Scoring the Debate

I really don’t know how to score it. I kind of feel like I just spent the last hour and a half on several hits of acid, sniffing dirty socks I had dipped into hospital ether, stoned to the bejeezus on kine bud, doing foil hits of opium while drinking a quart of vodka and watching Beetlejuice in slow motion while naked rolling in body paint as the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin” played on repeat at earbleeding volumes and every time someone in the room tried to talk to someone else, they just pointed at someone, did a hit of amyl nitrate, and giggled uncontrollably. Also too, rainbows. Go ask Alice. I hear she’s ten feet tall.

If ever there was an example of a post-truth debate, this was it. Mitt Romney claimed he isn’t actually proposing five trillion in tax cuts and two trillion in increased defense spending. Except, you know, he’s spent the last two years doing just that\:

Earlier this month, a nonpartisan group of tax experts took matters into their own hands and tried to analyze the tax plan. What would happen, they asked, if you actually made all the cuts he has proposed? That would mean extending the Bush cuts, reducing income-tax rates by an additional 20 percent, and ending capital gains taxes for the middle class, the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax and the various taxes in health care reform, including the Medicare tax increase on high incomes. The experts at the Tax Policy Center estimated that this would cost $456 billion a year, starting in 2015.

Romney claims he doesn’t want to repeal Dodd Frank and loves regulations. Except, you know, when he says otherwise:

Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal and replace Obama’s Wall Street reform law. But many vocal opponents of Dodd-Frank believe that’s highly unlikely — and suggest that incremental reforms to the law are the most they’d expect to happen, even in a Republican controlled Washington.

Romney claims he doesn’t want to spend 2 trillion more on the military, above and beyond what the Pentagon has requested. Except when he does:

President Obama and Mitt Romney have a big disagreement over defense spending — up to two trillion dollars’ worth.

Obama includes defense cuts in the mix for deficit reduction.

Romney, by contrast, would be the bigger spender. He rules out any cuts to military spending as an option to curb the country’s growing debt. “I don’t think you cut [the] military for purposes of balancing a budget,” Romney said Wednesday.

Today, close to 16% of the federal budget is spent on the Department of Defense’s base budget. Add in war funding and military spending accounts for closer to 20%.

The United States is by far the biggest spender on defense — accounting for 41% of worldwide military expenditures in 2011, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Indeed, last year Americans spent more than all the other countries in the top 10 list combined, including five times more than China, the No. 2 spender

Romney claims he wants to keep parts of Obamacare that are “good,” except when he doesn’t:

“Well of course I’m going to repeal Obamacare,” Romney told the conservative radio host on Monday. “I’ve said that on the campaign trail, I think, every single day. Obamacare must be repealed –- in its entirety. It’s bad policy, it’s bad law, and frankly, a $2 trillion entitlement we don’t want and we certainly can’t afford. I have my own health care plan, and it does not require Obamacare to make our health care system work better. Obamacare is a disaster in my opinion, and has to be repealed entirely.”

It’s all just so crazy for me. It’s like watching the most post-truth debate ever, and people I know and live with are calling at me screaming at me, even though they have no clue what is actually going on. Just weird. It reminds me of when I was playing Wolfenstein in 1981 on an Apple and I would open crates of surrealist art and wonder “WTF IS THAT?” Also too, AUF SCHWEIZ!

So I don’t know how to score it. On aggressiveness and overall smirks, Romney won, I guess. Obama seemed too passive or unwilling to call a liar a liar, and needs to be much more aggressive. What impact will it have on the race? My guess is Romney’s negatives will drop again and the race won’t really change much.

How about some Dead, since we are in a psychedelic mood. Here is the amazing Grateful Dead art piece I commissioned from commenter Spatula:

Click to embiggen.

And yes, I know most of you hate him as a commenter, and in all honesty, I hate him a lot of the time, too, and it is reciprocated with his disgust for me, but hot damn does he have mad skills. We spent the better part of a year talking through what I wanted, working with each other, bringing out the best in his creative talent, and I have to say this is a fucking masterpiece. We spent days talking about what I envisioned, what I thought would look best, how I wanted the lyrics to be such an integral part of the piece, how the members should really look, etc. I think I really challenged him and he came up with one of his best works ever. We spent hours talking about the right look, how he could tweak it and make it better, how he could make it more inline with my vision. I’ve never worked with an artist more willing to work with a buyer and make a mutual vision happen. If you want a masterpiece, pay this guy. He has skills. BTW- all the scribbly looking stuff around the heads are lyrics I chose from songs that mean something to me that he wrote in by hand for effect. This will be in my living room until the day I die. Or fuck up and get married.

At any rate, I’m listening to this:

I need to decompress, or maybe talk to this guy:

Night, haters!

320 replies
  1. 1
    khead says:

    I kind of feel like I just spent the last hour and a half on several hits of acid, sniffing dirty socks I had dipped into hospital ether, stoned to the bejeezus on kine bud, doing foil hits of opium while drinking a quart of vodka and watching Beetlejuice in slow motion while naked rolling in body paint as the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin” played on repeat at earbleeding volumes and every time someone in the room tried to talk to someone else, they just pointed at someone, did a hit of amyl nitrate, and giggled uncontrollably

    I wish.

    I say that while knowing how bad my head would hurt tomorrow.

  2. 2
    JPL says:

    All I can say is Thank You. What I expected of Obama is just turn over his minutes and say how are you going to do this?

  3. 3
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Well I guess Mitt done come out ranting like was hopeing for. Wow.

  4. 4
    Capt. Seaweed says:

    The brown acid isn’t particularly too good…

  5. 5
    Lit3Bolt says:

    Also, Shorter Andrew Sullivan debate live-blog:

    SHRIEEEEEEEEK!!! Mitt is dominating with his alpha maleness…and it’s REAGANESQUE AND I LIKE IT. SHRIEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    Did you refuse to give the regular hamsters pensions and they’re on lockout? The replacement hamsters suck at keeping the blog servers going.

  7. 7
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    Seriously. The group I ended up watching with (not actually together, more an online collective thing) found Romney to be bullying, evasive, and generally twerpish. Obama was languid, but for me it came off more like a professor than a politician, which I didn’t mind.

    We were all shocked when it seemed like everyone and their mother basically had to pull themselves back from declaring the election for Romney based off this debate, like Romney flat out leveled the amateur ni-CLANG! or something.

  8. 8
    GregB says:

    GOP High Command:

    Post election diktat # 1: All previous claims about poll bias are now inoperative. Polls are now a very important gauge of public sentiment.

    As you were.

  9. 9

    Yeah, my experience was sort of like that, John. But I did it on Jameson’s.

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    The most insulting thing Romney said is school choice.. let the parents decide which christ like school they want and my tax money will pay for it. fuck..

  11. 11
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Lit3Bolt: Did he do that with McCain all of 2008?

  12. 12
    randalms says:

    A day may come, when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of Fellowship, but it is not this day! An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down, and BIG BIRD has been killed, But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you, Bert, Ernie, Grover, men of the West, stand and SAVE BIG BIRD!

  13. 13
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I kind of feel like I just spent the last hour and a half on several hits of acid, sniffing dirty socks I had dipped into hospital ether, stoned to the bejeezus on kine bud, doing foil hits of opium while drinking a quart of vodka and watching Beetlejuice in slow motion while naked rolling in body paint as the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin” played on repeat at earbleeding volumes and every time someone in the room tried to talk to someone else, they just pointed at someone, did a hit of amyl nitrate, and giggled uncontrollably. Also too, rainbows. Go ask Alice. I hear she’s ten feet tall.

    Remember, the bathtub is not your safe place.

  14. 14
    burnspbesq says:

    Round one to Romney. OK. Obama’s competitiveness will now kick in.

  15. 15
    suzanne says:

    The most memorable line tonight was “I LIKE BIG BIRD”.

    THAT was the best zinger he could come up with, since AUGUST?

    Good. Lord.

  16. 16
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    I’m still processing it all. All I know that is if everyone in A merica watched this on CSPAN, and paid attention to the split screens, this election is over. Romney does the honorable thing and concedes. But I know that everyone in America did not watch it that way. I don’t know what the rest of you saw. But I saw a profoundly dysfunctional human being on that left screen looking like … well, a short-circuiting robot. I don’t say that to play into a meme. It’s just what it looked like.

  17. 17
    Dave says:

    Romney didn’t suck. His problem, though, is that economics are the easiest debate topic to fudge on. You can get into the weeds easily, the numbers get high enough to seem unreal. You can lie and sound credible. This would be the debate to have last, to leave the best impression before voting.

    You can’t fudge bombing Iran or denying women health care. And he will get hammered on those issues.

  18. 18
    RinaX says:

    *Shrug* It doesn’t end at tonight. It’s not like in the past where the lies would just sit in a vacuum until the next debate. President Obama felt it was more important to defend his record and lay out specifics, whereas Romney simply repeated lies again and again and again, even after he got fact-checked on them. I thought Romney came off as a frantic asshole, and nothing he says will stand up over the next few days.

  19. 19
    Birthmarker says:

    It reminds me of when I was playing Wolfenstein in 1981 on Apple’s and I would open crates of surrealist art and wonder “WTF IS THAT?”

    I have no idea what this sentence means.

  20. 20
    Cacti says:

    Romney won on style (i.e. was more aggressive), but what does he gain from it?

    I don’t see that he said much of anything to change anyone’s mind on whether he’s trustworthy, or isn’t in the tank for the rich.

  21. 21
    MikeJ says:

    was playing Wolfenstein in 1981 on Apple’s

    On Apple’s what?

    Dammit man, with what I pay I expect grammar!

  22. 22
    Juju says:

    I thought the President did a great job. He came off as honest, calm and well informed. Mitt was like that well oiled weathervane I’ve heard about, he also seemed peevish to me, but that’s probably just me.

  23. 23
    Svensker says:

    Was it Mark Shields who said Romney was offering everyone endless chocolate sundaes with no weight gain?

    But Obama needs to not sound so tired. It’s one thing to sound calm, but you need to sound confident, which I didn’t think he did.

    Ugh.

  24. 24
    Watership says:

    All of those are salient points, and the President made not a one of them. Just unfathomable. How many times did he let the $761 billion medicare cuts whiz past him, right over the plate? What in the world was going on?

    Romney (on the ACA): Expensive things are bad for families.

    President Obama (woulda, coulda, shoulda): You know what’s expensive for families? Broken legs. Cancer. Health care coverage is offered by just 58% of employers today. That’s down from 82% just 30 years ago. Insurance is harder to get and most Americans are getting priced out of the market. So we did something. Not unlike what you once did in Massachusetts, Governor. But now you want to take that away. Those people on the trail you mentioned? The ones that said they couldn’t afford health insurance? What would you have them do? What will you tell them?

  25. 25
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    I’ll be the contrarian. I think Romney won the battle and lost the war (all tactics and no strategy makes Mitt a dull boy). Below is what I wrote at the end of the previous thread, in response to this astute observation from Just Some Fuckhead:

    On the bright side, we’ve turned a real corner when trying to paint your opponent as an irresponsible tax cutter is a good attack and the Republican runs madly away from appearing to want to cut taxes.

    Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

    Look folks, stop griding your noses against the trees and look at the forest. The big story out of tonights debate is that Obama wasn’t able to land punches against Romney because Romney came out and presented himself as the liberal governor of Massachusetts, repeatedly and with emphasis. He didn’t just shake the etch-a-sketch, he threw that sucker into the chipper-shredder.

    He stated emphatically that he WILL NOT lower taxes on the rich. He stated emphatically that Wall St. needs govt regulation. He pledged to strengthen Social Security (with no mention of privitization at all). He stated that he would repeal Obamacare and then replace it with: Romneycare, from his days in MA. All of this is a big fat liberal cake with just a thin layer of frosting in the form of warmed over Reagan bromides and nostrums.

    If I was a Tea Party person, right now I’d either be having the mother of all conniption fits that Romeny is the RINO they’ve always feared, or else I’d be assuming that he was lying his ass off because the only way to get elected is to pretend to be a Democrat-lite. Wait till that last part sinks in, and then over the next few weeks Romney is going to have to explain how it is that he just threw 90% of what he’s campaigned on up to this point, and 90% of what the Republican base wants, craves and demands, under the bus.

    This is what it looks like when the Overton Window moves, and moves in a big lurch all at once. This is what you’ve been asking for.

  26. 26
    Davis X. Machina says:

    LA Times website, front page, three minutes ago:

    FACT CHECK:
    Romney repeats false healthcare claims | 7:50 p.m.
    Nonpartisan report challenges Romney tax claims | 7:47 p.m.
    Romney overstates number of jobless Americans | 7:37 p.m.
    Obamacare hasn’t yet reduced costs | 7:21 p.m.
    Romney’s charge on Medicare misleading | 7:11 p.m.

  27. 27
    weaselone says:

    From what I’ve seen of the after debate fact checking, nobody but the already informed is going to realize that Romney lied his way through the entire thing.

    ABC debunked Obama’s $5 trillion tax cut claim as false (even though it’s actually true) because of the unspecified loopholes Romney was going to close.

