In vague order:
- President Obama is unlikely to do worse today than he did two weeks ago. That means that at least one major network (and MSNBC) will declare him the winner tonight. If Obama does do worse, then the election is over and we need to start thinking about how to increase our Senate majority*.
- Whether he actually wins tonight will depend on whether Barack Obama was able to successfully transform himself into a personally likeable and attentive listener (with a healthy amount of ambition, but very little hubris) in two weeks. I was going to add ‘charismatic,’ but you can’t teach that**.
- What we’re likely to get is instead someone in attack mode. This is certainly what people on the Left are advocating; and I suspect that not many of them have contemplated that Barack Obama has had very few opportunities to participate in ‘fights’ where the other side can hit back (don’t remember where I saw this point made first, sorry). Couple that with Obama’s tendency to drone, and drone, and drone…
- Mitt Romney, on the other hand? Needs to be relaxed, needs to be peppy, needs to not get rattled, needs not to make stupid jokes, needs to not get cocky, and generally needs to see this whole thing as being a contested business pitch to a bunch of uncommitted but receptive stockholders, which is actually not too bad an analogy. That’s pretty much it. Romney’s not the one who has to play catch-up, here: it’s Obama, and Romney can do well for himself by simply making it as difficult as possible for Obama to recover. Bottom line is: Romney’s got a margin, and the goal here is to not lose the margin.
- This isn’t going to be a cakewalk, though. Obama will lash out. He will get at least one hit in. You have to be ready for that happening, going into this debate. We cannot legitimately hope for a replay of the first one. Sorry.
I think that covers it. Summation: we’re in a good place, but we can still lose. It that concerns you: volunteer.
*Yes, I know that it’s a Senate minority for the GOP right now. But you can safely assume at least R+4 if Obama collapses. And possibly even if he doesn’t.
**Barack Obama is not charismatic. Bill Clinton was charismatic. George W Bush was charismatic. Ronald Reagan was charismatic. Barack Obama is inspirational. The difference is subtle, important, and currently biting Barack Obama on the tuchis.