The Noisy Signals

I want to share a few things, now that it’s been a week since the elections. What I want to share are maps and charts. These are maps and charts that are supposed to increase one’s understanding of the election results but, in reality actually increase one’s levels of annoyance and hatred for chart-makers everywhere. First off, this map, which shows one block per electoral vote.

Well, that’s…pointless. Can’t I get the same exact information by looking at a list of what states get how many electoral votes and which party got what? Instead I get something that looks like the worst LEGO set ever invented.

Then there’s this, from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Electoral Results:

I’m not sure why someone felt the need to make the Electoral Skyscraper here, but again, it gives me no useful information. It’s at least slightly interesting on an aesthetic level, however, which puts it miles ahead of this mess:

How does this even remotely help anyone to understand what happened in the election? Gods, what a mess of a chart. You can’t even read the names of most of the counties! But I’ll give it credit. At least it’s better than this eyesore from the 2008 Presidential election.

Aaaah! Aaaah! KILL IT WITH FIRE!

What the hell happened here? It looks like Jackson Pollock threw up after drinking a mix of blue and red Kool Aid. How can one get any even slightly useful information from this? It’s not even lovely to look it! It’s just a god-awful mess.

You know what we need? A nice, simple, clear map that shows which party won what counties. Oh, if only such a map existed.

There, that wasn’t so hard now, was it?

Parsing the Election III: The Other Elections

Among the various bits of voting that happened last night, it’s important to remember that more than just control of the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate were on the line. There were also several ballot initiatives and local and statewide elections that need to be remembered. All of these are at least somewhat interesting, but there’s a few that really caught my eye.

First off, voters in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington state all voted in favor of gay marriage. In the case of Minnesota this was, as I understand it, voting against an amendment that would have outlawed it, but I do believe that in Maine, Maryland and Washington, the vote was to make gay marriage legal.

The importance of this cannot be understated. The majority agreed, however reluctantly in some cases, that the minority should be granted very basic human rights. This was the first time this happened in the case of gay marriage, and I’m glad that it finally did. Now we just move on to the inevitable court challenges which I predict will end in the Supreme Court saying that states don’t have to perform gay marriages, but they do have to recognize them when performed legally elsewhere, thus basically invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act.

We should take a moment to understand that Obama saying he supports gay marriage likely helped this issue considerably. He really is the best President we’ve ever had on gay rights, though given that the second best, Clinton, was the one who gave us Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and DOMA, that isn’t saying much. Tell me McCain would have been as good on gay rights and I’ll call you a lair to your face.

The other major thing to notice form last night is marijuana seems to have basically gone mainstream. Some states legalized medical marijuana, but that’s nothing new and not terribly interesting to me. No, the real interesting thing is that Washington state and Colorado both voted to make recreational use of marijuana legal.

Now that’s an important thing. In the case of Washington, what will happen is that, eventually, marijuana will be sold in various state-run stores, rather like liquor already is (or at least it was when I lived up there). You would be allowed to possess up to an ounce at a time, which is…I don’t know. A lot? A little? I have no idea, because I don’t use the stuff. But I’m sure it’s something that will greatly please those who do.

Of course the federal government isn’t big on this whole thing, so you can look forward to many challenges. For the Republicans out there, this brings up an interesting question. Isn’t this a states’ rights issue? The people of Washington state have decided they want to give up on the drug war and let people have their weed. Doesn’t Republican ideology mean that you have to support them in this? If there’s any intellectual consistency, of course it does, but when we’re talking about the GOP, perhaps “intellectual” is not a word that should be used.

There were many other state and local elections last night, but those were the ones that really caught my attention. I’m done, at least for now, covering what happened in election. I think I’m going to go take a nap.

Parsing the Election I: The Republican Party’s Next Move

Four more years!

The election is over. The only state left to call is Florida. Last I saw, it was trending toward Obama and hopefully will end up there. An imperfect man will continue to lead our very imperfect nation, and hopefully all will go well enough that in 2016, we can elect another Democrat.

I have a lot of thoughts on what happened last night. Here they are in no particular order.

