Presidential Debate #3: I left my snark in Boca Raton

This is it.  I can’t believe it.  This is the last one.  I mean, I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little choked up right now.  I feel like I know these people.  No more debates.  It can’t be.   Folks this has been going on since spring of 2011 when the candidates announced they were running.   I’ve had two birthdays, a daughter, my brother-in-law got a new job and moved from Lexington KY to Raleigh NC, and my mother-in-law has moved here to Knoxville from Lexington KY.  All since this thing started.

Alright, I’ve gathered myself. I think.  No, no, yeah I’m good, yeah I’m gonna be good.

Ok on to the action.  We’re live from lovely Boca Raton Florida.  A city so nice they say it exactly opposite it’s spelling.  It’s Boca Rah – Tone, even though the O can’t be solid without a vowel following it.  Whatever.  You say potato, I say potatoe.

Bob Schiffer on to debate moderate.  He’s a good choice.  Guy has a Sunday show where he’s essentially a moderator for the entire hour.  We’ll see if he can control these two.

No fist-a-cuffs tonight sports fans.  Just verbal punches.  Looks all happy smiley for the final contest.

Those smiles didn’t last long.

Lets get some facts out of the way first.

1. This debate will have zero, none, nada, zilch, effect on the election.

2. If you are an undecided voter there is a good chance you are mentally unbalanced and realistically should not be allowed to vote anyway.  But this is Merica, so see you at the polls nut-jobs.

3. Incumbents always have the edge in foreign policy debates so the pressure is always on the President.

4. This was debate number 23 for Mitt Romney.  23.  This was only Obama’s 3rd.

Knowing that you would think Romney would mow Obama over with his mad debate skilzz.  I think that’s how the kids say it.  Not the case.  The President was the clear visual winner tonight.

Turns out the Pres ain’t no dummy.  He’s a bit of a liar though.  That was clear tonight. Now if we were on the block playin ball, it would be called gamesmanship.  Lying about what a guy said to throw him off is good strategy.  In Presidential politics it’s called lying. It’s currently palying well with the pundits who are breaking this thing down as I type. The key phrase they are all using; if you watched the debate, Obama was the clear winner.  True enough.  But if you read the transcript or just listened without watching, this debate was a draw, maybe even a Romney win.

Obama brought the funny and the condescension tonight.  He was channeling a little Newt Gingrich I think.  On the issue of the size of the Navy, Romney accused the President of neglect citing the Navy is the smallest it’s been since 1917.  Actual fact there.  The President’s response: “well Governor, we have less bayonets and horses than we had in 1917 as well.  The Navy has evolved in their capability.  They have aircraft carries now, that have planes land on them.  The have ships that go under the water and they call them submarines.”  Wow, a little nasty there.

Most pundits agreed this is the tone of a candidate who thinks he’s losing the race. Agreed.  But for a guy who is losing the race, Obama was smiling a lot.  But it felt more like that Jeffrey “I’ve got a good place in my freezer for your head” Dahmer smile.   It went on like that for several answers.  The big lie came at the end and backfired a little thanks to Twitter.  Obama repeated that tired line that Mitt wanted the car industry to just go bankrupt.  Romney corrected Obama and then the twitter-verse fact checked both men and found Romney was spot on and Obama was dead wrong.

Romney had a good response to the condescension, basically saying “attacking me Mr. President doesn’t spell out your agenda, it’s just attacking me.”  Good point.  Romney then spun a lie about the President into a winning argument.  This so called apology tour the President supposedly went on has been debunked from the beginning.  When Romney brought it up, the President jumped on him calling it the biggest whopper of the campaign.  But then Romney spelled out exactly why he felt it was an apology tour even though he admitted the President never said sorry or actually apologized for America.

By taking the tour at all signaled weakness according to Romney.  By touring all middle eastern countries except Israel gave the appearance of the President trying to curry sympathy from the Arab world while ignoring our biggest ally in the region.  It was a good argument.  Won me over.  It was the only time Romney really articulated a response that left the President with no good comeback.

