Good evening, America! There is a slight chill in the air tonight, a vague hint that the roasting forever summer is finally slipping away, that not even the industrialist villains have managed to completely prevent autumn from its tardy arrival. The chill, of course, is the Earth's response to the cold dead vacuum of Mitt Romney speaking to the nation, via the prime-time television broadcasts known as the First Presidential Debate of 2012. Your old and unfaithful friends Newell and Layne have been brought out of the gun locker for tonight's festivities, and we are ready to share in this 90-minute national tragedy with all of you. Let us begin ... even though the CNN feed isn't working?
Did it change his mind?
I mean, I already think Romney&#039;s an idiot, and a trip to the ER wouldn&#039;t change that opinion. (And I have been to the ER)
I think it&#039;s probably the last debate that really counts. It&#039;s the one fresh in everyone&#039;s mind when they vote, or at least the 5% who haven&#039;t decided.
How MANY &quot;pants&quot;?
I may have lost track of who you are replying to, but I think this one is to chascates. And, FWIW, I am not a black man. There are several pix of me in the SF meetup to show that I am an old and very white guy. And I don&#039;t give a rat&#039;s ass that President Obama is half black. I voted for him (and will vote for him again) because he is the Democrat.
What chascates said was that the President has had a history of being a conciliator. I tend to agree with that. FWIW, I like conciliation. However, I also agree that &quot;conciliator&quot; is not currently a successful persona in US national politics.
I disagree with you about the impossibility of &quot;becoming a different person at 50&quot;. To be more precise, I disagree that it is impossible to adopt different strategies and personal presentations (without abandoning your underlying convictions).
I&#039;ve no doubt that the President will make half-time adjustments before the next debates. Indeed, as I speculated elsewhere, this one may have just been a feint to evaluate Romney&#039;s goods.
But, even assuming he wins re-election, if he wants to have a historical record that is more impressive than &quot;Kept things from falling apart; appointed some tolerable Justices&quot;, he is going to have to change his approach. Not his person, just his interaction with the rest of the political universe.
A possibly amusing anecdote: I was merely a corporate cog, an inside guy. Around age 50, I realized that I couldn&#039;t continue to just be an inside guy, so I changed my approach. A few years later, I got enthusiastically fired, which was a drag. I was still right, just not good enough.
This is an excellent observation. Ultimately, the goal is &quot;get 270 electoral votes&quot;. Going into the debate, the Pres was well ahead in well over that number.
Personally, I don&#039;t believe there are more than a couple dozen genuinely &quot;undecided&quot; voters in the whole fucking country. Assume the &quot;undecideds&quot; are just anti-Obama voters who haven&#039;t admitted it to themselves yet. Even without them, Bamz is in good shape.
So. Don&#039;t scare anybody off. Look like the reasonable guy. This is actually a case where prevent defense may make sense.
The goal is 270 electoral votes, not an Oscar.
Clearly, I haven&#039;t been paying attention. Is your leg fucked up again? What a drag.
And, OT, my av is me in 1974 (there was a brief Wonkette &#039;70s flurry a couple of weeks ago). Unless you worked at Fairchild in San Rafael, I doubt that we were ever co-workers.
What, was it the nature of her game?
We need to get healthcare spending under control...but Obama was wrong to cut Medicare. My tax cuts are going to be revenue neutral...I&#039;m not going to cut taxes for the rich, even though I&#039;ve been running on this idea being good for the economy for the last 2 years. Obama was wrong to not accept the Simpson-Bowles commission plan...but I&#039;m not for it either. My Massachusetts healthcare plan should be a model for the nation...but states should make their own healthcare plans. The government spending is too high and fucks everything up...but we need to increase military spending.
Does that about sum it up?
I only watched the last forty or so minutes.
1. Mittens did better than I had expected. Having the questions in advance was probably a big advantage because it allowed him to more gracefully pivot away from the questions and into some vaguely related talking points. He actually has pretty good C-level/salesman skills at changing the subject. Far better than Walnuts! or Sarah Plain and Short.
