Debate post-mortem

Thanks to everybody who live-blogged the debates with me.  As has been said, “that was fun.”  The instant back-and-forth in real time made for a lively online conversation.  We’ll have to look for other opportunities to do that sort of thing.  (Any ideas for that?  Live-blogging the World Series?  The Oklahoma/Notre Dame game?  The Oscars?  American Idol?  Or maybe we’d better just wait four more years.)

At any rate, what did you think of the debate as a whole?  Who gets the advantage?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • BW

    One thing that really bothered me about the debate was the lack of discussion about the use of drones – the legalities, the open ended nature of this drone warfare the US has been engaged in, and their use to kill American citizens. They appear to have the same stance on drones, which is very disappointing.

    As for Syria, how do we know that these rebels both candidates want to arm (or are arming in the case of Obama) are “the good guys?”

    Also what about any sort of discussion on the drug war and the violence in Mexico?

    I really am not sure how their foreign policy differs all that much. It seemed like a debate on who’s more reserved, or who’s plan of intervention is better, rather than asking, does the US need to intervene at all?

  • BW

    One thing that really bothered me about the debate was the lack of discussion about the use of drones – the legalities, the open ended nature of this drone warfare the US has been engaged in, and their use to kill American citizens. They appear to have the same stance on drones, which is very disappointing.

    As for Syria, how do we know that these rebels both candidates want to arm (or are arming in the case of Obama) are “the good guys?”

    Also what about any sort of discussion on the drug war and the violence in Mexico?

    I really am not sure how their foreign policy differs all that much. It seemed like a debate on who’s more reserved, or who’s plan of intervention is better, rather than asking, does the US need to intervene at all?

  • Norman Teigen

    Clearly, the President won. He should be re-elected.

    Norman Teigen, Layman
    Evangelical Lutheran Symod

  • Norman Teigen

    Clearly, the President won. He should be re-elected.

    Norman Teigen, Layman
    Evangelical Lutheran Symod

  • Barbara T.

    Clearly, Romney won. He should be elected!

  • Barbara T.

    Clearly, Romney won. He should be elected!

  • Joe

    All this debate really proved is that this election is about the economy.

    The candidates are not miles apart on foreign policy. There are some differences around the edges and with implementation but the actually broad policies are pretty much the same.

    As for a winner? This always has to be viewed against the objective of each participant. Romney needed to look like he could do the job and not lose his momentum. He did both of these things. Obama had to explain why his policies are working and try to regain the momentum. He did pretty well on the first but made no ground on the second. I think it goes to Romney on points.

  • Joe

    All this debate really proved is that this election is about the economy.

    The candidates are not miles apart on foreign policy. There are some differences around the edges and with implementation but the actually broad policies are pretty much the same.

    As for a winner? This always has to be viewed against the objective of each participant. Romney needed to look like he could do the job and not lose his momentum. He did both of these things. Obama had to explain why his policies are working and try to regain the momentum. He did pretty well on the first but made no ground on the second. I think it goes to Romney on points.

  • Dan Kempin

    I think both candidates were measured and deliberate. Each of them stayed within himself throughout, though as a result, neither of them really hit it out of the park on anything.

  • Dan Kempin

    I think both candidates were measured and deliberate. Each of them stayed within himself throughout, though as a result, neither of them really hit it out of the park on anything.

  • Dan Kempin

    You could live blog the superbowl commercials. If there was a national broadcast of “The Antiques Road Show,” that would probably be fun, too. Seriously, I bet it would be a riot.

  • Dan Kempin

    You could live blog the superbowl commercials. If there was a national broadcast of “The Antiques Road Show,” that would probably be fun, too. Seriously, I bet it would be a riot.

  • http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com Rev. Larry A. Peters

    I wish that Romney had said to the President, “You can be as combative, condescending, and sarcastic as you want, Mr. President, but the fact is that your handling of the death of the Ambassador to Libya was either incompetence or deception, your apology for the right of free speech pandering to the extremists, your uneven response to the explosion of uncertainty and conflict confusing to our allies and our enemies, and your soundbite answers to the hard questions of this campaign disappointing to the people who elected you and demeaning to the great heritage of American exceptionalism and leadership on the world stage.”

  • http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com Rev. Larry A. Peters

    I wish that Romney had said to the President, “You can be as combative, condescending, and sarcastic as you want, Mr. President, but the fact is that your handling of the death of the Ambassador to Libya was either incompetence or deception, your apology for the right of free speech pandering to the extremists, your uneven response to the explosion of uncertainty and conflict confusing to our allies and our enemies, and your soundbite answers to the hard questions of this campaign disappointing to the people who elected you and demeaning to the great heritage of American exceptionalism and leadership on the world stage.”

  • rlewer

    Obama’s goal was to show that Romney was dangerous and radical on foreign policy to scare the public and he failed.

    BTW: Does Obama really think that ships have gone the way of horses?

  • rlewer

    Obama’s goal was to show that Romney was dangerous and radical on foreign policy to scare the public and he failed.

    BTW: Does Obama really think that ships have gone the way of horses?

  • Tom Hering

    @ 7, good grief, this President is no less a promoter of American exceptionalism than his predecessors. It’s an absolute requirement of presidential rhetoric.

  • Tom Hering

    @ 7, good grief, this President is no less a promoter of American exceptionalism than his predecessors. It’s an absolute requirement of presidential rhetoric.

  • MarkB

    @7 +1

  • MarkB

    @7 +1

  • BW

    Tom @7,

    I agree with you here, in this election both parties have tried to outdo each other on patriotism.

  • BW

    Tom @7,

    I agree with you here, in this election both parties have tried to outdo each other on patriotism.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Romney had a very interesting rhetorical strategy, and I think he clearly got the most out of the debate. You will notice that Romney did not mention Libya – in fact, Obama brought it up. Romney’s strategy was to appear as moderate, centrist, and peaceful as possible, presumably to appeal to the undecided voters (a significant portion of which are women). I think he succeeded, and I think Obama came across mostly as an ideologue. If winning means garnering more votes, I think Romney mastered this debate.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Romney had a very interesting rhetorical strategy, and I think he clearly got the most out of the debate. You will notice that Romney did not mention Libya – in fact, Obama brought it up. Romney’s strategy was to appear as moderate, centrist, and peaceful as possible, presumably to appeal to the undecided voters (a significant portion of which are women). I think he succeeded, and I think Obama came across mostly as an ideologue. If winning means garnering more votes, I think Romney mastered this debate.

  • Tom Hering

    @ 8, the point of the “horses and bayonets” versus “aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines” comparison was that a modern military is based on capabilities, not quantities.

  • Tom Hering

    @ 8, the point of the “horses and bayonets” versus “aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines” comparison was that a modern military is based on capabilities, not quantities.

  • Steve Billingsley

    The strange thing about this debate is that if you just dropped in and knew nothing about the race, then you would think that Romney was the incumbent and Obama was the challenger.

    And I think that is exactly what Romney was trying to accomplish.

  • Steve Billingsley

    The strange thing about this debate is that if you just dropped in and knew nothing about the race, then you would think that Romney was the incumbent and Obama was the challenger.

    And I think that is exactly what Romney was trying to accomplish.

  • Norman Teigen

    Yo! Pastor Peters!

    Norman Teigen

  • Norman Teigen

    Yo! Pastor Peters!

    Norman Teigen

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    The President sure is an arrogant SOB, isn’t he?

    (self-obsessed bore)

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    The President sure is an arrogant SOB, isn’t he?

    (self-obsessed bore)

  • Jon

    Did anybody hear the prez say that the sequestration is “NOT” going to happen? Or was I just hearing things?

  • Jon

    Did anybody hear the prez say that the sequestration is “NOT” going to happen? Or was I just hearing things?

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    That our enemies back him and that Europeans in general would back him, is a clear indicator that he is the wrong person for the job.

    He is leading us nowhere…and fast.

    Dump the SOB.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    That our enemies back him and that Europeans in general would back him, is a clear indicator that he is the wrong person for the job.

    He is leading us nowhere…and fast.

    Dump the SOB.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    Was I the only one who heard Bob Schieffer say “Obama bin Laden”?

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    Was I the only one who heard Bob Schieffer say “Obama bin Laden”?

  • Tom Hering

    Seems to me that Romney spent the night agreeing with the President’s policies. The only thing he questioned was the image that the President, personally, projects overseas. So his only real argument was that he’d come across as a tougher guy from day one (which in Romney’s case, pretty much comes down to being able to talk over other people).

    Because they agreed on just about everything concerning foreign policy, I think the debate was a draw. Which raises the question: if Romney can’t show himself to be clearly different from the current occupant of the White House, why change leadership in the middle of foreign crises? What’s the real (non-ideological) advantage in doing so?

  • Tom Hering

    Seems to me that Romney spent the night agreeing with the President’s policies. The only thing he questioned was the image that the President, personally, projects overseas. So his only real argument was that he’d come across as a tougher guy from day one (which in Romney’s case, pretty much comes down to being able to talk over other people).

    Because they agreed on just about everything concerning foreign policy, I think the debate was a draw. Which raises the question: if Romney can’t show himself to be clearly different from the current occupant of the White House, why change leadership in the middle of foreign crises? What’s the real (non-ideological) advantage in doing so?

  • Abby

    “why change leadership in the middle of foreign crises? What’s the real (non-ideological) advantage in doing so?” The economy.

  • Abby

    “why change leadership in the middle of foreign crises? What’s the real (non-ideological) advantage in doing so?” The economy.

  • JonSLC

    Jon @ 17: Yes, more than one reporter noticed that the president said sequestration WILL not happen. Reportedly the White House tried after the debate to clarify, saying that sequestration SHOULD not happen.

  • JonSLC

    Jon @ 17: Yes, more than one reporter noticed that the president said sequestration WILL not happen. Reportedly the White House tried after the debate to clarify, saying that sequestration SHOULD not happen.

  • Tom Hering

    @ 21, if you expect Romney to fix the economy, and thus improve our security and standing in the world, you’re going to be disappointed. Even if he succeeds in his limited aim of improving the nation’s business climate, it doesn’t mean business will respond by doing what’s best for America. I suspect the opposite will continue to be the case.

  • Tom Hering

    @ 21, if you expect Romney to fix the economy, and thus improve our security and standing in the world, you’re going to be disappointed. Even if he succeeds in his limited aim of improving the nation’s business climate, it doesn’t mean business will respond by doing what’s best for America. I suspect the opposite will continue to be the case.

  • WisdomLover

    Obama big point with the bayonets and horses is that the modern military is based on capability, not quantity?

    Please give me a break.

    Everyone, since Antiquity has known that capability is more important than quantity. And Romney clearly knows that too. He also happens to know that we have too few ships to be certain that we are capable of keeping the sea lanes open. As our Admirals and even O’s SecDef (guys who know a lot more about naval capability than the One) say.

    Obama:

    a) Made a false claim about bayonets…we have more and better bayonets now than in 1916.

    b) Equates the obsolescence of warhorses with the obsolescence of warships. If they’re obsolete, why have any?

    c) Made his point about warhorses in a discussion about the NAVY.
    Does he realize that the NAVY never has made great use of horses (except insofar as the Marines are organizationally part of the Navy)?

    d) Is even wrong about the obsolescence of warhorses. Our special forces make extensive use of them in Afghanistan.

    e) Made the point like the arrogant jerk that he is.

    So the one positive takeaway we’re supposed to get from Obama’s childish display is that military might is about capability? A truism that has been known for most of recorded history?

    Got it.

    Advantage: Romney.

  • WisdomLover

    Obama big point with the bayonets and horses is that the modern military is based on capability, not quantity?

    Please give me a break.

    Everyone, since Antiquity has known that capability is more important than quantity. And Romney clearly knows that too. He also happens to know that we have too few ships to be certain that we are capable of keeping the sea lanes open. As our Admirals and even O’s SecDef (guys who know a lot more about naval capability than the One) say.

    Obama:

    a) Made a false claim about bayonets…we have more and better bayonets now than in 1916.

    b) Equates the obsolescence of warhorses with the obsolescence of warships. If they’re obsolete, why have any?

    c) Made his point about warhorses in a discussion about the NAVY.
    Does he realize that the NAVY never has made great use of horses (except insofar as the Marines are organizationally part of the Navy)?

    d) Is even wrong about the obsolescence of warhorses. Our special forces make extensive use of them in Afghanistan.

    e) Made the point like the arrogant jerk that he is.

    So the one positive takeaway we’re supposed to get from Obama’s childish display is that military might is about capability? A truism that has been known for most of recorded history?

    Got it.

    Advantage: Romney.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Even if he succeeds in his limited aim of improving the nation’s business climate, it doesn’t mean business will respond by doing what’s best for America. I suspect the opposite will continue to be the case.

