Political Animal

Blog

October 10, 2012 4:31 PM Separating the Debate Wheat From the Debate Chaff

By Ed Kilgore

As Ezra Klein explained this morning at Wonkblog, the Romney poll surge after last week’s debate is being excessively touted to “prove” that the political science consensus that debates usually don’t decide presidential elections is wrong. We don’t know whether the short-term “bounce” will prove to be a permanent “bump.” There’s nearly a month left in the campaign, not to mention two more presidential debates and tomorrow night’s Veep event. And ultimately, we won’t really know “what mattered” until we see the actual election results and compare this year’s data to those of the past. And so Ezra concludes:

[T]he last week has been an object lesson in why it’s worth paying attention to the evidence gathered by political scientists and tuning out some of the more excitable pundits. Pundits have every incentive to make sweeping pronouncements based off incomplete data. The work political scientists have done gives us some body of past evidence against which we can check those sweeping pronouncements. It’s too early to say how much this debate mattered, but the wild reaction it’s generated among political pundits has convinced me, more than ever, that political science matters.

That’s all sound advice. But Ezra mentions another, rarely mentioned, political science finding that’s especially worth remembering right now:

Typically…the change in the polls after the first debate is smaller than the change in the polls after all the debates. That might imply that Romney’s lead will grow rather than shrink.

And this leads back to the most strangely unexamined question in all the post-debate discussion: if a sizable group of voters did indeed, however temporarily, shift from the Obama or undecided columns to Romney, exactly why did they flip? Was it because of all the “style points” Romney racked up? Was it because viewers got really fascinated with Mitt’s “five-point plan” for jobs and growth? Or was it because voters who were lukewarm about Obama but wary of Romney and the GOP saw something different in the challenger?

I’d say all the bumps Mitt’s been getting in the polls on various comparisons with Obama suggest the last interpretation is most likely. And yes, that means Romney successfully sold the “moderate Mitt” mirage, which one might expect when half the Democrats watching were shouting ripostes to Romney’s self-characterization of his agenda that Obama didn’t offer or didn’t offer clearly.

Kevin Drum said last night that the real problem is that Obama and Biden will be fighting a lot of inbred voter prejudices if they come right and out call Romney and Ryan liars. But on the other hand, R&R are on a tightrope: they can’t really flip-flop a great deal from their actual record and actual agenda—conservatives still have them on a short leash—so a solid repetition of the many promises they’ve made, matched with clearly expressed disinctions of how they differ from what the administration is promising to do—should, over time, erode the “New Romney” pretty effectively.

It won’t be easy, but Team Obama really doesn’t have much of a choice. If Romney emerges from the debates as Moderate Mitt, this nice earnest man who loves working with Democrats, isn’t interested in divisive social issues, and has a policy agenda that sounds fairly reasonable, then the favorable impression he made in Debate #1 could really turn into the perceived candidate on the ballot on November 6. In periods of public unhappiness, Safe Change is always the politically winning message.

Besides, if Democrats can’t mine the vast record of extremism compiled by the GOP and its ticket over the last two years, and show that it’s a more shocking and uncompromising version of what the party stood for prior to 2008, then they really can’t expect to win. So they should place a lot less emphasis going forward on style points and “energy levels” and all the other superficial jazz the pundits love so much and concentrate on what is actually endangering Obama’s re-election (other than deeply ingrained perceptions of his performance): the repositioning of Romney and Ryan as thoughtful leaders who just want to fix the economy and “reform” the more excessive features of government. If these birds get away with that, it’s going to take one hell of a GOTV effort to get the incumbents over the hump.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • T2 on October 10, 2012 4:42 PM:

    its hard to "mine a record of extremism" when the Media is committed to a "both sides do it" mentality. It seems to me that the Media is simply whitewashing the continued lies by the GOP Candidates. That's what happens when the Media is owned by guys like Jack Welch.

  • TCinLA on October 10, 2012 4:47 PM:

    There is one reason for the "debate flop" that is not being addressed because it says too many bad things about this country to bring it up.

    Esquire did a recent poll, and one of the things they did was poll Romney vs. Clinton and Obama vs. Reagan. In the Romney vs. Clinton poll, 18% more whites were for Clinton against Romney than are for Obama against Romney.

    Anyone who thinks race has nothing to do with the poll results of the past week probably still believes in the Tooth Fairy.

    When it comes to race, we are NOT a "post-racial" society. "Past is not dead, in fact it's not even passed."

