The Weekly Wrap


Friday on the Dish, Andrew hailed Romney's up-trending favorability as the legacy of the first debate and reviled GOP cynicism in accusing Obama of creating partisan gridlock. He then shot down voting against Obama because of his cannabis policy and lambasted Buzz Bissinger for likening Romney to Clinton.

In polls, the Nates mulled Gallup's accuracy as Ezra Klein talked with the polling firm's Frank Newport. Silver then rounded up signs of a possible Obama rebound and Blumenthal checked in on the Senate races. 

More generally, TNC compared Obama to Joe Louis, Ann Friedman supported "binders full of women" and John Sides found that Obama had more ads on the air than Romney. Tagg's surname "built that," Chait thought Obama would have the upper hand in fiscal cliff fisticuffs and Chris Geidner mapped out marriage equality. Washington's legalization initiative enjoyed a sizable lead, the West's approach to Iran mirrored Iraq and Reihan revealed the best policy idea no one is talking about. Bob Wright then reflected on a study suggesting racism is learned, biracial people ascended and Corey Fields examined black Republicans. In the ad war, the Obama campaign channeled Reagan and reinforced its new auto-industry line of attack.

In assorted commentary, Andrew called our approach to climate change "silence = death," Colbert philosophized on grief and readers responded to the Newsweek news. Americans tended to overestimate their work hours, Patrick Ryan recalled how a seizure wiped his memory and McDonald's rolled out the BigSpicyPaneer. And while social media censorship disturbed Mathew Ingram, Matt Tullis profiled a horseshoe-pitching virtuoso and Jon Stewart's "Night of Too Many Stars" benefited people with autism. Face of the Day from Beirut here, VFYW here and MHB here.

The rest of the wrap after the jump:


Doolin, Ireland, 9 am

Thursday on the Dish, Andrew hailed the Newsweek Global decision, calling print magazines "horses and carriages" in the automobile era. Readers then wanted Andrew to shave his beard if Obama wins the third debate – and 98% gave Obama the win in Long Island last Tuesday. 

In electoral mapping, Wisconsin looked to be in play and Sabato's Crystal Ball outlined how Obama and Romney could tie. Meanwhile, in binder news, the meme hit the Amazon reviews section, and after Chait urged Dems to drop "binder" meme-ing, readers reminded us that the overarching issue is still important.

Elsewhere in politics today, DOMA took another hit from an appeals court in a decision that "heightened scrutiny." Romney then contradicted himself on government-led job creation, Larison expected Romney to flub Monday's debate and the Tax Policy Center found Romney's math still didn't add up. Obama's deportations included few "gangbangers," Brian Beutler examined how Romney could undermine Romneycare, and as Jonathan Cohn compared red and blue state realities, Kate Sheppard believed that the Great Recession benefited climates skeptics. Matt Groff then analyzed the cost of the War on Drugs and legalization advocates discussed the twilight of prohibition, though legalization lost steam in Colorado. Plus, Jimmy Kimmel conducted a debate-awareness experiment that was both unsettling and hilarious.

In global issues, Anne Applebaum pushed back on the notion that US diplomats must not face risk, Anthony Tao defended China against Romney and Obama, Beinart reflected on the most unfair criticism of his book and bloggers remembered Cambodia's King Sihanouk.

In assorted commentary, a California supermax prison outdid Iran's solitary confinement conditions in its austerity, D.T. Max mused on DFW's description of the Internet and online voting seemed unlikely. Andrew Sprung hated indictments of entire generations, Ozimek worried about a 15-hour work-week and Joseph A. Konstan and John Riedl revealed how Netflix and Amazon formulate suggestions. Readers added more to the New York Shitty conversation, Mary Bidinger explained why it's hard to write what you know and Richey Piiparinen and Anne Trubek aimed to broaden the stories of struggling American cities. MHB here and VFYW here.


Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew absorbed context on past elections, and while the bloggers reacted some more, readers weighed in. Candy Crowley said Romney "picked the wrong word" on the Rose Garden terror speech, a reader nailed Andrew's impression of Obama and Nate Cohn expected only a small bump. Plus, Beyonce said to "better put three rings on it."

Romney misled on Obama's pension plan, CBS News unraveled the energy debate and, despite the binders, Romney didn't promote women. George Will then gave it to Obama, Beinart worried that the race was Romney's to lose, and while XKCD illustrated the problem with predicting election winners, Chris Hayes lamented the debate discussion on climate change. The economy then picked up, David Roberts dug into coal policy and Team Romney tried to make hay of the debate. People with various disabilities left regular journalists in the dust and Arrested Development met Election 2012. 

Andrew then noted that Jeffrey Goldberg got smeared, Evan Osnos exposed China's corruption and Ed Kilgore examined GOP talking points on Benghazi. Beinart addressed Obama's mideast policy and seniors languished in prison.

In assorted commentary, Guinness went gay, authentic Thai food flummoxed and Pinterest seemed like a therapeutic tool. Moran Meis then remembered a Marxist, Tom Stafford diagnosed inbox obsessions and Michael Moynihan made the case against Holocaust denial laws. FOTD here, MHB here, VFYW here and Andrew thanked the team. Plus, don't forget to ask Mark Bowden anything!

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Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew called it game-set-match for Obama and expressed his "bloody elation" to Chris Matthews. As bloggers aired their takes and the Tweetosphere weighed in, Romney lied egregiously on Obama's regulations record. And after Romney discussed binders full of women, lo, a meme was born - and based on a lie.

In debate previews, Allahpundit put odds against Obama, Tomasky recommended the element of surprise and Waldman advised connecting with voters. Galupo wondered whether Obama could take down Romney's hazy tax math, readers proposed debate questions and as Mark Salter said Romney didn't need to bring it, the Denver debate turned out not to have sealed the Romney deal in Ohio. Plus, Romney debated himself – and Tweet of the Day here.

In the latest polling, Andrew looked on in still more horror at Obama's post-Denver plummet as he shuddered at Obama's loss of the female vote. Romney pulled ahead in Florida, Silver argued the second is as important as the first debate and Nate Cohn discouraged against reading too much into Obama's Ohio lead. Paul Ryan envisioned himself as the economic Cheney, Romney's jobs plan disintegrated upon inspection and Hillary took the fall for Benghazi. As Bruce Bartlett eviscerated Romney's economic plan, the possibility that the Fed could cut off quantitative easing under Romney seemed likely. In ad coverage, Bill Clinton explained taxes and Jane Lynch led gay celebs in equality-promotion. Brad Plumer contextualized the shutdown of a stimulus-fundee, taxes subsidized the NFL ,and Michael Klarman reviewed the history of litigating gay life. And for a little levity, Romney's tax plan was revealed by Dems.

In assorted commentary, Andrew reflected on the strain of lying and his process of coming out as HIV-positive, Christopher Ryan discussed the first swingers, and Brendan O'Kane defended Mo Yan. Ned Hepburn hailed Seinfeld's low-budget show, Woodie Guthrie tinkered with his Dustbowl persona and readers offered more advice on New York Shitty. Felix Salmon pondered pumpkin flavor, advice columnists gave back, and as Craig Mod described his life with Fitbit, more people worked from home. FOTD here, VFYW here, MHB here, VFYW contest here and don't forget to ask Mark Bowden anything!


By Munir uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

Monday on the Dish, Andrew plotted Obama's course for communicating change, called out Romney's reliance on corporate welfare and urged Obama to stop running away from his job creation record. 

In debate previews, moderator Candy Crowley ignored the campaigns, Scott Conroy framed what's a stake tomorrow for Romney and Scott Lemieux wondered about blank-spots in debate topics. Meanwhile, in polls, Andrew hailed stabilization in the race, Nate Cohn interpreted Romney's bounce, Drum noted the timing of Romney's surge, and as Silver tallied low odds for a Republican Senate, Frank Newport imagined a world without horserace polls.

