Let the Debate about Debates Begin: A Debatably Open Thread

by: Chris Blask

Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 00:52:49 AM EDT



The first Presidential Debate is in a few days. Common wisdom is that this will be the last chance Mitt Romney has to distract from an endless series of misfortunes and turn around GOP hopes for the White House.

Will Mr. Romney step up to the plate better than he did when others paid $50,000 to clean theirs listening to him? Will he be able to come across as a Regular Guy not completely out of touch with the reality others live in?

Hey, how about a friendly $10,000 wager on the outcome? That's what regular people do, right?

Chris Blask :: Let the Debate about Debates Begin: A Debatably Open Thread
Thomas Friedman at the New York Times points out the other major "not getting it" area Mr. Romney suffers from. The on-going contention that we live in a world where Democrats are craven on matters of foreign affairs while the US has unlimited international clout. Perhaps this is simply offered as fodder for the Tea Party base - though I somehow don't think so, I think he believes it.

But it isn't 1989. The Soviet Union has not just collapsed, China is not just emerging as a global economic force, and the Internet is not something only used by geeks to share UUENCODED porn (an the occasional research paper).

Rather than really thinking afresh about the world, Romney has chosen instead to go with the same old GOP bacon and eggs - that the Democrats are toothless wimps who won't stand up to our foes or for our values, that the Republicans are tough and that it is 1989 all over again. That is, the U.S. stands astride the globe with unrivaled power to bend the world our way, and the only thing missing is a president with "will." The only thing missing is a president who is ready to simultaneously confront Russia, bash China, tell Iraqis we're not leaving their country, snub the Muslim world by outsourcing our Arab-Israel policy to the prime minister of Israel, green light Israel to bomb Iran - and raise the defense budget while cutting taxes and eliminating the deficit.

The article is short enough that it is almost worth quoting verbtim, but I will resist (at least by a sentence or two).

It is a globalized economy in which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S.' largest business lobby, has opposed Romney's pledge to designate China as a currency manipulator and is pressing Congress to lift Cold War trade restrictions on Russia, a country Romney has labeled the U.S.' "No. 1 geopolitical foe."

In personal and political matters it is always my preference to use subtle tools backed up by extreme measures whose existence and shape are mostly inferred by the words you don't use to talk about them. For most of human history this has not been the most often used approach - actual force and fiery rhetoric litter the fields of our past. And perhaps that has been as it should be in a world where actual barbarians with actual swords could ride and rape through the countryside at a given moment. But those days seem long gone, even for those of us old enough to remember them personally.

And good riddance to bad rubbish.

Ronald Reagan presided over the dying days of that era. For all his hawkish legacy he fought the more subtle game that Romney and the modern GOP dismiss, portraying America as the "Shining city on a hill" for others to follow and the Soviet Union as unsophisticated jackbooted clouts. He won by befriending the leader of the USSR and then calling on him to "tear down this wall".

Mr. Romney is as out of touch with the modern world as he is with modern Americans if he does not understand that we know this, now. That we understand winning without a club, without unrestricted ownership of the situation.

This complexity doesn't argue for isolationism. It argues for using our power judiciously. For instance, if you had listened to Romney criticizing Obama for weakness after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, you'd have thought that, had Romney been president, he would have immediately ordered some counterstrike. But, had we done so, it would have aborted what was a much more meaningful response: Libyans themselves taking to the streets under the banner "Our Revolution Will Not Be Stolen" and storming the headquarters of the Islamist militias who killed the U.S. ambassador. It shows you how much this complexity can surprise you.

Romney doesn't understand winning by subtle means. He lives in a slash-and-burn world that no longer exists.

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Another gem in that clip: (2.00 / 3)
"I will exercise sobriety, care, stability and make sure in a setting like this anything I say that can affect a place with rockets going in - with people dying - I don't do anything that would harm that process. And therefore, before I make a statement of that nature, I get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say 'Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do?'"

Except, perhaps, when it is in your personal political interest?

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


Top Ten Time (2.00 / 3)

Simply this needs to be the message for the next month.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


Don't forget (2.00 / 2)
Romney's playing to the NRA types, the ones who cling to firepower as the first answer to any perceived threat.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

But those folks won't elect him. (2.00 / 4)
Obama managed to capture the far left while not alienating the middle. Or I would not be here, for one.

Romney doesn't have the chops for that. He changed all his moderate positions to extremes to win the far right, now compounds the gap with the honest air of someone who really doesn't relate to people outside his circle.

Obama in himself and his positions made the far left comfortable(ish) enough to support him, while simultaneously imparting the understanding that he could personally relate to the majority.

Romney had to flatly refute himself to (begrudgingly) win the far right, but as the average person turns to look at him they correctly perceive that he has no innate ability to understand them.

In scientific terms: he's hosed.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
I Dig It. (2.00 / 3)
http://www.investmentnews.com/...

Romney's 'I dig it' trust sealed his 14% tax rate

Candidate used a legal estate-planning tactic to give $100 million to his heirs - tax-free



John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

If the Dems win the House (2.00 / 4)
in 5 weeks, I think there will be some crash-course 'estate planning' going on. Does that count as Job Creation?

