P.S. On another note, Nate Silver says Ohio now has a 50-50 chance of deciding the election. Compare that to the #2 through #9 ranked “tipping point” states: Wisconsin 10%, Virginia 10%, Nevada 9%, Iowa 7%, Colorado 5%, Pennsylvania 3%, New Hampshire 3%, Florida 2%. Put another way:

We are now running about 40,000 Electoral College simulations each day. In the simulations that we ran on Monday, the candidate who won Ohio won the election roughly 38,000 times, or in about 95 percent of the cases. (Mr. Romney won in about 1,400 simulations despite losing Ohio, while Mr. Obama did so roughly 550 times.)

To which I say:


(That’s a photo of our new red state/blue state puzzle, which is awesome. And no, this is not my official prediction for the Electoral College Contest. I’m waiting for more data to make my picks at the last minute, but if I were predicting today, I would probably flip Colorado and New Hampshire from what this map shows. That said, it doesn’t matter — either candidate could win both CO and NH, or they could split the states in either direction, and Ohio would still be decisive on this map.)

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Comments on "Summing up the debates"

11 Responses to “Summing up the debates”

  1. Alasdair Says:

    Brendan et al – before getting too giddy, you *may* just wish to read a considered set of responses from folk who have genuine experience at the pointy end of the spear

    This article at Blackfive is a good and cogent discussion …

    Heck, even *I* know that bayonets are *still* in regular use in well-respected armed forces as an essential piece of equipment …

  2. Brendan Loy Says:

    Even with all the silliness I’ve seen in politics from both sides over the years, it is almost literally unbelievable to me that conservatives are claiming to be offended about Obama’s comments about bayonets and horses on the grounds that OMG THE MILITARY STILL HAS BAYONETS AND HORSES. Obama did not say that we have NO bayonets and horses. He said we have FEWER than in the 1910s. Y’all are just making things up.

  3. Brendan Loy Says:

    Hmm, I belatedly clicked the link, and it claims that we in fact have more bayonets now than in 1916. If that’s true (no source is cited), then I’d obviously need to revise my statement above. Although it remains true that conservatives are making things up when they act like the mere fact the military has bayonets, no matter how many, inherently contradicts Obama:

    Immediately following the debate, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace highlighted that a Marine “tweeted Fox News and said the Marines still use bayonets. So it may not be clear who doesn’t understand what the military currently uses.”

    Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin complained that “Mr. Snarky Commander McSnark” was “lecturing Romney on how we don’t have bayonets anymore.” At, Joel Pollak also purported to fact-check Obama, writing that “the military still uses bayonets.”

    Fox Nation has similarly posted a story headlined “Mr. President, US Special Forces Rode Horses Into Afghanistan.”

    But these conservatives are putting words in Obama’s mouth. The president never said the military doesn’t use any horses or bayonets, just that they use fewer of them.


    Indeed, a 2011 article in military newspaper Stars and Stripes (which is a Department of Defense authorized news outlet), highlighted the changing role of the bayonet in the military. The article explained that there hasn’t been a bayonet charge since the Korean War and that “U.S. army units have not issued soldiers bayonets to Iraq and Afghanistan.” (Nonetheless, the article noted that soldiers would still be trained to use a bayonet, just in a different capacity.)

    In 2010, Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, then the Training and Doctrine’s deputy commanding general for Initial Military Training, explained the need for evolving bayonet training because it was “kind of hard to teach right now when most of the weapons we use don’t have the ability to affix a bayonet.”

    The fact that our military is currently more reliant on things like helicopters and tanks as opposed to horses should be self-evident.

  4. gahrie Says:

    The point isn’t the Republican response, or even President obama’s snide and juvenile attack. It is President Obama’s lack of understanding that we need more ships in today’s world rather than fewer.

    One of the main reasons is when you have such dratically reduced numbers, the loss of each ship becomes increasingly dangerous, and creates a larger degradation of our ability to project power and protect our interests around the world.

    As a perfect example, our ability to support ground operations with close support aircraft in Afghanistan has recently been crippled in an attack on a Marine base in Afghanistan that totally destroyed six Harrier aircraft, and seriously damaged several more. This was the greatest loss of American air power since the Vietnam War, and naturally it was ignored by the MSM.

  5. gahrie Says:

    On another tack (see what I did there?) you seem to approve of the Obama campaign’s complete lack of substance and vision, forcing it to resort to petty and juvenile (and thankfully ineffective) attacks on Romney.

    The take away line from the debate had nothing to do with bayonets, binders or access to the sea.

    The take away line was ““attacking me is not an agenda”, which is precisely why the campaign released an “agenda” this morning, exactly two weeks before the election. An “agenda” that even the media was forced to admit is nothing more than the same failed policies of the last four years.

  6. gahrie Says:

    There is hope yet for Colorado…..

