One of the pollsters, I forget which, has pointed out that part of Barack Obama’s diminishing poll numbers has to do with the fact that his support among Democrats is squishier (83%) than Romney’s support among Republicans (90%).* Several commentators have also noted that this fact may well reflect the general hysteria, compounded by a less than justified media narrative that attended Obama’s imperfect, but far from disastrous performance when confronted with Romney’s serial liar on steroids performance.
Talking Points Memo ran a few comments from readers last week that addressed this issue. They were pushback against a reader who thought the first debate revealed deadly faults in Obama’s character They might be worth looking at as we wait for tonight’s debate:
There are people on my side of the aisle [i.e., Democrats] who live in a fantasy world almost as much as some of the right wing crazies. They build up expectations for Obama that are based not on the real him, but on what they want from him, then when they don’t get instant gratification, they project all their anger on him and blame him rather than face living in the real world. Thankfully Obama is living in the real world.
What’s even more amazing is it is the Dems, not the Repubs who let a debate — a debate — after over three years in office, and Obama still can’t please these crybabies. The “Woe is me” attitude brings down everyone around them. Funny, dems are doing EXACTLY what Rush Limbaugh claimed the media was doing to surpass the Republican vote. Make them think it was a done deal, Mitt could not win. But dems can only blame themselves. They’ve told Obama what they thought of his performance and instead of waiting to see what happens at next debate, instead of listening to what he’s saying, looking at his actual actions, they they have pretty much written him off. […] I say this as someone who […] supported Obama in 08′, who supported him his whole presidency, even when he made decisions I did not agree with, and I support him now. No wonder dems always look like wussies and go down with their heads between their legs. Yes, the right word is EFFEMINATE!
… What a bunch of Malarkey. Obama was not prepared for what he got – not a debate but a slick, torrent of pure bullshit and new positions. He should have been, but that’s water under the bridge. He should have defended his position and that’s damn near inexcusable, but I suspect he was simply rocked back on his heels by the audacity of someone getting up on a national stage and flat out lying about his past and current positions. I’m also suere that conflicted with the advice he’d had not to appear the angry black man, leaving him effectively wedged. …
Obama may be in fine form tonight, he may not. He has never been strong in the pseudo-debate format to which we subject our presidential candidates. He’s too careful and thoughtful and I’m sure Romney will be just as dissembling and hyper as he was in the last debate. (And just why does he get a pass for rude, steam-roller behavior toward the President and the moderator while conservatives insist Joe Biden should be held accountable?) It all comes down to the fact that it’s easy to “win” if you don’t care what you say – and President Obama always cares.
But no matter what happens, remember Obama has worked hard for the American people. He stands by his promises; he delivered as much of what he promised in his first campaign as he could given GOP obstruction. You may not like everything he has done, but unless you’re the type of idiot that can’t stand for less than total conformity to some set of abstract ideals (I think we call these folks mindless ideologues, whether they’re on the left or the right), you, like me, support much of what our President has achieved. And I’m willing to bet that you won’t like what Romney’s planning to do. That’s really all we need to know.
That means that it’s time to stand by Obama now and help shape the narrative that will will develop from this debate. We don’t have to concede that liars and etch-a-sketchers are winners just because they’re more animated. No matter what happens, we need to hustle and help make sure that the truth gets out. Forward, always forward, folks.
* I’ll supply the URL if I can find the data again.