Originally Posted by Kid A
Sullivan is a great read, and the debate swing has been huge, but he has been a little hysteric about it, bemoaning the election lost mid-debate.
Frankly, I think there is a bit of self-fullfilling prophecy going here with the hand-wringing coming from the left. It's not unprecendent for an incumbant to come out flat in a first debate, as Sullivan himself points out. Bush lost the first debate to Kerry in emphatic fashion, Reagan embarassed himself in the first debate with Mondale. Then, Sullivan goes all emo on his readers by decalring that Obama performed even worse in this instance, which is absurd. Was he flat? Yes. Did he miss a couple of opportunities? Sure. Was it some sort of bumbling disaster of epic proportion? Of course not. But the apopletic reaction from the media and the left has done nothing to help that perception with the public. The right is better at playing these games. When Bush got his clock cleaned by Kerry, the right dutifully pretended otherwise, minimizing and rationalizing any flubbs or missteps. And, ultimately, Kerry got only a moderate boost that lasted maybe a week. If your an indy and you witness the self-flagellation of Obama's supporters, that very well could make an impression. And it also rallies the faithful to see their opponents beating each other up.