  28. 28
    Foggy F Follansbye says:

    Wayne Coyne and the Lips are playing Dark Side on Palladia so this night is a win for me.

  29. 29
    khead says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    It’s a fucking buzz – not a tornado.

  30. 30
    jwb says:

    So is Cole trying to tell us that he dropped acid on the blog and that’s why it blew up?

  31. 31
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I scored it a tie and tie goes to the runner/offense. That was Romney tonight.

  32. 32
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @randalms: My man. Thank you for this.

  33. 33
    YellowJournalism says:

    Don’t forget the parts where he called the President “bro” and basically called the POTUS a liar a few times after lying about his (Romney’s) own positions.

  34. 34
    mai naem says:

    I think Obama was pretty bad. Not sure what was going on. Was he distracted about some foreign policy deal that was going on? Was it the wedding anniversary bit? Was he totally shocked that Mitt was a lying SOS and didn’t know how to deal with it? Was he overconfident and expecting the Mittster to be a moron? Did Chris Van Hollen do a crappy job prepping the prez? And BTW WTF was Van Hollen being Mitt’s replacement? He’s not even from Mass. Why wasn’t it somebody who dealt with Mitt in Mass. Why not Barney Frank?
    Oh, and Lehrer was godawful. Mitt probably just cost him his every four year moderator gig. Also Mitt Romney has the most punchable face evah. Except maybe for Rudy Giuliani and Paul Ryan.

  35. 35
    Hawes says:

    Debates are rarely won or lost on the night they take place. I thought Gore cleaned Bush’s clock.

    Obama’s only debate strategy that makes sense was he just kept feeding Mitt rope. Make his say more and more things that are flatly contradicted by what he has said earlier.

    They better have a ten minute video up by morning off all the inconsistencies. That’s how you win a debate.

  36. 36
    patroclus says:

    I watched it with a group of high-info Obots and all of us were well aware of Romney’s constant lies and bizarre magical shifts of position in virtually every answer. And it was depressing in that he was allowed to get away with consistently. But we also all thought Obama won hands down; especially on substance but also on style.

    Having said that, the media is spinning a clear Romney win, which is the narrative that I expect them to run with to keep the horserace alive. This is VERY depressing because it’s effect will be to strengthen Romney and thus his downballot Republicans. I have no faith whatsoever that fact checkers will be able to turn this, so I’m expecting a Romney comeback storyline until the next Presidential debate.

    We were watching NBC and Gregory and Todd were in the tank for Romney immediately and without let-up. ALL of us got really pissed at this and the TV went off quickly and we left; all having been convinced that Obama won, looked Presidential and knowledgeable, but that the media was spinning it the other way.

  37. 37
    Mike in NC says:

    Except for Chuck Todd and the other Villagers, these debates count for shit.

  38. 38
    Cassidy says:

    I didn’t get to watch them. I was at school.

  39. 39
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I didn’t watch because of a combination of trying to get my finicky cat to eat and watching a furious finish in my fantasy baseball league. Sounds like that was a smart choice. I really don’t like the “alpha male” style of debate analysis, but I recognize that it’s bound to happen.

  40. 40
    kc says:

    Romney sure blinked, smirked, and lied a lot.

    Also, David Brooks, Gwen Ifill, Mark Shields, and those other two dingbats can all kiss my ass. I can’t believe they get paid to sit there and blather that drivel.

  41. 41
    karen says:

    I got the feeling that Obama’s strategy was to hit him some but mostly let Romney run his mouth and look like an idiot….only I think it backfired. The only way Obama can save himself is if he takes the Romney from the debate and compares it to the Romney on the campaign stump and the ad says, “Which Romney will you get as President?”

  42. 42
    Old Dan and Little Ann says:

    Does Balloon Juice now support the horse race? Fuck Romney’s performance tonight. He avoided specifics all night and looked like the sniveling douche he always is. President Obama laid it all out there as clear as a bell. I don’t feel like I watched the same 90 minute debate as most including MSNBC. Fuckers.

  43. 43
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Svensker:

    Was it Mark Shields who said Romney was offering everyone endless chocolate sundaes with no weight gain?

    So Willard really is the new Reagan? Somebody on the Time blog, which I followed for a Village perspective, was saying “all dessert, no spinach”, while Obama was talking about fiber and nutrients.

  44. 44
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Yes, Romeny’s a liberal now? lol

  45. 45
    smith says:

    @karen:

    Hopefully Obama is saving that for the next debate.

  46. 46
    Waynski says:

    I thought it was a tie. I’m not lighting my hair on fire just yet. Romney did well. The Preznit left a lot of hanging curveballs over the plate he could have killed, but there’s a lot of baseball left.

  47. 47
    Hawes says:

    The snap polls show a good result for Romney. He won the debate. Obama has to win the after-debate. He has to pummel the falsehoods and inconsistencies.

    That and have a cup of coffee before the next debate.

  48. 48
    YellowJournalism says:

    “But Obama needs to not sound so tired.”

    It’s all that anniversary sex they were having today, I bet.

    Tweety looks like Lloyd Bridges towards the end of Airplane.

  49. 49
    NR says:

    Obama agrees with Romney on Social Security. Looks like the 99% got thrown under the bus.

  50. 50
    Steve says:

    Romney must realize there are quite a few people out there who are tuning in for the first time, because he basically renounced half his agenda and turned himself into a liberal out of nowhere. I half expected him to say he wants to repeal Obamacare so he can pass single-payer.

    I’m sure some people are fooled, but I don’t see how this changes anything in the big picture.

  51. 51
    Suffern ACE says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Well no wonder the President was bored. Romney adopted his positions. What was he supposed to do? Take Romney’s? Fire back that all those were bad ideas?

  52. 52
    PeakVT says:

    Did anyone here just watch the debate, without sound? If you did, what was your take?

    I listened to parts of it, before I had to turn it off. Aside from the lies, what I noticed was that Romney talked over and interrupted Lehrer a lot, and Obama, too. It sounded rude. His intro was a wee bit over-wrought sounding. So I think Romney did worse than Obama on that regard. Of course, I’m am completely and utterly biased, so what really happened could be entirely different.

  53. 53
    HOYA says:

    I’ll be honest, I didnt watch. I’ll be interested to see what the ratings numbers were. I’ll go out on a limb and say they dont match 2008.

  54. 54
    patroclus says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: I agree. Romney, in the debate, was the liberal Republican governor of Massachusetts; even though he’s spent the last 18 months in the campaign as the severe conservative. For low info voters, this was probably an impressive performance, but for those who are aware of his positions for the primaries and up til now in the general election campaign, it was a “win the battle but lose the war” moment that will create all sorts of opportunities in the later debates and for the next month.

    Debating a serial liar is always difficult; Obama did well, but he missed some opportunities and that was disappointing. Nonetheless, I have to hope that the American people are smart enough not to be conned.

  55. 55
    Juju says:

    @Old Dan and Little Ann: What you said. I was shocked by what Ed was saying. I thought the President won on substance. He seemed calm and presidential. Romney seemed all worked up.

  56. 56
    Suffern ACE says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Well no wonder the President was bored. Romney adopted his positiHons. What was he supposed to do? Take Romney’s? Fire back that all those were bad ideas?

  57. 57

    Well, we will see the results by next Monday, no?

    I didn’t see it, but I managed to catch a few minutes of Tweety & Ed Schultz melting down on MSNBC. I can’t watch those people going into hysterics as if the outcome of the election will have any impact on their lives.

    I take it there were no ‘gaffes’ or memorable lines because I haven’t read or heard any.

    It seems as though Romney was aggressive and pushy and Obama was not. Does that make Romney the winner?

  58. 58
    Peter says:

    Honestly I don’t think either candidate really ‘won’ tonight. Romney definitely dominated the format, and Obama had a shaky start, but I also think Romney’s performance within the time he spoke was kinda bad, actually. Yes, he clearly threw Obama for a loop by out-and-out and repeatedly lying about his tax plan, but his demeanour, body language, and general assholery (both towards Obama and to the moderator, who was honestly useless) made him look…bad. Even when he spoke about people he’d met with and talked to during the campaign, the hurried way he just whipped through them made it look really artificial and perfunctory. Used Car Salesman-esque.

    I think the incredibly blatant lying about his tax plan is going to bite him in the ass, though. It gives a really strong hook for post-mortem coverage of the debate – “Romney lies repeatedly about tax plan!” it’s not like that’s a wonkish number he lied about, it’s incredibly easy to look up.

    Also he openly admitted that his deficit reduction plan would put Big Bird out to pasture. Totally unprompted too, a complete own goal. There’s absolutely no way that that’s a winner.

    So not the strong Obama knockout that I think we were all hoping for, but I don’t think Romney won it either. I’m calling it a draw. The pundits are proclaiming a Mittens victory, but they always do that towards whoever the more aggressive participant in a debate is. They tried to do that shit with McCain, too.

  59. 59
    MikeJ says:

    Had Romney eaten a kitten on stage tonight Republicans would be talking about how bold he is, how he refuses to cater to the liberal feline media.

    Democrats would be complaining that Obama didn’t eat a mountain lion.

  60. 60
    John PM says:

    My wife, who is not into politics at all, thought that Romney was an insufferable jerk. She also thought that Obama was continually offering new information while Romney just kept repeating the same crap. She has a much better feel for people than I do, so I take her thoughts seriously. I think Obama did well and trapped Romney in many contradictions. I think that Obama is going to have some devestating ads between now and the next debate.

  61. 61
    smith says:

    @James E. Powell:

    To several members of the media? Yes. They are lapping up Romney’s bullshit becausey they want a ”horse race.”

  62. 62
    Kadzimiel says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    A tie goes to the side that holds the stronger position. That’s Obama, unless the polls have been lying to us for months.

  63. 63
    👽 Martin says:

    So, I sense a strong correlation between those that slam the media for their superficial horse race analyses and grading expectations on a curve tonight pissed off because Obama looked tired and Romney didn’t do as poorly as expected.

    Out, chill the fuck of it.

  64. 64
    CommishTheFirst says:

    “You’re entitled to a plane and a house?”
    Was I the only one who heard that as a dog whistle?

  65. 65
    Enhanced Voting techniques says:

    and now the Romney camp is really walking Romney care back

    ROLF

  66. 66
    Juju says:

    @James E. Powell: Apparently so.

  67. 67
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @weaselone:

    nobody but the already informed is going to realize that Romney lied his way through the entire thing.

    Apart from the people who watch the 30-second ads that pull out every Mittens falsehood over the next two weeks.

  68. 68
    Ben Franklin says:

    Romney isn’t the issue. The Media isn’t the issue. Obama’s preppers aren’t the issue.

    I don’t know what distracted him tonight. Maybe it was the Syrian/Turkey border clash.

    I dunno. I just know he’s got to stop being the amiable black man. I know it goes against his nature. Voters don’t like weakness. They like it less than an angry black man. He has to take it to the Man, Romney. I think he can do it. He better.

  69. 69
    Capt. Seaweed says:

    I think Mitt was all hepped up on goof balls tonight. Jesus, I haven’t seen crazy eyes like that since I last saw Michelle Bachmann.

  70. 70
    Fuck ALL the chickens! (né Studly Pantload, t.e.u.u.) says:

    Why do I get the feeling that the team that advised Obama on tonight’s performance is also the tech team behind WordPress?

  71. 71
    jwb says:

    @Hawes: Nate Silver noted on Twitter that Obama left few dangling sound bites for Romney’s team to jump on. Romney, by contrast, left dozens. Feeding rope may well have been the strategy here. If the campaign develops a couple of good ads out of this material in the next few days, I think it would be fair to say that this was the strategy: make no mistakes; sucker Mitt into making as many statements contrary to previous positions as possible. Hell, given that Mitt in many instances decided to run to Obama’s left tonight, he might even think of putting a sly ad together to run on Fox News.

  72. 72
    Some Guy says:

    Yes and no, John. Yes on the post-truth part . There is no other way to put it, Romnwy lied like a rug. He tripled down on low down. And Obama decided not to make a point if that and it is depressing. It is not asking too much to have Obama corner Romney on obvious lies. It makes me think worse of him for not doing so. It was more than full time to debate all the lies, I grant. He could confront the big ones and he didn’t. That was just a mistake and a very sad one. Romney made up shit every minute he spoke and Obama did not make that a part of his response. Wrong choice, flat out. I want a fighter. Get in the ring damn it. Romney is poison for this country. Act like it.

  73. 73
    John Cole says:

    I’m just pissed off no one really appreciated my opening paragraph or the songs I chose at the end of the post.

    You people suck.

  74. 74
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @MikeJ: “How hard is it? Just pull out the fucking mountain lion and bite the fucker! Aaarrhghghgh this sucks I’m so mad.”

  75. 75

    @PeakVT: I found this an interesting comment from someone I know casually:

    I was talking to a guy from Massachusetts and asked how they all felt about Romney and he said “either you don’t like him or you hate him”.

    I wonder if that is the way he came across visually in this; he seemed quite obnoxious to me, but I’m biased. With the sound off he looked like a smarmy bully – just like he does with the sound on, only quieter.

