Thursday, October 11, 2012

We’re Moving to CommentaramaPolitics

In light of recent events, we’re going to stop posting articles here and just post them at CommentaramaPolitics (LINK). This is in part because we’ve run out of space at this site and in part so we can leave this site with all of Larry’s articles intact (I've brought over his articles from his site so they are all here now). Thanks to everyone for all your support and please join us at the new site.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I have some really bad news about Lawhawk. His daughter has contacted me and told me that he passed away this morning. I'm not sure what to say except that I wish the family the best and I'll let you all know if I hear anything about arrangements.

One thing I should add is that I know that blogging made Larry very happy. He always talked about how much he liked writing the articles and then hearing from all of you.
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The Death Of The Republican Party. . . again

This came up before the debate, but it's still relevant. Usually, it’s leftist pundits who talk about the civil war within Republican ranks and the death of the party. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that the Republicans were about to split into two parties, leaving the “harmonious” Democrats free to rule forever. Give me a break. Well, it’s back! Only, this time, it’s conservatives making the claim. Arggg!

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hugo Chavez Wins Another Term (Surprise!)

You know, I hate the way the word “allegedly” is thrown around to protect news sources from being sued. It ceases to have meaning when certain facts are clear, and should be reserved for those facts which are in dispute or at least weak. For instance, George Zimmerman did not “allegedly” shoot Trayvon Martin, but we hear that even at this late date. What Zimmerman did was “allegedly"
commit murder, manslaughter, or no crime at all.

Allegedly is a weasel-word used to dilute an otherwise interesting headline, and is set up by overly-cautious attorneys. That said, I am about to tell you a news story in which I will ignore the boldness of the press and insert my own “allegedly” wherever I deem it appropriate. Here goes:

Hugo Chavez is set to be president of Venezuela for at least 20 years, after [allegedly] official results in Sunday’s election handed the socialist trouble-maker a third term. Chavez {allegedly] defeated challenger Henrique Capriles by [allegedly] 7.44 million to 6.15 million votes (54.4 to 44.9 percent), according to results released by the country’s National Electoral Council late Sunday. A third-placed candidate, Reina Sequera, took 0.46 percent of the votes in an election marked by am [allegedly] record high turnout of 81 percent of registered voters.

His second term was supposed to expire in 2013 but in 2009 he [allegedly] won a referendum allowing him to change the Venezuelan constitution to end presidential term limits. Chavez, who has been receiving treatment for cancer, is now in line to remain in power until 2019.

Among the highlights of his current campaign were using Venezuelan oil money to grossly outspend his opponent, establishing large-scale government dependency social programs and plain damned giveaways, controlling all the major state media, and downplaying his regular recurrence of cancer. But just as in past elections, partisan violent thuggery was also part of the election formula.

Chavez's [allegedly] 9.5-point margin of victory, the demonstrated diminishing support for the 58 year-old Chavez. When he first won the presidency in late 1998 his winning margin was almost twice as big as it was on Sunday. It was even greater in 2006, when he won re-election by 26 points. But a sure thing is a sure thing. Perhaps Chavez knew a little American history. When John Kennedy went to is father for more campaign money for his big race, Old Joe is [alleged} to have said: “I don't mind paying for a victory, I just don't want to pay for a landslide.”

This current election resulted in an [allegedly] 81% turnout, the highest in recent Venezuelan history. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen R-Fla), who is also the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee had this to say. “Chavez has denied access to international election monitors, employed last minute ballot changes, controlled the judicial system, harassed independent journalists, and consolidated his power to manipulate the vote in his favor.”

Worst ex-president Jimmy Carter had formed a committee to monitor the election, but was only partially successful. Chavez had earlier taken a page out of Barack Obama's executive order playbook, and arbitrarily changed the existing legislative rules to restrict foreign observers. Carter's group was allowed to interview citizens and a limited number of opposition candidates, under the intense gaze of Chavez minions. They were not allowed into the general area of any of the polling places. No doubt, that's good enough for Carter to declare this a free, fair and democratic election.

