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:50:50 PM PST

    •  Most revealing fact about the first debate (7+ / 0-)

      In my estimation, the most revealing fact about the first debate is this one. The first debate transcript contains a total of 36 references to a Romney presidential plan (22 from Romney, 13 from Obama, 1 from Lehrer). By contrast, that same transcript contains 8 references to an Obama presidential plan (4 Romney and 4 Obama).

      Obama won the first debate but purely on the intellectual level, using deductive reasoning to demonstrate the huge deficiencies in the Romney so-called plan. The undeniable fact remains that Obama lost that debate. He lost badly. He forgot that he was speaking on a stage, not critiquing a rival's Harvard Law Review article.

      Viewers didn't hear Obama's salient reasoning. They only heard that positive, one-syllable word PLAN, over and over again in connection to Mitt Romney. The message they heard was that Romney had a plan for the future, and Obama did not (even though the opposite was true). Just days later, voters wouldn't remember any of the specifics of Romney's policies, but they would still carry around an image in their brains of a smart business guy with his five bullet-points, his foolproof map to success, his magical list of five short items that we just need to check off in order to fix everything that is wrong with the country.

  •  This is funny. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    People upthread are still debating the first debate.

    Here's a news flash, guys: The good guy won Tuesday. Convincingly.

    This is the equivalent of the fans of the Super Bowl-winning team debating a fumble in the third quarter that ultimately had no bearing on the game's outcome.

    Good heavens, folks. Imagine if, um, you know, that guy -- oh, you know -- good hair, lied a lot; damn, I can't think of his name. Anyway, imagine if he had won.

    Can you imagine the diaries and comments then?

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:50:57 PM PST

  •  Yes! (0+ / 0-)

    I think you're right.  Great insight.

  •  Empty Momentum (0+ / 0-)

    Obama didn't show up for the first debate. However, Romney didn't show up for the 3rd debate. Obama's not showing up was a disaster. Romney's not showing up wasn't so bad and besides, he had little to show up with.

    The momentum from the 1st debate seemed to be all media driven- since there was nothing that Romney said or did that was special... maybe devious- coming up with a brand new tax plan. It was Obama's absence that sent the media into Romneyland. The media can never control itself. Some segments of the media need to find some courage and break away from the "group energy." I don' think that Romney's 3rd debate hurt him all that much. In fact, Steve Schmidt on MSNBC said that he passed the test and looked Presidential. On Fox, they must have said he hit a home run. I know that one or two said it wasn't his best, but they didn't pan it all that much.

  •  who is Obama? (0+ / 0-)

    I know this person I call President Obama but I am less sure I know who this generic "Obama" person is. Seriously Kos, it is important we always reference him by his title.

    Some folks are trying to undermine his legitimacy and undercut his authority. We help push against these retrograde attitudes by always referring to him by his appropriate title, President Obama. Always.

    From Detroit, Hugin.

  •  it's one thing to say PO had a subpar 1st debate.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sun dog

    it's another to say,"he didn't want to do it because he thought it was beneath him."  i hope to god i don't read any more of that made-up, mind-reading, arm-chair 'reality' today.  if i want to watch Faux, i'd turn it on.

    "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

    by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:53:30 PM PST

    •  Since you are linking to me (5+ / 0-)

      The President was unprepared, point-blank, for the first debate. He let down his supporters, and he knew it. He accepted the blame, adjusted his performance, and did better on the second and third debates. He wasn't burying his head in the sand and insisting that he did fine like Romney and their supporters did in the second and third debates.

      •  Faux Redux (0+ / 0-)

        and potatoes grow on trees so that's the same thing.  

        "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

        by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:09:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's pretty much the way it was (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slinkerwink, blueoasis, Laconic Lib

        Not an unusual situation for sitting presidents running for re-election, it has happened before.  

        It's a little difficult stepping out of the "bubble" and debating an opponent on national tv when you're used to making your own decisions and are buffered from public scrutiny or questioning.  

        I agree, Obama accepted reality and did what he needed to do. His performance in the next debate was about 300% better than the first time.

