Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

Month: October 2012 (Page 2 of 4)

Real October Surprise Is Obama and Romney Agree – Bloomberg

One of this year’s more amusing “Ideological Battle of the Century!” poses was recently adopted by Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee.

“There’s a tape that came out just a couple of days ago where the president said yes he believes in redistribution,” he said. “I don’t.”

Romney supports Medicare and Medicaid, as well as food stamps, Social Security and welfare. As governor of Massachusetts, he passed a health-care-reform law that subsidized insurance coverage for his state’s poor.

Romney, in other words, fully believes in redistribution. He just prefers a bit less of it than President Barack Obama. Saying otherwise might sound “severely conservative,” but it’s not actually true.

via Real October Surprise Is Obama and Romney Agree – Bloomberg.

Baathism: An Obituary / The End Of An Ideology | The New Republic

IT IS CHEERING to reflect that, when Bashar Al Assad’s government finally collapses in Syria, the governing ideology known as Baathism will likewise undergo a massive setback—though whether Baathism will fade away without a trace is something we can doubt. Baathism is one of the last of the grandiose revolutionary ideologies of the mid-twentieth century—an ideology like communism and fascism in Europe (both of which exercised a large influence on Baathist thinking), except in an Arab version suitable for the age of decolonization. Its champions came to power not only in Syria but in Iraq, in both cases in the 1960s; and the consequences were not of the sort that leave people unchanged.

via Baathism: An Obituary / The End Of An Ideology | The New Republic.

Hat tip to: @socialtrinity for directing me to this.

BBC News – Romney wins debate, but watch the polls

The three men on the red carpet – the two candidates at their pulpits, and the moderator Jim Lehrer sitting at his over-large desk – all seemed to have a different conception of what the debate should be like, as if they were each playing a different sport on the same field. Romney was playing American football, Obama cricket and Lehrer tiddlywinks.

Those who bemoan the lack of substance in modern politics can’t complain about this debate.

Figures flew past at a dizzying speed. But the details are complex, and to follow the argument you would not only have to have an extremely good grasp of the various subjects, from taxation to bank regulation, but an excellent memory as well. It might have been ennobling but I am not sure how enlightening it will have been to the average voter.

“Start Quote

Republicans certainly feel that they have used the debate to shift the perception of their candidate”

But as theatre, a battle of image and confidence, Mitt Romney was the clear winner. He had obviously practised so hard and so long that he was nearly hoarse. But not quite. Instead his voice was a touch deeper. No bad thing.

He looked Mr Obama in the eyes as he interrupted with animation, overriding the moderator, insisting on a comeback. He didn’t seem rude. He did seem in command and to be enjoying the scrap.

President Obama on the other hand looked as though he’d much rather be out celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife. He started out looking very nervous, swallowing hard, not the confident performer we are used to seeing.

via BBC News – Romney wins debate, but watch the polls.

Debate ‘Cold’ Reaction: Yes, Romney Can Debate – James Fallows – The Atlantic

I argued in my story last month that Mitt Romney was better at debating than he was at any other aspect of campaigning, and that Barack Obama, famed and redoubtable orator, was worse.

Anyone feel like disagreeing with that, after the past 90 minutes?

I am not talking about whether I agree with the two candidates’ positions. Obviously I agree more with Obama, and I believe that more of his facts and assertions are “true.” I am talking about crispness in presenting positions within the constraints of this particular format, and the air of overall ease in the encounter.

If you had the sound turned off, Romney looked calm and affable through more of the debate than Obama did, and the incumbent president more often looked peeved. Romney’s default expression, whether genuine or forced, was a kind of smile; Obama’s, a kind of scowl. I can understand why Obama would feel exasperated by these claims and arguments. Every president is exasperated by what he considers facile claims about what he knows to be impossibly knotty problems. But he let it show.

It’s a good thing for Barack Obama that there are a couple more sessions.

via Debate ‘Cold’ Reaction: Yes, Romney Can Debate – James Fallows – The Atlantic.

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