It would be better for left- and left-leaning pundits to watch future debates in isolation rooms so that they do not produce among themselves the sorts of collective misjudgments that dominated the post-debate commentariat after the second, third and last night’s final debate.
Indeed, mass herd instinct led to hysteria and derangement after the first debate which took a terrible night for the president and made it a fatal one. Now having proclaimed victory yet again, their followers wil yet again watch polls soldify around Romney (and perhaps even increase in his favor as happened with Rasmussen’s tracking poll today) and they will grow both dispirited and –towards the MSMers who told them their guy had won when he didn’t– bitter.
Debates quickly shrink to a few phrases and a couple of impressions. Last night’s impression was of a confident, steady Mitt Romney, easily the “presidential” equal of a fuming Barack Obama.
Last night’s two takeaway lines: “Believe me, they noticed” from Mitt Romney as he wrapped up his review of the president’s apology tour, and Barack Obama’s riff on the Navy:
[Y]ou mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s — it’s what are our capabilities.
This dismissiviness about the size fo the fleet, both in its details and in its tone, put Virginia and Florida beyond reclaiming for the president and probably won George Allen his Senate seat back. It also first astonished then ticked off every veteran who was a sailor or a marine, and their families. The president ducking responsibility for the sequestration –which he signed on to and which came about becuase he double crossed John Boehner in the first place– is just the latest episode of the soon-to-close “Not My Fault Presidency.”
It will also not help the president to have everyone, led again by Jen Rubin, revisit his infamous “apology tour,” which he simply cannot wish away. It happened. Jen Rubin has the audio and the video. The Brief Against Obama has the expanded version and all the footnotes.
Again and again the president tried, with increasing desperation and evident frustration on his face, to get Mitt Romney to grow angry or flustered so that his Chicago Gang could then push out a “not ready” meme. Romney’s disciplined responses and his command of the answer –there is not one gaffe, not one flub on which the left can fasten– left the president and all his friends on sets everywhere to proclaim victory without any evidence save a snap polls that matter zip to the real polling that will continue to show Romney polling away.
Today the after-debate analysis of the talkers and the cable chatterers will catch up with the conclusions of Charles Krauthammer, Sean Hannity, Rich Lowry, Powerline’s bigs and a band of others who saw the key exchanges and understood the result last night on air and on Twitter. The significance of the CBS focus group in Ohio will sink in and eve the president’s die-hard fans will get the sinking feeling back. Very soon distance is going to appear between the president and his “friends” in the Beltway media who know they have to buikd relationships for the next four years and that David Axelrod’s cell number will be as useful as Bob Schrum’s.
Watching a campaign unravel isn’t pretty but it is fascinating. So too will be the scramble of the pollsters to cover themselves.
Short history of the 2012 Campaign: Nothing mattered to the conventions, when Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan energized their base and Bill Clinton overshadowed a listless president, who stayed listess through the crucial first debate and who never got his groove back. Though the Chicago gang tried and tried thereafter, launching even the dreaded Biden self-mocking missile, nothing worked, and the country began, with increasing enthusiasm, to look forward to a clean break with the failures of the past four years and a fresh start under a steady, competent, indeed surprisingly warm, affable and Al Smith funny Mitt Romney.