    President Obama did what was needed to improve the business climate for large businesses such as major banks and other large corporations and the people at the top of those have reaped the benefits rather than their employees. Romney wants to improve the business climate for those just below those ranks and yes, many of those do have the potential to hire more people who will then spend more and pay taxes and contribute to their communities in a virtuous cycle. Will that happen? Well, we can’t be sure, but it seems worth trying. What I see the president suggesting is higher taxes on some top x % which will be paid by them but not by the very top of that fraction due to special loopholes for special people. Will that work? I don’t know. Smart rich people are pretty good at getting around most such assessments, but it seems worth a try. The rich haven’t paid more under President Obama and there is no reason to think that will change.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Even if he succeeds in his limited aim of improving the nation’s business climate, it doesn’t mean business will respond by doing what’s best for America. I suspect the opposite will continue to be the case.

    President Obama did what was needed to improve the business climate for large businesses such as major banks and other large corporations and the people at the top of those have reaped the benefits rather than their employees. Romney wants to improve the business climate for those just below those ranks and yes, many of those do have the potential to hire more people who will then spend more and pay taxes and contribute to their communities in a virtuous cycle. Will that happen? Well, we can’t be sure, but it seems worth trying. What I see the president suggesting is higher taxes on some top x % which will be paid by them but not by the very top of that fraction due to special loopholes for special people. Will that work? I don’t know. Smart rich people are pretty good at getting around most such assessments, but it seems worth a try. The rich haven’t paid more under President Obama and there is no reason to think that will change.

  • DonS

    Each man had a different objective. Romney, as the frontrunner, trying to reduce his disadvantage with women, wanted to stay above the fray, appear presidential, continue to push the economy as the major campaign issue, and discuss bigger themes. Obama, trailing in the race, needed a knock-out to have a chance. Consequently, he took an aggressive stance, trying to lure Romney into a tit-for-tat on Benghazi (Romney refused the bait), challenging his competence, etc. He was willing to take a further hit to his likeability to try for a gamechanger.

    Obama lost the debate. Romney accomplished his goals and he didn’t.

  • DonS

    Each man had a different objective. Romney, as the frontrunner, trying to reduce his disadvantage with women, wanted to stay above the fray, appear presidential, continue to push the economy as the major campaign issue, and discuss bigger themes. Obama, trailing in the race, needed a knock-out to have a chance. Consequently, he took an aggressive stance, trying to lure Romney into a tit-for-tat on Benghazi (Romney refused the bait), challenging his competence, etc. He was willing to take a further hit to his likeability to try for a gamechanger.

    Obama lost the debate. Romney accomplished his goals and he didn’t.

  • DonS
  • DonS
  • DonS

    By the way, the Obama campaign is issuing a glossy 20 page booklet today setting out his second term agenda.

    A little late, hmm?

  • DonS

    By the way, the Obama campaign is issuing a glossy 20 page booklet today setting out his second term agenda.

    A little late, hmm?

  • DonS

    One more thing:

    “Attacking me is not an agenda”

    That was the line of the debate. And summarized things very nicely.

  • DonS

    One more thing:

    “Attacking me is not an agenda”

    That was the line of the debate. And summarized things very nicely.

  • The Jones

    Although not decisively, Obama won every verbal exchange except for one, much in the same way that Napoleon, although not decisively, won every military engagement in the Russian campaign, except for one.

    Romney looked and sounded presidential. I think that signals who is winning the campaign as a whole.

  • The Jones

    Although not decisively, Obama won every verbal exchange except for one, much in the same way that Napoleon, although not decisively, won every military engagement in the Russian campaign, except for one.

    Romney looked and sounded presidential. I think that signals who is winning the campaign as a whole.

  • Lou G.

    #7 +50 – Boom! You should be a speech writer – that was perfect! I’d love to hear someone call it like it is on Obama’s weak leadership. Good job.

  • Lou G.

    #7 +50 – Boom! You should be a speech writer – that was perfect! I’d love to hear someone call it like it is on Obama’s weak leadership. Good job.

  • Lou G.

    Don, #28, actually it’s pretty strategic in a way and concerns me. Because by doing it after the debates, he is giving no real opportunity for a public rebuke from the other side. I also noticed that he’s out in full on attack mode, calling last night “Romnesia”, etc.. With just the media between us and the election, Obama knows he can pretty much get away with anything he wants from here until E-day.

  • Lou G.

    Don, #28, actually it’s pretty strategic in a way and concerns me. Because by doing it after the debates, he is giving no real opportunity for a public rebuke from the other side. I also noticed that he’s out in full on attack mode, calling last night “Romnesia”, etc.. With just the media between us and the election, Obama knows he can pretty much get away with anything he wants from here until E-day.

  • DonS

    Lou @ 32: Nah. It’s desperation. Even the MSM isn’t buying it (see http://spectator.org/blog/2012/10/23/cnn-obamas-plan-not-significan )

    It’s warmed-over hash.

  • DonS

    Lou @ 32: Nah. It’s desperation. Even the MSM isn’t buying it (see http://spectator.org/blog/2012/10/23/cnn-obamas-plan-not-significan )

    It’s warmed-over hash.

  • DonS

    This is the other line of the debate:

    “You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.”

  • DonS

    This is the other line of the debate:

    “You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.”

  • Lou G.

    That’s good to hear. If the MSM doesn’t buy it, then we’ve still got a chance. I just assumed they’d be back in his pocket already by now.

  • Lou G.

    That’s good to hear. If the MSM doesn’t buy it, then we’ve still got a chance. I just assumed they’d be back in his pocket already by now.

  • WisdomLover

    DonS @29:

    Exactly right. It was almost Reaganesque. What’s more, he got it out early, before a lot of viewers had flipped over to football.

    Unfortunately, it may get overshadowed by Obama’s snark, which will help Romney even more than that excellent line of Romney’s.

  • WisdomLover

    DonS @29:

    Exactly right. It was almost Reaganesque. What’s more, he got it out early, before a lot of viewers had flipped over to football.

    Unfortunately, it may get overshadowed by Obama’s snark, which will help Romney even more than that excellent line of Romney’s.

  • rlewer

    Obama’s budget proposals united the parties. The Senate voted them down unanimously. We have not had a budget in the last three years.

    So how can he claim to propose a plan for the second term?

  • rlewer

    Obama’s budget proposals united the parties. The Senate voted them down unanimously. We have not had a budget in the last three years.

    So how can he claim to propose a plan for the second term?

  • fjsteve

    Tom, #13, Obama’s snide remark missed the point, as do many rehearsed responses. Romney’s point was that there were fewer ships than the Navy says they need. He used a poor analogy and the President capitalized on that poor analogy rather than address the point.

  • fjsteve

    Tom, #13, Obama’s snide remark missed the point, as do many rehearsed responses. Romney’s point was that there were fewer ships than the Navy says they need. He used a poor analogy and the President capitalized on that poor analogy rather than address the point.

  • JunkerGeorg

    Tom Hering @ post #13,

    @ 8, the point of the “horses and bayonets” versus “aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines” comparison was that a modern military is based on capabilities, not quantities.
    —-

    True. Capabilities. Yet, with all due respect (and I do mean respect), what’s interesting (if not ironic) about that aside from the fact that Marines still train with bayonets, is that horses are still used by special forces, e.g., in the Afghan mountain ranges where modern military vehicles just aren’t ‘capable’ of managing the terrain as well as a horse.

    Yet even with regard to capabilities, I’m not so sure I agree with the suggested dichotomy of capablities vs. quantities, especially with regard to the US Navy. Why? Precisely because some of us would much rather be less interventionist in our foreign policy in terms of putting boots on foreign ground and keeping them there forever as sitting targets for terrorists. Yet in doing so this would
    not mean that we shortchange other things in the case that going to war is absolutely neccessary for national defense. In other words, I’d much rather have a stronger navy (yes, in terms of “quantities” of aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines) as a potential threat/deterrent to aggressors to fill the vacuum which bringing the troops home would cause. In fact, the one reason I am not scared even if Iran does eventually get nuclear missiles is precisely the retaliation that would swiftly and devastatingly come from the US 5th Naval Fleet.

  • JunkerGeorg

    Tom Hering @ post #13,

    @ 8, the point of the “horses and bayonets” versus “aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines” comparison was that a modern military is based on capabilities, not quantities.
    —-

    True. Capabilities. Yet, with all due respect (and I do mean respect), what’s interesting (if not ironic) about that aside from the fact that Marines still train with bayonets, is that horses are still used by special forces, e.g., in the Afghan mountain ranges where modern military vehicles just aren’t ‘capable’ of managing the terrain as well as a horse.

    Yet even with regard to capabilities, I’m not so sure I agree with the suggested dichotomy of capablities vs. quantities, especially with regard to the US Navy. Why? Precisely because some of us would much rather be less interventionist in our foreign policy in terms of putting boots on foreign ground and keeping them there forever as sitting targets for terrorists. Yet in doing so this would
    not mean that we shortchange other things in the case that going to war is absolutely neccessary for national defense. In other words, I’d much rather have a stronger navy (yes, in terms of “quantities” of aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines) as a potential threat/deterrent to aggressors to fill the vacuum which bringing the troops home would cause. In fact, the one reason I am not scared even if Iran does eventually get nuclear missiles is precisely the retaliation that would swiftly and devastatingly come from the US 5th Naval Fleet.

  • dust
  • dust
  • Tom Hering

    Romney isn’t proposing more ships because they’re necessary for our security and interests. He’s promising tax-funded pork for the swing state of Virginia. Period.

  • Tom Hering

    Romney isn’t proposing more ships because they’re necessary for our security and interests. He’s promising tax-funded pork for the swing state of Virginia. Period.

  • dust

    Tom…let me interpret your comment please: obama good, romney bad :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    Tom…let me interpret your comment please: obama good, romney bad :)

    cheers!

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    Thanks Don @27. Now that I know that wax build up is not the problem, I’ll turn my attention to those who wax eloquent about horses, bayonets and other relevant issues.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    Thanks Don @27. Now that I know that wax build up is not the problem, I’ll turn my attention to those who wax eloquent about horses, bayonets and other relevant issues.

  • Tom Hering

    dust @ 42, incorrect. Obama less bad. But I’ve had one eye on Rocky Anderson all along, and who knows – I may switch my vote after tonight’s third-party presidential debate:

    http://www.youtube.com/oratv

  • Tom Hering

    dust @ 42, incorrect. Obama less bad. But I’ve had one eye on Rocky Anderson all along, and who knows – I may switch my vote after tonight’s third-party presidential debate:

    http://www.youtube.com/oratv

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Tom Hering, post #41,

    Romney isn’t proposing more ships because they’re necessary for our security and interests. He’s promising tax-funded pork for the swing state of Virginia. Period.

    You may be right. Pork may be a part of it. But I said “may” and “part”. Neither you nor I can tell for certain if that is a reason and if it is the only reason. Even if it is, I’d still argue that tactically speaking the Naval forces are a better area for the ‘military industrial complex’ to be working in than elsewhere. How good it is to know that the constituents of Obama and his Democrats don’t ever eat bacon from their hand. No. Never. ;)

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Tom Hering, post #41,

    Romney isn’t proposing more ships because they’re necessary for our security and interests. He’s promising tax-funded pork for the swing state of Virginia. Period.

    You may be right. Pork may be a part of it. But I said “may” and “part”. Neither you nor I can tell for certain if that is a reason and if it is the only reason. Even if it is, I’d still argue that tactically speaking the Naval forces are a better area for the ‘military industrial complex’ to be working in than elsewhere. How good it is to know that the constituents of Obama and his Democrats don’t ever eat bacon from their hand. No. Never. ;)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    It’s an insanely trivial point (but I like trivia, and more to the point, trivia is what presidential debates squabbling — and, really, presidential debates themselves — are all about), but I did some looking into this whole horses, bayonets, and Navy ships thing.

    I think one reason we citizens seize on these things is that they’re fairly concrete. Someone said something that we can actually fact-check, as opposed to the myriad, but unfalsifiable, promises and theories (typically economic) that comprise most of this nonsense.

    So, yeah. Do we have fewer bayonets these days than in 1916? WisdomLover (@24) says no, NPR for one says yes (not that I spent a lot of time looking). From NPR’s blogs:

    The last bayonet charge was during the Korean War in 1951. The bayonet has somewhat gone the way of the horse cavalry, as far as the Army is concerned (although Marines still use bayonets in training).

    So unless WisdomLover has some alternate information, I’m gonna call that one correct. Same thing with horses:

    Although Army Special Forces were on horseback in Afghanistan when they helped defeat the Taliban in 2001, the Army’s horses are now used only for ceremonial occasions.

    So, again, fewer horses used for military purposes. And who’s surprised? Technologies change. That was Obama’s point, after all. Who will dispute it?

    As for ships, Romney was also wrong. According to the Navy itself, the Navy had 245 active ships in 1916 (on the eve of our entry into a World War, no less), but had 285 active ships in 2011 (the most recent year for that data).

    By the way, the number of active Navy ships has been almost monotonically decreasing since its peak in the late 80s at almost 600 ships. So, you know, blame Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II for most of that. The number of ships has actually been almost entirely flat during Obama’s tenure.

    In addition, more new ships have been procured per year in Obama’s term than were procured during either of Bush’s terms.

    Of course, all of this rather misses the point that it’s not the President who enacts the military’s budget, is it? Sure, he can propose a budget, and he signs it, but making this part of our discussion of who should be President is just a sign that Americans really don’t care about the Constitution or the proper roles of the branches of government. Let’s pretend the President is responsible for it all.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    It’s an insanely trivial point (but I like trivia, and more to the point, trivia is what presidential debates squabbling — and, really, presidential debates themselves — are all about), but I did some looking into this whole horses, bayonets, and Navy ships thing.

