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The Third Debate - Open Thread

Will John McCain raise the issue of Bill Ayers in tonight's debate?

McCain: Last Debate Will Probably Include Ayers

Speaking on St. Louis radio, the candidate says Obama's recent comments have "probably ensured" the former Weather Underground leader will come up in Wednesday's debate.

"I was astonished to hear him say that he was surprised I didn't have the guts" to talk about Ayers last week.

I think Senator McTwitch needs to switch to decaf. The early results show a clear edge for Obama.

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They should have last minute thrown Nader in this one, just to give us all a reason to watch.

My Prediction: McCain will bring up garbage so Obama with throw someone back. Everyone will be unhappy and McCain will continue to look like the candle in the wind candidate.

McCain absolutely "didn't have the guts to bring it up" in the 2d debate. The whole attack is based on innuendo, so any opportunity to actually explain it factually will make it less effective than McCain needs it to be.

However, McCain also promised a new economic plan and a re-boot of the campaign. It all turned out to be nothing. Stephanopoulos was wondering whether McCain would make some big announcment in the debate--only running for one term, having a bipartisan cabinet, etc. Bad moves--they only frustrate his base, and do little to grab independents who have already committed to Obama.

In Sen. Obama's game this is known as a "give and go". You hand off the ball and make the defense think you're out of the play, and then sprint to the hoop to receive the return pass for the open layup or jam.

Deception? Sure it is. Will McCain fall for it? That won't be clear until later tonight. If he does, I think the polls will tell you "game Obama" by the end of the week, in case there's any doubt now.

But of course, back here in reality, it wasn't about McCain "not having guts". It was about him not feeling it was an appropriate discussion for the scope of either debate, which were ostensibly about foreign policy and the economy.

To some extent I am frustrated at McCain for not making Obama's friends a bigger issue, but on the other hand I understand why he doesn't. As McCain has stated, he can't bring up the very controversial and troublesome specter of Reverend Wright because the media will undoubtedly label him a racist (as everyone, including the treasonous John Murtha loves to do whenever you question Obama). And many of Obama's die-hard fans don't seem to think his association with Ayers is troublesome, largely because they have been indoctrinated to think that anti-communism is more harmful than communism. This is a great piece on that subject.

However, it is much more than 'insinuation' and 'dirty politics'. It is valid questioning of the deeply-held political beliefs of a man running for the most powerful office in the world. Barack Obama has associated with domestic terrorists, foreign Islamic militants, and outright socialists and communists throughout his career. Any investigation of his proposed policies reveals that those associations are because he shares ideas with those people.

Yet here we have all of the in-the-pocket mainstream media running the talking point of "Obama was 8 years old when Ayers blew up those buildings!", refusing to acknowledge their close ties throughout Obama's political career or Obama's numerous lies about the nature of their relationship.

I do hope McCain brings it up, but I also hope he does something constructive with the point: illustrate that Obama and Ayers are ideologically similar, which is a more important issue than how old Obama was when Ayers blew up US buildings or condoned the murder of police officers. No matter how the mainstream media tries to distort questioning Obama into 'hatred' and 'fear', the majority of people interested in this matter don't think Obama is a terrorist. We know he's a socialist. And we want that fact to receive proper scrutiny.

And as for the polls: bear in mind that Kerry and Gore both had big leads in the polls. And both lost. I'm perfectly willing to accept that, through a carefully manipulated campaign, illegal and undisclosed funding, and a complicit media that Barack "Barry" Hussein Soetoro Obama could waltz right into the White House. If that happens, by all means enjoy your hollow victory. It won't last long. There's a reason virtually every financial adviser on every news network is terrified of an Obama victory. His presidency would be a disaster for the economy, for businesses, for employment - for everything except the expansion of the welfare state.

Sorry friend, I'm not interested in lectures about Communism from anyone voting for a supporter of the largest bailout in American history.

Back to the cave with you.

Calligraph, sir,

You are a real piece of work, aren't you?. Rootin', tootin', shootin' off your meta-motor-mouth on any and all occasions. I must congratulate you on your (energizer?) batteries, but not, on your frontal assault on reality, such as it is. Do you by any chance like goin' out in the desert and shoot real GUNS?

