October 4, 2012 24 Comments
The fallout from last night’s debate has been priceless. The left is beside themselves over Obama’s performance. James Carville declared Romney came with a chainsaw and roundly attacked Obama. Andrew Sullivan said the debate was a disaster for Obama. Chris Matthews was beside himself wondering what Obama was doing on stage. Politico claims Juan Williams declared the debate a massacre while attacking Obama’s performance. The New York Times called Obama “President Xanax.” Van Jones claims Romney out Obama’d Obama. During the debate last night liberals attacked Obama without mercy on Twitter. The left is in full fledged freak out mode.
Of course the left is also making excuses for Obama. Jim Lehrer is taking the brunt of the criticism. Obama’s senior campaign manager Stephanie Cutter blamed Lehrer’s performance for Obama’s defeat. Yahoo News claims “experts” are ripping Lehrer’s performance. Those experts just happen to be liberals in the media such as Time’s Ezra Klein. In fact, Lehrer let Obama bloviate and interrupted Romney on a number of occasions. But let’s face it, Lehrer isn’t responsible for Obama’s defeat. Obama is. It was obvious from the beginning that Lehrer wasn’t going to control the debate, so instead of taking over the debate Obama continued to debate in a passive manner. Surely the smartest man in the world can figure out a debate moderator’s power at some point in a 90 minute debate.
The absolute best excuse though came from Al Gore who blamed the altitude in Denver for Obama’s poor performance. This man was 500 votes from being President of the United States in 2000. Frightening eh? Obama apparently isn’t capable of adjusting to the high altitude in Denver. In Al Gore’s world, Obama must have been winded standing there talking. Gore must not have gotten the memo that the only people who are actually affected by the altitude in Denver are athletes. People who stand and talk don’t get winded, people who run or skate around get winded quickly in the Denver altitude. It’s a simple concept.
While it’s fun to revel in a victory and it’s even more fun to watch the left panic we can not forget that Romney is still behind in this race. Rasmussen’s swing state poll still shows Romney behind by 7 points. He has a lot of ground to cover if he wants to beat Obama. One debate is likely not going to cut it. But it is a start. Romney badly needed a win last night and he got it. He’s back in the race but the race isn’t anywhere near finishing. The election is still over a month away. We still have a VP debate, which won’t be as easy as Republicans like to think it will be. We still have two Presidential debates.
It would be shocking if Obama didn’t perform better in the next debate. Surely we’ll all think he’s done better because of last night’s performance. Obama fell into the trap that a lot of incumbents fall into. They think the election is in the bag, so they go through the motions. Carter was dreadful in 1980. Reagan lost the first debate in 1984 when he appeared tired. Bush 41 checked his watch at the first debate in 1992. Clinton underperformed against Dole in 1996. In 2004 John Kerry defeated Bush on foreign policy in the first debate.
Obama did what they all did, he under performed, under prepared and looked like wanted to be elsewhere. Did anyone else notice how quickly he and Michelle left the stage after the debate? Mitt Romney’s up there with his wife, children and grandchildren and the President is nowhere to be found. People noticed that even if they aren’t talking about it. Obama wanted to be anywhere but the debate stage last night, we all saw it. But it won’t be that way at the next debate. He’ll be aggressive, he’ll be prepared and he’ll perform much better. Romney had best be prepared, more so than he was last night.