        It was a scary moment in the campaign, the only time when I was truly concerned that he might lose.

        "Mitt Romney is Dick Cheney with more charisma"

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:19:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  it was Faux News Bubble Head (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to say that the President of the United States thought prepping for a second term was beneath him.   i'll push back against that as strongly as i would a remark from Ann Coulter, if she posted here.

          "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

          by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:37:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did they? Not surprising (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kj in missouri

            Though I never watch Fox, I'm not surprised they would say something like that.

            I agree w/ the diary here, a major assist for Obama was not just his improved performance in the next debate, but Mitt's failure to anticipate it.  

            Apparently, Mitt thought he was a shoo-in. He ended up running the same game and  let Obama beat him handily in the second debate.

            "Mitt Romney is Dick Cheney with more charisma"

            by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:46:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, Fox didn't (0+ / 0-)

              it was posted on this site in one of Kos' diaries and early enough to derail a conversation that might have been worth having.

              whatever happened, Mitt's entire strategy, from start to finish, was to say whatever his team told him to say.  to be whoever the situation wanted him to be.   and that was his undoing because eventually, people really do notice it when one of the main characters on stage takes on different personas from act to act.

              echo chambers in themselves aren't bad things.  they can push memes.   if we base our echos and memes on facts and good policy, we won't lose elections.   if we base our echos on arm-chair analysis and realities of our own making, we might as well go work for Karl.

              that's my story and i'm sticking to it.   @;-)

              "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

              by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:57:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  another example (0+ / 0-)

              since i'm typing away... the "War on Women" meme.  that was spread far and wide and far beyond this blog.... although this blog did a fantastic job of pushing it out there.   i had doubt that the facts behind the meme would penetrate beyond progressives, and i was sort of amazed when it went mainstream.   add the batshit crazy assists by Tea Party senate candidates and boom, that meme was signed, sealed and delivered.   it's now an established fact and in the forefront of people's conversations.  

              same sex marriage, too.  such a far distance since 2004.  that's the sort of meme's i want help create and push.  not some gobblygook from posters about what motivates Barak Obama.  i don't care what motivates anyone.  i like results.   :-)

              off soapbox:   homemade cheese yogurt and salsa and chips and veggies.   :-)

              "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

              by kj in missouri on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:05:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Jesus H. Christ & the 7 Dwarves (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fahra, k8dd8d

    The expression on Romney's face says it all, doesn't it?

    Sometimes meanness of soul does not get the luxury of the Dorian Gray treatment.  It's hanging its bare face right out there, isn't it?


    Don't practice. Train.--Brian Harvey

    by luvsathoroughbred on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:53:58 PM PST

  •  Great, yet another diary where one side gets to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    completely relive the President's worst performance in the election and continue to assign the mistake to deep, dark motivations.  While the other side ignores the reality that it was a bad debate.  Would it stop if we just all agree that the President is an uncaring man who believed himself to "be above" debate preparation and who didn't really want to win because he doesn't really care about us?  Because it seemed the point of the diary was to differentiate the different responses of our side vs. their side to unpleasant news. Instead people take it as open season to regurgitate every single opinion ever expressed about the debate before. Is it that important to some people that they absolutely have to be considered right?

    "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

    by stellaluna on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:54:57 PM PST

  •  The Biden debate is still my favorite moment (9+ / 0-)

    of the entire campaign. He threw a whole lot of punches, some of them missing wildly, but he made sure Ryan was bloodied by the end of the night. Here was the living embodiment of everything the man had fought against his entire career, and Joe let everyone understand his utter contempt for their BS.

    For me, it was the most cathartic political event of the past 4 years.

  •  In this story, Kos illustrates why I and many (6+ / 0-)

    others have little patience with those who scream and cry every time there are posts which criticize the president. Obama, just like all of us, is human and makes mistakes and needs to know when he makes them. We do him, our party, and our movement no favors when we pretend everything is fine when it obviously isn't. As Markos points out, that tactic didn't work so well for the Republicans.