"Obama and Ayers are ideologically similar"

Sub-pose it were true? But for Pete's sake fill in the following blank:

"The treasonous Calligraph and ____ are ideologically similar."

You are a web tailgater, a web road-rager, ideologically, of course, never anything so coarse as an unfiltered Freudian slip. But...

Where are you coming from Calligraph? Where are you going?

Should we not fear YOU?

Don't fear calligraph/tea for the tillerman/average joe. S(?)/he and his ilk en masse are a little scary - ignorance is bliss for those who have it, but for those who must deal with such a mass, they have a tough road to hoe.

I am starting to wonder if calli isn't Bill O'Reilly or the son of Bill O' or some frankenstein creation of Rove or something. Well, I don't seriously wonder this, but, geez!

Here's the thing calligraph - do you truly agree with McCain's policies - the majority of them anyway? Or do you just get off railing against democrats? So much of your ranting is in the form of so and so is a =gasp= liberal so bad, or is guilty by association, or if you find a video with enough quick clipping and no context you can always nail someone down as bad while the opposition isn't even represented.

So, do you feel that deregulation is the best economic policy for our country?

Would you enlist in the armed services to fight in Iraq?

Do you think we should continue with health care in such a way that the emergency room is the route for the uninsured?

Do you think NCLB is an effective policy for education? Have you looked at the cost of vouchers compared to private schools? Have you considered that private schools are necessarily exclusive in some way, and that vouchers have a neat effect of upping private school tuition?

Are you in an income bracket that would benefit from making the Bush tax cuts permanent?

Do you believe in the policy of military pre-emption?

Why is McCain's support of the bailout better than Obama's?

If so, then take a research course that helps you discern good sources, and try to convince people why your issues are better. Don't waste verbiage on guilt by association of one candidate (especially when that is too easily answered about your candidate) or name calling your fellow debaters. Be careful not to circle back and argue against yourself as I've caught you doing.

Good luck.

Sorry friend, I'm not interested in lectures about Communism from anyone voting for a supporter of the largest bailout in American history.

So you're not voting for Barry? He's an enthusiastic supporter of the bailout. He even thinks it hasn't gone far enough.

Obama Blasts Congress for Failing to Pass Bailout Bill
Obama Insists Bailout Will Not Affect His Tax 'Cut' (Really Tax Welfare) Plan
Obama Says He 'Pushed Hard' For the Bailout
Obama Claims Credit for Shaping the Bailout

Who's in the cave?

No, I'm voting for Ron Paul. Sadly, the recent market crash and bailout have proven to me, beyond reasonable doubt, that he was absolutely correct. Obama has revealed himself as a fraud, as has McCain.

But you, as a brainless partisan, have NO RIGHT to lecture ANYONE on Communism or Socialism. You're candidate is just as bad. And you are ALL "pinkos" as far as I'm concerned.

Actually, I take that back. I might just muster up a vote for Barry. If only to send you and your brain-dead, racist, dumber-than-brick, 83-point-IQ-VP-lovin kin back to the swamps from which you spawned.

God damn it- that should be "your" candidate. Grammar is the first casualty of flame war.

McCain supporters are socialist scum.

At least Obama supporters are ideologically honest about it.

And that's the truth, Ruth.

Ron Paul, not running, you not voting.

Anyone else hear about Dick Luger's endorsement?

Thaty plus tonight's debate - and yay I can watch it - should put Obama up even higher.


The conservative Christopher Buckley has endorsed Obama and had to leave the National Review for doing so. And Republican Chuck Hagel's wife has endorsed Obama.

What I heard through the grapevine wasn't entirely accurate: Luger endorses Obama's foreign policy approach and disses Bush. He gives a bone to McCain by saying that diplomacy doesn't always work. Then again, Luger and Obama have worked together on preventing black market sales of weaponry, so they see eye to eye in the foreign policy arena.

