The 2012 US Election

The place for measured discourse about politics and current events, including developments in science and medicine.
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River
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Post by River »

Even that depends on your normal day-to-day life...
When you can do nothing what can you do?
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Frelga
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Post by Frelga »

River wrote:Even that depends on your normal day-to-day life...
A woman is allowed to appear more emotional than a man, at the price of appearing less rational. In some areas of life, that price is higher than in others.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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River
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Post by River »

Frelga wrote:
River wrote:Even that depends on your normal day-to-day life...
A woman is allowed to appear more emotional than a man, at the price of appearing less rational. In some areas of life, that price is higher than in others.
Yeah, in science the price is high enough that it's just not worth it. One must also be careful about appearing too feminine...then again, the guys who make "too much" (however that's defined) of an effort to be stylish are also seen as less serious so really no matter what gender you are, jeans/cargo pants/something along those lines and a t-shirt and a ponytail are the safest bets (well, okay, not all the guys have ponytails but for some reason they crop up more among scientists and artists than the population as a whole).
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Primula Baggins
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Post by Primula Baggins »

So Mr. Prim's ponytail that he's grown since being laid off by Corporate Science means he's reverting to type. Not to mention the way he dresses now. Jeans and a Hawaiian shirt would be typical. And Birkenstocks if he's got to leave the house.

I have to say I like this type quite a lot. :) And Elsevier doesn't care what their freelancers look like.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
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River
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Post by River »

Yep. If it weren't in him to start with he wouldn't be doing it.
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Túrin Turambar
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Post by Túrin Turambar »

I honestly don’t think that being aggressive or obnoxious in the debates is either required or really that helpful. Obama’s performance was panned not because he was too polite, but because he came across (at least in the fifteen minutes or so that I watched) as tired and disengaged with what he was saying.

Successful debaters, like Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton, didn’t necessarily abuse or belittle their opponents. They appeared relaxed, confident and in control, which is what gives the impression of leadership ability to voters. And I don’t think that this is necessarily a case of voters putting style before substance, either. If you require someone to do something for you that you lack the knowledge to do yourself, be it a doctor, mechanic or politician, then you have to make some sort of judgement about how well they will serve you from their manner and ability to explain themselves. I’m unlikely to take my car to a shifty mechanic no matter how accurate the explanations he gives me are because as a laymen I couldn’t make those judgements.
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Post by Holbytla »

Okay, so I forced myself to watch about 95% of the debate. I thought Biden won the debate, but he sure didn't make it easy on himself with the way he acted. (Incidentally, most of the news wonks called the debate a draw, although in a CNN poll Ryan was declared the winner. I didn't see it that way)

I don't buy this, "you have to be rude, interrupt your opponent, laugh at him, and talk over him" to be seen as "strong" or successful in a debate. That isn't what does it. Just as appearing listless, bored, lacking vibrant speech or as James Carville said after the first presidential debate in describing Obama; "it looked like he didn't want to be there", isn't what does it.

Biden could have beat this guy into next month, if he acted like he did towards the end of the debate, rather than the way he acted at the beginning.

It isn't one extreme or the other.

I thought Biden was better in many aspects of the debate, but I think his lowest point (aside from the interrupting, laughing and snide attitude) was the Libya debacle, which could haunt them.

I can't even discuss what both of them said about Afghanistan, because that was the point I wanted to throw things at the tv most. Biden was dead wrong in his assessment and Ryan was little better.


Most of the details they give out are, if they do at all, are things that America doesn't know off the top of their heads. It takes some later fact checking to see what was what. During their rhetoric, people have to focus on body language and listen to their sincerity or lack of. A couple of times during the debate, I was informed enough to know who was bs-ing and in some cases it was both of them.

In any case, I think that if Obama is himself (despite the warnings posted here) and displays some passion, is quick on his feet, doesn't devolve into too much attacking, focuses on imparting facts, and is honest, he should win next time around.

If he comes across as uninterested, attacking, rude, listless, uninspired, he won't.

edit:cross posted with LM, who has the right of it
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Post by anthriel »

Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
anthriel wrote:Yeah, I think they all have that smirk thing available on demand.

This thread just reinforces, to me, again, how the same situation is intrepreted so differently based on... wait for it..... which side you are on. There is no *real* standard for decorum, which someone will hold a speaker to no matter which side they are on.

It's like... well, if my guy was rude, well it's just the goldarn honest truth, it needed to be said. If my guy smirks or laughs derisively and derails good discussions with theatrics, well, so what, really... they are tough "warriors" in "battle". Don't you want a leader who is tough in battle?

If the OTHER guy is rude, well, my guy "lost" the debate because *my guy*, and SOOO not *THEIR guy*, has class and is polite and kind and good to kittens. Don't you want a president who is good to kittens?

