Archive for October, 2012

The meme of the evening is most certainly President Obama’s rejoinder to Mitt Romney’s assertions about the size of the Navy now versus 1916. The Washington Post examined the matter seriously here.

So, the meme is out of the paddock…facebook is up, as is the tumblr.

But Obama delivered the rhetorical zinger of the night by acknowledging that “we have fewer ships than we did in 1916,” but that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets, 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.”

Couldn’t help thinking of Jeff Daniels in his epic scene from the film Gettysburg, at the battle of Little Roundtop.

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The dean of the Actors Studio was back on Hardball tonight with his analysis of the performances of the two candidates in last night’s debate. Lipton’s bottom line: characters are set; Romney is running for boss (and a boss you never liked that much) and Romney is running for President.

Cf. Chris Matthews’ comment that Romney is the fellow sitting in business class who won’t get off his cell phone until the flight attendants come and tell him he is holding up the plane’s departure. (Wait not plane, “aircraft.” As Lipton said in an earlier interview, most of us fly in airplanes, or pilot them — perhaps if you own them, they become “aircraft.”)

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After a long hiatus, we are back with debate awards following tonight’s rumble on Strong Island.


Alexander P. Butterfield There Is A Taping System Award: Candy Crowley. For shutting down Mitt Romney’s bogus assertion that Obama did not use the phrase “terror attack” in his initial rose garden comments about the Benghazi consulate attack.



Big (Organized) Love Award: Mitt Romney, for telling us about all of his binders full of women. Tumblr here. Facebook here. ‘Nuff said.

Bill Mazeroski Bottom of the Ninth Home Run Award: Barack Obama. With one minute to go, in extra innings, Romney served up a “100%” middle-of-the plate softball and the president hit it out of the park. If Obama had once again left out the 47% comment his supporters would have been up in arms. As it turned out, his opponent solved this problem for him.

Warren G. Harding Forgotten President Award: George W. Bush, who was treated as a sad relic from the distant past by both candidates.

Sarah Palin Red Herring Award: Mitt Romney, for his Fast and Furious attempts to throw red meat to the conservative base, who are obsessed with the Fast and Furious investigation. As a classic red herring rhetorical fallacy, it is true but not relevant.

Joseph N. Welch Have You No Decency Award: Barack Obama, for his indignant reaction to Mitt Romney’s suggestion that he was not appropriately presidential in his response to the attack on the Benghazi consulate and the resulting deaths of the Ambassador and embassy personnel.

Dan Rather Folksy Metaphor Award: David Axelrod. While we’d prefer to give the award to a Texan, the Rather Award must go to Axe, who told Lawrence O’Donnell in postgame spin that “the American people are not going to buy a $5 trillion pig in a poke.”

Newt Gingrich Moon Colony Award: Barack Obama. For using Mitt’s own line, used he so effectively in the GOP primaries against Newt, when he pilloried Newt’s goal of lunar colonization by saying that if one of his executives came to him with a proposal like that, he’d fire him.

Frequent Flier Metaphor Award: Chris Matthews. For calling Mitt Romney the guy on the plane who won’t get his cell phone as the flight attendants are trying to prepare for takeoff.

The full debate:

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The debate tonight was a needed refresher after the dull performance last week. I’ve argued for years that the administration’s decision to muzzle the Veep was not in its best interest.

Biden was not just verbally aggressive on substance, but also effective in his nonverbals — in stark contrast to the President, who was seen as cold, disinterested, and not engaging. I might criticize Biden for his grins, which suggested a fatherly “oh come on now, young man,” but the spin from the Dems indicates they feel it was an effective way of telegraphing that the other fellow was lying, that his statements were, literally, laughable. Or for his scowls, which similarly expressed a fatherly disdain.

We also came close to a Lloyd Bentsen/Dan Quayle moment with the Veep calling out Ryan on his reference to John F. Kennedy. Biden didn’t know Jack Kennedy, but “Now you’re Jack Kennedy.”

Maybe the laughs were too much; decide for yourself.

Among my favorite moments was Joltin’ Joe confronting Ryan over his hypocrisy in requesting stimulus funds for his district while he voted against the underlying legislation. He was hardly the only GOPer to do this; happy to posture against spending, but then glad to take it.

Hopefully the next Presidential debates will be as lively. Veep debates rarely matter; the Quayle debate did — the Palin debate not as much, though the choice itself was of course controversial and “game changing.” Going back over history, it’s always interesting to note that even political junkies are hard pressed to name many Veeps, even, for example, any of Franklin Roosevelt’s over four terms, other than Harry Truman — and that despite FDR’s age and health. This VP race appears to be of a different category.

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