Still good news; it'd be great to have Indiana go blue.

zaphod, where do you live? is it a swing state? i have my new york ballot in my hand and i have decided to vote for obama ( i am not bothering to watch the debate, calligraphs last crazy stuff just forced my hand to obama).

If you live in a swing state, and are willing to vote for Obama, i am willing to vote for Ron Paul in new york, unless this is illegal? i assume i can vote for whomever i want to for whatever reason. I am not willing to vote for Mccain palin, but ron paul, in new york sure. by the way, i am serious ( and can photocopy my ballot to prove it.)

I live in the swing-iest of swing states: Florida.

Don't worry friend, I'm a hesitant, self-hating Obama supporter. He was dead-wrong on FISA. He was dead-wrong on the bailout. His move to the center forced me to gag back bile on more than one occasion.

Until the RNC, I was planning to just stay out of it.

But Palin- and her supporter- are just so fucking stupid that it offends me into action. These faux-conservatives who have the GALL to talk about "Obama the Socialist" without even ONE PEEP about the bailout just angers me to my very core.

The majority of OGM disagrees fundamentally with "Paulian" economic theory. I understand this, and come here to expose myself to other points of view. I try to shut up and listen most of the time. But on some issues- like the market's reaction to the bailout- I feel the truth is so self-evident that I need only point to convert a few to my ideology.

But I respect socialists. I understand the benefits of collectivism. And although my paranoia prevents me from embracing it, I do support certain socialist ideologies passionately.

Case in point: in tonight's debate, Obama mentioned the idea of offering tuition in exchange for military or volunteer service. This got me excited for Obama again.

I can continue my volunteer work, AND get my masters degree? Holy smokes! Ok, so I still get screwed on the bailout/housing (cause- you know- I actually PAY my bills and actually live WITHIN my means) but at least he is tossing me a bone!

I like to think of myself s Hank Hill with a NYC accent (relocated in 2006). I like the idea of my fellow Americans volunteering to advance their education. Build character AND mind? Now that's the America I know and love!

Of course, the cynic in me realizes that many of these fine men and women will be sent to fight in Obama's War in Afghanistan (how else will he prove he's not a Muslim?). But after a trillion $ bailout, my "outrage gland" is running dry.

Obama/co-author of the Patriot Act '08!

For me, the election comes to this: will we begin to fight our ignorance, or decide to promote it so that it reign over us?

Palin won my vote...for Obama.

you sure about your vote? not sure i can written in a ron paul in new york, but can check?

I think the thing that really really pissed me off this election was the Palin choice, I feel bad as i do love that right wing repubs are willing to vote for a working mother with a baby at home, but everything I learn about Pailn makes me nervous, and therefore the judgements I can see McCain doing, picking VP, very impulsive, non serious choice, other choice, his campaign staff, terribly poorly run campaign. strike two. Finally McCain in foreign policy, really bugs me. McCains economic advisors, also bad and in contrast to Calligraphs poorly imformed posting, most ecomomists feel Obamas advisors are better.

Writing in Ron Paul if you don't support him would be dishonest. I'd rather you simply consider his views on foreign policy, taxation, and personal liberty. Just consider what he has to say.

I'm a Florida voter for Obama. And, I'll even confess that I have shredded my lovely Conservative neighbors at several recent dinner parties. My agenda is simple: disenchanting them from the GOP is the first step towards completely redefining the GOP, which is our long term goal.

Like I said, it is about intellectual honesty. The core of Obama's economic view is the redistribution of wealth. But- so is McCain's! Only one is at least somewhat honest about it. I'd rather have a Democrat running as a Democrat than a Republicrat running as a Conservative.

Final point: everytime I hear Palin or McCain use the word "Federalist" I yelp with rage. HAMILTON was the Federalist- he was PRO central government authority. The states-rights arguments that McCain/Palin make are actually anti-federalist in nature.

But they are both too stupid to know that. Hence, I vote Obama.

ps calligraph, where are you getting all that crap. Hmmn mcain adviser worked for sadam hussien and Obama is connected to foreign islamic militants.

