Tonight’s Debate

As usual, we’ll shut down comments and do a live blog instead tonight. You know the drill, and it starts at 8:30 Eastern.

As for the debate itself, I have no fucking clue what will happen. Matt Taibbi had the best take on Romney’s current strategy last week, which is essentially that he’s now in the realm of the pure bullshit artist, saying anything that he thinks will get him elected. I expect him to trot out a new list of falsehoods that are jaw-dropping to anyone who knows anything about foreign policy, but sound plausible to low-information voters. After the first debate, Obama is probably ready for some shape shifting, but don’t expect a Candy Crowley-style instant fact check from genial old man Bob Schieffer, who is CBS’ version of Jim Lehrer. Obama’s best move will be to try to put Mitt off balance by attacking early and often.

Unfortunately for Romney, unless there’s some stylistic victory, on substance he’s got a real problem with foreign policy. Obama has some genuine successes he can point to. Romney’s stupidity has turned Benghazi into a minefield. On the rest of it, it’s hard for him to get to the right of the Obama Administration, for better or worse. And, I’m sorry to say, voters in a bad economy don’t give a shit about foreign policy.

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177 replies
  1. 1
    gene108 says:

    Keep mentioning Romney’s foreign policy team are the same Bushies, who got us into Iraq.

    Romney =< Bush, Jr.

  2. 2
    mai naem says:

    Bob Schieffer is good buddies with the Bushes, especially the elder Bush. His brother got appointed to some position in GW Bush’s admin. Not a good sign. I am hoping that Bill Clinton being a good friend of the elder Bush will help the situation. Also too, I hope Schieffer not wanting to be upstaged by Raddatz and Crowley will make him a fair moderator. It’s all about hope and change.

  3. 3
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Fox News is already flogging the claim that the Iranian government is cheering for Obama. I expect Romney to try to milk that as much as he can.

  4. 4
    Punchy says:

    He’s going to bang Benghazi like a cheap hooker. Meanwhile, most voters will go all “Ben-wut?”

  5. 5
    BudP says:

    Bad Foreign policy = Bad economy. Bush pissed away the surplus in Iraq.

  6. 6
    gogol's wife says:

    The front page of the NYTimes this morning has two items above the fold: Kennedyesque Romney in his touch-football ensemble, and “Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!” I truly do not understand what the Benghazi thing is all about. Since when has it been a sin not to know immediately exactly who is behind an act of terrorism in the Middle East? I don’t even get what they’re talking about. But of course it was the subject of the Public Editor’s column yesterday. “What did the administration know and when did they know it?” As if it were Watergate, for God’s sake.

  7. 7
    dr. bloor says:

    Forget the notion of Obama putting Rmoney away tonight. If Mitt stays on his feet and doesn’t drool, it will be declared a draw and the mediots will say that he looked sufficiently “presidential” to have the job.

  8. 8
    cmorenc says:

    @mai naem:

    Bob Schieffer is good buddies with the Bushes, especially the elder Bush. His brother got appointed to some position in GW Bush’s admin. Not a good sign. I am hoping that Bill Clinton being a good friend of the elder Bush will help the situation. Also too, I hope Schieffer not wanting to be upstaged by Raddatz and Crowley will make him a fair moderator.

    How is Bill Clinton being a friend of Bush the elder going to help persuade Bush the elder to influence Schieffer toward bringing a more fairly neutral mindset to the debate? IMHO Schieffer’s professional desire to be seen as an effectively tough, fair moderator more like Raddatz and Crowley and less like Lehrer is vastly stronger and more likely to influence his approach. He’s less likely to outright call bullshit on something Romney says and more likely to challenge Romney’s bullshit with the way he phrases a followup question IMHO.

  9. 9
    Rosalita says:

    Sort of on topic, but I had to share… I’m in CT and I saw the latest Linda McMahon commercial this morning: people all saying the are voting for Barack Obama and Linda McMahon. Seriously.

    File under #desparatetowinnomatterwhat

  10. 10
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    voters in a bad economy don’t give a shit about foreign policy

    American voters don’t give a shit about foreign policy period, and by foreign I mean outside the radius they have to drive.

  11. 11
    kdaug says:

    And, I’m sorry to say, voters in a bad economy don’t give a shit about foreign policy.

    They do if you tell them there’s another expensive war comming if you elect Romney. Toss in the likelihood of $10/gal gas, and you can wake up a chunk of the don’t-give-a-fucks.

  12. 12
    Xantar says:

    Ooh, I get to beat Schrödinger’s cat to it this time:

    When is Bernard Finel going to show up to tear out his hair?

  13. 13
    artem1s says:

    I’m betting he’s going to start up on the defense of Israel BS. I kind of think he blew his shot to make Benghazi a real issue by using it up in the first debate and then blowing the argument in the second.

    I suppose it’s too much to hope that he goes full metal apocalypse and starts quoting end-times scripture, try to pin down the President and shave is head to reveal the 666 mark, and then accuse Michelle of being the whore of Babylon? You know, all in the defense of Israel against the anti-Christ?

  14. 14
    GregB says:

    Jessh, it’s pathetic watching Chuck Todd desperately fishing for bad news, any bad news for President Obama in the polls.

  15. 15
    satch says:

    Of course voters in a bad economy don’t give a shit about foreign policy, but that doesn’t mean that Obama’s performance doesn’t matter. He still has to look strong and slap Romney’s punk ass down in real time when the bullshit starts to fly, no matter what the topic.

  16. 16
    General Stuck says:

    Obama’s best move will be to try to put Mitt off balance by attacking early and often.

    A few presidential finger wags and head shakes might just just flip Mitt’s lid, and voters can get a better look under all the bullshit, at the selfish, mean spirited, and spoiled rotten little shit they are toying with making president.

  17. 17
    Robin G. says:

    @gogol’s wife: The Benghazi thing is Romney’s “Obama Is Not One Of Us” whistle. He’s covering up for terrorists in the Middle East. Probably his old school mates and cousins are among them. He’s not really on America’s side.

  18. 18
    aimai says:

    @dr. bloor:

    Correct.

    aimai

  19. 19
    gene108 says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Democrats are weak on national defense and invite acts of terrorism against the USA by projecting an effeminate pusillanimous aura, because Democrats are supported by peace-nick dirty f’in hippies.

    The reaction to the Benghazi situation is like some deep ingrained reflex that assumes Democrats are weak and inviting acts of terrorism against the USA.

    Probably goes back to Vietnam and the Iran hostage crisis.

  20. 20
    aimai says:

    I want to add that I think Obama’s only hope with both the Press Corps and the voters is to force Romney into going all angry entitled asshole all over Obama–with the added danger that its unclear how “Imaginary Viewer President Obama” can react without tripping over other hidden bombs in the swing voter psyche. Romney is going to be coming down off a righteous rich boy high because of the times article and getting to go all touchy-footbally with the Amurkan people. One hopes he will be overconfident and overplay his hand because of his internal belief that Obama is sitting in Romney’s seat and is being disrespectful to Romney by pretending to be president while black.

    aimai

  21. 21
    GregB says:

    President Obama should cut the Benghazi attack short by saying we would rather fight them over there rather than fight them over here and it is important to support the President in times of war because if you attack the President you embolden the terrorists who are the worst of the worst bitter dead enders.

  22. 22
    catclub says:

    @gene108: Yeah, just think how many airplane terrorist attacks there would have been in 2001 if Gore had been elected. Also, there were more attacks on embassies during the Bush years than other years.