  7. Alasdair Says:

    gahrie #5 – that was a fine reference to the gear required to ride the horses that we have fewer of than in the 1910s … (grin) … I will sail in a different direction as I continue my comment …

    Brendan – the problem with Pres’ent Obama’s comment is that is is so facile, so surface-level … apart from ignoring the fact that, with a bigger standing army now than back then, there are more bayonets, he betrays an abysmal ignorance of what a Commander-in-Chief requires to be effective … he has been C-in-C for almost 4 years, and has yet to learn that logistics and support can make or break a military campaign, whether naval or on land …

    An unescorted Aircraft Carrier is amazingly vulnerable to all sorts of attacks … without the extra supporting fleet escort vessels, it risks becoming a reef for marine life …

    In some ways, worse yet, Mr Obama apparently doesn’t realise the good a Nuclear Carrier task force can do after a hurricane, or other natural disaster … the USS Carl Vinson was one of the early responders after the earthquake in Haiti – and was able to give significant assistance to the stricken Haitians …

    Then again, I probably should not be surprised … Nuclear Carriers aren’t owned by Obama cronies, and most likely do not donate significant funds to Democrat causes – so they don’t matter in Obama’s belief system …

    Oh, and your #3 ignores what grunt-level military folk realise as part of their own survival … when the ammo carried runs out, the ability to affix a bayonet to an otherwise sorta-blunt club can make the difference between life and death … even the General you quoted said “… kind of hard to teach right now …” rather than saying ‘US Armed Forces don’t use bayonets any more” … would you care to venture a guess as to why “hard to teach” even entered into the General’s thoughts, Counsellor ?

  8. Sandy Underpants Says:

    It’s impossible to have a meaningful dialogue with Republicans when they parse every stupid sentence to reduce the meanings and invent scandals where there are none. Less bayonets and less horses? According to moronic US service people we’re riding horses into Afghanistan and using bayonets to fight with? That seems like 60 minutes material if it were true. Is the meaning really lost on why every president for the last 90 years has diminished the number of battleships in our Navy? The 2nd largest airforce in the world, behind the US Airforce is the US Navy. So they’re pretty well funded and armed.

    Then there’s this Benghazi nonsense. Greta Von Buttcheese friended a facebook page of a terrorist organization that claimed responsibility for the murder of the ambassador. Okay, I guess the president must be in on it then. She was saying that we should’ve sent help to aid the ambassador. I wish someone would send a dozen RPG’s through her window, so she could see how long a person can live in a situation like that. Like we’re going to deploy the 6th fleet to fight some guys who ran off into the night after lighting up the US Embassy/rental home in Libya. And what does she think, that president and EVERYONE in the military and US Security just were like “oh well, it’s late we’ll worry about it later”. Really, someone really believes that nothing was done when there was something that could be done? Why didn’t Greta come down on President Bush for messing up something that was sort of a big deal 11 years earlier, the real 9/11 attack that had plenty of pre-warnings and literally nothing was done besides insiders who stopped flying commercial.

  9. Alasdair Says:

    It is now confirmed … the weather phenomenon Sandy is actually more aware of reality than the homonymous writer of #8 !

    WOW !

  10. gahrie Says:

    It’s impossible to have a meaningful dialogue with Republicans when they parse every stupid sentence to reduce the meanings and invent scandals where there are none.

    Uh Sandy….it was your side that has been trying to turn the word “binders” into a scandal for the last two weeks.

    Is the meaning really lost on why every president for the last 90 years has diminished the number of battleships in our Navy?

    That puts us back to 1922, and FDR definitely increased the number of battleships in the 1940’s. Several times during the Cold War, the U.S. Navy went from no battleships to up to four battleships. And of course, since the last battleship was retired in the 90’s, neither Bush nor Obama reduced the number of battleships.

    The issue isn’t battleships (although the Marines wish we still had a couple for shore bombardment), or even aircraft carriers. (although we need a couple more of those also) The navy needs more support ships, for Special Forces, the Marines and the Navy. It needs guided missile cruisers and destroyers to defend our carrier battlegroups. We need destroyers and frigates to patrol the sea lanes. The Navy is about power projection, not defense. Anyway, the experts all agree that the Navy needs more ships.

    Now as to the rest of your rant, which I won’t bother directly addresing, let us assume you are 100% correct.


    I mean apart from spending tens of thousands of dollars on a commercial telling the Pakistani people that we are just as intolerant as they are?

    I mean apart from lying to the people about there being a demonstration caused by a Youtube video.?

    What has he done?

  11. Sandy Underpants Says:

    “Binders of women” is a scandal? Since when? There were numerous jokes about it, but not “news organizations” trying to prop it up as something legitimately controversial.

    “The experts all agree that the Navy needs more ships”. That’s some new Bull. The Joint Cheifs run the military and haven’t asked for ships, so I figure you can’t get more expert than the top of the military. And since the US has spent 7 trillion bucks on military expenses the past 10 years, I figure they could possibly squeeze a few big purchases out of that, if need be. You’re the only person I’ve ever heard even try to suggest that a branch of our military is somehow dilapidated.

    “What has Obama done since then?”. Since when? During the 6 weeks since the ambassador was assassinated? I suppose that the CIA is doing most of the work tracking down the individuals who are clearly visible on video pulling off the attack.It takes time to bring people to justice. I remember you weren’t so impatient when it took the last president forever to catch Bin Laden.

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