Sorry about the lack of posting: Things are kind of hectic at HQ today. That said, I should fully equipped with a keyboard and a drink in my hand for the first presidential debate between Obama and Romney tonight. This is like the Olympics for political geeks, so it should be very exciting. For those who don't know, I tweet under @amandamarcotte and Jesse tweets at @jesseltaylor. I also recommend following the fine executive editor at Raw Story, Megan Carpentier on Twitter under @megancarpentier or our publisher Roxanne Cooper under @alterrox.

The expectation in most of Media Land is that Romney will perform well and perhaps give Obama something to sweat over, but I think this is a bit of wishful thinking. The Beltway loves a close contest, and not just because it's good for ratings and traffic. Like I said, this is the Olympics for political nerds, and everyone prefers to watch a close, exciting game to a blowout. I'm sure Romney will be well-prepared and will mostly perform well, but I doubt he'll be better than Obama and he'll certainly have to do more dodging of questions than Obama. There's an outside chance, however, that he gets stressed out and snotty. As we've learned in the past couple of months, the frat boy-ish plutocrat lurking inside likes to be taken out for walks once in awhile, and sometimes the stress of pretending to be a normal human being cracks him and he lets that guy out for a moment. But he's been doing this a long time, so I wouldn't count on it.

The American Prospect has had some good articles in the run-up to the debates, and I recommend checking them out:

You're Not in the Debate Minor Leagues Now, Mitt

Why the Denver Debate Could Matter

Why Don't the Debates Matter?

Offer up your expectations, hopes and predictions in comments!