Today’s WTF: Democrats lose their minds after Debate #1

I have to say, I am getting tired of this post-debate debate that is playing out within the Democratic party.

On one side, we have the media pundits who, immediately after the end of the first Obama/Romney debate, set upon the president’s performance like vultures on roadkill. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was the most vocal of these commentators, delivering an impassioned takedown of Obama’s debating style that came scarily close to a psychotic episode:

On the other side are the apologists, who have been alternating between spin (Obama campaign spokesman, David Axelrod commented  after the debate, ““The president was talking to the American people about some of these fundamental issues. As I said, treating the American people as adults.”) and excuses (Bob Woodward said the president was too “distracted” to be aggressive against Romney, and Al Gore blamed Obama’s problems on the altitude in Denver).

Some say Obama lost, others would claim he won. And both sides are very immovable and very vocal in their opinions. Which begs the question: which group got it right?

The honest answer is that they’re both wrong.

Look, folks, this is not something that requires rabid partisanship. You can be a dedicated supporter of the president, and still recognize that he had an off night. And you can say he had an off night without resorting to hyperbolic, panic-stricken critiques, as Matthews and other pundits did.

The fact of the matter is that our president was thrown off his game quite a bit by the way that Romney aggressively and blatantly misrepresented facts and his own positions. It wasn’t the altitude, and it wasn’t a case of being “distracted”. He just didn’t know exactly how to respond to this sudden shift in Romney’s tone and proposals, and it showed. When he DID have a handle on what he was saying, he said it with authority, clarity, and resolve. Obama’s composure in the face of Romney’s unpresidential antics did not go unnoticed. He never acted rudely to moderator Jim Lehrer, as Romney did more than once. He knew how to explain his ideas, and he knew how to point out the stark contrasts between himself and Romney in a favorable way. He scored several points using the style he had chosen that night, no doubt about it. But it is equally certain that he lost a few points too.

And it should be OK for anyone who is supporting Obama to note this reality. This is politics, y’all – sometimes candidates deserve some criticism, even if you’re criticizing the candidate you’re supporting. Nobody’s perfect, so the idea that Obama could, possibly, have done a bit better shouldn’t cause the president’s supporters to have brain aneurisms in any way. All it means is that Mitt Romney will expect to have free reign and a lock on people’s attention again in the next debate, and that the president needs to focus on making sure that doesn’t happen.

Barack Obama is not a child. He is a grown-ass man, and in case you forgot, he is also the leader of the free world. Nobody out there needs to protect him, nobody needs to make excuses for him, nobody needs to worry about all those “meanies” who would dare to suggest that he has some room for improvement before the next debate. In fact, it appears that he has already figured this out for himself, so those who are pulling out their hair and calling this the disaster of our political age need to chill the hell out, too. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and even if Romney gains a momentary lead it is in no way a sign that he will eventually win the race.

So I’m begging you, Democrats – enough with the internal squabbling. Enough with the circular firing squad. Enough. Those of you who find yourself on one end of the spectrum or another, please try to make your way toward the middle. Until we all agree to stop rehashing what happened last week, we won’t be able to move forward through the critical weeks ahead.


19 thoughts on “Today’s WTF: Democrats lose their minds after Debate #1

  1. Awesome post. And a big AMEN to everything you said in your post. I was quite disappointed in Chris Mathews and Ed Schultz just going crazy over the President’s performance. He will come back strong and that will start with Jo Bi showing P90X Paul Ryan how it’s done debate style. I feel sorry for P90X. It’s not going to get be pretty.

    • Thank you sir – yeah disappointment is definitely the word for the way those MSNBC commentators went off. Just take a deeeeep breath, people, it’s gonna be OK!! And I am also looking forward to seeing the VP debate. I hope Mr. P90X has a double shot of his protein shake or whatever that morning, ’cause he’s gonna need it. 😉

  2. Excellent sentiments. It’s fine to criticise Obama’s performance / style but keep a balance.

    However, without turning the comments section into a political debate – I would like to take issue with just one thing you said.