Paul Ryan visited an empty soup kitchen, Seth Masket calculated the odds of a divided government and an electoral-college tie proved complicated. Reihan then addressed which tax deductions to scrap, Chait thought the Ryan plan could pass and Steve Benen summarized Obama's deficit reduction. Michael Phillips-Anderson considered the role of humor in campaigns, Jon Stewart ran an uncannily resonant FDR clip and Harvey Cormier reflected on Obama and American pragmatism. Morgan Freeman then narrated an Obama ad, Dr. Keith Ablow asked for Biden's alcohol level, and Eugene Jarecki linked the war on drugs and America's incarceration system. And as Beinart expected a military drawdown, soldiers committed suicide in record numbers. Plus, presidential emergency messages left Ambinder with mixed feelings. 

In global coverage, Andrew argued against war with Syria, Tim Judah pushed back on criticisms of the EU's Nobel victory and Dan Ephron explained Israel's veer right.

And in assorted commentary, Andrew called Camille Paglia a "brilliantly insightful gay man resplendent in a female body," more readers weighed in on New York Shitty and Vikas Mehrota broke down the "cobra effect." Consumerism and conformity intruded on daily life, the social web darkened and heartbeat rates correlated closely with lifespans. FOTD here, MHB here and VFYW here.


Saturday and Sunday on the Dish, politics receded as matters of faith and love dominated our coverage. Andrew's summary of Obama's post-debate slide and updated thoughts on the election were the main commentary we provided on the horse race.

We ranged widely over the topics of religion and philosophy. On the themes of faith and doubt, Elizabeth Drescher complicated how we understand the rise of the nones, Lee McCracken sighed at the way fundamentalists read the Bible, Tim Muldoon described why learning doesn't threaten his faith, Kenneth Shepherd traced the evolution of atheism's meaning, Eliza Gray examined the strange alliance between Scientology and the Nation of Islam, Noah Millman contemplated prayer's relationship to boredom, and Sunday's brilliant poem from Henri Cole captured the struggle to believe. In philosophy coverage, Liel Liebovitz held that Judith Butler as an apt recipient of the Adorno Prize, Brian Leiter and Michael Weisberg proposed a way of thinking about our knowledge of the world, Paula Marantz Cohen lamented how little college students ponder death, and Chris Higgins riffed on another tranformative lecture from Alan Watts.

We also thought about love and sex this weekend. Chloe Angyal celebrated the intimacy of reading in bed with your significant other, Alex Heigl explained why Objectivism isn't for lovers, Christopher Ryan answered your questions about gangbang porn, Christopher Ferguson feared banning ex-gay therapy in CA might backfire, Tracy Clark-Flory reflected on the joys of traditional courtship, and Saturday's poem was a meditation on eros from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In literary and cultural coverage, Goodreads charted the reading habits of Obama and Romney supporters, Peter Orner provided counterintuitive advice for writers, Joshua Rothman claimed Wuthering Heights is unadaptable for the big screen, Philip Maugham pondered the dying art of the handwritten note, and A Different L.A. showcased those who love and repair typewriters. William Kremer taught us about elevator etiquette, Jake Hanrahan interviewed an elite art smuggler, Keith Axline deconstructed Instagram's impact, Jacob Mikanowski gave us a tour of portraiture's history, Lynne Murphy offered a word of caution about importing your swear words, Roger Ebert mused on the ease with which we adopt our parents' religion, Peter Beinart responded to questions about the Jewish generational divide, and Willa Paskin expressed displeasure at the Romney campaign's adoption of the Friday Night Lights slogan.

Poseur alert here and Hathos alert here. MHBs here and here, FOTDs here and here, VFYWs here and here and the latest window contest here.

– G.G.