    If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

    by MikePhoenix on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:55:32 PM PST

  •  You are giving mixes messages about this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, mahakali overdrive

    Was it good that we freaked out over the first debate or bad? It seems like you think it was good in this diary, but you clearly said it was bad in another.

    Maybe your argument is more nuanced and you think it was both good and bad. Personally, I think it was good. It helped Pr. Obama make the decision to step it up.

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:58:26 PM PST

    •  It was bad that some of us went apeshit. (3+ / 0-)

      It was good that most of us knew Obama did poorly.

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:11:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Having some people go apeshit was necessary (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Code Monkey, ranger995, bdop4, Laconic Lib

        People's reactions are going to exist on a spectrum. There are always going to be a few voices on the extreme end, that's just pure probability.

        As long as no one is afraid to speak his mind, and so everyone speaks candidly, the movement as a whole will not delude itself. The big problem with the GOP is not just that willful self-delusion, but FEAR. Conservatives are afraid to tell each other truths, afraid to deliver bad news. Liberals are less afraid.

        •  It was more than just a few voices and it included (3+ / 0-)

          the MSNBC pundits who set the tone for all of the debate analysis.  They could have had reasoned critique and they didn't.  They freaked out.  

          I also think before we go patting ourselves on the back for being reality based we should acknowledge that it is no more reality based to have a complete meltdown over a poor first debate performance by an incumbent than it is to lie to ourselves and say he did well.  

          I saw far more of the former than the later.  

  •  Looks Like Nixon in that Photo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In the photo in the OP, Gov. Romney looks so much like Nixon that he could be taken for an actor playing Nixon.

  •  The bubble has its pros and cons. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    On the pro side: It keeps up the morale of the fighting troops.  Imagine the troops on the eastern front in WWII, fighting while believing the crap that Germany's winning the war everywhere else.  

    On the con side: It results in catastrophic collapse when it doesn't work.

    There's another factor, here, as well.  People like Rove had a vested interest in keeping inflated the belief in skewed numbers.  It meant more money for him from the big donors.  I.e., there were people on the right that actively PROFITED from the bubble, even while knowing that it was bullshit.

    Do you think for a minute that Rove REALLY didn't know he'd lost Ohio?  That was comic relief acting.  Pure cover your ass.  

    "Honest Sheldon!  I really thought we were gonna win when I asked you to write those last two checks!  Didn't you see how I freaked out on Fox that night?  Oh, how could I have been so wrong!  How how how!!  Say, there's another election in 2016.  Keep my card."

    •  Why, yes I do.. (0+ / 0-)
      Do you think for a minute that Rove REALLY didn't know he'd lost Ohio?
      I think Romney was so deluded that he thought he was going to win...and didn't write a concession speech.  If Romney could be so deluded, why not Rove?
  •  while I didn't watch the debates minutely, (0+ / 0-)

    it's mr sense that Willard is a person who mirrors the people ith whom he is interacting, but there may be a time delay. So, if he's mirroring his campaign advisors and then the opponent doesn't behave as expected, he ends up being out of sync. Having to deal with two different personalities must be really confusing for a person who's got no core personality and merely responds as well as he can. Willard may well be a borderline personality, which means he's got no border between himself and other people. There is no self.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:09:26 PM PST

  •  Thing is (0+ / 0-)

    Romney was in no position to play prevent defense in the 3rd debate (as Obama was in the 1st debate)

    He did not have the lead in the national polls OR in the battleground states like Obama did pre-Denver.

    Knowing that Obama would come out fighting in the sewcond debate, there was no way that Romney was going to play a "prevent defense" in that situation but a "four corners offense" may have worked. Instead he continued to play fast break offense and blitzes and got burned.

  •  I thought the president had a poor (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wildthumb, bdop4, mahakali overdrive

    performance in his first debate. I got over it just as I assumed he and his campaign did.

    What bothered me was the media going on and on and on about it. As well some people here after the first debate were putting polls out there that showed the president sinking and sinking fast.

    It was heartbreaking to see all this happen, especially since the president came out of the convention is such good standing.

