Presidential Debates Should be Deemed Cruel and Unusual

In the comments here James Hanley called the debates “pure political theater.” To the degree that last night’s romp was light on substance and heavy on posturing it certainly was politically theatrical. And yet to call it pure political theater would seem a disservice to those who actually do political theater—including satire, parody, and experimental…

President Obama Reintroduces Himself

The night of October 16 was a good one for President Obama. After more than a month of sounding, looking, and acting like a tired man who resents being made to undergo the electioneering process, the Obama seen during the second presidential debate actually performed. He didn’t approach the debate like something it wasn’t (a genuine…

On Ross Douthat, “Glass Jaw” Analogies, and Always Trying to Find a New Angle

Ross Douthat seeks to diagnose what’s ailing the left and more specifically, the President. Naturally, it’s “liberalism’s glass jaw,” “There is no world in which all of these hopes could have been perfectly realized. But the ways in which they’ve been disappointed have delivered some hard lessons. It isn’t just that Obama failed to live…

Was Jim Lehrer a Replacement Moderator?

As televised Presidential debates go, it’s pretty clear that Romney trounced Obama. If you disagree, listen to Chris Mathews and the rest of the liberal MSNBC fan club. He and the rest of the Obama groupies were fuming after the debate. Choking back tears of frustration, Mathews demolished the President’s performance with a ferocity beyond…

Sit Down and Shut Up! (Because we are many and you are not)

This piece by Rebecca Solnit serves as the best example, but there are countless others as well. In short, many self-proclaimed liberals can’t stand that (1) their guy might be just as morally dubious as the other, or that (2) their deepest partisan urges might conflict with their penchant for moralistic hand-wringing. Liberal pundits and…

On the First Lady’s Speech

I think Tom Junod’s characterization of the First Lady’s speech is exactly right. “Republican commentators,” he writes, “spoke almost winsomely of Ann Romney’s need to humanize Mitt Romney; but no Democratic commentator could speak of the necessity of “Americanizing” Barack Obama without indulging the worst instincts of the American electorate.” In this context the style and content…

Three Things About Paul Ryan as Romney’s VP Pick

I loathe Ryan, not least of all because I can now no longer sit in front of the telly (my Netflix queue has been full of British sitcoms) and let my frustration reservedly smolder as I watch the Sunday morning political shows while eating breakfast*, because doing so would inevitably entail putting up with the constant reprieve that, whatever…

Conflicting Accounts of Obama’s Foreign Policy Achievements

Andrew Sullivan wants Obamaites to more aggressively tout the President’s foreign policy achievements: “I think the Obamaites need to be more aggressive in foreign policy arguments. Obama ended one war in Iraq, dispatched Osama bin Laden and Muammar Qaddafi without a single US casualty, re-set relations with Russia, brought unprecedentedly united international pressure against Iran’s nuclear bomb potential, wiped…