I Hope We’re All Feeling Better Now

I’ll outsource detailed debate commentary to Joe Patrice, who knows a lot more about debate than I do. I generally thought Biden did a good job challenging Ryan’s lies, which is the only way for Democrats to win. It’s pretty clear Republicans did not like Biden’s affect, and they’re certainly trying to make that the focus. We’ll see whether they can move that into the mainstream. Since Ryan was also smirking and being a jerk on occasion (“Joe”), the MSM coverage I’ve seen so far has been comfortable in their usual rut, “both sides do it”.

Martha Raddatz performed the role of a professional journalist. Sadly, we see that so infrequently that her performance will be celebrated and/or berated, depending on how you feel about professional journalism.

There was a lot of foreign policy discussion, and the issues Bernard mentioned yesterday cropped up. Other than Benghazi, I didn’t see Ryan make a lot of headway with his foreign policy points. Romney and Ryan have a foreign policy position that is factually almost identical to Obama’s when addressing the current global crises, but they want to sell the notion that it’s much tougher. Ryan didn’t make the sale. The Afghanistan discussion was ridiculous: We’re supposed to keep our withdrawal a big secret when 49 allies are involved? We should go to war when it’s in our “national interest”? Goddam, that’s a revelation.

Maybe the Romney team will come up with better talking points on foreign policy, but Biden and Raddatz both keyed in on the major issue: what would you do differently? Ryan didn’t have an answer because the fact is that there’s very little they would do differently, and if they start proposing different solutions, it’s all a bunch of neocon war talk that’s totally unpalatable to a country that’s sick of the bloody waste in the Middle East.

(Obligatory disclaimer: This is not to say that I’m happy that there’s almost no daylight between Obama and Romney on current foreign policy tactics.)






87 replies
  1. 1
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    And yet very few will hear any of this because of body language and tone. Ryan’s foreign policy wins on tone, probably.

  2. 2
    amk says:

    Dana Milbank

    “In the hours before Thursday night’s vice presidential debate, word leaked that the Romney-Ryan campaign had instructed moderator Martha Raddatz to address Paul Ryan as “Mister” rather than “Congressman.”

    To her credit, Raddatz ignored such instructions and referred to the Republican vice presidential nominee by his more relevant title. Not that it mattered anyway: Vice President Biden was not about to let people forget that Ryan, and by extension Mitt Romney, are inextricably bound to the unpopular House Republican leadership.

    On issue after issue — Libya, Iran, taxes, debt, Medicare, Social Security — Biden kept turning the discussion toward actions Ryan and his colleagues took in Congress, at one point mocking Ryan for suggesting he could work across the aisle to forge a tax deal. “Seven percent rating? Come on,” Biden needled.

    …. Raddatz turned to the challenger for a response. “Congressman Ryan?”

    After Biden’s barrage, the honorific sounded like an epithet.”

    The thugs, in their typical style, tried to intimidate the mod and she told them to GFT.

  3. 3
    Mark S. says:

    I didn’t watch the debate. The people whose opinions I value all say that Biden cleaned Ryan’s clock. The headlines at memeorandum all say at best a draw, at worst, Ryan won because Joe was mean and rude.

  4. 4
    hildebrand says:

    @Or something like that.Suffern Ace: You can concern troll Biden’s animated reactions, but Ryan was revealed to be wholly unready to discuss foreign policy – he was absolutely thrashed on Afghanistan. People will given Biden a pass on his exasperation with Ryan because they could clearly see that Ryan had no idea what he was talking about.

  5. 5
    chopper says:

    biden was good on afghanistan. he. kept. repeating. withdrawal. while ryan looked like the guy who was willing to have ‘stay there forever’ on the table.

  6. 6
    Chyron HR says:

    Sadly, we see that so infrequently that her performance will be celebrated and/or berated

    I call it “celeberated”.

  7. 7
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Since Ryan was also smirking and being a jerk on occasion (“Joe”), the MSM coverage I’ve seen so far has been comfortable in their usual rut, “both sides do it”.

    Not Jan Crawford on CBS. Biden was mean but Ryan “stood his ground” was her report. She was quite enamored of the dashing young lad. But this tweet clearly answers the stupid/evil question when it comes to her analysis.

  8. 8
    Wag says:

    Yes, I feel better

    Biden kicked ass

  9. 9
    kay says:

    @Mark S.:

    It was also substantive, which print media is celebrating but the celebrities on cable are not. The time flew because Joe was asking real questions.

