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Oct 04 2012

Well, that was a waste of a few hours

I sort of watched the presidential debate last night (actually, I was working on my computer the whole time with the debate on in the background — I am so far behind in everything). It was…disappointing. Both sides swapped exaggerations, Romney, as usual, dodged on all the specifics and successfully avoided mentioning any details that he could be pinned down on, while someone slipped Obama a mickey. He was sluggish and hesitant, and seemed to be taking the safe strategy of avoiding any conflict. In a debate. In a campaign he could still lose. It was a debate about domestic issues and the economy, and Obama didn’t bother to mention that Romney has written off 47% of the electorate as moochers.

Getting sucked into bickering over how many billions of dollars are going to which program is pointless when it fails to expose the substantial ideological differences between the two parties. It was like watching two accountants bicker. Except I did notice one of the accountants invoking God at length near the end.

Can Jim Lehrer retire now? Please?

94 comments

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  1. 1
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Glad I was too busy putting together a baby swing to watch that shit.

    Can Jim Lehrer retire now? Please?

    Is it just me or is there something very… uncanny valley about him?

  2. 2
    Gregory in Seattle

    I don’t bother watching debates, ever: I know that in-depth, on-going “analysis” will be unavoidable for week after. Why bother adding to the misery?

  3. 3
    Ingdigo Jump

    People are calling a Romney win. Id be upset but I honestly think the media declaration of who won influences the election far more than the debate

  4. 4
    Ingdigo Jump

    Also reminds me of the old Adam West Batman where Batman basically loses election to Penguin because he insists on only focusing on issues and not mud slinging (like bringing up that his opponent is a frelling super villian)

  5. 5
    carlie

    Can Jim Lehrer retire now? Please?

    That’s the sad part – he already did. Somebody talked him out of retirement to do this.

    There are professional debate moderators, right? I mean, there are national forensics competitions and stuff. Can’t we get one of them?

  6. 6
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    When someone who is usually awesome is relatively lacklustre, it often turns out that they had a raging fever and should have been home in bed. So they were only awesome by comparison to how ill they were. I’m wondering if that’s what happened here.

  7. 7
    robb

    i was underwhelmed.

    i can’t believe how inanimate romney is. i imagine he has a microphone in his ear and every once in a while a handler tells him “psst, smile. smile.” then he turns to the camera and forces on a completely disingenuine smile.

  8. 8
    mythbri

    Well, the Twitters were amusing, at least.

    Poor Jim Lehrer.

  9. 9
    allencdexter

    I watched and was horrified. That sleazy, lying Romney managed to completely steal the night and I can’t understand how. Truth and honesty are supposed to win, the way I see it.

    I don’t like so-called debates. They never accomplish anything except to give advantage to the slickest and smoothest.

  10. 10
    nullifidian

    Getting sucked into bickering over how many billions of dollars are going to which program is pointless when it fails to expose the substantial ideological differences between the two parties.

    Perhaps that’s not coincidental. As a poster at a forum I frequent quipped:

    I look forward to the two anointed representatives of the interests of the 1% having meaningful debate on their differences, like which one loves the military more, loves drones more, loves Israel more, loves the Middle Class voters like Sally Ann Bobstrucka from Peoria more, loves neoliberal globalization more, loves extra free super-duper freedom more, loves American exceptionalism rationales more.

    Because by The One True God who they both love more, the contrast will surely be striking.

  11. 11
    psocoptera

    I want the guy from the Newsroom to moderate. Unfortunately, he suffers from an serious case of Fictionalism.

  12. 12
    w00dview

    @ Ing: There was an episode where Batman ran for election? Good God, I love that show.

    Who knows, the way things are going, the GOP might well have Penguin as a future candidate for the presidential election. He would fit in well with them.

  13. 13
    Lynna, OM

    Sleazy, lying, bully Romney reached new lows when it comes to simply refusing to consider the consequences of his claims. That’s were the $5 trillion argument went off the rails. Obama didn’t seem to know how to deal with this trait of Romney’s.

    President Obama repeatedly described Romney’s tax plan as a $5 trillion tax plan. Romney repeatedly took exception. The figure is correct. Romney has not given many details about his tax plan, but it’s possible to extrapolate from his promises and the Tax Policy Center, a project of the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute, did just that. Crunching the numbers, they determined that his proposed rate cut would cost … $5 trillion.

    Link.

    Last night, Romney simply asserted the figure is wrong, but up until yesterday, the Republican campaign has offered a different defense: the cost will be offset by closing tax loopholes and ending deductions.

    This remains problematic, not just because Romney refuses to identify which loopholes and deductions, but because there aren’t nearly enough loopholes and deductions to make up the difference.

    What’s more, in the debate, Romney cited “six other studies” that, according to him support the notion that he can slash tax rates without increasing the deficit or increasing the burden on the middle class. But that’s wrong, too: “Those studies actually do not provide much evidence that Romney’s proposal — as sketchy as it is — would be revenue neutral without making unrealistic assumptions.”

    Those inclined to “take [Romney] at his word” are living in a fantasy world where calculators don’t exist.

    Link.

  14. 14
    anteprepro

    Hmmm. The bulleted “summary” seems to imply that there are equal exaggerations from Both Sides. Yet the bottom part hints at that not being true, by admitting that Romney is a “serial exaggerater”. So, here is a more accurate summary of the info, so that we can see just how JUST AS BAD the two slimy politicians are.

    Obama:
    -Said Romney is after $5 trillion in tax cuts but that ignores some other stuff in Romney’s plan to offset it.
    -Said health care premiums are going up slower than last 50 years, but that is only true of spending and not premiums and it is not entirely due to his plan.
    -Obama said 5 million jobs were created but it is really only 4.6 million.
    -Obama said he’d raise taxes on the rich to same as Clinton’s, but they would actually pay because of a tax on investment income and a 1% Medicare surcharge, both for the rich.
    -Obama’s $4 trillion deficit reduction plan includes $1 trillion from wars that are ending anyway.