  76. 76
    Mayur says:

    @Old Dan and Little Ann: Uh, no. The issue isn’t the horse race. The issue is that this shouldn’t have been vaguely evenly matched, and instead Obama let Romney take control of the evening and run it around in every which direction he decided.

    Romney in favor of a stronger version of Dodd-Frank? Romney as a supporter of education regimes similar to those that made MA the standard-bearer it is? Obama as the shredder of Medicare? Romney and Obama as equal on goals for Social Security? This is all stuff that PBO just let Romney pitch right over the plate without a single response. More to the point, PBO didn’t whack Romney on a SINGLE THING on which he’s already on the ropes. Nothing on the complete lack of specifics of Romney’s tax plan, the disdain for the 47%, nothing.

    I feel like a fucking troll typing this (especially since I did so in multiple blog comments), but it’s the reality and it’s driving me crazy. By any metrics of a debate, Romney just curb-stomped Obama for no conceivable reason.

  77. 77
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @John PM:

    This is the same take me and my friends had as well, which makes me want to punch myself in the face when I see the whole of the press and blogosphere act like Romney was so damn awesome he may as well be gifted the presidency right here and now.

    This is going to be a miserable month or so if people are going to be slobbering this badly over Romney.

  78. 78
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    Yes, Romeny’s a liberal now? lol

    Of course not. But he has to lie about it, that’s the point. The Overton Window moves left when Republicans have to lie about being right wing because they have no other choice. That’s what happened tonight.

    Consider this:

    Regulation is essential. You can’t have a free market work if you don’t have regulation. As a businessperson, I had to have — I need to know the regulations. I needed them there. You couldn’t have people opening up banks in their — in their garage and making loans. I mean, you have to have regulations so that you can have an economy work. Every free economy has good regulation.

    Quick, without looking it up, which candidate said that? Is that a liberal thing to say, or a movement conservative thing to say? Can you imagine Reagan saying that? Hell no. This is how Reaganism dies, not with a bang, but with a pander.

  79. 79
    nastybrutishntall says:

    @Old Dan and Little Ann: I know. O-bamms kinda blew my mind tonight. Mitt was smirky and weird. Obama was lucid and cogent and succinct. I can’t figure out where the debate was that everyone else saw.

  80. 80
    smith says:

    @Enhanced Voting techniques:

    LOL that was quick. This campaign is a comedy of errors.

  81. 81
    beltane says:

    Now the site’s up and running. I feel like I’ve been trapped in a room with hysterical Kossaks and assorted trolls for the past three hours. I am not drinking before a debate ever again.

  82. 82
    Narcissus says:

    Romney basically repudiated everything he’s said. He gave out a lot of ammunition.

    Whether anyone will use it against him is an open question.

  83. 83
    HE Pennypacker, Wealthy Industrialist says:

    Sweet god, Cole, you took a mildly depressing evening and added the mediocrity of the Grateful Dead to the mix. It’s a good thing I’m a naturally cheery person, I won’t lash a cinder block to my neck and throw myself into the bay.

  84. 84
    Hal says:

    Watching the MSNBC crew, including Steve Schmidt, chop Obama up. Ed Schultz and Chris Matthews being their respective selves, Chris Hayes just looks pissed, Rachel Maddow seems her typical thoughtful self, while Sharpton made a great point that Romney is committing himself to positions he can’t support as a Republican.

    Other than that, the typical left wing freak out, complete with a laundry list of things Obama should have said/done/why didn’t he, blah blah blah.

    First debates don’t change a thing, now they do. Polls are biased, now they aren’t. Mitt Romney lied and bullshitted but won because he did it “aggressively.”

    This is great for Romney supporters because they think they have a fighter. Obama will lose the who won the debate polls at least in large part because Dems/Liberals/Progressives say so, because that’s what we do. Dear circular firing squad, where have you been all these weeks?

    Oh and finally, I read Balloon-juice so therefor I’m well informed and unfortunately other Americans are stupid so Obama lost because most Americans just aren’t that smart and won’t understand what I understand.

  85. 85
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @John Cole: The Grateful Dead blow, unless you’re trying to impress a Deadhead chick in the hopes that she’s adventurous. And conversations among Deadheads are more tedious than posts by Freddie de Boer.

  86. 86
    Montysano says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Well done, sir.

  87. 87
    Ben Franklin says:

    @John Cole:

    Oh, the TBogg word salad was nice.

  88. 88
    MikeJ says:

    @John Cole:

    I’m just pissed off no one really appreciated my opening paragraph or the songs I chose at the end of the post.

    I was wondering what happened to the artwork promised in the middle.

    I didn’t comment on the tunes because I’ve sort of gotten past making fun of people because they enjoy different things than I do.

  89. 89
    nastybrutishntall says:

    @John Cole: The opening paragraph was bodacious. And the Dead just don’t do it for me, unless they happen to be playing in the background in the final episode of Freaks & Geeks. Then they are the best band ever.

    Hope that helps, John!

  90. 90
    Kadzimiel says:

    @nastybrutishntall:

    Plus, Andrew Sullivan is ALWAYS WRONG when he analyzes politics. Bless his heart. He’s an extremely useful index for what the low-information contrarian believes, but nothing more.

  91. 91
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Some Guy: Easier said than done. It’s very difficult to nail another debater on an inaccuracy unless you have the right number, and its source, and why your source is better.

    And then you have to not get pulled into an argument on source credibility differences instead of the significance of the difference between your figures that started it all.

    With a full ox-box, and four minutes prep time, it’s still not all that easy to do.

    Otherwise, it’s just dueling assertions, and that’s not where an incumbent wants to go.

  92. 92
    Svensker says:

    @Mayur:

    Nothing on the complete lack of specifics of Romney’s tax plan

    He actually hit him on that, hard, a couple of times.

  93. 93
    👽 Martin says:

    @John Cole: Sorry, I posted a really gushing compliment to both of those things but the submit timed out and it got eated.

  94. 94
    smintheus says:

    @John PM: That was my take-away as well. Romney looked pretty smarmy, and he kept behaving like a jerk. If he scored any points for his aggressiveness, he undercut himself by reinforcing the impression that he’s not the president you want to have to put up with for four years. And running away from every proposal he’s advanced is going to cost him, if not this evening and if not with the beltway pundits, then with some persuadable voters in the next week or two. I think centrist women in particular will be more inclined to reject Mitt.

    Who was supposed to be persuaded by this performance to trust Romney and reject Obama? I’m not sure I can figure out the profile of such a voter.

  95. 95
    Violet says:

    @John Cole: I want to know where the art piece is.

    Here is the amazing Grateful Dead art piece I commissioned from commenter Spatula.

    Where? Did I miss it?

  96. 96
    max says:

    Hrmm. If we were to actually *score* the debate than I would say that if you want a lying douchebag (no longer hyperbole, but a simple, accurate description) than you have got your man in Mitt Romney.

    If you don’t, then Mitt Romney will win no friends. I am pretty sure there is no one left on the planet that trusts the guy.

    Obama could have hit harder but, you know, he’s not a lying douchebag.

    Next debate: Mitt Romney condemns drones as war crime, demands we abandon sanctions on Iran, commence to bombing Russia and resume torturing unsavory people!

    max
    [‘As long as those unsavory people are exactly the right height.’]

  97. 97
    Lit3Bolt says:

    Andrew Sullivan is the God of Political Hacks. He declares the debate for Romney, says Obama lost the election, and now has nothing but Big Bird pictures all over his blog.

    I hope the interns internalize the lesson of ABT.

    ALWAYS.

    BE.

    TROLLING.

  98. 98
    JR says:

    Oh, Romney won tonight. He’ll probably win tomorrow, too. But for the rest of the next two weeks, videos and ads of him saying things in the debate that directly contrast shit he’s said over the past two years will spread like wildfire. There’s just too much film of too much bullshit for there not to be a great “best of” cliptape floating around by tomorrow.

    And John, enjoy some of the good shit, why don’t you:

    http://archive.org/details/gd7.....sbeok.shnf

  99. 99
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @John Cole:

    I’m just pissed off no one really appreciated my opening paragraph or the songs I chose at the end of the post.

    Ah, I liked it. (Though I’m cold to the Dead, afraid to say.)

    Reminded me of one of the best undergrad lectures I went to at college, on Lewis Carroll, which started with the lecturer playing “White Rabbit”, and went on to talk about Victorian concepts of the malleable female body, comparing the “eat me” / “drink me” to corsetry. Fucking fantastic stuff.

  100. 100
    Joel says:

    I think the Mariners won 12-0, which is probably their best run differential in years.

  101. 101
    zattarra says:

    I watched the first hour without looking at any online feedback and thought Romney looked and acted like a dick. Of course knowing that he was lying every time he spoke helped cement that opinion. Then I got curious to see what people were thinking and went over to Sully. My God I was shocked. I knew Romney would win style points with some people but it was manic Sully again. And then it ended and I watched the meltdown of Tweety and Ed Shultz on how bad Obama did.

    What the heck was I watching that they weren’t?

    Going by my Facebook feed I don’t think Romney played so well out in the real world.

  102. 102
    NickM says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Brilliant analysis. I’ll be using some of that at the coffee machine tomorrow.

  103. 103
    Enhanced Voting techniques says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Of course not. But he has to lie about it, that’s the point. The Overton Window moves left when Republicans have to lie about being right wing because they have no other choice. That’s what happened tonight.

    Oh I wasn’t mocking your statement, just Romeny trying to be liberal now. And you have a good point. Romney just admitted you can’t be a TRUE Conservative and win as President.

  104. 104
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Indeed, last year Americans spent more than all the other countries in the top 10 list combined, including five times more than China, the No. 2 spender

    Yeah but China makes everything and their money goes ten times further than ours in purchasing it, thus China actually outspends us two-to-one.

    /winger

    I expected that the first debate would end this way. Expectations for Obama were high and low for Thurston and Obama’s team knew that. When speechifying, Obama starts our mild and ends wild. IMO, it’s the same here with the debates but only if Obama has a ‘comeback’ in the second debate, followed by stomping a mudhole in Thurston’s ass in the final debate. Let the ‘light’ of the press shine on Thurston for two weeks and then smack him around enough to piss him off and set the ‘tone’ for the final debate. I think Obama sees these three debates as one event, like boxing.

    I’m not too worried because Joe gets to smack Eddie Munster next week, then Obama gets to open up on Thurston. An aside; I think Obama came across as polite and thoughtful, Thurston came across as pushy and arrogant.

    Lehrer? As often as Thurston wiped his shoes on Lehrer, he was about as useful as a door mat.

  105. 105
    AlladinsLamp says:

    Romney Camp walks back Mitt’s pre-existing conditions pledge.

    “With respect to pre-existing conditions, what Governor Romney has said is for those with continuous coverage, he would continue to make sure that they receive their coverage,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, referring to existing laws which require insurance companies to sell coverage to people who already have insurance, or within 90 days of losing their employer coverage.

    Pressed by TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro, Fehrnstrom said those who currently lack coverage because they have pre-existing conditions would need their states to implement their own laws — like Romney’s own Massachusetts health care law — that ban insurance company from discriminating against sick people.

  106. 106
    Geoduck says:

    Here is the amazing Grateful Dead art piece I commissioned from commenter Spatula.

    I don’t see any art, just the video clips. Am I missing something?

  107. 107
    SatanicPanic says:

    Debates are fucking dumb. Outside of these campaign events debates are not what presidents do. I’ve seen Obama do 2 debates that weren’t campaign events. EVER. And that’s 2 more than I’ve ever seen any other president do. Because debating is not their job. We may as well throw in a poker tournament or home run derby when we’re trying to make a decision.

    Debates are theater. And tonight, they were boring theater. Party conventions at least allow people to understand what the issues are. I’m over debates. And fuck first lady cookie bakes.

  108. 108
    Culture of Truth says:

    The more I think about it, I don’t know what to think. Romney just forcefully lied then entire debate. No zingers or clever lines, a determinedly non-reactive Obama, and an avalanche of reversals and lies by the other guy. Just bizarre. I should go to bed.

  109. 109
    Can't Be Bothered says:

    Suddenly debates don’t matter, and this will all be forgotten and really “on the substance” blah blah blah. Obama shit the bed tonight. He got pummeled. I said this in the other thread but this was the worst performance I remember from the past 24 years. Obama still has the odds in his favor, but if he turns in two more like this, he’ll lose. Most disappointingly, he could have put the election away tonight. He could have won it running away with a good showing. He didn’t and things will tighten enough that there’s almost certainly no chance at the House now. That’s the reality. And equivocations and jokes about it won’t change it. This fucking sucks.

  110. 110
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Mayur:

    Romney in favor of a stronger version of Dodd-Frank? Romney as a supporter of education regimes similar to those that made MA the standard-bearer it is? Obama as the shredder of Medicare? Romney and Obama as equal on goals for Social Security? This is all stuff that PBO just let Romney pitch right over the plate without a single response.

