The reason I stopped reading Andrew Sullivan was the roller-coaster hysteria that ABL just pointed out. “Obama may even have lost the election tonight” my ass. That said, Sully is kind of the spastic colon of the DC media. He thinks he’s some kind of sophisticated, Orwell-like “in it but not of it” guy, but the reality is that he’s a creature of that town as much as George Will or Cokie Roberts. His gut just moves faster, so he craps out his response in real time while those old dinosaurs have to wait for their Metamucil to do its work.
Certainly on the surface Romney looked better because he spat out his laundry list of lies quite effectively, while Obama struggled to regurgitate his prepped lines and is so habituated to never appearing angry that he missed lots of opportunities to call Romney out. But, like the rest of the DC media, Sully’s sensors are not tuned to pick up bread-and-butter issues. And Mitt Romney totally fucked himself last night on a key one, Medicare. Mitt looked like the kid who just gave the teacher an apple and was waiting for the pat on his head as he explained that his Medicare changes would only apply to people under 55. In other words, most of the population, and their children, would get “vouchers”. People do not want this policy, no matter how nice Romney’s suit looked last night.
In general, “lies” isn’t exactly the right word for what Romney threw out last night. I like the term “confabulation” because they were sound-good statements that were mainly unrelated to the positions that he’s been running on for the last 18 months. When these get unpacked, the DC press will finally realize that Romney spit out a bunch of shiny, nice sounding nothings. Unlike the primary debates, which are basically beauty contests, the Presidential debates get analyzed to death. There’s more than a day of “who gaffed the most”, “who looked the best”. Romney clearly is winning that part of the cycle. The next part, the part that never happened last Winter and this Spring, is “what did these guys actually say”. And on that score, Romney lost. You can’t make up a whole Presidential campaign in two weeks of debate prep, and that’s what he did.