  • James E. Powell on October 10, 2012 4:47 PM:

    conservatives still have them on a short leash

    I don't believe this is true at all. No matter what Romney or Ryan say, voting for them is the only way to get that [insert racist epithet] out of the White House. And that is all the right-wing voters really care about.

  • meady on October 10, 2012 5:03 PM:

    I said it back in 2008 and I'll say it again now. The definition of an "undecided voter" is a person who wants to vote Republican but basically needs a reason to vote at all. They are not deciding between Obama and Romney, they are deciding between Romney and not voting. The notion that a debate performance where lies were aggresively delivered was a turning point for these people is nonsense. Romney needed to show strength to get people out to vote. Obama cannot get their vote no matter what. What he can do is show enough strength so that stupid people to think that Romney isn't worth the trouble to vote.

  • ChicagoRob on October 10, 2012 5:13 PM:

    I don't care what the reasons are for his performance, and what he needs to do from here, because that debate left a deep and lasting mark on Obama's chances. Who goes into that venue in front of that size of audience at that point in the campaign and doesn't even look the other guy in the eyes, or refute outright lies, and not make the case for the superiority of his candidacy in clear tones? The mind boggles. He stood there and played angry birds on his iPhone the entire night, or so it appeared. If you need advisers to tell you how to play something this simple, something's wrong.

  • Kolobian23 on October 10, 2012 5:20 PM:

    Ed, the major reason so many people "flipped" (a tellingly accurate metaphor!) was that the MSM hackocracy *told them that they should* by pumping up the fraudulent pretense that Mitt "won" the debate because his bully-shitting alpha-baboon performance act was what really should matter to us. They disgraced themselves so profoundly it is just simply an unforgivable act against our Republic.

  • c u n d gulag on October 10, 2012 5:55 PM:

    No, right now Mitt's NOT on a short leash!

    He's on a long running leash, so can say and do whatever it takes to win the White House, with nary a peep from the lunatic fringe, lest they frighten the rubes who think Mitt's now back to being a moderate.

    The short leash comes in the second Mitt's hand leaves the Bible - or, will he insist on being sworn in on The Book of Mormon?

  • jjm on October 10, 2012 6:28 PM:

    Mitt is right wing down to his toes, if by right wing you mean he believes in the absolute privilege and superiority of the wealthy. That's all you need to know.

    There isn't a charitable bone in his body except for his Mormon Church and United Way (doesn't take much thinking to contribute to that one; though I recall a major scandal with it a few years back).

    Nope he thinks the 47% are literally worthless.

  • Doug on October 10, 2012 6:29 PM:

    I tend to agree with meady @ 5:03 PM.
    Just as "progressive/liberal" Democrats aren't the sum total of those who vote for Democratic candidates, the Republican "base" is NOT the same as all those who vote for Republican candidates. The former consists of those who feel that, as James E. Powell wrote, "...voting for them [R/R] is the only way to get that (insert racist epithet) out of the White House plus those who actually believe Akin, Broun and Co. The latter are those who have been swelling the "independent" ranks; not, as TPers have to increase their clout over the GOP, but to distance themselves from the more radically reactionary Republicans.
    R/R CAN flip-flop all they wish to for the next four weeks and still hold onto their base. It's the job of President Obama, VP Biden and all Democratic candidates, as well as ourselves, to see that as many of the remaining sane Republican-leaning voters decide R/R, and the baggage they'll bring with them, just aren't worth voting for.
    I think it's more than doable.

  • bdop4 on October 10, 2012 6:36 PM:

    I think it's time to start airing all that GOP primary footage.

    Unleash the hounds!!!!

  • PK Moa on October 10, 2012 7:10 PM:

    It was nothing to do with Mitt. It was how incredibly bad Obama was. He was horrible - he didn't seem to believe what he was saying. I will vote Green before I vote for Mitt, but what came across to me was a guy who truly believed all that transformational post-partisan baloney and really has no clue how to navigate an any other setting. Any progressive who saw his behavior during the debt showdown has got to be deeply concerned about what he would do in his next terms. If we are going to lose the achievements of the Great Society, I would rather have them taken away that sold to burnish Obama's self-image as a "statesman."

  • Anonymous on October 10, 2012 7:37 PM:

    I’d say all the bumps Mitt’s been getting in the polls on various comparisons with Obama suggest the last interpretation is most likely.

