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.


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