Free Markets, Free People

debate

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 21 Apr 13

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the Boston bombings and polygamy.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here.

The 2nd debate: Who “won”?

Good question really.  I know who most media outlets have declared the winner, but frankly, my guess is that was written before the debate.  After all, given his last performance it’s hard to conceive how President Obama could have done worse.  And given the low expectations, exceeding them was going to look like a “win” or at least be portrayed like one.  The media loves “comeback kid” story lines.

Of course there was the usual grousing about the moderator, in this case, Candy Crowley.  Some is to be expected.  Some, in this case, was warranted.  What is the job of a moderator?  Well, what it isn’t is to provide “instant fact-checking”, especially when the fact check is incorrect.  Moderators should be like referees or umpires – all but invisible while they keep the debate to the rules.  However, when you pick people with large egos and biases to “moderate”, well, don’t be surprised when they make every attempt to insert themselves in things of which they have no business being a part.

However, to the main point.  Who ‘won’?

Well a CBS instapoll says Obama won.  Of course CBS was the only poll that said Joe Biden won so, yeah, not such a great endorsement.  And the “win” was marginal at best, even with CBS.

In a CBS News poll, 37 percent of 525 uncommitted voters who watched the debate declared Obama the winner, compared to 30 percent who said the same of Romney; 33 percent said it was a tie.

CNN’s instant poll also gave the “win” to Obama (46/39 – registered voters).

So, woohoo for Obama! Right?

Well, I guess,  unless you look at some of the other numbers in the polls.  And then, well, not so much:

Despite Obama’s slight edge overall, Romney was seen as better able to handle most issues.

The trend was most notable in the CNN poll: he had an 18-point edge among registered voters on the economy (58 percent to Obama’s  40 percent ); a 3-point edge on health care (49 percent to 46 percent); a 7-point edge on taxes (51 percent to 44 percent); and, largest of all, a 23-point edge on the deficit (59 percent to 36 percent).

Obama’s only lead in the CNN poll was a slim one on foreign policy: 2 percent more of the registered voters who watched the debate said he would handle the issue better (49 percent to 47 percent for Romney).

In the CBS poll, 65 percent of respondents also said Romney would handle the economy better after the debate (though that decreased from 71 percent before the debate). Only 34 percent said Obama would handle the economy better, but that was a jump of 7 percentage points.

Personal metrics were split a bit more evenly. Forty-nine percent of those in the CNN poll said Romney was the stronger leader, compared to 46 percent for Obama. The president still had a lead on likeability by a margin of 47 percent to 41 percent. He was also perceived as caring more about the audience by a margin of 4 points, but also as spending more time on the attack by a 14-points one.

Among uncommitted voters surveyed in the CBS poll, 56 percent said the president would do a better job of helping the middle class, compared to only 43 percent who said the same of Romney.

So wait … are we voting on who did better in a debate, or who would do a better job as President?

Oh, that’s right, this is about the job, isn’t it?

And finally:

The final word from the CNN respondents? Twenty-five percent said the debate made them more likely to vote for Romney, and 25 percent said the same for Obama.

So who “won”?

Hmm … yes, if I was the Obama campaign brain-trust, I’d be worried too.

Oh, and in the third debate, Obama won’t have the benefit of low expectations working for him and, hopefully, we’ll see a debate where “moderation” means “referee”, not “instant but wrong fact checker“.

~McQ

Musings

A couple of things have been on my mind recently, and this seeme like as good a time as any to get them off my chest. So, I’ll just skip from subject to subject until I get tired. But, I might as well start off with current events.

I guess most of you saw the debate between Eddie Munster and Smirky McAngry this week. Joe Biden’s ability to sit there and lie so magisterially and with such confident assurance really is something to behold. Like when he declared that he voted against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both of which, of course, he voted for. He just boldly asserts this utter crap, and nobody ever calls him on it.

"You know, Joe, I got a copy of the Congressional Record lying around somewhere that says you did vote to approve the AUMF in both Afghanistan and Iraq. And you voted back in 98—during Operation Desert Fox—to make removing Saddam Hussein from power the policy of the United States Government. Oh, and by the way, not that it’s relevant at the moment, back in ’83, you voted to approve a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade. You think you might want to backtrack on your last statement, there, Joe?"

Never happens.

