With several respected polling outfits now showing Mitt Romney with a lead over President Obama among likely voters, some liberal members of the media have entered panic mode. (Similarly, jubilation at some conservative media outlets has reached unprecedented, even absurd, highs.) Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast says Obama may have thrown the entire election with his listless debate performance, topping a mountain of criticism that has only grown higher in the days since the debate. Indeed, says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, the savage beating Obama is enduring in the liberal press could be making things worse:

Liberals went batshit crazy [after the debate]…The entire MSNBC crew was ready to commit ritual suicide right there on live TV, Howard Beale style. Ditto for all their guests, including grizzled pols like Ed Rendell who should have known better. It wasn't just that Obama did poorly, he had delivered the worst debate performance since Clarence Darrow left William Jennings Bryan a smoking husk at the end of Inherit the Wind. And it wasn't even just that. It was a personal affront, a betrayal of everything they thought was great about Obama. And, needless to say, it put Obama's entire second term in jeopardy and made Romney the instant frontrunner.

Drum goes on to say, half-jokingly, that if Obama loses the election, "it will be 100 percent attributable" to the fact that there aren't enough "hacks" in the liberal media who support Obama without reservation. "That's a little wacky," responds Joan Walsh at Salon. "The notion that a handful of liberal pundits criticizing the president on TV could ultimately swing an election has no basis in reality." However, it is true that "liberals need to get a grip," says Paul Waldman at The American Prospect:

Obama didn't do particularly well last Wednesday, it's true. But he's a very competitive guy, and I'm sure he's going to show up next week with plenty more focus and vigor. There are a lot of other factors — a recovering economy, the fact that it now looks like he'll have more money, a superior ground operation — that continue to make him the favorite. So liberals can feel free to stop rending their garments.