Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Bird is the Word



It seems it came down to Romney v. Big Bird last night.  According to this article, Big Bird was getting more tweets than either Romney or Obama, and a start-up Big Bird for President page quickly got 5000 likes on Facebook.  So, it seems the big winner last night was Big Bird!

I don't know about you guys, but I grew up on Sesame St. and The Electric Company.  These were great children's shows and in the case of Sesame St. still is.  I don't know who exactly Mr. Romney is aiming at with his attacks on PBS, but I'm sure there are a lot of parents out there who would like the government to keep funding shows like these.  Did Mr. Romney stick his big foot in his mouth once again?

Here's to Big Bird!

41 comments:

  1. I hope that persons don't mind that I loosened up this blog a bit. I also welcome others to post lead topics.

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  2. Funny, his "I like Big Bird (and I like you Jim)" comment was what stuck with me this a.m. when I was thinking about the debate. He'd cut PBS -- I think that was only one of two cuts he mentioned. I'm assuming there are a few PBS fans out there.

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  3. That and the infinitesimal fraction of the federal budget CPB represents -- $450 million in 2012.

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  4. I watched the debates on MSNBC last night, and the moderators were furious about the President's performance. Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz could hardly contain themselves. Steve Schmidt, on the other hand, seemed relieved.

    According to some follow-up polls, Romney won over some voters with his refusal to own his own budget and tax cuts, and Obama's inability to effectively counter what Romney was getting away with. Should make for an interesting VP debate and follow-up one between the two presidential candidates.

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  5. I think guys like Matthews and others wanted Obama to tear out Romney's jugular, but that isn't his style. Obama played this debate pretty much the same as he did McCain back in 2008, and I imagine will continue to do so.

    As for Biden and Ryan, I imagine all gloves will be off.

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  6. PBS has 12% ($71M) of annual costs paid by Federal funding, a drop in the bucket compared to Romney’s proposed $2 trillion increase in defense spending. PBS provides programming that otherwise might not be seen in low income locales. It all adds up to the expendability of a subsidy being anything but proportionate to its cultural worth to the public. But at least it's public knowledge as to where Romney’s priorities lie.

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  7. Big Bird: My bed time is usually 7:45, but I was really tired yesterday and fell asleep at 7! Did I miss anything last night?
    -- Sesame Street (@sesamestreet)

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  8. The thing is -- why make this the lasting image from the debate? Romney dragged PBS back into the discussion, when it was first under attack by Gingrich back in the early 90s. PBS survived the Republican Congress and Bush, it will survive a Romney presidency, god forbid, but here he is trying to score points with his teabag friends at this stage of the campaign, when even the most ardent teabag candidates are shifting to the center, like Murdoch in Indiana, in an effort to salvage their campaigns. Yet, here is the Romney camp boviating how they "won" the debate.

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  9. You People should be glad that someone as exalted as Mitt gave Big Bird a plug.You people should be glad that Mitt will change his story from one week to the next because we need those who live off Inherited Wealth to tell those who work for a living what to do.

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  10. Yea, give me the days of the "gentry class."

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  11. Well, those are the days Mitt longs for after all.

    If anything was unscripted in the debates, defunding PBS and pulling the plug on Big Bird may have been it. PBS was hosting the debates. The moderator -- who showed again why I've never liked him -- works for PBS. I think that was just an overconfident off the cuff remark on Romney's part. (What was not unscripted as some seemed to think was Mitt's congratulations of the Obama marriage which was, again, MItt's idea of a joke.)

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  12. This is what scares me a lot more from the debates:

    ”He used the first presidential debate to speak out forcefully to its wide television audience against the idea of cutting taxes for the wealthy, noting that ‘high-income people are doing just fine in this economy.’ Asked if there was too much government regulation, he answered, ‘regulation is essential.’ And he praised the Massachusetts health care bill, calling it a ‘model for the nation.’ These are all things that President Obama says occasionally on the campaign trail. But in this case, the lines were uttered at the debate Wednesday night in Denver by his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. Mr. Romney ran to the right in the Republican primaries in 2008 and this year, describing himself this winter as having been a ‘severely conservative’ governor. This week, he pivoted to the center, as many political analysts had long expected him to do, seeking to appeal to more centrist general election voters. In doing so, Mr. Romney used striking new language to describe his policy proposals on taxes, education and health care in ways that may assuage independent voters — but which may be sowing confusion about how Mr. Romney would govern.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/us/politics/entering-stage-right-romney-moved-to-center.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&wpisrc=nl_wonk&_r=0