    I had a very panicked bunch of co-workers who watched the Gallup and Raz polls and up until 2 weeks ago, they were convinced the country was moving away from the president.

    I told them to just pay attention to certain states and not to buy into certain polls, which I learned here.

    It was a tough few weeks there, I can't deny it. But I didn't panic. He had two more debates left and I thought he would come through them just fine, particularly since Romney didn't have a whole lot of substance to offer over three debates.

    There IS such a thing as bouncing back.

    And I will say this. I don't recall anyone here throwing in the towel and moving towards Romney that I recall because of the first debate.

    Just panic, which is normal. There was a lot on the line and very little time left on the calendar.

  •  Who are these donors that Obama had to 'splain (0+ / 0-)

    to about his debate performance.

    How much do i need to donate to get that level of attention?

  •  Just as polling aggregates are more accurate than (0+ / 0-)

    individual polls, "averaging" the debate reaction is the best way to get an objective look at it. There were going to be a few people here who thought Obama did just fine, and a few (like me) that thought that Romney dominated him from start to finish. People need to express themselves honestly and without self-deception in order for that process that work. The key is not to listen to a single voice but to listen to the general trendline which was somewhere in the middle, not quite as extreme as the Chris Matthews freakout, but still clearly a very bad night for Obama that let Romney crawl his way back and a missed opportunity to end the race early.

  •  AND THIS --- (0+ / 0-)
    and rather than pretend he had done well the second time out, he would've been better served with a healthy (if painful) dose of reality.
    is precisely why I am so thankful that romney {he doesn't deserve to have his name capitalized} lost.

    He is not a leader and surrounds himself with sycophants that tell him only what he wants to hear. He is no great businessman either. His schtick is to loot and pillage; it is not to build anything meaningful.

    I do not want my country looted, pillaged, and destroyed by an egotistical idiot like this. We've got enough egotistical idiots in Congress already.

    "There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about." --John von Neumann

    by earljellicoe on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:16:04 PM PST

  •  hahaha! that quizzical look on Rmony's face is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    HILARIOUS... he's like "I don't know what that negro's talking about. (turns to Ann) Ann, have you ever heard of this?" Ann shrugs.

    My name is X. I'm a semi-military black woman and I voted for Barack Obama.

    by tha puddin on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:17:36 PM PST

    •  I'm still laughing at Mitt's Wikipedia Candidate (0+ / 0-)

      performance in that third debate. Here, listen to me spout off a few irrelevant facts I just learned from my advisors. Did you know that Latin America has a bigger economy than China? It's true!

  •  Rmoney: "What the hell is this black man (0+ / 0-)

    talking about? We need to be talking about me, and how good I am at business!"

    My name is X. I'm a semi-military black woman and I voted for Barack Obama.

    by tha puddin on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:19:04 PM PST

  •  I think the most shocking thing of the week (0+ / 0-)

    is how shocked the Republicans are.

    This afternoon, I was listening to David Brooks & EJ Dionne being interviewed on NPR....and even Brooks said, don't they read the newspaper?

    If even I could figure out that the math didn't favor Romney, I don't see how all those high paid advisors and pundits and all those people couldn't figure out simple math...

    9 states to go.  Obama has 237 electoral votes.  Romney has 191.

    That means Obama only needs 33.  Romney needs 79.

    33= Florida + any other state (as well as any number of combinations)

    79.  Even Florida +Virginia + North Carolina + Colorado  (the 4 most likely to have a chance as of 10/25) do NOT equal 79.  There are not too many combinations that get there when Nevada & Wisconsin & Ohio were polling so high for Obama.

    I'm really puzzled by their rejection of the facts and math in front of them.

    And yet, I guess I shouldn't be.  They do it on everything else too.  Wishful thinking doesn't equal good governance as we've seen.

    If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

    by k8dd8d on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:19:38 PM PST

    •  No kidding, it was humorous to watch (0+ / 0-)

      I have to take them at their word that they really thought Romney would win, but by the end it was pretty obvious that wasn't going to happen.

      We got lucky.  The GOP took too much for granted and made some incredibly dumb mistakes.