    Scores: Technically wrong, pretty stupid/dishonest, the high crime of rounding up, Serious Business, and mildly dishonest(and yet suggesting that Obama is wrong to include Ending Wars as part of his deficit reduction implies that Romney would be Ending Wars as well, ignoring that he seems deadset on starting some).

    Verdict: Meh.

    Romney:
    -Romney’s tax plan is incoherent
    -DEATH PANELS
    -Romney cites “studies” that include blog items and work done by people that work for him, with the only one that wasn’t done by an advisor being done by a former economic advisor for Bush.
    -Romney says Obama doubled deficit yet it is actually the same.
    -Romney states the average household has lost $1000 more than they actually have.
    -Romney states that the price of gasoline has doubled by looking only at the abnormally low price on the exact week (in the winter!) that Obama took office and not bothering to look at prices at any other point before then .
    -Romney said 20 million will lose insurance under certain laws where the actual estimate is 3-5 million.
    -Romney’s 23 million “out of work” includes 8 million people who work part-time and want to work full-time .
    -Romney says that 50% of recent college grads are unemployed when really 50% are either unemployed or underemployed .
    -Romney says, multiple times, that Obama cut Medicare by $716 billion when that is just a reduction of future growth, money that is supposed to be spread out over a longer period of time.

    Scores: Important little detail, WTF, stupid/dishonest, really stupid, mildly stupid, profoundly stupid/dishonest (seriously, people should fucking know that gas wasn’t consistently $2 a gallon 4 years ago!), pretty damn stupid/dishonest, entertainingly stupid/dishonest, entertainingly stupid/dishonest, mildly stupid/dishonest compounded in severity due to the fact that he tried to get so much mileage out of it.

    Verdict: Holy. Shit.

    When will people stop implying that Democrats are Just As Bad as Republicans, even when presenting crystal-clear examples of how Republicans are FAR FUCKING WORSE. How does this continue? I don’t fucking get it.

  15. 15
    Childermass

    So long as the bipartisan committee still does the debates and/or the candidates have any sort of veto, what you saw with Jim Lehrer will continue regardless if it is Lehrer or not.

    After if you give the moderator the right to go after the candidates AND have moderator willing to do so, the candidate with the most to fear will object. And possibly both will. The candidates are not trying to get us informed, they are trying to win an election.

    What is needed is a movement to demand that a third party run the debates. The rules should be set up BEFORE it is known who will win the primaries. If Obama wins reelection, it will be completely unknown who the nominees in 2016 will be and thus a great time to propose meaningful debates and the pressure candidates to agree to them if they win the nomination. Both primary races could have debates similar to the general election ones (with modifications for having more than two candidates) so both parties have a chance to get candidates who could hold their ground with substantial questions.

  16. 16
    mjmiller

    Maybe this was a case of “Rope-a-Dope”. The more Romney punches, the weaker he gets. Let him spew his lies. The fact checkers will be all over him, I suspect. I didn’t see “assertive” anyway, I saw rude, privilidged & childish, (Obama’s inexplicably deferential demeanor notwithstanding).

  17. 17
    Lynna, OM

    Link to details to back up the fact that the “six other studies” that Romney referenced do not, nope, do NOT say what he thinks they say about his tax plan.

    Romney has proven over and over again that he fails at reading comprehension, and that he does not know how to vet his sources. (Same for his staff, presumably.)

    Excerpt:

    What the Tax Policy Center study actually said

    The study started by noting that Mitt Romney has stated he wants his tax reforms to achieve (at least) five things:

    A 20 percent reduction in marginal personal income tax rates.
    Elimination of the estate tax.
    Elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax.
    Enough base-broadening, through the elimination of tax expenditures, to fully pay for policies 1 through 3.
    Preservation of incentives for saving and investment.

    The paper then demonstrated that you can’t do 1-5 without raising taxes on people making under $200,000 a year. None of the responses to the study have disproven that. All either use a different definition of the middle class, rely on inappropriate estimates of growth caused by Romney’s plan, or else violate Romney’s promise to preserve the savings and investment incentives. Let’s go through the studies, one by one.

    This article goes on to take a close look at Romney’s other references, namely Martin Feldstein, Harvey Rosen, John Diamond, and the Heritage Foundation’s Curtis Dubay.

    And here’s a summary from another source:

    The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has analyzed the specifics thus far released from Romney’s plan and concluded the numbers aren’t there to make it revenue neutral.

    Obama, in referring to Romney’s plan as a $5 trillion tax cut, is basing that on the estimate of reducing tax rates by 20 percent while also extending the Bush tax cuts, two planks of the plan.

    Romney has argued that he can eliminate loopholes and deductions to make up that revenue but has not specified which ones.
    Romney has countered that “six other studies” have found that the plan can be revenue neutral, but he’s wrong about that. Those studies actually do not provide much evidence that Romney’s proposal — as sketchy as it is — would be revenue neutral without making unrealistic assumptions. Link.

  18. 18
    Lynna, OM

    An excerpt from Steve Benen’s analysis:

    Romney thrived in large part because he abandoned the pretense of honesty. And as it turns out, winning a debate is surprisingly easy when a candidate decides he can say anything and expect to get away with it.

    Romney told viewers his proposed $5 trillion tax cut isn’t really his proposed $5 trillion tax cut. He suggested he could eliminate a $1 trillion deficit by going after Big Bird. He said his non-existent health care plan protects those with pre-existing conditions when in reality the exact opposite is true. He cited trumped up “studies” from far-right ideologues as if they’re legitimate, assuming the public won’t know the difference. He said a deficit that’s shrunk has actually “doubled.”…

    This new model — version 8.0? 9.0? — likes regulations of the financial industry, wants to work with Democrats, thinks his Massachusetts health care law was a great idea, and has no use for the goals of his running mate’s budget plan that Romney enthusiastically endorsed. Does this in any way reflect the candidate who’s been running for president the last year and a half? No, but the Republican assumes most voters won’t realize and most news organizations covering the campaign won’t tell them….

