The Weekly Wrap

Oct 12 2012 @ 10:30pm

Obama_Watching_Debate Photo by Pete Souza Friday on the Dish, Andrew failed the Romney-Ryan deficit plan on basic arithmetic. Meanwhile, as more readers responded to last night’s debate, bloggers weighed in as well. And while Josh Barro took down Raddatz for her issue prioritization, readers praised her. A former RNC chairman then explained sore losing, Amy Davidson noted how the abortion question revealed the Romney-Ryan ticket’s extremism and Noah Millman homed in on Ryan’s resorting to goal-announcing. Both campaigns then rolled out debate-related ads, a reader reflected on “malarkey” and Jim Lehrer got a do-over. Chait then argued the Dem’s party agenda rests on Obama, as Bernstein summarized the GOP’s Simpson-Bowles position. In polls, things remained hazy in Virginia, and while Harry Enten calculated why swing-state margins are critical, Nate Silver dismissed Obama’s strength in many of them. Reihan discussed whether the GOP was in demographic trouble as a monumental day in marijuana law reform dawned. Larry Kramer then got bitter, Balko called attention to NYC’s stop-and-frisk program and Jim Gourley explored how expensive ever-fatter soldiers will be. In global news, the EU won the Nobel peace prize, and as Michael Hastings thought the media fell down on Benghazi, Josh Rogin picked up on Biden’s contradictions on the matter. Kamila Shamsie wondered how to deal with the Taliban, Anne Abblebaum pinpointed why Russia is stronger on spy recruitment, and as the Chinese government cheered Mo Yan’s Nobel award, Eli Friedman highlighted China’s labor unrest. Michael Specter then condemned Lance Armstrong’s doping record, Fleming’s martini specifics kept Bond’s head in the game and night owls slept less. And as educated people incurred irresponsible debt, most mammals slept around and Nicholas Carr framed boredom as the flip-side of intelligence. FOTD here, MHB here and VFYW here. The rest of the wrap after the jump

Thursday on the Dish, Andrew live-blogged the VP debate, calling it “a solid win for Biden,” a “competent performance by Ryan” and naming Raddatz “the star.” And after the blogosphere responded and tweeters weighed in, Andrew celebrated with the usual: memes and jagershots.

In the run-up to the debate, Andrew sketched out why this veep debate mattered and noted the race’s neck-and-neck-ness. The candidates’ prepping regimens differed in a few ways, and though independents expected a stronger Ryan performance, Weigel put his money on a Biden breakout. Ezra Klein then gave the inside scoop on Ryan’s debating tactics, and while bloggers debated the influence of veep debates, Waldman located Ryan’s weaknesses. Plus, a girl-group satirized Ryan-swooning.

In other election news, Andrew pushed back on Suderman’s debunking of the Obama narrative, Obama brushed his shoulders off and Chait analyzed the withering of GOP moderates. John Sides charted ideological perceptions and black people loved Mitt. Nate Cohn then explained Obama’s swing-state advantage, the ad war heated up in down-ticket races and the two Kleins lamented Obama’s under-promising.

Meanwhile, Cass Sunstein warned of lower-court appointments in a Romney presidency, marriage equality in swing states gained ground, and as Richard Just thought Obama spoke in long-form, Shafer contemplated political dishonesty. Surowiecki then feared a fiscal-cliff fall, Joe Weisenthal called attention to the danger of payroll tax expiration and Jesse Ellison told a heartbreaking story of gay soldiers under DADT. On a lighter note, a video roundup of Romney’s debate lies here

Looking globally, Michael Koplow dismissed the Syria-Turkey war worry, Clive Crook examined Chavez’s illiberal democracy and Alex Ross chided Israel’s unofficial Wagner ban. In assorted commentary, readers urged Andrew to consider Brooklyn (hint: more beards!), Nala the albino kangaroo jumped around, while Rob Spillman and Alyssa argued over Lena Dunham’s $3.7 million advance. Copyranter then praised an anti-littering ad, John Seabrook hailed the rise of K-Pop and Christopher Ryan revealed the quirkiest sex culture. And though airfare got cheaper, in-flight wifi prices soared. VFYW here and note that Andrew returns to Chris Matthews on Sunday! 

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Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew vowed to fight back against Romney’s distortions, highlighted the candidate’s self-contradiction and reflected on TNC’s Obama commentary. He then defended his position on Simpson-Bowles, called Romney out on the “mathematic impossibility” of his tax plan and noted that Bill Clinton killed it.

Meanwhile, Obama publicized Romney’s lying and Amy Sullivan reacted to Romney’s abortion insta-flop, as the poll wonks weighed in. And as Douthat critiqued Obama’s lack of vision, Team Romney capitalized on Obama’s downturned gaze. Romney then won a robust endorsement, girls in pearls loved Paul Ryan and Bad Lip Reading reinterpreted the first debate. Colorado’s legalization effort looked good, Weigel reported on Pulpit Freedom Sunday, and as Jack Welch earned a Malkin award nomination, Sarah Palin “announced” that she’s writing a fitness book.

In global news, Andrew praised Australian prime minister Julia Gillard’s evisceration of a sexist opposition leader, the State Department conceded there was no anti-film protest at Benghazi and Steve Coll illuminated the executive choices for prosecuting terrorism. The Taliban attempted to murder a teenage girl and Bob Wright worried Turkey and Syria are destined for war. Then as Beinart analyzed Netanyahu’s Romney strategy, Charles Kenny broke down how foreign aid worked best and Medvedev messed up time.