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

[ Parent ]
Herein lies the rub: (2.00 / 5)
LA Times has this:

Hubscher watched the Republican convention and was deeply impressed by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. "I felt a connection to the things he was talking about," he said. By contrast, Romney, who spoke later the same night, made little impression. His campaign, Hubscher said, boils down to, "'Look what a bad job Obama's done, and I'm not that guy.' That's not good enough."

Even among Romney backers, that sense of disappointment came up frequently. When asked what they remembered of the two party conventions, only one of the four dozen interviewed brought up Romney's speech.

Sounds like my response to Kerry's "I am not George Bush" pitch. And Bush was in a much tougher spot imhho.

People generally need more than not being the other guy to replace an incumbent President.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


Debate scorecard (2.00 / 6)
Debate drinking game:
Romney
Millions unemployed
Failed/Failure
Job creators
Taxes
Regulations

Obama
More new jobs than Bush 1st term (TY BLS benchmarking!)
"Let Detroit go bankrupt"
Tax returns
47(%) 47(th in nation as governor)
Bain

Style
Romney: Overdoes his Reaganesque zingers. Relies on '5 Easy Pieces' when stressed.

Obama: Counter punches zingers effectively, Romney no followup.

Overall, I agree with Chuck Todd that Pres. Obama will be very aggressive. Ted Kennedy showed the way in '94. Romney will wilt under the attack. So, 1st third - slight advantage Romney, 2nd third - slight advantage Obama, last third - clear advantage Obama.

Pundits: Will feign surprise and dismay at Obama's aggressive performance. Romney clears low bar of expectations but not enough to move the polling needle.

Instapolls: Majority will say Obama won

Obama wins in a split decision on his toughest debate topic and maintains polling momentum.

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!


Debate Scorecard: Part Deux (2.00 / 7)
Been thinking about Pres. Obamas theme on Wednesday. And to paraphrase Herman Cain, it's Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. He has the opportunity to close the deal there and with Ohio gone, Romneys campaign is dead with a month still to go.

But first, this damning quote:

But if Romney actually starts to lose McCain voters, he's in big trouble. That would explain his suddenly slipping margins in swing states: not just 10 points in Ohio, but 9 points in Florida and 8 points in Virginia.

Darrel Johnson isn't switching from McCain to Obama, but some Ohio voters are: In the recent poll conducted by the Columbus Dispatch, 5 percent of McCain's 2008 supporters were voting for Obama, and another 5 percent were undecided. A 70-year-old Cincinnatian named Wayne Butterfass told the paper he'd voted Republican most of his life, but couldn't bring himself to do so this year.

Meet the Ohio Voters Who Are Killing Romney's Campaign

Bold for emphasis.

Let's say there is some truth to Ohio being the Presidential Bellwether State. McCain got 47% in '08, so if 5% are defecting to Obama and the 5% undecideds go 50-50, therefore 2.5% more for a total of 7.5% switching. That lowers Romney's vote to 43.48%, close to my earlier prediction of 43%. But I digress.

I predict that Pres. Obama will repeatedly segue to Ohio and "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt", 47% plus Bain, Bain, Bain.

Secondarily will be callouts to 5 other swing states. Florida/Nevada will be reminded of Mitt's "Let the foreclosure process continue" quote, those states being Ground Zero of the Housing Bust. He'll tout his proposal to require the GSEs to refinance the underwater homeowners at approx. 4%.

Next is Iowa/Colorado where Romneys opposition to wind power is a loser. Pres. Obama can recite Sen. Grassley:

I'm the author of the wind energy tax credit of 1992, and there were people from outside the state came into Iowa and issued a press release that the Republican candidate for president was opposed to wind energy, and I felt it was just like a knife in my back.

Last is Virginia, and here he will have to be subtle. While noting that Romney/Ryan, in cutting agencies, will cause layoffs of good paying federal jobs that will devastate the N. Virginia economy. The trap here would be leaving himself open to the charge of being a Big Government Democrat.

Bonus Media drinking game:
Over-rehearsed
Over-prepared
applied to Romney

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!


[ Parent ]
Are you conceding NC? :) (2.00 / 5)


"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Nope, my earlier forecast (2.00 / 4)
was 347 EVs vs 191 [Aug 29]. I was absolutely counting on NC being in the Obama column. I chose those 6 states because they are the most important. NC is icing on the cake. Arizona would be my choice for an expansion of the battleground.

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

[ Parent ]
I've had O figured at 347 too (2.00 / 4)
Arizona would be my choice for an expansion of the battleground.

and possibly montana after that.  montana!

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Montana is complicated (2.00 / 3)
Tester/Schweitzer may want the Obama campaign to keep a low profile so as not to jeopardize Testers Senate race. Same thing goes for McCaskill in Missouri. But Montana would be sweet just for its sheer geographical size. Being a native Westerner, I want to see more of the Mountain States turn Blue.

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

[ Parent ]
I heard someone mention Tennessee, (2.00 / 3)
but I think that is a crack dream.

However, the rich Mormon snob effect could depress GOP turnout here. Anything is possible...

