Presidential Debate LeagueCast

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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116 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    Is it possible to just kibbitz? Or do we need to participate?Report

  2. Burt Likko says:

    The technical issues here are challenging me, and in fact I’m no longer listening to the debate as I’m wrestling with the system. Stand by please while I say bad words and curse at my P.O.S. laptop.Report

  3. Dan Miller says:

    At some point, can we discuss how depressing it is that the intellectual level of debate at the League is much higher than the level of the actual debate? I get that this is pitched at lower-information types than the folks who hang out here, but I found that deeply depressing.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Dan Miller says:

      If by winning, Romney won the gold medal for unicycle backpedalling while puffing furiously on his tin whistle meme-o-phone, I guess he won big. (twirls index finger idly) With this debate performance, Romney’s proven he doesn’t stand for anything, not that he ever did. What a judas bumpkin he must seem like to his newfound Paul Ryan-esque buddies.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Dan Miller says:

      But Dan… that’s why you should hang out here.Report

  4. Mr. Harris says:

    Romney won! Woo hoo! Feels like if Johnny Kreese and the Cobra Kai Dojo beat Danny Larusso at the end of Karate Kid.Report

  5. BlaiseP says:

    Romney looks like a bad car salesman. Obama looked like he didn’t want to be there at all. Mr. Miller has this summed up: a pastiche of boring, lo-rent and oft-repeated memes. I’ve seen better rhetorical performances from high school children.Report

    • Liberty60 in reply to BlaiseP says:

      I noticed that as well- Romney seemed animated, and with an undercurrent of hostility, like a salesman with flop sweat.Report

    • Mr. Harris in reply to BlaiseP says:

      But how will the sensitive folks (a.k.a. the undecideds) take Romney’s college quarterback bluster? I don’t think most people who are not white and male react positively to his performance.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Mr. Harris says:

        Good question.

        People have been noting this for the past few days.

        I’m a guy but and as Democratic as they come. Why do white guys seem to fully buy the whole stuff about rugged individualism in starbursting droves over anyone else? One of my friend’s talked about the gender gap in worldview among Colorado voters based on the little tracking things.Report

      • Michelle in reply to Mr. Harris says:

        I found Romney’s aggressiveness off-putting and I thought he was downright rude to Jim Lerher. Romney’s clearly a guy who’s used to being the top dog in any room.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Mr. Harris says:

        Romney had to do well and he did. The boxing scorecard definitely gave this round to Romney — but to win it, Romney had to back away from eighteen months of blustering idiocy about tax cuts. The people who Reacted Positively to Romney until this debate have much to ponder: I’m not sure the Ryan Crowd is terribly happy with Romney. This isn’t the same guy who won the GOP nomination, no he’s not.Report

        • Michelle in reply to BlaiseP says:

          I don’t think they’ll care. For once, their guy won and I think they’ll be over the top about it. I also suspect they think they can reign him in should he win.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Michelle says:

            Maybe you’re right, most folks won’t care. But Romney could only win by dumping all that Tax Cut Hooey. That seems lost on everyone this morning, crowing about how Romney won.

            Here’s Romney’s calculus as I see it. The Tax Cut Crowd just isn’t large enough to make a statistical difference. They’re noisy but ultimately they’re not going to be happy with anyone but Paul Ryan’s extremist crap. If Romney had stuck with them, and let’s face facts here, they will NOT like the tenor of Romney’s tax policy speechifying, Obama would have Cut him the Proverbial New One.

            There’s a difference between a bluff and a gambit. The first seven or eight intelligent moves of the game of chess have been completely mapped out and Romney’s played an incredibly aggressive opening on the campaign trail. Now he’s at the end of the midgame. He’s trying to form up for his endgame. He’s clearly down by one major piece so he has to be aggressive. He’d be stupid not to. But Romney’s bluffing and everyone knows it. Obama might seem professorial to note the math just doesn’t work, but there’s no other appropriate response.

