The media meme for the last several days has been terrible. Decreased polling for the president, shifts in the percentage likelihood that we'll hold the White House and the Senate, an air of "HOW COULD HE?!?!?!" So you might think it's time to panic first, get depressed second, and then crawl in a hole and consider what country you'll be moving to on 7 November.
If you're really panicking, take that nervous energy and get thee to the nearest call center. TODAY. Let people know that polling numbers don't win elections, VOTES win elections.
Thursday night Joe Biden will meet Paul Ryan in front of likely 70 million pairs of American eyes and ears. Some people are nervous about this: they fear a "gaffe" from Biden. I'm not worried. Some of the "gaffes" are only an issue to pundits. Remember the day the ACA passed and Joe said it was a "big f***ing deal" (with joy). Some people were appalled. As someone who has said the same thing at times, I wasn't concerned. A curse word? Really? Yes, there was that debate problem several decades ago where he lifted words from a British speech: no worries, kids, he's learned from that. Personally, if I were the Vice President, my first answer to any question that was asked would be: "First, thanks for having me here tonight. I believe this is a great forum for the American people to see the differences between Congressman Ryan and myself. I'd like to make an offer to the Congressman on behalf of the American people. Paul, you told Chris Wallace that you didn't have time to explain the math behind your tax proposals, letting the American people know which of the loopholes that many of them use you would close. We've got 90 minutes here, and I'm ready to cede the first 30 minutes so you can explain it. You can use my 2011 taxes as an example. Jill and I took three deductions: interest on our mortgage, state taxes, and charitable contributions. Do we keep them?"
That's 40 seconds and the debate is won. It's a direct question, and one to which every American needs to know the answer. The next question from Biden to Ryan should relate to the Medicare voucher program, complete with how much more things will cost current seniors.
Can Joe pull it off? Absolutely.
And then we've got two more presidential debates. Let's take a step back and think: we've known for some time that the percentage of undecided voters is very low. Is it really possible that ALL of them took 90 minutes with Mitt, the President and Big Bird and decided that they want a president who told 27 lies in 38 minutes? If you went on a first date with a guy like that, there wouldn't be a second. But pretending a brief moment that 3% of the electorate could be swung by 90 minutes, we need to remember that there are an additional 180 minutes of debate left to come.
Another thing to think about is that, while likely unintentional, Obama's debate performance may well cause the House to end up with a Democratic majority. Had Mitt completely bombed at the debate, a lot of dark money would have run from him in a New York second. And where would it have gone? To the House races. There are a number of teabag darlings (like Alan West, Joe Walsh, and Michele Bachmann, to name just a few) who are polling relatively poorly. The money shoring up Mittens won't work: the 9:1 split over the past year hasn't done him a lot of good, and it's nice to see it continue to flow.
So I'm not panicking, and neither should you. Get out the popcorn and settle in for Thursday night. Don't take this literally, but...