Taking a somewhat different tack, Ros-Lehtinen said: “Chavez must not be allowed to continue to export his hate and despotism abroad like his fellow dictators in Iran and Cuba through the oppression of the press and violation of human rights.” She added. “The United States and responsible nations must remain steadfast in our defense of democracy and freedom and not bow to Chavez’s tyranny.”

The questions now are--Does Chavez's narrow [alleged] victory indicate that he will be a little less bellicose toward the West in general and the United State in particular? Given the volatility surrounding Iran, will he continue to be Imdinnerjacket's biggest western hemisphere cheerleader for the destruction of Israel, or will he back off a bit and cut back on the weapons exchanges between the two pariah nations. Nothing scares me as much as an aging, unhealthy zealot of a dictator who continues to work on a nuclear missile delivery system, state of the art nukes, and a red button to set it all off. After all, what does he have to lose?

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Things Are Looking Bad For Obama

Things are not going well for Team Obama. The debate was a debacle and liberals are now beginning to ask if Obama even wants to win. Others are joking about him using their donations to buy pot (see, e.g. Bill Maher). Early voting is sending up huge warning signs for Obama, the polls are finally starting to show movement against Obama, and Biden is on deck. Let’s discuss.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
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Monday, October 8, 2012

Why Obama Lost And Why He Won't Improve

Make no mistake, Obama failed miserably in the debate last week. And he couldn’t have picked a worse time with 67 million people watching on television (over 70 million overall), which is 15 million more than watched in 2008. He hurt his campaign badly. He has energized Republicans, Romney is pulling ahead in the polls in key states, and his side is demoralized. Let’s talk about his failure.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
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Barack Obama Sticks To The Big Issues

During the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney viciously attacked one of Barack Obama's senior advisers—Big Bird. The famous political pundit who speaks like a combination of a turkey and a turkey vulture was deeply-wounded by the wholly unwarranted attack. But ever loyal to his staff, Barack Obama rushed to the defense of the avian pundit. Not during the debate, of course, since that would have required quick thinking and a possible quicker response.

Recognizing that Big Bird is PBS debate moderator Jim Lehrer's boss, it became incumbent upon Obama to fire a warning shot across the bow of the good ship Romney—at a safe distance of course. So the day after the debate, and after deep introspective conversations with the Yellow One, our always humorous president mocked Romney's proposal of eliminating federal funding for PBS by intimating that one large bird could not possible be adding to the national deficit. Never mind the $445 million dollar funding going to parent PBS to promote left-wing causes and make fun of conservatives. Attempting to make Romney's satement look foolish, Obama said: “It’s about time. We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit. But that’s what we heard last night. How about that?”

Politicians who attempt to demonstrate tongue-in-cheek humor in public gatherings should first make sure they don't have a split tongue, more appropriate for searching out rats and mice rather than attacking political opponents. Most of the time, Obama uses his forked tongue to speak out of both sides of his mouth. It didn't work against Romney when Obama tried to use both splits on one side of his mouth.

That was not what Romney said at the debate. Instead, he made it clear that PBS is a drain on public funds and ought to be able to survive on their own if their programming had a broad enough appeal to those outside the ghettoes, the barrios, the Upper West Side, San Francisco, and West Los Angeles. But when not sermonizing in the guise of children and goofy fake animals, the left wing agenda is carried forward by Big Bird dressed and made up to look like Jim Lehrer and the other leftists pundits telling us all how we should live, and why capitalism is bad. What can you expect from a station whose main street is controlled by a bear-like monster who lives in a garbage can and demands cookies from passersby?

You see, Romney was making a point—with humor. Humor is something in which Obama has a big hole. Unless the “humor” is drawn from Joe Penner's jokebook or David Axelrod's collection of raucous and brilliant Chicago humor, the jokes absolutely escape Obama. Obama immediately (or some hours later) caught on, but at first saw an ethnic attack on a large avian person who is entirely blameless and so Obama had to become the knight in shining armor.