    I wonder why that is? Why would cable celebrities run from substance, while print media are not?

    Joe asked for a ‘guarantee’ that Romney-Ryan wouldn’t end middle class tax deductions, and Ryan wouldn’t give one. That got the attention of the people I was with, and it SHOULD. This stuff matters.

    Why won’t Paul Ryan commit to retaining middle class tax deductions? Maybe they could get off their ass and follow up on that, instead of worrying about tone.

    ‘Guarantee’ is a great word. Ryan wouldn’t give one.

  10. 10
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Mark S.: This is why no one should ever freak out about the Republican/corporate media reaction (and I do very much include Andrew Sullivan in that) to Barack Obama’s debate performance. Had Obama been this direct and forceful they would have been critical of that too, plus in his case the “angry black man” meme would have given it even more fuel.

    They will take the Republican premise, always, as a baseline, and a Democrat really cannot win in that world, it will be too hot, too cold, never right.

    I wanted Obama to step it up somewhat also, but no one should have any illusions that this would avoid criticism from the right (read: most of the media) and I can understand the very real trepidation that he and his campaign had about going that route in his case.

    Now, in a strange way, he’s freed up to go for it since it all became such an issue, but there will still be Republicans attacking a strong, aggressive performance by him that way, of course.

    Anyone doubting that Obama has it in him, by the way, should just watch one of his stump speeches. It’s all there, now he just needs to do that in a debate.

  11. 11
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    There’s quite a bit of difference between Obama and Romney on foreign policy: Obama keeps talking to other countries; Romney wants to impose our will on other countries, and if that fails, invade them. As we’ve talked about before, Romney’s foreign policy team consists of a lot of neocons.

    If you were to take the first debate as any indication, other than Sesame Street, there weren’t many differences between Romney’s and Obama’s positions. We all know that’s bullshit. It’s the same with foreign policy.

  12. 12
    sherparick says:

    I actually saw a real major win in this give and take (with VP Biden doing most of the “giving.” He said that under no “ifs, buts, or maybes” we are ending our ground combat role in Afghanistan in 2012 and stopping the war. Ryan said Romney/Ryan would like to get out in 2014, but with an indefinite set of ifs, maybes, and buts. Hence more war. Biden said the Administration will continue to pursue alternatives to war with Iran in cooperation with other countries and got Ryan to state that they are going threaten war “credibibly” with Iran. Of course that means if Iran calls the bluff, they will have to initiate a disatrous war or make a humiliating retreat. But Biden forced Ryan to own the “if you like more war meme, vote for us.” Economy is of course a big issue, but in the background this country is tired and fatigue by 11 years of interminable wars. Ryan implicitly admitted in regard to September will grow hot every summer as Taliban pour across the frontier from the Northwest province into Afghanistan as long as we remain to be fought, and he indicates that not only we might remain, but will start a 3rd war in Iran. At Sheldon Adelson’s and Bill Kristol’s dinner parties, this may be popular. But no where else.

    On Syria Ryan just made himself look ridculous. “We don’t like the Administration’s rhetoric and doing stuff at the U.N., but really, we would be doing the same things they are doing now.”

    On domestic issues, it was nice to see a full throated defense of Medicare and Social Security. I would have liked a better defense of the stimulus as the program that stopped the slide and helped turn the economy around and that the fact the recovery is so slow is because of all the private debt and speculation that occurred in the last Republican administration that has to be worked down to get the econony growing again. Also, it would have nice to point out that whole Romney/Ryan program is a fraud and to go after the danger to environment and health their deregulation frenzy will bring about with no good economic return.

  13. 13
    jwb says:

    @hildebrand: I watched the whole debate with the sound off, observing only body language. Biden creamed Ryan on that count. Also Biden’s smile was far less irritating than Ryan’s smirk.

  14. 14
    The Red Pen says:

    At the office this morning, someone has already given me the exact count of time that Joe Biden was rude. It was over 80.

    I said, “Obama got his ass handed to him in the first debate,” starting with something they love to hear, “and all anyone could complain about was Romney’s interrupting and the bad moderator. Now that all I’m hearing about the VP debate is that Biden was rude and the moderator sucked, I’m going to take that as evidence that Ryan got his ass handed to him.”

    No response.

