Forum posts made by principessa

Topic Can Romney/Ryan get elected?
Posted 23 Oct 2012 09:53

From The New Yorker

Posted by John Cassidy

Let’s start with the blindingly obvious: President Obama won last night’s debate in Boca Raton, and won it easily. According to a CBS instant poll of uncommitted voters, his margin of victory was thirty points—fifty-three per cent to twenty-three per cent—a bigger margin even than the one Mitt Romney enjoyed in Denver a few weeks ago. On the question of who would better handle terrorism and national security, the split in Obama’s favor was almost as large: sixty-four per cent to thirty-six per cent.

These figures are hardly surprising. From Obama’s very first answer, when he said to his opponent, “Your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map,” to near the end, when he said, “Governor Romney, you keep trying to airbrush history,” he was the more aggressive debater, the more polished, the more persuasive, and the more punitive. Before the first debate, his aides proclaimed him above the use of “zingers.” On this occasion, he came with his pockets bulging with them, none more zingy than his crack about the military having fewer bayonets and horses than it did in 1916—a riposte that clearly had been prepared for use if Romney repeated his line about the U.S. Navy having fewer warships now than it had almost a hundred years ago, which indeed he did. Not content with mocking his opponent once, Obama proceeded to do it twice more: “We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them,” he said. “We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”

If that was the sound bite of the evening, there were lots more high moments for the President, some of them supplied, mystifyingly enough, by his opponent, who was engaged in what amounted to a shape-shifting exercise too far. Having observed how well his “Mitt the Moderate” act went down in Denver, the G.O.P. candidate had evidently decided to reprise it in the arena of foreign policy. On issue after issue—Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, the pursuit of Al Quada—he aligned himself with the Administration’s policies, backing away from his previous criticisms, and from any suggestion that he might govern as a bellicose warmonger.

Asked about the United States’ role in the world, he said: “Our purpose is to make sure the world is more—is peaceful. We want a peaceful planet. We want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they’re going to have a bright and prosperous future, not be at war.” In response to a question about how he would go beyond the Administration’s efforts to topple the Assad regime, he said: “I don’t want to have our military involved in Syria.” Nor in Afghanistan. Where previously he had questioned Obama’s commitment to bring all the troops home by 2014, he now declared: “We’re going to be finished by 2014, and when I’m President, we’ll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014.” Around the country, conservatives were watching with increasing alarm. “How many times has Romney said the president is right tonight,” Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review, tweeted about fifteen minutes before the end. “i thought he shld try to be a little above the fray, but this is a bit much.” Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, agreed, tweeting: “Romney’s closing statement better save this performance, or he’s a big loser tonight.”

From the very beginning, you knew something fishy was going on. In his first question of the evening, Bob Schieffer, the courtly CBS veteran, brought up the recent deaths in Libya of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. “Questions remain,” Schieffer said. “What happened? What caused it? Was it spontaneous? Was it an intelligence failure? Was it a policy failure? Was there an attempt to mislead people about what really happened? Governor Romney, you said this was an example of an American policy in the Middle East that is unravelling before our very eyes.” Uh-oh, you thought. Here comes the answer Romney should have given last week: a stinging denunciation of the Administration’s failure to provide adequate security for Stevens and his colleagues, followed by a ringing indictment of its efforts to portray a terrorist attack as a spontaneous riot.

But no. Rather than unsheathing his bayonet and ramming it into the President’s gullet, Romney said, “Mr. President, it’s good to be with you again,” and went off on a rambling discourse about the threats facing the world, taking in the Arab Spring, the carnage in Syria, the Iranian nuclear threat, the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory in Egypt, and the takeover of “the northern part of Mali”—yes, Mali—“by Al Qaeda-type individuals.” Just when you thought he was circling back to Benghazi, Romney said, “and we’re going to have to recognize that we have to do as the President has done. I congratulate him on—on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in Al Qaeda. But we can’t kill our way out of this mess. We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the—the world of Islam and other parts of the world, reject this radical violent extremism.”

