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May 26, 2018

Post-Debate Hysteria

The Sturm und Drang now in full swing among the professional pundit class is hilarious. Yes, the President phoned in a tepid performance. Yes, Mr. Romney managed to exceed the very low expectations America has of him.

What is also true is that an incumbent President losing the first debate to his challenger is more the norm than groundbreaking news (see also 1984, 1992, 2004). Ask President Mondale and President Kerry how dispositive that is.

So while Republican surrogates have at long last something to gloat about and left leaning pundits are having difficulty controlling their bodily functions on national television, it’s helpful to maintain a little perspective. Media outlets, regardless of their editorial bent, of course love this mass freakout because after months of boring “Mitt is imploding” narrative it’s nice to be able to report something different.

But when all the gloating is done and Chris Matthews has extinguished his hair, only one salient fact remains.

Mitt Romney has no credible path to 270 electoral votes, and the President has several.

I leave you now with the best attack ad of the campaign season.



52 Responses to “Post-Debate Hysteria”
  1. fishingmamma says:

    We have a President that is in office because he has a long history of service to his community. He has a clear idea about his style of governance and how that will create policies to improve people’s lives.

    The Republicans have produced a challenger that has the desire to ‘be president’. He is not flip-flopping, he is clearly stating that he will do or say anything to get the job. He doesn’t care about foreign policy, or how the rest of the world relates to us, or about our role in a peaceful world. He doesn’t care that food prices are an issue for most of the world or that water is becoming a commodity or that genetically modified foods may kill us. His world view includes magic underwear and subservient women. He just wants to be president. He was the kid that always won the game ‘king of the hill’ on the playground. He is still playing the same game. He is planning to win the same way he always did in school.

    I am not surprised by Romney’s behavior, or about his ‘big bird’ comments, or about his 47% nonsense. I am, however, surprised that more people are not terrified by the prospect of seeing him settle in to the oval office, thinking he is entitled to own even that.

    • Jim K says:

      Well, I don;t like Romney either, however, for different reasons. He hides his positions by a single truth
      and numerous lies substantiated, by claiming, because he has one truth his false claims have been
      vindicated; he is a phoney that only respects power. If we give him that power we will pay with a inferior life, only to give this power hungry vindication of his false beliefs of being a superior person. He is a nowhere man. Take away his money and he has no way to show how superior he is. He is a nowhere man, is a
      land, he hopes to control. Take away his money and relegate him to the obscurity he deserves.

  2. Anne says:

    All Willard did was to cement his well-deserved reputation as a lying bully. It was utterly sickening to see how he ran over Jim Lehrer and was so eager to keep getting the last word. He is not going to change his policies, but is trying to make it appear as if he has tacked to the center. Actually, the president did refute him several times, but he just doubled down on the lying he’s been famous for even before the debate. If the president wants to, he can use this flip-flopping against Willard in subsequent debates, because it’s easy to see that this clown is an unethical shape-shifter.

  3. MoDi says:

    If you look at ALL of the poll results, the only gain Romney made was among Republicans – who were most likely already going to vote for him. He made no gains among independents or undecideds.

    Check out the following article at Huffpo, the writer believes Romney lost with women big-time, and I agree.

  4. Lacy Lady says:

    Forgot to ask—–did anyone see the black dot on Rommney’s flag pin? What was it?

    • beth. says:

      That ‘thing’ on his lapel pin has really been bothering me for months, now! I haven’t found out what it is, but I do know that it’s TOTALLY against the US [Flag] Code. Every time I see it, I cringe — and I’m almost afraid to know what it is…I’ve seen religious symbols, fraternal organization symbols, and denomination affiliation ‘markers’ on lapel pins; they make me crazy! How dare/i> they!

      It drives me nuts to see ‘additions’ to lapel pins…even though there is no (punishable) law against
      ‘adorning’ them, it just gripes my shorts that some people decide to ignore the standards of common usage (ie: The US Code) and add whatever personal message they want to convey, to it; using the flag lapel pin as a personalized billboard for their ’cause’. Arrrrrrgh! beth.


      §176. Respect for flag

      (g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
      (j) […] The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

      • I can’t think who explained it, but it’s the emblem of the secret service and the pin was given to him by an agent who was assigned to him at some time in the past. I understand why he would wear it, but I agree – I don’t like it when things are added to the flag, whatever the reason. (I also don’t like it when people wear the flag or drape the flag around themselves even when it’s done in a way that is supposed to celebrate being an American – such as the Olympics, etc.)

        • beth. says:

          Here’s a site page with a close-up of the pin he was wearing Wednesday — — and yes, its got a Secret Service emblem on it…’illegal’ as all get out, but better, I suppose, than the golden elephant on the flag he wore during the Republican debate fiasco(s).