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Speaking of Arizona... (2.00 / 4)
Maybe some daylight their for Carmona:


The DSCC has reserved $526,000 in airtime for the [Arizona senatorial] race starting tomorrow, according to a source tracking the 2012 air war. The committee's first ads will run from Oct. 2 to Oct. 8.

There's been relatively little nonpartisan data on the race between Carmona and GOP Rep. Jeff Flake. Republicans express confidence about Flake's general election strength, but a League of Conservation Voters poll found the two candidates separated by only one point.

Alexander Burns - Boom: DSCC going up in Arizona Politico 1 Oct 12

Half a million is a fairly significant bet; they must be seeing a genuine opportunity here.


[ Parent ]
Richard Carmona (2.00 / 4)
is a very impressive candidate. The contrast with Gov. (Drinker and) Brewer could not be more stark. I'm an optimist, I believe the Arizonian Brain Fever may have run its course.

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

[ Parent ]
i think obama can thread that needle (2.00 / 4)
he has cut caps on federal salaries, and run a fairly lean government.  If he can point that out simply, he counters the gubmint spending democrap meme.

Howard Dean is my guy. (in a strictly nonsexual fashion)

[ Parent ]
how does this movie end? (1.75 / 4)
Photobucket

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


Made my first comment on GOS in a year. (2.00 / 3)
Now I know why I don't go back. Made a positive comment about the Dems perhaps becoming the Adult in the Room compared to the GOP. My comment included an unrelated note about the left giving Obama a "yeah, but" type of support.

Of course the person I was replying to had to say "how is having mixed feelings childish?"

.McSigh.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Your first mistake (2.00 / 3)
was replying and trying to clarify. You didn't recognize the symptoms of Terminal Butthurt™ displayed by the commenter. There's no cure yet, but if you ignore them, they tend to wander away looking for new targets of their Righteous Indignation™.

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

[ Parent ]
I tried not to clarify. (2.00 / 3)
I know replying was a mistake, but at least I didn't want to get into anything more than 'you misread me'.

Too much noise, too little signal. Sure the place does some good in the world, and when I had read some of the BKOS stuff Denise contributes to it seemed to lack the Drama. But I really want to make avoiding conversations with - how do I put this politely? - raving numbnuts a habit. Even as kibitzers, they make the effort at constructive conversation too cumbersome.

I like conversation. A lot. Part of the living the last half of my forties has been a pointed effort to increase the ratio of useful conversations and lower - and where possible eliminate - stressful dialogue with people who are for one reason or another not capable of civil or evolved discourse.

It just isn't worth spoiling a day of my life. Particularly when there are so many people you can enjoy talking with. Most of them, blogosphere evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

This past week in Portland was chock full from beginning to end. At the Energysec Security Summit, where the demographic trends towards the interesting by nature. But on the streets and trains as well, hanging with my old family friends and random strangers along the way. The conversationally challenged seem to gather on political blogs more than they do in meatspace, with more than a little bit of irony.

I browsed back through some of my old GOS stuff (60 diaries? really?), read the one I wrote when fogiv and Olberman got into it. Interesting history this whole blogosphere thing has built up.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
I just made my first comment in over a year (2.00 / 3)
It went surprisingly well.

Howard Dean is my guy. (in a strictly nonsexual fashion)

[ Parent ]
Don't want to be a spoiler (2.00 / 4)
but all the rich men dress up as women and get rescued while the 47% get fucked and die as usual. /celinedion

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

[ Parent ]
Dude, that is sooo freakin' wrong!! (2.00 / 4)


"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
If loving that pic is wrong... (2.00 / 3)
baby, I don't wanna be right.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Your friends tell you (2.00 / 4)
there's no future
In lovin' a Tea Party man
If he can't starve granny when he wants
He'll starve her when he can

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

[ Parent ]
Skydiving from space, October 8 2012. (2.00 / 4)
Redbull Stratos Mission, a jump from 120,000 feet.

I freaking love this species.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


This is why I love the Moose: (2.00 / 4)
Nobody said:

How can you skydive from space when there are people starving in the world?!?!?


John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Don't tempt the fates (2.00 / 4)
Now that MyDD has been stricken from the Moose blogroll, some of their Butthurt™ members may show up here to exact their revenge.

The good news is that it appears they no longer know how to create comments in diaries.
[It was amazing that there were NO comments to any of the diaries there. Their Recent Comments column was null.]

But your example was old school. Here's how to be up-to-date:

How can you skydive from space when you should be at an Occupy rally?!?!?

Oh wait.

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!


[ Parent ]
Odd that the site is still up. (2.00 / 2)
Charles Lemnos is still writing there, I wonder why? He is a good writer and the articles seem as likely as not to be falling on deaf (or absent) ears.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
There is an AI app for that (or should be) (2.00 / 3)
How can you [blank] while [blank]!?!?!?!

Think of the billions of person-hours that could be saved...

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
that place was a cespool (2.00 / 3)
the front pagers (except jerome) were a pretty good bunch, but the commentariat were some of the rottenest scoundrels on the internet.

Howard Dean is my guy. (in a strictly nonsexual fashion)

[ Parent ]
great piece at the atlantic - have a look (2.00 / 6)
select snips:

If Obama's "You didn't build that" is structural functionalism, Romney's "We built it" is Barthian transactionalism.

