Liberal heads exploding all over the net
You might want to pop some popcorn, then sit in your favorite Lazy Boy and watch in glorious HD as the leftosphere melts down like a stick of butter at a midsummer Grant Park picnic.
National Journal: "Liberals livid with Obama's debate performance":
How bad was it for Obama Wednesday night? Even some of his biggest fans were livid that he let Mitt Romney walk away with a win, and they were not suffering in silence.
Within an hour of the debate ending, liberals and longtime Democratic operatives and pundits took to the airwaves and Twitter to lament the lost opportunity that was the first presidential debate.
Politico: "Obama hit with left hook on TV, online":
"I don't think he explained himself very well on the economy. I think he was off his game. I was absolutely stunned tonight," Ed Schultz said.
Matthews said Romney addressed Obama "like the prey. He did it just right. I'm coming at an incumbent. I've got to beat him. You gotta beat the champ, and I'm gonna beat him tonight. And I don't care what this guy moderator, whatever he thinks he is, because I'm going to ignore him. What was Romney doing? He was winning."
"It does remind you that the last debate Mitt Romney had was seven months ago and the last debate that Barack Obama had was four years ago," said Maddow.
Newsbusters: "Dem Debate Meltdown: Stumbling Obama Surrogate Speaks Of 'President Romney":
How resounding was Mitt Romney's rout of Barack Obama tonight? In the post-debate spin room, a hopelessly muddled Martin O'Malley, Dem guv from Maryland and supposedly an Obama surrogate, wound up referring to "President Romney"! Freudian slip, anyone?
For good measure, pressed by MSNBC's Larry O'Donnell-clearly dismayed by Obama's dismal performance-to suggest what he'd recommend the prez do differently next time, a demoralized O'Malley could only mutter "uh, I don't know."
Look: you know how much I love the guy, and you know how much of a high information viewer I am, and I can see the logic of some of Obama's meandering, weak, professorial arguments. But this was a disaster for the president for the key people he needs to reach, and his effete, wonkish lectures may have jolted a lot of independents into giving Romney a second look.
Obama looked tired, even bored; he kept looking down; he had no crisp statements of passion or argument; he wasn't there. He was entirely defensive, which may have been the strategy. But it was the wrong strategy. At the wrong moment.
The person with authority on that stage was Romney - offered it by one of the lamest moderators ever, and seized with relish. This was Romney the salesman. And my gut tells me he sold a few voters on a change tonight. It's beyond depressing. But it's true.
A lot of progressives are beside themselves that Obama didn't mention Bain Capital, didn't mention the 47%, didn't mention the Ryan Budget (except indirectly), didn't mention inequality, didn't mention abortion/contraception, didn't mention immigration. Very heavy emphasis, as I noted, on Mitt's "vagueness."
Chuck Todd just adjudged it a clear win for Romney, and signs of poor preparation by Team Obama.
You know, I'm often a bad judge of these things because I really don't give much of a damn about "energy levels" or "aggressiveness," and I tend to care a lot when I know a candidate is lying through his or her teeth. But if viewers thought Obama was phoning it in, that will matter, and it will matter a lot more if they are being told by every talking head in Christendom that Romney won big.
The $64,000 question is whether this will have an impact on actual candidate preferences, which have been amazingly stable.
That is, indeed, the question. Romney's performance won't be worth a hill of beans unless he moved the needle last night. By all rights, such a massive victory (even the president's men are saying Romney clearly won) should translate into a bump in the polls. But how much and how permanent depends on follow up by the Romney team. If they want to claim to possess the Big Mo, the candidate has to demonstrate the same calm confidence and self possession he showed in the debate. No more scrambling to undo some malapropism, or bungled responses to Obama attacks.
The liberals did a good job elevating expectations for Romney prior to the debate. It is remarkable that he didn't just meet those expectations, he surpassed them - with room to spare. But the expectations game is for political junkies and most of the 40 million who watched last night had no prior disposition as to how well either candidate would do.
Personally, I was heartened by his subtle swing to the center on issues like health care, immigration, and regulation. But then, I'm just an old fashioned RINO and my guess is most on the right are swallowing hard this morning, holding their fire on some of Mitt's more moderate statements.
It crossed my mind that Obama's poor performance might have been a "rope-a-dope" - getting people mad at him and then resurrecting himself dramatically in the next two debates. But really, the Obama team have not proven themselves clever enough for such a strategy and besides, you can't fake low energy like that.
I don't think Romney and Co. will get overconfident, but some on the right may. Best to look at Romney's big win in the context of a baseball game. Romney was trailing by a run or two and then hit a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning. This has put him a few runs ahead but half the game still needs to be played. Obama is not out of it and we can expect some desperate attacks to try and stunt Romney's momentum over the next few days.