    I think one reason we citizens seize on these things is that they’re fairly concrete. Someone said something that we can actually fact-check, as opposed to the myriad, but unfalsifiable, promises and theories (typically economic) that comprise most of this nonsense.

    So, yeah. Do we have fewer bayonets these days than in 1916? WisdomLover (@24) says no, NPR for one says yes (not that I spent a lot of time looking). From NPR’s blogs:

    The last bayonet charge was during the Korean War in 1951. The bayonet has somewhat gone the way of the horse cavalry, as far as the Army is concerned (although Marines still use bayonets in training).

    So unless WisdomLover has some alternate information, I’m gonna call that one correct. Same thing with horses:

    Although Army Special Forces were on horseback in Afghanistan when they helped defeat the Taliban in 2001, the Army’s horses are now used only for ceremonial occasions.

    So, again, fewer horses used for military purposes. And who’s surprised? Technologies change. That was Obama’s point, after all. Who will dispute it?

    As for ships, Romney was also wrong. According to the Navy itself, the Navy had 245 active ships in 1916 (on the eve of our entry into a World War, no less), but had 285 active ships in 2011 (the most recent year for that data).

    By the way, the number of active Navy ships has been almost monotonically decreasing since its peak in the late 80s at almost 600 ships. So, you know, blame Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II for most of that. The number of ships has actually been almost entirely flat during Obama’s tenure.

    In addition, more new ships have been procured per year in Obama’s term than were procured during either of Bush’s terms.

    Of course, all of this rather misses the point that it’s not the President who enacts the military’s budget, is it? Sure, he can propose a budget, and he signs it, but making this part of our discussion of who should be President is just a sign that Americans really don’t care about the Constitution or the proper roles of the branches of government. Let’s pretend the President is responsible for it all.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 46: Well, since we are dealing with insanely trivial points, Romney said that the size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916. So, even if it is slightly larger now, that claim is apparently still true, at least for the purposes of the point being made, which was that we should be increasing rather than reducing its size.

    I read somewhere that the Marines currently have some 500,000 bayonets in their armories, which is considerably more than they had in 1916, when the U.S. military only had some 150,000 men under arms. So, Obama was technically wrong on that one.

    Of course, the bottom line is that Obama had a great line for his sarcastic base, but ticked off a heck of a lot of military and veteran voters, especially in the swing state of VA. So, there’s that. He also ticked off undecided women voters who prefer a less snarky and more high minded president.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 46: Well, since we are dealing with insanely trivial points, Romney said that the size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916. So, even if it is slightly larger now, that claim is apparently still true, at least for the purposes of the point being made, which was that we should be increasing rather than reducing its size.

    I read somewhere that the Marines currently have some 500,000 bayonets in their armories, which is considerably more than they had in 1916, when the U.S. military only had some 150,000 men under arms. So, Obama was technically wrong on that one.

    Of course, the bottom line is that Obama had a great line for his sarcastic base, but ticked off a heck of a lot of military and veteran voters, especially in the swing state of VA. So, there’s that. He also ticked off undecided women voters who prefer a less snarky and more high minded president.

  • dust

    DonS…..you said:

    “He also ticked off undecided women voters who prefer a less snarky and more high minded president.”

    now we know why tODD could never be president :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    DonS…..you said:

    “He also ticked off undecided women voters who prefer a less snarky and more high minded president.”

    now we know why tODD could never be president :)

    cheers!

  • NavyChaps

    tODD @46,

    Before you go quoting ship numbers you may want to find out what is considered a surface combatant. Presently we have 122. In 1916 we had 176. Auxiliaries, submarines, Amphibs and minesweepers don’t count because they cannot be used for control of the sea lanes. The other VERY serious problem is the scheduled decommissioning of our current capable surface ships and the projected building of far less capable ships (the LCS). We need to build ships.

    Tom @ 41,

    It has absolutely NOTHING to do with Virginia – the ships that would get built are not built in VA! It has EVERYTHING to do with capability. To think otherwise is to ignore the requirements established by CNO, SECNAV and SECDEF. Period.

    One more thing. Anyone who thinks that battleships are obsolete knows nothing about sea warfare. The USMC would dearly love a ship in our inventory that could provide that level of gunfire support. Sadly the biggest thing we have is a 5 inch.

    Yes, our ships are more capable now. But we also have a vastly increased requirements around the world which actually require ships to be on station.

    I’m not saying that we need a 600 ship Navy. But we certainly need at least the 330ish that the USN leadership has said we do.

    But rather than build a Navy capable of accomplishing the requirements that are levied upon it, we build a Navy based on the cost and ignore the (ever increasing) requirements with the ever popular phrase “Do more with less.” We’ve done that before and it never ends well.

  • NavyChaps

    tODD @46,

    Before you go quoting ship numbers you may want to find out what is considered a surface combatant. Presently we have 122. In 1916 we had 176. Auxiliaries, submarines, Amphibs and minesweepers don’t count because they cannot be used for control of the sea lanes. The other VERY serious problem is the scheduled decommissioning of our current capable surface ships and the projected building of far less capable ships (the LCS). We need to build ships.

    Tom @ 41,

    It has absolutely NOTHING to do with Virginia – the ships that would get built are not built in VA! It has EVERYTHING to do with capability. To think otherwise is to ignore the requirements established by CNO, SECNAV and SECDEF. Period.

    One more thing. Anyone who thinks that battleships are obsolete knows nothing about sea warfare. The USMC would dearly love a ship in our inventory that could provide that level of gunfire support. Sadly the biggest thing we have is a 5 inch.

    Yes, our ships are more capable now. But we also have a vastly increased requirements around the world which actually require ships to be on station.

    I’m not saying that we need a 600 ship Navy. But we certainly need at least the 330ish that the USN leadership has said we do.

    But rather than build a Navy capable of accomplishing the requirements that are levied upon it, we build a Navy based on the cost and ignore the (ever increasing) requirements with the ever popular phrase “Do more with less.” We’ve done that before and it never ends well.

  • Joe

    tODD re: NPR. Their analysis of bayonets was useless. They offered nothing but the statement that the Army no longer trains all recruits on bayonets and that the last U.S. Army bayonet charge in battle was in Korea. NPR said nothing about how many bayonets the Army actually has, which is what Obama asserted — less bayonets than at some unspecified time in history (can we assume 1916 for that?).

    I like trivia too. So does anyone actually know if we have less bayonets in our Army today or not? My hunch is that we have more today. The Army has two models of bayonot in service the M-9 and the M-7 and if I know my Army they probably have about a million of each sitting around at various bases and reserve training centers.

    Btw — bayonet training was the second most fun part of Basic Training.

  • Joe

    tODD re: NPR. Their analysis of bayonets was useless. They offered nothing but the statement that the Army no longer trains all recruits on bayonets and that the last U.S. Army bayonet charge in battle was in Korea. NPR said nothing about how many bayonets the Army actually has, which is what Obama asserted — less bayonets than at some unspecified time in history (can we assume 1916 for that?).

    I like trivia too. So does anyone actually know if we have less bayonets in our Army today or not? My hunch is that we have more today. The Army has two models of bayonot in service the M-9 and the M-7 and if I know my Army they probably have about a million of each sitting around at various bases and reserve training centers.

    Btw — bayonet training was the second most fun part of Basic Training.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I’m an employee of the Army but I do think Romney has something of a valid point, particularly concerning the Navy.

    The Navy is the chief element of our power to discourage war. It is the Navy that keeps China from conquering Asia, or Iran from conquering the Persian Gulf. Unfortunately our naval power is waning and our ability to defend our ships is at risk.

    Without a strong Navy we encourage more wars and more civilian deaths. We’ve stretched our Navy so thin that it is less capable of keeping the peace.

    I think a long-term view would freeze Army and Air Force funding while rebuilding our Navy to 400-450 ships.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I’m an employee of the Army but I do think Romney has something of a valid point, particularly concerning the Navy.

    The Navy is the chief element of our power to discourage war. It is the Navy that keeps China from conquering Asia, or Iran from conquering the Persian Gulf. Unfortunately our naval power is waning and our ability to defend our ships is at risk.

    Without a strong Navy we encourage more wars and more civilian deaths. We’ve stretched our Navy so thin that it is less capable of keeping the peace.

    I think a long-term view would freeze Army and Air Force funding while rebuilding our Navy to 400-450 ships.

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    I wasn’t claiming that horses were greater in number in today’s military than in 1916. Even at the height of their use in the Afghan war, I’m sure that we had fewer warhorses than in 1916. I was merely claiming that they are not obsolete (which is what Obama suggested)

    Also, I’m pretty sure that NAVAL warhorses are about the same (i.e. about zero). Remember that they were talking about the size of the Navy when Obama started talking down his nose to Romney about horses and bayonets.

    As for the bayonets. Today’s bayonets are not the special purpose attachments of the 19th century. They weren’t that even in 1916. They are, and were, essentially combat knives. Rifles are designed to allow those knives to be attached to the end of the barrel.

    Now, once we recognize this, it’s reasonable to assume that bayonets exist at about the rate of 1 per rifle, and rifles exist at about the rate of 1 per infantryman. That works out to about 1 bayonet per infantryman. There are more infantryman today than in 1916, hence more bayonets (though, in fairness, we were at the beginning of a massive buildup at that time, so we may assume that there were more infantrymen, rifles and bayonets shortly after 1916).

    I also stick to my claim that the bayonets of today are better than those of 1916.

    Going back to the horses, there’s another blunder in Obama’s remarks. Horses and wagons have largely been replaced by mechanized vehicles like Humvees, trucks, Bradleys, tanks and so on. But we still have need of conveyance for men and material overland.

    To keep our sea-lanes safe, and to project power from sea to land, we have need of some sort or sorts of sea-going weapons platforms. I’ve usually used the word “warship” to refer to such a platform. I think common usage follows my practice.

    Was Obama suggesting that, just as the warhorse has largely been replaced by mechanized counterparts, warships have now been replaced by…something else. What exactly was it that replaced the warships?

    Or was he imagining that Romney was lamenting the shortage of square-riggers, and noting that mechanized counterparts have replaced the old wind-powered warships?

    (If that’s it, Obama must give up forever his argument that Romney doesn’t like wind-power.)

    And what was the point of his discussion of aircraft carriers and submarines (like Romney, I’d never heard of those before last night…that Obama is soooo scary smart)? He seemed to be saying we don’t need as many ships now because we have lots of …ships.

    Was he suggesting that because our ships are so much better that it’s OK for us to have fewer now than in, say, 2004 (or any year between 1916 and now)?

    Now I’m the first one to praise to the sky the ingenuity and know-how of America’s weapons designers. They are second-to-none in the history of this world. But as far as I know, they have not yet designed a warship that can be in two places at the same time. Though if anyone could pull that off, well, it would be He who makes the waters recede. Be that as it may, no matter how capable a new ship is, it is, owing to its mono-locatedness, less capable than two ships, even if those ships are individually a little less capable.

    Though, of course, we’re actually not comparing more capable to less capable ships. We’re talking about the same ships with the same capabilities. Sequestration will require some ships that we already have to be retired and not replaced.

    This goes even for those newfangled aircraft carriers and submarines Obama was teaching me and Romney about.

    And OK, let’s blame Clinton and both Bush’s for the draw-down. I certainly did at the time. We probably needed some draw-down, just because some types of ships, like main-line battleships, have become obsolete. But it’s been too severe. And we haven’t replaced what we’ve retired at a rate that gives us the coverage of the world’s oceans that we need.

    Still, the solution to that is not to draw down further via sequestration (Obama’s plan). It’s to keep and modernize what we’ve got, replacing worn-out and obsolete models, and to build more (Romney’s plan).

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    I wasn’t claiming that horses were greater in number in today’s military than in 1916. Even at the height of their use in the Afghan war, I’m sure that we had fewer warhorses than in 1916. I was merely claiming that they are not obsolete (which is what Obama suggested)

    Also, I’m pretty sure that NAVAL warhorses are about the same (i.e. about zero). Remember that they were talking about the size of the Navy when Obama started talking down his nose to Romney about horses and bayonets.

    As for the bayonets. Today’s bayonets are not the special purpose attachments of the 19th century. They weren’t that even in 1916. They are, and were, essentially combat knives. Rifles are designed to allow those knives to be attached to the end of the barrel.

    Now, once we recognize this, it’s reasonable to assume that bayonets exist at about the rate of 1 per rifle, and rifles exist at about the rate of 1 per infantryman. That works out to about 1 bayonet per infantryman. There are more infantryman today than in 1916, hence more bayonets (though, in fairness, we were at the beginning of a massive buildup at that time, so we may assume that there were more infantrymen, rifles and bayonets shortly after 1916).

    I also stick to my claim that the bayonets of today are better than those of 1916.

    Going back to the horses, there’s another blunder in Obama’s remarks. Horses and wagons have largely been replaced by mechanized vehicles like Humvees, trucks, Bradleys, tanks and so on. But we still have need of conveyance for men and material overland.