            Romney got no bounce out of the convention. The press might be fawning now but it won’t last long.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Obama didn’t want to be there at all. Nate Silver was giving him 85% odds of re-election before the debate. Nowhere to go for him but down. Nothing he could do but lose ground.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Nah. Romney’s desperation is showing. He wants to win these debates because time’s running short and he’s alienated too many people already. He had too many nice things to say about ACA and Dodd-Frank and Obama cut him a New One with Romney’s lack of specificity.

        By far the toughest line of the night came from Obama: Romney’s ‘Big Bold Idea Is Never Mind’ Romney winced.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Romney’s desperation is showing.

          I thought so too. (Maybe I’m too partisan.) I went into this debate with a clean slate for Romney. This was a chance for him to recast himself to me as a candidate worth considering. All I saw were the gaping holes in his “plans” (which Obama effectively pointed out), his really bold lies and denials, and the appeal to pure politics and ideology when he couldn’t muster a substantive response. That stunk of desperation.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Burt Likko says:

        And Burt’s point is a good one as well. At 85% likely, Obama could only lose in this debate. And he will, most likely. He definitely played it safe, it seemed to me.

        And Romney did a much better job of explaining his positions (not his policies, I didn’t hear much about those little devils) than he has throughout the campaign. I did think his line about being bi-partisan was sorta hilarious, tho.Report

  6. NewDealer says:

    Thoughts and questions based on the blogosphere (especially Andrew Sullivan’s meltdown) and my facebook feed.

    1. A lot of my Democratic friends (which is most of my friends) say the feel confident about the election tonight and say this non-sarcastically.

    2. Some people went into full hyperbolic meltdown just like Andrew Sullivan. How much of this psychological projecting? Why do people get paid big bucks for writing off the cuff sentences about how Obama lost tonight? Maybe he did not perform super-strongly, maybe Romney “won” the debate* but Sullivan’s full meltdown is something of a site to be seen.

    3. One day someone will need to explain the cult of Saint Ronnie to me. As someone born in 1980, I really do not understand why he is so enthralling still. He hasn’t been President for over 20 years and people still talk about him in Messianic tones including conservatives who were born after 1988. Sullivan had a whole bit about how Romney even sounded like Saint Ronnie.Report

    • Mr. Harris in reply to NewDealer says:

      Following the @sullydish tonight was sublime pleasure.Report

    • Liberty60 in reply to NewDealer says:

      They need a horserace, with lots of drama, lead-switching and fireworks, Obama offers cool and self-assured.

      I seem to recall a lot of this hysteria in 2008 as well.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Liberty60 says:

        Yeah. I mean, I thought Romney was backpedaling for most of the debate, actually, while Obama stayed on point and gave pretty cogent reasons to vote for him. I thought Obama did a better job of reaching the undecided voter, both on policy and politics.

        But all the Really Smart People (TM) seem to disagree that assessment.Report

    • Michelle in reply to NewDealer says:

      I don’t know what crawled up Sully’s britches but his meltdown was nothing short of histrionic. I’m also still reeling from the penis pic he posted in his ongoing tirade against circumcision. Was that really necessary?Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Michelle says:

        When Sullivan gets on a cri de ceour, he really gets on a cri de ceour. He has a few of them.

        Though I’ve noticed that circumcision is one of those discussions that can never happen on rational and calm circumstances. The subject sends everyone (especially on the internet) into hyperbole land.

        Come to think of it, the Internet seems to act as an amplifier for hyperbole.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to NewDealer says:

      Waiting for the footnote to follow the asterisk. This wasn’t really a “debate” because…Report

  7. Stillwater says:

    I thought Romney hit some high notes when he talked about conservative mythology. He lost points by saying his policies would include all the Good Stuff from Obama’s plans and None Of The Bad. When he was listening to Obama speak, he looked like he was fighting back a slippery wet-fart. On my score card, that means he lost the debate.Report

  8. Michelle says:

    On style and body language, I thought Romney won. He was energetic and downright aggressive. Jim Lerher essentially handed Romney his balls. What a pathetic performance on Lerher’s part.

