Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Two Cents on the Debates

Simply put, Obama 2-1 over Romney, Biden 1-0 over Ryan.

To elaborate:

1.  In the first debate, Obama seemed almost lackadaisical, allowing Romney to romp all over the place nice and aggressively.  It was almost comical to watch the usually socially awkward aristocrat throwing out talking points at nearly an auctioneer's pace.  Clear win for Romney, and Obama let him do it.  The polling reflected that.

2.  The second debate showed Obama back on form, and Romney rammed both well-polished shoes down his throat on Libya.  It doesn't help when the debate moderator corrects you.

3.  The VP debate was a win for Biden, who for all his antics scored heavily against a fact-free Lyin' Ryan.

4.  The last debate was a stunning defeat for Romney.  His stupid assertions that a 285-ship Navy of this day, with modern weapons and technology, are the same as the same sized force in 1916, were beneath contempt, prompting Obama to state that we also have fewer horses and bayonets (we haven't done a bayonet charge since Korea, and I'm sure the 1st Cavalry would hate to trade in their tanks and gunships for horses and mules). 

To illustrate, allow me to compare the main armament of two capital ships of the US Navy, the USS Florida (BB-30), and the USS Florida (SSGN-728):

The coal-fired (later oil-fired) USS Florida (BB-30) fired the 12-inch 45-caliber Mark 5 naval rifle, which tossed an 870-pound shell a maximum of 20,000 yards (or a shade over 11 miles).  It carried ten of these in its main battery.  This battleship, the name ship of her class, never fired any of these gun in battle.

By contrast, the nuclear-propelled USS Florida (SSGN-728) carries 154 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles in 22 groups of seven each.  The missiles carry a 1,000-pound conventional warhead (or a 20-kiloton nuke) up to a maximum range of 1,550 miles.  This is not mentioning that the Mark 5 naval rifle had to fire a few times before getting the range and targeting right, while the Tomahawk can practically pinpoint the target before it's even launched.  The submarine fired over 90 of these in the "Odyssey Dawn" operation against Libya.

In terms of quality, technology, training, performance - the current US Navy is far, far stronger than the US Navy of World War One.  Romney's argument (borrowed from former Navy Secretary John Lehman, who stands to make a mint from a funding for a larger Navy) is absurd, and it deserved to be ridiculed.


Were the debates useful?

Not very; a lot of topics were never discussed (veterans, climate change, poverty, crime, Afghanistan, etc.), and even the topics that were discussed were not subjected to a penetrating analysis.

Were the debates informative?

Hell no, for the reasons cited above.  We know Obama's coolness and his accomplishments while in office, and we know Romney's political and business records as well as a lot of documentation about his stances on corporate personhood, women's rights, and so on.

Are the debates still relevant?

Not very, apart from them being political theater.  If the public could be trusted to look beyond Twitter and sound bites, I think that each camp setting out position papers on all of the relevant issues would eliminate a lot of this nonsense.

Just my two cents.


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