  23. 23
    Cassidy says:

    It’s been a little over a week, so I’m going to do some light spamming again. On Feb 2, 2013 I’ll be taking part in the Fight for Air Climb in Jacksonville, FL. My Firefighting class is required by our Chief to do a community service project to remind and reinforce the idea that Firefighters are public servants and role models; personally, I agree with that sentiment. I don’t have a eprsonal connection to lung cancer, or any cancer really, either than my continual struggle to quit smoking.

    So, your donation, if you’re willing, either contributes money to that particular cause or buys you a small piece of my misery. I’ll be climbing 42 stories up in full bunker gear and air pack (roughly 30lbs). If you can or feel like it, please donate. I’ve already met my goal thanks to two very generous individuals. At this point it’s become a bit of a competition between classmates (I’m 3rd place) and to see if we can get our team into 1st (currently 2nd).

  24. 24
    catclub says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):
    “the radius they have to drive”

    relevant to gas prices going up to $10 in next few posts!

  25. 25
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @gogol’s wife:
    1. What Robin G. said.
    2. They’re trying to gin up some kind of scandal, since the Obama administration has been unusually scandal-free thus far; it’s in the vein of Solyndra and Fast and Furious.
    3. Old Rovian strategy: turn your opponent’s greatest strength into a weakness, as with Kerry’s war record. Obama’s obviously superior to Romney on foreign policy, and has been perceived as such, so find some way to turn that upside down.

  26. 26
    KXB says:

    You cannot have a muscular foreign policy abroad while stripping the federal government of funding. If Romney wants the U.S. to take a leadership role, he will have to get the 1% to pay for it.

  27. 27
    Z. Mulls says:

    As I said in the last thread (and it’s more appropriate here), I think Obama should bang the Bengazi drum first and ram it over Romney’s head.

    1) Romney rushed to the cameras while a dangerous situation was still unfolding
    2) Romney made a stupid flub in debate #2 and won’t want to revisit it
    3) Issa released documents that endangered the lives of some Libya civilians friendly to the US
    4) CIA documents support the notion that *at the time* they thought the video *might* have been a factor, and the attack *might* have been somewhat spontaneous — in other words, there was conflicting information and they were sorting through it.

    Obama can wrap that all up in a “Republicans are reckless and jump to conclusions” tracing a line from Iraq yesterday and Iran tomorrow. Do you trust a Republican Romney administration to do the smart thing with Iran? It’s now a winning issue.

  28. 28
    Punchy says:

    Wow.

    TPM just put PA in “toss-up” catagory. Day’um.

  29. 29
    redshirt says:

    @GregB: Yes. I wish some Democrat would take this line of attack. I don’t like it, and Obama would never do it, but boy would it be sweet to shove all that Bush era fascist BS back in their face – concluding with a “If you hate America so much, why don’t you move to Honduras?”

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    @Z. Mulls:

    No, he’ll want to revisit it. He can’t leave the Benghazi thing on a defeat.

  31. 31
    Culture of Truth says:

    Romney could drop a lot of lies tonight, say, start out by saying the President has gone around apologizing for America, etc, but he doesn’t need to and I doubt he will.

    Instead, he will probably just say, all the foreign policy successes the President has had, he would have done exactly the same thing, but better, stronger, tougher, faster, –bascially a foreign policy six-million dollar man.

    It should be a successful debate for Romney, especially since the entire media establishment has decided the most important thing in US history lately has been the attack in Benghazi, and not, say, the deposition of the man behind the Lockerbie bombing.

  32. 32
    gelfling545 says:

    @Matt McIrvin: To be fair, I expect that nearly any government in the world would be cheering for Obama. The prospect of having to deal with Romney given his ignorance of foreign affairs, his lightning changes of position and his apparent need to prove his “masculinity” through blustering would be daunting to nation, friend or foe.

  33. 33
    Mark B. says:

    @Punchy: Nah, they moved Ohio from ‘toss-up’ to ‘leans Obama’. Frankly, I have a hard time believing it’s that close. Barring major shenanigans, Obama should win that state comfortably.

  34. 34
    some guy says:

    On the rest of it, it’s hard for him to get to the right of the Obama Administration, for better or worse.

    speaking truth to the BJ commentariat is no way to win friends and influence people, mistermix.

  35. 35
    Mark B. says:

    @Chris: Indeed. He’s somehow going to have to try and sell that Obama didn’t mean what he actually said while papering over that he tried to play a stupid word game in the last debate and got skunked.

  36. 36
    kd bart says:

    Keep mentioning Osama Ben Laden is Dead. What’s Mitt going to counteract that with?

  37. 37
    some guy says:

    @Mark B.:

    Obama should point blank just ask Mitt “Have you had a chance to read the transcripts of my Rose Garden speech yet?”

  38. 38
    rlrr says:

    @kd bart:

    If Mitt were President, he’d be even deader.

  39. 39
    Mark B. says:

    Romney’s big advantage is that he has absolutely no experience or record of foreign policy so he can sell whatever bullshit he wants to to the suckers that make up his base, and there will be no facts to contradict what he says. On the other hand, Obama’s been president for four years, and there have been failures and successes in his foreign policy. All Romney has to do is harp on the things that have gone wrong and say he can summon unicorns from his butt and his supporters will cheer.

    Obama needs to point out that Romney’s foreign policy team is the same people who screwed up the world during the Bush years.

  40. 40
    Culture of Truth says:

    The important point is not that bin Laden is dead, it’s that Romney would not have moved heaven and earth to get bin Laden. That statement shows he is weak and it gave comfort to al-qaeda.

    also, too, Lockerbie.

  41. 41
    Sly says:

    Obama has some genuine successes he can point to.

    In fact, if he pulls out a photo of Bin Laden with a gunshot wound in his forehead, he can literally point to it.

  42. 42
    Cacti says:

    What will happen…

    Mitt will dog whistle like crazy that “Obama is a Muslin!”

  43. 43
    General Stuck says:

    @rlrr:

    If Mitt were President, he’d be even deader.

    Teehee. Thread winner!

  44. 44
    Culture of Truth says:

    “not worth moving heaven and earth. you said that. As I said last week, and I probably will again tonight, ‘check the transcript’.”

  45. 45
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Punchy: Ben Ghazi? Wasn’t he in that movie, with Patrick Swayze about a night club bouncer? :0)

  46. 46
    EriktheRed says:

    And, I’m sorry to say, voters in a bad economy don’t give a shit about foreign policy.

    I’d say that’s more a plus than a minus for the Prez.

  47. 47
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Punchy: TPM has become a joke. I’m not sure why people visit that site now.

  48. 48
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Xantar: Well done! I predict he will be here before noon.

    P.S. If you check out his blog, you will realize that he has no hair left to tear out, it will be invisible hair, then.

  49. 49
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Seriously though, whenever any one says Bengazi, it makes me think of Star Trek. I am not sure why.

  50. 50
    agrippa says:

    I vote today; I am doing my civic duty.

    Having already voted, Romney cannot convince me of anything.

    I hope that he is very silly and makes a fool of himself.

  51. 51
    Schlemizel says:

    Bob Schieffer, who is CBS’ version of Jim Lehrer

    I don’t think much of Lehrer but thats pretty low. No sense insulting the poor guy by comparing him to Schieffer.

  52. 52
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Matt Welch@Reason on MSNBC just a few ago regarding Rmoney jumping the gun on the murders in Libya:

    ‘We’ve processed that and have moved on.’

    Fucking glib asshole.