During the debate, Joe’s smirk struck me as exactly the kind of condescending arrogance that, if it was coming at you from anyone else, you’d want to erase with an overhand right. His whole schtick was irritating. The constant interruptions, the yelling, and the condescending laughing were exactly the kinds of things that, if you pull ‘em on some guy in a bar argument, will get your ass kicked.

The Left loved it, of course. They thought Good Ol’ Joe was finally sticking it to the wingnuts. And why shouldn’t they? Anytime anyone says anything nasty about them, their vaginas get all hurty, and they start moaning about "civility". But that’s not a rule they’re all that interested in, themselves. Some Lefty dolt on twitter thought that, considering Ryan’s position on abortion, his daughter should get "f*cked and pregnant when she’s 13".

Though, really, that’s pretty tame stuff compared to what comes over the transom at Michelle Malkin or Sister Toldjah.

It’s just amazing to me that these Lefties, who see themselves as the good guys, and the oh-so-compassionate defenders of the downtrodden, have these deep wells of rage that come spewing out at the first opportunity.

Amazing, but not surprising, really, because the political divide in this country really isn’t about politics anymore. It’s a battle of Good Vs. Evil. They are the forces of cosmic justice, and if you disagree with them, then you’re "the other", and not really as fully human as they are. Your disagreement is proof of your moral deficiency.

And, hey, there are people on the Right who feel the same way about lefties. I don’t think Lefties are bad people, necessarily. I do think they tend to be dumber than a bag of hammers, though.

Which is why I really don’t see us all living together in the same country much longer.

We don’t even speak the same language anymore. For instance, take the term "fairness". To me that refers to a process that is impartial, and predictable. If the process receives input X, then output Y tends to result. To a Progressive, fairness is a result. The process is immaterial, as long as it produces equal results. If it doesn’t, the process is flawed.

Those aren’t anything like the same thing. If we don’t even share concepts, there’s no way we’ll ever be satisfied with governing each other.

By the way, who was Biden thinking would be impressed by his debate performance, other than Obama fanboys? Who was he trying to convince?

I mean, usually, when you want to persuade people to join you in a cause, you don’t try to irritate the crap out of them.  You try to appeal to them through reason, good feeling, and moral persuasion. Smirky didn’t try to do much of that.

Maybe the whole point of Joe’s performance was to reassure the base that the Obama team was willing to fight hard. But if you’re four weeks out from an election and you’re still trying to motivate your base, then you’re probably in a fair amount of trouble.

The Lefties were just ecstatic that Joe was so Rude to Paul Ryan. They think that’s exactly what he deserves: rudeness, and arrogant condescension. Because, it’s not like he’s really a human being, or anything.

There were some big spikes in consumer confidence this week. Despite rising food and gas prices—the CPI rose 1.1% last month on those two items alone—and despite 20 million or so people not having jobs, folks seemed to have more confidence in the future.

The funny thing is that the consumer confidence surveys for this week were all taken after Obama got shelled by Romney in the first presidential debate. I wonder if that spike in consumer confidence popped up because people think there’s a better chance that Obama will be heading back to Chicago in January? Or, maybe even a leading indicator of that?

Baseball is designed to break your heart. I just watched the Cardinals come back from a 6-0 deficit to go ahead 9-7 in a 4-run 9th inning and beat the Nationals. Why won’t the Cardinals just die, for God’s sake?

I’ve spent my whole life hating the Cardinals. If I were to find an actual cardinal in the forest, twittering with happiness in the dappled sunlight, and I could get it to fly gently into my hand, I would squeeze it until I heard all its little bones break like tiny little twigs.

Then I would cackle with glee.

~
Dale Franks
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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 07 Oct 12

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale talk about the election.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

Debate: If it had been a prize fight, they’d have called it in the 9th round (update)

Or, as Michael Moore said, “that’s what you get for having John Kerry as a debate coach”.

It appears the debate went pretty much in Mitt Romney’s favor last night, and, as you would see if you watched MSNBC’s Morning Joe, they’ve suddenly “discovered” MItt Romney. I know it must be a shock that their made up Romney didn’t show up last night.

Interesting.

More interesting? There appears to have been a clear winner last night:

According to a CNN/ORC International survey conducted right after the debate, 67% of debate watchers questioned said that the Republican nominee won the faceoff, with one in four saying that President Barack Obama was victorious.