Other than those few instances the debate was Romney trying to agree with everything Obama said.  Literally.  I think someone on Twitter scored it at about 90% as far as the President’s foreign policies that Romney agreed with.  Romney may have moved the needle with his conservative base, but in the wrong direction.

So Romney’s strategy was to just stay close to Obama, make no big mistake, and come out on top.  Obama kept challenging Romney with belittlement and condescension, but Romney would not bite.  That is the strategy of a guy winning the election.  But I must say for a guy who is winning based on the current polls, Romney sweats a lot.  He was “beading up” as they say down here, from the first exchange.

The national average of polls has the men tied, but both men are seeing internal polling that tell them the same thing.  Romney is pulling ahead in some key states and Obama has been losing ground for a while now.  Both men debated accordingly.

It was a bit of a snooze fest to tell the truth.  But it was the last one, the end.  I really can’t believe it.  Now all we get are e-mail bombs and junk mailers, and ad blitzes for the last two weeks.  It just won’t be the same.

Be sure to check back here on election night for live coverage of the results as they come in.

Big Bird, Binders, and now Romnesia?

You know I am having a hard time processing all this.  I supported the man in 08.  No shame in it.  He was the smartest of the two and had the better Vice Presidential candidate in Joe Biden.  Yes crazy, perpetually half drunk, foot consistently in mouth, not sure what city he’s in – ever,  Uncle Joe Biden.  Tony may fight me on this, but Joe, even half in the the bag, is a genius compared to the killa from Wasilla.  If this was 08 I’d vote for him again.  But this isn’t 2008. I lived in 2008. I lived through 08.  I voted in 2008. And 2008, you are no 2012.  Might have run out the string on that verbiage.

Anyway, this isn’t 2008 and the President’s campaign could not look more different.  I still believe he’s the same smart dude I voted for in 2008.  The problem; he’s trying to keep his job instead of doing his job.  In doing so he is listening to the three most useless people in his campaign: David Axelrod, David Plouffe, and Stephanie Cutter.  And I’m the guy who wrote this about Herman Cain’s campaign manager Mark Block: Down Goes Cain!

What’s the problem with that you ask, seeing as how those three mopped the floor with McCain/Palin in 08?  Here’s the problem, they got a taste and now they’re hooked. Addicts do some crazy and stupid crap to keep feeding the addiction.  These three power addicts are no different than your garden variety East Tennessee Meth heads.  Let me count the ways.

1. Romney talks of cutting spending but gives no clear specifics, except a quick shot at the moderator who works for PBS.  What do we get from the three blind mice?  Two weeks of nonsense about Mitt coming after Big Bird.  This is the leader of the free world mind you, who knows as well as you and I, PBS takes next to no money from the government and will operate fine without it.

2. Romney uses an awkward phrase about binders of women’s resumes and how they went about recruiting women for his cabinet when he was Governor of Massachusetts.  By the way, at that time Romney’s cabinet was over 50% women.  No Governor can make that claim even today.  Even among democrats.  What do we get from Cutter and the gang? A week and a half of binder jokes which did great things for Trapper Keeper sales, only to lower the bar even more for smart and intelligent debate in this country.

3. The President accuses Romney of having amnesia when it comes to some of his practices and polices as Governor.  So for the last week we’ve got nothing but “Do you want a President in the White House with Romnesia?”  That’s a direct quote from advertising and mailers sent out last week by Team Obama.  Again this is the leader of the free world making and repeating stupid lines that Wally and the Beav wouldn’t laugh at, and those two chuckle heads laughed at everything.

So that’s it.  Instead of turning to serious issues that all of Governors comments represent, we get seltzer water shooting lapel flowers and hand buzzers.  Instead of refuting some of the things the Governor said we get open mic night at the improv.  Were those attacks supposed to hurt?  It didn’t hurt Romney one bit.  It only makes you look small Mr. President, because we all know you’re trying to make him look small.  It has become your only shot.

Where I grew up in Jersey, and I’m betting the same for Tony, who’s from Ohio, silly attacks like that would only encourage me to kick the snot out of you.  It only reinforces the idea that you have nothing else, that you’re weak, and ultimately you’re beatable.