    The American electorate (and American style of news reporting)being what it is, I've come to view these elections as a lot like watching sports. Momentum shifts all the time and often on little things. I really expect another 5 or 6 shifts of various magnitudes before it's all over.

    Too bad Americans can't bother themselves with the issues of importance, which rarely change at all.

  • Oh my on October 10, 2012 7:59 PM:

    The definition of an "undecided voter" is a person who wants to vote Republican but basically needs a reason to vote at all. -meady 5:03

    I disagree with both Ed's and meady's assessments. To us who read this blog, the difference between the candidate's is black and white (no pun intended). R/R want to roll back the 20th century. To those who view things from the right, Obama wants to kill the soul of America with communists style socialism. But the voters who waffle between these two candidates don't see them as being much different. They don't view the two parties as even much different being mostly beholden to corporate interests.

    That's why Romney's performance was able to sway these people. They tuned in, perhaps for the first time, to see for themselves. Both candidates were trying to sell a "better American future". What they saw was somebody who had energy and charisma vs someone who was pretty flat and phoning it in.

  • Renai on October 10, 2012 9:15 PM:

    Maybe Obama wants to be a one-term president.

  • square1 on October 10, 2012 10:21 PM:

    The problem is the candidate. Liberal bloggers and pundits hammered Romney on his IRS records, offshore accounts, and gargantuan 401k...not Obama. Liberal media uncovered the Boca video and ran with it...not Obama. Even Obama's campaign has crafted some effective ads with the persuasive message that Romney "isn't the solution. He's the problem."
    .
    IOW the entire Democratic Party is doing the heavy lifting for Obama by pointing out that the GOP was insane to nominate Gordon Gecko for President. All Obama has to do is show up three times and not make an ass of himself.

    Romney successfully sold the “moderate Mitt” mirage

    Gosh, maybe announcing to the country that there is little difference between yourself and Romney on, say, Social Security is a mind-boggling stupid idea.

  • billb on October 10, 2012 10:42 PM:

    Try to remember that above all , B.O. can never appear to be the 'angry black man'
    So when mittbot goes all alpha , the Prez cannot go down that path. NOW , OTOH VP Biden can kick some azz , that is his job herein.

  • robert.waldmann@gmail.cm on October 10, 2012 11:09 PM:

    I agree with you and Klein that it is tempting to read too much into a few days of polling. I agree it is silly to psychoanalyze polls. I think the way to see if people are falling for pseudo-moderate Mitt is to look at his favorability ratings which have shot up.


    But (you knew it was coming) I think you didn't consider the importance of likely voter filters. PPP is a good for Romney bad for Obama outlier at http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster . It seems very odd (Huffington Post is pushing Romneyskewed polls by PPP !?!??!) but no it isn't -- it's a poll of likely voters.

    I think this is very important when discussing shifts in polls of voting intentions.
    It isn't clear if respondents in the polls switched from supporting Obama or undecided to supporting Romney or if they switched from likely to vote for Obama to likely to just stay home. The bounce is smaller in polls of registered voters (currently point estimate zero for the Gallup tracking poll of registered voters). Democratic Senate candidates in Florida and Ohio also saw terrible numbers in the very same polls.

    Now I don't see how style or moderate Mitt could convince someone to vote for Connie Mack XXIV or whatever (I should just say I'm clueless about why anyone would consider such a vote and stop typing now. However it fits very well Democrats saying they are just going to stay home and also Democrats who just hang up the phone on a computer which asks about politics.

    To see how pseudo moderate Mitt is doing, I'd look at his favorability ratings among adults or, at least, all registered voters.

  • Paul Milbauer on October 11, 2012 12:59 AM:

    I've spoken to a number of voters about the debate. All were middle class baby boomers between their late 40s and early 60s. Nobody was impressed by Romney, but all were quite negatively impressed by, and disappointed in, Obama's performance.

    None of these folks thought Obama had been a particularly good President, but (pre-debate) most were inclined to vote for his re-election. The chief reason was the growing awareness of the threat to Social Security and Medicare posed by Romney-Ryan.

    It was voters such as these who had migrated to Obama in the wake of the Ryan V.P. selection, boosting Obama from a tie in the polls to about a 5-point lead heading into the debate. In the space of one night, Obama squandered those gains by failing to reassure these voters that he would be a strong defender of their interests.

    It is absurd to think that you can position yourself as a "candidate of the middle class" without being a staunch supporter of Social Security and Medicare. Obama needs to undo the damage he did in the debate and pronto. He'll win re-election running as a populist, modern day New Dealer. If instead, he runs as "Simpson-Bowles" Obama he will very likely lose and cost his party the Senate as well.

