I do concede a deeply dispirited funk, which arose yesterday afternoon as network countdown clocks flashed and ubiquitous pundits rehashed their undifferentiated talking point--"Romney needs a game-changer!"--as only exquisitely professional pundits possess the insight to do; and I further concede that that dispiritedness has flooded my morning's mood.
Which, further, is mostly unrelated to Obama's performance last night, unexceptional as it was. No, what impelled me into this funk was the media's immense hyping of the debate as The Event of this election year. One would have thought that yesterday was Election Day itself. Everything hinged on last night's debate--that was the media's narrative; their marketing "hook"; their characteristically overblown, hyperbolic humbug that so distorted impressions of last night's actual event.
Which was? Ninety-minutes of relentless, cold-blooded lying on Romney's part. I hadn't intended to blog during the debate, but upon hearing the former governor launch into some truly insidious perjury about his own friggin' tax plan, I couldn't help myself. I raced to the laptop and rattled out: "This is staggering. Even for Romney. He has run for 18 months on a specific tax-cutting plan that he is now disowning. This was the Romney's camp's clever dodge when the inevitable question came--How do you pay fot it? Simply deny his own plan? Staggering. Just staggering."
Foolish me. I thought that's how the pundits would see it; how they would journalistically receive Romney's ruthless lying about taxes and, later, his ruthless lying about Medicare, and then his ruthless lying about ObamaCare. Romney was going down, by his own hand. This wicked, bloody scene was right there, right there on the screen, it was audible, visible, it was goddamn obvious and hence that would be punditry's goddamn obvious assessment of the debate.
Wrong. The "professional" assessments came, instead, from styles, because, after all, this was The Dramatic Event of the year. Romney was electic, Obama was listless. Did the debate's substantive essence merit review? A little. Very little. The indisputable tragedy to be prominently noted, though--the analysis which must soar from the airwaves and sail into the blogosphere--was that the president of the United States failed to fume and foam and strip off his shirt and physically assault Mitt Romney.
Yes, last night was a disgrace all right--a twofold disgrace, Romney's and the pundits'. And that's today's real story.