    I think Romney “won” in the minds of those who like the bully style. He ran roughshod over Jim Lehrer.

    Obama seemed flustered by Romney’s blatant reversals of some of his previous positions. I think that in debating Romney, one has to be ready to quote Romney back to himself, noting date, place, or paper. Don’t let the weasel squirm away.

  19. 19
    Menyambal

    Romney keeps saying that his plan will cut the tax rates, and will pay for that by eliminating deductions, and will wind up not taking in less money. Leaving out the fact that there aren’t enough deductions to eliminate, and that he’s the poster boy FOR deductions, the end result is supposed to be revenue-neutral, which is to say it won’t make a bit of difference in the world.

    Romney’s tax plan is pointless, overall, and he says so pretty plainly, but not plainly enough, I guess. Obama should have hammered that into the fricking ground.

    Obama and his campaign have been doing pretty well, but last night Obama went back to the old Democrat problem of being polite and reasonable and patient, while sharing the stage with a rude and crazy and blustering speaker. Mitt ran the show his way, and won for his kind of people. Obama should have been less passive.

    If Obama had been stronger, he might have come across as an angry black man, though. I wonder if Fox News bring up that old video where he was “acting black” was deliberately timed.

    Romney did better, both as performance art and as campaign strategy. The Democrats may be able to later show that he made factual errors, but that isn’t going to make a difference to Romney’s base.

    Come on, Democrats. You know why you don’t debate the crazies, and you had time to prepare.

  20. 20
    Lynna, OM

    When will people stop implying that Democrats are Just As Bad as Republicans, even when presenting crystal-clear examples of how Republicans are FAR FUCKING WORSE

    Yeah, the false equivalency crap is really starting to get to me too. And many media outlets assume that they must pay lip service to the political correctness of saying, “both guys lied, both guys exaggerated.” Balderdash.

    Here’s Paul Krugman’s take:

    …fact is that everything Obama said was basically true, while much of what Romney said was either outright false or so misleading as to be the moral equivalent of a lie.

    Above all, there’s this:

    MR. ROMNEY: Let — well, actually — actually it’s — it’s — it’s a lengthy description, but number one, pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.

    No, they aren’t. Romney’s advisers have conceded as much in the past; last night they did it again.

    I guess you could say that Romney’s claim wasn’t exactly a lie, since some people with preexisting conditions would retain coverage. But as I said, it’s the moral equivalent of a lie; if you think he promised something real, you’re the butt of a sick joke.

    And we’re talking about a lot of people left out in the cold — 89 million, to be precise….

    Romney needs to be held accountable for dishonesty on a huge scale.

  21. 21
    sireccles

    The thing about the 47% thing not being brought up. You know Romney would have been heavily briefed about it and have a slick answer ready to explain it away to the millions watching. Why give him the platform to explain it? Better to leave it hanging without an opportunity to be fixed.

  22. 22
    Lynna, OM

    Steve Benen on the Medicare ($716 billion) part of the debate.

    Excerpt:

    Let’s set the record straight. Given Medicare’s real fiscal challenges, Obama and Democrats found savings of $716 billion — over the course of 10 years. How much of this comes from benefit cuts? Zero. Instead, the administration is reducing reimbursements and overpayments to hospitals and private insurers.

    Romney said last night, “I want to take that $716 billion you’ve cut and put it back into Medicare.” That means, in a very literal sense, spending an additional $716 billion on an entitlement program Romney intends to privatize anyway. How would Romney pay for nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars in spending? He hasn’t said, but we know the plan would weaken Medicare’s already-troubled financial health.

    As Jonathan Cohen added, “Remember, he’s promised to cap non-defense spending at 16 percent of GDP. And he’s said he won’t touch Social Security. If he walls off Medicare, too, that would mean even sharper cuts across the board. How sharp? The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ran the numbers. If Medicare is getting that $716 billion back, he’d have to cut other programs by an average of a third by 2016 and in half by 2022…. That’s simply not realistic.”

    And all of this, of course, is just about Medicare “cuts” that both sides agreed on up until Romney decided to use the same savings he’d already endorsed as a partisan cudgel. The larger issue for voters to keep in mind is that Romney also intends to end Medicare altogether, and replace it with a voucher scheme.

  23. 23
    jose

    I appreciate Obama’s refusal to easy point-scoring. Romney is known as the etch-a-sketch flip-flop guy. He could easily have used direct quotes of promises he made to the crazies of the republican base during the primary and force Romney to confront them, but he took the high road – maybe he shouldn’t have.

  24. 24
    Lynna, OM

    I wish kids could vote. After all, Mitt Romney promised to kill Big Bird. He’s going to defund PBS, a measly $400 million or so. Yeah that’ll pay for 20% tax cuts across the board.

    Big Bird has probably been doing too much edumacation for Romney’s tastes:

    Romney: “I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have a plan to cut education funding.”

    Trip Gabriel at The New York Times notes that, contrary to this statement, Mitt Romney has suggested in the past that he would, in fact, cut the education budget. Back in the spring, reporters heard Romney tell a group of Florida donors that, as president, he would merge another federal agency with the Education Department, “or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller.” While the Romney-approved House budget does not specify how cuts would affect particular federal programs, the White House’s own study (PDF) on the budget finds that it drops 200,000 children from Head Start as well as other early education programs, and gets rid of 38,000 teachers and aides at underprivileged schools as well as 27,000 special-education teachers.

    Link.

    As an aside, where the hell was the debate on women’s rights, on reproductive health, on Republican anti-biology?

