We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Candy Crowley loses it

We here all have our opinions about the relative merits of President Obama and Would-Be President Romney. Last night, I stayed up (again very late) to watch Debate Two between Obama and Romney, and that being so, I might as well say something about that here.

As I commented here in connection with that earlier event, the TV Umpire Lady in the Biden Ryan debate did Biden no favours by allowing Biden to behave like a graceless fool. The result of that media error of omission was an internet buzzing with compilation video of Biden behaving like a graceless fool.

Last night, or so it seemed to me, and more to the point to many others, the graceless fool was the TV Umpire Lady herself, a person by the name of Candy Crowley. She was the one interrupting, and telling Romney what was what and generally getting way, way above herself. The compilation videos in the next few days will be of her, rather than of either of the candidates saying or doing anything embarrassing, because last night neither of them did say or do anything embarrassing – well, not a lot and no more than usual. Both did their thing as best they could, so far as I could tell, Obama in particular being a great improvement on his performance in Debate One. Yes, Obama probably overdid his equivocating about exactly when he got around to calling the embassy attack pre-planned “terrorism”, rather than spontaneous film-criticism. But what jumped out at me was how Candy Crowley joined in on Obama’s side in such a big way, like some kind of tag-wrestler.

Like her predecessor in the Biden Ryan debate, Candy Crowley did the candidate she clearly favoured no favours whatsoever. Obama, despite himself doing okay, was made by Candy Crowley to look more like the geeky kid in the playground who needed protecting from one of the older kids, rather than any sort of President. Worse, Obama was being protected by a girl.

I was half watching the BBC, again, afterwards, to see what they would make of all this, and this time they seemed to have a total blind spot, perhaps because not having a blind spot would have involved noticing that the biggest loser this time around was one of their own. As I earlier reported, the BBC called the Biden Ryan debate fairly accurately and almost immediately. This time? Well, unkind phrases like “elephant in the room” spring to mind.

Because, when it comes to Candy Crowley, I really do mean big loser. I’m not running for electoral office and I can be as graceless as I like. Other unkind commenters on various Instapundit-linked blogs I read last night talked of “Jabba The Hut” being the moderator. That a woman used to be young and cute, but has now become rather fat, hence not so cute, and consequently revealed as never having been all that verbally fluent in the first place, ought not to matter that much. But as I have been emailing my as-of-now super-cute god-daughter, in connection with photos of herself that she has recently been sending me, such things do matter. Cruel but true. Candy Crowley made the US mainstream media look, last night, like a frumpy old has-been.

During the presidential election four years ago, US mainstream media bias was not nearly so obvious, because the US mainstream media, that time around, were telling a story with widespread appeal to regular Americans. Don’t vote for the doddery old coot! Vote for the cool black dude! But now, the times have become far scarier, and the US mainstream media are backing a President who has spent four years saddling himself with a record that he is entirely unable to boast about, against an opponent who looks and sounds like he was created in Hollywood by Hollywood’s finest bio-engineers to look and sound exactly like the perfect American President. And their bias is really showing. Politics, it has famously been said, is show business for ugly people. This does not now apply to Romney. Give him four years in the White House, and he will probably turn very ugly, especially when you consider how ugly the economic facts he will have to grapple with are now and are about to get. But as of now, Romney is pretty enough not merely to be President, but to be President in a movie.

So, the first debate was lost by Obama, the second one was lost by Biden, and the one last night, I reckon, was lost by The Media. 3-0 to Romney with one to go, or so I reckon. Because of all this, I continue to reckon that Romney is going to win big

But, what I reckon is only what I reckon, and what does it matter what I reckon? What actually matters is what the USA’s voters make of things. I want the result that I want in this election because I think that I want Romney to win, because I know that I want Obama to lose, and because I really want the US mainstream media to get a right old kicking. Will the voters oblige?

35 comments to Candy Crowley loses it

  • “… and because I really want the US mainstream media to get a right old kicking.”

