What We’re Up Against

I’m about to relate a Facebook story to you. I know. Blogging about something that happened to you on Facebook. It does not get any more nerdlinger than that. But it’s relevant.

I do post some political things to my Facebook, but I spend as little time as I can in political combat there. It’s pretty useless. I know who in my Facebook friends are tea-baggers. I know I’m not going to change their minds, and I damned sure know they aren’t changing mine. It is futile.

Sometimes, though, one of them puts something out there, you just can’t resist. Allow me to paraphrase.

She wrote something to the effect of, how stupid does Obama think we are. He’s lowered gas prices just in time for the election. Did he think we wouldn’t notice?

I ignored this statement at first. Until a friend of hers asked, how does a President lower gas prices? I was girded, having a peer now. I chimed in as well. Yes, pray tell. How?

Well, I don’t know, she replied. He just does. Please don’t tell me you don’t think the President controls gas prices.

As a matter of fact, I don’t.

Hell, I’ve defended George W. Bush on this one. There are too many factors that determine gas prices that are out of the President’s control. What’s going on in the Straits of Hormuz this week? Is it summertime, or fall? What does the futures market look like? Did Syria REALLY just bomb the crap out of Turkey? And, bloody hell, have you ever heard of supply and/or demand?

Well, she replied, you’ll just have to feel what you feel about it, and I will feel what I feel about it.

Gas prices go up every summer. Every summer, gas prices go up. Every fall, they come down. This is not how someone “feels” about this argument. It is an observable fact. Yet, people like this, people who believe that among his sworn duties, the President of the United States wakes up every morning and decides what you are going to pay for a gallon of gasoline, people like this person are going to the poll in droves in two weeks.

We’d better get out to meet them there.

The Recency Effect

What was I saying? Doom and gloom? Blah blah blah?

Mister Obama’s performance tonight was staggering. As he has in his office throughout his term, Obama demonstrated that, somehow, foreign policy, the ever-present bogey-man of the Hillary 3 a.m. phone call ads, is and always has been his bailey-wick. This is a President who has presented a forceful, muscular, yet impressively strategic foreign policy. There are hand-wringers on my side of the fence regarding this arena, regarding drone warfare, regarding a reluctance on this administration’s part to relinquish the extraordinary powers that were seized by the previous administration. What did you expect? That toothpaste is all over the damned place.

Mitt Romney seemed pimpled somehow. Pink. Odd looking. His face was often pinched weirdly. I think he needed to pee. One might argue that he cannot be expected to have a mastery of foreign policy over an incumbent President, an argument I presented on these pages regarding Sen. Obama some years back, although, then, there was not an incumbent President. The only record to run against then was that of the clown who brought us the Iraq incursion. Now, a competent leader is at the wheel.

So, yes, the President could have delivered a more robust performance for debate #1, but there is a phenomenon in psych circles known as the recency effect: The most recent event is the one that will stick in your craw. I’d rather have Mr. Obama stumble a little for the first and destroy in the last, which he did.

Well played.

The October Surprise

I think that when prognosticators review the election of 2012, they will conclude that there was, indeed, an October surprise. It was when Willard Romney walked onto the stage during the first debate and proclaimed that he knows absolutely nothing about the three trillion dollar tax cut he’s been touting.

I am concerned that it might be the moment that causes Romney to become the President of the United States.

Face it; Romney is employing a strategy, one that has been quite effective historically. Hump your base’s leg during the primary, then move to the center of the room once you’ve secured the nomination. And, for those who aren’t paying attention, he’s doing it well.

I think it’s not a question of whether or not President Obama loses. I think it’s a matter of the aforementioned strategy, butterflying with the strategy they’ve employed since 2009 of working hard to deny President Obama any success whatsover, winning. And while I still hold out hope for a second term for Mr. Obama—because he has, after all, earned a second term—I think it’s time to brace for impact.

Believe me. This is today’s “we believe peace is at hand.” And it just might work.

The Final Frontier

It occurred to me this evening, too, watching Mr. Obama’s performance this evening, that a real opportunity has been missed in the course of his campaign.

He talks a lot about the need for education and training, and he hit it especially hard that we need education and training in the advanced manufacturing sector. He’s right. But there’s an opportunity he’s missed here to put eyebrows on it.

Look. You can talk green energy until you’re blue in the face. But that ain’t a sexy topic.

Now. Take five minute and watch this.

Goosebumps, right? Maybe even a lump in your throat?