    To keep our sea-lanes safe, and to project power from sea to land, we have need of some sort or sorts of sea-going weapons platforms. I’ve usually used the word “warship” to refer to such a platform. I think common usage follows my practice.

    Was Obama suggesting that, just as the warhorse has largely been replaced by mechanized counterparts, warships have now been replaced by…something else. What exactly was it that replaced the warships?

    Or was he imagining that Romney was lamenting the shortage of square-riggers, and noting that mechanized counterparts have replaced the old wind-powered warships?

    (If that’s it, Obama must give up forever his argument that Romney doesn’t like wind-power.)

    And what was the point of his discussion of aircraft carriers and submarines (like Romney, I’d never heard of those before last night…that Obama is soooo scary smart)? He seemed to be saying we don’t need as many ships now because we have lots of …ships.

    Was he suggesting that because our ships are so much better that it’s OK for us to have fewer now than in, say, 2004 (or any year between 1916 and now)?

    Now I’m the first one to praise to the sky the ingenuity and know-how of America’s weapons designers. They are second-to-none in the history of this world. But as far as I know, they have not yet designed a warship that can be in two places at the same time. Though if anyone could pull that off, well, it would be He who makes the waters recede. Be that as it may, no matter how capable a new ship is, it is, owing to its mono-locatedness, less capable than two ships, even if those ships are individually a little less capable.

    Though, of course, we’re actually not comparing more capable to less capable ships. We’re talking about the same ships with the same capabilities. Sequestration will require some ships that we already have to be retired and not replaced.

    This goes even for those newfangled aircraft carriers and submarines Obama was teaching me and Romney about.

    And OK, let’s blame Clinton and both Bush’s for the draw-down. I certainly did at the time. We probably needed some draw-down, just because some types of ships, like main-line battleships, have become obsolete. But it’s been too severe. And we haven’t replaced what we’ve retired at a rate that gives us the coverage of the world’s oceans that we need.

    Still, the solution to that is not to draw down further via sequestration (Obama’s plan). It’s to keep and modernize what we’ve got, replacing worn-out and obsolete models, and to build more (Romney’s plan).

  • Joe

    here is the number if anyone cares:

    “The Army said today it has 419,155 bayonets in its inventory. The Marine Corps has another 195,334 bayonets that it bought in 2004 …”

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/how-many-bayonets-does-the-u-s-have-quite-a-few/

  • Joe

    here is the number if anyone cares:

    “The Army said today it has 419,155 bayonets in its inventory. The Marine Corps has another 195,334 bayonets that it bought in 2004 …”

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/how-many-bayonets-does-the-u-s-have-quite-a-few/

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    Just to clear up one more point I don’t think I was sufficiently clear on. Even if we use your numbers on the ships Todd (something that other posters have suggested are wrong) Romney claimed that we now have the fewest ships since 1916.

    The fact that we had fewer in 1916 is not only consistent with Romney’s claim, but implied by it.

    Romney’s point was that if you go to 1917, or any year thereafter to the present, you’ll find more warships in the U.S. fleet. You have to go all the way back to 1916 to find a smaller fleet.

    This is also a point that the Enlightened One did not seem to get. He seemed to think that Romney was saying we have fewer ships than in 1916.

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    Just to clear up one more point I don’t think I was sufficiently clear on. Even if we use your numbers on the ships Todd (something that other posters have suggested are wrong) Romney claimed that we now have the fewest ships since 1916.

    The fact that we had fewer in 1916 is not only consistent with Romney’s claim, but implied by it.

    Romney’s point was that if you go to 1917, or any year thereafter to the present, you’ll find more warships in the U.S. fleet. You have to go all the way back to 1916 to find a smaller fleet.

    This is also a point that the Enlightened One did not seem to get. He seemed to think that Romney was saying we have fewer ships than in 1916.

  • Linndale

    Before the end of the cold war the Navy had over
    600 ships. We need to grow the numbers again if we
    plan protect those who seek our help.

  • Linndale

    Before the end of the cold war the Navy had over
    600 ships. We need to grow the numbers again if we
    plan protect those who seek our help.

  • NavyChaps

    There was a huge build up through 1917 as we entered WWI with an increase of nearly 100 overall. Most of the total ships built were auxiliaries (which means troop transports) and gunboats to defend our shores from German subs (though not very capable, they could be built very quickly). The total number of surface combatants in 1917 was 160 — which is substantially larger than today.

    WisdomLover has it right — the Governor understands that our Navy is smaller now than before WWI when we were not really a superpower and didn’t have as many requirements around the world. But frankly it doesn’t matter what the total numbers are — now or then — the question is always whether we have the capability to accomplish the all missions that we are assigned. In 2010 we only fulfilled 53% of Combatant Commander requirements. To me, that’s a failing grade. But our ships can’t be in two places at once. So regardless, given CURRENT requirements we have insufficient shipping of all types. The Governor’s point is that the President’s plan makes this worse.

    But as I continue to think about this, the underlying question isn’t what size the Navy should be, but how it will be employed. If you assume that the U.S. Navy is necessary to maintain the sea lanes, then we need more ships. If you assume that the visible presence of the U.S. Navy is a strategic deterrent, then we need more ships. If you believe that one of our nation’s most critical crisis response assets is a fully capable Marine Expeditionary Unit with supporting surface combatants, then we definitely need more ships.

    But if those things are unimportant in your worldview – then fewer ships is no big deal. If having a smaller world footprint is your goal (regardless of the destabilizing consequences or unfulfilled mission requirements), then fewer ships is no big deal.

    We’re ready to sail into harm’s way. But don’t come complaining when we don’t have assets to do what you “suddenly” discover that you want the Navy-Marine Corps team to do.

  • NavyChaps

    There was a huge build up through 1917 as we entered WWI with an increase of nearly 100 overall. Most of the total ships built were auxiliaries (which means troop transports) and gunboats to defend our shores from German subs (though not very capable, they could be built very quickly). The total number of surface combatants in 1917 was 160 — which is substantially larger than today.

    WisdomLover has it right — the Governor understands that our Navy is smaller now than before WWI when we were not really a superpower and didn’t have as many requirements around the world. But frankly it doesn’t matter what the total numbers are — now or then — the question is always whether we have the capability to accomplish the all missions that we are assigned. In 2010 we only fulfilled 53% of Combatant Commander requirements. To me, that’s a failing grade. But our ships can’t be in two places at once. So regardless, given CURRENT requirements we have insufficient shipping of all types. The Governor’s point is that the President’s plan makes this worse.

    But as I continue to think about this, the underlying question isn’t what size the Navy should be, but how it will be employed. If you assume that the U.S. Navy is necessary to maintain the sea lanes, then we need more ships. If you assume that the visible presence of the U.S. Navy is a strategic deterrent, then we need more ships. If you believe that one of our nation’s most critical crisis response assets is a fully capable Marine Expeditionary Unit with supporting surface combatants, then we definitely need more ships.

    But if those things are unimportant in your worldview – then fewer ships is no big deal. If having a smaller world footprint is your goal (regardless of the destabilizing consequences or unfulfilled mission requirements), then fewer ships is no big deal.

    We’re ready to sail into harm’s way. But don’t come complaining when we don’t have assets to do what you “suddenly” discover that you want the Navy-Marine Corps team to do.

  • shell

    WisdomLover@54 and others who suggest that there is no room in the navy for horses must have never seen Water Horse: Legend of the Deep. Surely the president’s comments are meant to get us off the trail of the navy’s version of Area 51 with its Water Horse Cavalry.

  • shell

    WisdomLover@54 and others who suggest that there is no room in the navy for horses must have never seen Water Horse: Legend of the Deep. Surely the president’s comments are meant to get us off the trail of the navy’s version of Area 51 with its Water Horse Cavalry.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Okay, one slight mistake on my part. Romney actually said, “our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917″. For some reason, it was Obama who mentioned 1916 in his reply, saying, “we have fewer ships than we did in 1916″. This kind of matters, because (again, according to the Navy site I linked to earlier) in December 1916, there were 245 active ships, while there were 342 active ships in April 1917. And, again, there were 285 active ships in September 2011. So yes, there were fewer total active ships in 2011 than in 1917.

    Two points. The first is that 1917 saw us enter World War I. Which, you know, was slightly more of a time for naval warfare than today (Lusitania, anyone?) with vastly more active troops fighting wars than now — by an order of magnitude or two. There is also slightly more reliance on air power now compared to then. So it’s not, as such, unreasonable that we had more active Navy ships in 1917 than today.

    But, more to the point, Romney is wrong. We had fewer active Navy ships than 2011 and 1917 in the following years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005. Q: Hey, who was President then? A: Republicans don’t remember anymore, but you’re not allowed to mention his name.

    DonS said (@47):

    I read somewhere that the Marines currently have some 500,000 bayonets in their armories, which is considerably more than they had in 1916, when the U.S. military only had some 150,000 men under arms.

    And a friend of a friend of mine says you’re wrong. Look, if we’re going to fact-check detailed minutia, that sort of claim won’t fly. Citation or it didn’t happen.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Okay, one slight mistake on my part. Romney actually said, “our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917″. For some reason, it was Obama who mentioned 1916 in his reply, saying, “we have fewer ships than we did in 1916″. This kind of matters, because (again, according to the Navy site I linked to earlier) in December 1916, there were 245 active ships, while there were 342 active ships in April 1917. And, again, there were 285 active ships in September 2011. So yes, there were fewer total active ships in 2011 than in 1917.

    Two points. The first is that 1917 saw us enter World War I. Which, you know, was slightly more of a time for naval warfare than today (Lusitania, anyone?) with vastly more active troops fighting wars than now — by an order of magnitude or two. There is also slightly more reliance on air power now compared to then. So it’s not, as such, unreasonable that we had more active Navy ships in 1917 than today.

    But, more to the point, Romney is wrong. We had fewer active Navy ships than 2011 and 1917 in the following years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005. Q: Hey, who was President then? A: Republicans don’t remember anymore, but you’re not allowed to mention his name.

    DonS said (@47):

    I read somewhere that the Marines currently have some 500,000 bayonets in their armories, which is considerably more than they had in 1916, when the U.S. military only had some 150,000 men under arms.

    And a friend of a friend of mine says you’re wrong. Look, if we’re going to fact-check detailed minutia, that sort of claim won’t fly. Citation or it didn’t happen.

  • fjsteve

    And all this discussion about a statement that really wasn’t the main thrust of the point. That point being that we have fewer ships that the Navy thinks we need. Romney flubbed the statistics a bit to drive home the point and now everyone’s gotten off on the statistics and forgotten the point.

  • fjsteve

    And all this discussion about a statement that really wasn’t the main thrust of the point. That point being that we have fewer ships that the Navy thinks we need. Romney flubbed the statistics a bit to drive home the point and now everyone’s gotten off on the statistics and forgotten the point.

  • dust

    tODD, you said….

    “Okay, one slight mistake on my part.”

    yeah, but you are the guy who loves trivia, eh….you have to walk the talk :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    tODD, you said….

    “Okay, one slight mistake on my part.”

    yeah, but you are the guy who loves trivia, eh….you have to walk the talk :)

    cheers!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    NavyChaps said (@49):

    Before you go quoting ship numbers you may want to find out what is considered a surface combatant. Presently we have 122.

    Um, no. Are you aware of the context of this discussion? Romney said:

    The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now down to 285.

    Do you see anything in there about “surface combatants”? Did you notice that Romney’s number of “285″ exactly equals the datum for September 2011 on the Navy website I linked to?

    Joe (@50), if someone has actual data on actual usage (as differentiated from storage) of bayonets, by all means, let’s clear up this trivia point once and for all. But I’m not going to be impressed by (so far unsourced guesswork about) some number of bayonets sitting around in a warehouse somewhere. The context of Obama’s statement makes it clear that he’s talking about things that are actually used by the military. I mean, heck, we also still have mustard gas and sarin sitting around in storage somewhere (though, yes, a lot less than we used to), but no one’s arguing they’re part of our modern military approach.

    SAL (@51) said:

    The Navy is the chief element of our power to discourage war. It is the Navy that keeps China from conquering Asia, or Iran from conquering the Persian Gulf.

    Those are, of course, largely unfalsifiable claims, if also mildly ridiculous. I’m guessing that, were China even so inclined to “conquer Asia”, much less to try something, they’d be tasting hot death a lot more from airplanes than naval ships — as has been the case in every recent military action. And yes, while the Navy does have aircraft, please note that that’s not what Romney mentioned here. We’re talking naval ships. Also, if you’re going to reply about aircraft carriers, please note that the number of them in the US Navy has remained nearly constant for almost 40 years now.

    SAL also said:

    I think a long-term view would freeze Army and Air Force funding while rebuilding our Navy to 400-450 ships.

    I love the people who request more ships than the Navy itself does. Because obviously you know better.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    NavyChaps said (@49):

    Before you go quoting ship numbers you may want to find out what is considered a surface combatant. Presently we have 122.

    Um, no. Are you aware of the context of this discussion? Romney said:

    The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now down to 285.

