Category Archives: 2012 Election

The Foreign Policy Debate: What did you think?

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Bob and Jack Missing; Possible sighting near Hofstra (Pls Tweet if you spot them)

Apparently there is a bar near Hofstra called the Dizzy Lizard. They aren’t answering their cell phones. I expected this of Bob. In fact, I thought Bob might accidentally go to Detroit to watch the Yankees. But Jack? Not sure how he’s going to spin this.

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Predictions on the VP Debate: Bob and Jack are Back

Jack pushed open the door of the bar and squinted into the dark until he saw Bob.  “Why aren’t you at the Old Ebbitt? I’ve been to half the bars in town looking for you. Are you coming over to Evan’s tonight to watch the debate?”

Bob watched him approach. “The debate? What about the game?”

“We have that covered. Two TVs. Side by side.”

ow.ly/epoEE

“Can I have the remotes?”

“No. And, Evan said not negotiable.”

Bob nodded thoughtfully.”I guess we know who will win anyway, since it’s all in Spin Doctor.”

Jack dragged a bar stool into position and sat next to Bob. “By the way, I have to hand it to you. You nailed it. Watching with the sound off may be one of your best ideas yet.”

Bob shrugged. “You seem surprised.”

“I thought you were just looking for an excuse to hang out in a bar.”

“Right. Like I need an excuse.”

“Okay, smart guy. What about the VP debate?”

“You tell me. You’re the Spin Doctor, after all.”

“I think we go with the sound off again”  Jack waved at the bartender and ordered a Bass Aie.

Bob nodded. “But not because of the visuals. It is possible that listening to this debate, without proper medication, could induce drowsiness.”

“So you don’t think Biden will implode?”

Bob shook his head. “Biden is over rated as an entertainment. He knows how to woo an audience, that’s all. Sometimes he gets caught by another audience that thought he loved them more.”

“What are you talking about? He’s married.”

“Funny. Ha ha. You know what I mean. He can talk to the Economic Club of Chicago and the Brotherhood of Baggage Handlers  and they both will think he’s their guy. Then, they see the news and find out he has a multiple personality disorder.”

“Exactly. And it will be great!”

The bartender slid the bottle of beer in front of Jack, no glass, and another drink in front of Bob.

Bob went on:“No. Think. Tonight the audience is everybody. Tonight he will be buttoned down and buttoned up. No gaffes, no shooting from the lip. Just get out of the debate alive with no headlines. He can’t move the needle so–just don’t blow it.”

Jack blinked at him. “No. I don’t think so. He has absolutely nothing to lose tonight. He’ll swing for the fences. Hold up Big Bird’s lifeless body.  He is going to go for the jugular, be the defender of the President. Even if he goes over the line, he’s not going to lose votes. But, he might energize the base. Right now, the air is coming out of the base. Turnout will be everything.”

“So what are you saying? You have too many metaphors. I can’t follow.”

“Abortion. The women have fled the ticket. This is no time for sweet talk. Immigration, another base issue. And then, a blend of economics aimed at black voters.”

Bob’s pinkish eyes  widened. “The race card?”

“Not saying they will play it. But they might accidentally drop it on the table then quickly pick it up.”

Bob stirred the ice cubes in his glass with the bar straw.

“What do you think?”

“Does Evan have any Glen Fiddich or should I bring my own?”

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Debate Advice from Jack and Bob: Look, Don’t Listen!

I know the debate could not possibly be as eventful as the one in Spin Doctor.  However, I asked a couple of characters to give us a report on it:

Jack pushed his way through the tourists at the Old Ebbitt toward the bar in the back, where he was surprised to see Bob, already at the bar. “I thought M.C. asked you to go to Colorado for the debate. What are you doing here?”

Bob shifted on the barstool. “I’m supposed to watch the debate, right? So I can do that here.”

“No, you are supposed to be there. In person.” Jack slid onto the stool next to him, waived at the bartender and pointed to the Heineken tap.

Bob shook his head. “First of all, the people in the room will have no idea what is going on. They will talk to each other, squint at the stage, strain to hear over the applause that isn’t supposed to happen.” He took a sip of an amber drink in a short glass. “If you want to know what happens, you have to watch TV.”

The bartender placed a napkin in front of Jack and set the beer on it. When he went back to the other end of the bar, Jack went on: “Well you aren’t going to try to watch it here, are you?  I mean it isn’t noisy, but you won’t be able to hear a word they say.”

“Exactly. If I watched it at home, I would be tempted to listen. But that’s a mistake.”

“No. Seriousy. You can come over to Evan’s condo. We are going to get some beer and watch it there.”

“No. Thanks anyway.” Bob waved his empty glass  at the bartender, who nodded  back. “Besides, you two will probably make a drinking game out of the word “deficit” or “fiscal cliff.” You really can tell what’s going on better with the sound off. It’s visual. It doesn’t matter what they say. It’s how they react.”

“Really.”

“Stop saying that. I’m not kidding. Remember the Lloyd Bentsen-Dan Quayle moment? It wasn’t what he said as much as Quayle’s reaction. And Bush the Elder, when he looked at his watch. Visual. Didn’t say a word.”

“That was ages ago. Don’t you think voters are more sophisticated now? “

“Maybe. But it’s still about what your eyes take in. If you hear the words, it’s hard to concentrate on the visuals.”

“I’m starting to believe you are serious. What about the last election?”

“Easy.  The debate was a draw. Amiable old guy versus smooth young guy.  Bush the younger won both of his, but not on words. Gore and Kerry struck some voters as condescending. Like they were talking to a group of naughty five year olds.  And remember Gore’s sighs? And those Reagan moments they keep playing in a loop? You can tell without the sound that he nailed those lines.”

“I still think M.C. wanted you to go to Colorado.”

