A scenario for you:
1. Two weeks ago, Obama’s team looks at his position in the polls, realizes that both immediately and historically in the polling he’s likely to win re-election — likely enough that the money people in the GOP will soon figure that there’s no chance for Romney, pull their cash from the presidential campaign and send it to senate and house races in an attempt to keep the house (likely) and retake the senate (less likely but still achievable).
2. Obama’s people want to keep that from happening; they want the money mostly spent on Romney, who is a single target they can focus on and who has persistent weaknesses in polling, particularly when the electoral map is considered.
3. It has been discussed in political wonk circles that if Romney blows the first debate, the deep pocket GOP benefactors will pull their money out of the presidential race.
4. Obama’s folks are aware that there are three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate.
5. Therefore, a strategic decision is made to let Romney take the first debate — or at least to give him the chance to take the first debate — by having Obama underplay his hand. What losses he takes in the short-term polls can be mitigated in the two additional presidential debates and the VP debate, and by playing the electoral vote map rather than the national vote map. In the meantime, the GOP money stays in the presidential race rather than sent to the house and senate races, relieving potential pressure on those down-ticket races, and Obama’s folks get the advantage of having Romney spend his debating capital early, meaning there’s no where for him to go in the debates but down, and nowhere for Obama to go but up.
That’s the scenario: A massive rope-a-dope campaign designed not just to re-elect Obama but to give the Democrats a better standing in Congress.
Now: Your thoughts on the probability, wisdom, and implications of this (or something like this) being an actual political strategy by the Obama camp. Add them in the comments, please.