Moreover, transactionalism suggests that societies are the most stable and harmonious when groups don't compete to make their livings, instead occupying their own economic niches. It's a construction that sheds light on why Romney's comfortable taking about the poor and middle class as "them." There's nothing wrong with them, necessarily; they're just doing their own thing.

A History of Anthropological Theory explains further: "Social relationships are 'generated,' sustained, and changed as a result of the economic choices made by individuals, each of whom has learned to play and manipulate the 'rules' of a social 'game.'" It also helps explain Romney's disdain for the 47% of Americans who, in his flawed thinking, refuse to play the game. He literally has no way to understand them.

The rejection of transactionalism often seems rooted in the idea that understanding the world that way misses too much of its magic and meaning. It's not crazy to think that whether you see life as the product of give-and-takes or the fruit of society's complexities determines somewhat whether you're a Romney fan or an Obama fan. Barthian thinking has fallen out of favor, to some extent.

It turned out that it makes people uncomfortable to think about the world reduced to a series of transactions.

http://www.theatlantic.com/pol...

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


Transactionalism is one of those "so what if it is true?" things. (2.00 / 3)
Like scientific determinism (iow: "if you knew the position, mass and trajectory of every particle in the universe you could predict individual human behavior forever") or the proof that there is no altruistic act ("you only do nice things for the reward"), it doesn't freaking matter.

If there is no free will but my actions are determined by physics, so what? Feels like a duck, quacks like a duck, tastes good with orange sauce: I'm calling it free will.

If the only reason I do anything nice to to feel good or get some kind of reward, I still did something nice.

If every human exchange is a trade, I will still enjoy talking to people.

Obsessing with any such model - true or not - is sophomoric.

It's the kind of hair-hanging-in-front-of-your-eyes, slouching, foot-dragging, cynical childish nihilism that makes me want to transact my hand upside someone's head. Hey, the molecules in my hand predetermined that it would cuff your smug mug and if it does you any good it is only a side effect of the fact that I feel better for doing it.

Nobody is comfortable with such ideas because they allocate all of our lives to be pinned like dead butterflies to some corkboard in a sterile classroom.

Guess what? A child smiling and dancing in the rain is beautiful because it is. Holding a door for an elderly person feels good because it is good for your soul. Telling your family you love them is not good for you due to the release of endorphins (even though it is), it is good for you because loving and being loved makes you a happier person.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
That's making me think too hard. (2.00 / 4)
I'm going to have to read the whole thing ... slowly.

(Fucked up at work and am now leaving over an hour late trying to fix it.)  :(

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


[ Parent ]
heh (2.00 / 5)
markknoller 6:52pm via Web

WH announces Pres Obama will designate home, workplace & gravesite of farm workers labor leader Cesar Chavez as a National Monument



"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

Whoops (2.00 / 5)
Not what you want to read if you are the Romney campaign:


The Romney campaign is experiencing what some officials believe could be the beginning of a mass exodus of big money donors diverting their cash away from the Republican presidential hopeful and toward Republican candidates for the House and Senate races more likely to win in November, the FOX Business Network has learned.

The trend isn't at the acute stage, at least not yet, said one person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Charlie Gasparino - Romney Losing Donors to GOP House, Senate Candidates Fox Business 1 Oct 12

Yet another headwind in the last five weeks.



To be fair, not what Dems necessarily want to be reading (2.00 / 5)
either.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Money can't buy me love. (2.00 / 4)
It can sway votes, but at this point it could be something of a compensating factor.

The down-ticket beneficiaries will be facing something of a drag on momentum as the up-ticket leadership is seen to falter. It doesn't seem very likely to move as many moderates as it would have if the presidential candidate hadn't already soured the soup.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
As is often the case, you heard it here first. (2.00 / 4)
At least I did.

Trajectory is a bitch.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
BTW, did any other admin notice Soapblox added stats? (2.00 / 5)
Total number of posts: 3186
Total number of comments: 76659

Top 10 list of most active users (by # of comments)

Chris Blask - 7829
Shaun Appleby - 7667
John Allen - 7361
HappyinVT - 6797
Peter Jukes - 5268
fogiv - 5181
spacemanspiff - 3511
DTOzone - 2574
Hollede - 2519
sricki - 2202

Top 10 list of most active users (by # of posts)

Hollede - 283
Chris Blask - 273
Inoljt - 184
Peter Jukes - 154
borderjumpers - 130
sricki - 126
John Allen - 119
DCDemocrat - 118
canadian gal - 106
ragekage - 101

Hmmm, I didn't know I talked so much (d'oh!)

Appleby is catching up on comments (slacker!).

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


Jesus, can't shut you up, huh? (2.00 / 3)


"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Oh, it's been tried. (2.00 / 2)
I don't mean to talk so much. Must be a twitch...

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Not Even Close... (2.00 / 5)
On word count.

[ Parent ]
Jeez (2.00 / 3)
How to make a newbie (relatively) feel left in the dust.

I gotta start flapping my pixelated jaws a lot more around here.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.


