Ten Second News

The Campaign Is a Performance

I maintain that Barack Obama was terrible during last week’s debate and that many liberals — goaded on by a political media desperate for a new storyline and thrilled with the prospect that November’s election will indeed be too-close-to-call-cash-cow — are overreacting. There’s reason to believe the drop in unemployment announced on Friday was enough to…

What Happened to Barack Obama?

Perhaps the most commonly asked question in the wake of last night’s debate is, What the hell was wrong with Barack Obama? Some ideas are more plausible than others. My sense is that, to a significant degree, Romney capitalized on an almost structural flaw of Barack-Obama-as-candidate: his unwillingness (and I’d guess at this point inability)…

A few quick thoughts on last night’s debate

First, the obvious: the unquestionable winner of the night was Romney.  If by chance you didn’t watch the debate and you’re wondering, did Romney win or did the President lose, the answer is “yes.” My other thoughts: The moderator:  I’ve read quite a bit of criticism of the moderating this morning, and it was a…

The Romney Rebound

The first thing that should be said before any estimation of tonight’s debate is that, historically, presidential debates are not the “game-changers” all of the hype would lead one to believe. That doesn’t mean they don’t matter — they do, as John Kerry can attest. But while the first debate often provides the challenger a…

On why tomorrow night’s debate won’t affect the election

Over the next 72 hours, much of the news media and political blogosphere is going to be devoted to tomorrow night’s Big Debate, as Romney and Obama finally go mano y mano.  The coverage will be nothing if not predictable. Today, each side’s ground forces will be rubbing elbows with members of the press, attempting…

The Problem With Mitt Romney Is Mitt Romney…And His Message

So, it’s not as funny as the Hunger Games Bad Lip Reading, but it’s exactly the sort of thing I need this election season. Fight nonsense with nonsense. The singing part gets me every time…. In all seriousness, I am looking forward to the debates. They should be good indicators of which way the election is going.…

There Was No Civil Liberties Mandate

Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic has a widely read explanation of why he cannot, on moral grounds, do as he did in 2008 and vote for Barack Obama. It’s a long piece and it’s not structured as an essay so much as a series of interrelated but independent criticisms; in general, Friedersdorf is outraged by…

The Different Sorts of “Other”

It’s more than likely that the next twenty-four hours of news coverage will be about how Michelle Obama didn’t just “humanize” her husband during her DNC speech, she went on the offensive. It was an outstanding speech with the potential to reshape the argument currently at the core of the campaign. But hey, you don’t…

The Alpha-Alpha Male Strategy

Of all the tactics available to the Republican party to overcome the 12-point gender gap,* this would be… one of them. UPDATE: A tweet from Ross Douthat suggests that it was supposed to be a joke, or at least retconned that way. NRO took the article down. (Good move.) * A Fox News poll published August 9, 2012…

Polarization and Persuasion

Yesterday the Washington Post noted that A pair of tepid jobs reports, landmark Supreme Court decisions on health-care and immigration laws, and an unprecedented barrage of negative ads have shaped the opening months of the fall presidential campaign. The impact on the horse race: virtually none. According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, President Obama and…

Thoughts Obama and Appalachia: It Ain’t (Quite) About That Southern Thing

1) Voter registration. Kentucky, West Virginia, and Arkansas are disproportionately Democratic—that is, when you compare voting preferences with party identification.  In Kentucky and West Virginia, the margins are 56-37 and 54-29, respectively.  While the Old, Solid South has trended Republican in party ID, Coal Country has remained solidly Democratic.  There are plenty of races in Kentucky—particularly…

Can Romney Beat Obama?

Guest post by James Hanley Short answer; yes. After all, we don’t know what’s going to happen between now and election day. Longer answer; not likely, with detailed explanation below. For the record, although I am a political scientist, this is not a professional explanation. There is no specialized information here that anyone else here…

“The Space Traders”

For those following the faux-controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s relationship with Derrick Bell, here’s a copy of Bell’s infamous short story, “The Space Traders.” As far as science fiction goes, it’s a pretty crummy read, but it does reveal the depths of Bell’s pessimism (perhaps understandable given his biography) about everything from race relations to economic…

Jon Huntsman is the Perfect Republican Candidate

“New Hampshire Republicans and undeclared voters who want to field a candidate with broad appeal and the capability and credibility to have a shot at beating President Obama have three choices: putative frontrunner Mitt Romney, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, and diplomat and two-term Utah governor Jon Huntsman. The choice of Huntsman should be clear,”…

Here Comes Iowa

I’m left with more than a little despair these days. Ron Paul’s newsletters and the implications of those pamphlets, including the enormous amount of money Paul made publishing them, are more damning than I at first believed. The revelations presented not just by Paul’s political opponents, but by his natural allies in the libertarian camp,…

Some thoughts on Obama’s memorial service remarks

About halfway through Obama’s speech on Wednesday – I think it was just after he used the phrase “moral imagination” – I turned to my fiancé and said, “You think Palin is thinking, ‘wow, this is what I should have said.’”  In truth, probably not.  For such a thought to cross her mind, she would…

Dealing With Political Blind Spots

Ezra Klein had a great rundown yesterday on a psychological phenomenon called motivated skepticism: On the simplest level, American politics presents us with an incentives problem: McConnell — like most minority leaders — is an avowedly reflexive opponent of the president’s reelection. The president’s reelection campaign depends on an improved economy. That a rational actor working…

Secret Socialism

In high school, I was a self-described socialist. What this meant at the time, God only knows. Now I vacillate between agreeing with our smarter, more prolific blog contributors. If you go back through the League’s voluminous archives, you’ll find that Erik was once pretty enthusiastic about protectionism. Since then, he’s moved on to open-borders…

Making Sense of Public Opinion

by E.C. Gach Last winter I was struck by a Jacob Weisberg piece over at Slate. The thrust of the article was the following: all of our political troubles are the result of…well…ourselves! People just don’t understand themselves or what they want, his claim went, so how can we expect our politics to reflect some form…

Beck and Obama’s radically different theologies

[updated] It is perhaps a little ironic that Beck is invoking theology so often and especially in order to demonize Obama further. Ironic because conservative and evangelical Christians probably have more in common theologically with Barack Obama than with Glenn Beck. Mainline Protestantism is still a lot more similar to evangelical Christianity than Mormonism –…

Managed Ignorance Watch, Continued

The Washington Post this morning notes that increasing numbers of Americans incorrectly believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim: The number of Americans who believe — wrongly — that President Obama is a Muslim has increased significantly since his inauguration and now account for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s population… More than a third…