Your candidate gets caught in innapropriate relations with Keating, has numerous campaign advisors who had to quit due to their relationships with foreign powers NOT friendly to the US, VP is proven to have abused her power with ethics violations and you don't like he knew an ex weatherman?

Finally, calligraph you just showed you are not interested in any real discourse because if you actually read this blog rather than just posting on it, you would have known that Zaphod was a Ron Paul libertarian.

i by the way actually read your stuff, figure i should keep my mind open. I have always liked mccain till he signed his pact with the devil.

Usually calligraph pisses me off, but I have to say tonight he really has me laughing. What a crazy bastard. I love the whining at the end about an Obama presidency trashing the economy - absolutely amazing! After eight years with the GOP controlling the White House and, for most of that period, with control of both Houses of Congress, and a conservative Wall Street darling as the Fed chairman - and he thinks the Democrats will trash the economy! Hilarious!

did i just hear right, mccain wants to deregulate education and eliminate exams to licence teachers???? is that what i heard?


WTF. I heard this and thought the man was nuts. He gave a spiel about making sure we have good teachers but in the next sentence said we need to remove testing standards to certify teachers? That made no sense. Lets make better teachers by not testing them to see if they are competent.

Yup, that's what McCain said. I guess when the unqualified teachers don't teach well, Johnny can help them find another career.

This was a missed opportunity for Obama to point out an inconsistency - could've been swiftly and cleanly before the subject was dismissed.

As far as my opinion on the debate, I'm going to give it to Obama since he made no major mistakes. Most likely it will be closer to a tie then the last one. McCain was strong at the beginning but towards the end seemed to be getting frustrated. It was entertaining to watch the CNN response lines during the abortion section. While McCain talked the womens' response went down while the mens' went up.

"To some extent I am frustrated at McCain for not making Obama's friends a bigger issue, but on the other hand I understand why he doesn't. As McCain has stated, he can't bring up the very controversial and troublesome specter of Reverend Wright because the media will undoubtedly label him a racist."

Poor McCain, being called a racist all the time. But this still doesn't answer why McCain didn't want to bring up Ayers. I guess he had to, since Obama called him out on it, his own supporters are dying for it, and Sarah Palin has been demanding it. And besides, Obama refused to do a bunch of town halls in the summer, which forced McCain to lie and insinuate nefarious things about Obama! Poor McCain, he didn't want to go there, and he doesn't care about a "washed up terrorist", but he cares very very much about a guy who sat on a board with a washed up terrorist along with several other mainstream Chicago figures.

"One of the biggest voting frauds in American history"? John McCain is a shameless liar, who'd rather poison the national political climate for four years than get blown out by Obama fair and square. Or a complete moron.

I think McCain hasn't brought up Wright because he doesn't want to talk about Hagee and some of the other nuts supporting him, he doesn't want anyone talking about his former aversion to Falwell and he sure doesn't want to talk about Palin's holy protection from witches...

Obama did just what he should have when McCain brought up Ayers and ACORN - he clarified the situation and moved on.

Then McCain said there hadn't been enough investigation on this issue. ho HUM. This didn't jibe at all with his answer about his VP pick - how Obama had been exposed for 20 months and Palin not for so long, so she hasn't gotten a fair shake. blah blah blah.

I guess all that shit that introduced Obama over the past 20 months didn't include any vetting? Please: Rev. Wright, Rezko, trip to Kenya, his schooling (oh yeah - it was at a madrassa don't you know, and I think Ayers visited or something), and on and on. Believe, if someone could have dug up something nefarious during the campaign season, they would have.

Obama has illustrated qualities of a good leader the entire road of this campaign - level-headed responses to every controversy, plenty of transparency. I don't agree with him on some issues - FISA for ex. - so I sent his campaign a letter. Still, I agree with him on most issues. I can't to witness his presidency.

YEP! He said that troops returning from theater wold go straight into classrooms.

I love troops, my mom works with them as they return from theater. I still want MY KID to have a teacher that has a certification.

And I've been fairly neutral, but McCain looked a tad.. insane? like he was going to do an evil giggle and explode - near the end?