[ Parent ]
heh - pithy is good, too. (2.00 / 4)


"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
They only have "from the dawn of time" stats. (2.00 / 3)
On a more granular scale you are the biggest things to happen around here since sliced bread.  

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
In Other News (2.00 / 5)
This is how soft power looks when it works:


NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Allied African troops have taken full control of Kismayo in Somalia, the last stronghold of [al-Qaeda affiliated] Islamist rebels who have been fighting against the country's internationally backed government, a Kenyan military official said Tuesday.

Remnants of the militants, known as al-Shabab, executed seven civilians who did not support them in the southern part of Kismayo on Monday, the Kenyan military said.

Kenya Defense Forces and the Somali National Army are now patrolling the streets of Kismayo, Kenyan military spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir said through Twitter. He said that the troops had secured the city's central police station and the new airport. He said military aircraft will start landing there.

Tom Odula - Somalia: Kenyan army says it now controls Kismayo AP via Google 2 Oct 12

Coalition of neighbouring states - check.
Legitimate governments acting in their own interests - check.
Long term action deliberately planned and determinedly executed - check.
Western technology and military expertise applied effectively at tipping point - check.
Major blow to an asymmetrical opponent who has eluded American power for decades - check.

Americans don't even know it is happening, then...  Bingo.  Sometimes I think we watch way too many action flicks for our own good.


Dude, we don't have time for that!!1!111!!!!!1! (2.00 / 5)
Hannity, the Daily Caller, and Drudge have a new bombshell Obama video from 2007!  In it he is angry and radical and a lefty ... and black!!!

(It is a video of an event that was open to the press and, get this, reported on by both Fox News and Tucker Carlson.  In fact, according to Twitter, Tucker just said that he knows the speech wasn't covered back then because he reported on it.  Yeah, you read that right.  I might have to crawl in a hole until November 3rd, in time for a football game with the brother.)

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


[ Parent ]
Is that all they got? (2.00 / 4)
I saw that and it was pathetic. What genius thought that this was going to be a game changer before the first debate?

They got nuthin'.

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!


[ Parent ]
They're desperate (2.00 / 5)
The 47% video was a death blow, it's everywhere, it's confirmed all the worst fears and doubts about Romney.  The red team is flailing for something, anything, to displace it in the public consciousness.

"Here -- here's another bucket of goo, heave it at the" --

"But it's just all thin and watery old mud, it's so cold it isn't even sticky any more, hell, there's hardly anything in the bucket!  How are we gonna cover that gigantic" --

"Shut up!  Just keep throwing!  Something's gotta stick!"

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.


[ Parent ]
And we have video of Ryan calling 30% of Americans moochers. (2.00 / 4)
Haven't watched the Obama video yet but there are those who are glad it has been brought to their attention because it is really good.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
With Mary Matalin calling (2.00 / 3)
Mitt's 47% "parasites" and now we got Ryan's 30% moochers, I hereby copyright the t-shirt motto:

We may be a parasites, but we're not moochers.
We are The 17%.


There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

[ Parent ]
too late (2.00 / 6)
i saw a couple of losers selling those on the corner of 47th and bain three days ago.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Monica Crowley took to Twitter to proclaim this would bring down (2.00 / 5)
POTUS.  But even the campaign is treating this as a giant joke.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
They are just trying to divert (2.00 / 3)
attention from THE video that will bring down the Romney campaign. Called Mitt Romney Style, it's a parody of Gangnam Style and nails Mitt, Paul and Ann.
Recommended.

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

[ Parent ]
Meh (2.00 / 5)
the media seems to be riding it like a show horse. I'd bet money the first question to Obama tomorrow is "Do you believe the Bush administration purposely led New Orleans falter during Hurricane Katrina because the city was full of black people?" or some form of that.  

[ Parent ]
The second question (2.00 / 4)
will be "Mr. President, will you denounce Elizabeth Warren for claiming to be a descendent of Pocahontas?"

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

[ Parent ]
Well, they certainly caught him cold here (2.00 / 6)
calling for the rebuilding of New Orleans and professing his Christian faith.  What a jerk.

Sort of undermines the secret Muslim theory...or does it?

"How dare he lie about being a Christian when he's a Muslim!"

Because with conspiracy theorists, every evidence to the contrary functions as proof of the cover-up.

Gotta admit though, I don't love when he puts on the MLK accent.  But if it doesn't bother a room full of black preachers, I guess it must be a culturally acceptable mode of performance.  So who am I to be put off?  Just wish it were a bit more subtle.

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
#cockleswarmed /gotv (2.00 / 5)
Since the Republican Legislature passed laws last year to regulate groups that independently register voters in Florida, Democrats have swamped Republicans in registering new voters.

State elections data show that, through Sept. 24, the Florida Democratic Party had registered more than 230,741 new voters since the laws went into effect July 1, 2011. Republicans had turned in just 46,373 new voter registrations during that time.

[snip]

Democrats had a head start on Republicans. Much of the state party's effort was shared with the Barack Obama campaign, which never completely shut down after he won the presidency in 2008. His Organize for America offices reopened all over Florida in the spring of 2011. Republicans and Romney did not begin full-scale efforts to organize field offices and volunteers until a year later.

