A Philosopher's Blog

Romney Victory

Posted in Politics by Michael LaBossiere on October 4, 2012
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While there is some debate about the victory conditions of the debate, I will go with a rather practical measure of a win. That is, the winner is the person who the most people think is the winner. By this measure, Romney won the debate last night.

The debate was, for the most part, not particularly memorable. Romney did well, Obama did rather less well. However, there were no stinging zingers and there was not much in the way of killer soundbites. Interestingly, Obama declined to use what many pundits regard as his best ammunition against Romney, such as the infamous 47% remarks.

Some of Obama’s defenders have claimed that he was trying to be presidential by not engaging Romney. However, that seems a rather weak defense. Commentators have also pointed to the fact that incumbents generally do not do well in the first debate and the Kerry-Bush debate has been presented as an example of this. Given that a president running for office  has two full time jobs (president and presidential candidate) it is not surprising  that Obama would be less practiced than Romney and that Obama would be laboring under a greater burden. Perhaps Obama will do a George and come back from a weak first debate to win the election. After all, that is what actually matters.

It is also worth noting that Obama might have had a bad day. Being a competitive athlete and having competed in debate at the high school and college level, I know very well that some days one just does not “have it.” I’ve run races where my legs were flat and I just had no get up and go. I’ve done debates where the words just would not come and my logic was apparently lost in the woods. Weirdly, this has happened when by all rights I should have been doing very well. Even stranger, there have been races where I was running a fever and could barely stand at the start, yet went on to run a really good time (such as a 16:48 in a 5K).  Competition can be a strange thing. Next time around, Obama might have a good day and Romney might have a bad one.

One interestingly result of the debate is that Romney’s mention of Big Bird got a great deal of attention, leading to a flurry of activity on Facebook. While Romney’s defenders say that was just a light moment, it has actually stirred up some serious response. On the Romney side, the contention is that Romney wants to cut government waste such as the subsidies provided to PBS . On the other side, the contention is that Romney wants to slash popular public programs to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy and to free up additional money to be funneled into corporate subsidies.

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on October 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Romney was definitely the alpha male.

    I predict huge fundraising now for Romney.

  2. […] Romney Victory (aphilosopher.wordpress.com) […]

  3. T. J. Babson said, on October 5, 2012 at 10:20 am

    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The White House today announced that it was offering a “substantial cash reward” for information leading to “the location and safe return of President Obama’s mojo.”

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced the search with an air of urgency: “We will use every resource at our disposal to ensure the return of the President’s mojo, and that goes double for his groove.”

    Mr. Carney said that as of late Wednesday afternoon no one at the White House knew the President’s mojo was missing, but minutes into last night’s televised debate “it became clear that something was terribly, horribly wrong.”

    Even if the White House is successful in locating Mr. Obama’s mojo, Mr. Carney acknowledged, it could take days or even weeks to get it working.

    In an effort to reboot his campaign, President Obama plans to announce some bold initiatives for his second term, including killing Osama bin Laden again.


  4. magus71 said, on October 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm


    “Look, people say, Obama was off his game. This is his game. If you take away a prompter, this is his game. He’ll occasionally give a great speech, but if you look at him in his news conferences, which where you don’t have a prompter and the president has more control, he gets to ask to decide who the questioner is and he gets to decide how long he talks, and what parts of an answer he’ll give, he never does well. So this is who he is. I think people — he’s intelligent, but he isn’t half as intelligent as he thinks he is and as most of his acolytes who, you know, have treated him in a messianic way for a half decade or so think he is,” syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said about President Obama’s performance at last night’s debate.


    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 6, 2012 at 8:00 am

      While the teleprompter/stupid ad hominem attacks have some nostalgia value (they remind me of the jokes about Bush being stupid), they do not seem to have any actual substance.

      Surely he can come up with a better criticism than “Obama is dumb.” Also, it is odd that Obama would be bashed for being dumb and for being an intellectual.

      • magus71 said, on October 7, 2012 at 9:15 am

        Evidently you missed the part where he says: Obama is intelligent, but not as intelligent as he thinks he is.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 7, 2012 at 11:23 am

          No one is as smart as they think they are. Or as funny. Or good looking. Present company excluded, of course.

        • Anonymous said, on October 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

          Actually competent people tend to have the opposite problem. From Wiki:

          The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.[1]
          Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. As Kruger and Dunning conclude, “the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others” (p. 1127).[2]

          • magus71 said, on October 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm

            “The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average.”

            Krauthammer is a former psychiatrist. I’m sure he’d diagnose Obama with Dunning-Kruger.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 7, 2012 at 9:28 am

        Obama is certainly not dumb, but the idea that he is some sort of deep thinker is ludicrous.

  5. biomass2 said, on October 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    The conservative ‘teleprompter’ schtick never gets old does it? Obama did fine w/o teleprompters when debating Hillary and McCain in ’08. Krauthammer says of Obama ” he’s intelligent, but he isn’t half as intelligent as he thinks he is.” I don’t know how CK reached that conclusion, but I suspect he read it off of a cheat sheet of talking points. I personally believe that intelligence* , like presidential aptitude, cannot be measured by debate performance or mere observation from the world of the biased. I’ll reserve judgment about Obama’s debate performance until debates 2 and 3 are finished. And even then I wouldn’t be so presumptuous at to assume I could judge another’s “intelligence”.. As for CK—at this point all I can say is Krauthammer, schmauthammer. . .