      "Mitt Romney is Dick Cheney with more charisma"

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:26:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not putting it to luck (0+ / 0-)

        we had a fabulous ground game and the youth & minority voters showed up!!

        that's what the Reps were "unskewing" the polls with.  They thought the turnout wouldn't happen.

        If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

        by k8dd8d on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:46:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Obama is a real person (0+ / 0-)

    Romney and the Republican drones are all scarily unreal.  

  •  Naturally, the most rational reaction came from (5+ / 0-)

    the ever-sensible and level-headed Nate Silver.

    He ridiculed those who thought Obama had blown the election by an early tweet to the effect that, "yeah, right,
    Obama's numbers have plunged because of one debate and it's over." He also expressed, quite calmly, that "the numbers
    would soon regress to the average," and that Obama was still the clear favorite. There were hysterical ninnies here and everywhere, including Andrew Sullivan, who even suggested that Obama deliberately was throwing the election so he could go on and do something else with his life!

    Jesus, what crap.

    Goes to show ya. Keep your fucking head while everybody else is losing theirs. No matter what the so-called "disaster"

    "There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that's all some people have? It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan." --Joel McCrea as "Sully," in "Sullivan's Travels."

    by Wildthumb on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:23:31 PM PST

  •  In each case the media response tightened the race (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... very much as if that was the point of covering it.

    I know this is a bit beside the point of the diary, but I find it deeply troubling.  The media seem to feel that their job is to keep every campaign competitive.  And by now it's second nature to them, like it's a fundamental aspect of modern journalism.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:24:04 PM PST

  •  Willard was constantly trying to (0+ / 0-)

    sell to the GOP base that he was going to win, when his own polling told him that he had an uphill climb in the electoral college.

    As the base became more confident of victory, he became more conflicted and I think that's what showed in debate 3.  He knew that although he had been combative and delivered his points fairly well on the economy in debate 2, he blew it on the actual questions that were asked and especially on Benghazi.  He was very uncomfortable after that debate.  At the Al Smith dinner, he was incredibly defensive and feisty in his jokes whereas Obama was supremely relaxed, self-deprecating and confident.  I knew right there that Romney was not going to have a good debate 3. I think what contributed to his downfall in debate 3 was that he simply didn't know his stuff and the aggressive Obama ate him for lunch. Romney didn't have a clear strategy for debate 3.  He was trying to make up for his over-aggressiveness in debate 2 with a softer demeanor and also present a Presidential approach (i.e., the prevent defense) to the audience.  It definitely worked with the pundits but bombed with the audience. He missed out on substance and got called out for it by the public.  After a decade of war, a majority of Americans value competence on national security.  Willard didn't demonstrate that, and Colin Powell drove the point home in his endorsement shortly thereafter (probably the best endorsement I've ever come across...until Chris Christie).

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:24:30 PM PST

  •  I think there's something good and bad (4+ / 0-)

    about the aftermath of the first debate for Mr. Obama.

    The bad side of it was that the Dems piled on the president so much so that it looked more than a simple critique.  It was a beat down.  Who gets better served when there are people screaming at the top of their voices and infantalizing the POTUS as if he were a naughty kid in class.  Simply put, criticism is healthy until it evolves into a fingerwagging, pearl clutching situation that belittles the object of such remarks.

    The good thing is that it reminded the Democratic campaign that they had to be tougher when dealing with the GOP. The RW has been pushing the meme that Dems are bleeding hearts and weak.  As a result, any attempts to be fair, generous or even polite is seen by American society as a position of ridicule.  

    The last three debates for the Dems are significant because both VP Biden and the POTUS didn't take Ryan and Romney's crap.  In fact, they let each of their opponents hang themselves with their own pomposity.

    I understand about being worried over such pitfalls in an important event.  But it doesn't help to scold a grown man like a misbehaving child in order to get results.  Straight talk with respect and frankness is better.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

    by politicalceci on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:25:01 PM PST

  •  I think this goes back much much further (0+ / 0-)
    I've clearly been obsessed the last few days with the reality-evading bubble the GOP constructed for itself the last few months.
    The world view difference is profound and long standing.  The thing that is changing, especially among those outside the bubble, is that the emperor's new clothes do not exist and they now see it.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:28:12 PM PST

  •  I was going to rec this as an insightful diary (0+ / 0-)

    until I saw who wrote it.  Kind of pointless to boost some people's karma here.

