Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s just the inevitable tone surrounding the end-game of a long, vicious, closely fought election cycle. But there seems to be a bit of hysteria in the latest protestations of conservatives against signs that perhaps the Romney Surge isn’t going to crest on November 6, leading to a huge landslide and wild celebrations throughout the Heartland.

Yes, John Sununu is often a loose cannon, but he’s still Chief Surrogate for Romney and Ryan, and it can’t be an accident he went on Piers Morgan’s show to attribute Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama’s re-election to racial solidarity. (He later walked the comment back, of course).

And Peggy Noonan’s latest column, directly from the heart of the Republican Establishment that’s recently been assessing its career options in a Conservative Ascendancy, represents an effort, over-the-top even for her, to mesmerize readers into thinking only of the first presidential debate as the central event of the cycle–yea, perhaps of recent American history!

We all say Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. But it’s all still Denver, Denver, and the mystery that maybe isn’t a mystery at all.

If Cincinnati and Lake County go for Mitt Romney on Nov. 6 it will be because of what happened in Denver on Oct. 3. If Barack Obama barely scrapes through, if there’s a bloody and prolonged recount, it too will be because of Denver.

Nothing echoes out like that debate. It was the moment that allowed Mr. Romney to break through, that allowed dismay with the incumbent to coalesce, that allowed voters to consider the alternative. What the debate did to the president is what the Yankees’ 0-4 series against the Tigers did at least momentarily, to the team’s relationship with their city. “Dear Yankees, We don’t date losers. Signed, New Yorkers” read the Post’s headline.

America doesn’t date losers either.

You can read, if you have a strong stomach, the rest of Noonan’s screed about Obama having exposed himself in Denver as an empty suit, helpless without his teleprompter and paralyzed by his hatred of good, simple Republicans who just want to get along. It is not permitted for the other two debates, or the behavior of Republicans over the last four years, to disturb this perfect picture of Americans, finally fed up, rising as one to expel The Other.

Another straw in this turbulent wind is Daily Caller Executive Editor David Martosko’s long, bizarre piece breaking down virtually every paragraph of recent editions of Mike Allen’s “Playbook” feature at Politico as reflecting a frantic last-minute effort to put Obama over the top.

It’s this sort of perspective–the search, eleven days before the actual election, to find reasons it should have been stopped like a boxing TKO the first moment Romney pulled into the lead in a single poll–that makes me pause and look again at Noonan’s reference to an Obama victory producing a “bloody and prolonged recount.” Romney’s Big Mo must live–even if he loses!

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.