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  13. Confusion only to his base, assuming they even listened to the debates. I doubt that those in the center took much stock in what he was saying. They were more disappointed that Obama didn't counter Romney forcefully enough. Hence, Matthews anger and other center-left pundits.

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  14. Yea, I always liked the MacNeil part of MacNeil and Lehrer.

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    1. I used to be a viewer in the 1980s until the first Iraq war and Lehrer took the editor of the Progressive magazine to task for laughing about Bush Sr.'s security measures at all the airports.

      The editor's point was that Iraq wasn't going to be bombing the airport in Madison, Wisconsin, (and Bozeman, Montana where I lived) and that all the pylons and police were propaganda in support of the war. Lehrer went ballistic. I think that was the last time I ever watched that show and gave up on t.v. news generally.

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    2. The funny thing is that PBS has always tried to cater to conservatives as well as liberals with its programming. It is absurd to think of PBS as a liberal institution. David Brooks has been a fixture at PBS for years, joining Mark Shields on Political Wrap. It is one of the few places where you can see both sides of an argument intelligently presented.

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    3. In theory that's what you want in all news -- an opportunity to hear both sides of an argument intelligently presented so know what the arguments are. Matthews tries to do that in at least some instances, which is why I watch him regularly over the others. And he has some good republican strategists who appear on that show. I really like Steve Schmidt, although he seems to have lost his appetite for regular appearances on the news.

      But this was an over the top response from Lehrer. He was red-faced. It was like watching Bill Bennett on CNN always saying Barack HUSSEIN Obama. CLICK.

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  15. We know that because we follow politics, but there are millions of voters who don't and could have been really hearing all that for the first time.

    Romney said it all as if he believed it --he's not cutting taxes on the rich or raising them on the middle class. That's just a democratic scare tactic. And he wants to invest in education and, a real whopper, believes regulation is good.

    If Obama had been more aggressive and on his toes that night, he could have creamed Romney on some these based on what Romney has been campaigning on for years. But Obama just wasn't "there." He was the next day, but that doesn't count if you're not watching the political news each night. (Plus, it gives his critics one more chance to say he needs a teleprompter.)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I am beginning to think that at least part of Obama's "lackluster" performance might have been tactical. Let me explain.

      Many have expressed surprise, for instance, that he didn't mention Romney and the 47%. That might have been tactical if prior to the debate Obama's team had gotten wind of Mitt's desire to repudiate that remark. Why give him an opportunity before a huge national television audience to do that? At best, all Obama would have been able to do is say something like, "Well, I'm glad you changed your mind about that." All the benefit, it seems to me, would have flowed Mitt's way. It would have given him an opportunity to bloviate on how much he cares for 100% of the American people, etc.

      The same goes for some of the other bull Mitt was slinging. There is only so much you can do in a debate format.

      Full disclosure: I watched about 15 minutes of the "debate" before switching to Seinfeld reruns when it became obvious that Jim Lehrer was in way over his head.

      [I deleted a previous version of this post because of stupid typos. Left in all my stupid ideas.]

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    3. I'm sure some of his responses were calculated -- if you read them, he's right on. It was just his delivery that lacked any conviction. One of the things noted before the debates was that everyone who debates Romney can't stand him -- that makes it doubly hard to get out there and be upbeat and fight for your job.

      You may very well be right about his avoiding the 47% business, and about being coached against being too aggressive. You listen to some of the things the Republicans (like Gingrich) are saying about him -- angry black man, lazy, basketball playing, half a president, foreign, etc. -- he does have a tight line to walk.

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    4. I noticed it right away -- when he gave a call out to his wife. It just fell flat and sounded almost insincere. And then it seemed to go downhill from there.

