Watch Obama debate the Republicans

Via Brad DeLong.  Who did better?


Not Obama

Good question.

It might be a refinement to ask: Which side would want voters in America to see this tape?

>>Which side would want voters in America to see this tape?>>

Based on press reports, GOP aides are saying it was a mistake to allow cameras into the meeting.

Next time they should make him sit at a table. You can't debate a king. With all due respect.

From the way liberal blogs are crowing, it must have been a rout.

Obama appeared very knowledgeable, very impressive. He should have done this long time ago.

The loser was winner/loser dichotomies. I was actually impressed by the maturity of both Obama and most of the Republicans. Both seemed to have honest frustrations, and I think it was healthy for them to sit in the same room and have to listen to each other. It annoys the heck out of me that everyone feels the need to go right back to treating politics as zero-sum, where it's considered impossible that both parties might have benefited from the occasion, or that there might be a higher calling than political gain.

It is too bad that we look upon this as a debate or an adversarial exercise from either party's perspective.

The fact is that moderate Republicans no longer exist, or if they do, live in fear of more conservative challengers.

When the conservative challengers get into a general election, watch out, they will go down in flames against anything moderate. The country isn't as conservative or as liberal as both parties represent or hope. There is a pragmatic middle.

Some of the comments point to something that has been bothering me.

We need a leader of the opposition in this country.

Because the President is both head of government and head of state, until the other party nominates someone to run for president there is no one of equivalent stature to debate him. If he debates a random member of the non-presidential party, he risks lowering his own stature as head of state. That is the problem with the Obama debate Limbaugh or Beck proposals. The floor leaders of the non-presidential party in the House and Senate don't work since its a different branch, and they are almost never serious candidates for presidents themselves.

But we need to get the President in a debate more than once every four years. The best answer is for the parties to nominate their presidential candidates four years early, which under our system will finally give us a de facto leader of the opposition (they can review the selection and substitute someone else in during the presidential selection year itself). Otherwise just have Obama debate McCain again periodically until the Republicans pick someone else.

I'd also like to see more general debates between the House and Senate majority and minority leaders.

The republicans lost the debate, but won the battle. The mere fact that the president would directly go to them, means he is in trouble. For the republicans this is a good sign, they should keep pushing.

If Obama is so screwed, the Republicans would surely be willing to do this again with the cameras rolling, right?

It doesn't matter who wins a contrived event. At the end of the day, Obama will be judged on his leadership skills and not whether he "wins" a debate. Phony 'gotcha' moments won't matter when there's a real problem.

I wonder what theory of public choice may justify Tyler's interest in a last-minute public meeting of the President and some representatives of the opposition, in particular his question--who did it better? Indeed whatever they may say in the meeting may seem irrelevant because they are pretending to cooperate while improving their credibility. The emphasis, however, should be in improving a politician's credibility. In economics, credibility is related to time inconsistency (for a simple but technical discussion, search in internet for the class notes of Professor Leigh Tesfatsion). From this perspective, President Obama apparently has a much greater challenge than the Republican representatives; as Victor Davis Hanson said in the introduction to his column earlier today:
"All politicians fudge on their promises. But this president manages to transcend the normal political exaggeration and dissimulation. Whereas past executives shaded the truth, Barack Obama trumps that: on almost every key issue, what Obama says he will do, and what he says is true, is a clear guide to what he will not do, and what is not true. It is as if “truth† is a mere problem of lesser mortals."
Has the meeting been an important contribution to the credibility of any participant, in particular the president? To answer this question we will have to look at how markets and voters respond. My opinion is totally irrelevant.

I love how Obama clearly routs Republicans, and suddenly it's just a sign that he's weak.

Oh, and politics is zero sum. Usually policy is, too; when it's not, it's most often a negative sum.

Lastly, this should happen more often. What would be interesting is a similar figure on the Right playing the part of Obama--I think Newt Gingrich could probably follow Obama but can't think of anyone else, really.

What Obama and Pelosi don't seem to understand is that the American people don't just dislike the ponytails Big Sister has given them...they want the federal government out of their hair altogether.

You'd be hard-pressed to find better commentary on the President's SOTU address than this:

Obama...ummm...what is politically correct word for "lies"...about the discretionary spending increasing 84%, but does so articulately and convincingly and this is what passes for "Obama wins!"

"freeze spending beginning next year."


"I don't like being held up by big bills that have wasteful stuff in them."


"I said I'm a big supporter of nuclear energy."

Ha. When it's all said and done there is a lot more said than done.

There is one nice thing about being a libertarian. First you learn not to care who wins, then you realize it doesn't even matter. They both speak well but have clear problems with the facts.

And if discussing the line-item veto with the President is a joke, I get it. But, it's not funny. They are trying to muck with my gridlock.

I'm sure that Jack Ryan has come up with some weird definition of discretionary spending so that his claim is technically correct.

But I seriously doubt that any standard definition of discretionary spending would show this type of increase-- especially since spending is still under the 2009 budget that was established under the prior administration. Remember, we are just now seeing the first Obama budget.

But this is exactly the point the entire discussion is about. You focus in on some weird claim and ignore everything else. You see what you want to see.

"No, the problem with the "Obama debate Limbaugh or Beck proposals" is that Limbaugh and Beck are sideshow acts, not politicians."

So Limbaugh looses stature?

Obama: "You've gone to ribbon cuttings for infrastructure projects you are complaining about."

And liberals have taken tax cuts that they voted against, as I would expect. The argument of "if you opposed the policy, you shouldn't accept the benefits if it's passed (even though you pay the costs)" or "if you oppose the policy in general, you shouldn't be willing to fight for your share of the money" is ridiculous.

No Democrats should make that argument unless they sent a check to the IRS for all the extra taxes that they should be paying if Bush's tax cuts hadn't passed.

There's a difference between "accepting the benefits" and "campaigning on the benefits." It's one thing to take money coming your way, it's another to say that this money is why the voters need you in Washington.

Then again, the Republicans have been campaigning for tax cuts, balanced budgets, and keeping the government's hands off your Medicare, so if you haven't caught on to the inconsistencies yet you probably never will.


If you want to be paid for your reporting, you might try more content. An occasional isolated quote and your usually bizarre reaction to it only qualifies for the freak show. Oh wait...

Indeed whatever they may say in the meeting may seem irrelevant because they are pretending to cooperate while improving their credibility. The emphasis, however, should be in improving a politician's credibility.

Pretending to dance, not cooperate.

"So you think you can dance, huh?"


I've been accused of worse by people I respect. So, you are in good company.

It's not my reporting or my content that I need to be compensate for, it is for listening to the politicians favored by some here.

This adds a little color to some of the recent debates as well as the current one.
They'd traveled to the White House on Friday, Jan. 23, 2009, to present Obama with their ideas for the stimulus bill. They weren't greatly encouraged, though, when Obama told them at that meeting in the Roosevelt Room that "elections have consequences and I won." Over the weekend, the GOP leadership met, and by the time House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a deal on the legislation late Sunday, they were sure that nothing they had proposed was included in the measure.

Oh, and to say that Obama can't be blamed for job losses because his policies weren't in place is to assume that either the market is not forward looking or that that the market did not predict his policies would disrupt the economy growth.

I think it is obvious that his politics made the market and investors skiddish so even in his attempted strawman he is wrong. But that's just my opinion.

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