2. I gather from the commentz that he emitted some whoppers. I didn&#039;t really hear many myself, because most of what he said towards the end was just non-specific bullshit. A problem is, e.g., that no factchecker is gonna call him out hard on &quot;I&#039;ll create 12M jobs&quot;, because they have no way to evaluate the claim.
3. The thing about whoppers is, yes, they will be evaluated, but unless they are sort of galactic level, the evaluation may never catch up to the original lie. What we do have going for us is that if there really is 3 or 4 per cent &quot;undecideds&quot; at this point, you&#039;d assume that they will pay attention to the fact-checking as well as to the debate itself. [Note: I don&#039;t believe there are 3 or 4 per cent genuinely undecided. I think they are mostly people who are desperately looking for an excuse to vote for Romney without admitting why. But, what&#039;s really important is where the hell are those people located?]
4. My immediate personal reaction is that Rmoney scored a mild win, based on his control of the situation and of Jim Lehrer. But, as some of you know, I am an old white guy and former corporate middle management drone, so I <i>would</i> react that way. This is probably similar to the reaction of most of the pundit class. However, there are, I believe (because I know some of them) quite a few people who don&#039;t share that view.
5. This is the first of three Presidential debates. It&#039;s not the crucial one, because even though early voting is open in a few venues, the people who vote early -- either way -- made up their minds long ago. Some commenters have suggested that Bamz was distracted by external events of which we are not yet aware, and this is certainly possible. (He is, thank goodness, the POTUS). It&#039;s also possible that the campaign chose to kind of throw this one away, to evaluate the Mittbot&#039;s preparedness and general strategy. If that is true, I&#039;d expect to see some distinct stoppers in the next debate, as well as strong challenges to the moderator to control the debate timing.
6. President Obama is a very smart, and thoughtful, and caring man. His default presence, however, is &quot;professorial&quot;. Mittens&#039;s default presence is Vulture Capitalist. Unfortunately, on an emotional scale, these aren&#039;t that far apart, compared to the presences of, say, Bill Clinton or (California&#039;s own) Willie Brown. The President needs to adjust his approach to the remaining debates to emphasize his <i>emotional</i> differences with the Bot. I know that this is particularly difficult to do without being perceived as an ABM, but I think that&#039;s really the key challenge.
So, like a regular person in 21st Century Amercia.
I hadn&#039;t thought it, but you&#039;re right. The pundits are all bringing up the 47%. Even the RW pundits. It&#039;s like he didn&#039;t even have to waste time mentioning it, because it&#039;s part of the fucking environment.
Are these guys really that brilliant?
This was definitely a bad night for Obama, and a &quot;good&quot; one for Mittens. The polls will tighten (they&#039;ll tighten anyway) and Romney will finally get a few good news cycles (because the &quot;news&quot; industry is tired of saying he&#039;s fucking up, so they want to give him some good coverage, to spice things up).
Obama did not, however, &quot;lose the election&quot; as Andrew Sullivan is now panting panickedly. Romney didn&#039;t land a killing blow, he just out-coked a tired-looking Obama and ran roughshod over Lehrer. He knew he needed to do well this time or it was done; he was fighting for his political life. And, frankly, I don&#039;t think Team Obama are/were much concerned with this first one. Mittens gave them plenty to use later. Also, maybe this was something Obama needed. He needed to &quot;lose&quot; a little. A little kick in the ass never hurt anyone.
Well, the overnight classical station is playing Elgar&#039;s Cello Concerto (not Jacqueline du Pr&eacute;&#039;s) so I&#039;ll just go cry myself to sleep and awaken to a new Wonkette tomorrow.
Romney keeps saying to turn programs over to the states. Medicaid already is run by the states. So is education. And Romney&#039;s healthcare plan that he thinks the individual states should adopt? &quot;Obamacare&quot; already set up a framework for the states to run their own healthcare markets and insure more poor people using medicaid. Most of the states tried to get out of doing it. Romney wants healthcare to be run at the state level BUT also wants people to be able to buy insurance from other states, which would mean the federal government would have to regulate it. Huh?
Which is weird to me since Romney disavowed so many mandatory conservative positions during the debate. Not weird I don&#039;t expect them to gloat, weird their hypocrisy still surprises me.