  15. 15
    magurakurin says:

    This is not to say that I’m happy that there’s almost no daylight between Obama and Romney on current foreign policy tactics.

    I’m not willing to admit that this statement is true (I don’t actually believe it is) but let’s assume it is; You can be asked the same question as Ryan — what would you do differently?

  16. 16
    mistermix says:

    @magurakurin: Accelerate the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

  17. 17
    hildebrand says:

    @jwb: We have all been in arguments with somebody like Ryan – someone spinning BS so fast with the hopes that it ‘sounds’ like a great answer. If people are watching the argument the comment afterward is usually something in the line of ‘how did you maintain your composure against that lying piece of crap? I would’ve punched the fool.’ People will give Biden a pass because it was clear that he was arguing with a toddler, and his smiles and exasperation were simply the only real response to such abject foolishness.

  18. 18
    KXB says:

    The foreign policy segment was largely focused on the Middle East. If you are concerned about Latin America, the European crisis, China – well, that will just have to wait until after the election.

    This morning at breakfast, my aunt and uncle were talking about the CNN poll, which surveyed 381 people, and showed Ryan winning 48-44. I told them 381 is not enough people, and that polling increasingly as useful as astrology. Amusing to read, but God help you if you believe it.

  19. 19
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Ah, Joe.

    Nobody Does It Bettersound track to go with that cigarette

  20. 20
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @kay: It is as if a huge part of their world revolves around being made up to go on TV to do “presenting” and therefore TV news actors expect that their professional concern with appearance needs to be our national policy obsession.

  21. 21
    Violet says:

    I thought Biden was excellent. Sure, he wasn’t perfect, but I don’t think anyone could be in that environment for an hour and a half. He exceeded my expectations and hopes, which were pretty high because Joe is one smart, quick-witted guy.

    Loved the liveblog and Joe Patrice’s comments. Could he maybe come back and do that again. Plus a write-up in the following day of his views on how it went would be interesting too. Thanks for organizing all that.

  22. 22
    Emma says:

    @Mark S.: Why do liberals — never mind, why do sane people — give page clicks to memeorandum?

  23. 23
    Violet says:

    @The Red Pen: Ha ha. That’s funny. And true.

  24. 24
    Rex Everything says:

    there’s almost no daylight between Obama and Romney on current foreign policy tactics

    Firebagger! Idiot! Firebagging idiot! Why don’t you just vote for Romney, because you’re already serving his cause blah blah blah.

    Seriously, Biden did a real service to America by shining a bright light on the ineptitude & abject intellectual poverty of the Randian cause. Half of this country buys into the idea that while Rand may be heartless or overly tough, her principles are rigorous and realistic. This bullshit has to be exposed once and for all. Rand’s vision is not only heartless and pissy, it’s a complete philosophical and economic fail parade. The more publicly, decisively, and often this is demonstrated, the better.

  25. 25
    rlrr says:

    The foreign policy segment was largely focused on the Middle East. If you are concerned about Latin America, the European crisis, China – well, that will just have to wait until after the election.

    Romney has already promised he’d get tough with China. Which is exactly what Bush was doing in 2001. As it turned out, Bush & co. took their eye off the real threat…

  26. 26
    mai naem says:

    @amk: I listen to POTUS on XM. They mentioned that right before the debate. Then I heard Raddatz call him Congressman a few times. I don’t even think she did it intentionally. She’s just used to it. Anyhow, if people have XM, I want to recomment POTUS. Its channel 124. They do a really really good job. Julie Mason does a way better job Morning Ho.

  27. 27
    Mark S. says:

    @Emma:

    I have a problem.

    (slouches in my chair)

  28. 28
    JPL says:

    @chopper: You missed Ryan’s point. He agrees we need to withdraw, he’s just going to pretend that we won’t. See that fools the enemy. Those enemies are so dumb..

  29. 29
    NCSteve says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: Crawford is Jennifer Rubin with slightly more brains and a pretense of objectivity. Nothing more, nothing less. The fact that she isn’t on the reality-based community’s radar amazes me.

  30. 30
    kay says:

    @The Red Pen:

    It was a real debate. They actually hit the issues. I think that’s why political media are uncomfortable. They much preferred Romney bullshitting for 90 minutes. I think that says something about THEM.

    It isn’t that we can’t have a real debate in this country. We just did. Why are they fighting it so much? Why retreat to ‘tone’ when there’s such huge differences between the two positions?