    Absolutely.

  • George

    You can get 9/4 against a Romney win on Betfair, if you really are confident he will win this is massive value. So how confident are you?

  • Mike James

    I’ll do my best. I’m like a lot of people, I really want to see the Overculture take one in the shorts. Not voting for Romney (although I’ll be, you know, voting for Romney), but I am voting against Obama. I’m going to vote like the weird little twerp owes me money.

    When Obama’s out of office, he is going to ultimately be regarded by history as very strange, a bizarre figure.

  • Alisa

    Worse, Obama was being protected by a *girl*.

    Heh.

  • llamas

    All of the water-cooler here talk today is about the blatant unfairness of the moderator, consistently giving President Obama the last word and more time as well as the specific helping hands described.

    I actually heard the magic words – “the soft bigotry of low expectations” – like music to my ears. The media and Ms Crowley swung at Romney, glanced off and instead hit their golden boy right in the mouth. They made him out to be a weakling who needs to cheat and be handed unfair advantages just to stay in the game at all.

    Romney did a good, workmanlike job in the circumstances. President Obama came off as a whiney snot – “your pension is bigger than mine” – and the every-rising and argumentative pitch of his voice as the evening progressed went from merely irritating to downright annoying. At the end, he was almost screeching.

    The amazing part is that the media is actually fact-checking some of what the President asserted – I guess there was little else they could do, since Romney so vocally disputed several specific points. And the answers are not coming out well at all for the President. Turns out Romney was right about oil and gas exploration on Federal lands, despite the President specifically saying he was wrong. It takes an extremely nuanced reading of the President’s remarks on the Libya situation to conclude that he identified it as a terrorist attack the day after it happened. Even Ms Crowley is now eating humble pie over that one. And so forth.

    It was, in Littlewoods terms, a no-score draw, although I have to say that Romney landed some very telling blows – the ‘trip to Vegas’, the countdown of unkept 2008 promises, and so forth. President Obama didn’t land any like that – he even flubbed the 47% issue, the one big stick in his bag.

    But the winner was in tone. Romney came across as forcefully Presidential – cooler, calmer, more restrained. President Obama came across as a spoiled brat, all wild rhetric and no substance. Romney was articulating a plan – not well, not completely, but a plan. President Obama was preaching a sermon.

    And, indeed, the polls today are telling the tale. Every headline bar one on Drudge today calls it for Romney, reports Romney gains or questions President Obama’s performance and the media interactions.

    Romney needs to learn a lesson from this one and come back for the third debate ready to punch back twice as hard. He needs to flay President Obama on his ‘no lobbyists’ pledge, and double down on the ‘green energy’ debacles. Another battery company that received vast stimulus monies filed yesterday. And so forth. If President Obama wants to play the game of zingers, Romney should give it to him in spades – it’s easy to do, there’s planty of material.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Maz

    George – until a few days after the first debate, you could get odds of 5/2 on a Romney victory at William Hill. I put 100 quid where my mouth is.

  • Laird

    I pretty much agree with llamas, and with Brian. It was clear early on that Candy Crowley was overtly in Obama’s corner. Who would have expected otherwise, given her history? (And why did the Romney camp agree to using her as the moderator? Might as well have had Chris Matthews.) I don’t expect much better from Bob Schieffert next week, but I suspect he will be a lot less blatant about it.

    Romney made some good points, but flubbed the embassy attack issue by clearly being distracted by Obama’s unexpected (and, as it now appears, untrue) claim about calling it “terrorism” in the Rose Garden speech the following day, but I think he’ll get that right next week. He also was very strong in the oil and gas leases issue, about which Obama clearly lied and which can’t be spun away. He tried, belatedly and awkwardly, to bring up Fast and Furious, but it was a half-hearted effort. Obama was clearly better prepared and more ready for this debate. On substance I’d call it a draw, with maybe a slight edge to Romney.