It was hard to know which was more shocking: Romney paying tribute to Obama, or a Republican politician saying: “We can’t kill our way out this mess.” As I was struggling to decide, Romney went on: “We don’t want another Iraq, we don’t want another Afghanistan. That’s not the right course for us. The right course for us is to make sure that we go after the—the people who are leaders of these various anti-American groups and these—these jihadists, but also help the Muslim world. And how do we do that? A group of Arab scholars came together, organized by the U.N., to look at how we can help the—the world reject these—these terrorists.”

The hirsute and somewhat elderly gent keeling over in the G.O.P. green room was John Bolton, the Bush Administration hard-liner who, in 2005 and 2006, spent a year and a half camped out on the East Side trying to insult as many U.N. officials (and foreigners in general) as he could. In reaction to questions about why Romney had enlisted head cases like Bolton to his foreign-policy team, his flacks frequently pointed to the presence of less fearsome figures, such as Robert Zoellick, the former head of the World Bank. But who knew that Romney had also enlisted Katrina vanden Heuvel and Kofi Annan as advisers? Not I, anyway.

About the only time Romney got his Irish up and took the fight to Obama was when he repeated his charge that the President, at the beginning of his term, had embarked on an “apology tour” of the Middle East. Obama promptly dismissed this as “the biggest whopper that’s been told during the course of this campaign.” Romney, rather than saying, yet again, that he agreed with the President, came back at him, accusing him of saying on Arabic television that “America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.”

Finally, something for Republicans to cheer about. But that was Romney’s one Reagan moment. Afterwards, however, there was some suggestion from the pundits that his entire performance had been a fiendishly clever attempt to ape what the Gipper did in 1980, during a debate with Jimmy Carter: come on all lovey-dovey and peace-loving, and thereby put to rest fears that, should he be elected, he would promptly loose one off on the Soviets. “Mitt Romney did something pretty important tonight,” David Gergen said on CNN. “He came across as a responsible-sounding Commander-in-Chief.” Over on Fox, Charles Krauthammer developed this argument further: “He stayed away from the pitfalls. He did not allow himself to to be pictured as a warmonger. I think this could help him win the election.”

I don’t buy it. If Romney does win, it will be despite this performance rather than because of it. In refusing to engage in detail about what happened in Libya, he gave up his one chance of really embarrassing the President on a specific foreign-policy issue. In constantly siding with Obama on issues of military policy and counter-terrorism—did I say he loves drone attacks?—he undermined his argument that the President’s term of office has been a failure and he needs running out of town. And in constantly reversing his previous positions, he raised anew the question that has plagued him all along: Does he actually believe in anything?

After the debate had finished, I went to a bookshelf and pulled out my copy of “The Real Romney,” a meticulously reported biography of the G.O.P. candidate that I’ve cited before because it’s probably still the best thing written on him. In their prologue, the authors, Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, two reporters at the Boston Globe, recall the Mittster’s 2008 campaign, when, with John McCain and Rudy Giuliani occupying what passes for the moderate center in the G.O.P., Romney decided to recreate himself as a right-winger, shamelessly courting the social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, religious conservatives—“any conservatives he could find.”

The trouble was that it looked too much like opportunism—or worse, insincerity, given his long record of syncing his political views with the party’s moderate wing. “Everything could always be tweaked, reshaped, fixed, addressed,” said one former aide, describing Romney’s outlook. “It was foreign to him on policy issues that core principles mattered—that somebody would go back and say, ‘Well, three years ago you said this.’ ” The perception of expedience, along with lingering bigotry against Mormonism, helped bury his hopes.
In 2012, Romney has largely overcome any anti-Mormon feeling in the party, and the country. But, as last night’s debate demonstrated, the perception of expedience will never go away because it is perfectly accurate. Indeed, it is getting worse. Where once he repudiated things he said three years ago, he now repudiates things he said three months ago, or even three weeks ago. Fourteen days from now, we will find out whether his outrageously cynical approach to campaigning pays off. Given the way the polls are going, such a possibility can’t be wholly discounted. But last night, I suspect, he went too far. The voters may be gullible. But are they that gullible?