Naturally, Obama would have you believe it was a joke all along, and that he was merely countering with his own ironic joke. That's like expecting a slug to have self-awareness. The actual point Romney was making was about federally-supported programs in general, and PBS in particular. He followed his remark about “liking Big Bird” with a dictum: “Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?

Obama was also worried about Oscar the Grouch (another unpleasant Muppet character). If the public funds are cut off, the unemployment numbers which just went down by .3% would again start to rise. As Kermit says, “it's not easy being green.” Particularly if being green is the only thing you had going for you, and now you have to get into the real labor market. I could suggest that I know a very good Southern-style restaurant which serves great frogs legs, but I'm not sure Kermit is up to that kind of sacrifice. Miss Piggy is safe, since she's a pig, and would never pass muster with PETA, the vegans, or the Islamists.

It's not easy being canary yellow, either. But I've figured out how it can all be saved using a successful, though dubious Obama philosophy: Big Bird is too big to fail. Keep them federal funds a comin'.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 56

Every once in a while, a film contains a character you just can't figure out. What the heck were they thinking?

Name a film character who perplexed you and tell us what one question would you ask them?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Liberals Cry That Romney Lies for 38 minutes straight...

HELP!!! This task is too daunting for just me, so I need to solicit the help of my friends at Commentarama. I have been having an ongoing (and pointless) disagreement with a liberal "friends" on Facebook - an irrational Obama supporter.

On one of his posts that was directed at me specifically, he posted the 27 lies that Romney told in the debate on Wednesday. Well, none of these were his original observations. He lifted them verbatim from a website - - and used it as his own. Well, feel free to read through them.

My favorite is #26:

26) “I think about half of [the green firms Obama invested in], of the ones have been invested in have gone out of business. A number of them happened to be owned by people who were contributors to your campaigns.” As of late last year, only “three out of the 26 recipients of 1705 loan guarantees have filed for bankruptcy, with losses estimated at just over $600 million.”

It was the easiest to refute since "We The People" lost $627 million on Solyndra alone. My friend and the writers of #26 just plain forgot about the 14 other (and counting) "green companies" that have filed for bankruptcy since Solyndra in February 2012.

But here are 1 through 10 of his 27 point diatribe on the dishonesty of Mitt Romney.
Please feel free to refute away:

1) “[G]et us energy independent, North American energy independent. That creates about 4 million jobs”. Romney’s plan for “energy independence” actually relies heavily on a study that assumes the U.S. continues with fuel efficiency standards set by the Obama administration. For instance, he uses Citigroup research based off the assumption that “‘the United States will continue with strict fuel economy standards that will lower its oil demand.” Since he promises to undo the Obama administration’s new fuel efficiency standards, he would cut oil consumption savings of 2 million barrels per day by 2025.

2) “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about.” A Tax Policy Center analysis of Romney’s proposal for a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut in all federal income tax rates, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, eliminating the estate tax and other tax reductions, would reduce federal revenue $480 billion in 2015. This amounts to $5 trillion over the decade.

3) “My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people.” If Romney hopes to provide tax relief to the middle class, then his $5 trillion tax cut would add to the deficit. There are not enough deductions in the tax code that primarily benefit rich people to make his math work.

4) “My — my number-one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that: no tax cut that adds to the deficit.” As the Tax Policy Center concluded, Romney’s plan can’t both exempt middle class families from tax cuts and remain revenue neutral. “He’s promised all these things and he can’t do them all. In order for him to cover the cost of his tax cut without adding to the deficit, he’d have to find a way to raise taxes on middle income people or people making less than $200,000 a year,” the Center found.

5) “I will not under any circumstances raise taxes on middle-income families. I will lower taxes on middle-income families. Now, you cite a study. There are six other studies that looked at the study you describe and say it’s completely wrong.” The studies Romney cites actually further prove that Romney would, in fact, have to raise taxes on the middle class if he were to keep his promise not to lose revenue with his tax rate reduction.

6) “I saw a study that came out today that said you’re going to raise taxes by $3,000 to $4,000 on middle-income families.” Romney is pointing to this study from the American Enterprise Institute. It actually found that rather than raise taxes to pay down the debt, the Obama administration’s policies — those contained directly in his budget — would reduce the share of taxes that go toward servicing the debt by $1,289.89 per taxpayer in the $100,000 to $200,000 range.

