When the Daily Kos poll has Romney up by four points nationally, you know shit is getting real. Nate Silver still has Obama eking out a narrow lead in state polls, but there is no denying that election could swing either way at this point. And, considering how much damage the President did to his poll numbers with his performance in the first presidential debate, I don't think it's assuming too much to say that any clear winner from tonight's debate could very well walk off stage as a frontrunner.
With that in mind, let's take a few moments to consider all the things that hang in the balance of tonight's debate. Or, more precisely, let's take seven moments to consider seven things that hang in the balance…
1. The Dismembering of Obamacare?
Mitt Romney, the "grandfather of Obamare," has promised voters that if he is elected president, he will sneak into his grandchild's room on Day One, creep up to it in its bed and smother it in its sleep. He didn't use those exact words, but that was the implication. And, since he has not yet figured out how to raise Osama bin Laden from the dead, this would be his most effective method of erasing Obama's legacy. Therefore, a good Romney performance tonight should mean the end of the roving bands of death panels that have been plaguing our nation lo these last few years.
2. Candy Crowley: liberal bugbear or enemy of conservatism?
Obama handily lost the first debate, therefore Jim Lehrer was criticized by liberals nationwide for his weak moderating skills. Paul Ryan was made to look kind of foolish by Joe Biden in the VP debate, therefore Martha Raddatz was demonized by conservatives everywhere for being too strong a moderator. So, depending on who wins tonight, moderator Candy Crowley will forever be remembered as an enemy of… someone. We'll find out whom tonight. However, if there is no clear winner, she will likely be considered to have delivered a lackluster and unremarkable performance and will probably get promoted to Vice-Blitzer by CNN.
3. The end of Medicare?
If Obama comes back strong tonight and knocks Romney back down to his familiar pit in the polls, then the national social insurance program that has existed to help our elderly since the mid-'60s will continue apace. If not, old people will be forced to battle it out with one another for heart medication in the Thunderdome. Or something like that. I read all about it on a blog.
4. The Book of Mormon: mega-hit or super-mega-hit?
Ever since Mormon-founder Joseph Smith's presidential run was derailed by a bunch of vigilantes who decided to kill him, Mormons have dreamt of having one of their own in the Oval Office. And this is their big chance. A Romney win tonight could potentially lead to a huge uptick in positive word-of-mouth for the Church of Latter-Day Saints. And nobody stands to gain more from that than Matt Stone and Trey Parker whose Broadway hit The Book of Mormon is coming to a town near you. Tickets still available!
5. The War in Iran?
With the Iraq War over and the Afghanistan War slowly but not-so-surely winding down, we could soon find ourselves with an unenviable dearth of interminable intractable Middle Eastern conflicts into which we can sink all of our resources. Romney all but promises to amend this situation in Iraq. And possible Syria.
6. Just how rich can rich people get?
If Mitt Romney has his way: very. Not only will the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy be extended, but they will likely be expanded, which he believes would stimulate the economy. Contrast that with Barack Obama's plan to feed our top 1% to the bottom 99% in an effort satiate their socialist lust for soft rich flesh, and you see that we have two very distinct visions for the future to consider. Tonight's debate could tip the scale.
7. The Ayn Rand dollar?
If Romney wins tonight and then the economy turns around — as it is assumed it will do — we can probably expect an eight-year Romney presidency followed, quite likely, by an eight-year Ryan presidency. In those sixteen years, somebody or other is going to get around to putting Ayn Rand in some form of currency. Bet on it! I'm thinking the dollar, because we already have Washington on the quarter. How many pieces of currency does he have to be on? Let's make some room for some other great Americans!
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Barack Obama, Debates, Health Care, Mitt Romney, Polls