If you want to get behind education and training, you can get behind green energy, fine. But get behind the space program, too. Rally your campaign around NASA and set monumental goals. We have an explorer satellite that is about to break free of our solar system and that is still sending us information. We have a rover on Mars. We have just discovered a new planet in our closest neighboring solar system that is about the same size as our own planet. If you consider how much we have learned about the universe in our lifetime, it is staggering. No, the universe is not expanding at a decreasing rate; it is expanding more quickly, a fact that confounds everything we have ever assumed.

But I digress.

Campaign behind NASA, behind the penny for NASA idea, and you will touch on many issues at once, and you will give those issues a powerful frame. Education. Infrastructure. Budget issues. Not to mention, you will align yourself with John F. Kennedy himself and you will have a powerful ally in one Neil deGrasse Tyson, the narrator of that little clip.

But what do I know.

A Historical Performance

I have praised the Vice President on these pages before, and I am about to praise him yet again for his incredible and, indeed, historic performance last evening during the vice presidential debate.

I was just telling some folks the night before: Do not underestimate Joe Biden. His reputation as a “gaffe machine” is an incomplete caricature of the man. He will bring it, I predicted. And, he did.

I predict too that a certain liberal talk radio host named Randi Rhodes will be over the moon today.

Randi’s story is that she met Joe Biden some years ago and asked him why they don’t just look these Republigoats in the eye and call them liars to their faces. Why, he replied, do you have to ask us to do the most difficult thing there is to do?

Last night, Joe Biden did the most difficult thing. He called a Republigoat a liar to his face on national television. Way to go, Joe.

The Great Debate

I am not even remotely inclined to buy the conventional wisdom regarding last night’s debate between President Obama and Willard Romney, that Romney somehow “won” the event. Nonsense.

I am willing to call it a draw. But only with a big fat asterisk.

They say that Romney spoke for 38 minutes, and that in that time, he told 27 whoppers.

Not to mention that he was an authoritative, steamrolling asshat.

No, I do not buy the conventional wisdom that Willard Romney won this debate. I don’t think you win a debate by lying your ass off. The President brought a cogent explanation of his administration’s record and of his plans for the country’s future. Sure, he might should have brought a few firebombs out of his utility belt. But in case you haven’t been paying attention, that is not generally President Obama’s style.

I am proud of our President and his performance last evening. He was dignified and straightforward. His opponent was, as usual, a braying jackass.

At worst, it was a draw. With an asterisk.

Talk To The Chair

Clint Eastwood is still out there talking about his insidious speech at the Republigoat Fartnoomie Conflution. And boy, am I glad he is.

When that happened, I didn’t have access to no fancy Internet, so I couldn’t blogificate about it then. However, the fact that this aging douchebag is still having to defend his actions means it is still timely, and, therefore, I get to tell you about the amazing symbolism of this senile old prick talking to an imaginary Barack Obama.

I mean, I don’t know what people find so surprising about a Republigoat making up a President Obama who doesn’t exist, and then engaging in debate and criticism with the President Obama that he had just made up.

Isn’t that the entire Republigoat campaign strategery?

Keep It Up, Mittens

I cannot tell you if I would like for Mitt Romney to keep talking, or if I want him to shut his pie hole.

So here’s how it went. There was this movie put on YouTube that nobody seems to know what the name of it is. It was a movie that said bad things about Islam. So in a lot of countries where they have Islam-my people, the people were getting nasty. So the U.S. embassy in Libya issued a statement about the film that was going for kum-by-yah. Then, a bunch of assholes attacked the U.S. embassy in Libya and an envoy and some other Americans were killed.

So Mitt Romney got up and said that, clearly, this means Obama is sympathetic to the people who launched this vicious attack.

I’d like him to keep talking because the more he keeps talking the more clear it is that he is an incompetent, disingenuous boob. And, the more it makes President Obama look like the cool cucumber in the room.

However. It is sometimes fun to fantasize.

Wouldn’t it be more interesting if the Republican in the race actually offered a measured, intelligent response? If he said something along the lines of, “this is a difficult time for the dead and their families and of course we will support the President and pray he will act wisely in this time of crisis?”

Isn’t one of your goals as a presidential candidate to actually appear to be presidential?

That’s how Barack Obama became POTUS. Have you ever heard the story? Watch Frontline when they cover the bank bailouts.

Remember when John McCain “suspended his campaign” and called an emergency meeting at the White House? Do you know who the guy was in the room who was on top of things, knew his stuff, and spoke authoritatively about the crisis?

Do you know which guy in the room fumbled with his note cards, farted, and said “Gleep gleep?”

Winning the Presidency is not solely by giving the President titty-twisters. It is useful to, from time to time, actually appear to be President-like.

I am less and less nervous about 2012 all the time.