Amazing.. Give Sarah and him the Bomb so they may unblinkingly do what they must.

F#ck me.

McCain wants all untested veterans teaching in our schools, sounds like Starship Troopers, where your high school civics teacher is also your drill sergeant. Turn public education into a recruitment center.

If he did that he might finally have talked me into vouchers.

Why is it every other country can run a public education and we let ours suck it up so bad.

i have been educated in the US and canadian and british systems. My US experience was fabulous but i lived in a upper class area in new york suburbs, lots of local support and money. Most of my cousins in the US had crappy schools in the US, even in pretty good areas.

Canadian schools have, provinical standards and monies are determined by the province, not local property taxes. The move in Canada ( well in Vancouver) is the local school board has lots of choice, you can cross district, lots of specialized schools, and some limited competition.

If you ask me schools should NOT be paid by local property taxes, they should be national or at least state standards and monies should be coming from a tax structure where poor areas are not penalized by their poverty. The US should be ashamed of their low standards, ashamed. They set low standards for teachers, they pay teachers crap. I mean California, a rich state, well it was one, has terrible schools in many districts and great ones in other areas. Totally based on the economics of the area. It is terrihle. The last thing the US needs is deregulated schools, charters OK, competition OK, merit pay for teachers, OK, get rid of the unions, OK (sorry i am not that pro union). But you need to pay teachers more, you need to encourage high level teacher training, and very high standards for teachers.

Yes, pay primary and secondary school teachers a damned decent wage! They have one of the most if not the most important job in our country and we find excuses to keep them from earning a decent living all the time. Oh, they have summers off (when they often take courses to maintaim certification if they didn't double up on work during the year), or they are only on the job until 2 or 4 pm (no matter that they take work home and start their days pretty early). Teachers may not need the 6 digit salaries of executives, may of whom are gross failures in their own right, but can't we give them a fair shake? If the average hovers around $35,000/yr as it has in Iowa, does no one see the difficulty of keeping our best and brightest in such positions?

Yeah grossly underpaid.

Yeah, you are wrong about the unions. Unions sometimes support bad policy and are over protective of their membership. But they have also been responsible for preventing the devastating impact of vouchers and the republican assault on the national department of education.

The idea that we can just start firing teachers that suck and it will really solve anything is sort of silly. The problem is in the recruitment and education of good dedicated teachers. Which needs higher salaries especially for higher education and real life experience. Merit pay sounds like a good idea, but what is merit. If you are basing it on testing, then you are just encouraging teaching to tests and ignoring cheating.

I was very happy with Obama tonight. He kept his cool, he kept shifting the focus back to the topic at hand rather than take up McCain's derailing bait, and he displayed a well thought out approach to each question answered.

Admittedly, I was delighted to see McCain so rattled, grasping for straws. But bias is so hard to calm.

I'm surprised by some of the reactions--other than calligraph's, who is a fervent believer in logical fallacies such as guilt-by-association reasoning. It worthwhile to keep an open mind, but if people aren't responsive to evidence of any kind, and simply repeat smear attacks, what's the point? What, seriously, do you expect to learn from vague allusions about Obama's putative associations with Ayers?

I was disastissfied with Obama's other debate performances, frankly. But I have never seen anything like this--McCain embarrassed himself, acting like a petulant child, going off on confused ramblings, defending his supporters rather than condemning the "kill him" and "terrorist" remarks made at his rallies. His fundamental incompetance on economic issues, and flagrant inconsistencies on education--as k. and akira pointed out--were as obvious as they were ridiculous. Above all, he had no consistent strategy whatsoever--is obama paling around with terrorists? or a communist? or inexperienced? or naive? or not forthcoming enough about his relationships? Or his policies? or not enough of a war vetran to be president? There was no consistent line of attack, just confused, resentful, pathetic rambling.

Most pathetic of all was all this "Joe the Plumber" shit. If it's not "Joe Sixpack," it's "Joe Plumber." Both are stereotypes--and obvious stereotypes--of the "ordinary American", intended to create a cultural identification which has no weight as people watch their retirement portfolios dissolve and their home equity plummet.