    Romney offered so many opportunities for Obama to nail him on his lies and flip-flops, and Obama mostly passed. WTF? And he failed to defend a lot of the things he has accomplished. The folks at MSNBC are apoplectic.Report

  9. Miss Mary says:

    So no women care because they didn’t comment? Not sure about that.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Miss Mary says:

      Miss Mary, Miss Mary, Miss Mary, we need you! These guys were all smart and interesting and had smart things to say, but it was still as much a boy’s club as Sully’s photograph today.

      If there’s another postmortem after the second or third debates, would you participate? I know you’re smart from your comments, so I bet you can be clever, too.Report

      • Anne in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Burt how do we participate? I believe I have a camera built into my laptop that I can figure out how to work (maybe) by the the next debates. Thanks for hosting it was mice to hear a thoughtful discussion. Personally I think Romney maybe came off better stylistically to some people but I did find him…umm smarmy it was his smirk and car salesman like demeanor. Well that and his shall we say creative relationship with the facts. I think Obama missed many opportunities to call him on. However it is difficult to argue or point out holes in a policy that has not been put forth in detail yet.Report

        • Anne in reply to Anne says:

          Oh and I second Michelle, Jim Lerher really was patheticReport

        • Michelle in reply to Anne says:

          Glutton for punishment that I am, I’ve been watching debate post-mortems and the more they play clips of Mitt shutting down Jim Lerher, the more obnoxious I find it. Mitt didn’t succeed in keeping his condescension level down. It’s pretty clear he thinks he’s more important than anyone else in the room.Report

        • Burt Likko in reply to Anne says:

          As for participating, if your laptop has a camera and microphone built in, then all you need to do is join Google+. Better if you have a gmail address but I don’t think that’s an absolute necessity.

          Hosting the thing proved a bit tricker than I thought it would. But when I was a mere participant, it was actually pretty easy to log on and the interface is just look at the computer screen for cues on the sidebar, listen to what your colleagues say, and talk when it’s your turn in the conversation. It took me a while as moderator to find the right rythym and style — this was the first time I’d served in that role — but once we hit our stride, it got moving along really nicely. And I think it was easy for the others to do their part too.Report

  10. Nob Akimoto says:

    “Domestic” policy…

    Yet nothing about immigration, gay rights, reproductive health, or really, anything that doesn’t involve white men’s taxes.Report

    • greginak in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      Now that is a zinger.Report

    • Miss Mary in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      There seemed to be a narrow scope, but even with that they couldn’t keep their answers concise and lacked focus on the topic up for discussion. I can only imagine the chaos that could have come from addressing some of these issues, Nob. They played it safe, clearly.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      Was it really not better to do a deeper dive on some big issues vice 2 minutes soundbite on the panoply? There’s another domestic policy debate.

      And I think brown people and women and brown people that are women do care about PPACA, social security and medicare. (more so than white men, actually) It’s Obama’s fault for providing what is perceived as only a tepid defense of his own policies (and not countering Romney’s shaky math). Though Obama did find his feet a bit on defending Obamacare about an hour in – but by then people’s perceptions were already formed.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      Was it really not better to do a deeper dive on some big issues vice 2 minutes soundbite on the panoply? There’s still another domestic policy debate.

      And I’m pretty sure brown people and women and brown people that are women do care about PPACA, social security and medicare. (more so than white men, actually) It’s Obama’s fault for providing what is perceived as only a tepid defense of his own policies (and not countering Romney’s shaky math). Though Obama did find his feet a bit on defending Obamacare about an hour in – but by then people’s perceptions were already formed.Report

  11. Wardsmith says:

    As a nationally ranked debater who did better than anyone west of the Mississippi for my era I can state with certainty that Obama.clearly lost this debate. Sorry to all you partisans. Monday quarterbacking will not change this fact.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Wardsmith says:

      Yeah, it wasn’t nearly as bad as Leno or Conan going out on the street to debate a random pedestrian in an ambush, but that’s not saying a whole lot. The next debate should be between Romney and a random member of the studio audience who would be alert and excited and at least stands a chance of bringing up an interesting an defensible point.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Wardsmith says:

      I think Obama won on the merits, tho Romney was definitely more … energized. The problem is that media analysis is an attempt glean what the undecided stoopid purson will take away from it. That’s impossible for them to do, since they’re hi-information people. That means their opinions are irrelevant except insofar as they’re helping the low information folks make up their minds – by saying things like “Romney/Obama won the debate!” As for the debate proper, my analysis is this: if aggressiveness matters to a person, they’ll like Romney. If a coherent plan matters, they’ll vote for Obama. If they’re gonna go on ideology, then they’re not a undecided.Report

      • Michelle in reply to Stillwater says:

        Romney seemed pretty coherent to me; Obama less so. Granted much of what Romney said seemed to contradict earlier positions, but that’s nothing new.