  • rea on October 11, 2012 6:52 AM:

    "Pundits have every incentive to make sweeping pronouncements based off incomplete data," the pundit tells us.

    All Cretans are liars.

  • Cranky Observer on October 11, 2012 7:22 AM:

    = = = None of these folks thought Obama had been a particularly good President, but (pre-debate) most were inclined to vote for his re-election. The chief reason was the growing awareness of the threat to Social Security and Medicare posed by Romney-Ryan. = = =

    The problem there is that optically Obama has backed himself into a corner with his support of Peter G. Peterson, Erskine Bowles, and the "Grand Bargain" to chop Social Security. He can't go after Romney hard on SocSec because Romney will throw the Simpson-Bowles personal report back at him.

    And IMHO Obama can't then go hard back at Romney because he (Obama) actually believes the nonsense that Peterson and Bowles peddle, and he really DOES want to go down in history as the President who chopped Social Security.

    Cranky

    "Liberals are f-----g stupid" - President Obama's Chief of Staff

    They chiruct - 1st try

  • MikeP on October 11, 2012 4:12 PM:

    If you in the media sleep walk through the four years of an administration and sleep walk through primaries and early campaigning, I can see where you'd see Romney as the radical he's been painted as. If you'd only been awake, however, you'd have realized that Romney's been a moderate all along.

  • Farmdad on October 11, 2012 4:52 PM:

    Kilgore is correct that Romney surged because he reassured the voters who don't want to vote for Obama but still had doubts about Romney. Those doubts we're based on the caricature of Romney created by Team Obama and Romney's failure until now to challenge it. What Kilgore doesn't recognize is that the moderate Mitt is the real Mitt. Romney governed Mass from the center right and did in fact work effectively with democrats. That's how he will govern as president.

  • Mitch on October 11, 2012 5:07 PM:

    @Farmdad,

    Actually, no. Romney vetoed a large amount of legislation that had been passed by the Dems of Mass. They then overrode his vetoes as the state constitution allows.

    Romney will govern precisely as Grover predicted. He will be an empty suit, signing whatever draconian legislation that the Republicans in Congress send to his desk.

    Believing that Mitt is moderate is a joke. The truth of the matter is that Mitt Romney has no core philosophy of his own. He goes which ever way the wind blows, and has for his entire public career.

  • Ishmael Whale on October 11, 2012 5:47 PM:

    Romney is doing what winners of Presidential elections do, he's moving to the center. The ideologues will not approve but the voters will.

  • deedeemao on October 11, 2012 6:50 PM:

    Only Republicans who are Liberals are Moderates and only moderates are not extremists.

    For years Liberals were fond of saying, "I'm socially Liberal but fiscally Conservative".

    Not any more. Fiscal Conservators are extremists. But if you're a Liberal democrat, no matter how far left you are, you are not an extremists.Only Republicans like Romney are capable of being extremists.

    Only a partisan extremist or a fool could possibly buy into such a disingenuous narrative such as this one.

  • Mitch on October 11, 2012 7:29 PM:

    @deedeemao

    "But if you're a Liberal democrat, no matter how far left you are, you are not an extremists."

    Prove it. I dare you. I double dare you. I understand that you are probably just the same troll who has been posting in this thread for hours, but I challenge you to back up your claims with factual evidence. Or you can leave.

    See, the truth is that the Democratic Party is actually extremely centrist and cannot be called far left with any seriousness. On issue after issue, Obama has reached out to the GOP. The GOP asks for revenue cuts instead of tax raises, and he offers it to them. The GOP suggests a market-based solution to Health Care reform instead of the traditionally leftist Single Payer, so Obama offered them ACA, what you call "Obamacare" is little more than the idea that the GOP floated during the 1990s, mandate and all.

    But ti does not matter that Obama has tried everything to work with the GOP. They decided on day one that their number one goal was ruining his term in office, regardless of the impact it may have on the nation. They have blocked more legislation in two years than in nearly a century. They have walked out of the chamber, rather than do their jobs as public servants.

    Meanwhile, GOP has become so hardlined in it's beliefs that it is incapable of compromise. Indeed, conservatives delusionally forget that Reagan raised taxes when needed. Nixon helped create the EPA. And compared to modern Republicans, Eisenhower was a peacenik socialist. The GOP rejects George W. Bush, but conviniently forgets that they used to support him 100% and pushed for his policies for years. NO Republican (with the possible exception of Paul) challenged the Bush Administration as they dug us into this hole with pointless wars and the Dick Cheney philosophy that "deficits don't matter."