    Do you see anything in there about “surface combatants”? Did you notice that Romney’s number of “285″ exactly equals the datum for September 2011 on the Navy website I linked to?

    Joe (@50), if someone has actual data on actual usage (as differentiated from storage) of bayonets, by all means, let’s clear up this trivia point once and for all. But I’m not going to be impressed by (so far unsourced guesswork about) some number of bayonets sitting around in a warehouse somewhere. The context of Obama’s statement makes it clear that he’s talking about things that are actually used by the military. I mean, heck, we also still have mustard gas and sarin sitting around in storage somewhere (though, yes, a lot less than we used to), but no one’s arguing they’re part of our modern military approach.

    SAL (@51) said:

    The Navy is the chief element of our power to discourage war. It is the Navy that keeps China from conquering Asia, or Iran from conquering the Persian Gulf.

    Those are, of course, largely unfalsifiable claims, if also mildly ridiculous. I’m guessing that, were China even so inclined to “conquer Asia”, much less to try something, they’d be tasting hot death a lot more from airplanes than naval ships — as has been the case in every recent military action. And yes, while the Navy does have aircraft, please note that that’s not what Romney mentioned here. We’re talking naval ships. Also, if you’re going to reply about aircraft carriers, please note that the number of them in the US Navy has remained nearly constant for almost 40 years now.

    SAL also said:

    I think a long-term view would freeze Army and Air Force funding while rebuilding our Navy to 400-450 ships.

    I love the people who request more ships than the Navy itself does. Because obviously you know better.

  • dust

    tODD….those requests from the Navy are somewhat political, as they do not want to go against the wishes of the Commander in Chief, whomever they are at the present….

    but when we get a new Commander in Chief, with their own ideas of how our defenses should be organized, the Navy brass will jump as high as they ask…that’s how it works in our system with a civilian CIC..it’s worked pretty well that way since before 1917 :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    tODD….those requests from the Navy are somewhat political, as they do not want to go against the wishes of the Commander in Chief, whomever they are at the present….

    but when we get a new Commander in Chief, with their own ideas of how our defenses should be organized, the Navy brass will jump as high as they ask…that’s how it works in our system with a civilian CIC..it’s worked pretty well that way since before 1917 :)

    cheers!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    WisdomLover (@52) said:

    I was merely claiming that they are not obsolete (which is what Obama suggested)

    You’re engaging a straw man there. What Obama actually said was that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets — because the nature of our military’s changed.” Fewer. And it’s true. Duh.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that NAVAL warhorses are about the same (i.e. about zero).

    Again, you really should read Obama’s actual statement in context. Note how he referred to “horses and bayonets” not in the context of the Navy, but in the broadened context of “our military”. Are you just trying to misconstrue his words to make Romney look better? Because that’s how it seems.

    You also asked:

    And what was the point of his discussion of aircraft carriers and submarines…

    But, honestly, you answered your own question when you said, a bit later:

    We probably needed some draw-down, just because some types of ships, like main-line battleships, have become obsolete.

    Hey presto! You sound like Obama now! Honestly, has no one else noticed that when we take military action of late, it tends to involve lots of aircraft? At best, this is an argument for more carriers.

    But if you think we need more destroyers, then please note that we have 32% more now than we did in 2005. I can’t help but notice that most Republicans were not so vociferous about Navy numbers back when WhatsHisName was in power. I can’t help but wonder if most of what I’m really hearing is stereotypical (but inaccurate) carping about Republicans Good For Military, Democrats Weak and Ineffective. Because, again, things have actually improved during Obama’s tenure, not worsened.

    Also, anyone? Does the President pass the military budget? Hello?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    WisdomLover (@52) said:

    I was merely claiming that they are not obsolete (which is what Obama suggested)

    You’re engaging a straw man there. What Obama actually said was that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets — because the nature of our military’s changed.” Fewer. And it’s true. Duh.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that NAVAL warhorses are about the same (i.e. about zero).

    Again, you really should read Obama’s actual statement in context. Note how he referred to “horses and bayonets” not in the context of the Navy, but in the broadened context of “our military”. Are you just trying to misconstrue his words to make Romney look better? Because that’s how it seems.

    You also asked:

    And what was the point of his discussion of aircraft carriers and submarines…

    But, honestly, you answered your own question when you said, a bit later:

    We probably needed some draw-down, just because some types of ships, like main-line battleships, have become obsolete.

    Hey presto! You sound like Obama now! Honestly, has no one else noticed that when we take military action of late, it tends to involve lots of aircraft? At best, this is an argument for more carriers.

    But if you think we need more destroyers, then please note that we have 32% more now than we did in 2005. I can’t help but notice that most Republicans were not so vociferous about Navy numbers back when WhatsHisName was in power. I can’t help but wonder if most of what I’m really hearing is stereotypical (but inaccurate) carping about Republicans Good For Military, Democrats Weak and Ineffective. Because, again, things have actually improved during Obama’s tenure, not worsened.

    Also, anyone? Does the President pass the military budget? Hello?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Joe (@53), thanks for the link (I’m replying as I’m reading through; perhaps I shouldn’t be), but the article you linked to does get to the point I was trying to make (@61):

    A Marine official says it’s not accurate to add the two totals together as the new ones will include replacements for ones already in service as well as additional stocks.
    Bayonets are standard issue for Marines deployed to combat areas, though they don’t necessarily carry them with them when they’re on patrol. Several soldiers who spoke to ABC News said that deploying with bayonets to Iraq and Afghanistan varied from unit to unit. While not a requirement one soldier said they were available if needed. However, a 2011 Stars and Stripes article quoted a former Army official as saying bayonets had not been issued to soldiers deploying in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010 the Army dropped bayonet training for its recruits in basic training.

    So let’s see. We’re not issuing them (maybe?) to our troops fighting our current wars. And we’re no longer training our recruits to use them. So, while we might possess them, one does have to ask: in what sense are they actually part of today’s military? It would seem, at the very least, that the answer is: to a lesser degree than is implied by the number on an inventory list.

    WisdomLover (@54), again, the whole of your point is negated by the fact that we had fewer active Navy ships from 2005-2008 than we do today. So, again, Romney was wrong.

    NavyChaps (@56), if you insist on pursuing this “surface combatants” line (which, again, was not the number Romney referred to), please note that, according to the Navy, we had fewer surface warships than today in: 1921, 1931, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Joe (@53), thanks for the link (I’m replying as I’m reading through; perhaps I shouldn’t be), but the article you linked to does get to the point I was trying to make (@61):

    A Marine official says it’s not accurate to add the two totals together as the new ones will include replacements for ones already in service as well as additional stocks.
    Bayonets are standard issue for Marines deployed to combat areas, though they don’t necessarily carry them with them when they’re on patrol. Several soldiers who spoke to ABC News said that deploying with bayonets to Iraq and Afghanistan varied from unit to unit. While not a requirement one soldier said they were available if needed. However, a 2011 Stars and Stripes article quoted a former Army official as saying bayonets had not been issued to soldiers deploying in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010 the Army dropped bayonet training for its recruits in basic training.

    So let’s see. We’re not issuing them (maybe?) to our troops fighting our current wars. And we’re no longer training our recruits to use them. So, while we might possess them, one does have to ask: in what sense are they actually part of today’s military? It would seem, at the very least, that the answer is: to a lesser degree than is implied by the number on an inventory list.

    WisdomLover (@54), again, the whole of your point is negated by the fact that we had fewer active Navy ships from 2005-2008 than we do today. So, again, Romney was wrong.

    NavyChaps (@56), if you insist on pursuing this “surface combatants” line (which, again, was not the number Romney referred to), please note that, according to the Navy, we had fewer surface warships than today in: 1921, 1931, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

  • dust

    tODD…let me cut thru the minutia of your reams of trivia and detail and get to the heart of your argument with my simple paraphrase: obama good, romney bad!

    just like Tom the kitty cat :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    tODD…let me cut thru the minutia of your reams of trivia and detail and get to the heart of your argument with my simple paraphrase: obama good, romney bad!

    just like Tom the kitty cat :)

    cheers!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Dust, there’s a reason I’m not replying to you. Can you figure out what it is?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Dust, there’s a reason I’m not replying to you. Can you figure out what it is?

  • DonS

    fjsteve @ 59 is absolutely right. The minutia of the “fact checking” is beside the point. The president has always been on thin ice with the military, for good reason, and his snark, especially the unnecessary bit about the aircraft carriers and submarines, where he treated Romney like a 6 year old, lost the debate for him.

    So I hope his supporters all enjoyed the laughs.

  • DonS

    fjsteve @ 59 is absolutely right. The minutia of the “fact checking” is beside the point. The president has always been on thin ice with the military, for good reason, and his snark, especially the unnecessary bit about the aircraft carriers and submarines, where he treated Romney like a 6 year old, lost the debate for him.

    So I hope his supporters all enjoyed the laughs.

  • dust

    tODD…cuz you’re a sore loser? or maybe it’s you can dish it out but can’t take it :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    tODD…cuz you’re a sore loser? or maybe it’s you can dish it out but can’t take it :)

    cheers!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Dust (@68), no, it’s because you have little to offer except for back-biting ad hominems, served up in a passive-aggressive style.

    Please note that I’m talking to other people who have something of substance to say, even if I don’t agree with them. But as much time as I have for trivia, I still have better things than to waste my time with your leavings.

    “cheers! :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Dust (@68), no, it’s because you have little to offer except for back-biting ad hominems, served up in a passive-aggressive style.

    Please note that I’m talking to other people who have something of substance to say, even if I don’t agree with them. But as much time as I have for trivia, I still have better things than to waste my time with your leavings.

    “cheers! :)

  • dust

    tODD…see, told you :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    tODD…see, told you :)

    cheers!

  • kerner

    I don’t know if anyone really cares about this, but my anecdotal experience with military people deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan is that they buy their own combat and/or utility knives. Many take several knives with them on a deployment. Nobody issues you a ka-bar (or gerber, or SOG or CRKT or benchmade). You pick them up on amazon. Or here:
    http://www.uscav.com/category.aspx?catid=2661&tabid=548&cm_mmc=bing-_-Knives-_-Broad-_-military%20knives

    And there are many different models of varying quality and cost, and military guys have spirited debates over who makes the best and most useful ones. So forget all your statistics about how many bayonets are issued to whom. The soldiers and marines who want them (almost everyone who deploys) buy their own blades.

    I don’t suppose that sailors can buy their own ships, however. ;)

  • kerner

    I don’t know if anyone really cares about this, but my anecdotal experience with military people deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan is that they buy their own combat and/or utility knives. Many take several knives with them on a deployment. Nobody issues you a ka-bar (or gerber, or SOG or CRKT or benchmade). You pick them up on amazon. Or here:
    http://www.uscav.com/category.aspx?catid=2661&tabid=548&cm_mmc=bing-_-Knives-_-Broad-_-military%20knives

    And there are many different models of varying quality and cost, and military guys have spirited debates over who makes the best and most useful ones. So forget all your statistics about how many bayonets are issued to whom. The soldiers and marines who want them (almost everyone who deploys) buy their own blades.

    I don’t suppose that sailors can buy their own ships, however. ;)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “the heart of your argument with my simple paraphrase: obama good, romney bad!”

    Obama may propose some shift in the military expenditures, or not, but how qualified are we really to evaluate these things? Personally, I would welcome less spending and foreign entanglements, but the truth is that I don’t understand these things well enough to really know how good an idea that is. That said, as someone who wants less war and military spending, Obama appears quite hawkish to me. I feel that there are elements in the US that are creating a global empire and our military is part of it. So, less military is better. Our fear of attack is almost paranoia. Our response is overkill with a capital O. Germany had to be saved from itself. Who will save us from ourselves if it ever comes to that? Or are we inherently incorruptible?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “the heart of your argument with my simple paraphrase: obama good, romney bad!”

    Obama may propose some shift in the military expenditures, or not, but how qualified are we really to evaluate these things? Personally, I would welcome less spending and foreign entanglements, but the truth is that I don’t understand these things well enough to really know how good an idea that is. That said, as someone who wants less war and military spending, Obama appears quite hawkish to me. I feel that there are elements in the US that are creating a global empire and our military is part of it. So, less military is better. Our fear of attack is almost paranoia. Our response is overkill with a capital O. Germany had to be saved from itself. Who will save us from ourselves if it ever comes to that? Or are we inherently incorruptible?

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    The point about NAVAL horses is just this: Romney was talking about the NAVY.

    Obama’s answer to the changing nature of the military was that Romney’s complaint about not enough ships is that we have lots of ships. He spoke down his nose to Romney as if Romney didn’t know about aircraft carriers or something. And as if Romney was claiming that we didn’t have enough dreadnoughts or triremes. It was absurd and insulting.

    If Romney were actually wrong about the numbers, why didn’t Obama say as much? That’s a much more straightforward answer. It also has the advantage that he won’t lose votes by giving that answer, as he surely will from the answer he gave.

    I imagine that the reason Obama didn’t just do that is that it is not so cut and dried that Romney was mistaken. The answer to the question of precisely where the shipbuilding nadir is, and what it’s cause is, might be a bit more difficult than what you can look up on the internet in any short research time.