  25. 25
    skeptifem

    I think romney came across like a used car salesman. He is selling himself as having a plan free of problems or complications. I hope people remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  26. 26
    Lynna, OM

    The peculiarly mormon take on Romney’s debate performance (excerpted from a report by an ex-mormon):

    A FB friend mentioned they had fasted prayed for Romney to do well in the debate and they are so glad they fasted, since it obviously helped Romney do well. Apparently there was another e-mail that went around the membership to fast and pray before each debate that Romney would do his best. Now, those who participated are obviously patting themselves on the back for sending their spiritual support, which led to his success.

  27. 27
    anteprepro

    As an aside, where the hell was the debate on women’s rights, on reproductive health, on Republican anti-biology?

    Oh, I cannot wait for those coming up in a later debate. I just hope that they do. He will either reveal that he has monstrous policies or wind up alienating his base. I look forward to either revelation.

    And I really hope that Obama can nail down Romney’s slimy plans regarding education. I mean, he really fucking hates teachers. It is just fucking bizarre.

  28. 28
    raven

    crosspost from Mano Singham’s FTB: Didn’t watch the TV but read a few summaries. Watching Darth Romney is asking too much.

    Here’s an example. Romney and Ryan have been highly evasive about the details of their tax plan.

    I’ve tried to figure out just what Romney’s and Ryans plans are for taxes and Medicare. As Bill Clinton said, It’s the economy, stupid!!! That is our main problem and it’s balancing on a knife edge right now.

    1. They are vague about it. Ryan claims to be able to cut taxes 20% and have it be “revenue neutral” by closing loopholes. He refuses to say how or what loopholes. This is impossible. It’s simply gibberish.

    2. Ryan plans to save money on Medicare by just not paying out much money. That will work all right, especially when old people start dying en masse.

    3. They also keeping changing their plans. Romney is an empty suit. No one knows what he believes and it is likely he believes nothing but that he deserves lots of power and money. Even if he got specific, it’s useless. You know he could say something different a day later with the same (lack of) sincerity.

    Bush managed to wreck the country and create a lost generation. The Fed projects recovery by 2018, maybe. Romney/Ryan seem determined to make that two lost generations.

  29. 29
    raven

    Taken from Lynna’s post above:

    A 20 percent reduction in marginal personal income tax rates.
    Elimination of the estate tax.
    Elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax.

    Enough base-broadening, through the elimination of tax expenditures, to fully pay for policies 1 through 3.

    Preservation of incentives for saving and investment.

    Enough base-broadening, through the elimination of tax expenditures, to fully pay for policies 1 through 3.

    The only way a 20% tax cut can be revenue neutral is to cut federal spending 20% or so. 80% of the budget is social security, Medicare, defense, and safety net.

    This is why they can’t say how they are going to do it. All of these programs are running lean already. Somebody is going to get hammered here. I suspect it will be the safety net, those 47% moochers Romney hates. You know old people on social security and Medicare, poor kids on food stamps and so on.

  30. 30
    ChasCPeterson

    that was a waste of a few hours

    believe it or not, it only endured for 90 minutes.

    There are professional debate moderators, right? I mean, there are national forensics competitions and stuff.

    Please. Formal competitive debating bears about as much resemblance to last night’s TV show as opera auditions do to American Idol. Completely different animals.

    where the hell was the debate on women’s rights, on reproductive health, on Republican anti-biology?

    Lehrer was bound by the preconditional rules of this particular debate. Specifically: all questions from the moderator, no time limits, and a structure of six 15-minute segments focusing on :

    The Economy – I
    The Economy – II
    The Economy – III
    Health Care
    The Role of Government
    Governing

    If your favorite issues are not on that list (they’ll never even come close to touching mine with 10-foot poles), you were just shit out of luck.

  31. 31
    grumpypathdoc

    As I posted over at the Daily Kos: Style triumphs over truth and substance all the time.

    It has been mentioned before also that Obama hates debates.

    I hope the Obama machine is working hard to counter the lies that the Romney camp continues to use. Not that it makes that much difference, although greater than 30% of the electorate is in the independent category.

    I think independently as well, generally vote Democratic.

    However, deep inside I’m a anarchistic, leftist libertarian Trotskyite (-6.62, -6.51 on the “Political Compass)

  32. 32
    unclefrogy

    being generous to the President he often acts like he feels like the only black guy in the room which he often is and so he acts in such a way so as to not sound like Samuel Jackson, not sound like a big scary black guy. He has a difficulty going for the kill.
    The difference is clear when you contrast with Clinton who has nothing to loose and from experience knows that “they” will never agree with him and will do anything and say anything to beat him regardless of what he does or says. So in his down home style he can call them on the lies point blank.
    If he is going to be resorting to his professorial personality it should be the one where he is grading the papers he has been given just do it in full public view, in front of the whole class the voters!

    election debates pretty much suck!!

    uncle frogy

  33. 33
    timdiaz

    Wolf Blitzer for debate moderator.

  34. 34
    Randomfactor

    On a Facebook discussion this morning someone trotted out the “both of them are lying” statement. So I demanded a concrete example.

    “Well, what about the birth certificate?” she demanded.

    If this country falls to ruin because of people that stupid being allowed to vote, they deserve it but I don’t.

  35. 35
    Randomfactor

    Jon Stewart for debate moderator.

  36. 36
    fullyladenswallow

    I would have loved to have seen Christopher Hitchens as moderator. Or maybe Matt Dillahunty. “No, no, no, you’re done!”

  37. 37
    Amphiox

    If this country falls to ruin because of people that stupid being allowed to vote, they deserve it but I don’t.

    Long stretches of the US-Canada border are unguarded, and we have a comparatively generous refugee policy.

  38. 38
    Margaret

    2. Ryan plans to save money on Medicare by just not paying out much money. That will work all right, especially when old people start dying en masse.

    That’ll make good inroads into that 47% who are moochers! Ryan and Rmoney probably see this as a plus, not a minus.