7) “And the reason is because small business pays that individual rate; 54 percent of America’s workers work in businesses that are taxed not at the corporate tax rate, but at the individual tax rate….97 percent of the businesses are not — not taxed at the 35 percent tax rate, they’re taxed at a lower rate. But those businesses that are in the last 3 percent of businesses happen to employ half — half of all the people who work in small business.” Far less than half of the people affected by the expiration of the upper income tax cuts get any of their income at all from a small businesses. And those people could very well be receiving speaking fees or book royalties, which qualify as “small business income” but don’t have a direct impact on job creation. It’s actually hard to find a small business who think that they will be hurt if the marginal tax rate on income earned above $250,000 per year is increased.

8) “Mr. President, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half.” Oil production from federal lands is higher, not lower: Production from federal lands is up slightly in 2011 when compared to 2007. And the oil and gas industry is sitting on7,000 approved permits to drill, that it hasn’t begun exploring or developing.

9) “The president’s put it in place as much public debt — almost as much debt held by the public as all prior presidents combined.” This is not even close to being true. When Obama took office, the national debt stood at $10.626 trillion. Now the national debt is over $16 trillion. That $5.374 trillion increase is nowhere near as much debt as all the other presidents combined.

10) “That’s why the National Federation of Independent Businesses said your plan will kill 700,000 jobs. I don’t want to kill jobs in this environment.” That study, produced by a right-wing advocacy organization, doesn’t analyze what Obama has actually proposed.

Or in the alternative, I could sure use some tips on how to get my puppy not to bark at 2am...

Oh, just for the record, my FB "friend" is a, really, he's a professional clown.
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Friday, October 5, 2012

Film Friday: Fright Night (1985) & (2011)

Remakes are all the rage these days because they come with a built-in audience. You take a film property with an existing fan base, you repeat the story with some twist to make the film feel fresh, you use new special effects or new story-telling techniques, and you’re guaranteed at least a minor hit. Add in a top-named actor like Colin Farrell and you should be looking at quite a moneymaker. That is unless you really screw it up. Welcome to Fright Night 2011!

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Holder Doesn't Investigate Voter Suppression

While Attorney General Eric Holder, his political lawyers, and the Democratic left screams voter suppression in states which require some kind of photo ID to vote, they all seem to be actively involved in making sure that our overseas troops are denied their right to vote. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that active-duty military tend to lean rather strongly Republican. It's all about fairness, right?

Some of the active-duty military don't vote simply because they have been deployed for a lengthy period of time during which they could have voted had they been out of the line of fire. But that's a small number. Others fail to vote, or miss voting, because of the same kinds of events which cause civilians in the United States to forget to go to the polls. Again, those numbers are small. The largest number of “missed” votes grows out of the internally-conflicting state laws and federal rules regarding absentee ballots for our military serving overseas. Much of it can be chalked up to human error, much more cannot.

In 2010, the Military Voter Protection Project calculated that in 2008, only 20% of the active duty military cast absentee ballots. In 2010, the number had dropped to 5%. The Project concluded that there was something much deeper than apathy or clumsy voting rules involved in such low figures. Common sense alone says that the very people who daily defend our right to vote and live in a free republic simply can't be that uninterested in who their representatives will be.

In 2009, Congress also recognized that something was rotten, and passed legislation to assist active duty military serving overseas to know their voting rights, and assist them in exercising those rights. It was called the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. Our military-loving president signed the legislation into law. The main provision of the law is to set up installation voting assistance offices (IVAOs). Their sole purpose is to recognize that the military personnel have far more problems knowing where they will be at any given time, particularly during the election cycle, than the average civilian at home. They are charged with following up on new and sudden deployments so that the serving military man or woman won't get lost in the shuffle and lose his or her ability to vote.