    Rinse PRBus RE President: ‘Come clean to the American people about Libya.’

    Rinse’s PR Bus is piloting the RNC clown car.

  53. 53
    Schlemizel says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    I have been doing it out of habit for some time now but made the “mistake” of asking myself why the other day. I have not thought of a reason yet so I guess I have to break the habit. Its a shame to see a formally good site go bad. There are worse examples but this one had so much going for it.

  54. 54
    kd bart says:

    @Punchy:

    Every poll in the last 10 days that TPM cites shows Obama with at least a 4 point lead but one Republican poll that shows Romney with a 4 point lead. Based on this one poll factoring into their average, it brings it down to barely a tossup, 2% Obama lead, at TPM.

  55. 55
    Ash Can says:

    Personally, I’d love to see Obama do all sorts of heavy-duty bragging about his foreign policy record, beginning with Hillary Clinton (his ability to immediately move beyond the rancor of the primaries, identify her as someone able to do the same and as someone capable and respected abroad, and his subsequent appointment of her as SoS). He can move from there to the Nobel Peace Prize, which was more than anything a recognition by the international community of the US rejoining the ranks of responsible international citizens. And then there’s icing bin Laden, getting out of Iraq, winning the sympathy of the Libyan people, etc.

    And then, by heaven, compare every single one of these accomplishments to his opponents’ constant fuck-ups. Hammer home the fact that Republicans can’t take step one beyond the borders of this nation without getting their feet covered in shit — and use as a prime example Romney insulting his hosts the moment he first opens his mouth abroad. Republicans haven’t been reliably competent in international relations for a couple of generations now, and Obama shouldn’t be afraid to say so tonight, early and often.

  56. 56
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @some guy: I don’t think it’s accurate to use the term “right,” though. Humanitarian intervention is what liberal hawks do. Sometimes it leads to disaster, as for instance when Kenneth Pollack justifies the Iraq war with humanitarian rhetoric. But not all hawkish foreign policy is “right.” I’d say, contra mistermix in the OP, that it’s hard for Romney to get more _hawkish_ than Obama, at least without provoking memories of Bush.

  57. 57
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @gelfling545: Of course! Unfortunately, about half of the US believes that the essence of foreign policy is that (1) America is encircled by enemies, and (2) the behavior of a strong leader is to antagonize those enemies as much as possible.

    The US may be war-weary; the question is whether that war-weariness actually leads to something other than a taste for quien-es-mas-macho posturing, which Romney can do at no cost to himself just by repeating stock phrases, since he’s not actually the President. I’m actually a little worried just because it seems to me that the wars have reduced public salience these days, which drives us to revert to our default attitudes.

  58. 58
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @kd bart: I don’t get WTF they do to create their averages.

  59. 59
    General Stuck says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    I think TPM is great, and is my mainstay for news with a leftward slant. It is not a left wing blog, and doesn’t try to be. They make mistakes, and sometimes say stupid shit. But then so do I. Keeping journo standards and with an ideological bent is not an easy maneuver.

  60. 60
    DCLaw1 says:

    Sorry if this has been said already – haven’t read through all the comments thus far yet. I see a big opportunity for Obama to remind folks of the disastrous Bush admin, while also reminding everyone about his own record of good judgment, with the following simple rhetorical sequence in response to a question about What to do About Iran:

    Today we’re seeing the Republicans talk about Iran the same way they talked about Iraq back in 2002 – saber rattling and threats with no discussion about the consequences of war. Back then, I opposed the invasion of Iraq because I saw it as unnecessary to our security and likely to embroil us in a protracted, bloody, and hugely expensive quagmire, which it did. Now we’ve got Gov. Romney here making the same kinds of saber rattling threats with regard to Iran. If he takes the presidency [deliberate choice of phrasing], we’ll have Bush foreign policy on steroids. I don’t think the American people want to go back, they want to move forward – move forward with the steady, good judgment I’ve exhibited throughout my presidency and as a senator.

  61. 61
    shortstop says:

    Also, there is football, and, for those of us with more discerning tastes, beisbol. So I’m thinking this debate won’t get anywhere the viewership of the last two.

  62. 62
    The Moar You Know says:

    As if it were Watergate, for God’s sake.

    @gogol’s wife: Slaughtergate.

    Told an old friend of mine who is on Facebook claiming to be “undecided, you guys convince me” (he’ll vote Romney but all his friend are Obama voters and I’m thinking he doesn’t want to look bad) that if he’s still undecided after seeing the way these two men have comported themselves, that he has no fucking business voting.

    He did not like that reply.

  63. 63
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @DCLaw1: And of course Biden made that point against Ryan: in essence, “Oh, so you want more wars? If not, what do you want? I’ll bet it’s something we’re already doing.”

  64. 64
    DCLaw1 says:

    @Robin G.: Of course.

  65. 65
    nemesis says:

    A President Romney doesnt need to know foreign policy. Thats what AIPAC is for.

  66. 66
    Michael says:

    @Punchy:

    They needed to replace Ohio (which they today moved from toss up to Leans Obama) with something so that they could flog the horse race. PA is not a toss up, they need to generate that ad revenue. Obama wins OH, he definitely wins PA.

    TPM will be up with a story soon saying that Rmoney is going to move staff to PA and make a run at PA. Same story as 4 years ago when the story was that McCain was making a run at PA.

    Whip that horse race, generate page clicks, rinse and repeat.

  67. 67
    Cassidy says:

    @The Moar You Know: I’ve turned to encouraging everyone to “vote their conscience” and vote for Johnson. Part of me should feel bad for that, I think.

  68. 68
    DCLaw1 says:

    @FlipYrWhig: It’s a winner.

  69. 69
    Punchy says:

    @Punchy: OK, they fixed that now.

  70. 70
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @General Stuck: TPM is a good site in many ways, but lately they’ve become almost a caricature of liberal bed-wetting on polls. Every shockingly pro-Romney poll that comes out gets headline treatment on their news wire; the most shockingly pro-Romney ones get worried squibs from Josh Marshall, and the rest of them are mostly ignored. At one point the screaming giant headline article had “Who is winning the early vote?” above a big picture of Romney, even though the actual article was much more ambiguous (and noted that Obama is well in the lead, though behind his relative standing in 2008).

    If you only read TPM’s front page you’d think Romney is headed for a landslide, just as if you only read conservative blogs.

  71. 71
    some guy says:

    so sorry, but Ken Pollack is NOT a liberal, by any stretch of the imagination, but I think you are correct (not gonna say right, not gonna say it) that considering Obama’s foreign policy it will be very difficult to get to the “right” of that.

    Drones and Secret Kill Lists
    Aiding Al Qaeda in Libya
    Allowing Saudi and Qatari funding of the Salafi’s in Syria
    Looking the other way while the West Bank is colonized further

    does Obama have ANY liberal foreign policy accomplishments Mittens can bash him for?

  72. 72
    The Moar You Know says:

    don’t expect a Candy Crowley-style instant fact check from genial old man Bob Schieffer, who is CBS’ version of Jim Lehrer.

    I don’t. Unlike Lehrer, Schieffer is a full-throttle GOP partisan who bent over backwards not only for the Bushes, but for McCain as well. A lot of people have forgotten that piece of performance art by “genial old man” Bob Schieffer. I expect him to give the shaft to Obama early and often, and to hand Romney this debate on a silver platter.

    Why on Earth Team Obama consented to have a debate with this pusillanimous old jerk as the moderator after his behavior the last time, I have no idea.