[snip]

University of Florida political scientist Daniel Smith, who studies voter registration, said that although the new laws stifled most third-party registration efforts, the Democrats were undeterred - and much better organized than the Republicans.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com...

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


caption contest! (2.00 / 5)
Photobucket

lol

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


hmmmm (2.00 / 4)
"Who let this dog in?"

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
my submission is (2.00 / 5)
"This guy's got some chutzpah thinking anyone here would vote for him."

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
How about: (2.00 / 4)
"Did he really just say 'Good day to you my home brother'?"

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Now that's the worst disguise ever (2.00 / 4)
That guy's gotta be an alien.

(Obscure Men In Black reference)

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!


[ Parent ]
I sure am glad that FOX news doesn't take sides like the "Lame Stream Media". (2.00 / 2)
Fair and Balanced, right, Greta?

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

The bad and the good (2.00 / 4)
The bad: Romney has been focusing on zingers and the remaining "persuadables" are the kind of zinger voters that Chris and I disagree about.  I don't think most of them are engaged centrists or independents of conviction.  I think the majority are superficial, low information jackasses and I detest the fact that they decide elections.

The good: Romney isn't capable of delivering zingers in a likable fashion.  So even if he succeeds he won't likely remedy the likability gap between the candidates.  And zinger voters are also voters who respond to likability to an excessive degree.

The future is unwritten


Well, you would think that, (2.00 / 3)
you partisans tend to be twitchy that way... ;~)

Since you raised it, though, I have to say that since our last discussion I have been seeing more signs that support my view that swing voters are precisely the more pondered type. In a conversation with an (Ohio!) friend this morning who is a great deal to the right of me, for example, my arguments swayed him to vote for Obama. Very much not a 'zinger' voter, nor the kind of intelligentsian elitist I vainly imagine myself to be.

As a general article of logic, though, it is hard to fault those who decide who to vote for more than those who decide before they even know who is going to be running.

Jon Stewart did a great bit on the 'prepared zingers' practice Romney is doing. Zinger by definition are not the things you practice, it's what you deliver off the cuff (and we know how well that works for Mitt).

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
ahhh...again... (2.00 / 3)
It's not swing voters in general, it's the late breakers who I think are swayed by sound-bites and short term appearances.  I'm sure some late breakers are thoughtful.  And I have no doubt that some partisans are basically political sports fans cheering for their team just because it's their team.  But I think there are plenty of swing voters who are independents by disposition and conviction and who hold carefully considered centrist views.  But I think most of those folks have already decided by now.

The Stewart piece on zingers was comedy gold.  A grooved pitch of course.  Basically, when a politician admits that he's trying to perfect zingers, those who do so for a profession are gonna feast.  I mean, I love Louis  C.K., but I'm not voting for him and he'd never run.  If Romney is really gonna try to get an "ooooooooh SNAP!" out of anyone, we're in for a comedy treat of a very different sort.  

But I also read that he's preparing detailed answers and intends to answer in paragraphs.  PARAGRAPHS!  Imagine.  A rhetorical exertion of more than two sentences developing a particular thought!  Now, why hasn't Obama tried that yet?  Oh yeah.  That's what he does.  All freaking day long.  I bet there's more sense and integrity in Anne's horse's hoof than in all of her husband's paragraphs!

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
My Ohio friend is a counter example (2.00 / 2)
He is very much a natural Republican, at least as much (or much more) than I am a natural Democrat. He would be much happier in general terms voting R, but he isn't going to pull a lever just because of party. Romney has been such a screwup that he was on the fence "afraid of both of these guys". In fact if the GOP wasn't being so extreme he would have been in their camp to begin with and not even in play.

The assumption you are making, if I might be so bold, feels like one based on the common belief that people just aren't all that bright. As the continuing thread I posit here and elsewhere contends, this is fundamentally erroneous and an artifact of a cynicism which is by far too pervasive. It harkens all the way back to the invention of Original Sin as an invisible burden to yoke the masses millennia ago when people first gathered in large groups, and in modern Western society through the boomer 'revolution' that pits an evil (greedy, heartless,...) Mankind against a benevolent Nature.

Again, if any of that were true there would be no call for Democracy at all. Rather, the long and still widely held view that we should either Serve Humbly Those He Has Placed Over Us or be constrained by force from enacting our less-than-animal viciousness would clearly be the only rational option.

I know I fall in a very small minority on these issues, but in my life the opposite seems much more the actual case among humans. The fat, lazy, low-information average human (or, worse, Average American) is not so simple or so base as our philosophies would have us believe, Horatio.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Sure. It's not a monolithic block (2.00 / 3)
But I've come in contact with plenty others over the years that are basically optics voters.  They're swayed by late media moments and by late momentum.  Not really what I'd call responsible analysis and consideration.

And as much as I love calling out the subterranean pressure of meta-narratives, I don't think that original sin lies behind my impressions (more than assumptions) and it isn't some simple elitist anti-populism.  The biggest argument against that rests on once more correcting the way you are skewing this as a blanket condemnation of all swing voters and independents.  It's not.  We're talking about 3-5% of voters here.  It's not an anti-democratic swipe at the ignorant masses.  As long as you keep misconstruing the target of my critique and defending a large group I have explicitly excluded from my ire, we'll be talking past one another.  It's precisely that our election outcomes often depend upon this very small group of voters that more often than not is made up of dilly-dallying optics voters that leads to my frustration.  

