With Final Debate Over, Ground Game Intensifies
|October 23, 2012|
by Elvin Lim
Mitt Romney barely passed the bar on Monday night’s debate. He was tentative and guarded, not just because he was being strategic, but because he wasn’t, understandably, in command of the facts of foreign policy as a sitting president would be. Barack Obama “won” the debate, but it will have minimal impact on altering the fundamental dynamics of the race.
A number of polls now find Romney’s momentum continuing at the national level. Romney’s team has been playing a national strategy because he needs to swing nearly all the battleground states in his direction, whereas Obama has played a state-by-state strategy because he has a couple of paths to 270. The upshot of this is that Romney is intensifying his lead at the national level, but this movement at the aggregate level has not translated as well to the battleground states. Most importantly, Obama still leads by a razor’s edge in Ohio.
The Obama campaign is making a bet: that in these last two weeks, it is the ground game that matters most, because there are more registered Democrats than they are registered Republicans, and the key for Obama is turnout, not ideological conversion (as it has been for Romney). This is why Obama leads in field offices in key battleground states. Both campaigns acknowledge that the Democrats will dominate in this ground game.
And so, in this final stretch, it will be two great partisan armies getting the vote out in the battleground states that will determine the final outcome. The artificial high that Obama was riding through the summer, as Mitt Romney was still battling his compatriots during the primaries, was vitiated as soon as Romney took the national stage and glided back to the ideological center. On the other hand, whatever momentum Romney has today will not easily pierce the Democratic firewall in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
This means that silly season in American elections is in full swing. To get the vote, both sides must claim that Armageddon would arrive if one or the other candidate wins. Scare tactics, mud-slinging, and even a Donald Trump surprise are intended to rile people up and get them to the ballot box, or make them so disillusioned that they fail to turn out for their candidate. It is a quadrennial irony we face that everything that is wrong about American democracy is on full, unvarnished display at the same time that citizens prepare to perform one of their greatest acts in a democracy. The good news is this will all be over in two weeks.
Piece crossposted with Out On A Lim
Inherent Vice’s Two Directions
The jokes certainly strike one as sophomoric and the latter one as clichéd, further below Pynchon’s intelligence than one would like to think he would stoop, at least in print. Discounting them and moving on, or throwing the book across the room as Parker half implies we should do, however, would be to lose sight of “that high magic to low puns”.
Auden, Larkin and Love
I was prompted to revisit these ancient questions anew by a long footnote about a single line in the new Complete Poems edition of Philip Larkin’s poetry. The footnote refers to “An Arundel Tomb” contains a provocative remark about that the poem’s celebrated, controversial, closing line, the one about the true nature of immortality: “What will survive of us is love.”
Plato, Our Comrade?
Not surprisingly, there have already been critics of Badiou’s translation. The first is that his translation breaks the formal rules of translation to such a degree that the original meaning of the text has lost its significance. But this critique is inadequate at face value because Badiou’s hyper-translation is forthright in its intention of taking Plato’s concepts and modifying them into his own lexicon.
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