  73. 73
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Michael:

    Whip that horse race,

    Whoop that trick, hit ’em.

  74. 74
    flukebucket says:

    No matter what happens tonight after it is over the MARGINS WILL BE RAZOR THIN!

    Can’t wait to hear Stephanopolous say that on Good Morning America tomorrow.

    Your Voice. Your Vote. LOL!

  75. 75
    dmsilev says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I dunno. TPM is certainly guilty of clickbait headlining, but it’s not necessarily tilted towards Romney. From just now:

    TPM Electoral Scoreboard moves to Obama 271, Romney 199 as Ohio moves from Toss Up to Leans Obama.

    (on the strength of this morning’s Quinnipiac poll showing Obama up 5 in Ohio).

  76. 76
    scav says:

    @The Moar You Know: At this pont, announcing publically that you’re an undecided voter is putting on fuck-me boots and strolling out for a slow kerb crawl: aka a desparate cry for abject attention and pandering.

  77. 77
    Mark B. says:

    @The Moar You Know: Isn’t Schieffer the guy who has business connections with the Bush family. Isn’t that much more significant than attending some wedding 20 years ago?

  78. 78
    Redshift says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I think it’s just a straight-up average of polls (not sure how far back they include them, though.) That has the simplicity of not requiring any judgment calls on partisan lean, but it makes it basically a description of the latest polls, not an analysis of them. As a result, any time it shows something surprising, I go over to 538 to find out what’s really going on.

  79. 79
    rlrr says:

    @Mark B.:

    Yes, but it’s OK if you’re a Republican.

  80. 80
    Mark S. says:

    How dare you question Governor Romney’s military service?

  81. 81

    @dr. bloor:

    the mediots will say that he looked sufficiently “presidential” to have the job.

    This. Low-info voters been ‘imprinted’ with Romney’s CEO Looks, like freshly-hatched baby ducks. He’s their default setting for President.

    And the MSM folks are more than happy to help.

    Those who have gods to pray to, pray for some colossal Romney gaffe or screwup that can’t be spun away. Obama needs it.

  82. 82
    shortstop says:

    @The Moar You Know: Good for you. It’s bad enough that these tools won’t own their own toolery; they expect us to waste our valuable time making arguments that fall on deaf ears, as though they had no other way of getting information. It’s all, me, me, me with these jerks.

    And now to make it all about me: I haz a combination sad/impulse to vomit after discovering this morning on FB that a very bad boy with whom I engaged in some moderately bad behavior during my misspent girlhood is now…a Romney supporter. I really don’t care what these idiots do with their middle age, but must they destroy my beautiful memories like this?

  83. 83
    Redshift says:

    @General Stuck: I don’t enjoy TPM as much as I used to, but it’s not bad. The reporting is usually pretty good, but the headline writing has gotten atrocious.

  84. 84
    Dave says:

    @some guy: Are you kidding? Romney will run to Obama’s left on a couple of these and then have Gillespie walk it back after the debate. Just like he did with pre-existing conditions for health care in the first debate. It’s all about telling people what they want to hear.

  85. 85
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @some guy: Not that Wikipedia is definitive, but check out this article on Liberal Hawks. Getting involved in Libya is a classic case of liberal hawk-dom. All the wars under Bill Clinton fit the template. You, or I, or anyone else, can disagree with the decisions that led to those wars and find them stupid, unconscionable, or both. But they’re just not right-wing.

  86. 86
    Ash Can says:

    @Cassidy:

    I’ve turned to encouraging everyone to “vote their conscience” and vote for Johnson. Part of me should feel bad for that, I think.

    You shouldn’t feel bad for that at all. You make your point positively and politely, they feel better about their own personal vote, and they don’t make anyone else suffer from their bad judgment. Everybody wins.

  87. 87
    GregB says:

    I have big hopes that President Obama is going to get Romney to explode or snap.

    He’s a brittle CEO who’s used to everyone telling him how great he is.

    Obama’s been called Hitler for 4 years now and hasn’t lashed out called anyone a fuckface yet.

    Advantage Obama.

  88. 88
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Dave: No way Romney moves in a dovish direction on any of those, or anything else. His whole case on foreign policy is that Obama is too soft and deferential and that he, Romney, will never apologize for American greatness. He’ll probably bust out the “double Guantanamo” slogan all over again.

  89. 89
    DCLaw1 says:

    Bottom line for this debate is that, on substance, Obama has the easily winning hand. He should focus on delivery, comebacks, and ways to press the attack/challenge bullshit. With substance in his corner, and the media being what it is, the coverage will obsess over the “optics,” so Obama needs to bring more of what he brought to the second debate.

  90. 90
    Face says:

    Could THIS be the whitey tape?

    Anyone else think that Trump really is a Dem, and running the best rat-fucking campaign for Repubs that the world has ever seen?

  91. 91
    DCLaw1 says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God: Are you under the impression that Obama is losing?

  92. 92
    some guy says:

    Kenneth Michael Pollack, PhD (born 1966), is a noted former CIA intelligence analyst and expert on Middle East politics and military affairs. He has served on the National Security Council staff and has written several articles and books on international relations.
    Pollack obtained a BA from Yale University, in 1988, and went on to earn a PhD from MIT in 1996. He has served in a variety of roles in government. From 1988 until 1995, he was analyst on Iraqi and Iranian military issues for the Central Intelligence Agency. He spent a year as Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs with the United States National Security Council. In 1999, he rejoined the NSC as the Director for Persian Gulf Affairs. He also served two stints as a professor with the National Defense University.

    Outside of government, he worked for the Brookings Institution as the director of research at its Saban Center for Middle East Policy. He previously worked for the Council of Foreign Relations as their director of national security studies.

    A U.S. government indictment alleges that Pollack provided information to former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) employees Steve J. Rosen and Keith Weissman during the AIPAC espionage scandal. In April 2009, the indictment was dropped.

    What part of “Ken Pollack is NOT a liberal” is unclear to you?

  93. 93
    Redshift says:

    @scav: I heard on Stephanie Miller that the woman who asked the “binders full of women” debate question was on Fox claiming she was still undecided. My first thought was “Does Fox pay guests?” I could imagine it being a pretty good gig, if you’re an attention whore, especially after you’ve managed to get on teevee the first time.

  94. 94
    General Stuck says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    TPM is a good site in many ways, but lately they’ve become almost a caricature of liberal bed-wetting on polls.

    This is true, and they are not alone doing this. There is a tension with every for profit pol news operation to compete for viewers and clicks to stay in business. It is a sign of the times imo, and part of the info landscape, I just ignore it, mostly, and get what I need from the substance of the reporting events as they occur. TPM isn’t perfect in this, but they are the only ones that do this service for dems on a larger scale. Political Wire is my other mainstay, but it is limited in size, and Taegan is worse than TPM with the poll mania and hyperbolic headlines.

  95. 95
    NotMax says:

    Foreign policy?

    Romney self-painted into the corner of being a Muppet with BOTH Adelson’s and Natnayahu’s hands stuck up his butt.

  96. 96
    Redshift says:

    I’m hoping Romney talks about the Arab Spring being a “problem,” like he did on his Israel visit, and gets asked to explain that. He sort of hinted at it in the last debate, but it wasn’t prominent enough to really notice.

  97. 97
    Soylent Green says:

    Obama will have to mouth all of the usual pieties about America’s unshakable loyalty to Israel. Cue leftist outrage.

