Friday, October 26, 2012

Neocon Stooge Endorses Obama


As he did in 2008, Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President. John McCain is not any happier about his endorsement than when Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President over John McCain four year ago.   It is an open question whether the endorsement will sway any votes, but one should not underestimate the salesmanship of Colin Powell. Recall he was very persuasive in his 2003 presentation to the United Nations General Assembly:
"My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence... Indeed, the facts and Iraq's behaviour show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction... Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option. Not in a post-September 11th world."
Regardless, the Dividist is delighted with Powell's endorsement. This endorsement means we can take the same post we wrote four years ago, and run it again with only minor edits.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Live Blogging the Live Bloggers
Final Presidential Debate
Binder Full of Bloggers Edition

UPDATED: 23-Oct-2012

Welcome to the The Final Presidential Debate of the 2012 Election and the latest edition in the continuing saga of "Live Blogging the Live Bloggers blogging the Debates!"   The Dividist fondly recalls when he conceived this series to cover the first 2008 Republican debate, lo those many years ago, and first asked the question:
"There are plenty of live-bloggers covering the debate tonight, but who is covering the live bloggers? The Dividist rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread."
Tonight's debate is scheduled for 8:00 PM EST at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. But that is not important. This will be the last debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney before the election two weeks from now. That is not important. It is going to be focused on foreign policy. Not important.  The second debate went to President Obama on points. The first debate was forfeited to Romney when the President failed to show up due to a scheduling conflict.  The VP debate happened in there somewhere and Joe Biden smiled a lot. Tonight is the rubber match. None of that is important. The debate will be competing directly with the 7th game of the National League Championship Game between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals (Currently no score after one inning).  Not important.

What is important is that my Chicago Bears are playing the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football during the debate.  So... in aggregate we can expect no one in California, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, nor any real NFL or MLB fans will be watching this debate.What is wrong with these people? Can they not read a football schedule?   Do they not want people to watch these debates?  Wait... I wonder...

FULL DISCLOSURE:  The Dividist will be pretending to watch the debate, will try to live blog the live bloggers blogging the debate, but will really be watching the Bears game. So this is likely to be more lame than usual. Proceed at your own risk.

As always, we select a variety of bloggers from across the political spectrum,and attempt to live blog their live blog efforts. I don't know who we will include, in the past we've used used  Daily Kos from the left, VodkaPundit or HotAir from the right, look to either Reason or Cato for a libertarian point of view and the Moderate Voice, and/or Donklephant as a centrist blog.  Andrew Sullivan is  a reliable live-blogger, as is Chris Cillizza's Fix. Since this one has a foreign policy focus, we'll also monitor the Economist.

If past is prologue we will likely guess wrong about which blogs to monitor and will be scrambling once things get started. Refresh your browsers for latest content once the debate is underway. Because of the derivative nature of this enterprise, I do run quite a bit behind the actual debate. Just setting expectations to lower the bar.

The Dividist has not bothered to look up the polling on the expectations game.   The President has all the experience in Foreign policy in this debate. He killed Osama Bin-Laden. The expectation is there is no way he can lose a foreign policy debate. So he probably will.

Da Bears & Da Candidates have taken the field ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Live Blogging the Live Bloggers
2nd Presidential Debate
Crowleytown Hall Edition


Welcome to the 2012 Election Edition - 2nd Presidential Debate in the continuing saga of "Live Blogging the Live Bloggers blogging the Debates!" 

The Dividist fondly recalls when he conceived this series to cover the first 2008 Republican debate, lo those many years ago, and first asked the question:
"There are plenty of live-bloggers covering the debate tonight, but who is covering the live bloggers? The Dividist rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread."
Actually I never said that. Although I am pretty sure I said something similar. Just don't want to be fact-checked on this.

Whew. It's the hump debate. As soon as it starts we are halfway through the final four debate schedule. So far, so good. The first debate was forfeited to  Romney when the President failed to show up due to a scheduling conflict.  The VP debate went to Biden on points, but he did not recover the momentum lost by the Democrats after the first. On to round three. This debate will be a Town Hall format, where the questions will be asked by semi-random voters (only God can make a truly random voter), and moderated by Candy Crowley.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the campaigns specified that the moderator will not coach or follow-up on the questions from the audience. Candy Crowley will be ignoring the MOU.

Hillary Clinton has Barack Obama's back, stabs Susan Rice in same, and admits she is indeed the Secretary of State.

Mr. President,Can I borrow that blade? Susan... I have something for you.
Credit where it is due. The single best decision that Barack Obama made in his entire presidency was to appoint Hillary Clinton Secretary of State. It is entirely possible that single decision saved Obama's Presidency and secured his reelection to a second term.