    I think there’s an influential group of people who do NOT want to talk about ‘issues’ and it ISN’T ordinary people. We had a good discussion after the debate here. It went on and on. Joe gave us a lot to talk about.

  31. 31
    Violet says:

    @kay:

    It was also substantive, which print media is celebrating but the celebrities on cable are not. The time flew because Joe was asking real questions.

    This is kind of funny to watch. Cable news folks don’t seem to understand that their ratings might increase if they asked actual questions.

  32. 32
    amk says:

    Aaaand the ads are already here.

    ryan ‘thirsting for answers’. This team is effing good.

  33. 33
    Comrade Jake says:

    Cole had a tweet some time ago on Romney/Ryan’s plan to introduce vouchers to people who are under 55: if it’s such a good idea, why not make it available to everyone? I’d love to see Romney asked that question.

    I’d also like to see Obama crush their “5-point plan” bullshit. Their 5-point plan is nothing but a collection of slogans. There’s no fucking plan there.

  34. 34
    General Stuck says:

    Dispatch from the gilded cage.

    But as anyone who’s been in a tavern past midnight understands, it’s hard to win a fight with a guy who is shouting from the corner bar stool.

    Apparently, the concept of turnabout is fair play is lost on planet wingnut. The squeals from the right side of the idiot stick is a symphony of saps.

  35. 35
    dr. bloor says:

    @KXB: The CNN snap was also composed of 31% Dems and I think 33% Repubs, which is out of sync with the composition of all their other polls this season.

  36. 36
    Violet says:

    @kay:

    It isn’t that we can’t have a real debate in this country. We just did. Why are they fighting it so much? Why retreat to ‘tone’ when there’s such huge differences between the two positions?

    Maybe they’re not that bright and couldn’t do what Martha did. Maybe they’ve been told by their corporate overlords not to do it. Maybe they think we’re dumb.

  37. 37
    Elizabelle says:

    Here’s the transcript of last night’s VP debate, as prepared by Federal News Service.

    Thank you, Paul Krugman, for linking to it.

  38. 38
    lamh35 says:

    @Mark S.: this is why people should watch the debate and not rely on media to tell them who won or lost.

    I really hate that. It’s why the media has so much power when it comes to narrative.

    This is why I contend that the narrative after last week is what ruled the day, because people who watched the debate as it unfolded had vastly different comments on it afterward and after the media fix. I have friends on FB who were peeved at Obama’s performance right after the debate, but they were more peeved at Romney’s lies, fast forward to the next 2 days after all the “Obama shellacking” punditry, and these same people were calling it a win for Romney.

    And you can tell a lot of theme DID not watch they debate, because they were posting on the latest tv show on cable yet still they said Romney won, why probably because the narrative was that Romney was strong so obviously Obama lost

  39. 39
    gogol's wife says:

    @amk:

    That is excellent!

  40. 40
    amk says:

    @Elizabelle: danke. tweeted hoping the wingers and the indies will read it.

  41. 41
    WarMunchkin says:

    I *gasp* agree with Glenn Greenwald’s take on the questions that were asked. As a functional moderator, Raddatz did fine in pressing for “specifics” and whatnot. But whoever designs the questions for these debates are in and of the villagers and uses all of their assumptions, and that’s a huge loss for Americans.

  42. 42
    Culture of Truth says:

    On one level the Libya comments were good for the GOP. After all, our Ambassador was killed. But I have to wonder, really, what any undecided voter would think – that Obama is personally reviewing the number of CIA agents, Nacy SEALS and other assigned to our embassies around the world?

    That a few more guards would have helped? That Obama should have announced it was terrorism that night, because… why? No doubt Republican loved it, but I don’t think much if any damage was done.

  43. 43
    Culture of Truth says:

    It was a very substantive debate, actually. So of course this morning’s coverage was all about body language.

  44. 44
    magurakurin says:

    @mistermix:

    By how much, a year, 6 months, 14 months? 2014 isn’t all that far away.

    But fair enough.

    Still you said “current foreign policy tactics.” There is a quite a bit more going on than the Afghan War. Perhaps there isn’t much difference between Obama and Rmoney on that war. But I think you have to admit there are some pretty major differences in their stated tactics in other places and regions. Rmoney wants a war with Iran, and from the sound of Ryan’s rhetoric about Russian support of Syria, it sounds like they want to get into it with Russia as well. I think there would major differences if Rmoney became president.

