I keep hearing how the young are having a tough time. Well maybe it is because they don't vote. Is that too simplistic? Maybe if a lot more 18- to 30-year-old people voted, they would be getting a better deal. Maybe the reason they haven't gotten a good deal in the past is that they don't vote.
Skepticism should not drive young people away from voting. It should stampede them toward it. Young people should be very, very skeptical of their fellow citizens' generosity. It is just possible that voting citizens really don't care that much about the interests of non-voters. If there is going to be a short end of the stick, it's going to the non-voters.
Sexism takes money from women and gives it to men. Men don't vote Republican only to politicize their domination fantasies. They vote Republican to keep their hands on more money.
Those weak-kneed, draft-dodging, characterless, ex-husband-material jerkwads? They go Republican every time. And Republican women just love their company I guess.
"I got your money, Honey." That's the true Republican message to women. Why do any women vote Republican?
"I tell you what. I can't even believe Mitt Romney is still a presidential candidate. I mean he has been running for a decade, and Flip Flop Mitt still can't stand for anything longer than two minutes! Heck, I started to think Mitt might turn into a Democrat right before my eyes. He was backing down and hiding from every position he's ever had.
And he actually gave me the creeps with that weird smile. And his eyes were full of tears. Did you notice that, Wolf? And he was sweating like Nixon in the Kennedy/Nixon debate. Ugh, the guy reminds me of Nixon but without the charm."
"Heh, heh, well now James. It seemed to me that Romney didn't do too bad. Didn't the President seem kind of listless or tired?"
"Yeah, well he didn't seem that way to me. You know, he wasn't the attack dog in this debate that some on our side might have wanted. But that's just it, this President doesn't want to be president of only half of the people. Obama may not have clobbered Romney with all the jobs Bain Capital took away from hard-working middle class Americans. But I think he knows the American people know Mitt Romney by now and know they can't trust him."
"Thanks, James. Alex, I know you have a different opinion?"
"I do, Wolf. You know, I would have to give the edge to Romney in this debate. I think he showed that he can go toe-to-toe with the President. I think he did what he needed to do."
"Well, folks, it looks like a split decision. I think both sides come away from this debate with some of their points made. John?"
"Yes, it was a close debate. I think the President came off perhaps a bit too reticent..."
"John, he's not trying to be Whiner in Chief. I thought Romney looked like someone's Chihuahua got loose in the bull pen. He was making a lot of noise."
"Ha, ha, James. Well I do think Romney seemed a little over-excited, but the pressure was really on him. I think he did fine. I'm just not sure it was enough."
This isn't what happened that night on CNN, by the way. Quite the opposite. Carville jumped right on Obama's case and Wolf and John King soon followed suit. This is just what I wish happened.
I expect that Obama will offer a few more thrills next debate. But our audience should not have to rely on that for us to keep our courage and our heads. We need to have Obama's back next time, period.
Folks should realize that the debate doesn't stop after Obama and Romney shake hands. It continues into the media. It goes to us.
Suppose the debate had continued for another two hours and Obama and Romney had stayed on stage. And suppose for that two hours Obama did nothing but admit that Romney dominated, won on style, and so forth. Suppose Obama admitted he had been listless and "languid" (NPR's version of listless). Well, then Obama would have lost the debate.
But Obama stayed cool and stuck to his facts for his ninety minutes. Our Progressive-leaning pundits and audience dropped the baton on minute ninety-one.
We weren't thrilled. We weren't inspired. But guess what? If your emotions choose your behavior for you, you lose. Our side's keenest observers seemed to miss the fact that Romney flip-flopped and snake-oiled. They missed Romney's beads of sweat and his teary eyes. They missed a man pretending to be someone he is not.
Obama didn't play the 47% card in his ninety minutes. He didn't play the tax returns card. Those were ok calls in my opinion. But our side in the post-debate debate? We missed the sweat and flip-flopping cards. We missed the substance card.
A lot of usmost disappointingly our media talking headsfolded a good hand and fed Obama to the wolves. We thought we were just being honest. Funny how emotions work.
Let's hope we start to get a poker face for this next debate. When will we learn Obama's not the only one in this fight? Once Obama is done with Romney next debate, let's remember it's our turn to play.
Fact checkers need to hone their game, because catching dishonesty isn't just about checking facts. Romney will have successfully taken the value out of fact checking if they let him get away with it. If Romney says he "will" do something, there is no way to call him a liar on it. So that is what he does. Then being a flip-flopper or being two-faced doesn't register if your bullshit detection process is strictly a fact-checking process. Rachel Maddow also caught Romney on his strategy of saying one thing on camera (to large audiences) while his people quietly revise and recant it to reporters behind the scenes. You could call that a sort of fine print communication style I guess.
Fact checkers need to turn into believability checkers or they are going to be out of jobs.
That's the question that determines who won the debate.
If you just poll people asking who won the debate, you won't know who won.
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