    “Obama is the leader of the Free world”

    This is actally not true. He is the leader of America. Outside of America we have our own leaders. This self proclaimed role that America has adopted is imposed on the rest of the world. Some places in the world object strongly to this – which is why America’s “leadership” is mostly military in nature.

    It’s called Imperialism. And most of the world have had enough of it.

    • Bill, you make a very valid criticism there. “Leader of the free world” is one of those things that just sort of automatically rolls off the tongue of many Americans when referring to our president. But you’re right, that’s not really what he is, and to be honest, I am pretty sure that Obama knows that himself and would be one of the first to say he’s not entirely comfortable with that moniker. He has gotten a lot of heat from his political rivals here for actually (gasp) acknowledging that other nations have their own governments and cultures to deal with, and for showing some consideration when he deals with them himself. Whenever he does try to acknowledge the point of view of anyone who is coming from a non-American perspective, he gets nailed by the GOP for “rejecting American exceptionalism” or for being an “apologist” for America. Well, I am officially beginning my “Apology Tour” right here and now – I’m sorry for using a phrase that rankles many of our overseas friends, and I will bear your comment in mind in my future writings. That’s right, I apologized – COME AND GET ME, REPUBLICANS!! 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    “So I’m begging you, Democrats – enough with the internal squabbling. Enough with the circular firing squad. Enough. Those of you who find yourself on one end of the spectrum or another, please try to make your way toward the middle. Until we all agree to stop rehashing what happened last week, we won’t be able to move forward through the critical weeks ahead.”

    This is excellent. Thank you Ms. Chris.

  4. I have to agree with Bill Hayes, our President is the elected leader of the United States of America. That is all he is. Other free nations have their own leaders, funny that. How or why we continue to impose ourselves on the rest of the free world as if we have some moral right to do so simply boggles my mind. Perhaps when we focus on ourselves as a nation we will start to improve as a nation and be taken more seriously as well.

    As to the rest, you are absolutely dead on. Democrats have a very bad habit of eating their own which gives our opposition free rein to join the feast.

    • Yup, you and Bill are both correct, Val, and I actually just posted that in a reply to Bill a second ago. I do stand corrected, y’all, and I appreciate the feedback. 🙂

  5. Thank you so much, Chris. You are spot on. Finally, a rational post about the debate. I look forward to the debate during which the candidates discuss foreign policy. I suspect Romney will be thoroughly trounced. But there will be lies, for sure.

    • I have to admit, I got semi-panicky myself immediately after the debate…I knew that it didn’t look good for Obama in the way the media was pouncing on his performance, and I don’t like to see that sort of momentum shift in Romney’s favor at this stage in the game. But then I took a breath, and went to bed, and the sun came out the next morning just like it always does. 😉 Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it, and I am right there with you about the foreign policy debate.

  6. Excellent post! Especially with the attention paid to the apologists as well as the panickers — both sides did get it wrong. As you said, Obama can have a bad night and still not lose the presidency. We all need to chill out — and I include myself in that.

    • Well, let’s see how tonight goes between JoBi and Mr. P90X – either it will help settle Democrats’ nerves immensely, or it will be round 2 of the “doom and gloom” histrionics we saw last week. I am hoping – PRAYING – that Big Joe nails this one.

  7. I love this post so much! I’m a political fence-sitter, always seeking some truth in there somewhere, always having trouble deciding where I stand. There is way too much nonsense and panic flying around out there between left and right. I really appreciate your down-to-earth analysis here. And I’m still shaking my head at Al Gore for making that crack about the altitude. If I were the president, I’d be saying gee, thanks a lot for that, man.

    Incidentally, because I believe articulate, rational expression of one’s opinions is a beautiful and increasingly rare thing in our world, I’ve nominated you for a Beautiful Blogger Award. If you’d like to participate, go to for details. Thanks for your great work!

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