“No presidential candidate has topped 60% in that question since it was first asked in 1984,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

And:

While nearly half of debate watchers said the showdown didn’t make them more likely to vote for either candidate, 35% said the debate made them more likely to vote for Romney while only 18% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote to re-elect the president.

More than six in ten said that president did worse than expected, with one in five saying that Obama performed better than expected. Compare that to the 82% who said that Romney performed better than expected. Only one in ten felt that the former Massachusetts governor performed worse than expected.

Now the poll only reflects debate watchers and not all Americans, but then the debates are aimed at, well, debate watchers, aren’t they?

One of the things I take away from the numbers is the 82% that say Romney performed better than expected actually got to see and judge Mitt Romney for themselves last night and not through the filter of the media.

We talked about that sort of thing on the podcast.  How America watched the debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, when Reagan was lagging in the polls, and apparently decided that night that Reagan was acceptable as President.

Did that happen last night for those that tuned in?

Did Romney get a check-mark beside “acceptable” for the job?

Probably so.  As for Obama’s performance?  Well, here are a few words from his supporters:

  • Commentator and blogger Andrew Sullivan might have captured the collective reaction best with this tweet, “Look, you know how much I love the guy, and how much of a high-info viewer I am, but this was a disaster for Obama.”
  • On MSNBC, talk show host Chris Matthews asked incredulously, “Where was Obama tonight?” He suggested that the president take some cues from the liberal voices on the cable channel. “There’s a hot debate going on in this country. Do you know where it’s being held? Here on this network is where we’re having the debate. We have our knives out. We go after the people and the facts. What was he doing tonight? He went in there disarmed.” Obama failed to put any points on the board by not bringing up Romney’s controversial “47 percent” remark or his work at Bain Capital, Matthews complained, while Romney “did it just right,” keeping a direct gaze on Obama as he spoke, ignoring moderator Jim Lehrer’s mild-mannered attempts to cut him off and treating he president like “prey.” Matthews said, “What was Romney doing? He was winning.”
  • Comedian Bill Maher, who takes regular hard jabs at conservatives on his television show and who gave $1 million to a super PAC supporting Obama’s reelection, tweeted, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter” — a reference to Obama’s critics who say he relies too heavily on teleprompters.

Not pretty.  Not pretty at all.

Now we’ll go through the obligatory fact checks that no one will pay attention too.  But the impression has been made.  The only question is, was it enough to tip the election to the Romney side.

And here’s another point to ponder.  If Americans were waiting on the first debate to determine whether Mitt Romney was acceptable, will they bother tuning in to any of the other debates.  Or said another way, was this first debate performance enough to convince them that he can do the job and would probably be better than the incumbent.

If I had to guess, I’d say yes.

And if last night made the undecided comfortable with a Romney presidency,  that should worry Democrats.

Update: From CNN of all places:

It was the biggest question coming into this first showdown: Could Romney seem presidential standing next to the Obama?

The answer appears to be yes.

Wow.

Also from CNN:

“I don’t think anyone’s ever spoken to him like that over the last four years. I think he found that not only surprising but offensive. It looked like he was angry at times,” added CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, who has advised both Democratic and Republican presidents.

Heh … what, no Nobel Peace Prize for just showing up?!

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
Facebook: QandO

Newt the victim

Just what the GOP needs:

Under siege from Mitt Romney and conservative elites who seem to be conspiring against his candidacy, Gingrich abandoned his stump speech on Thursday in favor of an angry tirade against his most daunting Republican rival and the Washington establishment. He isn’t the candidate who vowed to stay positive in Iowa, or the nose-to-the-grindstone guy he was in South Carolina.

As he took the stage before a tea-party crowd here, Gingrich seethed at Romney for the avalanche of negative ads blanketing the Florida airwaves and bashed the Beltway denizens for coalescing to obstruct his rise.

“There’s the Washington establishment sitting around in a frenzy, having coffee, lunch and cocktail hour talking about, ‘How do we stop Gingrich?’” he said, referring to a spate of prominent Republicans who painted him Thursday as a philandering egomaniac comparable to Bill Clinton and not as close to Ronald Reagan as he would like to think.

The former House speaker told the tea party crowd that they shouldn’t be confused by the attacks coming from the right because it’s still part of the scared establishment.

