Seems like it wasn’t all that long ago when so many of us were weeping and moaning, engaging in much gnashing of teeth and self-mutilation, all but certain that our guy had just handed over the election to Mitt Romney. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews experienced a meltdown so intense I’m surprised the set surrounding him didn’t go up in flames. Matthews’ colleague Ed Schultz wasn’t much better.
We were doomed.
Admittedly I felt a little sick myself, as did my wife and some of my friends. But we got over it. Despite what the polls said, I’m betting so did most of the country. Quite to the contrary, it seems the news media couldn’t get enough of reminding all of us each and every minute of each and every day how Obama had ‘stumbled’, or how his performance was ‘less than stellar’. How critical it would be for him to recover from such a ‘disastrous’ performance. Even after Vice President Biden made mincemeat of Paul Ryan, there was some relief, but most still could not resist the temptation to say that although Joe had done what he needed to do in slowing down the Mittmentum, the President still had to rise from the dead True Blood-style and dust off his cape.
Meanwhile the polls, which had been showing double digit leads for Obama in a number of swing states, suddenly tanked as if the toilet had just been flushed. After six straight months of Mitt in Crisis, we were now introduced to Super Mitt, able to leap over crippling campaign deficiencies – not to mention his deficiencies as a human being – in the course of one single widely watched 90-minute debate. Just like that. Suddenly everyone around the country apparently forgot all of Mitt’s lies, all of his flips, his dismissal of the 47 %, etc., because for 90 minutes straight he lied even stronger and more boastfully in a one-on-one match with POTUS. If we are to believe the polls, an overwhelming number of us were so dazzled by Mitt’s blizzard of lies and their effect on an unprepared president that we just completely gave up and decided Mitt now deserved to be the Leader of Our Times.
But now here we are again, and even Nate Silver’s numbers are once again showing the president’s likelihood of victory pulling away at a significant enough rate that he doubts Romney can catch up. Interesting.
So is it the storm? Is it that Romney can’t quite run fast enough to outrun his own lies? Or is it that we didn’t all jump ship after that first debate in quite the numbers that the polls said we did?
I think the storm is just confirming what many of us have known all along, namely that Obama is the true President here, which is why acting like a President comes naturally to him. Because he’s not acting. And he’s not lying. As for the polls, I would never say that polls are always wrong because, like many, I’m quicker to want to believe polls when they’re saying what I want them to say. But I do believe that in certain instances we have to be careful, and a little more analytical, when responding to what these polls say. Because sometimes they get it wrong, whereas common sense just may cut a little closer to what’s really going on.
Keith Owens (AKA Black Liberal Boomer) is a Detroit-based writer who has worked for The Detroit Free Press, Detroit’s alternative newsweekly the Metro Times, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and other newspapers. He was also a nationally syndicated columnist with Universal Press Syndicate for three years beginning in 1993.