  98. 98
    Ash Can says:

    @Face: Damn, I can’t wait to hear what that is. I hope he gets lots of coverage and hype in the meantime, but I have the feeling that even the biggest toadies among the kewl kidz of the press are starting to see him as the ass he is.

  99. 99
    Redshift says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Romney could drop a lot of lies tonight, say, start out by saying the President has gone around apologizing for America, etc, but he doesn’t need to and I doubt he will.

    Romney actually mentioned the “apology tour” in the last debate. It was in one of his particularly frantic Gish Gallop bits, when he seemed to be more concerned with making sure every right wing talking got mentioned than with making any coherent point, but it was there.

  100. 100
    Hill Dweller says:

    OT: The wingnut VA AG is refusing to investigate the RNC connected guy who was caught dumping Dem registration forms.

  101. 101
    Ash Can says:

    @Soylent Green: Oh, of course. He’ll also talk way tougher about Iran than any of us here would like. The rhetoric is unavoidable; the thing is that we can’t let it distract us from the bigger picture of what the Obama Administration is actually doing abroad, and what the likely consequences of this election would be.

  102. 102
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    What Obama needs to do is point out that Mittens has no foreign policy experience, no foreign policy team and no actual foreign policy. Are incompetent nonentities like Fehrnstrom really going to get promotions, would Sunday-show bullshitters like Huckleberry Graham get the nod, or are we going to see a bunch of Bush retreads like Bolton, with policy set by the Weekly Standard?

    (Seriously, with Bush we knew who his for-pol people would be, even if they were fuckers. I have absolutely no sense of who Mittens would tap for State or NSA.)

  103. 103
    BudP says:

    Halperin’s grades are in re: killing Bin Laden.

    Obama : B-
    RMoney : B+

  104. 104
    Cassidy says:

    @shortstop: It’s funny you mention that as I’m sitting here in my office, doing spreadsheets, and rockin’ out to Social Distortion. Even us punks got to grow up. lol

  105. 105
    Hill Dweller says:

    Obama should also point out that Willard’s FP team is almost entirely made up of guys Dubya let go before bringing in people like Gates. You’ve got to be a f’up if Dubya thought you were a liability.

  106. 106
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Face: He isn’t a Dem, but he would claim exactly what you said if he thought it would benefit him in any way. Trump is for Trump, plain and simple. Life is one big publicity stunt, and he has no regard for who it hurts or how many it hurts as long as it’s going to get him ahead.

  107. 107
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @DCLaw1: I think Obama is winning, but I also think that every time he debates Mitt Romney, there is a white man standing next to a black man on the same screen, and because of that he’s starting with an immediate disadvantage.

    With McCain it didn’t matter much, because McCain’s performances were so disastrously bad, because extraneous events were pushing heavily in Obama’s direction, and because McCain was much less physically attractive than Obama. Romney can actually perform competently some of the time, and he’s good-looking in a Ward Cleaver kind of way.

    So Obama just has much less margin for error. The second debate helped him, but less than the first debate hurt him, even though Romney melted down far more spectacularly. Every appearance together with Romney is a huge risk.

  108. 108
    burnspbesq says:

    DougJ:

    And, I’m sorry to say, voters in a bad economy don’t give a shit about foreign policy.

    Do they care about the economy? Krugman noted that David Dayan counted the number of questions about the deficit posed by the supposedly undecided voters who participated in the second debate. The number is zero.

    One is left wondering if anything other than tribalism determines voter behavior.

  109. 109
    Ash Can says:

    @Hill Dweller: This doesn’t let the guy(s) off the hook, though, does it? Aren’t the feds already involved? Is this moot?

  110. 110
    General Stuck says:

    Congressman Idiot continues with his outreach to female voters.

    Rep. Todd Akin (R) said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has fetched expansive government policies “like a dog” during her tenure in Washington, PoliticMO reports.

    Said Akin: “She goes to Washington, D.C., it’s a little bit like one of those dogs, ‘fetch.’ She goes to Washington, D.C., and get all of these taxes and red tape and bureaucracy and executive orders and agencies and brings all of this stuff and dumps it on us in Missouri.”

  111. 111
    scav says:

    @Redshift: it’s also low rent contrarianism, a chance to “prooooove” to yourself and others that you’re not only more discerning and picky and that your vote is of greater impotance than everyone else’s. Works on multiple scales, including the vast stage of the inward ego. Getting your 15 seconds and 15 cents per blog troll is icing.

  112. 112
    Lurking Canadian says:

    I continue to be baffled by the media spin around this election. As far as I can tell, Romney has never led. Not once. Looking at Nate Silver’s head-to-head plot, even Romney’s admittedly meteoric ascent after the first debate only got him from “next Mondale” territory to “next McCain”.

    I am convinced in my bones that if the roles were reversed and it was Obama who had trailed since January, the media would be all about “Romney has this in the bag”, “Stick a fork in Obama”, “No point even voting”, no matter how close it got in the last two weeks.

    Instead, it’s Romney who has trailed since January, and yet the media is still all about “Romney has this in the bag”, “Stick a fork in Obama”, “No point even voting”…

    I knew a high-school basketball coach, who used to say, loud enough so the whole gym could hear, when he thought the officiating was biased, “OK guys, seven on five tonight. That’s OK, we can win this even at seven on five”. That’s Obama. He’s winning this thing, even at seven on five.

  113. 113
    shortstop says:

    @Cassidy: Nothing wrong with growing up, but there’s no excuse for turning winger. I mean this guy was…he was…well, it’s just hard to take in.

    Friend of mine carried a torch for years for a high-school girlfriend. She looked him up on FB in 2008; when he saw the photos of her smiling broadly next to Sarah Palin, he felt like he’d had a cold shower. That’s one way to cure a lingering longing.

  114. 114
    Z. Mulls says:

    TPM is probably bending over backwards to read the polls as fairly as they can, since they have an admitted bias. So they are probably accepting into the mix Romney-friendly polls. But clearly they are happy when they can move OH back into the “likely Dem” column.

    As for PA, I’d like to think it was no contest, but Ann Romney and Paul Ryan both suddenly showed up last week, so there must be some movement in the internals. And Bob Casey’s strategy of keeping his head down and winning seems to be biting him in the ass. The challenger has been advertising relentlessly and the gap has closed. I can’t imagine a Casey losing PA, but I couldn’t imagine Pat Toomey being elected Senator, either.

    And it looks like I’m stuck with Meehan as my congressman, since the Corbett gerrymandering success.

  115. 115
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @burnspbesq: The deficit and the economy are not the same thing, though there’s been a maddening Serious Centrist pundit industry built around conflating the two (and right-wingnuts transform this into a conviction that Obama is destroying the economy with deficits). They asked about jobs; that’s concern for the economy in my book.

  116. 116
    Mark S. says:

    DougJ Alert! DougJ Alert!
    (flashing Drudge sirens)

    Revenge of the Soccer Moms: Why Are Women Abandoning Obama?

    To find out, our intrepid reporter travels to

    Chantilly, which sits on the border between Loudoun and Fairfax counties — the No. 1 and No. 2 wealthiest counties in America respectively, with median household incomes well over $100,000

    and finds out that women in the top 1% prefer Mitt Romney’s tax proposals!

    “This is going to sound totally selfish, but I think people should not be penalized for being monetarily successful,” said Eileen B., a blonde 51-year-old with reading glasses perched on her head and a sweater draped over her shoulders. “We are in the top tax bracket, and we pick up the slack for the rest of the people.”

    I’d read on, but my brains are leaking out my ears.