    But I disagree with llamas about Romney’s optimal strategy next week, or rather with how it should be implemented. He should indeed be “ready to punch back twice as hard”, but he has to be careful about how he does it. Last night the President looked petulant and whiny, but Romney came across as bullying. That won’t play well with the undecideds, and he has to be careful not to cross that line when delivering his “zingers”. The format should help; last night’s Town Hall format lent itself to the opponents walking over to each other and generally “getting into each other’s faces”. That’s not presidential, and standing at a podium should help prevent it. But interrupting and talking over each other (or the moderator) isn’t good, either. Romney was on the edge of propriety in the first debate but went over it last night (and, admittedly, so did Obama). He needs to take care not to do so again.

    But that doesn’t mean that he can’t push back, he just has to do it in a careful way. For instance, last night in the very first two questions, after Romney’s answer Obama began his reply with “that’s just not true”. I think Romney should have come back with something like “We’ve now had two questions, and twice Mr. Obama has called me a liar. The facts are clear and available to all who care to look. The voters will just have to decide which one of us is being truthful.” Polite, but a hard punch to the gut. Keep it firm but respectful, and Obama will self-destruct (again).

  • George

    I had £100 quid against Obama about 8 months ago.

    Don’t share the OPs confidence in Obama losing but with the difference in polling being well within the margin of error there is no way Obama wins this two times in every three

  • William H Stoddard

    “I want Obama to lose” is precisely my sentiment. I thought when he was running last time that he looked a little better than the average socialist; he turned out to be far worse, and to have no small compensatory merit on civil liberties or the Constitution. I’ve been ready for him to be voted out for three and a half years. On the other hand, Romney wavers between “no better than Obama” and “marginally better than Obama.” If he wins, I’ll celebrate Obama’s deserved defeat but not hope for much from the next four years.

    I have to confess that part of my sentiments are influenced by my circle of friends in science fiction fandom—because so many of them are doctrinaire progressives who loathe Romney as trolls loathe (uncooked) dwarves, and are eager to sound off about how subhuman anyone is who’s not a progressive. So if the less repugnant man wins in a few weeks, part of my reaction will be sheer Schadenfreude. It’s probably an unworthy pleasure but I don’t think I will be able to resist it.

  • Yesterday I was at a lunch with US Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. A hard core, VERY hard core budget hawk. He was promoting his new book “The Debt Bomb.”

    He is not only predicting a Romney win, but he also predicts that Paul Ryan will lead the charge to reduce federal spending.

    On the election he says that a there are a large number of normally uninvolved people out there who are going to vote against Obama. I hope he’s right.

    On Paul Ryan he said that he knows Ryan and that he will fight like hell to cut spending.

    If Coburn is right, Romney could actually begin to reduce the size and scope of the US government. It will take a long time and will involve a large number of tough fights, but he thinks that Romney and the fiscal conservative faction of the GOP could actually do it.

    He also pointed out that the total compensation of the average employee of the Federal Government was around $59.000 a year, while the total compensation of the average citizen was around $30,000. An interesting point.

  • If Coburn is right, Romney could actually begin to reduce the size and scope of the US government. It will take a long time and will involve a large number of tough fights, but he thinks that Romney and the fiscal conservative faction of the GOP could actually do it.

    Well if that proves to be the case I would be delighted to have been mistaken about the likely outcome of a Romney win. But consider me deeply sceptical that is actually how it is going to play out.

    I hope I am very wrong… but I doubt it.

  • When it comes to the political class skepticism is always in order.

    However, Coburn has an impressive record fighting against government spending, including what he considers wasteful military spending.

    If he turns out to be the leader of an important faction inside the senate GOP he could play a major role in changing the way the government acts.

    The choice of Paul Ryan as VP candidate is looking better and better.

  • BTW these lunches are usually off the record, but Coburn made it clear that everything he said was on the record.

  • Alisa

    Too bad Coburn pledged to leave politics in 2016 – I hope he reconsiders.