          The US Code says: “While the Code empowers the President of the United States to alter, modify, repeal or prescribe additional rules regarding the Flag, no federal agency has the authority to issue ‘official’ rulings legally binding on civilians or civilian groups. Consequently, different interpretations of various provisions of the Code may continue to be made. The Flag Code may be fairly tested: ‘No disrespect should be shown to the Flag of the United States of America.’ Therefore, actions not specifically included in the Code may be deemed acceptable as long as proper respect is shown.”

          It ALSO says:
          ” §180. Design for service lapel button; persons entitled to wear button

          The Secretary of Defense is also authorized and directed to approve a design for a service lapel button, which button may be worn by members of the immediate family of a person serving in the armed forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which the Armed Forces of the United States may be engaged.”

          ” §181. Approval of designs by Secretary of Defense; license to manufacture and sell; penalties
          Upon the approval by the Secretary of Defense of the design for such service flag and service lapel button, he shall cause notice thereof, together with a description of the approved flag and button, to be published in the Federal Register. Thereafter any person may apply to the Secretary of Defense for a license to manufacture and sell the approved service flag, or the approved service lapel button, or both. Any person, firm, or corporation who manufactures any such service flag or service lapel button without having first obtained such a license, or otherwise violates sections 179 to 182 of this title, shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than $1,000.”

          A cursory search of the Fed Register [ ] isn’t turning up any authorization by any POTUS or any Sec of Defense for either elephants (or donkeys) or secret service ‘additions’ to the flag — lapel or otherwise.

          So, since, unless one of Romney’s five [lying] sons is currently in the armed services… oh, wait. beth.

        • mike from iowa says:

          According to this article the flag pin had the rnc elephant on it. has a nice picture of secret service pin and star and the star covers about 40% of the pin,much larger than what romney shows.

      • thl says:

        Please note the third word after the g, “should” Now unless the legal profession defines should a lot differently than I do, it is not a requirement but very strongly recommended. Please note that I am center of the road, not left or right and I think Romney is a disaster waiting to happen. O also thionk that Obama is just as bad. What I don’t see is any compromise from either side.

  5. AKblue says:

    Were Obama and Romney allowed notes at the debate? This video clearly shows Romney pulling a paper out of his pocket and putting it on the podium. If it was allowed, why did he do it in a sneaky way?

    • Beaglemom says:

      The debaters were not permitted to take anything into the debate. Paper, chosen in advance by each side, and pencil or pen, were placed by those in charge of the debate on the lecterns before the debaters appeared. From the video of the event, it is clear that Mitt Romney took something out of his pocket and put it on the lectern. Possibly a handkerchief? More likely – notes of some sort. Cheating and then hectoring the moderator are in keeping with Romney’s personality. He is a bully who is not allowed to lose “fair and square.”

  6. mike from iowa says:

    Big Bird doesn’t need PBS funding-he needs the stations to get aired. Romney and his rich friends don’t need humongous taxcuts,but they take them anyway. Big Bird is a capable and valuable teacher. Romney and friends aren’t capable of learning.

  7. Beaglemom says:

    I found it interesting that the following day pundits had a somewhat different reaction to their immediate reaction the night before. The morning after pundits started to realize that Mitt Romney had acted bizarrely and had, gasp, lied a lot. They suddenly seemed to feel that President Obama was letting his opponent tie himself up in his lying knots. Who knows for real?

    My one assumption is that Romney’s on stage flip-flopping on issues was a surprise to the President who was well prepared to react to the Mitt Romney of the last several weeks and who was also deeply enmeshed in the travails on the other side of the world, Syria, Turkey and all of their neighboring states.

    I think that viewers also saw the event somewhat differently once they had had a chance to sleep on it – or not sleep on it. Romney was a bully and a cheat in addition to being a liar. Not very presidential, unless you’re thinking of Richard Nixon or George W. Bush. President Obama was measured and, well, presidential. Had he been a bully or a cheat during the debate he would have been accused of not being presidential and of being an “uppity” black person. Frankly I’m glad President Obama is always presidential – I find it reassuring.

    • AKblue says:

      I agree with Beaglemom. Romney looked and sounded manic, but Obama responded in his usual calm, reasoned way. After the initial shock of Romney’s aggressive, out-of-control behavior, Obama is the one who looked more presidential.

    • Beaglemom, you are right. I felt better after I watched two movies and got some sleep. And I did feel better. There were still certain moments when I wished that President Obama had at least said something stronger – not as a bully, but just to make the point.

      I do remember thinking during the debate that Romney was a bully to Lerher (who, imo, did a terrible job) and to the President. It reminded me of the young Romney who bullied another student and cut off his hair. He sees that as a way to win, but I don’t – and hopefully, people who turn out to vote will remember that image as well. It’s hard to know who the real Romney is, but I think the one characteristic that IS clear is that he’s a bully – not a very nice man.