  117. 117
    gene108 says:

    @catclub:

    Yeah, just think how many airplane terrorist attacks there would have been in 2001 if Gore had been elected. Also, there were more attacks on embassies during the Bush years than other years.

    Those embassy attacks didn’t get much attention during the Bush, jr. years, because of all the American military units getting hammered in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I don’t know what has to happen to get the narrative from the 70’s and 80’s changed about, which party is strong on defense.

    I guess offing bin Laden isn’t nearly enough.

  118. 118
    shortstop says:

    @burnspbesq: The deficit and the economy are not interchangeable terms except to Republicans.

  119. 119
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Z. Mulls: Accepting the Romney-friendly polls into the mix is fine; Nate Silver and Sam Wang do that too.

    But they have a somewhat better perspective about what these polls mean. TPM seems to get far too frightened by outliers in the wrong direction. I think it’s just lower general numeracy.

  120. 120
    NotMax says:

    @pseudonymous in nc

    BIG grain of salt (Washington Times link), but some chatter about just that here. Names conspicuously absent include Dan Senor, Bob Zoellick, Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, and anyone named Cheney, among others.

    And some more info here as well.

    See also this slightly older but still relevant Foreign Policy article about the cohort of Bush-Cheney advisers to Romney’s campaign for some more names to watch for.

  121. 121
    Chris says:

    @some guy:

    It doesn’t matter what Obama’s done. He’ll simply be attacked as if he hadn’t done it, if not by Romney (who won’t want to be humiliated on national TV again by a fact-check) then by Fox & co.

    When we say that conservatives have an alternate universe of facts, that includes their opponent. In their world, Fast And Furious, Solyndra and ACORN were never disproven and continue to be gospel writ. Similarly, in their world, Obama is soft on illegal immigration (despite having deported more than any previous president), is running away from battle with al-Qaeda (despite carpet-droning the crap out of the AfPak region), is soft on Iran (despite having explicitly taken deterrence off the table), and is abandoning Israel (despite the fact that the aid is still flowing, the West Bank is still being colonized, etc).

  122. 122
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mark S.: I wonder if they asked any of the Middle Eastern and Vietnamese immigrants in my old neighborhood, instead of the people who own horses.

  123. 123
    NotMax says:

    Messed up that 2nd link comment #119.

    Should be as follows:

    And some more info here as well.

  124. 124
    Cassidy says:

    @shortstop: I wasn’t saying that becoming conservative is part of growing up. I just thought the timing was funny. Twenty years ago it was combat boots, spiky hair and whatever smelled semi-clean. Now, it’s work clothes, making sure I wash my work clothes the night before, collared tees, and going to bed by 10 PM. Just funny.

  125. 125
    shortstop says:

    @scav: My father-in-law doesn’t advertise the fact that he’s an “undecided” (with a superglue attachment to the GOP). However, when asked, and only when asked, he loves to preen over his lack of “credulous partisanship” and his allegedly superior BS detector, which tells him that all politicians are worthless liars in the same way and to the same degree. Only difference between him and Moar’s pal is that he’s not trolling for attention all day long.

  126. 126
    shortstop says:

    @Cassidy: Oh, I know. I just wanted to bitch a little more about this fun guy gone wrong. The humanity!

  127. 127
    The Moar You Know says:

    Do they care about the economy? Krugman noted that David Dayan counted the number of questions about the deficit posed by the supposedly undecided voters who participated in the second debate. The number is zero.

    @burnspbesq: They care about the economy in the sense that they like having jobs and a paycheck, and would like the goddamned unemployment rate to go down so they can leave this fucked up hellhole that I’ve been working in for almost a decade and go do something else before I…

    Sorry, you get my point. Voters don’t give a shit about the deficit because it’s not a real problem, it’s a made-up problem being exploited for Republican gains. The GOP certainly doesn’t give a shit about the deficit, never has.

    Voters also know that you don’t start paying down a deficit in the middle of an economic recession. Everyone knows that, even the wingnuttiest of the wingnuts, and that’s why you didn’t hear any questions about it. And won’t.

  128. 128
    Cassidy says:

    well, it’s just hard to take in.

    That’s what she said….sorry. Couldn’t pass that one up.

  129. 129
    DCLaw1 says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I think Obama is winning, but I also think that every time he debates Mitt Romney, there is a white man standing next to a black man on the same screen, and because of that he’s starting with an immediate disadvantage.

    I don’t think this dynamic is innate, but rather a consequence of the narrative spun by Obama’s absentee performance in the first debate. I say “narrative” because I don’t subscribe to the notion that his performance is much of the reason for his fall in the polls. I think his lackluster performance merely hastened a return to the mean, the place where the “fundamentals” had been predicting the race would be.

    Even with a stronger performance from O, I think the polls would have slid to where they are now, but perhaps more slowly. And now, with the polls reflecting pretty much the state of the race we expected from the start, there’s not much room for O to take the illusory commanding lead he had in late September. But the consequence of all this is the impression – false, in my view – that the debates inherently benefit Romney or at least present outsized risks to Obama. The racial angle is a handy way to explain why this would be the case, but if the fundamentals of the election provided for a wider O lead, we would all likely be talking about Obama’s preternatural rhetorical skills, and Romney’s hapless awkwardness, instead.

    Just my take.

  130. 130

    @DCLaw1:
    Yes. He’s losing.

    Remember, only Democrats actually have to earn the most votes to win an election. For Republicans, it just needs to be close enough in the states with GOP-leaning election officials and courts for them to steal (either procedurally, or outright).

    This is currently the case.

    FL is gone (thanks to Paul Ryan’s mom). Northern VA voters, apparently seduced by promises of Romney spending being good for their govt careers, are moving to Romney, so VA is probably gone too. So Obama needs margins over 5% in OH, PA, NV and CO going in.

    I remember some polls having Kerry up by 2-3 points in Ohio (and even closer in CO) the day before the 2004 election, so there was some expectation that he might pull it through. Then Bush “won” it. Kerry’s campaign died in Ohio.

    Oh, BTW, guess who owns a stake in the OH voting machines?

    I hope the Obama team is better prepared for the post-election fight that Gore or Kerry were.

  131. 131
    lacp says:

    @Z. Mulls: You got Meehan? One of the perils of living in Delco.

  132. 132
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @burnspbesq:

    One is left wondering if anything other than tribalism determines voter behavior.

    No. Voting behavior is 95% pure tribalism. What “the issues of the day” determine is turnout, i.e. which tribe is feeling discouraged and which tribe is feeling a surge of enthusiam. The rest of it is bullshit for the chattering classes to yammer on about.

  133. 133
  134. 134
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @gene108:

    I don’t know what has to happen to get the narrative from the 70’s and 80’s changed about, which party is strong on defense.

    The moral arc of the universe is long and it bends one obituary at a time. In other words, all of the reporters, pundits and media types who were alive during that era have to die off first. In case you haven’t noticed, our news media is more of a gerontocracy than the Chernenko-era Soviet Politburo. Case in point: tonight’s moderator.

  135. 135
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God: Some polls, yes. Sam Wang’s state poll aggregation in 2004 was dead on with the EV count, though: he only thought Kerry would win because of an additional, bad assumption that undecideds would break for Kerry. I think the election process was corrupted in Ohio, but it wasn’t a several-point discrepancy.

    Now, I admit, the vote suppression efforts have been much, much more aggressive this year, and I agree that Obama should be prepared for a post-election fight (whether he wins the election-night count or not). The question is whether that’s enough to swing it. I think that even if the Pennsylvania photo ID law had been upheld, it would only have been worth a couple of points in margin.

