The negative response from readers has been so massive that another roundup of criticism is warranted, especially since the Dish doesn't have a comments section:
Part of the thing I've always respected about your perspective is that you have always seemed very much in touch with the sense and direction of America. I think your deep love of this country, coupled with your careful study of it and your outsider viewpoint, have given you a keen sense of the overall mood of America that is quite unique. But you are also prone to reading way too much into present events, and you do allow your emotions at times to get the best of your reasoned judgement.
This is such a time. There are two presidential debates left. If Obama repeats his performance from the first debate in the second or the third, I will join you in total freakout mode. But if I had Romney's money, I'd wager $10,000 that doesn't happen. Obama didn't get to be president by being a terrible politician. And if I've learned anything about the president over the years it's that he is insanely competitive.
I know you are furious and worried – and I am too. I also know you are biased but do your best to be honest. So I don't know if there is any other option besides the way you are covering Obama's debate performance, but please don't do extra – no extra malaise for us or extra ammunition for them. Please. I beg you to use your influence as wisely as possible within the confines of your conscience.
Right now you’re the top headline on Drudge. This is not OK. I’m not asking you to be a propagandist; I’m not asking you to abandon independent analysis; but as someone who has been informally mentored by you (without you ever knowing it) for years, I am asking you to do as your writing has always implored me: look around, cut through the bullshit, and see the bigger picture.
Yes, I am also somewhere between bewildered and infuriated that someone who has the nerve to e-mail me on a regular basis and tell me "this one counts" and I "really need your help," a man who collected upwards of $180 million this month from a citizenry that is struggling to make ends meet, could fail to even attempt to live up to his end of the bargain at last week’s debate. But this is about so much more than 90 minutes of theatrics. It’s about who we want to be the face of our nation: a man who believes that health insurance is a fundamental right, or a man who would leave tens of millions uninsured; a man who believes that those who love each other should be able to get married, and one who refuses to entertain the seemingly basic notion; a man who has been honest and upfront with the American people for four years, and a man who abandoned all pretense of honesty when he threw his hat in the ring 18 months ago.
This is about so much more than 90 minutes in Colorado, and I know you know that, because your blog taught me that.
I had the good fortune to be able to volunteer at the Obama rally in Madison the day after the debate, where 30,000 people on Bascom Hill enthusiastically welcomed the president after waiting for hours in long lines on a cold rainy day. Of course people talked about the debate while we were waiting for the rally to start. A common view: we wished it had gone better, but everyone can have an off day, even a president … keep calm, carry on, look forward, work hard. He gave a terrific speech, people left energized, with a clear view of what is at stake in this election, most were determined to pitch in and help.
There are thousands of us everyday people out here who have been and are continuing to work incredibly hard to re-elect this good man, going door to door talking to voters, making calls, registering voters, finding volunteers for the final push, others giving the small amounts of money they can afford if they can't give time. We don't have time to sit around moaning and wailing because the President got upstaged by his opponent in the first debate; we have work to do. I really wish you would do something helpful, or else shut the hell up and stop making our task harder.
Another volunteer writes:
I live in Summit County, which is one of the most important counties a candidate has to win to take Ohio. I am an Organizing for America volunteer, very active in the campaign here in my hometown of Stow and the surrounding areas of northern Summit. I don't have any access to internal polling or internal opinions at all; I depend more on what my volunteers are telling me and what folks are saying on the phone when we call them. Yes, the debate upset people. We are getting asked about it a lot, quite frankly, and our approach, at least mine anyway, is to agree with the person and pivot to how important it is to not sit back and assume re-election is in the bag; we still have a lot of time left to fight back.
This choice of approach (my own – not campaign suggested at all) is working rather well to keep folks interested, I think. I hold a weekly phone bank/canvass at my local library, every Saturday. My volunteers are still showing up, still making calls. They are not disheartened in the least by the debate; they believe there is still plenty of time for Obama to expose Romney and his bullshit lies. In fact, I'd almost say this has made them more energetic about coming in to volunteer.
Another bit of information for you about Summit County: early voting started last Tuesday. In 2008, just over 400 some people voted in person the first day. This year, it was over 1000. By the end of the first four days, roughly around 3300 people had voted early. That destroys the numbers from four years ago, and I think signifies that folks are not as disheartened as you may think. They are determined to get out and cast their vote, both before and after the debate. In fact, the numbers did not slack off after the debate at all.
In addition to campaigning, Obama has to run the country and there's a lot going on right now. I think he, rightly so, chose to focus on managing the country instead of days of debate pep. I also think he's an honest man who was thrown by Romney's chameleon act. He'll come back – comebacks are what Obama does best.
Please, keep the faith. It's a marathon, not a sprint.