Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.
In ancient Greece hubris, the sense of exaggerated pride or self confidence, was considered to be such a deadly sin that artists and sculptors of that era were known to purposely leave small imperfections in their works so as to avoid the wrath of the gods. The latest victim of the mortal sin of hubris seems to be Andrew Sullivan. Just 13 days ago Sullivan was in full gloat mode in his Daily Beast column, Romney's Current 3.6 Percent Chance Of Winning. Today? Well, it's an entirely different story judging from the title of Sullivan's current column, Did Obama Just Throw The Entire Election Away?
To illustrate the dramatic shift in Sullivan's mood I shall now quote from his gloat column followed by quotes from his current panic column in italics:
Romney's odds in late August peaked at 37 percent. So his odds of winning have been reduced by 90 percent in less than a month. We wait for Obama's convention bounce to subside - and it bounces up once again. Now, Silver knows that there will be - surely - a regression to the polarized meme. His November 6 forecast gives Romney a 20.3 percent chance of winning. But the latest data from Florida and Ohio are just devastating. Ohio has probably gone for good, barring some dramatic shift.
The Pew poll is devastating, just devastating. Before the debate, Obama had a 51 - 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 - 45 lead. That's a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama's performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.
Romney's favorables are above Obama's now. Yes, you read that right. Romney's favorables are higher than Obama's right now. That gender gap that was Obama's firewall? Over in one night.
And here is where Sullivan really tempts the gloat gods with his mention of how Obama could gain an even wider lead over Romney by winning the debates:
I don't think that Romney can buy this kind of shift back with casino money or Rovian slanders against a more popular man. He has to persuade those voters back. The debates are his last chance. But if Obama is seen as winning them - and the argument he has to make is simply more popular in specifics than Romney's - I can see this race breaking even more open.
Look: I'm trying to rally some morale, but I've never seen a candidate this late in the game, so far ahead, just throw in the towel in the way Obama did last week - throw away almost every single advantage he had with voters and manage to enable his opponent to seem as if he cares about the middle class as much as Obama does. How do you erase that imprinted first image from public consciousness: a president incapable of making a single argument or even a halfway decent closing statement?
Here is Sullivan announcing what a terrible speaker Romney is:
We have found that Romney in general loses votes the more he opens his mouth in public and private (two categories fast merging).
Followed by this dramatic shift in tone today as to who exactly is the lousy debater:
A sitting president does not recover from being obliterated on substance, style and likability in the first debate and get much of a chance to come back. He has, at a critical moment, deeply depressed his base and his supporters and independents are flocking to Romney in droves.
I've never seen a candidate self-destruct for no external reason this late in a campaign before.
Ironically, Sullivan might have come close to speaking the truth at the end of his gloat column...but not in the way he intended:
This might be getting close to over, mightn't it?