Mr. President, I would tell you what I told Rick Santorum, smarten up.  But it’s too late for that.

The final debate is tonight.  Let’s see what meaningless phrase or word Team Shecky Green and his band of cable comedy writers can spin into a Gong Show act for the remaining two weeks of the election.

Yeah it’s a real thing.

 

Thought I was joking?  Here is the high brow, intelligent campaigning we have come to know and love from Obama and his campaign full of not ready for any time players.

Really Mr. President?  Really?

The whoopee cushion of your campaign has run out of gas.

Photo courtesy of Euraputz.com

Presidential Debate #2: The most important debate of our time…until the next one.

It’s go time from Hofstra University in Hempstead New York.  Candy Crowley of CNN is the moderator and she looks like she could spit nails.  The name Candy is a little misleading.  Think of a fat guy named slim.

It’s town hall style tonight.  Questions coming from the audience.  That by itself should be worth a little unintentional comedy. That means the candidates are free range chickens. Free to roam to and fro.  This bit John McCain in the rump last time.  He looked like your great grandfather, wandering around the freeway looking for his puree`ed squash and brownie cake.

Interesting to note both campaigns balked at Crowley as the moderator because she threatened ask her own questions.  God forbid.

Love Crowley already.  Absolutely no introductions.  She just took the first question from the audience and started.  Nice.  Look gang if these guys have to intro themselves, we have bigger problems than these guys ducking tough debate questions.

Second man up with a question about energy.  I expected a blue collar, lunch pail, NY Islanders fan.  Got Droopy Dog, with coke bottle glasses, who apparently free bases helium.

The President has come out stronger.  But how could he not.

Whoa, whoa, whoa!  I think the Obama and Romney just traded paint there.  If not, they definitely shared the same breathing air for a second.  Got very close passing each other on the stage.  Shit just got real, (learned that from the muppets).

Ok we are into the tax plan weeds.  This all benefits the Pres. for two reasons.  First Romney had not offered too many specifics about his plan and Obama can corner him on this.  Second any time not talking about the Libya cover up is a win for the President.

Until Romney expertly pivots it to Obama’s record on debt and deficits.  President is on, but Romney is not wilting.

Katherine something or other asks about equal pay for women in the work place.  Here is the best way to describe this exchange.  From Sam Youngman, former White House press corp, now writes for Reuters, and a Kentucky fan, but we give him a pass on that sometimes:

nuf said

 

 

 

 

 

Now we are beating on George Bush again.  Man, I wasn’t a fan but let the guy fade into his sunset.He served his country with passion and a care for Americans.  Will anyone just own the current situation and start with the fix already.

Mike Jones hits Obama between the eyes.  “I voted for you in 08, why should I vote for you now.”  Good question from the audience for once.  Obama goes down a pretty impressive list of things he’s done.  Three myths that dog him: 1. raised taxes – no he actually cut them  2. Made it harder to get guns – no actually guns have never been easier to get in our history. 3. soft on immigration – no the administration has deported more illegals than Bush 43 did in 8 years.

Best tweet of the night – decided by me.

 

 

 

Trevino was a speech writer in the Bush 43 White House.  Following his twitter feed should be worth 3 college credits in history and political science.

Romney smartly highlights the problem with the past 4 years as to why Obama should not get your vote;  23 million Americans are still out of work.  It’s that number and not the percentage of unemployed that’s most important.  Romney is in a good groove now.

Immigration is up now.  And somehow they have both segued that to each others personal finances and again they get very close to each other, are raising their voices AT each other, and have to be called to task by the moderator.

No joke, there is an obvious dislike between these two men.  It’s much more obvious from Obama then Romney and it’s more than just a passive dislike. Hate is too strong, but it’s close.  But as much as a mormon can bow up, Romney is doing it.

Here we go.  Another great question from the audience, “what happened in Libya?”  They might just come to blows here.  The room is still tight with stress from that last exchange.