This was less about everyone thinking Obama was great than it was about everyone thinking Romney was, basically, a lying asshole. This was an election that the GOP should have won, due to how basically stupid the electorate are. A number of people bought into the largely inaccurate perception that Obama was a weak, do-nothing president who hadn’t accomplished anything of note in the last four years. Had the Republicans had a better candidate, they might have pulled it off.

But that’s the problem with the GOP. There was no better candidate that their fundamentally (and I use that word with great deliberateness), insane base would have accepted. Had they had someone like Jon Huntsman as their nominee, they might have had more traction. As it was, when the GOP candidates were people like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, well, Romney is simply the most palatable of a really bad bunch.

The GOP needs to bear this in mind. They need to make sure they select a real moderate next time around, not someone whose opinions seem to vary by the hour. They also need to do a much better job of reaching out to minorities, especially Hispanics (more on how to do this in my Puerto Rico article that’s coming up next), and certainly need to do a better job of getting the youth vote. One CNN commentator I heard last night mentioned that once a young person had voted for the same party in three major election cycles in a row, it’s very likely that they will continue to vote for that party for the rest of their lives. By embracing the crazy and emphasizing the religious aspects of their party, the GOP has alienated the youth vote and basically lost an entire generation.

And I think that’s ultimately where the problem with the GOP lies. They continue to embrace the religious right, and, indeed, basically define the religious right. They aren’t the moderate religious sorts, like Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush I or even Reagan. No, they’re the party that embraces a view of reality that has nothing to do with facts. They reject evolution and global warming. They nominate people like Todd Akin, who famously made a series of dumb and wrong remarks about rape. They continue to try and force a conservative religious agenda on a populace that really doesn’t want it, especially among the younger voters.

For the Republicans to succeed in 2016, they need to have good, sane, moderate candidates. They need to weed out the crazy early on, and possibly have fewer debates, since that’s less chances for the crazies to get attention. They also need to properly and fully embrace immigration reform in a fashion that doesn’t include stupid concepts like self-deportation, but that rather provides, yes, amnesty. Most of us don’t like the concept of anything like amnesty, but those of us connected to reality understand that it’s needed. The GOP needs to understand that, too.

But I have a feeling that it’s going to take one more drubbing. They won the House, after all, and depending on what happens in 2014, they might keep it. I expect one final election where they double-down on the crazy and nominate someone like Rick Santorum, or possibly actually nominate Rick Santorum. I think the wing of the party that says, “Romney’s problem was that he was too liberal!” will hold enough sway to make that happen, and that likely will ensure that the Democrats retain power in 2016.

Know hope.

Live-Blogging the Election Results

So it seems to be completely finished. We’re still waiting for the results in Florida, Virginia, Nevada, Colorado and Alaska, but they don’t matter. It’s over, it’s done. Now we can move on and make sure the next four years are even better for the country than the previous four have been.

9:18pm – CNN has officially projected Obama to win Ohio and therefore the Presidency. It is over. The American people proved they aren’t as stupid as I often think they are.

Thank goodness.

9:17pm – CNN has called Missouri for Romney. No shock there, and likely small comfort.

9:16pm – Oregon now. It is almost impossible for Romney to win this. MSNBC has called it for Obama.

9:09pm – CNN projects Obama to win Iowa and New Mexico. No surprises in either one.

9:03pm – CNN now projecting Wisconsin for Obama and North Carolina for Romney. About time for both. 238 vs 191.

9:00pm – CNN is projecting the following: Obama takes California, Hawaii and Washington. No surprises with any of these. Romney takes Idaho and Montana. Obama now leads 228 to 176 in the electoral college out of 270 needed.

8:55pm – Puerto Rico had their vote today. 53% voted to change their current political status, with 65% then going on to say they wanted to be a state. Hooray! With luck, we’ll have another state in the next couple years, with two more Democratic senators and some more Democratic congressmen.

8:50pm – CNN has called AZ for Romney, of course, and Minnesota for Obama, of course. 169 to 157 now, but CA polls are about to close, and we all know where that one is going.