  • Sandy P

    Isn’t it interesting she had the transcript in front of her when Obama said check the transcript?

  • Paul Marks

    The Moderator interupted Romney 28 times – and interprupted Obama (for exceeding time) 8 times.

    As predicted Romney had to fight two people – not one.

    Although I expected the crowd to be more hostile than they were.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Thank you, Brian, for an analysis even more insightful than usual.
    I have not watched the debate and probably won’t, but it occurred to me that (assuming what I read is accurate) Romney could have used something like this line when interrupted by Crowley:
    Don’t you think that the President can stand for himself?

    At the appropriate time, this line could be a game changer, in my arrogant opinion.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Perry: you might want to consider how the concept of Pascal’s wager (or: one-way bet) applies in the current situation.

  • RAB

    Here is a cool hard assessment of the Debate, and from the Guardian of all places…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/17/obama-benghazi-terror-attack-john-bolton

    I want Barry to lose, not because I think Romney will be the saviour of America, far from it, he will just muddle along, but because, like Gordon Brown did to the UK when he had nothing to lose, Barry will totally, utterly and irreversably trash America. There will not be a semblance left of it when he’s done with it.

  • Roy Lofquist

    To give you an idea from whence I come, I think that Dwight Eisenhower was the most effective President in my lifetime. Mitt Romney reminds me of Ike – low key, modest, practical and a real shark at getting things done.

    Romney has an inner confidence gained from being an extraordinarily successful man coupled with an ingrained sense of community. He is the epitome of noblesse oblige.

    There have been a few – Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush the elder – who seemed to stand apart from partisan bickering, who took their responsibility to be President of all the people to heart. It’s in my gut that Romney is from that mould.

  • Perry: you might want to consider how the concept of Pascal’s wager (or: one-way bet) applies in the current situation.

    Trouble is my view is not that “A Romney Presidency might be better so I might as well support him just in case” (presumably how Pascal’s wager would apply) but rather “I suspect Romney will in fact be worse than Obama in the long run because a Republican statist will do more to neuter to the Tea Party (and hence the long term possibility of systemic improvement rather than simply striking the iceberg in a different location) than a Democrat statist can.”

  • One of many complaints about Crowley I didn’t mention is that she allowed Obama more time than Romney.

    CNN are now saying that Obama needed more time to talk because he talks more slowly.

  • Alisa

    CNN are now saying that Obama needed more time to talk because he talks more slowly.

    That must be because of the air in…wherever that “townhall” thing took place. These people are way beyond parody now.

  • hennesli

    Someone asked last night how Romneydiffered from George W. Bush. A better question would be how he differs from Obama. Police statists: both of them. Welfare: both of them. Drug war: both of them. Drone strikes: both of them. Kill Americans without trial if they are suspected terrorists: both of them. On the serious issues there is no difference between Romney and Obama.

    Romney and Obama are both statist thugs

  • Snorri Godhi

    Perry: I thought you might reply as you did, but decided to address your comment without pre-emptying such a reply.
    My counter-argument would be that you are considering a 2nd order effect: the effect of Romney’s possible statist policies on the Tea Party. Elementary probability theory tells us that the probability that government would grow under Romney AND that that would damage the Tea Party, is smaller than the probability that government would grow under Romney. Therefore I claim that the 1st order effect should be given greater weight in voting decisions.

    Further, you have not considered the 2nd order effect of a Romney victory on the Democratic Party, which I am pretty sure would become less statist, since there is no other way to go. Nor did you consider 2nd order effects of an Obama victory.

  • llamas

    Alisa wrote:

    ‘CNN are now saying that Obama needed more time to talk because he talks more slowly.’

    I saw that too, and it was so laughable that I actually took my stopwatch to a couple of snips of the second debate.

