Democrat Denial on the Downslide

by Jeff Swanson

I was talking to a liberal the other day. He and I have a funny rapport. Once, years ago, we had quite the political clash. I try not to be so vocal in settings where politics should be left at the door. A workplace, for instance.

Sometimes, you have no choice. The rhetoric goes too far and the the facts need to be heard.

That was a few years ago. Since then, we’ve come to a gentleman’s agreement that we would keep politics on the ‘surfacey’ stuff. That was until the debates weren’t looking terribly good for his chaps.

See, the thing is, it’s easy to be generous when your guy is in office. I imagine that was the life of a liberal during the Bush years.

Nonetheless, he asked me what I thought of the Presidential Debate Redux at Hofstra. To which I noted this is what debates are about, a good toe-to-toe battle. Facts aside, it was a good fight.

He gave me quite the incredulous look and said, “You mean, you thought the debate was at all close? Romney got creamed!” I’m sure he had a ‘dude’ added to the end of that.

Thus is the life of an acolyte at the alter of Obama.

Romney didn’t get creamed. Neither did Obama. Honesty says the debate was a good battle. Polls say it was a good fight. Candy Crowley says too much.

I’ll say often; I’m well skilled at making boneheaded moves.

The next thing I say to my liberal friend is, “Well, I think it gave some energy to the base, like Biden did last week. I just wonder if it gained Undecided’s. I know Biden was good for the base but ultimately, Ryan seems to have squeezed out the win for the middle folks.”


It was Dem-ageddon. I had set off the chain of catastrophic events. I had performed a blasphemous act. I thought that the Democrat didn’t do a good job. I’m shocked there wasn’t a charred crater remaining where I once stood. My friend went a bit ballistic, more accurately, it was ballistic-lite, “Are you kidding? You think Biden lost that? Were we watching the same debate? Biden killed him!”

I mildly pointed out that polling didn’t back that up. He told me that ABC News polling didn’t seem to think so.

I have yet to find an ABC News poll for that. I did find a nifty one at ABC telling me that Parents Prefer Obama as a Babysitter. CNN, a poll actually conducted, thought Ryan overall won.

I told him that it appears Joe bested Ryan simply because he had some bluster but I’m not sure that won the day. I also pointed out that Ryan at minimum didn’t lose and possibly made a small inroad. Perhaps with the Undecided’s simply because his demeanor was more calm.

My friend said….here it comes….wait for it:

“You mean like Obama did in the first debate?”


I’m not sure sure that was what the President did the first time around. Since that time, Democrats are watching the score.

And therein lies my greatest hope; that Democrats are looking at points on the scoreboard. Did the VP score? Did the President call out Romney?

On points, a winner could be debated. Undecided voters rarely make their decision based on facts. If they did, Undecided’s would be, well, decided.

It’s about trust. Or as the oft frustrating David Gergen stated, “But I did want to make a point: On style, I think Paul Ryan won the debate. And that is, Biden, the dismissive laughs, the interruptions, the sort of shouting — I think that Ryan was calmer and frankly more presidential. On style, not substance, I think it was a Ryan victory. On substance, I thought it was a draw.”

An Undecided is never ‘gotten’ by a ‘gotcha’.

This is a point lost on my liberal debate foe. He’s looking to spike the ball in the end zone. I’m not a fan of end zone spiking. Legendary Minnesota Vikings football coach, Bud Grant, said of end zone spiking and telling the team to not partake, ‘Act like you meant to be there because it’s your job’.

The again, he was purported to have said, ‘If you want a big crowd at your funeral, die young.’ So, there’s that.

Remember that Obama won solely on style points in 2008. We should be mindful of that. Republicans spent much time trying to score points with distractions of pastors, anarchists and a non-existent voting record.

Style won in the end.

Perhaps this election, the style that is most relatable is one of trust. That facts with a sense of stability in a candidate is going to win the day.

It is, perhaps, not just what you deliver but how you deliver it.

5 thoughts on “Democrat Denial on the Downslide

  1. People do not seem to realize that debates are TV programming, not politics. Viewers really want these guys to wrestle in a cage, or throw food at each other, or at the very, very least, be genuinely funny. Ever since Nixon declined a make-up artists and Kennedy accepted one, it’s been ALL about “the look”. It still is.

  2. Romney obviously did much better than Obama during the first debate, but Biden won the VP Debate and Obama definitely won the last one!
    You can’t even put them in the same category when they don’t even tell the correct facts. Romney looked like a tool when he was trying to call the President out, which he did multiple times! Stop wasting time trying to get answer when you should be using the time to explain the details of what you claim to bring to the table.
    As for Ryan, I didn’t respect him to begin with…he’s not all that genuine but the latest with the dish-washing incident sealed the deal for me.

    • Elizabeth, I’m not sure that the biggest crime in Washington would be washing clean dishes. We could only hope that politicians on both sides had only this for skeletons. It is overblown in coverage but an amusing story still.

      We will differ on how to view the debates. So be it. I am a partisan and it will color my view.

      In a way, I don’t disagree that Romney didn’t always answer with details. If you watch the debate, the President was also guilty of this. It is debate via talking points of which both are very guilty. It’s become a standard campaign practice for a long time over many elections.

      My view is less about point scoring (and the point of my post) and more about what the undecided’s take away.

      I can’t get a crystal ball and guaranty that I am right. The election upcoming will suss that out. I can only reflect what I see in my conservative leaning view.

      • Regardless of how you view the “clean dishes” it’s a point of doing what is right! Even if the story is blown out of proportion how am I to look at him in the future and not think that he is just performing for the cameras. How can I be sure that anything he does is for the right reasons? Don’t you agree that if he had really been there helping out instead of the photo op that it would have a much better message to send?
        We need to have more respect for the main who has the job now and if Romney should win then the same should go for him. Both side are guilty of stretching truth and not having their facts straight from time to time.
        We shall see on election day…

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