    I know you are a rock solid Obama supporter, but I think your statement was a bit unfair.

  45. 45
    dnfree says:

    I have an extremely right-wing “friend” (from high school) on Facebook. I am surprised we have not unfriended each other, but through her I get a view that I would not otherwise have. (I know conservatives personally, but they are the old-fashioned kind.)

    Today my Facebook page has post after post of Biden as a jackass, Biden as the Joker from Batman, Biden superimposed with a Proverb from the Bible, (“When a wise person debates with a fool, the fool rages and laughs, and there is no peace and quiet.” Proverbs 29:9), and on and on. We may celebrate what Biden SAID, but they are focusing on how Biden APPEARED (to them). The most recent post is about who looked ready to take over the Presidency. (Looked, not sounded.)

    I am also astounded at how big the far-right echo chamber is. If you don’t have a friend in this category, you should get one, because it will be an eye-opener.

  46. 46
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    mistermix, thank you for the Joe Patrice link. He presented a concise analysis.

    From the media responses to the first debate and to this one it looks like another obstacle to Democrats has become standard practice. If a debate is well moderated and the Democrat challenges his or her opponent then the moderator sucks and the Democrat is being rude. Apparently, the only suitable debates for the thugs and the emessem are those in which the moderator remains silent and the Republican gets to say anything and have it accepted as gospel truth.

    “Rude” indeed.

  47. 47
    Chris says:

    Other than Benghazi, I didn’t see Ryan make a lot of headway with his foreign policy points.

    I’d keep an eye on Benghazi. It’s the Republican meme of the hour, they’re going to open fire with both barrels with it on Tuesday evening, and Obama had better be ready to shoot back convincingly.

    Alright, done indulging my anxiety fairy for the day. FUCK YEAH, FIGHTING JOE! THAT’S HOW IT’S DONE!

  48. 48
    GxB says:

    While I agree that the Bidenator mopped the floor with that smarmy smegstain, I can’t help to feel that the MSM narrative was already written before the debate even took place. Everyone in the R/R camp circled the wagons and will pick nits to make it sound like the exact opposite occurred to those critical mushy minded low info voters. My only consolation is it’ll do them no good – Rmoney is only getting the WH through flat out cheating, voter suppression and outright fraud.

    The other thing that struck me was the mental substitution of BHO in Joe’s place, and I can see why that kind of aggressive rhetoric can’t happen. The rush to saddle the horses and break out the white linen for a good ol’ fashioned uppity angry negro lynching would probably register on seismometers across the nation.

    Jackie Robinson indeed…

    And go, go Rob Zerban.

  49. 49
    Joel says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: All she needed to do was swear by Tim McCarver’s delightful sense of humor and I would swear that she was trolling everyone.

  50. 50
    kay says:

    @Violet:

    I think the moderator did a good job, but the two people debating engaged, in the “issues” and that’s where the meat came from.

    I just don’t think the public will curl up in a ball and start weeping if they see a genuine conflict or clash. That’s what a debate is for.

    The response from political media reeks of fear to me. We can discuss these things. We really can. The world won’t end if we disagree, and we do, we disagree. The VP doesn’t hate Ryan. It’s not scary or threatening.

    We really, really don’t need them to run interference and monitor ‘tone’.

  51. 51
    shortstop says:

    @KXB: I have no knowledge of how the CNN poll worked, but it’s a persistent misconception that a small sampling cannot be statistically valid.

  52. 52
    Joel says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Obama will bring it on Tuesday. This, I know.

  53. 53
    shortstop says:

    @Violet: I thought he was superb. And having responded with limited doubts to some of your earlier confident comments about his likely performance, let me say now: you were absolutely right, and my concerns were unfounded, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

  54. 54
    Brian R. says:

    Does anyone know where I can send the Paul Ryan’s poor widow a corsage?

  55. 55
    GxB says:

    @KXB:

    …polling increasingly as useful as astrology. Amusing to read, but God help you if you believe it.

    Yoink! I’m nicking this.

  56. 56
    Kane says:

    When your debate opponent has you so flummoxed that you’re spending time explaining what winter is, it might be a clue that you’re getting your ass handed to you.

  57. 57
    bemused says:

    @The Red Pen:

    Clever with a diabolical bent. I like it.