So where does the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department fit into this plan? Mostly, they don't. It's up to them to implement the plan and protect our military's right to vote. When states began passing voter ID law, the Holder Justice Department devoted a substantial part of its legal efforts to attempting to void the voter ID laws. Six people who are too stupid or too lazy to obtain a valid state voter ID might have their votes “suppressed,” so it was time to employ the awesome forces of the federal government to prevent such a disaster. When arm-twisting didn't work, Holder started filing lawsuits at an astounding rate of speed.

Meanwhile, back on the military posts in Afghanistan and Iraq (and throughout the rest of the world), the quick-as-a-rabbit Holder Justice Department suddenly developed a strange and exotic case of the slows. It's a contagious disease, and has been passed on to the Department of Defense and the Obama White House. With the money already approved and set aside for implementation of the assistance offices, and “hot spots” identified, fewer than half of the assistance offices have been activated since 2009.

One of the major functions of the IVAOs is to instruct service members on the complexities and vastly differing rules for absentee voting from state to state. But the administration decided it had a better way. Rather than put all those people to useful work serving the people by increasing military voter participation, the government set up a website instead. If you've ever tried to get answers to your specific questions from a website, you've probably been jerked around through twelve different links, including useless FAQs.

The website of the Federal Voter Assistance Program is no different. Say, for instance, you are a soldier recently deployed to Afghanistan from your home in Wisconsin. After circling around within the site to find a simple answer, you suddenly come upon the answer. Miracle of miracles. You have until November 16 for your vote to be counted. The problem is that under Wisconsin law, all overseas military absentee ballots must be received by November 9. One military officer discovered the error, and after battling with the webmasters, got the figure corrected. The question is, how many military personnel have already retrieved the incorrect information, and will simply vote too late for it to count?

Properly implemented, the program would have an advocate at every overseas military base of any importance to physically contact the soldiers, give them the correct rules, and tell them to ignore the website. A physical human body talking directly to our military personnel, charged with guaranteeing that each soldier has the right information makes a lot more sense than a website that the military men and women may or may not have consulted. Human beings are always more motivated by a plea from a fellow human being than by dry, technical, and occasionally incorrect information provided on a website.

On September 13, appearing before a Congressional subcommittee, the acting director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, Pam Mitchell said: “I strongly believe that voting-assistance is the best that it has ever been.” I suspect that if she were over in the State Department, she'd be one of those still claiming that the riots and murders in the Middle East were spontaneous and caused by a video trailer that nobody has actually seen. “Baghdad Bob” syndrome seems to permeate the entire Obama administration.

I'm sure the New Black Panthers will be out in force to make sure no ineligible white person attempts to vote. But who is going to be there for the men and women of the military who are denied their vote, if only by gross negligence?
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Presidential Debate Re-Cap

Last night was a clear Romney victory. Romney was incredibly well prepared, Obama was not. Romney came across as knowledgeable, professional and pleasant. He debunked all of Obama’s attacks over the past few months and presented a clear vision of what his administration would look like. Obama came across as flustered, angry, and lacking any plan for the future. Here are the highlights.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First Presidential Debate Thread!!

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Toon-arama: Coraline (2009)

by tryanmax
The month of October is upon us, meaning it is time for ghost stories, trick-or-treats, and horror movies! And, yes, there are even a few scary cartoons to be seen. Among them, the stop-animation film Coraline is perhaps one of the most authentic animated horror films, meaning it actually aims to frighten rather than simply borrowing horror elements to place in a comic or adventure setting. The film’s themes and events are remarkably mature and sufficiently disturbing to rank well within the genre. Additionally, the film is a feast for the eyes with the traits of a Halloween classic.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Afghanistan Program Needs A Tune-Up

The “good war” that Barack Obama touted in 2008 became his war in 2009. What was going to be done in Iraq was largely done, so after a few big jabs at George Bush's war, Obama moved on to his good war. He never used the unfortunate words “mission accomplished” that Bush used referring to Iraq, but Obama says things are going pretty much as planned, including our scheduled retreat exit.