8:46pm – Been fiddling with CNN’s electoral vote calculator. If Obama takes Florida, as looks likely, it seems like Romney could take every other swing state, including Ohio, and lose. Let’s hope.

8:27pm – I am updating this a lot less frequently than I expected to. Bah.

8:04pm – Wolf Blitzer: “We’re about to make a MAJOR projection!” And that projection is…New Hampshire for Obama. So…yeah. That’s another four whole votes! Wowsers.

8:00pm – Here we go! CNN projects Romney in Utah. So no shock there. That seems to be their only projection right now. 158 to 143.

7:56pm – Another 21 votes getting knocked out at the top of the hour. It’ll be MT, UT for Romney and IA, NV for Obama. Or so I predict. Because I have a brain.

7:46pm – CNN is projecting Elizabeth Warren to win the Senate seat in Mass, and Joe Donnelly in Indiana. This is looking better and better for the Democrats!

7:41pm – CNN has called PA for Obama. That’s another 20 electoral votes.

7:07pm – CNN is now saying the GOP will keep control of the House. This is, again, no real surprise.

7:06pm – So far, the election is going exactly as predicted by 538. Of course, even if Silver gets it 100% right, he’ll still get his numbers in the next election trashed by whomever they don’t favor.

7:00pm – The following states have been called for Romney: Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska (taking at least 3 of the 5 votes), North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, and Mississippi. Not a single surprise with any of these states. For Obama we have: Michigan, New York, and New Jersey. That brings us up to 152 electoral votes for Romney vs 123 for Obama.

6:56pm – 14 states with 156 electoral votes closing at the top of the hour, including here in AZ. Fun times soon!

6:42pm – In the latest edition of Unsurprising News, CNN is giving Alabama to Romney, bringing us to 82 for him, 64 for Obama, but don’t be discouraged, Obama fans. The major liberal states like New York haven’t finished voting yet.

6:37pm – Still waiting for the polls here in AZ to close. I am, of course, favoring all the Democrats. I’m also against the initiative that would limit us to only two people in each election, and in favor of the initiative that would make our 1% sales tax increase permanent. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best way we have to fund education at the moment, since our governor has no interest in doing so.

6:30pm – Romney gets Arkansas and Tennessee. No shocks here. That brings us to 73 votes for Romney and 64 for Obama.

6:28pm – A number of pundits have made claims about how the election is going to go. Many will be wrong, some spectacularly so. Nothing will happen to those who are wrong, but should something happen to them, and if so, what?

6:19pm – CNN is showing that Maine will be electing Angus King as an independent Senator. Bob Corker wins in TN. Democrats in FL, Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island.

6:13pm – Hmmm. CNN only just now called GA. For some reason I thought they had done so earlier. Oh, well.

6:08pm – Romney claims he’s written only one speech tonight, not two. Yeah…I doubt he really wrote either. I’m sure
his speechwriters wrote up two with his guidance. Anything else woudld be stupid.

6:60pm – So far Romney has more votes nationally, but let’s hope that changes. The last thing we need, regardless of who wins, is a repeat of 2000.

6:03pm – In other news, Bernie Sanders, the only openly socialist member of the Senate, has been reelected. Go, Bernie! Go, Vermont! I just wish he was actually affiliated wit the Socialist Party.

6:00pm – Per CNN, the following states have gone for Obama: Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts (one of Romney’s home states), Maine (3 out of 4 votes at least), and Rhode Island. Romney gets Oklahoma. Obama leads 64 to 40.

5:55pm – GA called for Romney. He’s now up 33 to 3, but don’t panic, my friends. This is nothing yet, since none of the more liberal states have checked in. Tons of states are closing at the top of the hour, and that’s going to give us a better picture.

5:44pm – CNN is calling South Carolina for Romney with 1% of the vote in and Obama up by 75%. Amusing, but likely accurate.

5:30pm – CNN is projecting Romney to win in West Virginia. No surprise there. That’s another 5 electoral votes for him. Polls have closed in North Carolina and Ohio, but we have no winner in either yet.

5:26pm – Here’s a poll.