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Topic Photo of something you'll never be caught wearing
Posted 22 Oct 2012 14:55

It is just not me.

Topic Approaching 150K members, $150 Amazon Voucher up for grabs!
Posted 22 Oct 2012 07:14

November 8th

Topic Can Romney/Ryan get elected?
Posted 19 Oct 2012 15:52

Sometimes no words are needed.

Topic Scoring and comments. Fair?
Posted 17 Oct 2012 15:08

I do not believe that comments should be anonymous. If you feel that you do not want to make negative comments publicly, you have the option to give constructive criticism in a PM. As for scoring, allowing it to be anonymous opens the door for those who bear ill will, jealousy or other negative feelings that have nothing to do with your work to lower your score. Although it would be nice to ignore this and take it from whence it comes - perhaps from a spurned lover or a rival for someone's affection (who knows?) - it is really a petty thing to do. There are a number of us who have been subject to this kind of sneaky ill will.

I have recently chosen to connect the ability to score the stories that I write with Alphamagus to commenting (an option in settings), so that you must leave tracks. If you have something to say, you may and then score. If you want to comment privately, I welcome that, too.

Topic Book recommendations
Posted 17 Oct 2012 11:11

Anything by Alan Furst furst.jpg

Topic Brad No. 5
Posted 16 Oct 2012 12:38

Chanel #5.

It is what my grandmother swiped on her wrists. But she passed away in 1985 and was 73 at the time! Chanel #5, it's so...1940s

You are so right, WMM. It is a grandmother scent. Maybe that is why I don't like it and why they are trying to update it with Brad Pitt.

Topic Brad No. 5
Posted 16 Oct 2012 09:05

Is it just me or does Brad Pitt always look like he needs a shower? Hot guy but sometimes I question his hygiene!LOL

Perhaps they are trying a new strategy in that the celebs in scent ads are usually selling products for their own gender. This is aspirational in a different way. Instead of helping us be like them - Charlize Theron, Keira Knightley, etc. - this tells us the perfume might help us get someone like Brad.

I have never understood his appeal. No, thank you. Of course it helps that Chanel No. 5 is awful on me. I like Allure by Chanel much better.

Topic Can Romney/Ryan get elected?
Posted 15 Oct 2012 16:47

Thank you, Oberon, for summarizing it all so eloquently. Interestingly, you have observed deafness, while I thought it was willful blindness - the refusal to acknowledge the obvious, proven truth. But I guess there are some people out there still who think the world is flat and are afraid of sailing off the edge.

I will be so happy when the election over and, please God, this thread is finished.

Topic Keeping Your Mouth Shut or Speaking what is on your mind.
Posted 15 Oct 2012 16:42

I believe in saying what I think with a number of caveats. It is important sometimes to ask yourself what good will come of this if you do speak up. Sometimes, none, so it is best to say nothing.

I think part of maturing is not having always to show how smart you are any more, or how much you know, so you can let things pass without comment. You have nothing to prove so, again, it is not necessary to say anything, especially if it may cause embarrassment to someone else (unless something important depends on them being right).

I have also come to realize that you learn more by being quiet, as people feel compelled to fill silence. Sometimes it is a good strategy.

Finally, in matters of principle, right and wrong, it is always necessary to speak up.

Topic The most important ingredient
Posted 15 Oct 2012 11:31

Intellectual curiosity for me

add the ability to make me laugh and that is the magic formula.

Topic Forum Game: Twin Word Link
Posted 15 Oct 2012 09:35

Bar Association

Topic What comes to your mind when you hear the name of the country above you?
Posted 14 Oct 2012 18:35

Prague and "The Unbearable Lightness of Being".


Topic Can Romney/Ryan get elected?
Posted 14 Oct 2012 16:04

Thanks for that New Yorker post, principessa.
Very interesting, and very entertaining.