    When the other fellow is busy pushing the Overton Window in your direction, what are you supposed to do other than get out of the way and let him keep pushing? Romney came out against the big banks, effectively running to the left of Obama on financial reform. The appropriate response to that is: yes, we need that, now give me a Democratic Congress so we can make it happen, because look how many times Mr. TeaParty House Rep has voted in favor of the big banks. But you can’t make that case in 2 mins, and the real action on this issue is down at the level of the House and Senate races. In trying to land punches on Obama, Romney effectively buried his own party’s Congressional position, but it will take days and weeks to finish baking that cake and serving it up.

  111. 111
    Suffern ACE says:

    Oh and we have a triple crown winner. There’s something I thought I’d never see.

  112. 112
    bfr says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    one sucka dead, LA Times, front page

  113. 113
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @zattarra: Matthews and Schultz are big into Manly Man analysis. For that matter, so is Bear Sully. So if Obama doesn’t act like The Man, they’ll recoil. It happened with Matthews and Sullivan all through 2008 too.

  114. 114
    mk3872 says:

    The snap polling that I’ve seen so far is spot-on: Romney won the debate BIG, but Obama was more favorable to women and was seen as more empathetic.

    What you saw tonight out of Romney was just what he is: a frat-boy bully.

    I’m glad Obama didn’t get all Chris Matthews on him.

    Let the cable pundits rip Obama for not acting like he was on an MSNBC evening cable news show.

    Obama was more presidential, and that was the idea.

  115. 115
    👽 Martin says:

    And another point, Obama isn’t trying to win us over, and he’s not trying to close the deal tonight, because he can’t force tomorrow to be Election Day. The group he’s trying to reach is very, very different from us.

  116. 116
    Violet says:

    Speaking of Lehrer, this is kind of funny: https://twitter.com/SilentJimLehrer

  117. 117
    Ih8h8rs says:

    I am a woman, and I think Romney came across as frenetic and sales-ey. He had this aggressive piercing stare at Obama while he was speaking, and kept leaning in, which came across on the split screen like he was a little bullying and desperate. Romney didn’t do himself any favors with women, IMHO. Obama brought up the $716 Medicare savings, and then every time Romney tried to use it as a talking point I felt insulted, like Romney thought I was too dumb to remember what Obama had just explained. Maybe old white guys think he “won,” but he already had that demographic in his corner. Romney needs women and younger people, and he didn’t appeal to either.

  118. 118
    Cacti says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    Lehrer? As often as Thurston wiped his shoes on Lehrer, he was about as useful as a door mat

    I think some Journo tweeted that Lehrer’s performance made de-funding PBS sound like a good idea.

  119. 119
    Some Guy says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Yes but not on key lies that have been publicly debunked like the 716 billion Medicare lie and the tax cuts for the rich lie. So yes on all the small lies, and there was a blizzard of them, but Obsma could frame it through the big ones that people might feel. It is easier said than done but it is doable and I expect as much from Obama. He is capable of such a response, but he didn’t. I want to know why.

  120. 120
    hueyplong says:

    The main complaint seems to be something along the lines of “Obama just stood there and allowed Romney to lie all night long.”

    If that’s so, I’m only worried if Team Obama has run out of TV ad money.

    Now if Romney whacked Obama with stuff that can’t be challenged in ads, I’m willing to consider joining in this apparent panic. But I haven’t read too much along those lines.

  121. 121
    khead says:

    @John Cole:

    I was with you to a point, but I can only endorse a certain amount of drug use before I get fired for it.

    It’s not worth that.

  122. 122
    farmette says:

    Jim Lehrer was awful. Too intimidated by the romney too many times. At one point when he said something like “two minutes” he held up his whole hand.

  123. 123
    sfinny says:

    Can’t believe that you didn’t choose Ripple as the Dead song. Also that I never did LSD or mushrooms as that may have given me a better metaphor or analogy. Never can keep the two straight. The debates are what they are and I have no effect.

  124. 124
    SatanicPanic says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: That was a great point by JSF. I was surprised how much Mitt was trying not to look like a severe conservative.

  125. 125
    John Arbuthnot Fisher says:

    Has everyone forgotten about our <24 hour news cycle? Even if Romney "won," it will be forgotten by virtually all (including my beloved denizens of this blog) in a matter of days, if not hours.

    90% of people have already made up their minds, most of the other 10% don't care about debates, and the rest who do care will have no memory of this debate, especially after Week 5 of the NFL. Priorities people.

  126. 126
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I don’t get why there hasn’t been a better response to the $7XX billion Medicare thing either.

  127. 127
    slightly_peeved says:

    If you’ve ever seen creationist/scientist debates , creationists do really well, because it takes a lot less time to lie than rebut a lie.

    Romney may have won the debate, but he did it by abandoning his entire platform. Now Obama has a month to hammer him on that.

    Also, he said that Big Bird is one of the 47%. Hopefully someone will be repeating that.

  128. 128
    Slaughter says:

    Romney was clearly the aggressor, and Obama sometimes sounded almost as tired as Jim Lehrer. Romney left several openings, but Obama let them slip by. I was shouting at the TV set on those openings and frustrated that Obama did little with them. Dunno if this was a rope-a-dopestrtegy, but we’ll see.

  129. 129
    dead existentialist says:

    @patroclus:

    Nonetheless, I have to hope that the American people are smart enough not to be conned.

    Yuck, yuck! You say this after LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II? And hell, Obama “I’ll close Gitmo.”

    Conned is who the American people, god bless ’em, are.

  130. 130
    jwb says:

    @PeakVT: I only saw about 5 minutes of it and I was too far away from the TV to hear it. I caught most of the debate on radio. Obama looked a bit tired and sluggish; Romney looked active to the point of being frenetic at times and had that dumb smirk on his face. The little dial thing of undecided voters seemed to like both candidates about the same, though it seemed to move more with Romney. With Obama’s statements it moved in slow waves, with Romney’s the movements were much jerkier.

  131. 131
    FoxinSocks says:

    Here’s the thing about Obama: He plays the long game. Romney tonight looked like a bullying jerk. He either outright lied or was reduced to trashing his own policies. The Obama campaign will make him pay for that, they always do.

  132. 132
    Steve says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered: Everything is subjective and we can all have different opinions. But if you think this was worse than Bush’s first debate from 2004, you’re just crazy.

  133. 133
    Obliterati says:

    It’s not enough to flip Ohio, but the President got crushed. Absolutely demolished. I see a lot of people on our side burying their heads in the sand with ‘Mitt looked like a bully/oh Mitt lied so much’ claptrap…you don’t really believe that, do you?

    The Prez took a major beating tonight. Yes, Mittens would have been declared the winrar by the media goons no matter what, but the fact is, he DID win. Decisively. What…you really think substance matters over style? Really?

    I just scraped together 30 bucks to donate to Team Obama. Tonight wasn’t a GAME CHANGE, or whatever the current horse race buzzword is, but it hurt. Dig deep, it’s not over.

    Of course, I hope I’m completely wrong.

  134. 134
    nellcote says:

    per TPM:

    This was CNN’s John Berman’s quick factcheck on the dispute over whether Mitt Romney had anyway to pay for his $5 trillion tax cut for high income earners …

    Now let’s look at the facts here. Mitt Romney does propose across-the-board, 20 percent tax cuts. The nonpartisanTax Policy Center said under that plan, taxes on the wealthiest Americans would be reduced by $5 trillion initially. Romney said he would offset that by closing loopholes and reducing reductions. So if you take him at his word, our verdict that Mitt Romney would cut taxes on the wealthy by $5 trillion, the verdict here is false.

    Romney says he’ll find a unicorn. And if you take him at his word, the verdict is false.

  135. 135
    Liberty60 says:

    @Ih8h8rs:
    Romney cored with old white guys…which includes most TV pundits, who are now crowing about his having won.

  136. 136
    JR says:

    @FlipYrWhig: You mean other than “this dude’s so full of shit he sneezes brown”?

    Yeah, I dunno, either.

  137. 137
    WaynersT says:

    It’s hard to debate Jello

  138. 138
    Bruce S says:

    Romney was hyped up and talking nothing but bullshit. If he’s perceived by the Chuck Todds to have won something tonight, it will disappear within a week or two. He tangled himself up in his usual etch-a-sketch persona. Al Sharpton had the best take on the debate – yes, Obama left a lot to be desired by my spectator’s expectations as a viewer of this particular debate. But this might well be another example of Obama’s skill at the long game and – whether it’s part of a deliberate strategy or just how Obama happens to roll – Romney’s performance (and it WAS an obvious performance) will come back to bite him in the ass and Obama will take him down over the series of debates.

  139. 139
    Violet says:

    My favorite bit of Sully’s debate analysis:

    But I know debating, am good at it,

    No. No, you’re not. When I’ve seen Sullivan on TV, he’s always overly earnest and tries too hard. Colbert always bests him. Sullivan may know about debating, but he’s not that good at it.

  140. 140
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @mk3872: by tomorrow they’ll have turned on Willard, and Plouffe and Axelrod will have sent (hopefully better than sleepy O’Malley) surrogates out to call out the lies, and I’d say in less than three days, there will be an ad up about the lies, and maybe some other bombshell (RELEASE THE KRACKEN TAX RETURNS!… or something).

    We let ourselves get lulled by Willard’s stunning incompetence of the last month, and like the 47% ads, that ain’t goin’ anywhere.

  141. 141
    feebog says:

    I thought Obama was far too passive and far too patient with Romney and his lies. Most especially the lies about his tax plan. I was hoping Obama would come back and say, OK, if the number isn’t 5 trillion, what is it? Frankly, I don’t see this moving the polls much. by the time the results are known, the second debate, which is in just 8 days will be on us.

  142. 142
    GregB says:

    @John Cole:

    Put some bag balm on your chapped ass, have a drink and a microwaved burrito.

    Blog me in the morning.

  143. 143
    Cacti says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    Suddenly debates don’t matter, and this will all be forgotten and really “on the substance” blah blah blah. Obama shit the bed tonight. He got pummeled. I said this in the other thread but this was the worst performance I remember from the past 24 years. Obama still has the odds in his favor, but if he turns in two more like this, he’ll lose. Most disappointingly, he could have put the election away tonight. He could have won it running away with a good showing. He didn’t and things will tighten enough that there’s almost certainly no chance at the House now. That’s the reality. And equivocations and jokes about it won’t change it. This fucking sucks.

    Presidents Mondale and Kerry congratulate future President Romney on his fine first debate showing.

  144. 144
    lethargytartare says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    I dunno. I just know he’s got to stop being the amiable black man. I know it goes against his nature. Voters don’t like weakness. They like it less than an angry black man. He has to take it to the Man, Romney. I think he can do it. He better

    wait a second… I have this strange feeling…

    I dunno. I just know he’s got to stop being the amiable black man. I know it goes against his nature. Voters don’t like weakness. They like it less than an angry black man. He has to take it to the Man, McCain. I think he can do it. He better

    I knew that sounded familiar,

  145. 145
    Steve says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Good question. It’s the same basic lie that won the midterm elections for the Republicans, those stalwart defenders of the Medicare status quo.

    The blog answer is to say that the cuts are in Ryan’s plan too. That’s true but not actually a good answer.

    Maybe the thing to hammer is that the AARP agreed the changes would result in no benefit cuts. I mean, we found a place where the government is spending more money than it had to, we cut the spending just like Mitt Romney said we should, and now he’s freaking out over it. I realize anger isn’t Obama’s thing but any Democrat should be indignant at the suggestion that they would cut Medicare.

  146. 146
    SatanicPanic says:

    @slightly_peeved: That’s true, and creationists have the added advantage of not having to defend an affirmative position.

  147. 147
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    I kind of feel like I just spent the last hour and a half on several hits of acid, sniffing dirty socks I had dipped into hospital ether, stoned to the bejeezus on kine bud, doing foil hits of opium while drinking a quart of vodka and watching Beetlejuice in slow motion while naked rolling in body paint as the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin” played on repeat at earbleeding volumes and every time someone in the room tried to talk to someone else, they just pointed at someone, did a hit of amyl nitrate,

    I knew you were a deadhead, but nothing’s ever made it hit home like this run-on sentence right here. I’m too young to have been one (I coulda toured with Phish, but I like good music), but this oddly makes me feel more at home commenting here than the political nonsense usually does.

    Reminds me of a theory I had – that my recent-ish antisocial behavior and overall grumpiness is related to my partying phase involving more psychedelic drugs than binge drinking. Now I will forever think of John Cole when I think that acid and grumpiness are related.

  148. 148
    Bruce S says:

    @Obliterati:

    Good luck for you, you are mostly wrong.

  149. 149
    jwb says:

    @Kadzimiel: Well executed “bless his heart” before inserting shiv.

  150. 150
    BGinCHI says:

    Obama’s closing statement should have been:

    I’m sorry I was so low energy here tonight but I have been saving up to fuck the stuffing out of my wife on our 20th anniversary.

    [Wink]

    [[starbursts]]

  151. 151
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    BTW, Chris Hayes interview with Giuliani was simply awful. If you wanna know why he’s on Saturday, there’s your reason.