Given that the campaigns spend the last 6 weeks trying to grab them, our 'national conversation' that elections might be is instead impoverished and ground down to sound bites and zingers and gaffes and impressions of who has the momentum, who you'd like to have a beer with, who you want to watch on TV for the next freaking 4 years, who is the 'strong leader' etc....

I've plenty of good reasons for supporting democracy, but if I state them here, I'll grant you the premise that my critique is under-girded by a broad distrust of the majority of the voters.  That has never been my contention.  And I don't think it lines up with my much more specific argument at all.

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
My apologies, (2.00 / 1)
it is perhaps more my whipping-horse than yours I am yammering about. It certainly is one of my prime meridians when calculating commentary and it was not intended to apply as a slight to you in any way. It is just such a deeply embedded and broadly distributed meme - that mankind is simply 'bad' - that I knowingly fault towards calling it out in most contexts.

It bears repeating that I like and respect you as an individual before I acknowledge your comment - "I'll grant you the premise that my critique is under-girded by a broad distrust of the majority of the voters" - because I do not want you to misconstrue my critique as a condemnation. In fact the vast majority of people I like and most whom I love also disagree with my positive view of humanity.

Listening to gospel radio (damn that is some beautiful music) yesterday the host comes on with a list of folks needing prayer - a kind and wonderful thing, theist though I am not - and ends with a request that his listeners pray for the world "because we all know what terrible shape it is in."

Bullocks.

As someone who knows what people can do when they are positive it pains me more than politics to constantly see us eagerly accept our self-belittlement. All the problems we face are amplified by this empirically incorrect view as each of us drags ourselves lower in gestalt self-doubt.

There isn't any "plan" that a leader can put in place that will create more jobs or feed more children or clean more water or save more lives than would giving all of us hope that our lives will be better and faith in ourselves. Instead we line up to be beaten and instructed in how we can beat ourselves and each other when our Overseers are not around.

Nothing - not greed, nor hate, nor war, nor poverty - stamps my own spirit and hope into the earth more than this everlasting gloom. Each of those and other pestilences can be overcome if we believe in ourselves and each other, none of them if we do not.

So, back to your point?

I don't know. Perhaps there is something to what you say and perhaps there is something that could be done about it. But it all comes back to my base philosophy above. If we are on average good, decent, intelligent and well-intentioned then the typical result should cut through the detail of who makes up their mind at which point in a political cycle. If we are not, then I don't think this or anything else really matters at all.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Dear Chris (2.00 / 3)
I'm sorry I gave the impression of being insulted or offended.  I was only expressing a frustration that we were talking past one another, basically having two different arguments.  Especially given the degree of respect I have for you as an interlocutor over the past four years, I would never want to give the impression that I don't think independents and centrists and moderates can't be so out of sincerity and intellectual/ethical commitment.

As you know, my professional work engages with various forms of Christianity, and my respect for its poetics and profundity only grow as I consider it more closely.  I think one of the most compelling things about the general Christian meta-narrative is the potential paradox of seeing humans as inherently and inevitably fallible and insufficient (fallen by virtue of original sin) but also uncontestably worthy of salvation and possessing irrevocable dignity.  

I think that the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25.31-46) captures this quite beatifully:

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.

32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,

36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?

38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40 "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,

43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45 "He will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Even as the idea of eternal damnation threatens to undercut Christian humanism (and this passage undermines the Protestant disavowal of works in its economy of salvation) it underscores the divinity and absolute dignity in every fallen human.  Christliness is found in treating "the least" of humanity's representatives as Christ the king himself.  And even as a non-believing but deeply engaged (and traditionally observant) Jew of all things, I find this a compelling and illuminating conceit.  I even once talked about this with an orthodox rabbi who said he considers this passage proof of Jesus belonging to the rabbinic tradition at its very finest.  He called the bolded verses above one of the best divrei torah (Torah lessons) he has ever come across.  The Talmud has a story of one of its sages who always kept a note in each pocket.  One read: you are nothing but ash and dust.  The other read: the entire universe was created on your account.  This captures my view of humanity as a group.  Inherently and inevitably frustrating, but also of inestimable dignity and capacity.  Both extremes hold, even as logically they may indeed prove mutually exclusive.  The more we do for "the least" among us, the better all of us get.  

When I hear cynics dismiss humans, I remember that for the vast majority of our time so far as a species, we scavenged, fought, raped, and grunted our way from one generation to another.  In a fraction of our time on this planet, we have burst forth with stunning works of intellect, art, technology, and ethical profundity.  We've only begun to scratch the surface of our potential.  It doesn't mean that we will get any farther.  But it seems an unavoidable fact that we can.  If we prove unworthy of our democracy frequently, that unworthiness is far from necessary.  And without practicing democracy, we'll never grow in the ways I dream of as a species on this rock.