  8. guest says:

    Off-topic, sorry. Looking for open thread.
    Post and share, if you would. Missing person search on Sunday.

  9. beth. says:

    The more I think about it, the more I have to wonder if Obama hadn’t gotten some really weighty news just prior to the debate start — Benghazi, Turkey-Syria, something, that threw him for such a loop. He was physically present, but mentally, far, far away. I’ve never seen him so discombobulated (for lack of a better word) when speaking to an audience…heck, even his ‘opening’ to Michele (on the occasion of their 20th) was all fumble-tongued and ‘distracted’. Quite a puzzlement to me… beth.

    • I thought the same thing, even while I was watching the debate. Since then, there has been the explanation of the altitude affecting him. We used to go to Colorado all the time when I was in junior and senior high school. I remember it always took me a couple of days to adjust to the thin air – I usually took a long nap the first day and went to bed early. So I find that a very credible reason for his looking tired. But his staff should have thought of that and tried to figure out a different schedule so he could get a little rest after he got there.

  10. HoboJohn says:

    He may have won the debate but, didn’t get a single new vote because only the top 1% want voucher care.

  11. Alex says:

    Mitt Romney has gone from “certain to be blown out of the water” to “seriously behind.”

    And while I wish Obama had been more forceful — and come right out and called Romney his endless stream of lies — Romney is still behind and is still going to lose.

    But at least the chattering classes have something new and shiny to distract themselves with on cable for the next few news cycles.

  12. zyggy says:

    I’m still wondering why Romney called Pres Obama, Bro?

  13. laurainnocal says:

    Thanks for the warm breeze, Jeanne. Wow, this Barack was a fatigued fraught man. It hurt to watch. Did ya catch Rachel’s doumbfundedness?

  14. Zyxomma says:

    I didn’t watch the debate, because I know (from the News Hour on PBS) that Jim Lehrer barely has a pulse. It’s too bad; I used to respect him. Then again, I respected Gwen Ifill until the Biden-Payme debate. I’m not one of the braindead ‘undecideds’ for whom these debates allegedly have meaning.

  15. slipstream says:

    Okay, I had to look up “dispositive.”

    But vote for Team Cat? Never, never, never, never, never.

  16. mike from iowa says:

    Romney’s expectations were set so low that if he had a heartbeat it would be considered a homerun. This is what frustrates me about Obama. He acts like he is ashamed of being ahead in the polls and gives his opponent every opportunity to catch up. Grow a set of balls and bury this Mormon fraud and show me that you really want me to vote for you. Personally,I’d settle for a late night drone attack on the opposition,but do something quick.

    • Lacy Lady says:

      “Obama got bin Laden. I’ll get Big Bird,” Rommney shot back

    • Mag the Mick says:

      I stand with Mikey, who we know is always outstanding in his field. My Prez needs to step it up. Besides, if Big Bird ain’t safe, ain’t none of us safe.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      I most always side with Mikey too.
      Mixed feelings this time but will kick in with him.
      I’m growing old.
      Worry more about Son of Pi, beloved DIL, the grands, and what we’re handing them.
      They ever figure out ,before I’m dead ,what we did to them and Son of Pi will renege on the viking funeral he promised me.
      And I do so want that viking funeral.

      • mike from iowa says:

        It could happen and I’d be honored to volunteer as a Thrall girl for your afterlife if,and this is a big one,you promise that a bunch of guys won’t get fresh with me. I rilly would prefer you to continue to provide a gentle voice of reason simply because we need all voices.

        • Alaska Pi says:

          Hehehe. I promise you Mikey- a bunch of guys won’t get fresh with you. Can’t say what the ladies will do though. 🙂
          Mr Roberts’ response to a comment on the phone-in post put me full face with some things which have been bugging me for a long time. Mostly I get shouted down when I push to talk about them.
          Still don’t agree with him and even feel like snarking about too many youngsters (compared to me here on the rim of outer middle age) falling for the theater of TV debate without weighing through the points made.
          But- it is true Son of Pi and Mr Roberts and so many others don’t think Social Security will be there for them. We Boomers are mostly self absorbed about it being there for us and not paying enough attention to our kids and their kids.
          We’ve done a whole lot of weird stuff the last 30+years and , present company excepted by and large, pretty much ignored the fallout for our kids.
          Maybe we hit our heads on the bottoms of our desks too many times all those years ago , jumping under em for atom bomb drills?
          I’m thinking I’ve never been a gentle-voice-of-reason 🙂 but not planning on checking out real soon either.
          Just thinking a lot about the judgment day when Son of Pi taps on the door and wants to have a chat about some of our messes…hoo. gonna be bad.