And the white hat/black hat can change heads relatively quickly. Along with the interpretations of what happened.
I don't know, Anthy, President Obama was pretty widely panned by members of both parties for essentially being too polite in the last debate. To the extent that he might now end up losing an election that he all but had sown up before then, unless he can come back in the next too debates and be sufficiently rude and obnoxious.
He was widely panned for being too passive in the debate by people who thought he "lost", on both sides. The reason given by people defending him is that he was too polite, too classy, to act the way Romney did.

He will certainly change his tactics, if he is to "win" the next one. It's all theatrics. (Edit: although, perhaps I am too cynical. I really like what Holby and LM said about this. Hopefully Pres. Obama is listening. :))

Then there is Biden, who comes across as an obnoxious third-grader in his debate, and Ryan, who didn't "stand up to him" the way he should have. Does anyone really think that all those derisive guffaws were anything but scripted? The plan was, hey, anything that comes out of Ryan's mouth, LAUGH about it. Make it seem like anything the guy says is so idiotic, it only rates laughter. Ryan could have said the sky was blue and Biden would have acted like that was the dumbest thing he ever heard.

It would be nice to see a bit more statesmanship on both sides, but I think that ship has sailed. Jerry Springer has replaced Daniel Webster. It's a shame, really.

.

.

.

I actually never think about Obama having to avoid the "angry black man" persona, mostly because I have never seen him act anything but classy. It is a good point, though, and I'm glad you've brought it up. Just because I don't worry about it (if he's angry, sometimes he should be, like when Romney was slamming him wholesale) doesn't mean he doesn't have to.
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"A cage," Éowyn said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”
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Post by Holbytla »

I think Obama wanted to be with Michele that night rather than Romney.
I can't blame him for that. He admitted to having an off night. Okay he is human and I understand that.

I just hope he realizes what is at stake, and that he really can't afford to have an off night. Like every president, he has baggage. He needs to be on top of his game at all times. He has issues that need to be dealt with (Libya, foreign policy, economy stupid) and his administration has vulnerabilities that need to be dealt with.

He can't afford an off night.
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Post by vison »

No, he can't.

He's The Decider.
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Post by yovargas »

The debates should be done in a private room with no cameras and no recordings and no audience except some people there just taking transcripts of what is said. Just release the text transcripts and that's all we see. Wouldn't that be nice.....
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Post by Holbytla »

You have access to just transcripts or just audio or just video.
The really hardcore poly-sci people sample all of them and draw conclusions based on what they read, what they saw and what they heard.

Having said that, I do know what you mean. I doubt there would be more than chaff at the end of the day though.

I find it troubling that the debates are scripted and that the candidates rehearse pat answers.
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Primula Baggins
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Post by Primula Baggins »

It's a sucky system, entirely.

OTOH, it really is a required skill of the U.S. president that he/she be able to speak forcefully and convincingly when required—to Congress, to the U.N., to the U.S. public. That is not a trivial skill, and it ought to be in the president's toolkit.

Though it doesn't affect electability. George W. Bush did not have this gift—epically, he didn't—but he was still elected to two terms.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

This is the best campaign ad that I have seen this election (though I'm not sure that it will be as effective with others):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nUDg-O9 ... r_embedded
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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Post by Holbytla »

Well using Morgan Freeman does have its advantages. ;)
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Voronwë the Faithful
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Well, all politicians claim to have God on their side, but ... . ;)
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Post by Alatar »

Thought some of you might enjoy this:

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The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End
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Post by Cenedril_Gildinaur »

The debates should be in classic format. One topic per debate, alternating turns. Team debate with both the Presidential Candidate and Vice Presidential Candidate constituting a team.

First Affirmative Constructive 8 minutes
Negative Cross Examination 3 minutes
First Negative Constructive 8 minutes
Affirmative Cross Examination 3 minutes
Second Affirmative Constructive 8 minutes
Negative Cross Examination 3 minutes
Second Negative Constructive 8 minutes
Affirmative Cross Examination 3 minutes
First Negative Rebuttal 5 minutes
First Affirmative Rebuttal 5 minutes
Second Negative rebuttal 5 minutes
Second Affirmative rebuttal 5 minutes

Points are awarded on Harms, Inherency, Solvency, Topicality, and Significance.
Last edited by Cenedril_Gildinaur on Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Cenedril_Gildinaur »

Alatar wrote:Thought some of you might enjoy this:

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The sad thing about American politics is that it all comes down to who likes Sesame Street. But since that is the biggest difference, why not?
"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."
-- Samuel Adams
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Primula Baggins
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Post by Primula Baggins »

The sad thing about American politics is that it all comes down to who likes Sesame Street. But since that is the biggest difference, why not?
You're joking, right? :P

As a woman, a liberal, the mother of an unemployed son, and a person with a pre-existing condition, I would find it more than a bit condescending and dismissive to be told that Sesame Street is the largest difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

So, I'm assuming you're joking.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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