    Our current numbers may be higher (by a whopping 7 hulls even by your count) than in the mid 2000s thanks to ships, the construction of which started under Bush. The ships probably hit the lows they hit in the mid 2000s thanks to cuts in replacement made under Clinton. And the number of ships in service or planned may well be lower than anytime since 1916. And this may even be Obama’s fault.

    But it’s easier to make a puerile joke than to wrestle with these details.

    And in all events, the solution to this problem, for problem it is, is not sequestration.

    Obama has no solution here other than to pose and inform Romney about Aircraft Carriers and things.

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    The point about NAVAL horses is just this: Romney was talking about the NAVY.

    Obama’s answer to the changing nature of the military was that Romney’s complaint about not enough ships is that we have lots of ships. He spoke down his nose to Romney as if Romney didn’t know about aircraft carriers or something. And as if Romney was claiming that we didn’t have enough dreadnoughts or triremes. It was absurd and insulting.

    If Romney were actually wrong about the numbers, why didn’t Obama say as much? That’s a much more straightforward answer. It also has the advantage that he won’t lose votes by giving that answer, as he surely will from the answer he gave.

    I imagine that the reason Obama didn’t just do that is that it is not so cut and dried that Romney was mistaken. The answer to the question of precisely where the shipbuilding nadir is, and what it’s cause is, might be a bit more difficult than what you can look up on the internet in any short research time.

    Our current numbers may be higher (by a whopping 7 hulls even by your count) than in the mid 2000s thanks to ships, the construction of which started under Bush. The ships probably hit the lows they hit in the mid 2000s thanks to cuts in replacement made under Clinton. And the number of ships in service or planned may well be lower than anytime since 1916. And this may even be Obama’s fault.

    But it’s easier to make a puerile joke than to wrestle with these details.

    And in all events, the solution to this problem, for problem it is, is not sequestration.

    Obama has no solution here other than to pose and inform Romney about Aircraft Carriers and things.

  • WisdomLover

    “Honestly, has no one else noticed that when we take military action of late, it tends to involve lots of aircraft?”

    Of late? Really? Of late?

    It’s been like that since before Romney was born. I assure you that he knows all about the aircraft carriers, the submarines, the airplanes and all that high-falutin’ stuff. He probably even knows how to use a computer, and drive one o’ them horseless carriages.

    You can’t get around the fact that Obama is a conceited piece of work, condescending to a man of obviously much higher intellect, knowledge and character, to teach him truisms that any marginally aware adult American with an IQ higher than room temperature knows.

  • WisdomLover

    “Honestly, has no one else noticed that when we take military action of late, it tends to involve lots of aircraft?”

    Of late? Really? Of late?

    It’s been like that since before Romney was born. I assure you that he knows all about the aircraft carriers, the submarines, the airplanes and all that high-falutin’ stuff. He probably even knows how to use a computer, and drive one o’ them horseless carriages.

    You can’t get around the fact that Obama is a conceited piece of work, condescending to a man of obviously much higher intellect, knowledge and character, to teach him truisms that any marginally aware adult American with an IQ higher than room temperature knows.

  • WisdomLover

    “Also, anyone? Does the President pass the military budget? Hello?”

    Well, as it turns out, the President doesn’t pass any budget. Of course not, Congress does that.

    If you think that’s of vital importance, Todd, you might want to think about it next time you use the term “Reagan deficit” or “Bush deficit” or “Clinton surplus”. I personally don’t think it’s of great importance, Reagan and Bush have to take at least some blame for the deficits run under their watch. Clinton gets at least some credit for the surplus that marked the final year of his Presidency. (No one, of course, is ever wholly responsible for anything.)

    But more damning, Obama also doesn’t he see to it that budgets get passed.

    In fact, He generally sees to it that budgets do not get passed.

    Even when his party had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a majority in the filibuster-free House, and Obama was still walking on water no budget got passed.

    The two-times his budgets proposals got voted on, they went down in flames. No Democrat even voted for them. And it’s not like he really ever wanted them to pass. The result is that we keep using continuing resolutions to extend year-after-year Bush’s final Trillion dollar+ deficit that was supposed to be a one-year emergency stopgap.

    Obama does however, propose stuff like sequestration to deal with the budget crisis that he created. This will force massive drawdowns, when we need to be improving the military.

  • WisdomLover

    “Also, anyone? Does the President pass the military budget? Hello?”

    Well, as it turns out, the President doesn’t pass any budget. Of course not, Congress does that.

    If you think that’s of vital importance, Todd, you might want to think about it next time you use the term “Reagan deficit” or “Bush deficit” or “Clinton surplus”. I personally don’t think it’s of great importance, Reagan and Bush have to take at least some blame for the deficits run under their watch. Clinton gets at least some credit for the surplus that marked the final year of his Presidency. (No one, of course, is ever wholly responsible for anything.)

    But more damning, Obama also doesn’t he see to it that budgets get passed.

    In fact, He generally sees to it that budgets do not get passed.

    Even when his party had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a majority in the filibuster-free House, and Obama was still walking on water no budget got passed.

    The two-times his budgets proposals got voted on, they went down in flames. No Democrat even voted for them. And it’s not like he really ever wanted them to pass. The result is that we keep using continuing resolutions to extend year-after-year Bush’s final Trillion dollar+ deficit that was supposed to be a one-year emergency stopgap.

    Obama does however, propose stuff like sequestration to deal with the budget crisis that he created. This will force massive drawdowns, when we need to be improving the military.

  • WisdomLover

    One other point Todd, on the straw man (sorry about taking them out of order).

    You said:

    What Obama actually said was that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets — because the nature of our military’s changed.” Fewer. And it’s true.

    But he wasn’t just saying “Fewer”. If that were all he were saying then it would be true, just as you say, but it’s not, so it isn’t.

    Obama’s larger point was that the military changes with the advance of technology so that we don’t need horses or bayonets. And that’s why we have fewer of them. He was not merely providing Romney another data point about weapons we now have fewer of. He was saying that horses and bayonets are obsolete.

    Now, he’s completely wrong about bayonets. We have more, and they are not obsolete. He’s also wrong about the obsolescence of horses. Though I’m sure he’s correct about the prevalence of horses outside of the navy.

  • WisdomLover

    One other point Todd, on the straw man (sorry about taking them out of order).

    You said:

    What Obama actually said was that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets — because the nature of our military’s changed.” Fewer. And it’s true.

    But he wasn’t just saying “Fewer”. If that were all he were saying then it would be true, just as you say, but it’s not, so it isn’t.

    Obama’s larger point was that the military changes with the advance of technology so that we don’t need horses or bayonets. And that’s why we have fewer of them. He was not merely providing Romney another data point about weapons we now have fewer of. He was saying that horses and bayonets are obsolete.

    Now, he’s completely wrong about bayonets. We have more, and they are not obsolete. He’s also wrong about the obsolescence of horses. Though I’m sure he’s correct about the prevalence of horses outside of the navy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WisdomLover (@73) said:

    If Romney were actually wrong about the numbers, why didn’t Obama say as much?

    Oh good grief. Are you kidding me? Do you honestly expect that the candidates have every factoid possible memorized? Do you think Obama did (or, heck, should) have the number of active naval ships memorized for every year since 1900 or something? Criminy.

    Romney wouldn’t have known the number for 1917 except that he clearly memorized it as an attack point in preparation for the debate. Is it not obvious to you that the candidates aren’t so much thinking in these debates as reciting talking points? Sure, Obama’s team must have prepped him with replies to whatever they assumed Romney’s attacks would have been, but — honestly, you expect Obama to have that sort of thing memorized?

    Anyhow, you’ll forgive me if I completely ignore the prognostications of partisans as to how many votes Obama will “lose” based on this or that phrase that he uttered. Because it’s mainly undecided people watching the debates, and not merely partisans watching a sporting event. And in spite of it being a near-constant talking point from right-wingers since 2008 that Obama is arrogant, the undecided public will nonetheless be completely shocked to see him attempting to paint his non-incumbent opponent as not knowing what he’s talking about.

    Our current numbers may be higher (by a whopping 7 hulls even by your count) than in the mid 2000s thanks to ships, the construction of which started under Bush. The ships probably hit the lows they hit in the mid 2000s thanks to cuts in replacement made under Clinton.

    Oh sure, that is a possible scenario. But do you care to substantiate this assumption of yours, or is it merely enough for you to come up with a scenario that makes Your Team look good, and we should all just go with that?

    For instance, given Bush’s two terms, while a lag like that might make sense if we were solely talking carriers (we’re not; we’ve had 11 active since 2007 and 12 before that all the way back to 1994), it doesn’t seem to pencil out for the smaller ships that comprise most of the 285 active ships we’re talking about.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WisdomLover (@73) said:

    If Romney were actually wrong about the numbers, why didn’t Obama say as much?

    Oh good grief. Are you kidding me? Do you honestly expect that the candidates have every factoid possible memorized? Do you think Obama did (or, heck, should) have the number of active naval ships memorized for every year since 1900 or something? Criminy.

    Romney wouldn’t have known the number for 1917 except that he clearly memorized it as an attack point in preparation for the debate. Is it not obvious to you that the candidates aren’t so much thinking in these debates as reciting talking points? Sure, Obama’s team must have prepped him with replies to whatever they assumed Romney’s attacks would have been, but — honestly, you expect Obama to have that sort of thing memorized?

    Anyhow, you’ll forgive me if I completely ignore the prognostications of partisans as to how many votes Obama will “lose” based on this or that phrase that he uttered. Because it’s mainly undecided people watching the debates, and not merely partisans watching a sporting event. And in spite of it being a near-constant talking point from right-wingers since 2008 that Obama is arrogant, the undecided public will nonetheless be completely shocked to see him attempting to paint his non-incumbent opponent as not knowing what he’s talking about.

    Our current numbers may be higher (by a whopping 7 hulls even by your count) than in the mid 2000s thanks to ships, the construction of which started under Bush. The ships probably hit the lows they hit in the mid 2000s thanks to cuts in replacement made under Clinton.

    Oh sure, that is a possible scenario. But do you care to substantiate this assumption of yours, or is it merely enough for you to come up with a scenario that makes Your Team look good, and we should all just go with that?

    For instance, given Bush’s two terms, while a lag like that might make sense if we were solely talking carriers (we’re not; we’ve had 11 active since 2007 and 12 before that all the way back to 1994), it doesn’t seem to pencil out for the smaller ships that comprise most of the 285 active ships we’re talking about.

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    Mea culpa, I have no idea what this means:

    Obama’s answer to the changing nature of the military was that Romney’s complaint about not enough ships is that we have lots of ships.

    I think what I was trying to say was thatRomney complained about there not being enough ships.
    Obama said Romney didn’t understand the changing nature of the military.
    Apart form horses and bayonets, he supported this by pointing out that we have a lot of ships that you can land airplanes on and that go underwater. So we don’t need all the ships Romney thinks we need.

    I will repeat my contention that the point Obama makes here is incoherent. I will do so by saying that I needn’t bother repeating my contention that Obama’s point is incoherent.

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    Mea culpa, I have no idea what this means:

    Obama’s answer to the changing nature of the military was that Romney’s complaint about not enough ships is that we have lots of ships.

    I think what I was trying to say was thatRomney complained about there not being enough ships.
    Obama said Romney didn’t understand the changing nature of the military.
    Apart form horses and bayonets, he supported this by pointing out that we have a lot of ships that you can land airplanes on and that go underwater. So we don’t need all the ships Romney thinks we need.

    I will repeat my contention that the point Obama makes here is incoherent. I will do so by saying that I needn’t bother repeating my contention that Obama’s point is incoherent.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You also said (@74):

    Of late? Really? Of late?

    Yes, welcome to understatement.

    Well, as it turns out, the President doesn’t pass any budget. Of course not, Congress does that.

    You wouldn’t know it from the way the would-be defenders of our Constitution have been talking lately.

    If you think that’s of vital importance, Todd, you might want to think about it next time you use the term “Reagan deficit” or “Bush deficit” or “Clinton surplus”.

    Oh hello, Straw Man! It’s been, what, hours since I last saw you! … Because, yeah, I use those terms a lot.

    The two-times his budgets proposals got voted on, they went down in flames. No Democrat even voted for them.

    This is your irrelevant tangent, not mine, but you can’t be that naive. Come on. Did you just take a look at the final tally and assume that even Democrats don’t support Obama? Or did you bother to read any contemporary statements from people about that vote?

    It looks to me like you’re doing your darnedest to blame Obama for everything, no matter if it’s relevant or true.

    As to your final point (@76), it completely rests on my trusting the suggestions you read into Obama’s words, rather than actually reading Obama’s words. You’ll forgive me if I’m gonna take a pass on your clairvoyance, won’t you?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You also said (@74):

    Of late? Really? Of late?

    Yes, welcome to understatement.

    Well, as it turns out, the President doesn’t pass any budget. Of course not, Congress does that.

    You wouldn’t know it from the way the would-be defenders of our Constitution have been talking lately.

    If you think that’s of vital importance, Todd, you might want to think about it next time you use the term “Reagan deficit” or “Bush deficit” or “Clinton surplus”.

    Oh hello, Straw Man! It’s been, what, hours since I last saw you! … Because, yeah, I use those terms a lot.