Obama was calm, direct, and--other than on the cutting programs issue--surprisingly honest at moments. He directly said: I will not be involved in trade agreements with foreign countries that do not respect human rights. I am completely pro- Roe v. Wade (no hedge).

My guess? The Obama campaign planned all of this. They went along with the bullshit rules in the earlier debates about no follow ups and no direct interaction between the candidates, so that in the last one, they could have both--and embarass McCain for the empty, cynical, confused, and dangerous empty suit that he is.

Gore never did that. Kerry never did anything even remotely close. They didn't have the guts; they didn't have the planning; and frankly, they didn't have the sheer political cunning to wait, patiently, until the very last to debate, to explicitly point out what most of us already knew--that McCain runs smear ads about Ayers and ACORN because he has no policies, no plan, no nothing, and to expose him with calm, clear, direct arguments while letting him go completely unhinged on live television.

One word on McCain's ACORN/Obama/voter fraud: youtube.

Ain't it nice that McCain was the keynote speaker at a 2006 Florida event sponsored in part by ACORN. I believe ACORN was included in his reference that "What makes America special is what's in this room tonight."

As for the Obama campaign planning this? Hard to tell, but they have indeed planned well.

I didn't find McCain to be as angry as a lot of people did--he seems kind of high-strung all of the time, yes a bit moreso tonight.

Obama played the Ayers and ACORN attacks just right. I would have wanted to throw the kitchen sink at it; but Obama addressed both briefly and moved on. The comment about McCain's campaign being all about Ayers was also devastating because it's completely true.

I'm surprised by the reactions to the debate, too. I've heard more about McCain's confusion between autism and Down's than I've heard about his outrageous claim about ACORN.

A point on the CNN presentation of the debate:

I only have CNN to watch and they love their reaction graphic at the bottom of the screen. As much as I tried to ignore it I kept on looking at it; looking at it, for example, to validate my reaction. Moreover as the debate went on I had this paranoid feeling that the men were biased in favour of McCain. Finally the CNN pundits after the debate based most of their insights on that reaction graphic.

I think Jon Stewart made a similar point. The graphic is irrelevant and at worse distracts from the debate. CNN should stop displaying it.

I just needed to rant on this minor irritant.

Otherwise after the 2 previous elections I'm glad that it is the Democrat setting the tone of the debate and having the Republican react versus the other way around.

Obama doesn't verbally smackdown McCain but he sure gets under his skin. And its a pleasure to watch.

Obama is totally rope-a-doping McCain. The GOP and its ruling body of neocons are finally being shown for the graceless, ignorant oafs that they are.

As is my custom, I analyzed and compared the separate parts of the participants to this debate: bubble graphs of no. and length of words and sentences, word clouds. I added a study of the number of speaking turns of each candidate too. You can find this and more at my Word Face-Off blog. Similar analyses of the previous debates are hyperlinked from there.

The troll's ip address is

At the very least, I have to point out how exceptional Calligraph's trolls are. They legitimately seem directed at this specific forum (not simple copy and paste) and they are being directed at an audience that explicitly and frequently calls her out on his consistent violation of house conventions (ie, rational, evidence-based argumentation). Yet Calligraph still posts the same thing. At most other sites, I've noticed a few things. Either the trolls disappear (at 538, most of the poll conspiracists have vanished as have the "this is great news for McCain!one!" trolls; at The Confluence, anybody with any sense of reality has fled, etc) or they change tactics and at least make a go at adapting to the forum's reality.

Heck, people here aren't even getting riled up over Calli anymore, so she can't really be deriving much satisfaction in setting flame bait. I wonder when he will either conclude we are either hopeless reprobates and give up or adapt even a little? There has got to be a helluva lotta cognitive dissonance building up right now.

Hey Norm,

If I'm not mistaken, your IP address (which resolves to is probably a node in the TOR netork. (A quick Google yields this page.) If true, this seems excessively careful behavior for a run of the mill poster. Tor is useful for many things, but for protecting your identity from a blog? Only if you are officially associated with an organization that prohibits astroturfing would such a thing make much sense, considering how inconvenient surfing under Tor often is.