  58. 58
    gene108 says:

    @lamh35:

    Part of the MSM problem is there is a very partisan, very biased group of folks on the right, who are embedded in “serious news” organizations like Fox News, The Weekly Standard, the Heritage Foundation, etc., who deliberately put their thumb on the scales of public opinion and push it to favor Republicans.

    They aren’t objective, yet the MSM treats their views as reasonable, non-biased, and non-partisan opinions worthy of their time.

    The constant churning of anti-Obama information from the right-wing media is why freak-outs by “partisan” Obama supporters against team Obama are so damaging; there really isn’t any other balance to the constant barrage of crap from the right.

    This is why Matthews, Jon Stewart, Maddow, et. al. sometimes need to put their intellectual-ego driven need to be objective or factually correct in check and realize they are what we have as a country to to counterbalance the right-wing media apparatus.

    Look at right-wing media this morning. We say Biden cleaned Ryan’s clock (I didn’t watch, had folks visiting, who weren’t interested in the debate), but Joe Scarbarough declared Ryan the winner and I’m sure Fox News is doing the same thing – reality be damned, it’s shaping the post debate narrative that matters.

  59. 59

    (Obligatory disclaimer: This is not to say that I’m happy that there’s almost no daylight between Obama and Romney on current foreign policy tactics.)

    Romney wants new wars and boots on the ground everywhere. Romney wants to make an enemy of China and Russia. Romney wants to support Israel in attacking its neighbors or the Palestinians whenever and however they feel like.

    Almost no daylight? There’s all the way from dawn to dusk between them.

  60. 60
    NCSteve says:

    @Rex Everything: There may not be a lot of daylight between what Romney says just this second and what Obama is really doing, but if you think there’s not going to be a real difference when President Romney appoints Dan Senor his National Security advisor and makes John Bolton Secretary of State, you’re crazy as a real firebagger.

    Romney is catastrophically ignorant about foreign policy–the kind of CEO ignorance that assumes anything he doesn’t already know isn’t important–and his foreign policy team consists of the dregs of the PNAC crowd, the people even the other neocon militarists thought were too stupid to pound sand or mentally unbalanced. That’s not an exaggeration. The only thing that amazes me is that Romney hasn’t made Doug “Fucking Stupidest Person on Earth” Feith part of his team yet.

  61. 61
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @kay:

    It isn’t that we can’t have a real debate in this country. We just did. Why are they fighting it so much? Why retreat to ‘tone’ when there’s such huge differences between the two positions?

    Because they’re far too stupid to talk about policy. These are the people who majored in Journalism and Radio/TV in college because it allowed them to hit every kegger. SATSQ

  62. 62
    Maude says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:
    Romney is just like Bush on Foreign Policy. Gee, how did that work out?

  63. 63
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @shortstop:

    I have no knowledge of how the CNN poll worked, but it’s a persistent misconception that a small sampling cannot be statistically valid.

    It’s not a misconception at all. The law of large numbers is the central assumption underpinning all public opinion polling.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    Chris says:

    Obligatory disclaimer: This is not to say that I’m happy that there’s almost no daylight between Obama and Romney on current foreign policy tactics.

    One of them would have kept us in Iraq and Afghanistan till the Sun burned itself out with no policy other than “more troops,” the other’s pulled/pulling us out.

    One of them seized an opportunity in Libya to overthrow a hostile dictator without losing a single American life, with the result of a Libyan government and population very friendly towards the U.S. A stark contrast in every respect with the Iraq War, and Romney has surrounded himself with the same rocket scientists who were behind that.

    One of them has steadfastly refused to give Bibi the bloodbath he’s drooling for. The other openly brags that his Middle East policy would consist of doing what Bibi wants.

    One of them has suspended the use of the torture chamber as an instrument of state. The other wants it brought back.

    One of them gave the order to kill Osama Bin Laden. The other said he wasn’t important.

    There’s not nearly as much daylight between the two as I’d like, but God damn if there isn’t enough for me.

  66. 66
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @Joel: I was hoping for a remark about being consistent.

  67. 67
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    (Obligatory disclaimer: This is not to say that I’m happy that there’s almost no daylight between Obama and Romney on current foreign policy tactics.)

    No apparent daylight, I’d say. I’m convinced that much of Obama’s foreign policy is calculated so he can’t be outflanked on the right and distracted from the rest of his agenda. He’s picking his battles here.

  68. 68
    Chris says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Romney wants to make an enemy of China and Russia.

