And I doubt that I’m even watching the debate tonight.  I have to be up in the morning.

1.  Read this Reihan Salam piece.  Find the sophisticated jab at Obama’s bitter clinger comment.  Just deadly in so many ways.

2.  I keep reading and hearing about how hard Romney is practicing for the debate.  I would feel better if I hadn’t heard about all the drafts his convention speech went through prior to delivering a stinker.

3.  Obama is really pressing the Romney will raise taxes on the middle-class line.  Romney has only just gotten around to rebutting it.  This points to a Romney campaign mistake so obvious that I can’t believe they made it.  They seem to have assumed that talking about the issues is a risk because every policy position involves winners and losers.  So they talk about the bad economy and send Romney out to get by on his charm and maybe do a little rapping (no, I’m not kidding, he’ll rap some of America the Beautiful if a speech is going really badly.)  But they can’t avoid the issue positions they’ve taken.  Romney has come out for a tax cut and premium support Medicare.  If they don’t hear about those positions from Romney, they will hear about Romney’s positions from Obama.  And that is what is happening.  Here is what a disaster this issues-avoidance strategy has been: in August, Obama was on the defensive on Medicare, but in October, Romney is on the defensive on tax cuts.  The dominant quality of Romney’s general election campaign has been self-destructive cynicism.

4.  The Romney campaign has succeeded in wasting Paul Ryan.  Ryan’s chief advantages are his abilities to sharply critique Obama on entitlement and health care policy and explain Romney’s Medicare reform strategy.  But then the Romney campaign decided to avoid issues during the convention and is now in “throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks” mode.  Rob Portman or Bob McDonnell would have been at least as good for this kind of campaign.  The only good thing is that the Ryan pick might lead to a healthier GOP down the line. 

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