This is the bizarro world the hicks and ultra-conservatives live in. Barack Obama is a demagogue because he can actually speak eloquently (McCain and Palin just revert to their Tourettes Syndrome-like verbal ticks such as “my friend” and “you betcha” in an attempt to hide their stupidity behind some half-assed folksy banter).

Barack Obama went to two of America's finest universities, he got their strictly on merit, and he excelled, but neo-creeps paint him as an unqualified elitist. McCain was a legacy at the Naval Academy where he graduated 5th from the bottom. Palin's intellect is quite simply a train wreck but this means she's “one of us.” She's “Joe six pack” or “Joe the plumber” or “Joe the Toilet Whisperer” or whatever the hell McCain's pathetic campaign manager has dreamed up this week.

They persist in saying Barack Obama “pals around with terrorists” when they know that this is perhaps the biggest lie ever created in an election cycle.

They call anyone who supports Barack Obama a brain-washed Obama-bot—something they learned from their godlike reverence for El Fattie, AKA Rush Limbaugh.

I recently had a party at my apartment here in Spain. There were people from 11 countries around the world. I talked to everyone about who they think we should elect. Take a guess who they all picked. In another bizarro world scenario, the hicks think it is bad if people around the world are on our side.

When elected, Obama can't expect to take anything for granted with his supporters; if he screws up he's gong to hear about it. Unlike conservatives who circle the wagons and have defended W to the bitter end of his disastrous presidency—the worst in American history.

Hey Norm,

Which is the troll? The Word Face-off spammer or Calligraph?

If I'm not mistaken, that IP address (which resolves to is probably a node in the TOR netork. (A quick Google yields this page.)

If true, this seems excessively careful behavior for a run of the mill poster. Tor is useful for many things, but for protecting your identity from a blog? Only if you are officially associated with an organization that prohibits astroturfing would such a thing make much sense, considering how inconvenient surfing under Tor often is.

Calligraph is the one attached to this particular ip

I fell asleep right after the debate - or maybe it was during the last five minutes? - anyway, I am probably luck that I got to miss the pundits.

No Intellectual Peacocks In This Debate

I wouldn't be surprised if Calligraph is indeed a shill for some RNC offshoot. It's not uncommon to see baited Republican talking points planted in left-leaning forums to create a "jury is out" illusion, or simply to sow seeds of fear and doubt.

Don't get me wrong; I'm all for having as many viewpoints as possible for the sake of healthy debate, but this guy/gal is over the top. He/she never does seem to stick around to finish a discussion, let alone address specific points and challenges.

The fact that his/her IP is spoofed is pretty damn good evidence that we're dealing with a paid troll. Real mavericks don't need to hide their identities...

The troll's ip address is

Whoa, what are we doing here?

I think Norm is pointing out that Calligraph is posting from an address designed to obfuscate his origin. And there seems to be a consensus that she uses sock puppets as well. So, combined with her immunity to logic, terrible arguments, and general trolling, this bit of information might just tip the scales to the rest of the community ignoring the troll?

And since it is a TOR server, there is no loss of actual privacy at all.

I am relieved.

yeah norm, what is this with the IP addresses? unless you already are certain that someone is missusing the site.

The IP address reveals nothing personal about the commenter. If he was connecting from an IP that revealed personal information I wouldn't have posted it.

I would have banned this troll long ago but many here seem to 'enjoy' seeing his comments. His arguments are shallow, and rife with common logical fallacies, they offer little useful information. The only benefit I see to his participation is the constant 'amusement' provided by spot the fallacy material. I long ago gave up any serious engagement with his 'arguments' as a waste of my time.

You (k) by the way use the internet to access this site.

I think this reveal of calligraphs use of Tor, an anonymizing proxy service explicitly used to obfuscate an internet users identity, is significant and I would like for it not to be forgotten in future considerations of his presence here. It suggests to me most strongly that there is something foul afoot. And I would like to hear the one calling itself calligraph's explanation.

