You honestly still think Obama will win?

Phil: So, Strimling. For weeks, months really, you have been saying that the race for the presidency is over. Done. Finito. In your mind you were telling President Barack Obama to start raising money now for his presidential library to open after his second term. But, boy, have things started shifting. Did you see the Gallup poll on Thursday that has it 52-45 in Romney’s favor? You ready to accept that perhaps you were a bit hasty when you declared “Obama wins re-election!” last June?

Ethan: Truth be told, I am starting to get a little worried. That said, if the election were held today, my sense is still that Obama would win. However, the election is not today, and there are still two and a half weeks for Mitt Romney to continue the upward trend he started after the first debate. Honestly, I have never seen a debate turn an election this markedly. While I think Tuesday’s debate will have some tamping of the first’s effects, I have to give your boy some credit. While I didn’t believe a word he said, he turned in a remarkable performance that has clearly shifted the tide.

Phil: Of course you don’t believe him. Your candidate can’t seek re-election using hope and change any more, so they’ve resorted to distorting and maligning Romney. The debates enable Americans to see and hear Obama and Romney in their own words without handlers and media sympathizers. It’s now clear that Romney wants to do something to get America moving again, while Obama simply just wants to be someone.

Ethan: Well, actually, I don’t believe what Romney said because much of it was untrue. He claimed an unelected board would control people’s health care. Not true. He claimed millions are losing health care because of ObamaCare. Not true. He claimed that Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform protects banks that are too big to fail. Not true. He claims that 23 million people are unemployed. Not true. He claimed his plan won’t raise taxes on the middle class. Not true. Do you want me to do this all day?

Phil: Let’s rewind the tape. Obama promised to cut the annual deficit in half by the end of his first term. Instead he doubled it. Obama sold us on his bring-us-together rhetoric: a new bipartisanship, new civility, new transparency, no more earmarks, no more revolving doors, no more former lobbyists in government, no more serial fundraisers on the government dime. Do you want me to do this all day?

Ethan: Obama said he would pass universal health care. Done. He said he would get the economy growing again. Done. He said he would pass Wall Street reform. Done. He said he would repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military policy. Done. He said he would end the war in Iraq. Done. And in the end, those accomplishments are why I expect Obama will still pull this election out. Are you ready to say Romney will win this thing?

Phil: I’m much more humble than you, and I’m following how the debates have influenced the few who are truly undecided in states like Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa and Florida because they will determine who wins. And unlike your prediction of a blow-out for Obama, I think it will be a razor-thin election.

Ethan: Dude, being humble would be a willingness to admit your philosophy was about to get trumped at the polls. And if that were about to happen in the presidential race, I would be the first to say so. But it isn’t, and that’s why I am so comfortable predicting that Obama will win this election.

Phil: Still a couple competing factors to make that prediction. First, who has a ground game? The ability to motivate voters to take action will matter because things like the weather can cause the casual voter to take a pass.

Ethan: In that area Obama is crushing it. He has had campaign offices in every swing state for over a year. Romney has had much less time to get geared up. What’s your second factor?

Phil: Ultimately, elections are about the incumbent. In this case, Obama can only win if he can convince undecideds that the next four years will be better than the last four. That is a tough sell.

Ethan: Elections are ultimately about incumbents (or the incumbent party), but they are also about the future versus the past. Despite Obama’s first debate performance and our less than enthusiastic growth, America understands that we cannot go back to the policies that caused the recession, the growing income inequality and our ballooning deficits. Deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy and unpaid for wars must end. Obama will win a second term both because his policies have made America stronger but also because Romney’s policies reflect what made us weak.

Phil: So, while you blindly follow the transformational accomplishments of the last four years, I’m voting for our children who deserve the right to inherit a country that they can afford, so they can purchase a home and save for their own financial dignity. Let’s pick this up again after Nov. 6. One of us will have some explaining to do.