  39. 39
    Rey Fox

    When someone who is usually awesome is relatively lacklustre, it often turns out that they had a raging fever and should have been home in bed.

    If Michael Jordan can score 38 points in the NBA Finals with the flu…

  40. 40
    tmruwart

    IMHO: Obama can afford to “lose” the first 3 debates but he must “win” the last one because people, in general, only remember the last thing the saw/heard and form decisions on that. I learned a long time ago that when you do not know much about what your opponent is going to do [in a meeting] then you sit back and watch and listen and keep your mouth shut as much as possible. That can provide significant intell about their strengths and weaknesses that can be far more effectively used in subsequent encounters with said adversary. Now the Obama debate team can craft much stronger responses for the coming debates. If that is not the case and Obama wimps out on them then I will be truly disappointed – at lest for 10 minutes until something more interesting catches my attention. Oh look! A ball! I gotta go…

  41. 41
    Lynna, OM

    ‘Tis Himself, Pharyngula regular and economist, for debate moderator.

  42. 42
    Lynna, OM

    I hope the Obama machine is working hard to counter the lies that the Romney camp continues to use.

    Obama should have countered those lies, Clinton style, during the debate.

    I think Obama made the mistake of thinking he had to reply to each of Romney’s idiot lies, and that he had to present his more reasonable case at the same time. What he really needed to do was to eviscerate, to demolish at least one (preferably, two) of Romney’s lies. That would have made Romney look like the liar he is and no one would have trusted another word out of his mouth.

  43. 43
    Lynna, OM

    Meanwhile, to intimidate voters in mostly black neighborhoods, right-wing fanatics are putting up billboards like this.

  44. 44
    anteprepro

    ‘Tis Himself, Pharyngula regular and alleged economist , for debate moderator.

    FTFY.

  45. 45
    betheves

    I’m surprised that more people haven’t let Romney have it about the “We’re all children of the same God” remark and Creator-isms near the end of the debate.

  46. 46
    Lynna, OM

    http://www.salon.com/2012/10/04/voter_suppression_in_new_mexico/

    Mix voter suppression with repetitive lying, add piles of money. The Republican recipe for winning.

  47. 47
    Masquirina

    It’s a fine line between febrile and trying-hard-not-to-double-face-palm, so I’m not sure what Obama was up to.

  48. 48
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Lynna:

    Meanwhile, to intimidate voters in mostly black neighborhoods, right-wing fanatics are putting up billboards like this.

    Jesus Christ, that’s disgusting.

    And I shouldn’t have read the comments. There’s far too much but if you don’t commit fraud, you’ve got nothing to fear bullshit going on over there. Yeah, like African Americans have never dealt with baseless accusations and have never been arrested/imprisioned for crimes which they didn’t commit. *spits*

    Besides the fact that if there was to be any fraud, it would necessarily have to be on a much larger scale than a few people from the projects voting twice. I mean, wouldn’t it just be easier to fuck with the tallies after all of the votes had been cast?

    (I feel there’s a relevant Stalin quote… “The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”)

  49. 49
    Lynna, OM

    This is a follow up to my comment @46 about voter suppression in New Mexico. It seems that the person training right-wingers to suppress the vote is also a racist, a racist that holds persons with disabilities in contempt. Double whammy of stupid. Now is the trainer turns out to be mormon, we will have hit the trifecta.

    She [Viki Harrison, the executive director of Common Cause New Mexico] also expressed concern about Morlen’s [Pat Morlen, the vice chair of the Republican Party of Sandoval County] snide comments about Spanish speakers and people with mental disabilities voting. At the training seminar, ironically held at a nonprofit organization that works with mentally disabled adults, Morlen said of people with disabilities, “My own opinion is if the person can’t even say their name, at least their name, I don’t see why they should be voting.” She also suggested that ballots are not available in Spanish and that no assistance will be available for people who don’t speak English. That’s not true, according to the secretary of state’s website.

    Video can be viewed here:
    http://www.progressnownm.org/blog/2012/10/gop-trains-poll-workers-to-suppress-votes.html

  50. 50
    Lynna, OM

    I’m not sure what Obama was up to.

    I thought he was ducking his head to hide eye-rolling and eyebrow-raising.

  51. 51
    tmruwart

    So if Stephen Hawking was a US citizen he would not be able to vote on several levels. Can’t speak his own name, probably doesn’t have a driver’s license, probably doesn’t have a gun permit… etc. Do you think the Brits let him vote?
    BTW: if you haven’t seen it, the Sarah Silverman video on Voter ID is most excellent. Find it on YouTube.

  52. 52
    Lynna, OM

    Excerpt from a post-debate speech given by Obama today:

    Now, last night, we had our first debate. And when I got on stage, I met a very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney — because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. But the fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.

    The real Mitt Romney said we don’t need any more teachers in our classrooms. But the fellow on stage last night said he loves teachers — can’t get enough of ‘em.

    The Mitt Romney we all know invested in companies that were called “pioneers” of outsourcing jobs to other countries. But the guy on stage last night, he said he’s never heard of tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas…

    Video here:
    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/10/04/14224885-fired-up-obama-speaks-at-post-debate-rally

  53. 53
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    On a Facebook discussion this morning someone trotted out the “both of them are lying” statement. So I demanded a concrete example.

    “Well, what about the birth certificate?” she demanded.

    So she’s established that the Republicans lie….

  54. 54
    Lynna, OM

    From Tim Dickerson at RollingStone:

    Mitt Romney turned in a polished performance in last night’s presidential debate – and revealed himself to be an accomplished and unapologetic liar. In an evening where he sought to slice and dice the president with statistics, Romney baldly misrepresented his own policy prescriptions, made up numbers to fit his attacks and buried clear contrasts with the president under a heaping pile of horseshit….