  152. 152
    Bruce S says:

    @FormerSwingVoter:

    “acid and grumpiness are related”

    Obviously, you got the bad acid.

  153. 153
    Mayur says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: I hope that’s the case, but it’s hard to be optimistic. Keep in mind that the Teabaggers ran AGAINST bailouts and (theoretically) FOR Medicare. the Republicans are very good at co-opting left-of-center messaging to their own ends.

    Also, I think the Overton Window is a bunch of nonsense. The notion of some sort of spectrum along which one can move the general viewpoint may apply in the area of civil rights, but I don’t really buy it when it comes to fiscal and social policy positions.

    ETA: I don’t think this makes one iota of difference in the extent (large) of the pounding Romney will get come Super Tuesday. But I found it a disappointing performance.

  154. 154
    nellcote says:

    So next week Biden gets to make Ryan swallow all the bull shit Rmoney spewed tonight. Good times!

  155. 155
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Maybe this will make some feel better. The local Denver new channel asked for one word to describe the debate and they then made a word cloud of it. Guess who won:

    The Winner Is…

    The runners up? Boring and Moderator.

  156. 156
    Radio One says:

    Romney was aggressive and Obama was defensive, which is what you’d expect for a debate involving an incumbent President. I was very impressed with Romney’s preparedness. Romney made some blunders, though. The whole “private health insurance is way better than Medicare” was dumb, and almost cost him the debate. The PBS thing with Romney saying that both his moderator and Big Bird would be out of a job if he’s elected was dumb. But I think overall Romney looked pretty good.

    That said, I’ve seen Chris Matthews have a series of massive anger strokes on TV for a couple of hours now, so I think a lot of this is just piling on in hopes of a horse race.

  157. 157
    Captain C says:

    So, tonight Romney basically said that he didn’t know about any tax deductions for sending jobs overseas. What are the chances that at least one and probably several of Bain’s companies took such deductions while he was (or at least claimed to be on the SEC reports) the CEO, Supreme High Mightiness, Et Al.. What are the chances that he was personally involved?

    And if he didn’t know about (and thus didn’t take) such deductions when he was in charge, wouldn’t he thus be violating his fiduciary duty to his shareholders/investors/debtors?

  158. 158
    Bruce S says:

    @Violet:

    Sullivan is hysterical.

  159. 159
    👽 Martin says:

    @Culture of Truth: There were numerous attempts at zingers but they fell so flat a supertanker of Viagrå couldn’t have made them stand up.

  160. 160
    mk3872 says:

    I’m fairly certain that running a country may have made Obama a slight bit less prepared tonight than former Gov Romney

  161. 161
    Ben Franklin says:

    @lethargytartare:

    I have this strange feeling

    You mean the feeling you might create some original snark?…

    Failing that; try circumspection. You clearly need some instruction on how to take it to the Man.

  162. 162
    BGinCHI says:

    @TaMara (BHF): I noticed that “dodgeball” and “puppets” were two of the answers.

    That seems right.

  163. 163
    pattonbt says:

    From the dying thread below……

    Considering the impacts of debates being minimal and there were no “Youre no John Kennedy” moments, then this will be mostly a “meh” outcome for the electorate as a whole.

    The reason for the despair on the left seems to be POTUS didnt get up in Rmoneys grill and beat him down with his mic (because I sure as would have loved to see that and revelled in it). But I knew that wasnt going to happen no matter how much I wished for it. Obama played it safe. Maybe too safe to “win” the debate. But Rmoney basically moved way over the center and disavowed, again, every position the base covets (and what his own freakin website has on it). Sure, the fact checkers will have fun noting all the lies (yes lies), but big picture, nothing much will move.

    So the media can reignite the “race is back on!” fapping. Barring a Rmoney collapse, they were going to do it anyway. But sounds to me this debate will do little to move the needle in any significant way one way or another.

    Obama has a EC lead that is pretty tough to surmount, and when you all wake up three days from now it will still be there. Just like it always has been after “meh” debates.

    Still, would have been nice if O crushed Rmoney. Oh well.

  164. 164
    Can't Be Bothered says:

    @Cacti:

    Keep whistling past that graveyard. Obama got his ass kicked tonight. He can survive that. But he opened the door. He can’t survive two shitty jobs reports. Or two more ass kickings in the debate. He fucked up big time. His margin for error just took a huge hit. The election just went from comfortable win with control of Congress, to a thin win if he doesn’t fuck up further. And yes, kiss the fucking speaker’s gavel goodbye.

  165. 165
    👽 Martin says:

    @Bruce S: And? When is Sully not hysterical? Does he have his green banners up yet?

  166. 166
  167. 167
    jwb says:

    @Violet: He’s not particularly good at scoring debates either, because he only adjudicates the point at hand, not the cost of taking the point. Romney took a number of very expensive points tonight but Sully only saw the points, not the cost.

  168. 168
  169. 169
    Bruce S says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Yeah, it’s difficult to interview a pathological liar on national television.

    Chris Hayes has the best fucking show on cable and is the most intelligent cable host, by a long shot. Including Rachel, who too often plays it cute and has an entire show that revolves around her addressing the camera, which is not interesting television IMHO.

  170. 170
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Steve: I thought the whole number came about because that was how much it was determined it would cost to reconstruct Medicare if “Obamacare” were to be repealed. And in any event, I’m pretty sure that the Medicare savings baked into Obamacare are simply pumped back into Medicare, making them *savings*, not *cuts*.

    But a good kitchen table example would help. Like if you’re going to one store to buy milk and they’re charging $5 a gallon and you buy one gallon per week for 50 weeks, you’ve spent $250 on milk. If you find another store that charges $4 a gallon, you’ll be out $200 for the same amount of milk, saving $50, which you can then spend on more milk, giving you 12.5 more weeks of milk. And the “Medicare cuts” number seems like it’s like calling that a $50 cut in the milk budget rather than a $50 savings that stretches the milk budget further.

    OK, that’s not exactly zippy, but that’s the idea, roughly, yes?

  171. 171
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered: Bob Kuttner, why are you posting under an alias?

  172. 172
    Captain C says:

    @Captain C: That should be “creditors.” Plus a few.

  173. 173
    WaterGirl says:

    I predict that the Obama ads showing MItt’s lies tonight will be out by morning and that our spirits will improve with the first ads.

  174. 174
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered: Dude, take it easy

  175. 175
    Redleg says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    All this after one debate? You must be straining at the bit to cast your ballot for Mitt “Real Man” Romney.

    You’re pointing out negative things that can hurt Obama’s chances. How about talking about some negative things that can hurt Romney? Romney’s campaign has already been a certifiable cluster-fuck but because he has one “good” night and got away with telling lies and talking shit, now Obama’s going down? Which one are you, Chuck Todd or David Gregory?

  176. 176
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @pattonbt: Romney must be thinking that he can score points with his base on attitude, even while at the same time moving away from them on ideology.

  177. 177
    Bruce S says:

    I’m going to run with Rev. Al’s hypothesis, and suggest that Obama used this debate to tease Mitt out, planning to go in for the kill when it really matters and Willard doesn’t have any time left to try to recover.

  178. 178
    BGinCHI says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered: Jesus, panic much, shakylegs?

    Calm the fuck down.

    Remember when Obama told Hilary to shut the fuck up and make him a sandwich?

    No?

    Exactly.

  179. 179
    WaterGirl says:

    @Bruce S:

    Chris Hayes has the best fucking show on cable and is the most intelligent cable host, by a long shot. Including Rachel

    Completely agree!

  180. 180
    khead says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    I’m whistling. Like Maroon 5 calling Christina.

    Won’t matter. That includes the Speaker’s gavel.

  181. 181
    Kane says:

    It will undoubtedly be reported that Romney did very well during debate. Then on Thursday or Friday, rather than build on his success, Romney will offer a major gaffe or make an incredible blunder that will negate what he accomplished.

    We have seen this movie so many times throughout the campaign it’s only a matter of time of when it happens.

  182. 182
    lethargytartare says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    why do I have to be original when you haven’t had anything knew to say in 4 years?

  183. 183
    mk3872 says:

    @WaterGirl: I couldn’t agree more.

    Saying that Romney won on “style points” means that it can’t last and the Obama team is too smart to let him get away with saying things like “my plan covers pre-existing conditions” or that he doesn’t want to cut taxes for the wealthy.

  184. 184
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @John Cole:

    You’re welcome. :)

  185. 185
    smith says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Convention /Primary Mitt vs Debate Mitt! I can already see the ads.

  186. 186
    suzanne says:

    @TaMara (BHF): I knew it. Big Bird. FUCKIN’ BIG BIRD.

    Maybe we can have Fired Big Bird meet Invisible Obama. They can hang out.

  187. 187
    Cacti says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    Keep whistling past that graveyard. Obama got his ass kicked tonight. He can survive that. But he opened the door. He can’t survive two shitty jobs reports. Or two more ass kickings in the debate. He fucked up big time. His margin for error just took a huge hit. The election just went from comfortable win with control of Congress, to a thin win if he doesn’t fuck up further. And yes, kiss the fucking speaker’s gavel goodbye.

    Sorry. Just not feeling the doom. Should I try harder?

    Do I wet myself before or after I hide under the bed?

  188. 188
    mk3872 says:

    @Kane: Romney already made serious gaffes.

    For pundits to say he didn’t is irresponsible.

    There are many instances of Romney outright lying tonight that will be used in ads by the Obama campaign from today’s debate, including Romney’s ever-shifting tax plans and covering pre-existing conditions.

  189. 189
    BGinCHI says:

    @khead: I hear the liquor talking and I like it.

    BG + most of a bottle of Toscano and the top of a growler.

  190. 190
    Fuck ALL the chickens! (né Studly Pantload, t.e.u.u.) says:

    Anyone here been to RedState, tonight? They are ecstatic. Their guy came out swinging, and it’s revitalized them, at least for the night. Abandoned his pledges to them? Like they give a fuck. He took it to the President with little pushback, and they’re rallying around their newfound pugilist.

    No such energy on the lefty boards, tonight. And Chris Matthews? I think that tingle up his leg turned into neuralgia.

    Yes, the after-team can rush in to show what a fucking farce Romney was on the facts, tonight, but in the world of retail politics, that’s just so much l’esprit d’escalier.

    The fact is, when your opponents lays out his balls for you to stomp on on live TV, you don’t leave them on the table for your staff to get to the morning after. You stomp them under the hot studio lights in front of 40 million pairs of eyes. The undecideds wants to see a fire in the belly as much as they want to see calm and a command of the facts. They want the complete set.

    I’m not rending my clothes unless this happens two more times. I expect Team Chicago realizes the optics tonight leave a bit to be desired, even in the long game.

  191. 191
    Steve says:

    @FlipYrWhig: No one is coming to either of us for advice on talking points, but your basic notion that they need to have a snappy answer to this by now is undeniable.

    I think part of the problem is that Democrats are so incredulous at the Republicans trying to portray themselves as defenders of Medicare that they fail to realize people actually get fooled by this stuff. Or to flip it around, Democrats have built credibility on Medicare over the years, but not so much of it that we can do any old thing we want and no one will ever believe it’s a cut.

  192. 192
    👽 Martin says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Yes. That’s exactly it.

    And most of the ‘cuts’ were agreed to by hospitals, etc in exchange for not having to deal with the uninsured patients that they’re currently losing a ton of money on. Without the mandate, you don’t get the Medicare savings.

    Like I keep telling people, the whole plan was initiated in order to save Meicare.

  193. 193
    farmette says:

    Another thing… why was Obama to the left and off center to Romney? That is how it looked to me. Shouldn’t they be on equal planes, same view to the audience? Or was it a skewed camera angle? If so, what’s up with that?

  194. 194
    Anya says:

    Saying shit like “Mittens was a bully,” is not helpful. Who wants a president that will be bullied by a smarmy CEO? This is not a winable argument.
    I know, call me chicken little.
    But I’m troubled by the president’s performance. By troubled, I mean really worried. Simply because this election is very close and volatile. POTUS needed to bury Romney or at least not to lose ground.
    I was really expecting the president to win and to reduce Romney to a whinny little bitch, I’ll admit.
    Maybe that colors the way I see the results of this debate. But we’ve sustained a real set back, no two ways about it. However, it’s not a mortal wound and as some of you mentioned, Romney is trapped now with his lies. Let’s hope Romney’s lies catch up with him.

  195. 195
    Original Lee says:

    @John Cole: Dude, I personally was so bowled over by the wonderfulness of it all that I have been literally speechless. Sorry that I didn’t grok that you needed that verbalized.

  196. 196
    dead existentialist says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Amongst the hysterics and angst-ridden, you are a cool oasis of thoughtfulness. Kudos.

  197. 197
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Just saw an ad for Gary Johnson on MSNBC. Looked like it was filmed with his cellphone.

  198. 198
    BGinCHI says:

    @suzanne: If Big Bird isn’t tweeting his ass off he deserves to get fired.

    Twitter seems pretty much made for a giant yellow bird.

  199. 199
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @suzanne: It’s not fair because big bird is two words. I also note that the word cluster appears. I think they might be censoring opinion.

