Barack Obama

Was Obama a 'Great' President? Listen to Matt Welch Defeat Jonathan Chait in a Debate at the SoHo Forum

Topics covered include foreign policy, stimulus, Obamacare, climate policy, and more.

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Jonathan Chait. ||| Jim Epstein
Jim Epstein

On Tuesday night, I participated in an event at The SoHo Forum, the great monthly series of Oxford-style debates in Manhattan curated and moderated by Barron's stalwart Gene Epstein, with the help of The Smith Family Foundation. The debate was with New York magazine political writer and frequent libertarian-baiter Jonathan Chait, author of the published-just-this-week Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail. The proposition under discussion was: "Based on his record of accomplishments, Barack Obama has been a great president."

In voting before the debate, the audience declared themselves as 31 percent pro-greatness, 51 percent anti-, and 18 percent undecided. After the discussion those numbers were 22, 75, and 3. My parting gift to the president of the United States was apparently to convince one-quarter of the people in a ballroom to turn against his eight years in office. It's true that I definitely had homefield advantage?the crowd was none too pleased about Chait's characterization of the Tea Party as being partly a product of racist animus, nor about his gushing for the Iran deal. But it's about how many minds you change, man. (Or at least, whether you can get your debate opponent to call you a "vile" and "nasty" man.)

There were some C-SPAN cameras filming, and I don't know when/where/how that footage will be available, but we have the audio here, which you can listen to below. Topics roam from drones to Libya, Obamacare to stimulus, climate change to criminal justice. Enjoy:

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  1. Based upon that picture I assume Matt won points for “best dressed.” Goodness.

    1. Hey Chait only paid $17 dollars for that jacket because he pulled it off the body himself.

      1. Who was…. to whom was the $17 paid?

        1. The morgue attendant. It was a little extra on top of what Chait usually pays for special “Chait time” with the, umm, residents of the morgue.

        2. Look Paul, some questions are best left unasked, okay?

        3. Somewhere in New York City, a hobo is keeping warm with a bottle of Maddog 20/20, and he has $12 in his pocket.

          1. If you’re saying Maddog 20/20 costs 5 bucks a bottle in NYC, then that is somehow the most offensive thing I have ever heard about NYC.

  2. What a sad little man Chait is. I don’t, but I almost feel sorry for him. He is just pathetic.

    1. He clearly believes that his side of the Ruling Party can win next time if he sneers hard enough.

      -jcr

  3. As long as you’re promising a victory.

    1. I am hard on Welch sometimes, but no way does he lose this debate. Debating Chait is the definition of punching down.

      1. Me too. I have dissed Matt for his TDS, but he has great command of many topics that he articulates well when he doesn’t have blood in his eyes.

  4. Defeat? Come on. Eviscerate. Murder. Slaughter. Sodomize.

      1. If you’re really really lucky.

      2. Is it still sodomy if you’re using a disembodied colon as a fleshlight?

        1. No, that’s a merely a personal sausage casing. It’s the rectum (What?! I hardly knew ’em!) and anus that makes sodomy as such, whether attached to the owner, or a Hostel-style, cored-like-an-apple, presentation.

      3. It would probably be better to put all the sodomy first.

        Doing at the last makes it sound necrophilic.

        1. Deserve’s Dead’s got nothing to do with it

    1. I would settle for Welch making him cry. Chait up there sobbing about how mean everyone is to Obama would be pretty awesome.

    2. I thought the game was, “Fuck, Marry, Kill,”?

      1. Maybe for the faint of heart.

      2. So Mary is a black widow?

  5. “Watch Matt Welch defeat Jonathan Chait in a debate”

    Well thanks a lot for that spoiler.

    1. That’s not a spoiler. telling you that halfway in Matt walks over and DDTs Chait is a spoiler

  6. Was Obama a great President? I’ll bet if you did a Top 100 countdown of the greatest presidents we’ve ever had he’d at least place in the top half.

    1. Obama looks like a finished 46th out of 45 kind of man if there ever was one.

      1. Leading from behind….

    2. I see what you did there.

  7. How could this guy lose a debate?

    Amazing thing about Trump’s Latino-free cabinet: how easy it would be to get a token. He has NO standards. Why couldn’t he find a warm body?

    1. Also, sick burn with that picture and alt-text, Matt.

    2. Why couldn’t he find a warm body?

      Trump should treat his cabinet like it’s a TGI Friday’s closing time?