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
I think the "persuadable" are folks looking for confirmation (2.00 / 2)
they were right in their current choice.  I'm more inclined to think the low information voters have already decided based largely, if not solely, on party identification.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Looking for, and sometimes not finding. (0.00 / 0)
My friend very much wanted to vote R - and perhaps his conviction based on our conversation may not last.

This may well be the heart of Democracy. Most of us identify at least to an extent with one side or another. Some of us entirely and without exception identify with one side. The very root of Democracy, though, is that there will be at least some for whom "side" is not enough, that there has to be more than tendency but rather specific substance to the choice.

I understand that for many there are issues which are so close to the heart that crossing the line is never an option under any circumstance. But without the persuadables elections would be merely a demographic tally and not a battle to convince a population that you are the more able person for the job.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Courtesy of David Frum (2.00 / 2)
The 100 funniest moments of debate from the House of Commons.  Basically, we're out-classed.  Nothing tonight will get anywhere near any of these:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/a...

The future is unwritten


Yes, the Brits to political theater that puts Yanks to shame. (2.00 / 3)
Canadians do a great job of it as well.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Jesus, a new low. (2.00 / 3)
"Dreams of my Real Father".

Hey, why not attack a dead woman?




John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
And those are just the TORY moments (2.00 / 4)
There's no Dennis Skinner or Neil Kinnock. You're basically just seeing one side of the house

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
Good employment numbers from ADP (2.00 / 6)
Released this morning:

According to Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC, "The September increase [162,000] was above the consensus forecast for today's release and for the official jobs number due out Friday from The Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Continued solid gains in employment since Spring further allay fears that the broad economic recovery may be undermined by a softening trend in employment.  The gain in private employment in September is strong enough to suggest that the national unemployment rate may have declined."

U.S. Private-Sector Employment Increased by 162,000 Jobs in September, According to ADP National Employment Report

Bold for emphasis.

This leads me to believe that the Friday BLS report will be +175K jobs and U3 of 7.9%

The potential fall in U3 may be due to distorting seasonal adjustments. See the historical data below:

 JunJulAugSepOct
2011849685202112
20124514196TBDTBD

Note the huge jump to 202K in Sept. '11. If history repeats itself, Pres. Obama will cruise to reelection.

There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!


Surprise! (2.00 / 5)
Is is October yet?:


When President Obama signed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, in July 2010, the official Iranian rial-U.S. dollar exchange rate was very close to the black-market rate. But ... the official and black-market rates have increasingly diverged since July 2010. This decline began to accelerate last month, when Iranians witnessed a dramatic 9.65% drop in the value of the rial, over the course of a single weekend (8-10 September 2012). The free-fall has continued since then. On 2 October 2012, the black-market exchange rate reached 35,000 IRR/USD - a rate which reflects a 65% decline in the rial, relative to the U.S. dollar.

Steve H Hanke - Hyperinflation Has Arrived In Iran Cato@Liberty 3 Oct 12

Wondering if Romney gets a revised set of talking points for the debate?  Doubtful.


Okay, so what's that mean? (2.00 / 3)


"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Iranian Currency... (2.00 / 4)
Has devalued to the point that merchants are increasingly unwilling to trade their goods for paper money and those with no access to foreign currency have no guarantee that they will be able to purchase basic commodities in a rapidly approaching future.  There were widespread reports of at least one significant street demonstration in Tehran today.

It may be a ploy to undermine Ahmadinejad in the short term but it is increasingly clear that the central bank and Iran's domestic administration is incapable of responding effectively.  While perhaps not the direct impact intended it appears that the sanctions have bitten hard and are holding on; hyperinflation is very hard to deal with at best of times.


[ Parent ]
I guess my concern, now that I have a minimal understanding, (2.00 / 4)
is how this affects the Iranians versus the government.  Because we know it is always the people who suffer the most.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
They're Basically Screwed (2.00 / 3)
Between empty shelves on the one hand and the Basij on the other.  There are some mitigating factors; Iran's oil revenue largely comes in USD$ so the government has some insulation against the devaluation but the average consumer is going to soon be contemplating the collapse of their prosperity.

Iran will likely be preoccupied with an increasingly dysfunctional consumer economy and it may deteriorate very, very quickly.


[ Parent ]
Golly (2.00 / 2)
Does that mean the attack on the nukes won't be necessary after all?  Gee, and I was SO looking forward to a third regional conflict to pour our blood and treasure into!

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
You, the Tea Party and the Lunatic Fringe that cater to them. (2.00 / 2)
Walk softly and carry a big stick. Someone smart once said that.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
I'm traveling during the debate (2.00 / 3)
Someone type the highlights!

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

Should We... (2.00 / 3)
Open a new thread for live blogging?

[ Parent ]
yes, please (2.00 / 2)


"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Please do (2.00 / 1)
I can't stomach Romney for long enough to actually watch the damned thing: I'll be relying on liveblogs to let me know what's happening.  I'll be checking out Wonkette for the giggles and snorts, but youse guys will give me substance, should you choose to accept this assignment.

I realized I couldn't take these debates any more back in 2008, while watching the Biden/Palin farce, when I noticed that I was literally (yes, actually) baring my teeth in a snarl every time Snowflake Snooki opened her yap.

I don't want to go there again.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.


[ Parent ]
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