You're welcome.

Just don't tell 1ball. Adam Gopnik is a Canadian. Just part of the socialist Trojan horse of Canadians in the US subverting his Ayn Rand individualist wet dream.

Topic Can Romney/Ryan get elected?
Posted 14 Oct 2012 15:43

sorry double post

Topic Can Romney/Ryan get elected?
Posted 14 Oct 2012 15:40

Sometimes I am left speechless by the thoughtful discourse in this thread.

It actually makes Fox News seem fair and balanced. Irony intended.

Topic Can Romney/Ryan get elected?
Posted 14 Oct 2012 14:10

Since people are posting interesting opinion columns, I thought I would add this one from "The New Yorker".

Of Babies and Beans: Paul Ryan on Abortion
By Adam Gopnik

Watching the political debates this season always puts this writer, perhaps irresponsibly, in mind of seventies movie comedies: Romney seems like the smug country clubber in a hundred National Lampoonish movies, the one Chevy Chase takes the girl away from, while Paul Ryan last night seemed exactly like the authority-pleasing, solemn student-body president who either gets pantsed midway by the stars of “Porkys” or else blissfully turned on to grass in the final reel by Bill Murray. Joe Biden watching Ryan, meanwhile, put me in mind of nothing so much as the great, grouchy, aged Eddie Albert in Elaine May’s matchless original, “The Heartbreak Kid,” narrowing his eyes in disbelief as he listens to the slick, oleaginous (and already married!) Charles Grodin courting his beautiful blond daughter: “ I heard everything you said… and I will tell you, quite honestly, I was very impressed. Very impressed. And I think I can also say, quite honestly… I have never heard such a crock of horseshit in my life.”

But beyond the horseshit something genuinely disturbing and scary got said last night by Paul Ryan that is, I think, easily missed and still worth brooding over. It came in response to a solemn and, it seemed to some of us, inappropriately phrased question about the influence of the Catholic Church on both men’s positions on abortion. Inappropriately phrased because legislation is made for everyone, not specially for those of “faith.” (And one would have thought that, at this moment in its history, the Catholic Church would not have much standing when it comes to defining the relationship between sexual behavior and doctrinal morality. However few in number the sinners might be, the failure to deal with them openly casts doubt on the integrity of the institution.)

Paul Ryan did not say, as John Kennedy had said before him, that faith was faith and public service, public service, each to be honored and kept separate from the other. No, he said instead “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do.” That’s a shocking answer—a mullah’s answer, what those scary Iranian “Ayatollahs” he kept referring to when talking about Iran would say as well. Ryan was rejecting secularism itself, casually insisting, as the Roman Catholic Andrew Sullivan put it, that “the usual necessary distinction between politics and religion, between state and church, cannot and should not exist.” And he went on to make it quietly plain that his principles are uncompromising on this, even if his boss’s policy may not seem so:

All I’m saying is, if you believe that life begins at conception, that, therefore, doesn’t change the definition of life. That’s a principle. The policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

Our system, unlike the Iranians’, is not meant to be so total: it depends on making many distinctions between private life, where we follow our conscience into our chapel, and our public life, where we seek to merge many different kinds of conscience in a common space. Our faith should not inform us in everything we do, or there would be no end to the religious warfare that our tolerant founders feared.

Ryan then went on to say something oddly disarming in its inherent lack of self-awareness. He talked about how, looking at a first sonogram of his daughter, he was thrilled by the beating heart in the tiny “bean” on the image, so much that he and his wife still call that child “Bean.” As someone who is not often accused of being indifferent to the joys of fatherhood, I recognize the moment—and in fact still have that same early ultrasound picture, two of them. But Ryan’s moral intuition that something was indeed wonderful here was undercut, tellingly, by a failure to recognize accurately what that wonderful thing was, even as he named it: a bean is exactly what the photograph shows—a seed, a potential, a thing that might yet grow into something greater, just as a seed has the potential to become a tree. A bean is not a baby.