5:23pm – CNN gives Indiana to Romney. No shock there. This gives Romney 19 electoral votes to Obama’s 3, but you’ll excuse me if I don’t panic just yet.

5:20pm – For fun, here’s the predictions from a conservative friend of mine. He says Romney will win by 285 electoral votes, taking the “swing” states of CO, FL, NC, OH, VA and WI. He thinks Obama will win IA, NH, NV, MI and PA. I think he’s right about Obama, but I think Obama will also take CO, VA and WI.

5:15pm – Now CNN is talking about some county in Indiana that has picked the right candidate in all but two elections. Big horking deal. If you have hundreds of counties, which we do, simple math indicates that over time at least a couple will end up seeming to be very accurate in what they pick.

5:00pm – CNN gives Vermont to Obama and Kentucky to Romney. Per the instructions of my mother, who lives in Kentucky, sorry about that.

4:55pm MST: Here begins the live-blogging. I guess we get to see where this goes. 538 is currently showing Obama standing a better than 90% chance of winning, with a slightly better than 50% chance of taking Florida, thus giving him about 313 electoral votes. I remain skeptical of that and stand by my earlier prediction.

Almost Done

So tomorrow, the election happens. It’s actually happening right now in some places (hi, Guam!), but those places don’t really count (sorry, Guam!). As we go into Election Day, I remain confident in my prediction that Obama will win, something 538 shows a very high chance of happening.

I’ve pretty much said all that I’m going to say, but in case it needs to be explicit, here it is: VOTE DEMOCRAT. Don’t vote for the Republicans. Don’t vote for people who think gays are, at best, second-class citizens. Don’t vote for people who want to end a woman’s right to choose. Don’t vote for people who would take us into yet another war against a Muslim country. Remember that the financial crisis was caused in part by greedy rich people who loved firing people. Don’t put those people in charge of our recovery.

I shall be live-blogging the election results tomorrow. Meantime, if you want a bit of fun today, go check out this list of informative and interesting election myths from Cracked. And enjoy the following comic from XKCD!

Mr. Burns Endorses Mr. Romney!

My Election Day Prediction

By Tuesday it’ll all be over except the shouting, which will go on and on and on and on and on and on…

Anyhow, it’s time for my election prediction! To do this prediction, I am using CNN’s electoral college calculator. Here is what it shows today.

I think they’re being a bit optimistic on what states are swing states. But, hey, their job, I suppose, is to get viewers and if they say that there’s almost no real swing states, that doesn’t exactly engage the viewer. Here’s the map from

Sorry about the small size. Anyhow, I think that’s far more realistic. If you go to the website, you can click on each state and get the percentage likelihood of winning, which is fun.

To make my personal electoral college map, I blanked out the CNN map.

Then I plugged in my picks, and, what do you know, we wound up with something quite a bit like the 538 map.

My personal prediction for the 2012 United States presidential election.

As you can see, I say that Obama will end up with 303 electoral college votes, winning the swing states of Colorado, Ohio and Virginia. I gave Romney FLorida.

Now I suppose an argument can be made that I’m being overly confident. Very well. Let’s give Romney Virginia and Colorado, which I think is within the realm of reality, and 538 shows Obama’s chances of winning in those states as being in the 60 – 69% range, which is the lowest on the map for him. If I do that, Obama still wins with 278 electoral votes out of the 270 needed. Now if Romney took both of those swing states and took Ohio, which 538 shows Obama standing a nearly 80% chance of winning, then Romney does indeed win the election with 275 votes.

Now let’s try this in a situation where Obama wins Colorado and Virginia, as well as Ohio, and also takes Florida, where 538 shows Romney standing only about a 59% chance of winning. If that happens, Obama wins by 332 votes, which would please me to no end.

You can play with all sorts of scenarios on the calculator. But I think mine, which, as I admitted, bears a close resemblance to what is on 538, will wind up being accurate. Obama will win with 303 electoral votes and we can all collectively move on.

Why Vote for Obama?

After all his first term was such a failure, right? Consider this from Andrew Sullivan.