  17. One thing is true, Romney won the debate. Of course that means little in terms of the election game-change it is being touted to be.


  18. Oh, one more thing. I think the people who are advising the President are making a big mistake in assuming that because we’ve heard about Romney’s 47% remark ad nausem that he didn’t need to bring it up again. They need to know that a lot of people are more like my husband – he mutes every commercial, changes the channel if there is more talk on politics than 5 minutes, and said that is the only debate he is going to watch and he doesn’t plan to watch the vice presidential debate at all.

    So for a lot of people, last night was the President’s chance to engage or impress them, and he didn’t. If they, unlike my husband, aren’t already planning to vote for Obama, then he lost the chance of gaining their vote. You can’t count on someoone’s vote until they actually mark their ballot, but it seems that’s just what the President did last night.

    I had to check out for the rest of the evening and watched two movies. I’m so glad Dirty Dancing was on – what a great stress releaver that was. 😉

    • Lacy Lady says:

      There are some in my family that a debate would never change their mind that is already made-up.
      I know some people who would swear that the stop signs are green in color.
      As for the debate——most people have not one clue what was being said.

  19. Yes, you are right. But still, I found the whole debate frustrating and depressing. I think the person who came off the worst is the moderator. Really? He could have left and no one would have missed him.

    I think the worst of the unchallenged lines from Romney was that one about raising five sons and he knows when someone keeps telling the same lies. And President Obama said nothing! Why? If I were one of Mitt’s sons I’d be highly offended. And I guess we know where Mitt’s boys learned their lying ways – right from daddy who keeps telling the same lies over and over and expecting that at some point we will believe them.

    I wanted to spit in Mitt’s face and give the President a good shake. Wake up and don’t let Romney get away with all that nonsense.

    • John says:

      Why couldn’t the president have mentioned that we have been listening to Romney for 18 months, and we too can tell when a story keeps changing.

    • beth. says:

      I was particularily struck by the “sons” comment, too. Combine that with Anne’s stating in an interview that the one thing she’d worry about is Mitt’s “mental well-being” should he become president, and I can’t help but wonder if the man has some serious issues with trust [paranoia?] and mental stability.

      It’s always been my experence that a famiy’s ‘dirty laundry’ is kept hidden until, or unless, it becomes so overwhelming and all-consuming that it canNOT be contained anymore, and then it’s just blurted out to the world.

      I mean, if his perception is that his off-spring –all 5 of them!– engage(d) in lying to him, and if his, Mitt’s, “mental well-being” were NOT issues the family is dealing with, . why . in . the . world . would both be offered up to the public as if they were ‘matter of course’ and ‘normal’? Are they for the Romneys? Yikes! beth.

      • mike from iowa says:

        Ann Romney now has a real job. She is going to fill in for Robin Roberts at ABC. Imagine that-she is leaving the womb of Fake Noise for the real world. Hope she doesn’t get her drawers in an uproar.

  20. EXCELLENT! Thank you….

  21. Justin F. says:

    “Mitt Romney has no credible path to 270 electoral votes”


    And I think that’s what has so many of us worried. Here in Wisconsin we’ve seen multiple times first hand what unlimited funds and a candidate with no detailed plans can do. (See: Ron Johnson, Scott Fitzgerald, Scott Walker, etc etc etc). Mitt showed very clearly last night that he was going to be following the game plan that’s worked so well here in WI. Don’t say anything of substance, deny everything, let the money flow.

    You’re right about the history of the first debate. We all remember Bush and how he was supposedly being fed answers over an ear piece. That’s what I’m holding onto to make myself feel just slightly better about last night.

    I guess a whole lot of us are more skeptical than usual in this part of the country when it comes to how history relates to what might happen today.

  22. Judy Nichols says:

    Looking through the annals of history (although it doesn’t seem like history if I can remember watching it on TV) Walter Mondale won his first debate with incumbent president Ronald Reagan and John Kerry won his first debate with incumbent president George W. Bush. And unless there’s been some radical time-space continuum shift, we never had a President Mondale or a President Kerry. Out of 90 minutes of talking points and meaningless statistics, the only thing that anyone remembers is that Mitt Romney likes Big Bird, but still wants to cut off funding to PBS. Hardly a game changer.

    • An incumbent winning a debate by 30+ points will see that translate into a 1 point edge in an election poll.
      A challenger will see a 3-5 point edge in an election poll if he wins by the same margin.

      So there was really no upside for Obama, but a HUGE downside. he basically played it safe, so as to not lose big.

      That he lost the debate big is hindsight, but the risk was contained. At most Romney gains a 2-4 point temporary gain.

      This will fade out because the next topic is foreign policy, and there, Obama HAS done well

      • Lacy Lady says:

        There have been a lot of people who have already voted.
        I got a lot of calls today—–and hung up on all of them.

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