Photo courtesy of HarlemGal Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

President still steaming from that last dust up and is speaking forcefully.  However he really didn’t answer the question.  Most pundits on twitter agree that there really is no good answer, that’s why the Pres. ducked it.  Obama did say the buck stops with him.  A lot of bucks floating around on this issue.  HRC has the one that mattered.  Obama is 4 weeks late a buck short on that.   Pres is actually yelling in defiance during his response.

Oh Candy, bad Candy.  Obama said he knew it was a terror attack the day after it happened.  Mitt rightly asks then why did your UN Ambassador say other wise two weeks later, on five different Sunday talk shows?  Candy cut the whole thing off.  I’m not a big conspiracy type but the press has really crapped the bed on this story.  And be advised this embassy story is huge, freaking huge.  Shame on you Candy.  Four Americans are dead.  An Ambassador and 3 former military men.  They were assassinated on US soil and the press seems unwilling to ask a question or allow questions to be asked.

Candy then steps on Romney bringing up Operation Fast and Furious.  Google Fast and Furious, you won’t believe it.  I am no longer in favor of town hall.  Give me Jim Leher any day.  He let them talk at least.

Barry gets the last question and asks something stupid.  Sit down Barry, Thomas Jefferson doesn’t like you.  Romney decides to just ignore the question and do a short bio about himself.  Obama gets to answer last.  We’ll see if he answers Barry’s stupid question or just blames Bush for the bad economy.

To the President’s credit, he actually answered the question.  No matter, it was dumb. Something about what is the biggest misconception about you?  How about housing, unions, DADT, Barry?

And thats it.  No closing arguments.  I like that.   Now normally the two men will shake hands and chat for a bit on stage.  Not tonight.  I’m telling you, they were close to throwing hands.  When the Pres accused Romney of investing in companies in China, Romney replied, “have you ever looked at your pension fund Mr. President?”  Boom. Obama got pissed and the two men kept shouting the same thing at each other and getting closer and closer.  I mean I was expecting some Secret Service agents to come on stage.  That’s how tense it got.

No doubt each side will claim victory, but like the first debate there really was no clear standout in my opinion.  And to me that helps Romney.

Also, the Libya thing is not going away.  Romney flubbed his chance a bit and Candy blocked him some, but the question still remains, if the Pres knew it was a terror attack why did everyone else from his admin to include the UN Ambassador say otherwise?

Two final thoughts from twitter that encapsulate my opinion about debates quite well.

 

 

 

 

 

So same as the last time.  No needle move from the debate.  And if those were undecided voters I’m a Tibetan monk.

Off to Boca for the next one.  That’s right, sunny Boca Raton and Lynn University, for the final Presidential debate.

That’s next Monday, 22 October.  Don’t miss it.

Big sister to the rescue

You may not have been following the current storm cloud hovering over the Obama White House, but the shameful and disastrous way they have handled the Libya embassy attack and the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three of his security team finally turned into a hurricane over the past few days.  After the attack, the US Ambassador to the United Nations went on five, count em, five Sunday morning politcal shows and peddled some hash about an anti-muslim video and the resulting protests as the cause of the heinous attack.  All proven to be lies as State Department officials testifying in Congress say they were watching the attack in real time and there were no protests.  The Obama administration seems to be clinging to the idea that it was not a terrorist attack. Maybe they don’t want a terrorist attack on September 11th attached to his presidency, who knows.  So instead they decided a clown car style cover up might be better.

The President and his administration have given several answers to the what, why, and how this could happend questions.  They’ve also retracted some answers, changed stories, and have been pushing other agencies of the government under the bus with such frequency their arms must be tired by now.  As the second debate looms on the horizon, reports are that Obama is shopping for a bus with more ground clearance.  What has been more interesting to me is who has not given interviews.  Hillary Clinton, known as HRC in the social media world, has been oddly silent considering it was one of her ambassadors who was murdered.

