Oct 22, 2012

Pissfest 2012, Schieffer edition

Al Franken is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller: Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them): A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.  He had an interesting response to what was common in those days at FOX "News" — blaming Bill Clinton for depleting the military and blow jobs. Hannity had presented this little gem in his ghost-written book, Let Freedom Ring:

New tanks requested: 840 by St. Reagan (1986), 0 by Slick Willy (1996)
New tactical aircraft requested: 399 by St. Reagan, 34 by Slick Willy
New naval ships requested: 40 by St. Reagan, 6 by Slick Willy

Now, to address this morbidly stupid means of comparing who was more hawkish, Al Franken offered the following additional column for George the Younger (2002):
New tanks requested: 0
New tactical aircraft requested: 58
New naval ships requested:5

Then, to drive home the abject stupidity of the point, he added this factoid:

New horses requested in the president's budget: 188,718 by Abe (1864), 3 by St. Reagan.

Now, Lies was a popular book, so even if Mitt had not read it, someone in his staff would have, and would know this evisceration of stupidity. Yet, for the first time in three debates, Mitt had a major gaffe, and provided Obama with a big gift:
ROMNEY: Our Navy is older — excuse me — our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now down to 285. We’re headed down to the — to the low 200s if we go through with sequestration. That’s unacceptable to me. I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy.
I was surprised that Obama had the rejoinder handy:
But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You — you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
Even otherwise it was a decisive debate win for Obama, given that his foreign policy record is as strong as his economic record is weak, and Romney is generally in agreement with Obama, or clueless on the matter where he wants to differ. Still, I do not think it was as bad for Romney as the first debate was for Obama. Romney did not and could attack Obama on Libya, and Obama let the fact that Paul Ryan voted to opt for sequestration go unmentioned. So a couple of missed opportunities.

Verdict: Obama 8.0/10.0, and Mitt a 6.5/10.0. For a comparison with the first two debates, see here and here. Schieffer was the best moderator of the three in the presidential debates.  He kept his poise, and maintained the tone from getting too out-of-control like it was with that Lehrer fellow.

I am not convinced though that this changes the election landscape much, if at all (Update: Nate Silver appears to be saying the same thing). Yes, the media will report it as a win for Obama as they should, but in the end I suspect that pro-Romney SuperPACs will prove decisive with the money they are pouring into this.

I will however repeat a question from the last pissfest for rightwingnuts: Was there a teleprompter? How the fuck did the Kenyan Muslin beat Romney then?

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