Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thoughts on the debate and my view of the reactions to the debate

1. Romney is actually debating better than Obama. His ideas are still worse, but he's debating better.

2. It's been fascinating to follow tweets and facebook messages from libertarians I know. If I didn't know who they were before reading the tweets I would assume they were all Republicans. I would have expected heat on both sides, but so far I haven't really seen any for Romney. I find that interesting.

3. On the tax and budget arguments earlier in the debate: basically if the Tax Policy Center says something about your tax plan it's going to take a massive pile of detailed evidence to get me to hold any other position on it. Veronique de Rugy frantically linking to the Mercatus Center on Twitter will not do it. Romney's content on the budget and taxes was worthless, but I'm worried that wasn't communicated to voters.

4. A couple shout outs for federalism from Romney. Good to hear. Once was specifically with respect to servics for working families - glad to hear he's pro-Clinton.

5. Early on - in the discussion of how to move the economy - it seemed like all the expansionary policies were supply side policies, and all the contractionary policies were demand side. From both of them. That's extremely disconcerting. Obama is just less bad on this tendency among politicians.

6. Obama had a great opening argument about the role of government with citation of Lincoln, doing those things that we do better together, and clarifying that "that doesn't restrict people's freedom - that enhances it".

7. It's interesting to be there at the birth of a meme (at least I hope Big Bird will turn into one). Usually I catch them further down the line.

8. On the ideas, Obama obviously won. But that was already clear. On the theatrics that the voters will consider, Romney did very well. I think Obama picked up in the last half. That was more of a draw, unfortunately.

13 comments:

  1. It was clear Romney has no plans, only many things he likes. Romney doesn't add up. No surprise, but somewhat disheartening he believes anyone would fall for that.

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  2. I think you're right... Romney offered a good performance. I'm not sure Obama offered an inadequate showing as some seem to be implying, but Romney definitely held himself well (setting ideas/facts aside).

    One thing that's annoying me is all the commentary about how Obama held punches and should have mentioned the 47%, etc... he can't win, really. In the pre-debate program we were listening to we heard folks from Iowa complaining about how the negativity and the cheap shots of the campaign are tiring, but then when Obama doesn't focus on that stuff and actually talks policy? We hear, "he's not being aggressive enough!" or "It's too wonkish!"

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  3. Folks let’s not forget that the President's power regarding the domestic economy is limited. The power to tax, spend, regulate commerce, and make laws is with Congress... In the true terms of a debate, Obama lost. Romney addressed all of Obama’s false accusations. Tonight he played a very strategic role for his campaign and setting the record straight. Unfortunately the majority of the US has lost interest and knowledge of its own country and Government. Sadly, too many people vote on emotion; what they hear, or what they feel… This is what scares the shit out of me.

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    1. If we are moving beyond the theatrics, I'm not sure how you can as confidently say Obama lost. Obama addressed all of Romney's false accusations as far as I could tell to.

      I don't think that matters, though. This is a lot about style, not substance.

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  4. "...they offer a methodology for calculating the value of a vote. On their account, the expected utility of a vote is a function of the probability that the vote will be decisive.."

    I think this is a fallacious idea. Under this methodology, we would have to say that in a system that routinely delivered unanimous votes, that nobody's vote had any value, even though all voters got their preference 100% of the time.

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    1. posted in wrong thread.

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  5. On #2, see my FB post. People specifically bashed Romney in the comments, not Obama.

    On #3, how does one link to something *non*-frantically on Twitter? Isn't there a pretty binding space constraint? I think you really meant, "Veronique de Rugy linked to something that I do not consider as accurate as the Tax Policy Center."

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    1. It was the frequency and intensity of her posting that made it seem frantic to me. She was actually one of the ones that was surprising to me as far as lop-sidedly criticizing Obama.

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    2. Daniel, I suppose this is a dumb question: You're not going to make a post saying how surprised you were at how clearly pro-Obama Krugman and DeLong were after the debate, are you?

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    3. Well I already knew they were pro-Obama. Why would that be surprising?

      I had assumed de Rugy and other libertarians were not pro-Romney and yet their criticisms were very weighted against Obama.

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    4. Just like I was not surprised, at the end of the debate, when I thought that Obama had better answers. Knowing what I thought of Obama before hand, I was not surprised to have had that reaction.

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    5. So you're saying, you're surprised that your libertarian colleagues were as partisan as you, Krugman, and DeLong? Do you realize that your #2 in your post above, sure sounds like you were busting the libertarians for being secret partisans when they put on a good show of being scholars? Is that not what you were saying?

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    6. Huh?

      It's not a matter of partisan. I don't think myself, Krugman, or DeLong have any special attachment to a party. But they do have strong candidate preferences in this race.

      If Johnson were in the race my prior would have been that all the gushing would have been for him. What truly surprised me was that in the absence of Johnson the criticism was so lopsided.

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