Final Predictions

Under 30 hours until the first polls close so it’s time to lock in my predictions:

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As you can see, I’m expecting a slight Obama victory. However, I’m also of the mind that Obama will likely win. The states I’m most iffy on are Virginia and Colorado, both of which Obama currently leads in slightly according to Real Clear Politics, and I’m giving to Romney. Both have been historically slightly Republican leaning and I’m going with my gut here that they’ll both end up going Republican again. However, if I’m wrong, Obama’s victory will only be stronger.

I don’t see any way Romney takes Ohio based on the current polling, or PennsylvaniaWisconsin or Michigan for that matter. Iowa and Nevada are a bit closer and if Romney can snag both, we could end up in an electoral college tie. But that would require a large change from the current polling so the odds of that are very low.

On a separate note, I’ll be off the blog and probably Twitter tomorrow. Hopefully four years from now I’ll be a journalist somewhere frantically covering the election. That certainly sounds fun but for this election, I’m going to allow myself some breathing space to nervously enjoy watching it without quickly typing away on my phone and laptop.

Debate Reaction

Everyone basically agrees: Romney won last night’s debate convincingly and the poll numbers seem to show it.

If I had to sum up last night’s debate in one word, it’d be boring. Each candidate talked for 3+ minutes at a time, spouting out a long list of talking points and numbers, and moderator Jim Lehrer just had no control of the debate. But, I think that’s a big victory for Romney.

One of the biggest criticisms about Romney is that his policies are vague. Last night, his policies did not come off as vague. Instead, he offered just as many numbers and direct answers as Obama did, if not more. That’s a big win. For the many Americans there who keep hearing that Romney doesn’t have specific policies or his numbers don’t add up, he answered those questions.

On top of it, Obama just kind of gave up. As many people have said, he was on the defensive throughout and his body language from the beginning was poor. His head was down most of the time and he nodded as Romney listed off his rebuttal, even at times saying “yea.” In contrast, Romney was assertive, strong but didn’t come off as arrogant. Yes, his smirk when Obama spoke wasn’t great but I don’t think it was too bad.

But I really do think it was just a bad debate. The candidates spoke for way too long at a time and it was just impossible to follow. Lehrer challenged them on just about nothing and had no command over the conversation. Issues melted together. Just from watching it, I doubt that many people could truly follow Romney and Obama’s arguments. They were actually too wonky. But that was entirely a result of the structure of the debate. Each answer should have been much shorter. Lehrer should have butted in and asked for specifics or pushed the candidates on different topics. The incredibly broad questions allowed the candidates to go off on long tangents. He should have asked specific, fact-based questions that candidates responded to specifically and quickly. He could have facilitated a quick back and forth on something, like…housing! Of course, housing was never mentioned. Neither was immigration. Those are two pretty huge issues but there was nothing on them.

All and all, a big Romney victory. He has to keep the momentum going and tomorrow’s job numbers are extremely important. Obama really needs some good news to pivot away from his debate performance. We’ll see tomorrow.

Criticizing Dishonest Ads

I’m generally in agreement with Paul Krugman on most things, but every once in a while, he tosses something out there that I take a slight issue with. From a blog post today on the “you didn’t build that” controversy:

First, sure enough, the self-reliant businessman featured in Romney’s ads was the beneficiary of large government loans and contracts. This doesn’t make him a bad guy; pretending that he did it all himself does.

Pretending that he did it all himself makes him a bad guy? Plenty of Americans don’t realize the role government has in their lives. It makes him a “bad guy” for not remembering a loan from 1999 or a few Navy contracts in 2008? More likely, the businessman did realize that he dealt with the government, but he sees it as much him helping the government as the government helping him out. An even trade. He may even understand that the government helped him a bit, but thinks Obama isn’t giving him and his family enough credit so he goes to the extreme and denies any government help.

None of that makes him a “bad guy” though.

But that’s just a minor, disrespectful phrase by Krugman. My larger  issue with him and other liberal bloggers has been the fact that they’ve jumped on Romney for his most recent, dishonest ad, but laid off on Obama’s “outsourcer” attack.

I agree that Romney’s ad is slightly worse. His campaign took two chunks out of Obama’s speech, cut out the middle and edited it so it seemed like there was nothing in between. That’s pretty dishonest, but Obama also spent a while calling Romney an “outsourcer” from his Bain days, trying to insinuate that Romney would rather create jobs abroad than in the US. That’s pretty deceitful as well.

Now there was a lot of debate over Romney’s involvement with Bain after he left to run the Olympics and how much responsibility he has for Bain’s actions then. But I’m not sure that matters that much. Obama’s ads made it sound like Romney’s actions deliberately harmed the country by sending jobs abroad. While not blatantly dishonest, the ad is still very misleading. The companies under Bain that shipped jobs overseas did so because it was the right move for those companies. Even if Romney was in charge, it was still the right move. Why would anyone expect him to keep those jobs in the country if the companies could produce greater profits by sending them overseas?

Krugman and other liberal bloggers (and all journalists) have every right to jump on Romney for his less-than-truthful ads, but they also have a duty to jump on Obama as well. The criticism for dishonest ads should go both ways.