    The two-times his budgets proposals got voted on, they went down in flames. No Democrat even voted for them.

    This is your irrelevant tangent, not mine, but you can’t be that naive. Come on. Did you just take a look at the final tally and assume that even Democrats don’t support Obama? Or did you bother to read any contemporary statements from people about that vote?

    It looks to me like you’re doing your darnedest to blame Obama for everything, no matter if it’s relevant or true.

    As to your final point (@76), it completely rests on my trusting the suggestions you read into Obama’s words, rather than actually reading Obama’s words. You’ll forgive me if I’m gonna take a pass on your clairvoyance, won’t you?

  • dust

    WisdomLover….the wise thing is to leave this alone…these obama supporters just don’t get it and they pretty much argue like their hero, and you can’t keep up with all the trivia….so you should pull a romney and just smirk at them with the pleasure and satisfaction of knowing you, and not the other guy, will be the next POTUS….it’s very biblical too, like heaping burning coals of fire on their head :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    WisdomLover….the wise thing is to leave this alone…these obama supporters just don’t get it and they pretty much argue like their hero, and you can’t keep up with all the trivia….so you should pull a romney and just smirk at them with the pleasure and satisfaction of knowing you, and not the other guy, will be the next POTUS….it’s very biblical too, like heaping burning coals of fire on their head :)

    cheers!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hey Dust (@80) — oh, look! More content-free sniping from you! Anyhow, let us know when you actually want to contribute to the conversation, will you? You see how we occasionally make allusions to facts? Bet you could do that, too! :)

    Also, it will apparently come as a shock to you that I neither voted for Obama in 2008, nor do I plan to do so in 2012. Yes, if someone “doesn’t get it”, it’s probably the one labeling me an “Obama supporter”. :)

    Cheers! :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hey Dust (@80) — oh, look! More content-free sniping from you! Anyhow, let us know when you actually want to contribute to the conversation, will you? You see how we occasionally make allusions to facts? Bet you could do that, too! :)

    Also, it will apparently come as a shock to you that I neither voted for Obama in 2008, nor do I plan to do so in 2012. Yes, if someone “doesn’t get it”, it’s probably the one labeling me an “Obama supporter”. :)

    Cheers! :)

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    I didn’t intend to put words in your mouth on the Reagan deficit thing. Sorry if it came across that way. I was just pointing out that the sword cuts both ways. If we absolve Obama for budgetary failures because, hey, Presidents don’t pass budgets, Congresses do, then we have to absolve all Presidents for budgetary failures for precisely the same reason. Likewise, no President may claim credit for budgetary successes.

    The reality I have observed thus far is that Republicans tend to get the blame for failure, even when they are least responsible (see Reagan who created revenue increases through tax rate cuts only to see the Congress spend it all and then some), and Democrats get the credit even when they are least responsible (see Clinton, who received cargo from the gods in the form of the internet boom, and had the good luck to have a congress that didn’t spend all the revenue increases).

    On the understatement bit, the problem is that Obama insulted Romney by insinuating that he didn’t understand about the aircraft carriers and the nucular subs and all that. He wasn’t engaging in friendly understatement (as I’ll grant that you were). He was calling Romney stupid. I found that to be a really disgusting display from the POTUS, and I think a lot of undecided voters will agree with me.

    On the budgets, you have other examples of the flame out we saw with Obama’s budgets? Did that ever happen to Reagan, Clinton or either of the Bushes? Maybe it did, but I sure don’t remember it.

    I’m not denying that the votes represent some kind of kabuki theater. It’s undeniably true that they did not vote for his budgets, but I never claimed that even his own party doesn’t support him.

    I don’t buy the idea that the votes were held to embarrass the President, which is what some pundits claim. One of these votes was brought up in the Senate (which has been in Democrat hands since 2006). They were not voting on his budget so as to embarrass him.

    The key actor in the drama is the President, he’s never submitted a budget that he wanted passed. In most cases, his wish is granted because his proposals never even come close to coming up for a vote. In two cases, his wish was granted by a vote.

    He doesn’t want his or any budget to be passed. He certainly doesn’t want to sign any budget that’s way out of balance or veto any budget that moves us toward balance. But he does want to spend money like water. So he’d rather coast along with trillion dollar deficits on continuing resolutions.

    On the last point:

    1. Romney certainly did complain about their not being enough ships. That’s not clairvoyance.
    2. Obama certainly did imply that Romney doesn’t understand the changing nature of the military….his exact words were “I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works.”…presumably were he to spend more time, he’d understand. That’s not clairvoyance, it’s a reasonable inference. BTW, even if I were to back off on my inference, and just go with Obama’s exact words, the overall point I’m making would stand.
    3. Obama certainly did support his point by mentioning ships that we can land planes on and that go under water…his exact words were “We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.” That’s not clairvoyance.

    Now I also assume that Obama does not agree with Romney that there’s a shortage of ships. He doesn’t think we need more ships.

    So in the end, Obama’s answer to a complaint about a shortage of ships is “We don’t need em, we have ships”.

    And that’s just incoherent. Which is really rich when you consider the utterly disdainful pride with which Obama thus ‘schooled’ Romney.

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    I didn’t intend to put words in your mouth on the Reagan deficit thing. Sorry if it came across that way. I was just pointing out that the sword cuts both ways. If we absolve Obama for budgetary failures because, hey, Presidents don’t pass budgets, Congresses do, then we have to absolve all Presidents for budgetary failures for precisely the same reason. Likewise, no President may claim credit for budgetary successes.

    The reality I have observed thus far is that Republicans tend to get the blame for failure, even when they are least responsible (see Reagan who created revenue increases through tax rate cuts only to see the Congress spend it all and then some), and Democrats get the credit even when they are least responsible (see Clinton, who received cargo from the gods in the form of the internet boom, and had the good luck to have a congress that didn’t spend all the revenue increases).

    On the understatement bit, the problem is that Obama insulted Romney by insinuating that he didn’t understand about the aircraft carriers and the nucular subs and all that. He wasn’t engaging in friendly understatement (as I’ll grant that you were). He was calling Romney stupid. I found that to be a really disgusting display from the POTUS, and I think a lot of undecided voters will agree with me.

    On the budgets, you have other examples of the flame out we saw with Obama’s budgets? Did that ever happen to Reagan, Clinton or either of the Bushes? Maybe it did, but I sure don’t remember it.

    I’m not denying that the votes represent some kind of kabuki theater. It’s undeniably true that they did not vote for his budgets, but I never claimed that even his own party doesn’t support him.

    I don’t buy the idea that the votes were held to embarrass the President, which is what some pundits claim. One of these votes was brought up in the Senate (which has been in Democrat hands since 2006). They were not voting on his budget so as to embarrass him.

    The key actor in the drama is the President, he’s never submitted a budget that he wanted passed. In most cases, his wish is granted because his proposals never even come close to coming up for a vote. In two cases, his wish was granted by a vote.

    He doesn’t want his or any budget to be passed. He certainly doesn’t want to sign any budget that’s way out of balance or veto any budget that moves us toward balance. But he does want to spend money like water. So he’d rather coast along with trillion dollar deficits on continuing resolutions.

    On the last point:

    1. Romney certainly did complain about their not being enough ships. That’s not clairvoyance.
    2. Obama certainly did imply that Romney doesn’t understand the changing nature of the military….his exact words were “I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works.”…presumably were he to spend more time, he’d understand. That’s not clairvoyance, it’s a reasonable inference. BTW, even if I were to back off on my inference, and just go with Obama’s exact words, the overall point I’m making would stand.
    3. Obama certainly did support his point by mentioning ships that we can land planes on and that go under water…his exact words were “We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.” That’s not clairvoyance.

    Now I also assume that Obama does not agree with Romney that there’s a shortage of ships. He doesn’t think we need more ships.

    So in the end, Obama’s answer to a complaint about a shortage of ships is “We don’t need em, we have ships”.

    And that’s just incoherent. Which is really rich when you consider the utterly disdainful pride with which Obama thus ‘schooled’ Romney.

  • WisdomLover

    “Do you think Obama did (or, heck, should) have the number of active naval ships memorized for every year since 1900 or something?”

    Only if he treats his opponent like an idiot.

    “Oh sure, that is a possible scenario. But do you care to substantiate this assumption of yours, or is it merely enough for you to come up with a scenario that makes Your Team look good, and we should all just go with that?”

    No, I don’t expect that. It’s not cut and dried. But it’s also not completely opaque. I certainly could validate this one way or the other by inspecting the Navy’s list of commissioned and non-commissioned vessels, and it will be a close call either way. But it would take a lot of time. Time I am not inclined to spend. But again, my beef is not with how this admittedly close call goes. My problem is:

    1) It’s bad now.
    2) Obama has no plan to fix it, and has a plan to make it worse (sequestration).
    3) Obama is an arrogant jerk and acted true to his character.

  • WisdomLover

    “Do you think Obama did (or, heck, should) have the number of active naval ships memorized for every year since 1900 or something?”

    Only if he treats his opponent like an idiot.

    “Oh sure, that is a possible scenario. But do you care to substantiate this assumption of yours, or is it merely enough for you to come up with a scenario that makes Your Team look good, and we should all just go with that?”

    No, I don’t expect that. It’s not cut and dried. But it’s also not completely opaque. I certainly could validate this one way or the other by inspecting the Navy’s list of commissioned and non-commissioned vessels, and it will be a close call either way. But it would take a lot of time. Time I am not inclined to spend. But again, my beef is not with how this admittedly close call goes. My problem is:

    1) It’s bad now.
    2) Obama has no plan to fix it, and has a plan to make it worse (sequestration).
    3) Obama is an arrogant jerk and acted true to his character.

  • BW

    On Sequestration:

    The sequestration cuts aren’t really cuts at all but decreases in the rate of spending. The amount of military spending will still increase, just at a slower rate than without sequestration.

    Secondly there’s no guarantee those “cuts” will even occur at this point. It seems like now Obama is fighting against sequestration.

    Thirdly, with the budget deficit and national debt growing, I don’t see how military spending cannot be cut at some point. More and more people aren’t going to take the Republicans seriously on balancing the budget and cutting government spending unless they are willing to cut DoD spending as well.

  • BW

    On Sequestration:

    The sequestration cuts aren’t really cuts at all but decreases in the rate of spending. The amount of military spending will still increase, just at a slower rate than without sequestration.

    Secondly there’s no guarantee those “cuts” will even occur at this point. It seems like now Obama is fighting against sequestration.

    Thirdly, with the budget deficit and national debt growing, I don’t see how military spending cannot be cut at some point. More and more people aren’t going to take the Republicans seriously on balancing the budget and cutting government spending unless they are willing to cut DoD spending as well.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #61 If you have some unique expertise please use it to back up your outrageous claims but what you say contradicts my training on how we do an AA/AD campaign versus a near peer with asymmetric remote attack capabilities and a tough IRBM/SRBM/CM/IAMD fight.

    Without the rest of the Naval assets (IAMD, CSG, etc), AC are just floating targets. The anti-sub campaign alone is a major effort.

    China is certainly looking to defeat Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan in the medium term and control them. That’s clear from their public actions and statements.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #61 If you have some unique expertise please use it to back up your outrageous claims but what you say contradicts my training on how we do an AA/AD campaign versus a near peer with asymmetric remote attack capabilities and a tough IRBM/SRBM/CM/IAMD fight.

    Without the rest of the Naval assets (IAMD, CSG, etc), AC are just floating targets. The anti-sub campaign alone is a major effort.

    China is certainly looking to defeat Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan in the medium term and control them. That’s clear from their public actions and statements.

  • WisdomLover

    “The amount of military spending will still increase, just at a slower rate than without sequestration.”

    This is true of overall spending, it will increase, but not by as much as it would have.

    However, all prices will go up. So reductions in the rate of growth may turn out to be reductions in buying power even if there’s an increase in absolute dollars. And the different branches of government will bear this burden differently. DoD will bear the biggest burden. And its budget had already been substantially cut.

    The U.S. Navy, for example, plans to reduce the number of ships it has from 285 to 235 over the next ten years because of the combined effect of the cuts and sequestration. I don’t know exactly how they will implement this plan. I expect that it will occur mostly by attrition: worn out and obsolete ships won’t be replaced. I don’t know how many of these replacements have already been planned or started and will now be scrubbed. There may also be some still perfectly good ships that get mothballed.

    235, BTW, is definitely lower than any number of ships since…1916. It’s even lower than 1916. That’s not a close call. So, it turns out that my speculation…designed only to make my guys look good…is basically right. What Obama is responsible for is not the Navy he has now (that’s mostly on Bush and a little on Clinton), but the Navy that will exist as a result of his Presidency. And that Navy will have 235 ships. That’s fewer than any time since 1916.

    Of course it will be more capable than the 1916 Navy, but it probably will not be more capable than our current Navy, which already needs help.

  • WisdomLover

    “The amount of military spending will still increase, just at a slower rate than without sequestration.”

    This is true of overall spending, it will increase, but not by as much as it would have.

    However, all prices will go up. So reductions in the rate of growth may turn out to be reductions in buying power even if there’s an increase in absolute dollars. And the different branches of government will bear this burden differently. DoD will bear the biggest burden. And its budget had already been substantially cut.