    I forgot that one.

    It’s been completely forgotten that George W. Bush’s original foreign policy goal when he came into office was to fund an new generation of nuclear and nuclear-related weapons (missile defense and bunker-busting nukes) and essentially start a new arms race. With absolutely zero cause for that in the behavior of either Russia or China. (I don’t believe the Iraq War was going to happen no matter what. But I do believe sending international tensions sky-high for no better reason than to make defense contractors rich was going to happen no matter what. It would just have been a second Cold War instead of a second Gulf War).

    He let that fall by the wayside in favor of his Middle Eastern blunders eventually, though. Romney wants to do BOTH.

  69. 69
    geg6 says:

    @NCSteve:

    She’s good friends with Ginny and Clarence Thomas. Tells me everything I need to know about Jan Crawford. Which, really, is that Jan Crawford should DIAF.

  70. 70
    Rex Everything says:

    @NCSteve:

    There may not be a lot of daylight between what Romney says just this second and what Obama is really doing, but if you think there’s not going to be a real difference when President Romney appoints Dan Senor his National Security advisor and makes John Bolton Secretary of State, you’re crazy as a real firebagger.
    Romney is catastrophically ignorant about foreign policy—the kind of CEO ignorance that assumes anything he doesn’t already know isn’t important—and his foreign policy team consists of the dregs of the PNAC crowd, the people even the other neocon militarists thought were too stupid to pound sand or mentally unbalanced. That’s not an exaggeration. The only thing that amazes me is that Romney hasn’t made Doug “Fucking Stupidest Person on Earth” Feith part of his team yet.

    Yeah, I like the Democrats because they wage wars of aggression so much more competently than Republicans. [rolls eyes]

    In case you didn’t notice I was praising Biden.

    And in case you were wondering, I am indeed every bit as crazy as “a real firebagger.”

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    KXB says:

    @shortstop:

    While the sample size alone may not be reason enough to dismiss the poll, I am increasingly annoyed at how networks refuse to be upfront with how they conducted the polls, the geographic location of the people who answered, and for me – landline versus cellphone users.

    I live in Cook County, IL. If I poll 381 people in the Republican-leaning NW suburbs of Chicago, it may show either a slim Obama lead, or possibly even a slim Romney lead. If I go to Chicago, which is also in Cook County, and poll 381 people, it will show an overwhelming support for Obama.

    If Romney/Ryan improved their numbers in California, does it matter? Obama has California in the bag. Obama may do well in Houston and Dallas, but he will lose Texas big time.

    As others pointed out, when people vote for president, they are not voting as Americans. They are voting as people of Ohio, Colorado, Florida, etc. This attempt to draw a national trend on what is not a national election makes for good television, but make sure your campaign does not organize around it.

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    shortstop says:

    @Bobby Thomson: “Small and “large” being relative and dependent upon several other factors in the polling. The point is that there are polls of 400 people that are statistically valid as long as they’re otherwise conducted correctly. Again, I have no idea whether CNN’s was.

    @KXB: I share many of your annoyances — I think we would do well to ignore all polls in which methodology isn’t transparent and like virtually everyone else here I have little interest in national polls for presidential elections — but I was responding to your comment about the sampling size being automatically too small. That’s not necessarily the case.

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    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    I wonder if anyone else is amused by “Bobby Thomson” replying to “Shortstop”.

    Oh well probably just me.

    And no, I am not old enough to have seen him play, thank yew very much, just aware of baseball history. And I know Thompson had a p. And was an outfielder.

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    Rex Everything says:

    “Who won the debate? Billionaires, when Martha Radditz said SS and Medicare are going broke, and Biden didn’t argue.”
    —Jonathan Schwarz

    Whether you’re thinking pure strategy, or pure purity, Obama/Biden should be running on the very point they’re evading. And we should be doing all we can to make them. God damn it, the fact that Social Security has a multi-trillion dollar surplus is a winner for them everywhere outside the Village.

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    shortstop says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Never thought of that, but it’s making me smile now.

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    rda909 says:

    The start and end of this post highlight two major problems with the online progressives.

    1. Title: Politics and good government are not about your fragile fee-fees. It’s not President Obama’s job to delicately stroke your egos so you can “feel better” about whatever shiny object you determine is the be-all and end-all of the world this week. When he takes care of one, you immediately move the goalposts to another one anyway.