Unemployment is lower now than it was when he took office, and moving downward. Next year’s IMF-predicted US growth is higher than any other developed country. Compared with austerity-ridden Europe, where unemployment is still climbing, Obama’s, Geithner’s and Bernanke’s leadership has been stellar. The US has never exported as much as now as a percentage of GDP ever. Given the catastrophe Obama walked into, and the froth-flecked obstructionism of his opposition, he’s had a remarkably successful, historic first term. His long game also makes much of the progress promised durable only if he gets a second term.

Sully is primarily talking to the voters out there who voted for Obama in 2008 and now aren’t planning to because they’re so disappointed with what he’s done. But really, why be disappointed? He really has done a stellar job given the problems that he, and we, faced. It’s very easy to forget what things were like in 2008, and to fool ourselves into not realizing how bad they might have gone had Obama not done what he did.

I still remain confident that Obama will win reelection. He certainly deserves to.

Not Live-Blogging the Debate – October 22, 2012

Yeah, that’s annoying. I have to work tonight, so…no live-blog. I’ll watch and blog about the debate as soon as I get home so, as usual, watch this space!

*** UPDATE ***

Now at home! Debate blogging time. As before, this will just be my thoughts as I watch, with no time-stamps.

Starting by reminding us what the stakes are when it comes to foreign policy is a good idea.

This whole Libya thing still bores me silly. There’s no real controversy here. There’s no real story here. It’s just some bad shit that happened. Bad shit happens from time to time.

Romney’s introduction was awkward.

The Arab Spring is more like an Arab Decade and will take a long time to fully form. Also, Mali has nothing to do with it. Egypt, Libya in general, Tunisia and the like are all doing much better.

“We can’t kill our way out of this mess.” Remember this quote from Romney if he wins and we end up at war with Iran.

Obama is making a great point about how we helped liberate Libya from a dictator without spending very much money and losing any American lives.

“The Muslim world” I hate that term. It covers countries like our historic ally, Morocco, with whom we signed one of our first-ever treaties. It also includes Albania, and Kosovo, two countries that practically worship Americans. It also includes NATO member Turkey, as well as long-term US allies like Jordan and Indonesia. Yes, there’s lots of troubled areas and troubled people, but lumping all these groups together as “the Muslim world”, a term that could conceivably include even American Muslims due to how vague it is, solves nothing.

Many of these countries have “the rule of law”, it’s just not a law we agree with. I assure you, there were plenty of laws in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Romney seems to want to consider Mali as part of the mid-East. Take a look at this map, and tell me what part of Mali is in the middle east.

Ha! Obama called-out Romney on earlier remarks about Russia being our greatest threat, saying, “The 1980s are calling, asking for their foreign policy back.”

Romney’s frozen smile is back.

Syria is Iran’s route to the sea? So…the Persian Gulf is, what, less accessible?

So today Romney doesn’t want us to invade Syria. Let’s see what changes by, say, Thursday.

I do notice that it sounds, so far, like most of Romney’s foreign policy ideas are those that Obama already has in place.

It is good and important to understand that, for a variety of reasons, we can’t do in Syria what we did in Libya.

“I don’t wanna have our military involved in Syria.” Mitt Romney, October 22, 2012. Bear this in mind.

Romney keeps saying we should have been taking a leading role. But we have been, in as much as we’re able to. It’s also important to remember that this isn’t our war; it’s the Syrians. It isn’t about us. It’s about them.

Obama is emphasizing, again, that we need to spend more on the infrastructure. This is important to understand. Right now we can rebuild our roads and pipes and electrical grid and the like for far less than we will be able to later. It will only get more expensive as time goes on.

Since when do we give a crap what the president of Iran says about our debt?

“Our military is second to none in the world.” It is, yes. We can cut it in half and still be bigger and stronger than everyone else.

Romney says that our influence in the world is nowhere near the level of greatness that it was four years ago. Ok, let me think here. I’m willing to bet we have greater standing and influence in Europe. Probably in most of Latin America. Certainly in parts of Africa, like, for example, just off the top of my head, Libya. Does he really think we wielded more influence there four years ago than we do now?

Next question: what is America’s role in the world?