In an interview with CNN reporter Elise Labott, Hillary Clinton took full responsibility for the inadequate security deployed at the Benghazi Embassy.

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday tried to douse a political firestorm over the deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, saying she's responsible for the security of American diplomatic outposts. 
"I take responsibility," Clinton said during a visit to Peru. "I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision."... 
"I take this very personally," Clinton said. "So we're going to get to the bottom of it, and then we're going to do everything we can to work to prevent it from happening again, and then we're going to work to bring whoever did this to us to justice."
The State Department is responsible for ensuring adequate security for State Department facilities and personnel.  Those decisions are made in the State Department not in the White House. Hillary Clinton leads the State Department.  She is simply stating the obvious.  Did she personally see and deny the specific request for additional security at the Benghazi consulate?  Probably not. It doesn't matter. A bad decision was made in the organization she leads and it resulted in the death of  an American diplomat and three other Americans.  It's not okay to say we were just unlucky. It's not okay to say "shit happens". She is responsible and she knows it.  She did the right thing.  She said the only thing she could say. Assigning ultimate responsibility for the security lapse was not hard to figure out. All it took was an organization chart.

The only thing surprising about her statement is that we should find it surprising. The only thing remarkable about her statement, is that we find it so newsworthy.  Perhaps this is simply a reflection of the state of politics in the US today.  It's "Breaking News!" that an important political leader publicly accepts responsibility for their area of responsibility.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Live Blogging the Live Bloggers
2012 Vice President Debate
Mystical 10-11-12 Edition


Welcome to the 2012 Vice President Edition in the continuing saga of "Live Blogging the Live Bloggers blogging the Debates!"

The Dividist fondly recalls when he conceived this series to cover the first 2008 Republican debate, lo those many years ago, and first asked the question:
"There are plenty of bloggers covering the debate live tonight, but is anyone covering the live bloggers? The Dividist rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread."
After last week's debate,  I don't think anyone will ever again ask the question whether Presidential debates matter.  Now Vice Presidential debates - that's another question. The jury is still out on that one.  After last weeks debacle, interest is high for this - the one and only VP debate prior to the election, now less that a month away.

It'll be interesting to see if it garners the 67 million audience of the Presidential debate. There is competition tonight - an NFL Football game between the Steelers and Titans, and two MLB playoff games, The Yankees vs. Orioles and  Athletics vs. Tigers. So it is safe to assume that Pennsylvania, Tennessee, New York, Maryland, Michigan, and Northern California will not be watching the debate. There are a few swing states in there. No matter. The Dividist is on the case.

As always, we select a variety of bloggers from across the political spectrum,and attempt to live blog their live blog efforts. I don't know who we will include, in the past we've used used  Daily Kos from the left, VodkaPundit or HotAir from the right, look to either Reason or Cato for a libertarian point of view and the Moderate Voice, and/or Donklephant as a centrist blog.  Andrew Sullivan is  a reliable live-blogger, as is Chris Cillizza's Fix and CNBC will be tweeting.

If past is prologue we will likely guess wrong about which blogs to monitor and will be scrambling once things get started. Refresh your browsers for latest content once the debate is underway. Because of the derivative nature of this enterprise, I do run quite a bit behind the actual debate. Just setting expectations to lower the bar. As usual - expectations are a big part of the game. Expectations for Biden are low. Expectations for Ryan are high.  That gives Biden an edge. A big edge.

======
PREGAME

Chris Cillizza's Fix: "Unlike last week’s debate, where large majorities of people thought beforehand that President Obama would wipe the floor with Mitt Romney (that SO didn’t happen), the expectations are much less tilted toward one candidate for this debate."

CNBC: "Thursday night's debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan has mushroomed in importance since Mitt Romney's strong showing in the first presidential faceoff. "

The Dish - Sullivan:"Gallup claims that veep debates don't usually influence voters. Joseph Cera comes to a different conclusion. Meanwhile, Silver believes that Biden could help shrink the enthusiasm gap "

Daily Kos: "One of tonight's agreed upon debate rules is, allegedly, that the vice president isn't supposed to be referring to his opponent as "Congressman Ryan." Instead, he is to refer to the Republican's boy genius only as "Mister Ryan.

Vodka Pundit - Stephen Green:"Will there be drunkblogging of tonight’s veep debate? Does Joe Biden sometimes accidentally put on his suit jacket upside down?"

Stinque: "In this corner, a Ripped Filthy Liar whom we suspect has a glass jaw. And in this corner, a Hairplug-Studded Veteran whose best moments remind you of a vΓ©ritΓ© Curb Your Enthusiasm. We have no idea what to expect during tonight’s Veep Debate Open Thread/Mixed Mental Arts Competition. We just know it ain’t gonna be normal."