      I wondered at the time if something much bigger was going on in the world that we were not privy to. That's no excuse, but it would help explain it.

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    5. For what ever reason, Obama chose to lay off Romney in the first debate. This interpretation kind of fits in with what Rick said,

      http://egbertowillies.com/2012/10/04/president-obamas-fear-of-the-angry-black-man-label-loses-the-debate-on-style-but-wins-on-facts/

      but then Obama chose not to go after McCain either. Seems that when it comes to public forums he wants to try to maintain as civil a discourse as possible. Maybe the next "Town Hall" format will free him up a little.

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  16. Oh, yeah, and health care, too. He totally misrepresented his plan which is basically if you have insurance now you'll be able to keep it. If not, you are SOL. That's what emergency rooms are for. But he made it sound like everyone will have access, only it will be better and cheaper if he's president.

    Even his campaign had to admit it that night after the debate.

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  17. You forget that at this point Romney and Obama are trying to appeal to about 10% of the electorate, which for the most part is intelligent and has held off expressing a choice for reasons of its own. I don't think Romney made a very successful appeal to this "tithe." He essentially played to his conservative base with a handfuls of apples tossed to the center.

    Reneging on his 47% comment only shows his weakness, as most of his base accepted this assertion. Fox went to great lengths to defend him on this, and here he is saying he was "completely wrong." WTF!

    In the next four weeks we will see Romney wander all over the place in an effort to appeal to everyone and everything, probably even pulling back on his statement that he would cut funding to PBS, saying that there are "parts" of it he would keep.

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  18. Like Big Bird and Jim Lehrer I suppose!

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  19. I suppose not David Brooks, since he has been critical of Romney. Quite frankly, I don't see how Romney's outlook has improved. The lasting image from that debate remains Big Bird, not Romney's debating skills. Over the weekend, the debate will be virtually forgotten.

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  20. Obama has been playing the long game throughout this election, and these numbers will certainly back him up,

    "The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 per cent last month, dropping below 8 per cent for the first time in nearly four years. The rate declined because more people found work, a trend that could have an impact on undecided voters in the final month before the presidential election."

    http://www.vancouversun.com/business/all/unemployment+rate+likely+rose+last+month+employers+post/7349373/story.html

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  21. Yeah, I wondered about David Brooks, since he seems to be the reasonable conservative liberals like (including me). Now Krauthammer or Bennett would be another case altogether ...

    As for the job numbers, that was very welcome news this a.m.! Below 8% is huge news.

    And I sure hope you're right that Big Bird will be the lasting image. Then Romney comes across as the Grinch who stole Christmas. But to watch the debate, he clearly came out ahead.

    As I said earlier about Obama, the country likes to vote for winners. Since Obama didn't do his job, hopefully the press will "press" Romney on all the inconsistencies of his argument Wednesday night and deflate his image a little bit.

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  22. The job numbers pretty much steal the thunder from the debate. For all the talk about how he would do a better job, it is pretty clear we are headed in the right direction without him.

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  23. From Walter Kirn:


    Walter: Romney actually reminds me of no current character, but I could see him being worked into the script as a big landlord who comes to visit his properties and tenements as part of some some review of his holdings. like this: Everybody's down on the street doing their multicultural thing and jumping robe and learning phonics and joshing with Oscar the Grouch, etc. when all of a sudden a long black Cadillac with tinted windows pulls up. The kids and puppets draw back, apprehensive. Then, slowly, one of the rear windows rolls down, revealing Romney in profile. People draw back, intimidated, but finally someone approaches and asks him who he is and what he wants. He offers his business card and says: Mitt Romney, Sesame Street Holdings, LLC. We own this place.

    Everybody freezes. The jump ropes stop. Oscar pulls his can lid over his head. Children scurry off. the street is empty except for big bird, who is protective and territorial and has no other place to go. And Romney says to him: 'Don't worry, demolition and Stage 1 construction doesn't start for another year. You’ll have plenty of time to find another place.

    At that point Romney's phone rings. he glances at the screen. 'Sorry, I have to take this,' he says to big bird. 'It’s an important business associate." he clicks on the phone. 'Good morning, Donald,' he says.