Well, the President’s silver lining may have appeared last night, although it may only be the eye of the storm.  And as any good north-easterner knows, it’s the ass end of the hurricane that’s the most violent and causes the most damage.   Be that as it may, HRC went on CNN and talked to Wolf Blitzer. She took full responsibility for the attack, lack of security and the death of the four Americans.  That’s it, end of sentence.  She didn’t say, I take full responsibility but you have to understand…, she didn’t blame any other person. She did allude to the fog of war for causing some confusion as to the lies told by other members of the administration, but HRC was really just providing top cover for them.

In short, it appears Hillary Rodham Clinton was able to answer that 3am call and the President was not.  My guess is the administration was out of people to push under busses and out of excuses so they asked HRC to take a bullet.  And she did it.  The irony, this makes her look like more of a leader and the President in need of his big sister to protect him from the bullies.  In essence she was the leader that Obama should have been.

Tony loves Ronald Reagan.  He’ll be happy to remember that Ronnie Raygun took full responsibility for the Beirut bombing in 1983 that killed so many Marines.  Reagan did it immediately and even went as far as shielding the commanders on the ground from inquiry, claiming it was his own fault for their unpreparedness.  Now any military member knows this in hogwash, we are always responsible for our immediate environment.  But it’s a rare and honorable thing when the very top of the chain takes all the blame and then protects the guys on the ground.

Miss you big guy. The world misses you.

 

Mr. President my family voted for Ronald Reagan, I looked up to Ronald Reagan, Mr. President, you are no Ronald Reagan.

You’re not even HRC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark your calendar, you are hearing it here first, (probably not), if the President wins re-elction she will resign within the next year.  If he loses to Romney, HRC will stay on the edge of the national stage and she will be a candidate for President in 2016.

HRC in 2016?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Electoral College: Why you don’t vote for President even if you do

First rule of Electoral College Club – don’t talk about Electoral College Club.  That first rule is pretty easy to keep since most people don’t know a whole lot about the Electoral College.  The second rule is a little harder to swallow.  You don’t vote for President. When you vote on election day you are actually voting for Electors to the Electoral College.  These Electors are then allowed to vote for who ever they want.

OK now we’re into it.  Keep in mind, we do not have a democracy, we have a republic, which is a representative government system.  Democracies are generally majority rule. Since Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Washington, Franklin, Madison and the rest loathed the masses, they sure as hell didn’t want 51% of them deciding things for the other 49%. So how do you stop that?  Simple, create a form of government where the majority votes, but the results are left to the rich, educated guys, typically the 1% you keep hearing about.

Now let me just say I’m in favor of this form of government.  I think the educated and successful should govern.  Or at least pick the people who get to govern.  But that’s just me.  I’m a big proponent of letting the qualified pick their replacements.  Buckle up campers, it only gets rougher from here on out.

The Electoral College was a compromise put in the constitution by the founding fathers to ensure a couple of things:  1. peaceful transfer of power every four years by letting the masses feel like they had a say in the process, and 2. the ability to unscrew a mistake made by the masses by letting the Electoral College do the actual voting for President with Congress verifying and endorsing the result.

The founding fathers, regardless of what tea-party members or staunch conservatives will tell you, did not trust the masses and didn’t want to give anyone the ability to vote unless they were highly educated and extremely wealthy to include large land holdings.  Kind of ironic when you hear so many conservatives use the phrase Ivy League Elitists as a slur against liberals.  Even more so when you consider the person saying that is probably a graduate of the Ivy League, and if they weren’t, the founding fathers would not consider addressing that person on any topic of conversation, let alone ask their opinion about political matters.  The irony is so dense it’s impossible to see sometimes.

Anyway, so it works like this.  Each state picks electors to represent each party for the presidential election.  Each state party has as many electors as they have congressmen or women, plus one for each senator.  So Tennessee has 9 men and women in the Congress and 2 in the Senate.   That means Tennessee has 11 electoral votes.  The electors are normally picked at each party’s state convention sometime in the same year as the presidential election, usually around the time of the primary election in the state.  See this quick rundown on primary elections and state conventions: Unbound Delegates Explained.  In some states the electors are actually listed on the ballot next to the presidential candidate they represent.