    3. “We’ve got 23 million people out of work or [who have] stopped looking for work in this country.” Romney is lying for effect. The nation’s crisis of joblessness is bad, but not 23 million bad. The official figure is 12.5 million unemployed. An additional 2.6 million Americans have stopped looking for jobs. How does Romney gin up his eye-popping 23 million figure? He counts more than 8 million wage earners who hold part-time jobs as also being “out of work.”…

    5. “Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.” In the biggest whopper of the night, Romney suggested that his health care proposal would guarantee coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions. This is just not true. Under Romney, if you have a pre-existing condition and have been unable to obtain insurance coverage or if you have had to drop coverage for more than 90 days because you lost your job or couldn’t afford the premiums, you would be shit out of luck….

  55. 55
    NitricAcid

    A Mormon friend of mine emailed me last night almost in tears, afraid that Romney might get elected…..

  56. 56
    shripathikamath

    Well what did one expect? Instant fact-checking to basically confirm that they exaggerate or lie?

    Still, Romney got away with murder, and that too was expected, since Obama is used to caving in. Lotsa practice over the years.

    My take on it is here: http://bit.ly/Ufi74M

  57. 57
    DLC

    I couldn’t stomach much of the mindboggling punditry after the debate, so I cranked up World of Warcraft and blew stuff up for a while.
    Some points to consider:
    While I wouldn’t call Romney a dope, there was definitely a touch of the old Muhammad Ali boxing strategy. Let Romney get in his shots, let him flail away, gently leading him into making definitive statements. Statements which the Romney machine will now have to spend time dealing with. “Oh, the Governor didn’t really mean he wasn’t going to cut taxes on the rich” was already being punted about by the conservatives last night and this morning. Romney bought himself a brief uptick in insta-polls and focus groups, but he did not do himself any favors.

  58. 58
    Marcus Ranum

    A FB friend mentioned they had fasted prayed for Romney to do well in the debate and they are so glad they fasted, since it obviously helped Romney do well. Apparently there was another e-mail that went around the membership to fast and pray before each debate that Romney would do his best.

    Puny god, if that’s the best it can do. You’d think that a divinely backed candidate would suddenly burst out with the silver tongue of a Shakespeare, not a used car salesman who is struggling not to stumble over his own feet.

  59. 59
    dianne

    I watched part of the debate while exercising last evening as the gym had it on the TVs they put on the exercise machines. My extraoccular muscles got an excellent workout as I rolled my eyes nearly continually.

  60. 60
    microraptor

    I’m surprised that more people haven’t let Romney have it about the “We’re all children of the same God” remark and Creator-isms near the end of the debate.

    I think too many of us were already trying to ctrl+alt+del Romney’s obnoxious voice from our heads by the time that rolled around.

  61. 61
    Ingdigo Jump

    @microraptor

    Ctrl alt del brings up task manager…not anything that deletes data

  62. 62
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I caught a bit of it when a classmate was streaming it in the electronics lab. Mercifully I was drunk and then had to leave to go to a Tau Beta Pi meeting after about ten minutes.

  63. 63
    mikeyb

    The truth is maybe Obama doesn’t wanna be president any more. Maybe he’s sick of being called an anti-colonial Marxist Islamist who wasn’t born in the USA.

    Or maybe he doesn’t care. As an ex president, he can do the ex president circuit, write a few books and make a few extra million dollars and be in the 15% tax bracket, plus have his own global foundation.

    Or maybe he knows in the near future the economy is going to tank really really bad far worse than now, and he doesn’t want his name associated with it. Collect your millions and leave the country before it’s too late.

    Or maybe it was the altitude like Al Gore suggested.

  64. 64
    Ichthyic

    President Obama repeatedly described Romney’s tax plan as a $5 trillion tax plan. Romney repeatedly took exception. The figure is correct. Romney has not given many details about his tax plan, but it’s possible to extrapolate from his promises and the Tax Policy Center, a project of the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute, did just that. Crunching the numbers, they determined that his proposed rate cut would cost … $5 trillion.

    what’s really interesting is that factcheck.org used that as their very first example of a misrepresentation by Obama, when in their very analysis, they link to the exact figures the Obama team used to come up with the figure.

    this tells me factcheck is now failcheck. I looked at some of their other commentary over the course of this election season, and there is similar obfuscation of what the ACTUAL facts are.

    this, to me, is very sad indeed.

  65. 65
    Ichthyic

    there was definitely a touch of the old Muhammad Ali boxing strategy.

    that’s the impression I got.

    Mitt is so good at sticking his foot in his mouth, I think that Obama’s strategy was simply to wait and see if he did it again this time.

    regardless of how “smooth” Romney came across, if you look at what the Obama team is saying about Romney’s points today (like: Where was the Mitt Romney we have seen up to now in last nights debate?), then yeah, Romney has again put his foot in his mouth; he just did it with more aplomb than usual.

    how will Romney reconcile all the entirely different directions his publicly stated policies go?

    Obama clearly does not take this man seriously, and any rational person wouldn’t either.

    but then, it appears that the irrational authoritarians currently are having their time in the sun, so…

    I predict a Romney victory, and it matters not what Obama does or does not do. Which again, might explain why he didn’t “bring it” during the debate.

    what would be the point?

  66. 66
    Ichthyic

    oh, by “romney victory”, i mean within the debates.

    Obama will get reelected, unless he is assassinated or a piano falls on his head or something like that.

  67. 67
    mikeyb

    “Debating” Romney isn’t qualitatively any different than “debating” a creationist or Dinesh D’Souza.

  68. 68
    Ichthyic

    “Debating” Romney isn’t qualitatively any different than “debating” a creationist or Dinesh D’Souza.

    there was indeed a very “gish gallop” feel to that debate.

  69. 69
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    there was indeed a very “gish gallop” feel to that debate.

