Look, I think tomorrow’s debate is very, very important. And I don’t think Romney should play it safe. He should look for his spots and swing for the fences if he sees a fat pitch. He should try to create the conditions that make it more likely to receive a fat pitch. But he also should do what any good batter does: Try to hit single and double after single and double if he doesn’t see a hanging curve that he can hit out of the park. He needs to protect the plate; he can’t afford to strike out or hit into a double play.
Enough with the baseball talk: The point is that Romney should be bold but not reckless. There still will be 33 days for him to make up just about three points nationally in the polls, no matter what happens in the debates. And with two more presidential debates coming and one VP debate, there is almost no chance for anything in the first debate to be absolutely definitive. If Romney tries to force something, and thereby looks either desperate or inauthentic, it will do more damage than the good he can do by firm and steady explanation of why his policies will be better for ordinary Americans than Obama’s.
Now, here’s the bigger thing to remember: This race is eminently winnable. Some of us have been rather unimpressed with Romney’s campaign so far, but our criticisms should be seen as constructive and certainly should not lead to despair. Unless Romney makes a major, major gaffe tomorrow, which is doubtful, this race will remain a bit uphill but definitely winnable. His supports need just hope that by the time the public has had time to process the debate in “water cooler conversations,” the race will have become more winnable than it already is. Barack Obama is highly vulnerable. Mitt Romney has an impessive record of life accomplishments. The opporutnity is there for a Romney victory.