So we need to strengthen our military, and we need to decrease our debt. Without raising taxes. I’m…confused.

Not making noise during the Green Revolution was the smart thing to do. Again, it wasn’t about us, it was about them. We needed to stay out of it.

We’re diverting heavily onto domestic issues. Let’s get back to the foreign policy.

I can agree that we need to push harder for more trade with Latin America.

“We have to have schools that finally put the parents, the teachers and the kids first, and the teacher’s union behind.” So who, exactly, does Romney think belongs to the teacher’s union?

No one with a brain thinks we’re on the road to end up like Greece.

The frozen smile is back as Obama points out how bad Massachusetts was for small businesses while Romney was in charge.

Where will Romney get the money for his big military? Let’s hear what he says.

A balanced budget within 8 – 10 years. It is to laugh. He wants to start by ditching Obamacare. So insurance companies will be allowed to deny coverage and purge the rolls. Fun times!

Clinton said it first. Biden repeated it. Obama is now reminding us. The math on Romney’s budget plans just does not work.

I’m pretty sure that Romney’s business budgets were balanced by accountants.

Ok, Romney says that our Navy is smaller now than it has been at any time since 1917. Let’s consider this. In 1917, most people expected us to end up in WWI, which we did. So we had a large navy then. This navy contained things like battleships, which simply don’t exist any more. We continued to have a big navy all the way through WWII, because having a big navy was essential to winning that war. We continued to have a big one during the Cold War because, well, the USSR did. But why, exactly, do we need a huge, bloated navy right now? Look, I like the navy. I wanted to join it at one point. But we can do a lot of things by air now that we used to do by sea. We have the biggest navy in the world and can easily destroy anyone else’s. We don’t need it to be back to the size it during what was, at the time, the biggest war in human history.

*sigh* The same argument I used about the navy can be applied to Romney’s statements about the air force, too.

Good, Obama is basically making the same argument I made.

Now on to a discussion about Israel and Iran.

I don’t particularly want Iran to have a nuclear weapon, but there is a limit to what I would be willing to do to stop them from having one. We don’t need another war. Obama almost certainly won’t give us one. Romney? Who can say?

So Romney’s ideas about Iran are, basically, the same as Obama’s, except set to 11. I haven’t a huge problem with that, though he’s apparently also anti-free speech, given that wants to indict Ahmadinejad merely for saying things.

Now Obama is explaining why setting up these kinds of sanctions take time, and couldn’t have been done immediately.

I would point out that it would help our efforts at negotiating with Iran if we had an embassy there. I understand why we would be reluctant to do so, but still.

Oh, god, the “apology tour” lie. *sigh* Yes, because admitting we’ve made mistakes in the past is soooooo bad.

“Nothing Governor Romney just said is true.” ABOUT DAMN TIME! And he looked him right in the eye as he repeated it. Excellent. This needed to happen in the first debate.

“…America has not dictated to other nations.” Yeah, how did that work out in Iran in 1958? Or in Chile? Ok, I suppose that technically supporting the overthrow of a government isn’t dictating, it’s more like just being dicks. We have made mistakes and it is important to recognize them, especially because, as we can see, fucking up in a place like Iran can have lasting consequences.

Obama really is completely owning Romney here, destroying every point he makes by using, you know, facts.

There is more chaos in the middle east, it is true. Dictatorships tend to not have a lot of chaos. Democracies and transitional governments do.

There’s this odd narrative that Obama has somehow backed off on supporting Israel, and I suppose this is slightly true. I mean, we no longer support them automatically 100% of the time regardless of what they do. Now it’s only about 95% of the time.

Ha! Calling out Romney on the constant flip-flops. Excellent.

I hate the notion that we somehow brought bin Laden “to justice”. We did not. We shot him in the head. If we’d captured him and put him on trial, we would have brought him to justice. All we did was get revenge.

Next segment, Afghanistan and Pakistan!

For the record, some of my comments are way longer than usual because, since this is recorded, I can pause it and write longer remarks.

Romney says we’re going to bring our troops out of Afghanistan by 2014. Isn’t that a timetable? Aren’t Republicans against that?