In assorted commentary, Andrew bemoaned New York Shitty, excerpted Dan Savage’s foreword to On Being Different and endorsed TPMPrime. Brink Lindsey promoted abstraction, hyperphotos allowed dramatic zooming and savage love combined with savage sex. In the natural world, a stingray photo bombed bathers, Jerry DeNuccio contemplated his encounters with deer, and Lee Billings detailed how his perception of the universe has changed. MHB here, VFYW here and FOTD here.

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Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew called Romney “the clear centrist in this election” and responded to reader backlash against his post from yesterday. And after still more readers urged calm, one grimly agreed with him. Buzzfeed, meanwhile, memorialized Andrew’s meltdown in GIFs. In general poll news, Kos thought Romney’s bounce was fading, the enthusiasm gap returned and it all came down to swing states.

Andrew then excoriated Tucker Carlson for his smear tactics against Martha Raddatz. And as Catherine Rampell debunked Romney’s 11% unemployment claim, Daniel Gross called Romney out on his distortions of Obama’s trade record and Fred Kaplan spelled out Romney’s foreign policy folly. Meanwhile, Ben Smith and Ruby Cramer reported on unskewing, Waldman critiqued the town hall format and Reihan discussed a conservative approach to inequality. And after unleashing a Big Bird ad, Team Obama’s ad onslaught targeted the seniors. Meanwhile, The Onion lampooned Romney. Plus, Yglesias award nomination here.

Jon Lee Anderson then checked in on Syria’s civilians, Chris Wright railed on workaholism and Tim De Chant calculated how our cities will expand. Americans grew more religiously unaffiliated, Felix Salmon warned about high-frequency trading and the Feds can’t stop marijuana legalization. 

In assorted commentary, Karl Sharro parodied Slavoj Žižek, Jim Davenport visualized our Starbucks orbit and as Tse Tsan-tai sought the Garden of Eden in China, an exonerated death row inmate reminisced about his kitten. Cool Ad Watch here, FOTD here, MHB here, VFYW here and VFYW contest-winner here

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Photo by Flickr user liamahal

Over Columbus Day weekend on the Dish, Andrew continued to track the fallout from Obama’s debate debacle. He asked if Obama threw away the election, dismissed Axelrod’s lame excuses for his candidate, wondered if the President wants out, pointed to Obama’s uphill climb in the remaining debates, riffed on a maddening email from the Obama campaign, analyzed the magnitude of Romney’s bounce, and updated us on the latest iteration of the Etch-a-Sketch candidate. He also explored Romney’s pivot to a foreign policy offensive, considered Biden’s veep debate prospects, deemed the latest New Yorker cover an instant classic, highlighted the latest in the ad wars, and reminded us how ugly and ignorant the fear-mongering religious right remains. Andrew brought historical perspective to current events, too – he covered a debate over the worst president of all time, noted the latest in how campaigns understand voting behavior, and spotted Jonathan Haidt’s arguments about the culture war’s shifting battles. 

It wasn’t all politics at the Dish, though. In literary coverage, Maria Konnikova lamented the lack of standardized English spelling, Antoine Wilson praised the eponymous narrator of Ellison’s Invisible Man, Maria Popova featured T.S. Eliot’s thoughts on the mystical quality of creativity, Gina Barreca located literature’s odd place in the history of shoplifting, William Sieghart conducted a “poetry pharmacy,” and Sadie Stein responded to a Paris Review correspondent’s plea for a reading list for depressives. David MacLean traced his promiscuous path to becoming a writer, Mark Forsyth examined political language, Matthew Walther celebrated the reissue of two Kingsley Amis novels, William Todd Schultz underscored the difficulties of separating fact from fiction in the life of Truman Capote, Brian Leiter showed the connections between biography and philosophy in the life of Nietzsche, Blythe Roberson found that comedians have an affinity for the work of David Foster Wallace, and Jenny Diski suggested that celebrity gossip has democratized tragedy. Read Saturday’s poem here, Sunday’s here, and Monday’s here.

We also provided our usual eclectic round-up of religious news. Eric Miller delineated the paradoxes of hope in America, Ben Woodward offered a brilliant quote from H.P. Lovecraft, Matthew Bowman pondered the ramifications of Mormonism going global, Stephen Akey connected Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale to the Bard’s longing for forgiveness, Margarita Korol reflected on the meaning of suffering, Peter Beinart addressed whether Israel can be both democratic and Jewish, and Nina Paley created an animated history of the Holy Land.

In assorted coverage, Jessica Pierce tackled how we deal with the death of our pets, a helpful Youtube video explained the highdea, Christopher Bonanos revealed how Polaroid democratized the nudie pic, Maria Konnikova mused on Indian Summers, Emily Raboteau visited Ghana’s oldest and most notorious slave trade castle, Matthew Schmitz hated the new Mumford and Sons album, and Jeff Marlow supported changing Columbus Day to Exploration Day. James McGirk emphasized the sense of entitlement elite boarding schools generate, Matt Soniak investigated the popular legends surrounding the purchase of Manhattan from Native Americans, Nancy Scola argued that new technology makes the expense of prison phone calls even more absurd, and Daniel Grossman profiled “The Rock Whisperer.”

We asked Reihan Salam anything here and Christopher Ryan here. You can submit questions to Bill McKibben here. MHBs here, here, and here. FOTDs here, here, and here. VFYWs here, here, and here, and the latest window contest here.

- G.G.