    Gasp. Lying presupposition hiding under verbiage???? Gasp…. ;)

  70. 70
    Ichthyic

    Instant fact-checking to basically confirm that they exaggerate or lie?

    well, why not?

    it’s not like it couldn’t have been done.

    can you imagine:

    A debate where every time someone answers a question, there is a team of factcheckers on hand to analyze it for accuracy.

    given the interwebs, it would be faster than replay review during a televised sporting event.

  71. 71
    Ichthyic

    I’m surprised that more people haven’t let Romney have it about the “We’re all children of the same God” remark and Creator-isms near the end of the debate.

    GoP pandering to the religious right is taken as a given.

  72. 72
    Ichthyic

    @antepro:

    -Said Romney is after $5 trillion in tax cuts but that ignores some other stuff in Romney’s plan to offset it.

    no, it doesn’t.

    one, that figure is accurate, and two, Romney has NEVER specified exactly how he would counter the losses of tax revenue.

    he didn’t last night, either.

    again, i don’t understand why factcheck presented it like Obama was making this up.

    he wasn’t.

  73. 73
    mikeyb

    With the exit of Lehrer and Big Bird, make way for the new Faux corporate sanitized kid show:

    New adventures of the magic underwear man from Kolob

  74. 74
    Ichthyic

    I don’t fucking get it.

    i do:

    to get funding in the US, even orgs like factcheck have to come across as “fair and balanced”, even when the reality is far from it.

    this is why factcheck is no longer of any value.

  75. 75
    Lynna, OM

    this tells me factcheck is now failcheck. I looked at some of their other commentary over the course of this election season, and there is similar obfuscation of what the ACTUAL facts are.

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that as well. Fucking discouraging is what it is.

    The only news anchor that I’ve seen call so-called fact-checkers on their failures is Rachel Maddow.

    “So egregiously bad …” and “sully the whole concept of fact checking..”
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#47381399

    Here’s another one, “bewilderingly bad”:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#46391522

  76. 76
    Lynna, OM

    again, i don’t understand why factcheck presented it like Obama was making this up.

    I think factcheck is looking at it from Romney’s perspective. Mitt didn’t actually say, “I’m going to cut taxes by $5 trillion dollars.” What he did say, about the 20% across the board lowering of rates, does add up to a $5 trillion cut. Romney has never been good at acknowledging the consequences, the inescapable conclusions, of what he says. Therefore, in Romneyland, if he didn’t utter the words “$5 trillion in cuts,” then that mathematical conclusion simply doesn’t exist.

    It reminds me of mormon prophets who say all manner of jaw-dropping stuff, but who deny the logical outcome of the pronouncements.

    Romney seems to think that by denying the $5 trillion he can magically make it disappear. Or better yet, he can uphold the myth that what he says is true, and anything he, the Great RomneyBot, has not said out loud, is not true. Damn the math. Damn the facts. Hear the words of the Romney mouth, oh ye 47% percent.

  77. 77
    Ichthyic

    Therefore, in Romneyland, if he didn’t utter the words “$5 trillion in cuts,” then that mathematical conclusion simply doesn’t exist.

    but factcheck isn’t supposed to be examining things fucking subjectively.

    that’s my current issue with them.

  78. 78
    Lynna, OM

    It’s one thing to condemn the President’s debate performance, and it is quite another to take the approach to criticism that Romney surrogate John Sununu took.

    He called the President “lazy” and “incompetent.” He also said the President is not bright: “When you’re not that bright you can’t get better prepared.”

    From an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC today.

  79. 79
    Ichthyic

    yeah, I see Maddow gets what is going on there.

    she’s usually on track with such things.

    see, here’s what really galls me about factcheck:

    it’s been the go-to source for years now, as evidence by the fact that several people in this thread used it, including PZ, so it really is sad when it is relied on for accuracy… and the people relying on it don’t fact check … factcheck!

    any tool that becomes regularly used on the internet like this, will inevitably become tainted by the need to sustain itself, or make profit.

    such is the fate of factcheck.

    long live its successor. Well, for at least the year or so IT will remain an actual useful resource.

  80. 80
    Lynna, OM

    but factcheck isn’t supposed to be examining things fucking subjectively.

    Well, of course not. But they fucking well are.

    Romney and his right-wing ilk are, in part, responsible for this lapse in standards.

  81. 81
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Ing @61

    The colloquial use of references to the Three-Fingered Salute call back to the days when this immediately rebooted the system (or closed a hanging app, where saluting twice would cause a reboot), assuming it wasn’t too borked to do even that. Which, incidentally, would cause loss of any unsaved data (including data you thought you had saved but actually hadn’t been written yet).

    Also, on more modern Windows systems, it doesn’t bring up the task manager but a security dialog box with several options. Ctrl+Shift+Esc calls the task manager.

    But these things vary by OS and configuration. The intent of usage is still meant to signify a soft reboot without a normal shutdown.

    For those who have unfortunately saved the debate, find the appropriate directory and rm -rf. Don’t execute this command in the root directory of your mind.

  82. 82
    Ichthyic

    Don’t execute this command in the root directory of your mind.

    the root directory of my mind…

    i rather like the imagery that invokes.

    but where is it, exactly?

    hippocampus?

  83. 83
    Aratina Cage

    Now there is a theory that Obama was lucky to not have mentioned the 47% remark of Romney’s at all last night. You see, today, Romney went on the racist Hannity show and said he was wrong to have said that and that he will be a president for the 100%. There is a good chance this fauxpology would have been used at the debate to win sympathy if Obama had brought it up.

    I also wonder after seeing Romney get a whole day’s worth of being fact-checked and even getting LeVar Burton at PBS pissed off at him to the point of saying that Romney is attacking our children, perhaps his win will turn out to be more of a loss enhancement by the end of the week? And maybe Obama did a lot better than I had thought.

  84. 84
    Ichthyic

    even getting LeVar Burton at PBS pissed off at him to the point of saying that Romney is attacking our children

    butbutbut… he said he liked Big Bird and everything!

    anyone seen any “Baby got Beak” video parodies yet?