    It’s not that President Obama spoke more slowly – when he is actually speaking, he speaks as fast or faster than Governor Romney. What reduces his rate of data transmission are the long pauses and the ‘errr’s. In other words, the delays while he’s thinking of what to say next. Romney doesn’t suffer from this handicap, and pauses only rarely, usually for dramatic/comedic effect. Obama pauses constantly, sometimes after every phrase, and often for no apparent rhetorical or dramatic effect.

    I guess that 4 years of all-teleprompter, all-the-time, will do that to you. He doesn’t usually speak in this halting, stilted manner. I wonder whether this oratorical style may be part of why his poll numbers keep going down now that we’ve seen 2 debates – he gives the strong (if subliminal) impression that he doesn’t know what to say next.

    Before somebody accuses me of bringing this up because I’m a racist, it’s not true. I’m not a racist – I think Joe Biden is an idiot, too.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Andrew

    The bias on display from the moderator in the debate was breathtaking, even for those of us who have become used to this sort of thing from the US mainstream media.

    But the debates still, at least allow the public to see and hear the candidates without the usual media filter, and that’s what’s been so harmful for Obama, and conversely (and more importantly) positive for Romney.

    What I took away from last night’s debate was just how dishonest (even by political standards) Obama was. So many times he was just flat out lying. And the thing is, that’s what everyone else is finally realising also.

  • Andrew

    The bias on display from the moderator in the debate was breathtaking, even for those of us who have become used to this sort of thing from the US mainstream media.

    But the debates still allow the public to see and hear the candidates without the usual media filter, and that’s what’s been so harmful for Obama, and conversely (and more importantly) positive for Romney.

    What I took away from last night’s debate was just how dishonest (even by political standards) Obama was. So many times he was just flat out lying. And the thing is, that’s what everyone else is finally realising also.

  • llamas

    (with apologies to Alvin P. ‘Doc’ Carter)

    Arranged for fiddle, mandolin, Dobro and 5-string banjo.

    I was sitting by my flat screen,
    On one cold and cloudy day
    When I saw that blue screen coming
    For to carry my posting away

    Will the smiting be unbroken
    By and by, Lord, by and by
    There’s a better post a-waiting
    In the sky, Lord, in the sky

    I said to that administrator
    Administrator, please smite slow
    For this post you are a’smiting
    Lord, I hate to see it go

    (chorus)

    Oh, I waited, to be included
    Tried to hold up and be brave
    But I could not hide my sorrow
    As lost my posting stayed

    (chorus)

    When I got back home, my post was missing
    All my best thoughts, they was gone
    All of my brothers, sisters crying
    And still, that smite went on

    (chorus)

    llater,

    llamas

  • RAB

    You are becoming the Master of song Parody llamas good sir. ;-)

    Put simply, Barry doesn’t speak slower… He thinks slower, if at all.

  • Disillusionist

    Re: Obama speaking more slowly.

    Well, sure, everybody knows that in the National Football League, the team with the slower running back gets 5 downs, instead of 4. Wouldn’t be fair otherwise.

  • Spunk Master White Gush

    {deleted… changing your name does not make it in any way harder to know who is posting, mate… still banned)

  • Paul Marks

    What CNN are really saying is “Obama thinks more slowly – he needs help……”

    If someone “on the right” said that that person would be run out of town. But, of course, it is the same principle that got Barack to Columbia and Harvard and Michelle to Princeton (some “white trash” person with the same, or higher, grades would not have stood a chance of getting in).

  • a_random_guy

    Obama has always spoken this way, i.e., not particularly well, when he has no teleprompter. That’s likely why almost all of his public appearances are set to allow him to use one.

    When he has to speak spontaneously, he is at best mediocre, and always has been.

  • Tom McKendree

    I remember being stunned when one Obama supported recently said that every time Obama had one of his typical pauses in speaking, the supporter imagined that Obama was trying to think of simple, understandable words to explain the brilliant thought he was having. If you interpret Obama’s speech that way, he seems pretty brilliant. That hypothesis is also not easily falsified against the contrary hypothesis that Obama is just not a very insightful or good extemporaneous speaker.