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/108235/cohn-kirn-debate-the-first-debate

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  24. Funny. I see that Romney is already backtracking on his PBS comments, saying now that he would commercialize PBS, selling space to advertisers to cover the costs, being the benevolent businessman that he is. Maybe he could see fit to help budget PBS through his and Ann's Tyler foundation, which seems little more than a shell to funnel money to the LDS.

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  25. Just what we need -- a Mormon Sesame Street!

    But this does seem right down the Republican's alley -- picking on the least amongst us: preschoolers and even the birds.

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  26. Quite telling,

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - American kids are getting their chance to pick the country's next president, but this year they will have to do it without putting their questions directly to Republican contender Mitt Romney.

    Award-winning "Nick News" host and producer Linda Ellerbee said on Monday that President Barack Obama sat down to answer questions from young viewers on the election, but Romney's aides turned down an invitation for him to appear personally on the show's long-running "Kids Pick the President" special.

    http://news.yahoo.com/no-romney-time-kids-nick-news-picks-president-235224916.html

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  27. James Carville said Obama came to the debate to have a conversation and Romney came with a chain-saw. Cute, as Carville generally is, but not insightful. Romney came prepared, Obama came overly-confident, and the media came to cover a sporting event. How many times did we hear the metaphor 'showdown' used by the media in promos in the days leading up to the debate?

    CNN, anticipating a trouncing of Romney by Obama, skewed its post-debate poll to the GOP to keep the dramatic intensity beyond the first debate. They were embarrassed when the poll made Romney's rout look like a tidal wave had hit. Frantic to save face they turned their fury on Obama for "not showing up" as Gloria Borger put it, and paid no attention to Romney once again neatly side-stepping questions he didn't want to come near such as when he was asked whether his Medicare plan was to voucherize it. Lehrer didn't press him on it. All of the post-debate analysis was about Obama's lackluster performance. Deserved, I must admit, but far from the whole story.

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  28. One more reason not to watch CNN. That said, I will be on the road tomorrow night. Four years ago I was also in a motel north of Yellowstone and had to watch one of the debates on Fox News -- the only channel I could get. I sure hope there's another choice tomorrow. CNN if I have to.

    Carville's response sounds more like spin than an explanation. Obama got a shellacking as he is fond of saying. I don't think Obama (or the nation) expected it out of Romney, but the expectations were high for the President. We'll know soon enough if he can turn it around. I'm still hopeful.

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  29. I don't know what Obama was expecting, but it was pretty ugly. Now he says he was too polite. There obviously was some kind of strategy behind this. It seems Obama wanted to come across as Mr. Nice Guy, but instead he came across as weak, which is what the public can't stand. It sounds like he plans to take the gloves off for the next round.

    As for the media, they got what they wanted, a horse race down the stretch, with CEOs like David Siegel putting their bets on Romney with threats like these,

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ceo-workers-youll-likely-fired-131640914.html

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  30. Jim Lehrer was a nice gift for Romney.

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  31. Here is a radio interview of Jim Lehrer on WNYC last Monday by Brian (no relation) Lehrer. Before I listened to this, I thought "what could he say for himself." He thinks he did a good job of moderating! I have this on my ipod and may listen to this again sometime, since I fell asleep on the sofa while listening:

    http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2012/oct/08/

    Sorry that I jumped in here so late. Mitt may have "won" the debate, but I would not want this man as he presented himself (lying and changing his positions and sounding like a snake-oil salesman)to be President. Why would anyone else (other than because they hate Obama)?

    Did Obama prepare for this at all? He flew into Denver that day. On the other hand, he may have prepared to meet a man who had been campaigning on completely different positions, so how do you debate a liar?

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  32. Never too late, Marti. I think there was a strategy behind his performance, as poor as it was. Supposedly, he had been doing mock debates with Kerry, hence the useless scribbling. The funny part is that Ryan used this technique as well, yet the media didn't jump all over him like it did Obama.

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  33. A million puppet march:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/million-puppet-march-promotes-public-broadcasting/2012/11/03/174c99d4-25f2-11e2-ac85-e669876c6a24_gallery.html#photo=1

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