  200. 200
    BGinCHI says:

    @Cacti: Dude. After.

  201. 201
    Ben Franklin says:

    @lethargytartare:

    why do I have to be original when you haven’t had anything knew to say in 4 years?

    Heh. You must be a sock-puppet from Tom Maguire’s swamp, cuz I’ve been commenting here for about 1 year.

    I new I smelled something.

  202. 202
    khead says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I don’t even know what the + is at this point….

    …but I ain’t worried.

    So some folks said Obama sucked tonite. BFD.

    Someone call me when Ohio turns red again.

  203. 203
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @Bruce S: I was thinking more long-term effects – I was never grumpy at the time ;)

    Edit: FSV +5

  204. 204
    wasabi gasp says:

    Romney looked like he handed in someone else’s pee.

  205. 205
    jenn says:

    re the debate, as one commenter noted on the last thread, it’s hard to nail jello to the wall. When you’re debating someone who has taken every position on a topic, it can be a little difficult to choose which position you’re going to rebut.

  206. 206
    Can't Be Bothered says:

    @Davis X. Machina: @SatanicPanic: @Redleg:

    now Obama’s going down?

    The election just went from comfortable win with control of Congress, to a thin win

    You people will snark your way in to believing any bullshit fantasy you want. Tonight mattered, you cycnical, scoffing, unrealistic shitheads. And no amount of “clever” banter will change Obama’s performance or its impact on the overall race. I’ve defended him to the death, but I’m just goddamn sick of Obama’s unfailing deference and unwillingness to engage in confrontation.

  207. 207
    KS in MA says:

    @Hal: But Sharpton was right on the money.

  208. 208
    Violet says:

    Favorite new Tweeter:

    Big Bird
    @FiredBigBird
    __
    Just got fired by Mitt Romney

  209. 209
    Enhanced Voting techniques says:

    Question – is a pillow fort appropriate for tonight’s panic?

  210. 210
    jenn says:

    and yes Spatula is annoying, but that is a pretty cool piece of artwork.

  211. 211
    freelancer says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    After several posts harping the same goddamn point, it’s fair to suggest that you are a troll pretending to be a panicking progressive. GBCW! No one thing wins or loses an election all by itself. This wasn’t a slam dunk for either guy. And you should chill out for a day before braining yourself with a mallet if you are posting in good faith.

  212. 212
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Anya: Nothing wrong with keeping it real. It was a lot closer than you imagine and there’s probably no way it could have gone any differently. When one candidate is so brazen and lacking in core principles that he will literally say anything or take any contradictory position on a minute-to-minute basis, and the other candidate only has 30 seconds or 2 minutes to make his own case, much less correct the statements of his opponent, you will get what you got tonight.

    Ultimately, Romney could win every debate and it won’t move things enough to change the outcome. Does it swing the Ohio polls 8 points? Unpossible.

  213. 213
    WaterGirl says:

    @BGinCHI: I don’t do twitter, so if BIg BIrd is tweeting tomorrow, can someone post the link so I can view it on-line?

  214. 214
    BGinCHI says:

    @Enhanced Voting techniques: Build it around a bottle of vodka and use the pillows that don’t catch on fire. And for God’s sake don’t let Sully in. He cries as soon as it becomes a pillow fight.

  215. 215
    Hill Dweller says:

    Charlie Pierce says Obama using the rope-a-dope but without ultimately punching back gave Willard an opening to win the election.

    One thing is for sure, Obama playing the punching bag in this debate will give him all sorts of room to hit back in the next two debates without looking like an angry black man.

    The Obama team is going to have to work very hard over the next week or so to make Willard’s lies the lasting impression of this debate.

  216. 216
    BGinCHI says:

    Serious question: WTF is Romney going to say for 90 minutes during the foreign policy debate??

    “I can see San Ysidro from one of my houses”?

  217. 217
    lethargytartare says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    well, I’ve never heard of Tom Maguire, but if it makes you feel better about spouting inane analysis like “he needs to take it to the Man,” feel free to think of me as whomever you like.

    It won’t change the fact your simplistic comment would have been perfectly at home in October, 2008.

  218. 218
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @dead existentialist:
    [and others with kind words]

    Thanks.
    I remember the 1972 election. Now that was a fucktastrophe. After living thru that one and then later down the road the 1984 election, I know what real Democratic disarray and incompetence looks like. This ain’t it.

  219. 219
    JosieJ says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    Dude, go change your underwear, take a Xanax, and chill.

  220. 220
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    will give him all sorts of room to hit back in the next two debates without looking like an angry black man

    You mean like the guy who pointed his finger at SCOTUS without blinking at the SOTU?

    We need that guy..

  221. 221
    PurpleGirl says:

    @MikeJ: He put the art work on his twitter thing.

  222. 222
    Fuck ALL the chickens! (né Studly Pantload, t.e.u.u.) says:

    @Hal: Rope-a-dope is a game best saved for booming economic times. Which, a’course, these ain’t.

    Wanna appeal to the undecideds? Acknowledge the prosperity ground yet to gain and how how you’ll fight like a mofo on bath salts to return things to the Golden Age of The Big Dawg. Pro tip: This also excites and motivates the base, which has glorious consequences when people are casting their ballots.

    Obama has the fire in the belly, but the Team Chicago strategy tonight was shown wanting. Mind you, I’m still a true believer and still think Obama can get this so I’ll remain chilled the fuck out, but tonight was not a positive turn in momentum.

  223. 223
    WaterGirl says:

    @freelancer: Well, you know, I thought the same thing. So I googled “Can’t Be Bothered says: site:balloon-juice.com”, absolutely certain that there would be no previous posts by this person on BJ.

    I was wrong. First link I saw was from the democratic convention, and he was very excited about the speeches. So my guess is that he is genuinely upset about the debate tonight, but not a troll.

  224. 224
    Enhanced Voting techniques says:

    https://twitter.com/PeterHambyCNN/status/253699026208301058

    silver lining for Obama in post-debate poll: fave/unfave numbers for both candidates mostly unchanged.

    That is what Romney needed to do and he fucked it up. H

    But I guess the Sully crowd needs to crap their pants so carry on.

  225. 225
    lethargytartare says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    but I’m just goddamn sick of Obama’s unfailing deference and unwillingness to engage in confrontation.

    so is John McCain.

  226. 226
    Cacti says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Charlie Pierce says Obama using the rope-a-dope but without ultimately punching back gave Willard an opening to win the election.

    Charlie’s also a bit of an emo-pants. So again, I find myself unmoved.

  227. 227
    Ben Franklin says:

    @lethargytartare:

    It won’t change the fact your simplistic comment would have been perfectly at home in October, 2008.

    Thank you very little. Fuck you very much.

  228. 228
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    its impact on the overall race

    Ask John Kerry about whether a good debate performance is enough to turn an election.

  229. 229
    mk3872 says:

    Romney’s big problems were the gender gap and not being likable.

    Based on the snap polls, he did not help himself in those 2 areas by being overly aggressive.

    He certainly won the all-important pundit vote, though.

  230. 230
    Fuck ALL the chickens! (né Studly Pantload, t.e.u.u.) says:

    @BGinCHI:

    “I can see San Ysidro from one all of my houses”?

    More betterer.

  231. 231
    Ih8h8rs says:

    @Liberty60: Yes, Romney scored big with the old white male pundits, didn’t he? He did nothing for women, period. The only thing Obama needs to win is the election. This idea that Obama got his ass kicked is ridiculous. Obama treated Jim Lehrer with kindness and respect, while Romney talked over Lehrer and ignored him when Lehrer tried to interrupt. Lehrer got treated like one of Romney’s underlings. Romney looked crazy on the split screen, leaning into the middle of the screen, piercing Obama in a laser stare as he talked a million miles an hour. He came across like a salesman, if not an outright con man. All this hand-wringing is silly.

  232. 232
    Ih8h8rs says:

    @Liberty60: Yes, Romney scored big with the old white male pundits, didn’t he? He did nothing for women, period. The only thing Obama needs to win is the election. This idea that Obama got his ass kicked is ridiculous. Obama treated Jim Lehrer with kindness and respect, while Romney talked over Lehrer and ignored him when Lehrer tried to interrupt. Lehrer got treated like one of Romney’s underlings. Romney looked crazy on the split screen, leaning into the middle of the screen, piercing Obama in a laser stare as he talked a million miles an hour. He came across like a salesman, if not an outright con man. All this hand-wringing is silly.

  233. 233
    Cacti says:

    @mk3872:

    Romney’s big problems were the gender gap and not being likable.

    And a yawning gap with Hispanics that now stands at 50 points.

    Not sure how tonight moves that number in his favor.

  234. 234
    Can't Be Bothered says:

    @freelancer:

    Can you read? Can you fucking read? In every post I’ve said that even given tonights performance, Obama still gets a thin win. But, barring some surprise, that comfortable win and flipping the House are gone. If the debates suddenly don’t matter, then why did anyone watch them?

  235. 235
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cacti: I like Charlie, but when it comes to Obama, I see a real generation gap there. Kind of like Digby

  236. 236
    Radio One says:

    Intrade now has Obama down 5 points and Romney up 10 tonight because of the first debate. Did anyone not expect this a week ago?

  237. 237
    suzanne says:

    @BGinCHI: Too late. Fired Big Bird hit Twitter within about five minutes.

    The moment he made that asinine comment, I knew that was the only thing said all night that would stick. And it was about BIG BIRD.

    FAIL.

  238. 238
    BGinCHI says:

    @Fuck ALL the chickens! (né Studly Pantload, t.e.u.u.): Third debate is Yachts: How to keep the help from crowding you.

    Moderated by Judge Smails.

  239. 239
    Bobbo says:

    @Hal:
    I think we on Teh Left freak out because we know what we want BHO to say and when he doesn’t we think it means he’s losing. Whether we’re right to freak out is beyond my skill set.

  240. 240
    Linnaeus says:

    It reminds me of when I was playing Wolfenstein in 1981 on an Apple and I would open crates of surrealist art and wonder “WTF IS THAT?” Also too, AUF SCHWEIZ!

    Pedant time: the guards in Castle Wolfenstein are saying “Ausweis!”, which is your pass or identification. Think of it as “papers, please” without the “please”.

  241. 241
    Gwiwer says:

    I honestly don’t see how anyone could think Romney will benefit from tonight. I mean, think about it. He spent most of the night trying to out-progressive Obama while essentially contradicting about 90% of the positions he’s taken throughout the whole campaign up to this point. Where the hell could he possibly go now from here? He’s stupidly backed himself, pretty much unprovoked, into a corner. If he sticks with these positions for the rest of the campaign, his base is going to rage at him for essentially throwing them under the bus and totally dumping every promise he made to them on all of the issues they care about while taking constant heat from the Obama campaign for completely changing his positions on issues whenever it’s politically expedient for him to do so. If, as I imagine he will, he simply goes back to his normal default positions tomorrow and completely pretends like tonight didn’t happen and he never said all of those things he said, his base will be happy, but the rest of America will think he’s either out of his damn mind or a shameless liar. I mean, no one except the 27% delusional true believers would be willing to give him a pass on taking a complete 180 on many of his key positions during the debate and then just going back to his old positions again the next day like nothing ever happened.

    I don’t know. The whole time I was watching the debate, I just kept thinking, “What the hell is Mitt thinking? He can’t possibly think this is going to work…” and that’s still all I could manage to keep thinking. I believe Al Sharpton said after the debate that Mitt is essentially running a 19th century style campaign where he thinks he could tell each audience whatever he thinks they want to hear and get away with it because no one will be able to know that he keeps changing his positions. That’s pretty much exactly what he’s doing, but it’s quite astounding that he’s desperate enough, or crazy enough, to try it in the modern era when damn near everything a candidate says or does is permanently captured and easily retrievable. You just can’t run a campaign like that with our 24 hour news channels and the internet. So, I really can’t see any way that this will be good for Romney. Maybe in the short term, but he’s pretty much thoroughly screwed himself in the long term.

  242. 242
    Anya says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Maybe after the glow of the win wears off, the righties will realize that the Romney on the debate stage was not the “severely conservative” Romney they’ve been bullying into submission. He’s in favor of a stronger Dodd/Frank, he’s for taxing millionaires, closing tax loopholes. What else am I missing?

    I think I’ll calm down by tomorrow but this hurts.

  243. 243
    Can't Be Bothered says:

    @lethargytartare:

    Because this election is just like 2008 you fucking chucklehead. Jesus christ, does anyone here ever bother with rational thought? Or is it just all spitballs and insular site specific memes all the time?

  244. 244
    Davis X. Machina says:

    …the same snap poll that shows that Romney won the night by a whopping 67-25 also showed that the favorable/unfavorable numbers did not move for either candidate.

    Peter Hamby @ CNN via Blue Mass Group.

  245. 245
    Surly Duff says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:
    Jesus chicken little, the sky is not falling. Maybe instead of taking your cues from David Gregory and Halperin about how this is a while new ballgame, try thinking for yourself.

