Last week, in response to the loud anguish expressed by many Democrats (liberals, progressives, etc.) to Barack Obama’s disappointing performance in the first presidential debate, Kevin Drum coined the phrase “hack gap.” He said that “The hack gap is a liberal problem of long standing.
Put simply, we liberals don’t have enough hacks. Conservatives outscore us considerably in the number of bloggers/pundits/columnists/talking heads who are willing to cheerfully say whatever it takes to advance the party line, no matter how ridiculous it is.
My conservative readers may scoff at this notion, but rarely has the hack gap been on such febrile display as it has since last Wednesday’s presidential debate. Ask yourself this: can you even imagine Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh tearing their hair out over a weak debate performance by Mitt Romney the way that liberals have been over President Obama’s? I can’t.
Here’s how things would have gone if liberals had their fair share of hacks. Obviously Obama wasn’t at his best on Wednesday. But when the debate was over that wouldn’t have mattered. Conservatives would have started crowing about how well Romney did. Liberals would have acknowledged that Obama should have confronted Romney’s deceptions more forcefully, but otherwise would have insisted that Obama was more collected and presidential sounding than the hyperactive Romney and clearly mopped the floor with him on a substantive basis. News reporters would then have simply reported the debate normally: Romney said X, Obama said Y, and both sides thought their guy did great. By the next day it would barely be a continuing topic of conversation, and by Friday the new jobs numbers would have buried it completely. Instead, liberals went batshit crazy. …
I thought Kevin was dead-on, and the right’s decision to blame Joe Biden and the debate moderator, Martha Raddatz (with few exceptions) for the thorough drubbing Paul Ryan got from Biden last night in the first and only vice-presidential debate confirms that.