    The U.S. Navy, for example, plans to reduce the number of ships it has from 285 to 235 over the next ten years because of the combined effect of the cuts and sequestration. I don’t know exactly how they will implement this plan. I expect that it will occur mostly by attrition: worn out and obsolete ships won’t be replaced. I don’t know how many of these replacements have already been planned or started and will now be scrubbed. There may also be some still perfectly good ships that get mothballed.

    235, BTW, is definitely lower than any number of ships since…1916. It’s even lower than 1916. That’s not a close call. So, it turns out that my speculation…designed only to make my guys look good…is basically right. What Obama is responsible for is not the Navy he has now (that’s mostly on Bush and a little on Clinton), but the Navy that will exist as a result of his Presidency. And that Navy will have 235 ships. That’s fewer than any time since 1916.

    Of course it will be more capable than the 1916 Navy, but it probably will not be more capable than our current Navy, which already needs help.

  • dust

    Here are more “facts” for those who profess great interest and respect for them:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/victordavishanson/2012/10/25/what_the_debates_taught_us

    and if you are hungry for more:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/paulgreenberg/2012/10/25/the_final_debate_whos_living_in_the_real_world

    the truth…it does a mind (and soul and spirit) good :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    Here are more “facts” for those who profess great interest and respect for them:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/victordavishanson/2012/10/25/what_the_debates_taught_us

    and if you are hungry for more:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/paulgreenberg/2012/10/25/the_final_debate_whos_living_in_the_real_world

    the truth…it does a mind (and soul and spirit) good :)

    cheers!

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #84 Sequestration does cut the Army and Marines by actual amounts in some budget years. That’s on top of the cuts in actual numbers of soldiers/marines already approved.

    Dozens of acquisition projects/programs to improve our marines and soldier’s capabilities have already been cancelled. These weren’t frivolous toys. These were programs planned for year to save lives and give our soldiers a better edge in any fight.

    Our adversaries aren’t cutting their military capabilities. They’re moving to build systems that take away our advantages.

    So it’s not a matter of having more capable soldiers reducing the quantity needed. It’s simply a matter of the President deciding to reduce our ability to defend ourselves to fund other priorities.

    Even Secretary Panetta has said that further cuts to the military will cripple it and harm national defense. Honestly just the course we’re on is a big risk.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #84 Sequestration does cut the Army and Marines by actual amounts in some budget years. That’s on top of the cuts in actual numbers of soldiers/marines already approved.

    Dozens of acquisition projects/programs to improve our marines and soldier’s capabilities have already been cancelled. These weren’t frivolous toys. These were programs planned for year to save lives and give our soldiers a better edge in any fight.

    Our adversaries aren’t cutting their military capabilities. They’re moving to build systems that take away our advantages.

    So it’s not a matter of having more capable soldiers reducing the quantity needed. It’s simply a matter of the President deciding to reduce our ability to defend ourselves to fund other priorities.

    Even Secretary Panetta has said that further cuts to the military will cripple it and harm national defense. Honestly just the course we’re on is a big risk.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WisdomLover (@82), as to who is responsible for budgets, I would only credit or blame the President were his veto to play a role. Otherwise, he is merely putting his signature on something that is the product of Congress.

    It frightens me how Presidential campaigns are carried out as if there were no Constitution, such that the President is now in charge of passing or repealing laws, adding or removing taxes, and passing budgets. Frankly, I’m more annoyed when Republicans talk like this, because they typically make a bigger deal about strict adherence to the Constitution. They also claim to abhor increased federal power, but talking as if the President can control all those things is, of course, a great way to shuffle off to tyranny. Indeed, recent decades have seen Congress increasingly playing along with the President’s demands for more power, and it has not been good for our nation. So that’s my beef.

    And yes, Obama was intending to paint Romney in a bad light, such that Obama looked more knowledgable. If you’re shocked by that, you may need a fainting couch and some smelling salts for the next week or two. You think undecided voters will agree with you and find such behavior abhorrent, but I don’t see much reason to believe that undecideds think or act like partisans. Because, pretty much by definition, they’re not. All you’re really expressing with your cries of “Arrogant!” is that you’re a right-wing partisan.

    As for budget kabuki, you’ll note that the pundits I referred you to aren’t exactly doctrinaire liberals: Heritage Foundation, Taxpayers for Common Sense, American Enterprise Institute. And yet they all agree with me that the maneuver was pointless and solely intended to embarrass the Democrats.

    One of these votes was brought up in the Senate (which has been in Democrat hands since 2006).

    Look, I’m no legislative expert, but it’s not hard to find articles discussing this matter. Here’s one. Here’s another. Read them and see if you would still agree with your statements. It appears that Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R) forced the vote, through whatever legislative maneuver.

    As to “clairvoyance”, you missed my point. You’re asking me to believe your eisegetic take on Obama’s words, rather than merely reading Obama’s words for myself. Again, I will pass. You make lots of claims about what Obama really “wants”, but I see little reason to believe you actually possess such knowledge. And please note that the specific context here is whether Obama meant “obsolete”, or whether he meant “fewer” as he actually said.

    And yeah, Obama’s point appears to be that we don’t need all the Navy ships that others are saying we do. He is the Commander in Chief. His job is not to take orders from our military commanders, but to give them orders. Republicans frequently complain about this setup, but I prefer civilian control of the military, thank you very much.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WisdomLover (@82), as to who is responsible for budgets, I would only credit or blame the President were his veto to play a role. Otherwise, he is merely putting his signature on something that is the product of Congress.

    It frightens me how Presidential campaigns are carried out as if there were no Constitution, such that the President is now in charge of passing or repealing laws, adding or removing taxes, and passing budgets. Frankly, I’m more annoyed when Republicans talk like this, because they typically make a bigger deal about strict adherence to the Constitution. They also claim to abhor increased federal power, but talking as if the President can control all those things is, of course, a great way to shuffle off to tyranny. Indeed, recent decades have seen Congress increasingly playing along with the President’s demands for more power, and it has not been good for our nation. So that’s my beef.

    And yes, Obama was intending to paint Romney in a bad light, such that Obama looked more knowledgable. If you’re shocked by that, you may need a fainting couch and some smelling salts for the next week or two. You think undecided voters will agree with you and find such behavior abhorrent, but I don’t see much reason to believe that undecideds think or act like partisans. Because, pretty much by definition, they’re not. All you’re really expressing with your cries of “Arrogant!” is that you’re a right-wing partisan.

    As for budget kabuki, you’ll note that the pundits I referred you to aren’t exactly doctrinaire liberals: Heritage Foundation, Taxpayers for Common Sense, American Enterprise Institute. And yet they all agree with me that the maneuver was pointless and solely intended to embarrass the Democrats.

    One of these votes was brought up in the Senate (which has been in Democrat hands since 2006).

    Look, I’m no legislative expert, but it’s not hard to find articles discussing this matter. Here’s one. Here’s another. Read them and see if you would still agree with your statements. It appears that Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R) forced the vote, through whatever legislative maneuver.

    As to “clairvoyance”, you missed my point. You’re asking me to believe your eisegetic take on Obama’s words, rather than merely reading Obama’s words for myself. Again, I will pass. You make lots of claims about what Obama really “wants”, but I see little reason to believe you actually possess such knowledge. And please note that the specific context here is whether Obama meant “obsolete”, or whether he meant “fewer” as he actually said.

    And yeah, Obama’s point appears to be that we don’t need all the Navy ships that others are saying we do. He is the Commander in Chief. His job is not to take orders from our military commanders, but to give them orders. Republicans frequently complain about this setup, but I prefer civilian control of the military, thank you very much.

  • dust

    tODD, you say…

    “And yeah, Obama’s point appears to be that we don’t need all the Navy ships that others are saying we do. He is the Commander in Chief. His job is not to take orders from our military commanders, but to give them orders. Republicans frequently complain about this setup, but I prefer civilian control of the military, thank you very much.”

    And I agree, the Commander in Chief gets to make those decisions, our military is (at least on paper) under civilian command and control, yeah!

    But how does the CIC get to be the CIC in the first place? They win an election and that makes it a political issue.

    If folks like what the current CIC is doing, they will vote for them and if they don’t like it, they’ll vote for someone else.

    How do they know what they other guy will do as CIC? They have a campaign and they talk about it. That’s politics and that is what we are doing now, yeah!

    By the way, in my opinion, since the CIC also gets to pick their Secretary of Defense (plus the Army, Navy, Air Force, etc.) along with the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, along with the Joints, not to mention virtually every other person at the top of the various departments in the executive branch (sec of state and all the cabinet positions) and all political appointments (subject to approval by the Senate, or rubber stamping in most cases), you cannot expect them to express an opinion too much different than their boss, the POTUS, and in my opinion, for all intents and purposes, they are just political extensions of the will and wishes of the POTUS and thus also in the political realm.

    So bottom line, we are in a political season and it’s fair game for a candidate for the office of the POTUS to criticize the policy of the current administration (otherwise, who would, the press) and indeed, it’s their duty to tell the voters what they would do. After all, if and when the are the POTUS they will also be the CIC, and then they get to put their policies (poli, like in politics?) into practice.

    So am guessing folks who don’t complain about our present president acting as CIC doing things his way, won’t complain when the shoe is on the other foot?

    Well, if so, it would not be smart politics and definitely not fun :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    tODD, you say…

    “And yeah, Obama’s point appears to be that we don’t need all the Navy ships that others are saying we do. He is the Commander in Chief. His job is not to take orders from our military commanders, but to give them orders. Republicans frequently complain about this setup, but I prefer civilian control of the military, thank you very much.”

    And I agree, the Commander in Chief gets to make those decisions, our military is (at least on paper) under civilian command and control, yeah!

    But how does the CIC get to be the CIC in the first place? They win an election and that makes it a political issue.

    If folks like what the current CIC is doing, they will vote for them and if they don’t like it, they’ll vote for someone else.

    How do they know what they other guy will do as CIC? They have a campaign and they talk about it. That’s politics and that is what we are doing now, yeah!

    By the way, in my opinion, since the CIC also gets to pick their Secretary of Defense (plus the Army, Navy, Air Force, etc.) along with the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, along with the Joints, not to mention virtually every other person at the top of the various departments in the executive branch (sec of state and all the cabinet positions) and all political appointments (subject to approval by the Senate, or rubber stamping in most cases), you cannot expect them to express an opinion too much different than their boss, the POTUS, and in my opinion, for all intents and purposes, they are just political extensions of the will and wishes of the POTUS and thus also in the political realm.

    So bottom line, we are in a political season and it’s fair game for a candidate for the office of the POTUS to criticize the policy of the current administration (otherwise, who would, the press) and indeed, it’s their duty to tell the voters what they would do. After all, if and when the are the POTUS they will also be the CIC, and then they get to put their policies (poli, like in politics?) into practice.

    So am guessing folks who don’t complain about our present president acting as CIC doing things his way, won’t complain when the shoe is on the other foot?

    Well, if so, it would not be smart politics and definitely not fun :)

    cheers!

  • WisdomLover

    OK Todd, I agree with you somewhat on who’s responsible for the budgets. Though Presidents also do a lot of wheeling and dealing to get a budget passed. Or at least they can.

    I think the same point goes for all lawmaking. Yes, Congress has to actually pass the laws. But Presidents are in a unique position to drive events. Not every President does drive events on everything of course. Obamacare, for example, was an act of Congress, but surely Obama had something to do with it other than simply signing it.

    On another matter, I have no problem with the civilian authority over the military. I wouldn’t want the alternative. And no Republican I know has complained about that either (speaking of straw men).

    But this is not a question of orders. It’s a question of wisdom, and taking advice from experts. Obama’s Generals and Admirals know what they need to get the job done that we are asking them to do. Now, I know that in some cases when you need 40 widgets, you might ask for 50 just so you don’t end up with 30, but even Obama’s civilian SecDef seems to think the the current cuts (plus sequestration) is going to take us down to 25 widgets (to continue the example).

    Obama seems to think he knows better than the very experts he hires to advise him, and that is foolish.

  • WisdomLover

    OK Todd, I agree with you somewhat on who’s responsible for the budgets. Though Presidents also do a lot of wheeling and dealing to get a budget passed. Or at least they can.

    I think the same point goes for all lawmaking. Yes, Congress has to actually pass the laws. But Presidents are in a unique position to drive events. Not every President does drive events on everything of course. Obamacare, for example, was an act of Congress, but surely Obama had something to do with it other than simply signing it.

    On another matter, I have no problem with the civilian authority over the military. I wouldn’t want the alternative. And no Republican I know has complained about that either (speaking of straw men).

    But this is not a question of orders. It’s a question of wisdom, and taking advice from experts. Obama’s Generals and Admirals know what they need to get the job done that we are asking them to do. Now, I know that in some cases when you need 40 widgets, you might ask for 50 just so you don’t end up with 30, but even Obama’s civilian SecDef seems to think the the current cuts (plus sequestration) is going to take us down to 25 widgets (to continue the example).

    Obama seems to think he knows better than the very experts he hires to advise him, and that is foolish.


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