    2. “almost no daylight” huh? As others have pointed out above, this statement is ridiculous, and the willing ignorance of this fact really says a lot about those who keep preaching it, every single day.

    Would you online progressives just go start your vaunted 3rd party already?!? Not that it would ever happen, since it requires work and consensus to achieve, but the online progressive party (OPP, yeah, you know me) would be what, maybe 99% white? Okay, to be fair, it might be 98% white. As an Obamabot, I’d appreciate those who continually say these same things constantly would stop pretending to be Democrats, and sewing discontent within our ranks. Just leave, okay? We don’t want your support.

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    The Moar You Know says:

    I am also astounded at how big the far-right echo chamber is. If you don’t have a friend in this category, you should get one, because it will be an eye-opener.

    @dnfree: My mother’s in but not too deep, because, well, the president’s a Negro. But she’s a newb. Just pukes up Fox talking points, doesn’t think any of it through.

    Before the Dems committed the unpardonable sin of putting a black man in the White Man’s House, she was 100% Team Dem.

    My father in law, however, is a lifer and a pro-level winger. He assumed that because I own firearms and work in defense, that I was a fellow con. He never asked, and I didn’t want to get into it with him, so he put me on the email forwarding list and felt very comfortable telling me how good it was I had guns, as the Mexicans would be rising up to kill all the white people in a few more years (not kidding).

    My wife let slip a little while back that I was voting for Obama.

    Guess I’m off the email forwarding list now! Haven’t heard a peep from the guy in almost two months. He’d probably stroke out if he knew that I am way to the left of my wife and possibly the most left-wing person he’s ever met in real life.

    I feel bad for people like him and my mother, even though they are both voting for people who will gleefully rob both my wife and I of our futures. I feel bad because the world changed and they can’t even acknowledge it, much less deal with it.

    Their coping mechanism is the “echo chamber” and it is large, dark, and scary – and it is conducted entirely via email. We have blog sites, like this. They’ve had the email chains for a lot longer and it shows. That’s where the message discipline comes from. Where the emails originate is something I’ve wondered about for years.

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    gwangung says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    It’s not a misconception at all. The law of large numbers is the central assumption underpinning all public opinion polling.

    Yes, it is. You can get a statistically valid result with a small sample if the results are outside of three sigmas. That was hammered in all the stats courses I ever took.

    It just happens most results are never in that kind of territory…

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    1badbaba3 says:

    …almost no daylight…

    sigh

    I really fuckin’ love this place.

  81. 81
    Chris says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I feel bad for people like him and my mother, even though they are both voting for people who will gleefully rob both my wife and I of our futures. I feel bad because the world changed and they can’t even acknowledge it, much less deal with it.

    At the risk of being callous (I have family like this too), I don’t. Read a facebook update on a relative’s wall a while back complaining that anyone who upheld Christian ideals about sexual ethics (translation: anyone who doesn’t want gay people allowed to marry or women allowed reproductive health care) was on their way to being as marginalized and hated as white supremacists. All I could think was “good. That’s what you are.”

    Of course the world’s changed, it always changes. If your problem with the changes is that you’re no longer allowed to control the lives of your “inferiors” as you once did, you’re fucked in the head in a way that no shrink can address. And you richly deserve to be “marginalized” as such.

  82. 82
    quannlace says:

    What a hoot. So many ‘serioius’ pundits complaining about Biden laughing too much?
    And not a comment about Ryan’s constant expression. If ever I wished I could punch someone through a tv screen, it was Ryan’s condescending, smug little smirk.

  83. 83
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    These are the people who majored in Journalism and Radio/TV in college because it allowed them to hit every kegger. SATSQ

    They also live in the DC Village (or its NYC satellite) and regard politics as a parlour game, not something that affects people’s lives.

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    chris says:

    @The Red Pen: Posted to my facebook wall…hope u dont mind…

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    Sparrowgal says:

    @quannlace: I was intrigued by the Joe Patrice link posted above, and wanted to read more that he’s written recently. I thought that he nicely summed up the ‘substance’ vs. ‘tone’ debate raging in the media the day after the debate:

    The Dumbest Thing I Heard This Week — Joe Biden is a Meanie!

    I like this guy’s perspective, and will start to follow him on this site.

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    Pococurante says:

    My tea party acquaintances are completely offended at Biden’s behavior, and they are angry that he “lied and stammered”.

    There’s no getting through to some people and no reason to care.

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