    Both candidates were on the trail the next day , both using teleprompters.


    • magus71 said, on October 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      “Obama did fine w/o teleprompters when debating Hillary and McCain in ’08.”

      That’s because he didn’t have to defend his record as president. And one could also consider that perhaps Romney is more competent than Hillary or McCain.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm

        We’ll see how he does in the next debates. If Obama does great, would that impact the narrative that Obama is bound to the prompter? Or will there be a new narrative?

        • magus71 said, on October 8, 2012 at 8:05 am

          I think a teleprompter could give anyone an advantage. I brief PowerPoint slides, a type of prompter. But I know that I can brief with it. Some are totally stymied when they don’t use it.

          Krauthammer states what many believe: That Obama was simply given far more credit than he deserved in 2007-8. He has a deep voice and a talent for the dramatic pause, he represents multiculturalism, a Democrat lovechild. And Democrats believed that Obama was going to finally make America pay for her sins. What real Democrat could resist the chance to make America pay?

          • magus71 said, on October 8, 2012 at 8:06 am

            But I know that I can brief with it.

            *without it

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm

            That seems to cast all Democrats as being against America. Surely a hasty thing to say about millions of Americans.

            • magus71 said, on October 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm

              I think many of them see America as an oppressive, racist, country. Many more than do Republicans. It is that very moral atmosphere that this administration had cultivated which has done more damage than any singular policy. The current Democrats tried, and succeeded to a certain extent, to make America lose its identity and change the way it viewed itself. Those things are quite important.

              I for one believe that America is the single greatest source of freedom in the history of the world–the sole country that any oppressed people look to and hope will help when the time comes. They don’t look to Sweden, or Finland, or China or Russia. The look to America, because America not only has moral authority, but because America has firepower, and lots of it.

            • biomass2 said, on October 8, 2012 at 6:49 pm

              I’m assuming that ‘this administration’ and ‘Current democrats’ are one and the same? Right? Sounds like that’s what you’re saying here.
              And the following, in your own words, appears to be what you’re saying:
              “The current Democrats tried, and succeeded to a certain extent, to make America— the single greatest source of freedom in the history of the world— lose its identity and change the way it viewed itself.”
              Magus, if that were true—even in the least bit true, even true to any extent—if ‘the current Democrats’, this administration, in four years, managed to ([even ‘to a certain extent’] cause America to lose its identity and change the way it viewed itself” , then the fabric of America, the foundation on which it stands, must have been extremely fragile before the onset of their stealthy attack.
              Two hundred plus years of history. Two hundred plus years growing a constitutional republic based on a representative democracy. Two hundred plus years. The American people must be gullible fools. Or at least half of them are. That monolithic block of people, the Democrats, the mean liberals, the moonbats, if you will, are standing at the doors of ‘good Americans’ , patriots, brave, God-fearing men and women . The heathens, using multiculturalism and America’s sense of guilt as their weapons are at the doorstep.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm

              Caroline Glick:

              Like the Israeli Left, the American Left doesn’t want Americans to think about the actual threats to the US emanating from the Islamic world. They want the public to think about what for them is the only real threat to their values and their ability to win and wield power.

              That threat doesn’t emanate from the Islamic world where women are treated worse than farm animals, homosexuals are hanged in public squares, Christians are forcibly converted and assaulted, churches are burned to the ground, the annihilation of the Jewish people throughout the world is an ardent desire, and “Death to America” is a political program.

              For the American Left, the primary threat to their way of life comes from people who oppose abortions and gay marriage and gun control. It comes from people who oppose unionization of government workers and nationalization of healthcare.

              And it comes from people like Geller who state the obvious about jihad.

              The reason that Islam is supposed to be immune from criticism is that for American leftists as for Israeli leftists, the only important battle is the one against domestic foes. And just as the abysmal results of leftist policies have left the Israeli Left with no choice but to shoot the messengers, so too the American Left must deal with policy failure by silencing the opposition.

              In Israel, leftist appeasement of Palestinian terrorists has led to a horrific death toll and the obvious absence of peace. So the Left must silence those who have the temerity to oppose that failed policy. The Right’s most visible members are the religious Zionists, who are disproportionately situated beyond the 1949 armistice lines, and so the Left must destroy them through expulsions, no matter what the cost to Israel.

              In America, the Left’s most conspicuous failure is its claim to promote women’s rights, equality and civil liberties in the culture war, even as it defends the Islamic world’s addiction to female genital mutilation, forced marriages, honor killings and executions of homosexuals for the “crime” of being gay. So the Left must silence critics of jihad and Islamism, and hope no one will notice its hypocrisy.


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 9, 2012 at 11:16 am

              Here is a dilemma for Glick.

              If we take the Left to be the folks that fit her description, she is only describing a small percentage of people. Hence, her criticism has a rather small target.

              If we take the left to be all those folks left of her, then her description does not fit most of them. Hence her criticism is not accurate. After all, there is considerable criticism from people left of her against the treatment of women in Islamic countries.

              So, either she is going after a very small target or her criticisms are mostly inaccurate.

  6. biomass2 said, on October 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    “. . . he represents multiculturalism. . .” and, and, and? 🙂
    You’ll find “multiculturalism on the following page, too.
    See much more at Google: “multiculturalism code word”
    So. . .some people think liberals are out to wipe out whitey? To bring him to his knees?

    As far as America paying for her sins, there’s an interesting book you might want to read:
    The American Soul:Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders by Jacob Needleman.

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