    Yes, Obama was definitely no stellar and Romney ostensibly “won” the debate tonight, but in the long run he provided enough fodder for ads with his easily debunked lies, and debates have little impact on the overall race. Unless Obama makes a huge mistake in the next month, this one and a half hour event will not swing the current polls to put him behind Romney. But sure, panic now and call everyone delusional shitheads if it helps you sleep tonight.

  246. 246
    dead existentialist says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    I’ve defended him to the death, but I’m just goddamn sick of Obama’s unfailing deference and unwillingness to engage in confrontation.

    Sure you have. And I almost feel one of those two ways, too.

  247. 247
    freelancer says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    Calm. Down.

  248. 248
    cckids says:

    @Captain C: He seemed to be trying to nitpick tax law – there may not be some specific, named deduction for moving businesses overseas, but you know damn well they can deduct the costs involved in the move as they can any other business expenses. I believe that Obama wants the tax code changed to eliminate that, or at least, to give breaks to companies that bring jobs back to the USA.

  249. 249
    Can't Be Bothered says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Ask John Kerry about coming within half a percent in Ohio of winning (after Bush closed with two strong debates).

  250. 250
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Anya:

    Maybe after the glow of the win wears off, the righties will realize that the Romney on the debate stage was not the “severely conservative” Romney they’ve been bullying into submission.

    Righties don’t care. Winning is more important than consistency. They’re a lock with 5 weeks to go and Romney down in the polls. They’d blow Soros Himself for a sweet win.

  251. 251
    khead says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    Buck up little camper.

    It will be ok.

  252. 252
    khead says:

    @Radio One:

    I need to go make some trades.

  253. 253
    Peter says:

    @Anya: Who’s saying that Obama was bullied? Lehrer was the one getting bullied.

  254. 254
    patroclus says:

    I’ve read all the comments here, the GOS (well, maybe not all) and some elsewhere and my basic view remains the same. Overall, on substance particularly, Obama won the debate hands down. But, among alpha males, he lost huge – indeed, so much that they are now despairing and wailing and whining and gnashing teeth etc… He also lost among the punditry, but that’s because they want a horse race and they could very well switch on a dime the next debate.

    Romney now campaigning as a liberal Republican is what clinched it, in my view. The battleground is now on our turf and the Tea Party has been rendered ideologically irrelevant and been changed into mere cheerleaders.

    Despite all that, I still think the debate itself was pretty boring, with lots and lots of wonky stats that will not penetrate much. I suspect viewership was initially high, but fell precipitously as the debate progressed.

  255. 255
    cckids says:

    @Ih8h8rs:

    The only thing Obama needs to win is the election. This idea that Obama got his ass kicked is ridiculous. Obama treated Jim Lehrer with kindness and respect, while Romney talked over Lehrer and ignored him when Lehrer tried to interrupt

    Yep. Also, too, the number that most surprises me is that, according to CNN, Obama spoke for close to 5 minutes longer than Romney did.

  256. 256
    Anya says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    They’d blow Soros Himself for a sweet win.

    :-D

  257. 257
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Peter:

    Who’s saying that Obama was bullied? Lehrer was the one getting bullied.

    That’s actually a really good point. Romney was actually pretty respectful to the President. Someone finally made him understand that people like Obama.

  258. 258
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered: That’s true. Those two debates were the only reason Bush was reelected.

    is it just all spitballs and insular site specific memes all the time?

    Yes, pretty much. If you were looking for hand-wringing there’s always the GOS.

  259. 259
    Donut says:

    @karen:

    Thanks for saying this. It seems like the strategy was as you put it, but Romney overpowered Lehrer and the debate format went into the shitter. At that point, Obama should have adjusted better on the fly, but he didn’t.

    Cest la vie. Does it matter?

    I just don’t see that Romney moved enough of the last few idiotic undecideds into his column. Besides be aggressive, what did he say that is new or hasn’t been said yet (besides contradicting himself all over the place)?

    Also, too, Barack Obama doesn’t make a habit of playing small ball, and this strategy may yet yield net positives for the incumben that will take a day or two to become obvious. They did achieve the goal of letting Romney maniacally spew a bunch of easily debunked lies. He really laid out a lot of obvious bullshit tonight, and some of it will yet haunt him, perhaps. I agree that Obama’s failure was to not hit him back in person, but I don’t think that will happen again. The Obama camp will ramp up.

  260. 260
    jwb says:

    @Ih8h8rs: Well, actually, Obama really also needs to win the House, and a debate performance like this does nothing to help him there. If the campaign can get some good ads out of this, then he can help himself but it really depends on the campaign making something of it. So far the campaign hasn’t missed many chances this election, so I’m willing to trust them here, but I can’t say that I like the strategy they evidently adopted for this debate.

  261. 261
    Mnemosyne says:

    After the debate, I remembered who Romney most reminded me of: Joe Isuzu.

    I know white guys respond well to aggressive, smarmy liars, but I don’t think Romney’s act went over well with a lot of women. Just sayin’.

  262. 262
    Anya says:

    @patroclus:

    Overall, on substance particularly, Obama won the debate hands down. But, among alpha males,

    Not an alpha or male and I thought Romney’s lies won.

  263. 263
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I have long had a feeling that Obama doesn’t like to play the Alpha Male role, and that that’s why “fighting progressive” types always get frustrated by him, going back to all the versions of comments like “there’s only one way to handle a bully: fight back” during various negotiations. I didn’t watch the debate but it seems to me like he did that again, that the pundits who crave that are all in a dither, and that the blogosphere is up in arms for the same reason. Maybe Obama just happens to run a finesse offense, and hopping up and down about how he needs to play smashmouth ball is futile.

  264. 264
    BGinCHI says:

    @Peter: When you are worried that your candidate got bullied and that the bully won, you are forgetting that if the other candidate is a bona fide bully, he can’t win in the end.

    The only people who pull for bullies and the bully pulpit are Republicans, fascists, and Dallas Cowboys fans.

  265. 265
    nellcote says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I’m pretty sure that the Medicare savings baked into Obamacare are simply pumped back into Medicare, making them savings, not cuts

    They extend Medicare by 8 years.

  266. 266
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @patroclus: Ha, didn’t see yours when I was writing mine… Same wavelength, looks like.

  267. 267
    Steve says:

    @cckids: It is not just the money you spend in the process of outsourcing. You also get favorable tax treatment for the foreign income you earn once you’ve outsourced. Literally, the tax code treats you better because your operations are overseas employing someone else’s citizens.

  268. 268
    khead says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Preach it.

    The 49ers won a shitload of Super Bowls in the 80’s/early 90’s.

  269. 269
    Hill Dweller says:

    The Obama team has to spend the next week talking about Romney’s debate lies. Hammer him on everything, and use it as a launching pad for Obama to dismantle him lying in the next debate.

  270. 270
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @BGinCHI: I think there’s a ton of evo-psych mumbo-jumbo in the background to all of this — in essence, that followers want their leaders to perform dominance displays. A HUGE amount of punditry is based on that notion. Is it true? Maybe we’re in a different era now, who knows.

  271. 271
    patroclus says:

    @Anya: Back when I was a master debater, I learned that lies don’t win debates. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    @FlipYrWhig: Indeed. I’ll amend my Alpha Male analysis to include all “fighting progessives,” who are often male, but not always.

  272. 272
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I have long had a feeling that Obama doesn’t like to play the Alpha Male role, and that that’s why “fighting progressive” types always get frustrated by him, going back to all the versions of comments like “there’s only one way to handle a bully: fight back” during various negotiations.

    I have a different take, which is that Obama’s civic religion is that he loves this country so much (and given his biography, who wouldn’t in his shoes) that he reflexively loves all Americans, even the chuckleheads and assholes. To him none of us are enemies, merely opponents, and temporary ones at that. The way he really telegraphs this is when he talks about Lincoln. His most animated moment in the debate tonight, the moment when you could hear real emotion in his voice, was when he invoked Lincoln while he was summarizing his philosophy of government. I think he just doesn’t want to crush anybody who he sees as a fellow American. Now Bin Laden, etc., that’s a completely different story.

    If Obama has a failing and an emotional weak point as a partisan political leader it is that secretly in his heart of hearts he yearns for an America in which Lincoln was never assassinated and filled out his 2nd term healing the divisions of the Civil War, and he tries to act out that impluse 150 years later.

  273. 273
    BGinCHI says:

    @FlipYrWhig: They’re important as hell (Bush won because he could manage this). But I think Romney codes as explicitly bully and not just in terms of policy. NO ONE feels warmly towards Romney while Bush had many people who just ate up his vibe.

    Romney is asking you to hire him so that he can boss you around.

    ETA: It’s almost impossible to imagine Romney shrugging because he doubts he’s right. No humility.

  274. 274
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @SatanicPanic: That’s so true. There are so many sites where our various trools would be hailed with thisses and srslys and I love yous, why do they stay here with us poor beknighted souls who don’t even get that the only thing standing in the way a tsunami of progressive dream legislation is that damn Obama.

    @nellcote: I did notice that mentioned, and that as much as Romney flogged some “independent business federation”, Obama mentioned AARP. I wonder which group represents more actual voters.

    I’m not gonna pretend I think this was 17-D chess, but I feel pretty confident the O team can turn a lot of this back on Willard

  275. 275
    Fuck ALL the chickens! (né Studly Pantload, t.e.u.u.) says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Righties don’t care. Winning is more important than consistency. They’re a lock with 5 weeks to go and Romney down in the polls. They’d blow Soros Himself for a sweet win.

    ‘Zactly. They’re totally piddling in their pants with glee tonight over at RedState (Motto: Don’t trust anyone under 60, fucking hippies) because their guy (whether they love him or hate him, he’s still their guy) came out swinging, tonight.

    Mucho granted, if Romney had said any of those things at a ho-hum campaign rally, they’d be apoplectic with rage. But tonight felt like a rare check in the “win” column for them, and they don’t care if it was as ugly as the Seahawks win over GB last week. (OK, so your “blowing Soros” was the better analogy…)

  276. 276
    jshooper says:

    Politics is fucking stupid…How the fuck do you “win” a debate in which you refused to answer questions, lied your ass off…and undermined your own campaign platform repeatedly

    This is basically the equivalent of a team losing a football game 21- 17…but the media declaring them the “winner” because they played dirtier…were more aggressive…got more big hits..and threw the ball deep on every play

    I see the NFL replacement refs have inspired everyone to just award victories based on aggressiveness…rather than who actually caught the damn ball !

    The Seattle SeaRomney’s have stormed the field in victory !!!

  277. 277
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @khead: Right. NFL announcers always prefer ground and pound offenses and defensive stalemates, considering that Real Football by Real Men. Doing something else marks you as, well, basically gay, which is the subtext of a word like “finesse.” I think political pundits have similar preferences, and that Obama is skew to those, which they find endlessly frustrating. I don’t just mean hacks like Chris Matthews, who has a world of psychosexual hangups, but even the Pierces and, for the love of god, Stollers et al. I know I fall into those traps too. But do we know that that’s the lens through which voters make decisions?

  278. 278
    cckids says:

    @Steve: Ah. Jesus, how fucked up is that?

  279. 279
    Cacti says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    Ask John Kerry about coming within half a percent in Ohio of winning (after Bush closed with two strong debates).

    What are you babbling about?

    Bush won Ohio by 2 points and almost 120,000 votes.

  280. 280
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @BGinCHI: I actually remember that Gore got dinged by the pundits in one of the debates for being too openly engaged in dominance display, like changing his position on the floor to catch Bush off guard. Bush kind of mugged and laughed it off. In that case, Gore tried Alpha Male but was mocked for it, probably because of the Maureen Dowd/Kit Seelye stuff about Naomi Wolf, earth tones, etc., which made it seem like Gore was overcompensating.

  281. 281
    cbear says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Third debate is Yachts: How to keep the help from crowding you.
    Moderated by Judge Smails.

    $10,000 bucks says the Smails kid picks his nose.
    Another $10 grand says he eats it.

  282. 282
    jwb says:

    The Obama campaign is already out pushing Gergen’s comment about Romney “sort of flat out lying.” Looks like they are going of the lie first. I imagine using Romney’s statements tonight to ask “who is the real Mitt Romney?” will follow closely on its heels.

  283. 283
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I did notice that mentioned, and that as much as Romney flogged some “independent business federation”, Obama mentioned AARP. I wonder which group represents more actual voters.

    And also the auto industry. Obama mentioned them repeatedly, with obvious pride. The only industry Romney mentioned by name was the oil industry.

  284. 284
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jwb: win.

  285. 285
    BGinCHI says:

    @cbear: I bet the Romneys boo Rodney Dangerfield when he is in a scene.

  286. 286
    burnspbesq says:

    @Peter:

    blatant lying about his tax plan

    Strictly speaking, the only lie Romney told about his tax plan is when he asserted that he has a tax plan.

    He has no “plan,” in any meaningful sense.

    Anything he said about details of his so-called plan is a fantasy, not a lie.

    My Bruce Cockburn song for tonight goes out to Romney: “People See Through You.”