Isn't it just possible that whomever he works for has such a service too keep their employees internet activities from embarrassing them?

I would have no objection to banning Calli for generally dropping off every conversation at the first sign of real dialogue, but I don't see any value in persecuting. What is the real significance of employing an anonymizing service in an anonymous conversation?

This is an interesting development, and I'm feeling somewhat responsible, although the real burden rests on calligraph's shoulders.

My original reaction to calligraph and other screen names was to try and engage the poster in debate; this was followed by nearly always ignoring his comments (and wishing for an "ignore" feature for the 1st time in my blog life).

Then a fellow poster encouraged us not to ignore such blatant ignorant posting, so the community here seemed to take up the call and try and engage him/her in debate. In this case, i was just exasperated, and asked for puttin up or shuttin up. So I've played along occasionally, only calli's "debate skills" don't exactly sharpen our skills, although they do expose the style and M.O. of the neo-con supporters.

So here we are. Will calli return? Explain the terminal anonymity? Chances of getting good arguments from c/tft/aj are slim to none.

This is not scientific data taken from a carefully controlled sample, just a "focus group" in which Republicans and Independents outnumbered Democrats by a margin of 4 to 1. Most of them apparently spent the debate having a good laugh at McCain's expense. I highlight some intertesting points:

Once again, the focus group dials dove whenever McCain went on the attack, particularly when he talked about Bill Ayers and ACORN in what turned out to be the longest segment of the evening. The audience that started out giving McCain a 54/24 favorability rating (and, incidentally, liked Sarah Palin a lot more than Joe Biden, with +6 and -20 splits) ended up almost evenly divided between warm and cool feelings toward him (50/48).

Obama started off with a lower, and divided, favorability rating (42/42) that climbed to 72/22 after 90 minutes. “Boring” and “zzzzz” were popular reviews of Obama’s performance from blogosphere pundits, but apparently the people have had enough excitement watching the market plummet and are in the mood for some mellowness. [...] As for Obama, he continued to win over undecided voters on critical questions: Does he have what it takes to be president? A 38/50 split flipped to 56/34. Can voters trust him to make the right decisions? Obama rose from 30/50 to 48/40. Is he best equipped to handle the economic crisis? Voters split evenly between the two candidates at the start preferred Obama by 30 points by the end of the night.

The “values” undecided voters seem to have in mind this year seem a long way from the focus on abortion and gay marriage in the 2004 campaign. Voters reacted most positively to Obama’s remarks during the segment on education that parents needed to take personal responsibility to improve their children’s learning environments—Greenberg noted that the dials went up to 80, the highest score of the night. Similarly, women reacted particularly well to his comments on abortion, but it was his suggestion that there could be common ground in supporting policies to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies that really spiked the dials in CNN’s focus group of undecided Ohio voters.

Wow. Bringing people over on the abortion issue. I'd be mightily impressed if that result generalizes.

A friend of mine who watched the debate on CNN described the dial reactions to me:

negative attacks: men sent the dial up and women dialed down

abortion: men dialed up for McCain and women dialed down; men dialed down for Obama and women dialed up

generally the dial was up more for BHO than JSMc.

I watched the debate at a cafe and it was shown on FOX. Both CNN and FOX used the split screen. My friend and I wondered how those who saw the debate with one candidate per screen viewed the candidates as to those who watched the broadcasts with split screens.

A friend of mine who watched the debate on CNN described the dial reactions to me:

When friends start describing cable to you over the phone, you know its time call up and order yourself a nice package that includes HBO.

Next step is having friends to courtroom renderings and its really too late at that point.

Did I see right? Did McCain's make-up artist really put pink lipstick on the honorable senator? Or is it just the color adjustment on my TV?

McCain kept pulling his smiley faces until I remembered where I had seen those same faces before, Michael Richards, Cramer, the Seinfeld guy, the rude red one. I can't remember the episode or situation though. Odd.

"The conservative Christopher Buckley"

The Atheist Cristopher "one-good-issue"-voter Hitchens, which is huge. Humongous.


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