Though Obama will never say so directly, it's clear he thinks that his good war is going well, particularly now that he has killed Osama bin Laden and ended the Al Qaeda threat forever. Wer're doing lots of things to bribe the war lords and their Taliban thugs into becoming our BFFs. We're giving them great military advice on how to protect war supplies coming in from Iran and Pakistan. We watch as the little rascals burn down embassies and consulates and murder the ambassador and three of his staff in Benghazi, Libya. When the slimeball president of Afghanistan calls the whole thing the result of an offensive anti-Muslim video trailer which nobody has seen, our State Deparment rushes to agree. Hillary Clinton hasn't quite agreed with Hamid Karzai that the producer of the video should be beheaded for defaming Islam, but she's not entirely averse to the idea either.

Meanwhile, the number of dead American military men and women in Afghanistan just passed 2,000. Fortunes of war? Surely, in many cases that's true. But what is with this pacification program in which American officers train Afghan primitives to become the nation's security force/national police? It's an Obama idea (along with his liberal advisers) that is turning out to be about as smart as Fast & Furious, but much deadlier for Americans. And it has become very deadly.

Frequently, there will be an awards program in which the American trainer hands over a spanking new automatic rifle to the Afghan graduate of the training school. Not quite as frequently, but far too often, the Afghan soldier will return the honor by murdering his American trainer with the newly-acquired weapon. The State Department is not just about to admit that a major part of the problem is that these new recruits are largely Taliban sympathizers and America-haters. They simply trust these people to be telling the truth about their background.

But gosh, how can this be? We have gone out of our way to prove that we are their friends, and we trust them implicity. We've taught them skills they lacked, and provided them with modern state-of-the-art weaponry. These are not the men who will be going out to defend Afghanistan's borders from foreign invasion. These are the police who will ostensibly be maintaining civil peace along with law and order. Did it ever occur to our administrations that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The only lesson these recruits want to learn is how to kill, quickly and efficiently.

Dozens of American officers have been murdered by Kabul's Finest. It is only recently that the administration has curtailed meetings and ceremonies held at the headquarters or camps of the Afghans. They're a little slow at figuring out cause and effect.

At least one important general officer in the American Army has had enough. Possibly risking his commission and his job, Top Commander General John Allen expressed his frustration publicly. “I'm mad as hell” says Gen'l Allen. Unlike facing an enemy in the field, this is dirty, dishonorable insider work. "The enemy recognizes this is a vulnerability. You know, in Iraq, the signature weapon system that we hadn't seen before was the IED. We had to adjust to that. Here, I think the signature attack that we're beginning to see the -- is going to be the insider attack."

Allen is a fine commander, and seems to have much better control of his temper publicly than certain of his predecessors in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would never openly criticize the Commander-in-Chief while serving under him. He doesn't condemn all Afghans as Taliban terrorists, and says that several Afghan commanders have rendered assistance to the American and NATO troops which are being murdered by their trainees. But he also knows that the corruption and deviousness go all the way to the top of the Afghan government.

Allen may or may not have jeopardized his military future without specifically calling out the Joint Chiefs and the President. He laid out his simple belief about what the pacification and training program is producing (and by implication, why it should be terminated). "You know, we're willing to sacrifice a lot for this campaign. But we're not willing to be murdered for it." Gen'l Allen made the comment on this past Sunday's edition of 60 Minutes on CBS. A very direct expression of sentiment which may not sit will in the White House.

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Obama II: The Wish List

Some of you may have heard there’s an election coming up in November. That’s on Tuesday November 6th for Republicans and Tuesday November 11th for any Democrats who may read this. And Wednesday night we will be covering the debate here with an open thread. Bring your friends! In the meantime, here’s something interesting: the Democratic Wish List for Obama’s second term.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Discussion: Romney vs. Obama

The debates are upon us. Commentarama will be open for comments before and during the first debate. But before we get there, let's have some fun and test our prognostication skills. What will Romney do? What should Romney do? Ditto for The One. Will there be a clear winner, and if so, who will it be?

For what it's worth, here's my guess: Romney will "win" the debate. He will finally give an outline of his economic plan in an "almost finished" version. I'm wildly guessing that Obama will make the first move, touting his own "plan," and challenging Romney to come up with one that doesn't "reward the rich and impoverish the middle class." At which point, Romney will oblige him.