        In the Republican debates I watched, Romney seemed relatively ineffective except when he really needed a win. Then a different, more energized Romney showed up and eviscerated the remaining dwarves. He needed a win tonight and clearly brought his A game; whereas Obama brought his B- game.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Michelle says:

          One of the things that jumped out at me, as someone who could vote for Romney but does not plan to, is that he seemed far more comfortable being the guy today than he seemed being the rightwinger. That could be projection, though, or it could be irrelevant (to how he would govern if he won).Report

          • Michelle in reply to Will Truman says:

            No, I think you might be onto something. At heart, Romney’s a technocrat.Report

          • North in reply to Will Truman says:

            Yes that’s very apt. Mitt has definitly pivotted off his previous positions to the center. I’m not that old (only 33) so I haven’t seen many presidential campaigns but is it normal for the pivot to the center to happen so late in a campaign and on national television?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to North says:

              Maybe the plan is to say to the low-info voters “Of *COURSE* the democrats are arguing against Romney as if he’s Santorum. They’d argue against Obama as if he were Santorum if he had an (R) next to his name.”Report

            • Michelle in reply to North says:

              Bush pivoted at the 2000 RNC, which was all about compassionate conservatism. But the rabid right wing of the party wasn’t nearly as powerful then, so I don’t think Bush was always looking to guard his right flank during the primaries. His main competitor, McCain was viewed as less conservative than Bush.

              IIRC, Reagan was pretty consistent from primaries to general election. He didn’t need to pivot to the center.Report

              • North in reply to Michelle says:

                Thank you dear Lady. So this is an especially late pivot then, perhaps due to Mitt having to either placate his base or get them desperate enough that they’ll accept anything he does so long as it looks like it’ll help him win?Report

              • Will Truman in reply to North says:

                Bush’d always had the Compassionate Conservatism as a part of his sales pitch, though. He sidelined it during the primaries because he needed to beat McCain, but it wasn’t quite a pivot to the same degree that this was. The “moderate” thing isn’t new to Mitt, but he had to reach back further (before the campaign started – before his previous campaign started) to get to it. A much further reach.Report

  12. Mike Schilling says:

    I heard the first hour or so on the radio on the way home from work. I thought Romney outpointed Obama, based on more detailed knowledge and a sounder framework for his ideas. If he’d spent that last year being this guy instead of the robotic panderer, I’d have to consider him.Report

    • If he’d spent the last year being this guy, he wouldn’t be the Republican up on the stage.Report

      • MikeSchilling in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Now I’m picturing Romney up on a stage singing his theme sing, The Robot Panderer:

        I love to go a-pandering
        Along the campaign track.
        And as I go a-pandering,
        My relays click and clack.

        Corporations are folks.
        Yes they are.
        I’ll ignore the forty-seven
        Double Guan-
        My relays click and clack.

  13. Burt Likko says:

    …And not one word about SCOTUS the entire night.Report

  14. Mike Dwyer says:

    Wait…we were supposed to wear ties? Sorry I looked like a bum then (my wife has already chastised me). When I moderate a Leaguecast I am going to require that everyone wear camoflauge.Report

  15. Will says:

    Guys, this was fucking awesome.Report

  16. Burt Likko says:

    I notice that there’s been 141 viewings of the video to date. That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me — we’re not Fox News yet but for something that had zero advance promotion and a very short shelf life, that strikes me as pretty good.Report

  17. Jeff No-Last-Name says:

    The “Interactive Transcript” is funny, but useless.Report