“Look, nothing like what happens in Spin Doctor is going to happen in this debate. I’m not going to another time zone. Also, the air is thin. And it’s not like I’m going to find anything out in those spin rooms. I can tell you what they’re going to say before the debate starts.”

“Plus, there is no bar in the auditorium.”

“I very much doubt it.”

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October 3, 2012 · 12:57 pm

What do you think will happen in the debate next week? Vote in my poll!

See the poll in the sidebar on the left.

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What do you think about #Romney’s 47% remark?

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Do you think Romney was wrong to criticize US actions in the Middle East?

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A whiff of Sabotage? Or just getting ready to abandon ship?

A spate of articles report that some pundits think Obama fizzled at the Convention.  According to Politico, before the Obamas left the stage, James Carville tweeted : “Certainly not the best speech of this convention.” WaPo’s Dana Milbank’s headline: “Obama the Demigod Comes Down to Earth.”

Are the Clintonistas shuffling toward the exits? Or bolting? Do I detect the notes of  a carefully spun narrative, whispered into a few eager but discreet media ears?  Now wafting out into the media airwaves, with no fingerprints and no smoking gun? A muffled clinking of the Clinton train as it is unhitched from the Obama engine? . .
Not saying they want Romney to win, do they?
What do you think? Vote in my poll, or leave me a comment.

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Jack and Bob uncover vicious infighting at the Democratic Convention

Jack* and Bob* finally made it to Charlotte. They missed the mimosa brunch but while  they waited outside their hotel for the shuttle bus,  they sent me this quick update:

Jack: M.C. wants to know what really happened with the change of venue for the President’s speech? Did you find  anything out?

Bob:  Did you see the movie, “There Will Be Blood?” Neither did I, but I like the title.

Jack: And?

Bob: They’ve been fighting about this for the last year. One side said, “We have to have a stadium and a gazillion people like before. Maybe not Greek columns. But something big. Otherwise, it will look like we couldn’t draw a crowd.”

Jack: And the other side, let me guess, said, “yeah, but what if we actually can’t draw a crowd—won’t that look even worse? “

Bob:  Yes, plus, no way they are going to get the same level of excitement—So they would argue: “Why  not just go traditional this time. Make it manageable, get some movie stars. We can blow the place apart…”

Jack: And the stadium people said, “uh uh. If we do that, the sneering opposition will taunt us. Where are the Greek columns, haw haw. Where is the overflowing stadium?”

Bob: It’s like you were in the room.

Jack: And  how about: “can you honestly tell me you don’t think there are 74,000 people in North Carolina  who would want to see the President?”

Bob: “Especially if it is free and there are movie stars, rock bands?…”

Jack: Okay, so what happened?

Bob smiled: Bad weather. Didn’t you see the news? Because weather is news, after all. Very seldom happens in North Carolina, so they weren’t expecting it.

Jack: Right. So what’s the upshot?

Bob: There are two sides, and you can guess who they are, because I’m not going to tell you. The side that pushed for the stadium, they may need to get some of those US Air tickets home, because there might not be enough room for them on Air Force One.

Jack: Are they toast?

Bob: Let’s just say, the doubts about their judgment have been realized. They may not be fired, but are officially marginalized.

Jack: Well, it looks like they have papered over it pretty well. I read in the Washington Post  a senior Obama adviser said:

“The noise in the room and response to the speech are what people are going to be talking about on Friday.”

Bob: No. they won’t. On Friday, they are going to be talking about the jobs report.

Jack: One more thing, because we are running out of space and I think I see the shuttle bus: What about the platform changes? What went wrong there?

Bob: First of all, as you know perfectly well,  the only thing you can do with the platform is hand it to the other side  so they use it to bludgeon you. In this case, the Democrats have taken that a step further and laced it with broken glass.

Jack: But how in the world did this happen?

Bob: Once again, crappy staff  work. The most passionate believers –who are so wacky you can’t even let them on the stage at 5 o’clock, when nobody is watching– they get a seat on the platform committee. They drag out the platform from the last election and massage the language a little. They may try to beef up certain parts, and someone, known as a grownup, tells them no. In a nice way of course.

The language goes up the line and someone in the White House, the campaign, or both, vet it. The White House may even send some of the more complicated issues out to the various departments to make sure it is consistent with administration policy. All along the way, everyone rolling their eyes, because they know what a worthless document it is…

Jack: When you say “someone in the White House,” do you mean the President? Did the President approve it?

Bob: No way. But somebody did. Let the finger pointing begin. Because nobody wanted the most memorable, unscripted moment of the convention to be Mayor Villaraigosa saying “Let me try that again…”

Jack: Well, nobody in the Democratic party, at least. Here’s the bus.

Jack and Bob are fictional characters from my novel Spin Doctor, which is about politics (not this election). It is economical and convenient to send fictional correspondents to cover news events. The information in this story is fiction, except for the parts that you couldn’t make up.

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The Truth About Convention Bumps: What Happened and What’s Next?

Heading into the stiff winds of the Democratic Convention, does the Romney campaign start the week with a bump? What’s the final answer?
Rasmussen has Romney gaining 6 percentage points overall, which is average, according to Gallup. He started the week at 42%.  The latest head to head is Romney 48% to Obama 44%.
The Gallup daily tracking poll does not show a bump at this point. But keep in mind, the Gallup poll is a 7-day rolling average vs the 3 day moving average of the Rasmussen poll. In other words, the Gallup poll would include responses that were taken BEFORE the convention. So we will need to wait a few more days to see if there is an impact among registered voters, a broader measure than the Rasmussen “likely voters.”

So now does the same thing happen for the President? Will Obama get a bump this week? Please vote in my poll and let me know what you think!

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September 3, 2012 · 4:33 pm