  136. 136
    DCLaw1 says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God: Ok, I see why you think he’s losing. I suppose I would too if I thought Obama needed to win swing states by more than 5%. Suffice to say, I don’t share that view.

  137. 137
    shortstop says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God:

    So Obama needs margins over 5% in OH, PA, NV and CO going in.

    To make you less nervous, yes. To win the election, not so much.

  138. 138
    Redshift says:

    @Mark S.: Reminds me of the entirely predictable articles that used to appear about once a year in some local paper or news outlet, where a reporter would go talk to the students who were hanging out in the parking lot during classes, and breathlessly report that they’d been told that most students did drugs and skipped classes.

    Chantilly, which sits on the border between Loudoun and Fairfax counties—the No. 1 and No. 2 wealthiest counties in America respectively, with median household incomes well over $100,000

    (And even so, Obama is going to win Fairfax by big margins. I haven’t heard anything specific about Loudoun, but I believe he won it in 2008.)

  139. 139
    Mnemosyne says:

    @shortstop:

    This is why I am not on Facebook. No one from high school knows where I am, I don’t know where they are, and that’s the way we like it.

    (Though I did get back in touch with at least a couple of people a few years ago and discovered that I’m to the right of at least one high school friend, who does a lot of protesting in Chicago.)

  140. 140

    @Matt McIrvin:

    the vote suppression efforts have been much, much more aggressive this year, and I agree that Obama should be prepared for a post-election fight (whether he wins the election-night count or not).

    I’ve heard no less than three ‘we might not know the victor on election night’ stories from MSM in the past 48 hours.

    We’re being prepped for recounts and Brooks Brothers’ riots.

    @DCLaw1:
    I would love to be proven wrong, trust me.

  141. 141
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: It is a little reminiscent of the beginning of Star Trek VI…

  142. 142
    Chris says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    The question is whether that’s enough to swing it.

    Haven’t those suppression laws been getting shot down like ducks, though?

  143. 143
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Punchy: Yeah, TPM is pretty fucking stupid.

  144. 144
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @flukebucket: Ees wafer theen!

  145. 145
    1badbaba3 says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God: Obama is not just any Democrat. Obama is not Carter, or Gore, or Kerry. He is so much better. And he really shouldn’t have to prove it to anyone after what he has accomplished.

  146. 146
    shortstop says:

    @Mnemosyne: Meh. I’m not going to let the evident intellectual dissipation and moral decrepitude of one college flame stop me from enjoying FB interactions with many, many bright, entertaining and non-insane people.

  147. 147
    ericblair says:

    @Redshift:

    (And even so, Obama is going to win Fairfax by big margins. I haven’t heard anything specific about Loudoun, but I believe he won it in 2008.)

    I don’t have the numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he lost Loudoun or it was pretty close. That’s where the blue from Arlington and Alexandria really started to get purplish-red on out into the Virginia sticks. Chantilly’s out on the edge of the divide between suburbs and exurbs, and has got a lot of money (mostly directly or indirectly from the eebil non-job-creating Gummint, but nevermind).

    NoVA as a whole is going to go Dem, and Tidewater; it’s a matter of whether it overpowers the rest of the state in general.

  148. 148
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Chris: Yes, but there’s still fallout. For instance, the PA photo ID requirement is gone, but the state government is still running their “education” campaign telling people to show photo ID at the polls, with a minimal modification that mostly indicates that they’re doing it on purpose.

    And then there’s the blatantly illegal stuff: all the cases in Virginia of people dumping voter registrations in the trash, by organizations with a track record of doing sketchy things in the past. It makes the fearmongering about ACORN seem particularly shameful.

    I think it’s going to have an effect, I just don’t think it’ll be five points.

  149. 149
    Shalimar says:

    @kd bart: If Mitt had been president, they would have brought bin-Laden’s body back so all the neo-cons could piss on it to prove how manly they are.

  150. 150
    eemom says:

    @Redshift: @ericblair:

    I’m in Vienna, and there are a sickening number of Romtron signs around — including my immediate neighbors in my cul de sac, who have never had signs in previous elections.

    Teh Walking Dead — I livez in it.

  151. 151
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @some guy: Ken Pollack is a liberal hawk. He calls himself a liberal hawk. The “liberal hawk” Wikipedia page includes this:

    In January 2004, Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman, Christopher Hitchens, George Packer, Kenneth Pollack, Jacob Weisberg, Fareed Zakaria and Fred Kaplan participated in a five-day online forum entitled Liberal Hawks Reconsider the Iraq War, in which they discussed whether they had been correct in advocating military action against Saddam Hussein’s regime. Kaplan by that point had renounced his prior support, but the general consensus among the participants was that, despite the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the war had still been justified on humanitarian grounds.

    Just about all those people are dicks and they were all wrong about Iraq. But that’s their tradition: liberal hawkishness. It’s not right-wing because it prioritizes human rights and relieving people from oppression rather than triumphalism and dominance and greatness.

    It’s often wrong-headed, IMHO, but it is, in fact, consistent with a branch of _liberal_ policymaking. And Obama has some inclinations in that direction too. See Samantha Power.

  152. 152
    Joel says:

    Gonna miss this one. Lots of work to do.

  153. 153
    The Moar You Know says:

    including my immediate neighbors in my cul de sac, who have never had signs in previous elections.

    @eemom: This is my only concern: I’m seeing a LOT of people with Romney signs in my neck of the woods who’ve never put up signs before.

    Disconcerting, not that it will change the outcome here at all. Obama wins Cali in a walk. But it might elsewhere.

  154. 154
    EconWatcher says:

    @Mark S.:

    I live quite near Chantilly, and the notion that this is “independent” territory is just silly. Blood red, and real stupid. Lots of small contractors, getting rich (directly or indirectly) off of federal spending and complaining that the government needs to get off their backs. I don’t know for sure, but I’d assume Chantilly has to be R +10 or more in voter registration–even more were it not for a small enclave of non-white folks.

    Yeah, I’m sure they like Mitt. But that is not news of any kind.

  155. 155
    catclub says:

    @EconWatcher: I am always so pleased when I talk with a guy who you might expect to be far right wing – lots of government contracts. But who thinks global warming is very important, and that some guys in the military understand just that – like the Navy knowing that the arctic is opening up, and will vote for Obama. And lives in Virginia – Norfolk area.

  156. 156
    Brachiator says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    American voters don’t give a shit about foreign policy period, and by foreign I mean outside the radius they have to drive.

    Very true. Americans just wanna hear “We’re Number 1,” a theme that Romney peddles very well.

  157. 157
    ericblair says:

    @eemom:

    I’m in Vienna, and there are a sickening number of Romtron signs around—including my immediate neighbors in my cul de sac, who have never had signs in previous elections.

    Hey, neighbor. I’ve noticed them too, and the fact that they all sort of popped up at once. I’ve also noticed that they’re in front of the bigger McMansions, at least in my area, which may not exactly be what they want from an optics point of view. I haven’t noticed any push to get Obama signs out, since historically they haven’t done a lot of good, so wouldn’t read much into it.

  158. 158

    @ericblair:
    Same up here in wealthier MA burbs. All popped up at once (more often than not with a huge SCOTT BROWN! sign next to it).

    This is what it looks like when an aging, mostly white upper middle class decides it’s time to pull up the drawbridge.