Every state is winner take all except for Maine and Nebraska.  So if the masses of your state pick Obama, all of his electors from that state go to the Congress in December to vote for president.  If they pick Romney then his electors would go to the Congress.

Main and Nebraska are proportional states.  Meaning electors are sent based on the counties or precincts won in the state by each candidate.  So if a state had 10 counties and Obama wins five and Romney wins five, each candidate’s electors from those counties would be sent to Congress in December to vote.  It’s slightly more convoluted than that but that’s the basic gist.

On the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, the masses go to the polls, as provided for in the constitution.  Sounds screwy, but if November 1st was a Tuesday, the election would be the next Tuesday.  Those crazy founding fathers, they were so… so… old.  After a winner is decided in each state, the governor of each state sends a certificate to the Congress identifying the electors who represent the winning candidate from their state.  In other words, if Mitt Romney wins the state of Tennessee, Governor Haslem has to submit to the congress, by December of that same year, the certificate identifying the electors from the state of Tennessee who represent Mitt Romney.  Those electors will then vote for president and the Congress will verify the count no later than the end of December.

A couple things to note.  The president is not elected the first week of November, he is elected in late December, after the Electoral College votes and congress verifies the Electors vote. Now pull the buckle tighter.  The electors do not have to vote for the person they represent.  The whole reason they exist is to keep the vote amongst the educated and wealthy so the masses don’t screw it up and pick the wrong guy.  Today, as compared to 1800, it’s tougher, but not impossible for the people to vote in one man and the electoral college to pick the other guy.  Again it’s all legal as laid out in the constitution by the founding fathers.

Take the Tennessee example, if Romney won the state, the electors could still cast all their votes for Obama and Romney would have no legal standing.  However, since the electors from Tennessee would be from the Republican Party, it is unlikely they would vote for Obama once they got to the Congress.  If Romney were to go insane, commit a felony, or die, between November 7th and December 31st, then you may see a change of vote by the electors.

So how do you win?  Well I’m sure by now, just by watching TV, you have seen or heard of this thing called electoral math.  A candidate needs 270 electoral college votes to become President.  Again, figure out how many representatives your state has in the Congress, plus 2 for your two senators and that’s how many electoral votes your state has.  So the bigger the population of the state, the more Congressmen and women they have and the more electoral college votes they get.

This is why Obama was able to effect a landslide in total votes even though he only won the east and west coast states.  The east coast: small states, big population, very angry, but a lot of congressmen.  West coast: California, huge state, mucho grande` population, very mellow (it’s the weed), big time electoral college haul.  Florida, Ohio, and Texas are also big electoral college hauls for the same reason.

Here is the current projection map of electoral votes.

This is the map Karl Rove is projecting as of 8 October.  Rove was President Bush 43’s campaign manager.  No mater what you think of him, he is a smart dude.  Probably smartest in the business.  I don’t agree with his politics most of he time, but I take his analysis as gospel.  He called the Obama victory in 08 weeks before anybody else would speculate.  And he was almost 100% on the senate races projections in that same election.

Anyway it’s blue for Obama, red for Romney.  270 electoral votes gets the prize.  And no, there are not enough electoral votes for both men to hit 270.  No ties, no overtime – unless you’re a hanging chad.  Looking at you Florida, or as we called it in Jersey, Southern New York.  The darker the color the greater chance each man will win that state.  Yellow is a toss up, meaning it’s too close to call.  The number next to the state is how many electoral votes the state has.  The big difference here from 08 is Obama took VA and NC, but lost Ohio and Michigan.

If Rove’s math holds up Obama will win 275 electoral votes to Romney’s 191 and the 72 votes that are to close to call won’t matter.  Even if Romney got all 72 toss up votes he would only reach 263.  I’m a bit skeptical but I’ve learned not to doubt Rove’s predictions.  Of course there are two more presidential debates to go, so this may change.

That’s all I got for now.  I’m spent.

Any questions or disputes, fire away in the comment section.

Ok to recap, go vote on November 6th, but just know one thing:  If you’re poor and stupid, Thomas Jefferson didn’t like you.