The leaves are changing, the air has a chill and that can only mean one thing: It’s time for the October Surprise! In case you don’t know, “October Surprise” is a completely made up media term used to drum up excitement during presidential elections in order to increase ratings in the final month of campaigning (it keeps the advertisers that paid lots of extra money for this time period happy, too). It should be noted that this term refers to to any item or situation that can, with the right amount of hyperbole, be considered the “game-changer” in the election – should things be a little too boring.
We really don’t have anything earth shattering happening (nothing like the economy collapsing in 2008…or a mistress in the wings) so now the media has decided that Romney has suddenly become more popular and – OMG – Obama could lose this (don’t miss this exciting episode of “Election 2012” – and don’t forget to text 12345 for your favorite!).
I have spent the last week consoling fellow progressives and avoiding Andrew Sullivan’s posts (seriously, someone please remove all sharp objects from this man’s reach!) about President Obama’s less than stellar performance at the first debate. The “losing” of the debate was bad enough…but now polling is showing gains among voters for Romney – and in some polls he’s even leading for the first time nationally. What do I say to these formerly excited, now near suicidal, Obama supporters?
People – let’s get some perspective, shall we? Prior to the debate, polls were based on “likely voters” – a somewhat unscientific analysis of people who say they are going to vote (they might not) and who claim to be of a particular party affiliation (or not). This hasn’t changed. What has changed is the number of voters who identify as Republican now claiming they are, well, going to vote.
You may remember a previous post about another big shocker where Romney Lied and Republican Dreams Died in which everyone was so sure that the big reveal of Romney’s ongoing Bain activity would pull voters over to Obama. As I predicted, it didn’t happen. The reason this didn’t happen is because Romney supporters REALLY hate Obama – and weren’t going to vote for him EVER. If anything they would stay home.
But then the debate happened. Romney came out swinging – with a pretty smile and lots and lots of lies. Oh – lies should bother them, you say? Obama told the truth, you say? Well, guess what – THE TRUTH IS BORING, PEOPLE! Don’t you know anything? Sure, he lied…but he was so passionate! It doesn’t matter that within approximately 30 minutes, he was able to share approximately 27 myths. And, ladies…being so passionate, and that pretty smile and how he just showed that moderator who is boss…well, that is just soooo sexy – if you’re a Republican woman who wanted a good reason to vote for a man that wishes to put women’s rights back to the 1950s. Personally, it doesn’t get me wet.
What this passionate performance has done has gotten the voters who weren’t likely to vote to finally consider voting. But not the so-called “undecided” voters (I so have a rant about undecided voters – but that will have to wait). Weekend polling after the debate reflects a new excitement among already existing republican voters (which, if polled on the weekend, the sampling is probably a bunch of old folks sitting at home who picked up the phone because they thought the grandkids were calling). These are folks that really, really hate Obama…but were just not feeling Romney. If they’re old (and they probably are), they’re kind of pissed about the social security thing and how Romeny/Ryan wants to eliminate it and make them pay more…but can’t vote for Obama because, you know, he’s a Muslim and a socialist. And black. So they were going to stay home….until now.
As for the gains in women – well, these are the women that really, really hate Obama – but were, perhaps, a little pissed about all the transvaginal ultrasound talk and the whole women have to be legitimately raped to get pregnant stuff. So, instead of voting for Obama, they were going to stay home. Now, well, you know…he was passionate…and he smiled…and, well, maybe he won’t really defund Planned Parenthood or stack the court with other woman hating justices. He’s saying something different now than he has for the last year – or ten. Maybe he really didn’t mean it. Really, he’s changed. He’s different now.
We know he hasn’t changed. This is classic Rovian – and Republican – style: Say anything you want prior to the last thirty days and then lie your way to the White House. Why? Because NOW people are listening…and they want to hear what makes them feel good. They don’t want truth, President Professor! They want a daddy, someone who makes them feel all warm and snuggly in their beds and tells them that they really are the best, even if they suck. They want someone who speaks Bumper Sticker.
What does this all mean? It means absolutely nothing has changed. It means that Obama supporters still have to vote, still have to get folks registered and get them out to vote. This election was, and still is, about the numbers – but not the numbers reflected in the sampling of few folks who still have a land line. It’s about the numbers of people that actually vote. Romney can’t win with a large voter turnout. No matter what Fox News, et. al believes – this country is more center left – and, as President Bill Clinton has said, when people vote – Democrats win.
So get your butt off the couch, put down the Rocky Road ice cream, wipe your tears, take a shower and get out there and do what we’ve always needed to do: Work like we’re ten points down (which, we’re not, by the way – don’t panic!).