Nation building at home. We can but dream.

Romney is being a bit vague, as usual, and offering no solutions other than those Obama has already been engaging.

Now Obama is talking, but frankly both their responses here are a bit “meh” to me.

Moving on to the next issue: China!

Terrorist networks are no real great threat to our country. If those are the worst we have to fear, we’re fine.

A nuclear Iran is also not our greatest national security threat. If they had 500 ICBMs that were targeted at us, maybe. As it stands, no.

So Romney wants to be allies with China and be tough on them! Let me know how that works out.

Companies have shut down and people have lost their jobs, according to Romney. How many of those jobs were outsourced by companies like Bain? Also, he’s now talking about being tough on China again. You know, China, our ally. We have to be tough on them, unlike Israel, who we can be allies with but allow to get away with whatever.

Ha! Obama just called out Romney about shipping jobs overseas. Excellent.

Obama again calling out Romney on much of what he’s said. This pleases me to no end.

Both are right about how annoying the slow recovery is, but it is happening. Obama has been moving us forward. I don’t see Romney doing that.

Again, Romney says he’s going to get people back to work by creating 12 million jobs. Of course, government doesn’t create jobs, he says…He also wants bipartisanship. That only works if both sides want it. The GOP does not.

The last few lines of his closing statement are actually fairly decent, but otherwise, Romney has no substance. None. Zip. He lied constantly, and almost all his ideas are basically the same as what Obama is already doing. Obama won this one. He won it with personality and with facts. That’s all he needs, I hope.

Not Live-Blogging the Debate – October 16, 2012

I’d love to live-blog the heck out of this debate tonight. But I’ll be at work while it is happening. I am recording it, and once I get home, I plan to blog about it as best as I can, however I get off work at 10pm and have to be back tomorrow at 7am. That means that I need to sleep, too. So we shall see what I’m able to manage. Either way, please no one tell me who they think won. I prefer to form my own opinions.

I will say that this probably isn’t quite a “do or die” for Obama, but it’s really damn close. He’s still got a 66%+ chance of winning, according to fivethirtyeight, so I think that if he does a surgical takedown of all Romney’s lies, distortions and flip-flops, he’ll be ok. The problem is that he needs to win clearly, while Romney needs to just not screw up. So…yeah.

Also for the record, I learned something interesting about polls done in the wake of the debate. They often favor the winner of the debate, and not always because everyone has suddenly changed their minds. No, what tends to happen is that people who supported the loser in the debate often don’t want to talk to pollsters (understandably), and so there tends to be a distorted effect caused by this.

Anyhow, I’ll start watching and blogging as soon as I get home!

*** UPDATE ***

Ok, I’m at home now. I won’t do a full live-blog here, but I will type in some impressions as I have them. Forgive the lack of time-stamps.

Romney’s first response, on college and employment, was very weak. Obama’s was way better, though we’re never going to have a massive manufacturing base again. Also, good slam on Romney for his comments about letting Detroit go bankrupt. The need for more infrastructure was also good.

Romney just mentioned Continental. Aren’t they out of business now?

Why should we be drilling for gas and oil on federal land? What, there’s not enough private land out there? Also, we don’t need more coal plants. Coal is unbelievably bad for the environment. But of course, the Republicans don’t believe in global climate change.

Love Obama almost flat-out calling Romney a liar.

Wow, Romney is clearly already rattled and being borderline rude. We all know that was horribly evil when Biden did it, at least according to Fox News. I wonder if they’ll have the same reaction here.

This is a very white audience.

No tax on dividends, interest and capital gains. Stuff the lower class doesn’t have, and the middle class doesn’t have much of. The upper class, on the other hand…

Now Romney says he won’t under any circumstances raise taxes. I hope that’s a lie. Sometimes you have to.

Obama is doing a great job of making himself distinct from Romney.

In what way do the top 5% pay 60% of their income in taxes? Does anyone know the logic here?

Oh, Mitt thinks he’s going to crack down on China when they cheat. Oh, isn’t that cute? No one’s going to do that. If nothing else, it’s hard to crack down on someone to whom you owe money.

