I don't usually do political analysis, since I'm not very good at it, and since I haven't even watched the full debate, that makes this attempt even more laughable. But here goes.
I think Obama won last night's debate. Specifically, I think Obama-ism won last night's debate.
The Obama campaign reportedly is most worried about Romney, Huntsman and Pawlenty. Although Pawlenty, after night, maybe not so much. In any case, those guys represent what for my purposes I'll call the sane faction of the GOP. And what do they all have in common? A record of embracing policies Obama has embraced. Huntsman, of course, was working for Obama up until this year.
In what I'll call the, um, other faction of the GOP, Michele Bachmann clearly emerged as last night's winner. Why? How did she do it? She didn't act like Michele Bachmann.
I don't think a Bachmann win is likely enough at this point to merit consideration, but even to get into the game she had to drop her wackiest stuff -- and she got rewarded for it, winning her faction with a TKO. So what does all this mean?
The Tea Party has already lost the 2012 presidential election. Yes, Bachmann could in theory implement Tea Party policies if she wins. But she's already abandoned their rhetoric and the other leading candidates all have non-Tea Party records.
In fact, not only does a Romney win seem a lot more likely -- it's possible that once he's in power, he'll do what he thinks is most likely to work. And since he's already leading while refusing to disown global warming or RomneyCare, it seems to me there's a halfway-decent chance that what he thinks will work could be even less conservative than what Obama has been willing to try. And in a Nixon-goes-to-China twist, Romney might even have a better chance of getting it passed. Which means even if Obama loses, Obama-ism might have a chance.
Am I nuts? Make your case in the comments (and check back later for Underbuzzed).
Follow Senior Producer Jonathan Larsen (@jtlarsen) on Twitter