    GOP policies do not work. Find a nation in all of the world, in all of history, that had success with laissez faire government, unregulated business, low taxes on the wealthiest of all. Find me a nation that lacks a social saftey net and is still a good place to live, or a blessing to it's citizens. I, for one, have not forgotten the lessons that we were taught by the Gilded Age.

    Even now, under Obama, our economic policies are conservative in nature. Consider how many public sector jobs have been eliminated since the Recession. The GOP screams about "job creators" but - guess what - the wealthiest among us pay less taxes than at any time since before the Great Depression, and they have a larger share of money than EVER.

    Yet they aren't that interested in creating jobs.

    Then again, you aren't interested in facts, are you? No. You're just here to spin the web for the GOP. Well, go right ahead. Just try to remember the one thing that political zealots of all stripes tend to forget: Good soundbites do not change facts.

  • Mitch on October 11, 2012 7:36 PM:

    @Farmdad,

    Right. So Obama disagreeing with statements by his pastor and chosing to find another church is somehow more important that Romney changing position on every single policy that he has ever had?

    Sorry, pal. It does not.

    I frankly do not care what politicians do in their public lives. All I care about are policies. And the policies of the GOP are trash.

    Now, goodnight. I am finished with you worthless trolls.

  • Ken on October 11, 2012 8:47 PM:

    Mitch, the vast majority of your post is pure democratic talking points. You call them the "truth" but they aren't. You took many things out of context and then used it as proof to your opinion that R's are evil and Obama is god.

    You talk about how under Obama "many public sector jobs have been eliminated". There are more Federal workers today then when Obama was elected. Yes there are overall less public sector jobs because for years the states have been hiring like crazy and because of the recession they had to lay some of those workers off. Those decisions are made by State governments. Obama has increased the number of Federal workers.

    "the wealthiest among us pay less taxes than at any time since before the Great Depression" - true...but still misleading. Everyone's taxes have been lowered but the folks that have had their taxes lowered the most is the poor/middle class (that includes me btw). The overall percentage of the total taxes paid by the rich has skyrocketed. And it has increased much faster then their income has. Of course that's only because everyone else is paying so much less.

    "Dick Cheney philosophy that "deficits don't matter."" -that year the deficit spending was about $400B. Obama's deficits have gone to $1.2T or three times as much. So Obama spent three times as much in one year. I guess Obama's philosophy is Party Today Like There's no tomorrow. BTW Paul Krugman (every Democrat's favorite economist) has recommended we borrow Trillions more per year. The basic Democrat principle is to quote Cheney (speaking when deficits were a lot lower and the debt was a small percentage of GDP) and then spend like crazy and blame it on Cheney. Our debt has reached a point under Obama where it is a major drag on the economy. And if the spending continues it is expected to drastically lower our standard of living.

    "Romney changing position on every single policy that he has ever had?" - yeah right...I hear that everyday from Obama. Just like Obama said the americans killed in Libya were because of some stupid video and an angry mob. I'll start believing what Obama tells me when he starts speaking the truth.

    For most of President Bush's term we had low unemployment (average of ~5% compared to Obama's ~9%). The economy only tanked a year after the democrats took control of the House and Senate. It was Barney Frank (D-MA) that uttered the famous line "These two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis". The D's killed proposals by Bush and the Republican's that would have reigned in these banks and prevented a lot of the problems. We already spent over $150B bailing them out and there are estimates it could approach a trillion. All because of the Democrats.

    "On issue after issue, Obama has reached out to the GOP. The GOP asks for revenue cuts instead of tax raises, and he offers it to them. The GOP suggests a market-based solution to Health Care reform instead of the traditionally leftist Single Payer, so Obama offered them ACA, what you call "Obamacare" is little more than the idea that the GOP floated during the 1990s, mandate and all."

    Revenue cuts instead of tax raises? You must be talking about Obama's proposed "cut" to the spending on the war in Iraq. Oh yeah, that's right we aren't in Iraq anymore. You may call that a "cut". I call it rediculus. Overall Obama's spending cuts amounted to ~$800B for $1.5T in new taxes on the rich. Most of the cuts happen 8+ years from now. The new taxes happen immediately. Is that balanced?