I don't expect any Ronald Reagan moments, and if I'm right, I hope the conservative chatterers don't continue their litany about how he should be more like Reagan. It only gives the Democrats ammunition. Ronald Reagan was unique, and we'll be very fortunate if we see another like him in our lifetimes. Romney is no Reagan, nor should he be. He has all the skills necessary to trounce Obama on the economy (which is the main theme of the first debate), but I suspect he won't inflict a mortal wound. At best, he may get a sense of what is working with the public, and what isn't.

I also predict that Romney will be largely gaffe-free. I just hope that his handlers haven't convinced him that he needs to go overboard trying to appear to be a "regular guy." Al Gore listened to that advice, and he just came off as a sighing, "earth palette" boor. If Obama tries more of his soaring, empty rhetoric, I suspect Romney will refrain from rising to the bait. He knows we need a leader, not a pompous orator, and on that basis, he is just naturally better at being human than Obama.

I just wish that Romney could find a way to mock Obama's speaking style (he probably won't). Chin jutted out, head tilted slightly upward, look to the left, look to the right, but don't make genuine eye-contact with anyone. The last time a national leader did that routine, his name was Benito Mussolini. All that's missing is the arm-folding at the end of the speechifying and the furious affirmative head-shaking.

I am also predicting that Romney will concentrate on the "misery index," though he won't call it that. Right now, the OK stock market numbers and anemic growth in GDP seem to be working in Obama's favor. Romney should (and I think he will) talk about the thing that really matters to an immense number of Americans--the unemployment figures. But he will need to talk about real people who are out of work, trying desperately to find work, and finally giving up when no work is available. That would help with his "caring" image, and at the same time take some of the edge off his 47% misstep.

I suspect that he will also go heavily into what he will do to get big government out of the way of business recovery, allowing small and medium-size businesses to start hiring those real people again. He should avoid statistics as much as possible, as devastating as they are. The average Joe just really doesn't comprehend those statistics, and it tends to make Romney look wooden and wonkish (which is what we actually need, but doesn't win hearts or elections).

He will bring up Obamacare as the biggest boondoggle in American economic history, but how much he will go into repair/repeal is beyond my current gift of prophecy. He will point out the unsustainable rate at which Obama has put us farther and farther into debt and deficit, and with a little luck, will make the message clear that all the talk about this being Bush's fault is just nonsense. Bonus points for him if he mocks Obama's claim that he is only "10% responsible" for the present and future economic malaise and debts.

I won't hazard a guess as to what it will be, but some time during the debate, Obama will tell at least one clear and easily-refuted lie. I hope Romney is prepared to go on the attack, rather than say something like "I disagree with the president on that issue."

Finally, even though the theme is the economy, I do believe that some time during the debate, one of the two is going to bring up the dangers of what is going on in the Middle East. It may be foreign policy, but it is having and will continue to have a serious effect on the American economy. Romney needs to have a Kennedy-like moment of "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty." That would show our support for Israel without actually referring to the specifics or getting into a debate over who likes Benjamin Netanyahu and who doesn't.

I don't expect any huge surprises, and I expect Romney to look intelligent and statesmanlike. I expect Obama to stick largely to his scripted talking points, look like what he thinks a president should look like (after all, he isn't really a president, he just plays one on TV), and stutter if he has to go slightly off-script. It's a tossup as to which accent Obama will use--crypto-Harvard or Possum Holler.

Your predictions? Your thoughts? Your comments?

Note: I will once again be in Bakersfield in the morning and early afternoon, with no computer access. I'm excited to see what you all think, so I will get back online as early as I possibly can.
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Supreme Courtin' It

There’s a lot of buzz suddenly about the Supreme Court possibly changing the course of the election. The thinking is that with the Supremes about to hear several controversial cases right before the election, that could excite one side or the other to turn out. Uh... no. Few people connect the Court to the election. Moreover, the Court won’t be issuing rulings until after the election. Still, there are some interesting cases coming up.

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