Hmmm…Obama mentioned that Romney pays 14% on his taxes, which is about what I pay. So Romney is in the upper 5%, right? So why doesn’t he pay the 60% he just claimed the upper 5% pay?

“Of course they [the numbers] add up,” Romney says, in the most condescending voice I’ve ever heard in a debate.

Ah, yes, the myth that we’re in danger of turning into Greece. You know, that country with absolutely no industry beyond tourism. Yeah, not us.

Glad Obama is bringing up the Lilly Ledbetter law. I was just reading about that recently in Jeffery Toobin’s latest book.

I like that Obama is bringing up contraception and Planned Parenthood. I smell a trap being laid.

Ooooo…someone mentioned Bush! *gasp*

I was right about Romney falling into a trap on contraception.

Still claiming he’s going to crack down on China. If nothing else, that’s so damn vague, I wonder what the hell it means.

I wonder how many small business people really aren’t hiring because of Obamacare. My suspicion is that it’s about the same percentage as refused to hire in Massachusetts when Romneycare was put into place.

Now Obama is explaining what it means to be tough on China, and citing examples where he did so.

I know, I know. This is basically turning into a live-blogging bit without it being live.

Ah…a chance for Obama to really step up and defend his record. Let’s see what happens!

I think that’s a solid list of accomplishments, but I think he could have probably gone further. Still, not bad at all.

I love that the notion that Obama hasn’t been able to do what he’s promised to do is totally, entirely, his fault. We certainly can’t blame the GOP for being massively obstructionist and refusing to compromise.

I also love the way that Romney is trying to blame basically every economic problem on Obama, because we all know that the recession began on January 20, 2009.

Now he’s mentioning the Reagan recession and recovery. But correct me if I’m wrong: didn’t Reagan raise taxes?

Now something on immigration. This could get interesting.

So Romney’s answer wasn’t much, though I do find myself agreeing with much of it. Still, it’s unrealistic to think we’re going to somehow deport or otherwise deal with 15 million people here illegally. Something else must be done. Also, Romney seems to forget that if you’re born here, you’re a citizen, period. Doesn’t matter what your parents status is. I wonder how he’d deal with a citizen child with two parents who are here illegally.

I can also agree with Obama here, but I’m generally not overly satisfied with either answer.

Obama isn’t entirely accurate on SB1070.

Romney is spending much time on the defensive here. It does not work well for him. His response on self-deportation makes no sense.

Good response from Obama on the pension thing, even if it wasn’t exactly an answer of substance.

I’m very bored with the Libya story. I never thought it was much of anything other than a tragedy.

Does it really matter if we call it a “terrorist attack” or not? It was a bad thing that happened. Do names matter?

In what way does this one incident call into question Obama’s whole policy in the mid-East? What a stupid comment.

Ah, the “apology tour” and “leading from behind” lies.

Obama’s response was really well-done and put Romney into his place. Romney’s response back? Horrible! Obama gets the second laugh of the night, along with a bit of applause.

Wow, a gun control question. Never thought I’d hear one of those again! The answer from Obama is a bit “meh”, but I suppose it gets the job done.

Ah, Romney’s solution to gun violence? Encourage people to get married. Also, he’s bringing up Fast and Furious which was, as I recall, started by the Bush administration.

Tuning out the overseas manufacturing discussion. This is in part because I have to be awake in six hours. Ugh.

“Government does not create jobs!” cries out Romney. So all those defense industry jobs are, what, fictional?

Romney cares about 100% of us. Well, that’s just ducky. But he doesn’t want us to have health care. He doesn’t want women to control their bodies. He doesn’t want gays to have the same rights as straights. He thinks the rich should pay less in taxes. But, hey, otherwise he really cares about us. Overall a weak final answer.

Obama hits it hard with the 47% remark that he should have brought up last time.

So that’s that. A good debate. Obama did indeed clearly win as the consensus seems to be. I’m very pleased, of course. I think at least he’s put a firm stop to the slide. Hopefully this will start turning the polls around. We shall see!


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