“Remember, the Republican establishment is just as much an establishment as the Democratic establishment, and they are just as determined to stop us,” he said.

And Newt Gingrich used to define the Republican establishment. 

Frankly, though there are two of them,  this is boiling down to GOP voters having a sort of Hobson’s choice – pick one of these two or Obama wins.  The problem, of course is that picking either of the two could mean an Obama win, and voters know that.  Both are about as much establishment candidates as one could imagine.  And neither offer the depth of message that Tea Party and conservative voters are looking for.   When watching these two, voters are reduced to wondering which one has the best shot at unseating Obama.

That person isn’t Newt Gingrich.  And Romney is only marginally better in that regard (I’m not endorsing Romney, I’m simply pointing out that in the big scheme of things, I think he’d have a relatively better shot than Gingrich).

As was obvious Gingrich is as thin-skinned as Obama and if he thinks the Romney attacks (along with those by the Democrats) are tough now, he ain’t seen nuttin’ sport.  This is just a warm up.

On Thursday, Gingrich went off on Romney for his negative ads, some of which are being aired by the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign and others by his super PAC. The ads depict Gingrich as misrepresenting his consulting work for mortgage broker Freddie Mac, which Romney says was really lobbying. They show him sitting on a couch with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and cite her comments about his 1990s House ethics case.

“This is the desperate last stand of the old order throwing the kitchen sink, hoping something sticks because if only they can drown us in enough mud, raised with money from companies and people who foreclosed on Floridians,” Gingrich said as he pounded on the podium. “Let’s be really clear, you’re watching ads paid for with the money taken from the people of Florida by companies like Goldman Sachs, recycled back into ads to try to stop you from having a choice in this election.”

Gingrich is referring to the fact, he says, that Romney owns stock in Goldman Sachs, which he claims is partially responsible for the mortgage crisis in Florida.

Yeah, and Freddie Mac is as clean as a pin concerning the mortgage crisis, isn’t it?  And did he or did he not do the Pelosi thing?  And if it were Mitt Romney on the couch, what would Gingrich be running in his ads?

Here we have another arrogant politician who thinks he should be able to wave away his record and pretend it never happened, because, you know, he’s got great ideas (I don’t want to hear about a freaking moon base when we’re 16 trillion in debt) and is the self-declared savior of our country.  Oh, and then there’s stuff like this.

Anyway, we’ve got one like that sitting the the White House now and chances are, given the GOP choices, he’ll be there next year as well.

“There is something so grotesquely hypocritical about the Romney campaign that I think it’s just going to melt down over the next six or eight weeks as the American people learn more about him,” he told reporters after the tea party rally.

Pot, meet kettle.

I don’t know who characterized this race as the Indy 500 in clown cars, but it certainly is living up to that billing.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Who won last night’s debate? Who cares?

Who cares as in “will it matter”?  

Seems to me that while it was clear that Romney didn’t do as well as he has in the past, Gingrich ruled and the others, beside Ron Paul, had at least OK nights, it really doesn’t matter as I believe the South Carolina primary vote will show.

If the debate mattered, Gingrich will surge dramatically in the polls and, one would think, in the final vote to at least close to a close second to Romney.  I simply don’t think that will happen.  Huntsman dropped out and that brought absolutely no reaction from the crowd last night when announced.  I think precisely the same would be true for any of the non-Romneys at this point, including Gingrich.

That is not to say I am at all pleased that Romney seems to be the inevitable nominee.  I haven’t been pleased with a GOP nominee since Reagan.  I mostly see Romney as another Dole or McCain.   That said, I see the man in the White House as far more dangerous than Romney.   But again, it seems this election season will distill itself down to the usual choice – the lesser of two evils.

There were some good lines last night from the non-Romneys and I was glad to see them back off the attack on capitalism and Bain.

That said, and considering this was a debate moderated by the GOP friendly Fox network, where in the world were the questions about the economy and the European crisis?  Where were the queries about jobs and how to go about creating them? 

Instead we got silly race baiting questions from Juan Williams (which, thankfully, were turned on him to the point that the crowd gave Newt Gingrich a standing O for his answer to one of them), questions about tax returns and other ancillary topics that really didn’t address the main problem of our time.