  159. 159

    Via Jed @dKos, the topics of tonight’s debate:

    • America’s role in the world
    • Our longest war – Afghanistan and Pakistan
    • Red Lines – Israel and Iran
    • The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – I
    • The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – II
    • The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World

    As Jed points out, that’s cramming big gorillas like Russia and India into some pretty tight corners, in order to make room for Warren Terra at the VIP table.

  160. 160
    Chris says:

    @Brachiator:

    Very true. Americans just wanna hear “We’re Number 1,” a theme that Romney peddles very well.

    I really don’t like to imagine what’s going to happen to this country when we’re no longer the World Superpower. The shock of that alone is going to make a lot of hypernationalist nutjobs snap.

  161. 161
    Brachiator says:

    @Chris:

    I really don’t like to imagine what’s going to happen to this country when we’re no longer the World Superpower. The shock of that alone is going to make a lot of hypernationalist nutjobs snap.

    As happened with Britain, France, Spain, and other nations that slipped from supremacy, some people will adjust; others will fall into a permanent funk, trying to relive old days and keep the memories alive.

    Some morans, convinced that the US is either the hope of the world or the source of all its problems, may be shocked to find that a new power emerges, just as arrogant, rapacious and hungry as previous world powers.

    And everyone will blame the Democrats.

  162. 162
    ericblair says:

    @Cris (without an H):

    As Jed points out, that’s cramming big gorillas like Russia and India into some pretty tight corners, in order to make room for Warren Terra at the VIP table.

    In summary…
    Scary Brown People
    Scary Brown People
    Scary Brown People
    Scary Brown People
    Scary Brown People
    The Yellow Peril

    Global warming, future of Europe, world trade, peacekeeping/reconstruction, bah never heard of them. Agenda straight from Villager Central.

  163. 163
    Joel says:

    @The Moar You Know: I wouldn’t sweat it too much. Romney has a ton of money and needs to spend it somehow. Probably a better idea to give out yard signs gratis than it is to throw good money after bad into an advertising blitz.

    I will say, I see nothing on the Romney front out here in the Great Northwest. I never recalled a bumper sticker explosion quite like W-2004, though.

  164. 164
    TooManyJens says:

    In my mind, the significant tension in this debate will be between Mitt Romney’s desire to convince the base that he wants to bomb Iran and/or Syria, and his desire to not let anyone outside of the base think he wants to bomb Iran and/or Syria.

    I’m not even making any claims about which of these he would actually do, because it’s Mitt Romney and who the fuck knows? (If I had to guess, he’d bomb Iran if Bibi told him to and would probably leave Syria alone because the political upside there is a lot harder to find.) But these are the things he needs people to think. So he’ll flap his gums a lot about how Obama isn’t being tough enough, without actually saying what he’d do differently.

  165. 165
    eemom says:

    @ericblair:

    they all sort of popped up at once. I’ve also noticed that they’re in front of the bigger McMansions

    Same here, on both counts. In fact I was gonna try to get a pic of one in front of a McM to use as a snickering opp on FB.

    OTOH, there are also plenty of them in front of old and modest homes that haven’t yet been mowed down to make way for more McM’s, and that is depressing as shit.

  166. 166
    Chris says:

    @Brachiator:

    As happened with Britain, France, Spain, and other nations that slipped from supremacy, some people will adjust; others will fall into a permanent funk, trying to relive old days and keep the memories alive.

    Yeah, the question is which of these groups will end up in control of the nation.

  167. 167
    sapient says:

    @TooManyJens: the significant tension in this debate will be between Mitt Romney’s desire to convince the base that he wants to bomb Iran and/or Syria, and his desire to not let anyone outside of the base think he wants to bomb Iran and/or Syria.

    Well, TPM (which I used to like more than I do now, but is still indispensable) highlights this interview with Efraim Halevy by Laura Rozen. Josh concludes “Romney’s turned for his foreign policy team to the folks the even President Bush canned in the latter part of his administration.”

  168. 168
    Brachiator says:

    @Chris:

    Yeah, the question is which of these groups will end up in control of the nation

    Each of them, at various points in time. There is nothing to be done or any way to minimize the pain.

    Hell, segments of the UK are undergoing new angst over the question of the independence of Scotland. The prospect of the disunion of the United Kingdom re-ignites many of the old regrets over the loss of the empire.

    I’m sure that there has been some good alternate history and SF novels that deal with these themes. Anybody have any recommendations of the better ones?

  169. 169
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @The Moar You Know: Romney’s people have been going door to door offering people unsolicited free yard signs. Obama has, as far as I know, not been doing this, or not so much, because the usual lore is that yard signs are a waste of money in a presidential campaign, since they’re nothing but a way of making your supporters feel like they’re doing something.

    (Also, the Obama-Biden yard signs are terribly designed: the campaign logo occupies a tiny band in an empty field of blue. The Romney-Ryan ones have the names in huge screaming letters, which is the way to do it. But I think this is mostly a sign that Romney-Ryan cares more about yard signs.)

    But I think the Romney yard-sign blitz does have the effect of making Obama supporters depressed and upset, and that’s something. Don’t know if it was worth the cost.

  170. 170
    gogol's wife says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Please do not malign Ward Cleaver!

  171. 171
    ericblair says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    … have the effect of making Obama supporters depressed and upset…

    Like that takes any effort. The sun coming up in the morning does that.

  172. 172
    Chris says:

    @Brachiator:

    Each of them, at various points in time. There is nothing to be done or any way to minimize the pain.

    Maybe. I feel like there’s a difference between the way Britain adapted to its loss of superpower status, which was fairly sane all things considered, and the way Spain did the same (clinging to a Catholic conservative past increasingly out of touch with the Enlightenment, refusing any change to fit in with the world around them, culminating in Franco). And I’m afraid the U.S. would follow the latter rather than the former model…

    I’m sure that there has been some good alternate history and SF novels that deal with these themes. Anybody have any recommendations of the better ones?

    I second this.

  173. 173
    cckids says:

    @gene108: @aimai:

    I don’t know what has to happen to get the narrative from the 70’s and 80’s changed about, which party is strong on defense.

    A Dem will need to start 1 or 2 unnecessary wars. Preferably with brown people.

  174. 174
    traveling says:

    Bit late to thread, but do any manhattanites have suggested locations for watching?

  175. 175

    @cckids: A Dem will need to start 1 or 2 unnecessary wars.

    Evidence suggests[1] [2] this will not be sufficient.

  176. 176

    […] Juice – Tonight’s Debate Foreign policy takes center stage in tonight’s third and final presidential debate. Balloon […]

  177. 177
    Karen Hudes says:

    I am a Yale Law School-educated attorney and whistleblower who reported international corruption to the US Congress. Robert Zoellick, former President of the World Bank, fired me after 20 years in the World Bank’s legal department in retaliation and covered up the corruption. I testified to the UK Parliament and EU Parliaments. http://www.publications.parlia.....ntents.htm
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/.....9540EN.pdf
    This cover-up of corruption is now about to cause a currency war and downgrade in the US credit rating. Mitt Romney hired Robert Zoellick as his national security transition planning chief.

    Congress is refusing to disburse the World Bank’s capital increase because of this cover-up of corruption. http://www.whistleblower.org/s.....HR2055.pdf

    With corruption at the World Bank, the United States lost the 66 year old Gentlemen’s Agreement for the US to appoint the president of the World Bank http://www.imf.org/external/np/cm/2010/042510.htm What to watch for in tonight’s debate is whether the cover-up of corruption will continue, or whether the candidates will have to respond to a question about what they intend to do to fight this corruption.

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