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The second of three debates between Romney and President Obama is in the books. The instant post-debate polls all had Obama winning. Nevertheless, Rasmussen and Gallup have now published their first tracking polls which include data compiled after the thrill(a) at Hofstra(uh) and they ain't pretty. Gallup shows Romney up among likely voters 52-45 (7 points!) and Rasmussen has Romney up 49-47. The Thursday data moved both polls 1 point towards Romney.
Right after the debate, CNN announced that debate watchers rated Romney better by a significant margin on the budget deficit, economy, and taxes. John King's response was that if those numbers were accurate and held up, Romney would win the election. Immediately prior to the second debate Republican consultant Alex Castellanos posted a piece titled Can Obama Stop a Romney Victory? Castellanos wrote the following:
It takes only a moment to reveal feebleness. It requires many to reestablish certainty. One good debate tonight will help re-energize Obama's base but not our country's confidence in him.
Whether victory belongs to Romney or Obama, we do not know but this cake may be baked: The Denver debate may have eradicated the opportunity for both candidates to change the outcome of this election.
Mitt Romney may have already won this election: Even if the president has a strong performance tonight, he . . . failed us in Denver.
My perception, while watching and immediately after the Denver debate, was similar to Castellanos'. The apparently split reaction of debate watchers who awarded the second tilt to Obama but prefer Romney on specific issues becomes comprehensible. A tiny majority of Americans may have decided Romney will be a better President even if they gave debate II to Obama on points and that majority may no longer be reachable.
So what do we do? Well we should still do everything we can to try to stem what may not be inevitable but we should also put together an exit strategy. Here are four suggestions for surviving under a Romney/Ryan/Limbaugh/Beck regime:
1) Do not reproduce. Children are very expensive (average cost in America over the first 21 years is north of $500,000), carbon consumers, and always precious to their parents. A Romney economy will continue the impoverishment of the middle-class. You are not likely to be able to afford children in light of the increasing wealth and income gap between the top .1% and the ever poorer everybody else. Even if you are fortunate enough to have the resources to provide all the necessities and then some to your kids, their actions, and yours while raising them, will contribute greatly to the worsening climate crisis caused by carbon burning. Undoubtedly, a Republican administration will do everything possible to keep you and your family dependent on the internal combustion engine and fossil fuels. Finally, the world into which you will be bringing new life is a poor sad imitation of the one into which you were born. Anticipating the dirty grey ashtray of a planet that your offspring will have to navigate is going to be unbearably painful. If you want children, the answer is simple, adopt. At least you'll be bringing light to an existing human life rather than bringing more onto our sorely overtaxed spheroid.
2) Hunker down. Spend only on necessities and then do so as wisely as possible. Your likely future ranges from the status quo (at best) to downright bleak. So, conserve resources and stay out of debt. If you lose your job you may not be able to get another one. Having money in the bank and low housing costs may save you from falling into poverty. Because jobs will be at a premium for the forseeable future, employers will have tremendous leverage over you. They will be able to demand that you work longer hours for less pay knowing that you have very few alternatives. Having a nest egg and no dependents may give you the freedom to leave an abusive work environment.
3) Give and take joy where you can. Although there is less beauty in the world and there will be much less if Romney/Ryan are elected, we can still appreciate the touch of a loved one. There remain lovely somewhat untouched natural places where we may walk gently. Poetry and music still can touch our hearts.
4) Don't go gently into that good night. Wherever and whenever possible, try to muck up the right-wing works. Participate in pro-democracy movements to the extent you can. Engage conservatives in conversation and, as their lives worsen due to the policies enacted by the politicians for whom they voted, point out as gently as you can how they helped tear our house down.
I wish us all well.