Certainly, if you watched Twitter during the debate, people had fun scoring the punches and the hits, the “dodges” and the answers, but in the big primary scheme of things, does any of that matter?   If polls are to be believed, Romney is comfortably ahead in both South Carolina and Florida.

I’m personally tired of the debates.  For the most part they’ve delivered more entertainment than information. They’ve devolved into scorekeeping about who got the best shot in on Romney.  This is something like the 15th Republican debate and we’re no more enlightened about the serious topics we should be addressing than we were after the 1st. 

If we have to go through more of this debate nonsense, can we have one solely focused on jobs, the economy and the proposed policies each of the candidates would try to have implemented to turn this mess around?   Can we hear an intelligent discussion of what the European mess portends and how it will effect us?  Can we toss a question out there addressing the President’s new defense strategy and its implications and effect on future American foreign policy?

And can we give them more than 90 seconds to answer?   I’m tired of hearing the same old stump speech for the umpteenth time, the usual fall back when there are time limits on answers.   If the debate is 2 hours and that means only 2 to 3 questions get asked, but each candidate gets, say 5 to 7 minutes to answer, I’m fine with that. 

Because that will actually require them to say more than the canned generalizations they tend to throw out there now in response to questions.  That will allow probing for more detail and follow up.  It will actually shed some light on positions and better inform Americans.

Instead we seem to be stuck with the equivalent of Twitter debates, with about enough time for a candidate to attempt to summarize his answer into 140 characters or less.

Is there something wrong with demanding substance in these things and the time necessary to produce it?

Or is that just simply not good for ratings?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Is Rick Perry not ready for prime time?

Brit Hume, Senior Political Analyst for Fox News certainly seems to feel that way given Gov. Rick Perry’s performance at the past 3 GOP debates:

Analyzing the results of Saturday’s Florida Straw Poll on “Fox News Sunday,” Fox News senior political contributor Brit Hume said businessman Herman Cain’s victory may not mean very much, and that Perry’s poor showings recently may indicate his campaign is on the verge of  “total collapse.”

“Perry really did throw up all over himself in the debate at a time when he needed to raise his game,” Hume said.

“He did worse, it seems to me, than he had done in previous debates. Romney was as strong as he has been lately. He has clearly raised his game in reaction to the emergence of Perry. It’s been good for Romney in a way that one might not have predicted … Perry is about one-half a step away from almost total collapse as a candidate.”

When Perry showed up for his first national debate, he could be forgiven for not understanding the performance standards.  It is a whole different level than what a governor goes through when running for office.  But then you expect a better performance in the second debate incorporating the experience of the first and the lessons learned.   However, the 2nd debate actually seemed to be a worse performance.  And the third worst of all.

Perry’s entry into the race made him the instant front-runner.  But his three performances in nationally televised debates has seen that position erode significantly.  

Hume goes on:

“I don’t think we’re being too harsh on Rick Perry,” Hume said. “He still has some opportunity to recover his balance and put in a strong performance. What was so strikingly troubling about — from a Republican point of view — about this performance was that Perry was thought of as a really true conservative. Now it appears he has got this position on immigration which is anathema to a lot of conservatives.

“So this really hurts him with the base. You can’t, you know — look at all the trouble Romney’s had. He’s got some trouble with the base. That’s what’s holding him back. Now Perry has got the same trouble so his weakness is very real indeed.”

His “you don’t have a heart” comment concerning in-state tuition for the children of illegal aliens was ill advised.   It was poorly stated and it was just bad politics.   And as Hume points out, it may have invalidated his “true conservative” credentials among those voters on the right looking for one  – whether Perry really ever had those credentials or not (perhaps that moment was inevitable).   That statement removed all doubt and put him in the same place among conservative voters as Mitt Romney, at least for the time being.   The difference is that the GOP voters, especially conservatives, are used to Romney and will pull the lever for Romney if they have to given the alternative.   The hope was Rick Perry would be the answer to their prayers.   Instead he seems to be a disappointment.  Less informed, much less polished and frankly unprepared.

Unless he steps up his game he will eventually be dismissed as “Mitt light”, and folks that’s a hard distinction to earn and one no politician should want if they’re on the right side of the political spectrum.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 25 Sep 11

In this podcast, Bruce Michael, and Dale discuss the Republican presidential field, and the apparently inevitable Greek default,

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.