    A new birth of freedom..

    by docterry on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:31:42 PM PST

  •  Romney did listen (0+ / 0-)

    early on to all the tea party nuts who would not let him move to the center.

    however, they gave him bad advice.

    by chloris creator on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:37:48 PM PST

  •  I think you're humping your own narrative (0+ / 0-)

    on the debates.  You show the poll numbers as vindication for what you believe happened.  But the people who came to Romney after the first debate, his 'momentum,' were all people who predictably were going to come home to him eventually.  He didn't win the country over because Obama laid back in the first debate.  He found his ceiling.  

    Look at the numbers without wrenching the debates into the narrative and it shows what the smart money expected to happen this fall.  It was always going to be close.  

    I don't buy the line that Barack Obama was the only person in the country who didn't know Romney was going to tack to the middle in that debate.  I think he played it how he wanted to play it and I recognized it for a winning long game strategy when it happened.

    The fact that it would make us uncomfortable for a couple of weeks was no reason not to play it that way.  It was a good time to expose Romney and set the expectations for the remaining two debates to a point where Mitt was in a no win situation.  

    The press was always going to find a way to Balance things and help cut into Obama's lead.  And they were always going to have a newsgasm when Republicans who didn't like Romney finally started saying they'd vote for him.  It was a good time for that to happen.  

    When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

    by Sun dog on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:38:24 PM PST

  •  my frustration (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, Luhks

    is that the second debate featured a masterpiece performance by obama and a miserable gaffe and lie strewn performance by romney. somehow it never got the recognition and spin it deserved. all the debates i have seen back to 1992, i felt it was the most complete victory and destruction of an opponent. obama was pitch perfect. retorted lies, explained shit masterfully, answered the questioner, irritated his opponent, induced his opponent into errors, and cooly but sternly adressed his disrespectful and insulting opponent. romney ruined himself with hispanics, lied about his record in regards to women, and humiliated himself with his epic fail lybia gaffe. he was told by the moderator to sit down at one point like he was in grade school.
    yet somehow this went unrecognized or at least under covered.

  •  I was one of those (0+ / 0-)

    who was very pissed off at the left for the way they trashed President Obama after the first debate.  But your article has made me rethink that and I think you have a real point.  I still think the reaction was way beyond what it should have been with most of the MSNBC crew doing great imitations of people having seizures.  It was awful, and President Obama would have figured out what went wrong with less histrionics.  But all's well and all that.  

  •  It wasn't Obama's debate performance (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry, but in retrospect...

    There was maybe ten percent of Republicans who didn't think they could tolerate Romney. Then they saw this patriarchal white guy on the screen, and said..."Well, OK." Romney's advisors were right in the sense that they knew he could etch o sketch and the bigots who just wanted an old white guy president would eventually believe anything. Romney smiled and lied and lied and smiled and they bought it because they wanted to.

    Obama wasn't charismatic. He wasn't snarky. He wasn't revolutionary. But he didn't say anything wrong or offensive or dumb.

  •  Delusioneering. That's what they do. (0+ / 0-)

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 04:57:32 PM PST

  •  Propaganda Trumps All? (0+ / 0-)

    I think KOS is confusing two things that should be kept separate. When Romney has his ass kicked in the second debate, Republicans said he won or it was a draw; down-is-up propaganda is always their move if an event defies their wishes.

    Denying the many polls that said Obama won the debate is not what campaign professionals get paid to do. Though they were unusually incompetent in running Romney's campaign, his staff surely did not believe the reality-denying propaganda of their own noise machine.

    There must be more to this story.

  •  Never underestimate the ego of our present (0+ / 0-)

    CEO class, or their belief in the power of money to triumph over all.