    Obama's party didn't support a Single Payer system when they wrote Obamacare. If they had, we would today have a single payer system. Obama never reached out to the republicans. That's just crazy talk. He had one televised meeting with the D's/R's. The R's made lots of proposals. None of them made it into Obamacare. Obamacare was written by Reid and Pelos

  • Ken on October 11, 2012 8:49 PM:

    Mitch, the vast majority of your post is pure democratic talking points. You call them the "truth" but they aren't. They are purely your understanding of the truth.

    You talk about how under Obama "many public sector jobs have been eliminated". There are more Federal workers today then when Obama was elected. Yes there are overall less public sector jobs because for years the states have been hiring like crazy and because of the recession they had to lay some of those workers off. Those decisions are made by State governments. Obama has increased the number of Federal workers.

    "the wealthiest among us pay less taxes than at any time since before the Great Depression" - true...but still misleading. Everyone's taxes have been lowered but the folks that have had their taxes lowered the most is the poor/middle class (that includes me btw). The overall percentage of the total taxes paid by the rich has skyrocketed. And it has increased much faster then their income has. Of course that's only because everyone else is paying so much less.

    "Dick Cheney philosophy that "deficits don't matter."" -that year the deficit spending was about $400B. Obama's deficits have gone to $1.2T or three times as much. So Obama spent three times as much in one year. I guess Obama's philosophy is Party Today Like There's no tomorrow. BTW Paul Krugman (every Democrat's favorite economist) has recommended we borrow Trillions more per year. The basic Democrat principle is to quote Cheney (speaking when deficits were a lot lower and the debt was a small percentage of GDP) and then spend like crazy and blame it on Cheney. Our debt has reached a point under Obama where it is a major drag on the economy. And if the spending continues it is expected to drastically lower our standard of living.

    "Romney changing position on every single policy that he has ever had?" - yeah right...I hear that everyday from Obama. Just like Obama said the americans killed in Libya were because of some stupid video and an angry mob. I'll start believing what Obama tells me when he starts speaking the truth.

    For most of President Bush's term we had low unemployment (average of ~5% compared to Obama's ~9%). The economy only tanked a year after the democrats took control of the House and Senate. It was Barney Frank (D-MA) that uttered the famous line "These two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis". The D's killed proposals by Bush and the Republican's that would have reigned in these banks and prevented a lot of the problems. We already spent over $150B bailing them out and there are estimates it could approach a trillion. All because of the Democrats.

    "On issue after issue, Obama has reached out to the GOP. The GOP asks for revenue cuts instead of tax raises, and he offers it to them. The GOP suggests a market-based solution to Health Care reform instead of the traditionally leftist Single Payer, so Obama offered them ACA, what you call "Obamacare" is little more than the idea that the GOP floated during the 1990s, mandate and all."

    Revenue cuts instead of tax raises? You must be talking about Obama's proposed "cut" to the spending on the war in Iraq. Oh yeah, that's right we aren't in Iraq anymore. You may call that a "cut". I call it rediculus. Overall Obama's spending cuts amounted to ~$800B for $1.5T in new taxes on the rich. Most of the cuts happen 8+ years from now. The new taxes happen immediately. Is that balanced?

    Obama's party didn't support a Single Payer system when they wrote Obamacare. If they had, we would today have a single payer system. Obama never reached out to the republicans. That's just crazy talk. He had one televised meeting with the D's/R's. The R's made lots of proposals. None of them made it into Obamacare. Obamacare was written by Reid and Peloski with various payoffs made to some wavering Democrats.

  • Sophisto777 on October 11, 2012 11:35 PM:

    Maybe they should destroy the myth of objective commentary and journalism from folks like Kilgore. Read Bob Woodwards, "The Price of Politics" and get a good sense of how incompetent Obama is. Woodward is the fairest journalist around for many decades. He's not partisan at all, and has been given unprecedented access by almost every administration since nixon to write about them because they know he will treat them fairly. He was the one who outted the watergate scandal.

  • David on October 12, 2012 2:30 AM:

    The hidden truth of this campaign is that Romney is more Moderate than Conservative and Obama is more Liberal than Moderate. Why did the Conservative Base have a trust issue with Romney? Because his record shows that he is a Moderate. Why did Obama's Democrats lose control of the House? Because Obama is a liberal and his Party paid for his liberal policy priorities. Our Country is a Center-Right Nation. Moderation has always been the most productive path towards compromise and results.