Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Three Reasons Romney Lost the Debate

by David Atkins

The pundits and a majority of uncommitted voters have spoken: according to them, Mitt Romney won the wonky yet substanceless snoozefest that was the first Presidential debate of 2012. We are told that Romney seemed lively, warm and aggressive, and that the President seemed distracted and defensive. Perhaps that's true. The President's neoliberal policy approach and failure to adamantly defend Social Security and progressive budget priorities didn't help. The news media certainly wants a closer horse race between the candidates for ratings, and the snap post-debate poll numbers favoring Romney will help them try to deliver that.

But for all the hype, Mitt Romney still came out the loser tonight for three reasons:
1) The "Big Bird" moment. What debaters look for when they "win" is a moment that can be replayed again and again in advertisements afterward against the opponent. Think Bush's "Hard Work" line in 2004, or Dukakis' lack of emotion over his wife's hypothetical murder in 1988. While Obama may not have outshone Romney on stage, Obama didn't give Romney any of those moments. But Romney did give the President one--and a big one. He directly stated not only that he would fire Jim Lehrer--right in front him--but that he would fire Big Bird, too. Big Bird and PBS instantly became trending topics on Twitter. Watch for the Obama team to do ads highlighting Romney's desire to continue subsidies for big oil and other big corporations while killing Big Bird's job. That will have a much more lasting impression on the race than the 24-hour news cycle generated by the debate itself.

2) Romney just didn't move the numbers as much as he needs to. Let's face it: Mitt Romney is way behind in the polls. Not so much the national polls where's he's 3-4 points behind on average, but in the swing state polls, where he trails by significant margins in most of the states he needs to win--particularly Ohio, but also Wisconsin, Virginia, Nevada and many others. There are precious few paths to the Presidency for Romney that allow him to lose Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada and Virginia, and he's down by at least five points or more in each of those states.

And there are precious few undecided voters left out there--by many accounts less than five percent of the electorate. Which means that Mitt Romney needs to win almost all of the undecideds, particularly in these swing states, for him to have a chance. Even if Romney picks up 2/3 of the undecideds who claim he won the debate tonight--a doubtful figure, given that it almost certainly includes some of the President's natural supporters deflated at his more passive performance--it's still not enough.

3) Romney's lies will come back to haunt him. Part of the reason the President may have been caught off guard was Mitt Romney's hard tack to the center, essentially throwing the modern conservative movement under the bus and pretending that his last year's worth of campaign statements never happened. On every issue from Romneycare to cutting taxes for the rich, the challenger basically pretended that he was the Mitt Romney of 2002 again.

It may be that Romney was trying to shake the etch-a-sketch starting tonight, or it may be that he was trying to win over the undecided voter who pays little attention to news except to watch one or two debates. If the latter, then it won't matter to him how much fact checkers rip apart his statements (for instance, the L.A. Times has three separate sub-headlines reading "Romney repeats false healthcare claims", "Nonpartisan reports challenges Romney tax claims", and "Romney's charge on Medicare misleading").

But the Obama campaign may see fit in the coming weeks to put Romney's sudden pretenses at being a moderate tonight alongside his actual speeches and statements from no more than a few days ago. That will have the effect of reinforcing Romney's image as an ambitious used car salesman who will say anything to get elected. And that will hurt him as voters go to the polls.

In the end, Mitt Romney sacrificed his long-term standing in order to try to fool undecided voters in the immediacy and win a news cycle. And he still didn't win enough voters in the news cycle to make even that short-term strategy successful.