I can understand the collective freak-out and group-think, as I am still in denial (coupled with anger) over the President's performance. Romney was his own enemy, his campaign was a joke. But you don't take anything for granted in a zero-sum game when the fate of the nation is at stake. The other side doesn't care about policy, or substance, or facts. Obama wins on all of that. Remember: 50+ million Americans still voted for McCain & Palin because the other guy was black! Haters gotta hate. All Obama had to do was 'politely' point out a couple of the lies, and things would have gone on as before. So yes, if Obama had bothered to defend himself once or twice in front of 60 million people, the R base would still be demoralized; the D base would still turn out. And Obama would still be well on his way to re-election. Welcome to reality.
The larger problem is the state of this country's politics -- and thus its overall future -- when a politician can get away with lying his way to the White House. [Check out our new nicknames by the way, see if any stick: the Mormon Manipulator! The Latter-Day Liar! Romney the far Right(-eous).] He knows he's lying; his advisers know he's lying. Fact-checking is a nuisance that can be ignored.
Sure Obama tanked, and sure the election should not be this close because 1 debate should not have mattered as much as it has. But of those 60 million who watched the debate, how many were still undecided? As Bill Maher pointed out last Friday, if that many low-info voters are still out there, this is not a place worth saving. That is the sad reality of all this. That is why social justice is so hard to achieve. If we can no longer know hope, then we should fall back on keeping the faith.