It was do or die for the Dodgers tonight, as their last hopes of making it to the playoffs depended on them winning tonight's game against the San Francisco Giants. In the end, however, they couldn't score another run to catch up, and Dodger fans' dreams just. . . died.
It's also probably do or die for Mitt Romney tomorrow night, as his last chance of catching up in the polls probably depends on a knockout debate performance. Romney can't just win the debate. That would be good enough in baseball, but expectations are much higher in politics. Romney probably needs to achieve something like what a confident Ronald Reagan did against a worried and tired Jimmy Carter in 1980. And that's not likely to happen.
Romney is going to be well prepared for the debate. He's had nothing much else to do lately other than prepare for it. But he's the one more likely to come out looking worried and tired. Romney will have so many lines he has to remember! So many stories to keep straight. Does he brag about creating the precursor to Obamacare, or does he denounce it? Is he for cutting taxes for the wealthy or against it? Is he going to repeat his campaign's lies about the Obama administration cutting Medicare, or waiving welfare work requirements, or smooth them over? Does he really think that the same 47% of the country that doesn't pay income tax is also just waiting for handouts from the government?
Whenever I face a witness at trial or deposition who is trying to remember his lines, I know I have a good chance of getting an admission out of that witness. But if a witness is relaxed and telling the truth, without trying to remember a story, that witness is probably going to stay out of trouble. All President Obama has to do tomorrow night is tell the truth, and point out a few of the other side's misstatements and inconsistencies, and he'll do fine.