Reason Hit and Run: "Tonight’s big question comes down to this: Who gets to follow in the footsteps of such political bright lights as Dan Quayle, Al Gore, and, yes, Joe Biden to become the next hapless understudy to the leader of the free world? "

DIVIDIST - Expectations for Biden are low, but he consistently kicked ass in the 2008 Dem primary debates – always performing better than both either Obama or Clinton, and certainly better than Palin. Expectations for Ryan are high, but he has never been tested at this level with this kind of intense national media scrutiny. I don’t expect him to pull a Palin, but he is perfectly capable of blowing it with a major gaffe. Obviously, Biden can’t win it for Obama, but I expect he’ll stop the bleeding, change the narrative and tee it up for Obama in the rematch next week.

We'll be updating when the debate starts in about 5 minutes. Beer me.

And we are off....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bill Clinton Rips Mitt Romney For Being Too Much Like Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton, arguably the most popular pol in America today, is stumping with and for Obama on the campaign trail this week. From the LA Times:
"Nearly a week after President Obama stopped his campaign's momentum with a lackluster debate performance, former President Clinton sought Tuesday to help him recover by offering a withering new critique of Mitt Romney. "I had a different reaction to that first debate than a lot of people did," Clinton told nearly 2,000 supporters at a campaign rally for Obama and other Democrats. "I thought, 'Wow, here's old moderate Mitt. Where ya been, boy?' "
Team Obama has turned to Bill Clinton as they continues to struggle with the most predictable and telegraphed "pivot to the center" in the history of politics.  Many of the President's supporters are adopting the "Moderate Mitt" label that Clinton uses here as a pejorative, and outlining Romney's new moderate positions to prove that he has changed positions. Think Progress is a case in point:
"In a last ditch effort to win over undecided moderates, Mitt Romney is finally fulfilling his adviser’s prediction that he would become the “Etch-a-Sketch” candidate. During the first presidential debate, Romney started reversing positions he espoused all year while he was trying to placate the Republican base. Since the debate, he’s continued to shed his hard-line stances that alienated moderates. Here are 5 examples..."
It may or may not be "last ditch", but it appears to be working for Romney. Does it not occur to Obama supporters that promoting this moniker and Romney's new moderate positions make it much more likely that undecideds, centrists, independents, and moderates will vote for him? That the fact that he changes positions to adjust to the prevailing political winds and public polls is exactly what they want to see in a President?

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Democrats shocked! shocked! to learn that Romney would pivot to the center!

Reaction to last week's debate continued to dominate the news cycle over the weekend, even overshadowing the drop in the unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.  Despite the clear Team Obama preference for moving on to other topics, any other topic, it was left leaning publications, pundits, and satirists that kept the debate story front and center.

Next week's New Yorker is indicative. As we would expect from this publication, the articles between the covers are generally sympathetic to the President. Example - David Remnick:
"The President has always been someone who takes the truth seriously and has a great faith in the American people and their ability to handle big ideas,” Burns said. “He doesn't patronize them. He uses the campaign as an educative process. He wants to win but also wants to be clear about his ideas…. He took complex ideas like Medicare and the debt and tried to explain it to people so they can understand them while at the same time not being patronizing. And he is doing this with an opponent who is completely dissembling on every issue!”
Regardless of the treatment inside the issue, the cover is brutal. Particularly in the reference to the empty chair last seen during Clint Eastwood's GOP Convention performance.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Live Blogging the Live Bloggers
2012 Presidential Election Debate
Round One


Finally. With one month to the election, with voting already underway, tonight we hear the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Welcome to the 2012 Presidential Election Edition in the continuing saga of "Live Blogging the Live Bloggers blogging the Debates!"

The Dividist fondly recalls when he conceived this series to cover the first 2008 Republican debate, lo those many years ago, and first asked the question:
"There are plenty of bloggers covering the debate live tonight, but is anyone covering the live bloggers? The Dividist rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread."
Our productivity has tapered off  this year. We simply could not  maintain the pace  or interest through the never ending Republican debate marathon.

Now, there is some question whether this exercise, or even live blogging itself, makes any sense in the era of facebook and twitter stream of consciousness. No matter.  The Dividist is on the case.

As always, we select a variety of bloggers from across the political spectrum,and attempt to live blog their live blog efforts. I don't know who we will include, in the past we've used used  Daily Kos from the left, VodkaPundit or HotAir from the right, look to either David Weigel, Reason or Cato for a libertarian point of view and the Moderate Voice, and/or Donklephant as a centrist blog.  Andrew Sullivan is usually a reliable live-blogger, as is Chris Cillizza's Fix and CNBC will be tweeting.