The fundamental condition of life is that it develops, making it tricky sometimes to say when it’s fully grown and when it isn’t, but always easy to say that there is a difference and that that difference is, well, human life itself. It is this double knowledge that impacts any grownup thinking about abortion: that it isn’t life that’s sacred—the world is full of life, much of which Paul Ryan wants to cut down and exploit and eat done medium rare. It is conscious, thinking life that counts, and where and exactly how it begins (and ends) is so complex a judgment that wise men and women, including some on the Supreme Court, have decided that it is best left, at least at its moments of maximum ambiguity, to the individual conscience (and the individual conscience’s doctor). The cost of simplifying this truth is immense cruelty—cruelty to the bean when, truly developed, it becomes a frightened teen-ager who is to be compelled by law to carry her unwished-for pregnancy through with all the trauma that involves. This kind of cruelty—cruelty to real persons, killing the infidel in order to hasten him into heaven, stoning the fourteen-year-old girl in pursuit of some prophet’s view of virtue, forcing the teenager to complete her pregnancy to fulfill a middle-aged man’s moral hunches—is the kind of cruelty that our liberal founders saw with terror.

Ryan talked facilely of what “science” says in this case. But what real science has to tell us, of course, very different; it says that life has no neat on and off, that while life may in some sense begin at conception, the moment when the formed consciousness that distinguishes human life from bean life arises is a very different question, not reducible to a dogma or a simple claim. A bean isn’t a baby; a baby was once a bean, and between those two truths it is, or ought to be, every woman for herself.

What is unquestionable is that the kind of fully conscious life that everyone claims to prize already belongs to the woman who happens to be pregnant, and it should be her individual moral conscience that, in a society devoted to the individual, ought to rule. One reason we prize life is because it makes minds. And women, who have them, should be free to make up their own.

Topic World around you in two words
Posted 14 Oct 2012 12:42

brisk autumn

Topic Religion, Bad or Good?
Posted 12 Oct 2012 11:52

I do not object to religion, just any form of it that is extreme whatever the denomination. I object to Muslims like the Taliban who recently shot a young girl for going to school and encouraging other girls to do the same, I object to Catholics imposing their views on abortion, birth control and other issues on the rest of us, I object to Orthodox Judaism and any other religion that holds women in a less than equal status. I object to born-again Protestant evangelicals for their influence on the politics of the US, which is supposed to be a democracy not a theocracy.

I object to any religion that is used as a reason to abuse or kill and any creed that says I am less or eternally damned if I am not a member.

If your faith gives you comfort and solace, good for you. But if its institutions do any of the above things, it is not a force for good in the world.

Topic Have you ever taken advice from a song?
Posted 12 Oct 2012 11:40

Not advice, but certainly songs have become thematic of moments and times in my life. I am taken back there whenever I hear them.

Topic Happy Birthday STEPHANIE
Posted 11 Oct 2012 16:00

Is this thread one of your birthday presents???

Topic Happy Birthday STEPHANIE
Posted 11 Oct 2012 15:10

Happy Birthday, Steph. Sorry, I spilled the exact number, but look at it this way. you are eighteen years younger than Keef.

Topic Use My Last Word First - in a 5 word sentence..
Posted 11 Oct 2012 13:45

those that give me pleasure

Topic Last Two Letters ....
Posted 11 Oct 2012 07:28


Topic Last Two Letters ....
Posted 10 Oct 2012 14:38


Topic Last Two Letters ....
Posted 09 Oct 2012 18:53


Topic Songs that make you go GRRRRR - post songs you dislike here.
Posted 29 Sep 2012 12:54

Uncle Kracker - Follow me

Topic Last Two Letters ....
Posted 29 Sep 2012 12:00


Topic Phrases you wish people would get right
Posted 29 Sep 2012 07:51

You send people your regards (good wishes). When discussing something it is "with (or in) regard to", not the plural.

Topic Alphabet Songs (A-Z)
Posted 26 Sep 2012 15:51

Yesterday - The Beatles