Debate night

Tonight is the second of the presidential candidate debates, this one in a “town hall” format, with undecided voters posing the questions.  We now see that the debates do matter, as Mitt Romney’s good performance and Barack Obama’s bad performance put the Republican back into contention.   Do you think this town hall format will be to Obama’s advantage, since Romney is often awkward among the masses?  Obama said he was “too polite” in the first round, so do you think his being impolite will play well this time?

You will notice that when we live-blogged the debates–not just me, but also you readers and commenters–we picked up on the same themes that the pundits later made a big deal of.  I think we owe it to the country to do it again.

This time I’ll let you come up with the catch-phrases for our not-necessarily-alcoholic drinking game.  What lines from each candidate can we expect to hear over and over?

Be back here at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time  (that’s 8:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Mountain, and 6:00 p.m. Pacific) to help with the live-blogging.

"Like most Catholics, I do whatever I want"

You’ve got to see Saturday Night Live‘s take on the Vice Presidential debate.  Go to the link for the video.  Here are some excerpts:

“I’m from Janesville, Wisconsin, and he’s from Scranton, Pennsylvania,” Ryan says in the skit. “Do you know what the unemployment rate is in Scranton right now? It’s 10 percent. And I just wonder what the vice president would say to hardworking people of towns like Janesville and Scranton.”

“I guarantee you, [Janesville] is a paradise next to the burning coal heap that is Scranton, Pennsylvania,” Sudeikis’ Biden retorts. “Do you know that show, ‘The Walking Dead?’ It’d make a good tourism ad for Scranton. If you went to the lowest circle of hell, you’d still be 45 minutes outside of Scranton. I grew up there. I love it. It’s the single worst place on earth.” . . .

“Moving on, the baseball playoffs are in full swing, with four teams remaining,” McKinnon’s Raddatz says. “So, if you can, could you please speak personally about abortion?”

“I accept the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Sudeikis’ Biden responds. “But then, like most Catholics, I ignore them and do what I want.”

Go here: http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/14/snl-does-last-weeks-vice-presidential-debate/#ixzz29KUWgmds

 

So who won the VP debate?

Be sure to read our live blog of the Vice Presidential debate, below.  We’ve got some good punditry here.  Who do you think won the debate?   Will this turn the tide back to Obama, keep up Romney’s new momentum, have no effect, or what?

Live blogging the VP debate

As we watch and comment upon the Vice Presidential debate, let’s add a drinking game.  Everyone have at hand a beverage of your choice.  (I recommend WATER.  Anything alcoholic and you might not make it to the closing statements.  Anything caffeinated and you may not get to sleep tonight.  Remember that you have to get up in the morning.)  Every time you hear one of the candidates say the following words, take a drink:

(1)  47%

(2)  $5 trillion

(3)  Big Bird

OK.  Let’s get started.  Make your comments as the debate goes along and I’ll do the same.  (Remember to keep refreshing the page so you can follow the thread.)  Gentlemen, start your engines.

 

 

 

Constructivist politics

Postmodernists, who believe that truth is relative, reject such retro concepts as logic, evidence, and reason, all of which assume that truth is objective.  Instead, postmodernists practice what they call “constructivism.”  Truth is not something we discover; rather, truth is something we “construct.”  Thus, argumentation involves “de-constructing” other people’s truth claims (showing them to be nothing more than impositions of power) and constructing “plausibility paradigms” to advance your own power-agenda.  And, since truth is inherently personal, another way to argue is to attack the person who holds to that truth.

We all need to understand this, especially in today’s political climate.  Both sides do it.  The very notion of “spin”–which is openly recognized to the point that TV networks set up “spin rooms” and both sides openly acknowledge having “spin doctors”–is an open acknowledgement of postmodernist techniques.  What matters is not overall truth but cherry-picking facts and then giving them an interpretation favorable to the power agenda of one side or another.  For postmodernists, interpretation is more important than information.  A successful argument is a construction of reality that wins over–indeed, that imposes itself on–other people

Here is a particularly blatant example of political constructivism, from the Washington Post in an article on President Obama’s post-debate campaign speech:

Obama said that when he reached the debate stage “I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney,” Obama said, adding that the “real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.”

The Mitt Romney everyone saw onstage giving his views from his own mouth is not the real Romney.  The real Romney is the one we have been constructing in our campaign ads.

And notice how the fact cited here comes from an elaborately spinning interpretation:  It is claimed, perhaps accurately (a matter for old-school analysis), that Romney’s economic plan doesn’t add up and is off by $5 trillion.  The Democrats then use this number in different ways.  Here Obama calls it $5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy.  In the debate and in campaign ads he takes it as a $5 trillion tax increase on the middle class.  This is because for his numbers to add up, he would have to get the $5 trillion from somewhere, so he would have to raise taxes on the middle tax.  Notice the movement  from “would have to” to “will.”  Romney will raise your taxes.

Never mind the Republican belief in supply-side economics and that Republicans from the time of Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush never raise taxes to this magnitude, preferring instead to just let shortages add to the deficit.

Never mind that Romney said in the debate that he would not raise taxes by $5 trillion.  Furthermore, that he would not cut what the wealthy are paying now.

No, this is not his real position.  His real position is what we say it is, the way we have constructed it.

 

via Obama challenges Romney’s candor morning after 1st debate, says rival owes people ‘the truth’ – The Washington Post.

Judge the debate

Read our live-blog commentary, below.  It was a cool exercise, interacting with each other and with the topic in real time.  Now, recollecting the debate in tranquility, what do you think about the debate as a whole?   Who will be helped, and who will be hurt?  What were the notable moments?  And, for the bottom-line question, who won?


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