  •  I am glad President Obama LOST the first debate. (0+ / 0-)

    Imagine what would have been the narrative if President Obama wiped floor with Gov. Romney in that debate - "Republicans lost because he was a weak candidate / It was not a loss for conservatism but our candidate was not conservative enough". I have no doubt one or two denizens of Bullshit Mountain News would have hedged their bets pushing this narrative preemptively preparing it's acolytes for inevitable disaster. We would have Dick Morris, George Will types saying "I think Romney would squeak in with 270 votes", allowing them wiggle room to weasel out.

    The fact that Gov. Romney gave a sense of infallibility to all the nutbags out there allowing them to jump on his bandwagon only to be to nuked into pure ether by president Obama and his campaign. That makes this election so satisfying.

  •  The reality is the Dems lose every time (0+ / 0-)

    they try to be nice towards Republican, and win when they show cojones. Or, say, 99% of the times.

    Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

    by Joe B on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:09:15 PM PST

  •  There is another take on this (0+ / 0-)

    Assuming that Romney and his supporters really believed that they had the election in the bag, perhaps he held back in the 2nd the 3rd debates because he wanted to be in position to reach across the aisle to Democrats after he became president. In other words, perhaps he was already starting a strategy for bipartisan rapprochement.

    In fact, I think that Obama did more less exactly that in the 1st debate. He was far ahead and may have wanted to hold back in order to increase his chances of convincing some Republicans to work with him after the election. It must have scared the piss out of him when he realized what he'd done.

    Romney, on the other hand, safe and warm in his bubble, never heard the wake-up call.

  •  at what moment did the House start shifting back? (0+ / 0-)

    Had high hopes we would retake the House this time out, but as it turned out, after that first debate, some of us got so scared we got off our couches and went out of state to knock on doors. Was pleased to see the tide shift a little our way, hope we do it again in 2014, for keeps. The little elections need to be run like the successful national one, quick response to super pac baloney, ground game, good narrative, organization, etc.

    "O you can't scare me, I'm sticking to the union" - Woody Guthrie from Union Maid

    by dkosdan on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:28:51 PM PST

  •  Obama killed it in debate #3 (0+ / 0-)

    The second debate was an improvement at least, and at least Obama landed some good attacks, but he still didn't do enough to defend his own record and present his own positive plan for the future.  He really did it all convincingly in the third debate.  

    The other thing that won this for Obama was his ground game.  OFA was just amazing in the swing states in getting boots on the ground and getting out the vote.  They didn't care about yard signs, it was all about door knocks, and getting their own supporters out there to vote.

    There's sort of a parallel here with the debate response.  Yes, Republicans were too worried about giving an impression of winning, they wanted their yard signs, their biased pollsters, and their even more biased pundits telling themselves what they wanted to hear, in order to give themselves an impression of actual support.  But this is always going to be true of astro-turf movements.  Still, in the end, this time all of their money was better at creating a facade than at buying them actual votes.  I guess it's easier to buy off the media than it is to buy off the electorate.

    In the end though, I'm not sure Republicans could have done all that much differently.  They can't afford to let reality dictate their politics, that's just not who they are, and it would change the entire nature of their movement.  What they are about is using money and power to try to dictate a new reality.  Just because it didn't work this time isn't enough reason for them to change that.

  •  Not a debate coach (0+ / 0-)

    But I watched # 1. My wife was working and when she arrived home, she asked me how it went. My immediate reaction was that Rmoney won based on style points. This was before the MSNBC slimefest.

    I have watched almost every Presidential and VP debate since 1976. I wish that the debate outcomes were based on substance over style, but that has never happened, and won't with the current state of our entertainment based media.

    Using that criteria, debate prep based on content and policy is a waste. As a geek, I wish that the world worked differently; but hey, presidential elections are personality cults and will be for the forseeable future.

    No question in my mind that the pronouncement that Rmoney was a clear cut winner in #1 was based on a media priority, from both left and right, to maintain a horse race so they could continue to get max $ from political ads. Their strategy worked beautifully.

    As I sail against the tide, for what I believe is right.

    by Toes on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:24:37 AM PST

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