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=53JkTgdTKd0

  287. 287
    Kane says:

    Some seem to forget that Obama defeated the inevitable candidate, the war-hero candidate, and he has a comfortable lead against the plutocrat candidate with 30 days left in the election. TeamObama has run a flawless campaign. And yet, because he didn’t draw blood in a debate, weak-kneed democrats are now declaring the campaign over. Amazing.

  288. 288
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @jwb: jwb Says:The Obama campaign is already out pushing Gergen’s comment about Romney “sort of flat out lying.

    Gergen? David Broder’s reincarnation and Nixon apologist David Gergen noticed Romney was lying? that’s amazing. That gives other Villagers permission to notice.

  289. 289
    khead says:

    But do we know that that’s the lens through which voters make decisions?

    I suspect the crucial voting blocks for Obama – especially women – don’t give a shit about the Real Man factor.

    I hope I’m right about that.

    Full disclosure: I hated the Niners. Heh.

  290. 290
    Spatula says:

    Regarding the Grateful Dead piece I was fortunate enough to get to create for Cole, I’m just going to tiptoe in here to drop off my web site address, and then leave before being stoned to death.

    There are more complete albums of my work on my Facebook page.

    Also too: Everything John wrote about how the Grateful Dead piece developed is absolutely true. He approached me out of the blue, and I was really shocked that he did, given my reputation as a pariah here. But John Cole is one of a kind, and I have learned many things from working with him. Among them, a lesson I keep having to learn over and over again, that assumptions and preconceptions, especially about people, are pretty useless.

    Thank you, John, for everything. You are a gentleman and a Dead Head.

  291. 291
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: They think they’re teaching us the error of our ways. I don’t know why they bother. This crew is pretty hopeless, which is why I like it here.

  292. 292
    cbear says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Spalding Tagg Smails: This is good stuff. I got it from a Negro. You’re probably high already and you don’t even know it.

  293. 293
    Cacti says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I think there’s a ton of evo-psych mumbo-jumbo in the background to all of this—in essence, that followers want their leaders to perform dominance displays. A HUGE amount of punditry is based on that notion. Is it true? Maybe we’re in a different era now, who knows.

    I think you’re onto something there.

    I see Romney, and the GOP in general, as a largely 20th century party, running a 20th century campaign, stuck on an electoral model that hasn’t been updated in almost 50 years. Whereas, Obama is the vanguard of the 21st century American candidate.

    The electorate is more female than male now, and 1 in 3 voters are non-white. Being a Gordon Gecko-style big swinging dick just doesn’t have the same cachet it once had.

  294. 294
    patroclus says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: And Obama also scored huge by catching the flaw in Romney’s claim that his plan covered pre-existing conditions, which has campaign has already walked back. On Obama scored huge on the “Donald Trump is a small business” line about the 3% of small businesses that would be effected by his tax plans. And Obama scored on the oil industry discussion – Romney had to admit that reducing subsidies would be “on the table.” And Obama won the Dodd-Frank segment easily; especially considering Romney has been calling for its repeal and contradicted himself mid-debate. And Obama won the Medicare segment big too. Like I said, substantively, Obama won virtually every exchange – the only one I would give to Romney was the very first one, where Romney lied about his $5 trillion tax cut.

    That said, Romney was clearly the agressor throughout, and to Alphas and fighting progressives, that apparently mattered more. Not to me or the 5 others I watched it with.

  295. 295
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @James E. Powell: Ed is a blowhard and the less said of him the better (with the exception of his good work giving organized labor one of its only, maybe only period forum on the MSM) but Tweety took that race-baiting stuff by the Romney camp personally and maybe he was hoping that Tingles Obama would smack Romney down.

    My FB was full of Black coworkers encouraging Obama to “let the ghetto out” and other such encouragement to stick it to Romney. I feel better knowing it’s not just pasty-American liberals like me who wish Obama would go all Samuel Jackson on the Republicans every once in a while.

    That time Obama had a forum with the Congressional Republicans and punked them was pretty sweet. As someone on my FB said, where was that Obama? (Tell Iran and Syria to shut up for a while so Daddy can get some sleep.)

  296. 296
    Kadzimiel says:

    @Violet:

    Sullivan is good at debating. Mass-debating, that is, when no-one gets to comment or respond.

  297. 297
    Eljai says:

    @patroclus: You bring up an interesting point. I was never a master debater, but I aspired to it back in high school which was a long time ago, don’t ask. Anyway, it just seems like the network pundits who grade these debates don’t seem to realize that you’re not to supposed pull things out of your ass and switch positions every goddam five minutes.

  298. 298
    pattonbt says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Thats the only way it works “Boy, Rmoney sure showed that uppity blah person!”. Its the Newt Gingrich winning SC debate performance.

    Wheres Newt now?

  299. 299
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Funniest moment of the night for me was when Fineman, always the careful and conventional pundit, declared that Lehrer was “worthless”. (I believe that’s the pejorative he used.)

  300. 300
    Fuck ALL the chickens! (né Studly Pantload, t.e.u.u.) says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I have long had a feeling that Obama doesn’t like to play the Alpha Male role

    I would point you to the footage of Obama apparently giving McCain a sotto voce earful on the floor of the Senate–during the time the two were the official candidate in ’04, as I recall–about some subject matter (which I currently can’t remember) upon which they disagreed.

    Or Obama being invited to a Republican House conference and schooling them them with Paul Ryan seated practically front and center.

    There’s also the (purely circumstantial) evidence in how Bart Stupak threatened to send ACA down the Blue Dog hole over abortion, but then on the night of a key House vote on the bill, actually took to the floor to sing its praises before casting a Yea vote. The part of me that’s internalized much of the Godfather trilogy clings to the notion that Stupak, just before the House vote, found pictures of his kids sent to his cellphone from an anonymous source, but hey, that’s just pure speculation.

    Or…well, others can chime in for me.

    Obama does Alpha Male so well in part because he *seems* reluctant to do so. But make no mistake, when Obama goes light on an opponent, he’s not retreating to his truer core self; he’s holding back like a son of a bitch. When Team Chicago rethinks last night’s strategy, you can bet Obama will be leading the call for between-inning adjustments.

  301. 301
    👽 Martin says:

    @Spatula: You do really nice work, man. It’s beautiful.

  302. 302
    Steve says:

    @patroclus: Donald Trump indeed. If 3% of the small businesses employ one-quarter of the people in America, like Romney said, how the fuck are they small businesses?

  303. 303
    pattonbt says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered: Show me where one debate perfoemcen ever really changed the outcome of an election?

    Can’t can you?

    Obama lost. Whoop-de-do. He only lost on not acting like a dick. He’s still in live boy / dead girl only EC territory. Get a grip.

  304. 304
    Kane says:

    The media spin: Yes, Romney lied. But he looked so damn good doing it.

  305. 305
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Steve: If Bill Clinton is really our “explainer in chief” the myth of “small business” is one I’d like to see him take on. Just for an example: most car dealerships are small businesses. It varies according to industry, but it ain’t about mom’n’pop hardware stores or even a plumbing contractor with half a dozen vans and small warehouse.

  306. 306
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Interesting range of reactions to tonight’s event. I stopped watching the debates in the late Eighties when the League of Women withdrew their sponsorship.

    Here’s an excerpt from the statement they issued at the time:

    “It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and honest answers to tough questions,” Neuman said. “The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

    The Presidential Debate Commission, with its intentionally official sounding name, is in essence a mix of Republicans and Democrats who set the conditions of the debates in detail with the express purpose of making certain that an actual debate doesn’t break out.

    So I don’t watch the debates.

  307. 307
    patroclus says:

    @Eljai: I was a debater in HS and college. You really do have to back up your points and you really have to be consistent in your arguments. Obama was stellar at that tonight – Romney was all over the map, blustery, inconsistent and he lied a LOT. In my mind, Obama clearly won the “debate” although I will admit that Romney won the “event.” But substance matters. This was proven in 1994 in the Romney-Kennedy Senatorial contest and I think it will be proven here, too. I could be wrong though – the Alpha Males and fighting progressives have the pundits on their side and the narrative is going to be a “Romney comeback” at least for a few days.

    @Steve: Indeed. It was a major hit and Romney had no comeback whatsoever other than to reiterate what he had just said. 3% of small businesses employ 25% of the entire country???!!

  308. 308
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @khead: Jesus, what’s with all the flop sweat? You’re doing exactly what the media wants you to do – you’re fucking panicking. So are you gonna take your marching orders from Chuck Todd and Dancin’ Dave, or are you just gonna take a tab o’ Xanax and chill the fuck out? I’m waiting for all the Obama ads that make Romney look like a raving lunatic.

  309. 309
    Greyjoy says:

    The problem with Romney lying like a rug through the debate is that the voters who are likely to vote for him don’t care about his lies. They haven’t cared all election, why start now? They want someone who looks good on TV and acts tough. They don’t give a shit about numbers and whether the $5T tax cut is real or how it’ll be funded. They probably don’t even give a shit if Obamacare stays because by the time Romney would take office, they’ll have accepted it as a fact of life (and seen some benefits from it too, more likely), especially if it turns out to be good, and then it will have been Romney’s idea the whole time through the magic of rewritten history. (Just like how TARP was Obama’s.)

    That’s what makes me uncomfortable about Obama just letting the bullshit fly around uncontested. It’s not that voters might or might not know it’s bullshit, it’s because a lot of them DON’T CARE, because that’s not how they define a successful debate and therefore a better candidate. A lot of them *want* the overconfident a-hole. They don’t give a shit about foreign policy because diplomacy is for pussies. They want someone who’ll talk smack to Iran and North Korea, and if it starts a war, so much the better. They don’t want “presidential”. They want “Bring it on” and “Mission Accomplished”.

    So, Obama can’t afford to look weak to these people, and he did, and that blows because the very fucking last thing this country needs is another cowboy shooting his mouth off because that’s what he thinks leadership is, especially one who specializes in capitalistic pillage of the middle class. Obama cannot afford to allow even the illusion that Romney is credible.

  310. 310
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Linnaeus: Auf Schweiz is definitely funnier. Pvt Schweiz’s life is about it get much more interesting.

  311. 311
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: kiss up, kick down

  312. 312
    Mnemosyne says:

    @pattonbt:

    Show me where one debate perfoemcen ever really changed the outcome of an election?

    Legend has it that Reagan beat Carter when he used his “there you go again” line during their first debate. In this legend, the election itself was just a formality, because Reagan totally won the whole thing with that one line.

    The PBS pundits were vocally disappointed because there wasn’t a line like that in tonight’s debate.

  313. 313
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mnemosyne: I have never understood why that line is such a legend. I’ve seen the clips, I’ve seen a little context. Still don’t get it. Ditto for “I paid for this microphone”. Don’t get it.

  314. 314
    amk says:

    So mittbot, the bully showed up. pundtwits had a hard-on. The ‘left’ panicked and took a fetal position.

    Anything I missed ?

    ETA: And yeah, cole’s servers folded like a cheap suit. But that’s nothing new, I guess.

  315. 315
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I have never understood why that line is such a legend.

    Going into the 1980 debate Carter was unpopular but a lot of the “Reagan Democrats” who would ultimately swing to Reagan were not yet sold on him as presidential material, because of his somewhat comical acting career and because at that point the country has yet to elect an openly conservative Republican president in the post WW2-era (Goldwater tried to and got stomped for his trouble, while Eisenhower and Nixon both ran as moderates). But Carter overreached by trying to portray Reagan as bombs-away madman just like LBJ was able to do with Goldwater in 1964. The famous “there you go again” line worked because it crystallized the feeling viewers came away with from the debates that the crazy man Carter was talking about and the semi-reasonable sounding guy they saw on TV were not the same person, and who are you gonna believe? The contrast ruined Carter’s credibility when he tried to warn people what the consequences would be of a GOP victory.

    The long-and-the-short is that this line was extremely context-sensitive with regard to Reagan and that particular point in US political history.

  316. 316

    […] We all know that the facts are going to get distorted in a forum like this, but there were so many lies and misstatements from Mitt Romney that it was easy for him to be “on his game” and […]

  317. 317
    Gus says:

    I realize I’m posting to a dead thread, but is that Pete Townsend in the Wharf Rat video?

  318. 318
    dsale says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik:
    Romney bullying, evasive and twerpish – that pretty much nails it. His performance reminded me of Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross (pre-memed for your viewing pleasure): http://flic.kr/ps/2a3beh

  319. 319
    John Drabble says:

    I arrived here via a link from another blog. Amazing that this blogger is still in business. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the invasion of Iraq. How can a blogger get something that big wrong and still retain a readership? how can a blogger with any integrity get something that big wrong and continue to blog?

    Mr Cole–Bush couldn’t have tortured and killed and maimed thousands of people without the support of people like you. And Andrew Sullivan and Garrison Keillor, Ruth Marcus, Scott Simon and…none of whom have the class to withdraw their sorry war monger asses from public life.

  320. 320

    @John Drabble:

    I make no mockery of your comment because there are other people to do that, but if you want to get a rise out of Cole you might want to do it on a live thread that he will actually read…

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