  85. 85
    Aratina Cage

    butbutbut… he said he liked Big Bird and everything!

    “The forest bandit–did you ever catch him?”
    “Oh yes.”
    “How did you do it?”
    “We burned down the forest.”

    Big Bird was only the first fatality because he makes a nice big easy to hit target. Elmo and all the rest are next!

  86. 86
    Lynna, OM

    perhaps his win will turn out to be more of a loss enhancement by the end of the week?

    That seems to be exactly what’s happening, but not in right-wing media sources.

    Loops of Romney pronouncing that he’s going to cut taxes 20% across the board are being played. There’s Romney, in many different settings (but the same hair) giving plenty of support to the claim that he has a $5 trillion (or a $4.8 trillion) tax cut plan. These images are interspersed with him saying during the debate that he is not going to cut taxes for the wealthy.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45755884/#49294941

  87. 87
    Lynna, OM

    There’s some good news for Obama in the latest job report:

    If recent history is any guide, Republicans will probably start complaining about the Bureau of Labor Statistics sample size any minute now, complaining it’s “skewed.” [yep, already happening.]

    The new jobs report released this morning was largely in line with expectations, showing a U.S. economy that added 114,000 jobs in September. For a change, there was no gap in the public vs. private sectors — American businesses added 104,000 jobs last month, while the government also added 10,000 jobs.

    Link.

  88. 88
    Lynna, OM

    Mr. Rogers defends PBS to the US Senate in 1969, video.

    Take that Mitt Romney.

  89. 89
    Lynna, OM

    Aratina Cage @83, yes, Romney has now disavowed his 47% remarks. However, before he disavowed those remarks, he stood up for them, allowing only that he may have stated his case inelegantly:

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/09/18/13937375-not-elegantly-stated?lite

    So, there’s the Romney talking to his homies, the Romney admitting to not being elegant, and the Romney who says he was “completely wrong.” Which Romney do you believe?

  90. 90
    Lynna, OM

    In reference to my post @87

    If recent history is any guide, Republicans will probably start complaining about the Bureau of Labor Statistics sample size any minute now, complaining it’s “skewed.”

    http://www.salon.com/2012/10/05/jobs_report_truthers_return/

    Fox Business analyst Stuart Varney…“Oh how convenient that the rate drops below 8 percent for the first time in 43 months five weeks before an election! That’s why there’s some mistrust of these numbers,” Varney continued. And while questioning the numbers produced by the economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Varney approvingly cited statistics from Mitt Romney’s stump speech, saying the 23 million underemployed figure Romney often invokes shows the jobs situation is “grim.”

    Former GE CEO and frequent Obama critic Jack Welch was quick on the draw too, tweeting, “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”

    There were other theories too. Conn Carroll, a senior writer at the conservative Washington Examiner, thinks the conspiracy goes far beyond the BLS. “I don’t think BLS cooked numbers. I think a bunch of Dems lied about getting jobs. That would have same effect,” he tweeted.

    …Bob Metcalfe, a conservative academic, added, “Who’da thought Obama’s Labor Department, as their October Surprise, would report the highest one-month ‘employment’ jump in 29 years?”

    Sonny Bunch, the managing editor of the Washington Free Beach tweeted — we assume facetiously — “THEORY: George Soros hired 500k part-time hole-diggers/hole-filler-inners to artificially depress unemployment rate.”

    All this fits into a long, dark tradition of questioning BLS data. President Nixon even sent a top to make a list of all the people he suspected were Jews in the agencies because he believed they were tweaking economics forecasts to make the president look bad.

    Oh to be a Republican and have the dark hole of my mind filled with batshit conspiracy theories.

  91. 91
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Oh to be a Republican and have the dark hole of my mind filled with batshit conspiracy theories.

    Lynna, that is not a new concept. That is called a memory hole.

  92. 92
    Lynna, OM

    Rick Santorum not only wants to kill Big Bird, he wants to eat him. In this Republican game of oneupmanship over defunding PBS, I wonder what will be next.

    Not one to be outdone by Mitt Romney (well, except in the only way that counts), former Republican hopeful and sweater vest connoisseur Rick Santorum stepped up the GOP attack on Big Bird: Santorum said he would eat the poor Muppet, too.

    “I’ve voted to kill Big Bird in the past” he told CNN host Piers Morgan. “I have a record there that I have to disclose. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Big Bird. I mean, you can kill things and still like them, maybe to eat them, I don’t know.”…

  93. 93
    Lynna, OM

    Another view of Romney Business Land:

    From April 1998 through August 2000, Romney and his Brookside Capital Partners Fund, a Bain affiliate, poured around $23 million into the Global-Tech sweatshop in Dongguan, China. Among the details outlined in the report were the following:

    Factory workers made 24 cents an hour in 1998 and less than $2 a day. Wages in Global-Tech were less than 2 percent of U.S. wages.

    As CEO, Romney appears to have been uninterested in calling for improvements at the facility. Today, the sweatshop is still a horror where starvation wages prevail and workers’ rights are nonexistent. Overcrowded, filthy dormitories; rotten food; routine 15- to 16-hour shifts; and backbreaking 105- to 112-hour, seven-day workweeks are the norm.

    The appliance factory has 800 student “interns” — 16-years-olds forced to work repetitive, exhausting 15- to 16-hour shifts on assembly lines with no overtime pay.

    On Feb. 16, 2012, Mitt Romney brought hypocrisy to new heights, assuring the public that “We will not let China steal jobs from the United States of America.”

    We can also hear Romney describing his visits to Chinese factories in the same video in which he expressed contempt for the 47%. He knew about the conditions.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/10/05/mitts_sweatshop_secret/

  94. 94
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    And some people dare to complain that what has been done to redefine the name, Santorum, is tasteless.

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