    3. What a racist bastard. Any Latino that holds a high position is there because of their ethnicity in Chait’s view I guess. You really can’t overstate how appallingly racist Progs and especially Prog reporters are.

      1. Judged by the color of his/her character.

    4. How much do you want to bet that if there was a Latino in Trump’s cabinet, Chait would be complaining about it and calling the appointment a “token”?

      1. You beat me to it.

    5. GWB had a far more diverse cabinet than Obama and got zero cred on the diversity front.

      1. Linda Chavez is a fake Hispanic just like Colin Powell was a fake black man.

        1. Didn’t Colin Powell regain his blackness when he said something nice about Hillary?

          1. Nope, when he voted for Obumbles.

      2. The incoming administration could well be called the Then Why Bother administration. Seriously, the left’s powers are tremendously weakened, yet they act like nothing has changed. It’s what walking back to the Shire with Saruman must’ve been like–lots of waving of hands and levitation motions, to no effect.

      3. Condi Rice was token if there ever was one. She’s not very bright and has no talents or accomplishments whatsoever.

        (/sarc. Condi proves progs are racist as hell – she is an exemplar of what feminism is trying to achieve, but since she was in a Republican administration, it doesn’t count)

        1. So much this. Applies to black Republicans as well.

  8. Chait sounds plausible….let’s see what Welch does.

    1. Welch’s closer is great, though I would have enjoyed him opening with his point about Reagan, to see if Chait could muster a counter.

      1. Yeah, Welch is good…doing a number on Chait.

          1. 3

          2. Taggart: We’ll work up a Number 6 on ’em.
            Hedley Lamarr: [frowns] “Number 6”? I’m afraid I’m not familiar with that one.
            Taggart: Well, that’s where we go a-ridin’ into town, a-whompin’ and a-whumpin’ every livin’ thing that moves within an inch of its life. Except the women folks, of course.
            Hedley Lamarr: You spare the women?
            Taggart: Naw, we rape the shit out of them at the Number Six Dance later on.
            Hedley Lamarr: Marvelous!

      2. He did wake up near the end and engaged in less navel gazing.

  9. Jonathon Chait has the brain power of a demented jellyfish.
    If demented jellyfish dream of sniffing Obama’s underpants, that is.

    1. How much brain power does a professional Obama fluffer neeed?

      -jcr

  10. So are college campuses holding crying parties right now?

    1. I am thinking Friday night when the full reality of the black Jesus no longer being in power hits them, there will be a lot of crying parties.

      1. My Derpbook feed has been a ghost town this week. Some people are seriously in mourning, which makes me giggle a bit. I’m interested in seeing if they find renewed energy over the weekend.

        Say for instance, the anti-war movement. I expect they’ll remember they exist sometime before the month ends.

        1. Mine has too. I would like to think they have stepped away from politics and are discovering the virtues of things other than politics, but I doubt it.

          1. Thankfully i dont have many friends obsessed with politics. But what kind of people are they? Based on your experiences.

            For instance my cousin is sort of a sjw and she seems to have low self esteem.

            1. SJW encourages low esteem, I think, because of the whole victimization thing. Unless you’re suffering you don’t count, so all the white ppl generally have to be suffering something. I see lots of depression, lots of other vague ‘mental illness’, lots of bisexuals in relationships with men who nonetheless are oppressed, that sort of thing. They’re all desperate to have one more point in the Oppression Olympics, and then they wonder why they all feel terrible all the time.

            2. SJW encourages low esteem, I think, because of the whole victimization thing. Unless you’re suffering you don’t count, so all the white ppl generally have to be suffering something. I see lots of depression, lots of other vague ‘mental illness’, lots of bisexuals in relationships with men who nonetheless are oppressed, that sort of thing. They’re all desperate to have one more point in the Oppression Olympics, and then they wonder why they all feel terrible all the time.

              1. aw I feel loved now that the squirrels got me!

                1. You never forget your first squirrelling. I felt like I’d arrived here when it finally happened. It’s the HnR equivalent to losing your virginity (which is the only virginity libertarians lose, being all fat white neckbeards, amirite?).

                  1. It’s the HnR equivalent to losing your virginity (which is the only virginity libertarians lose, being all fat white neckbeards, amirite?).

                    Nope, only when one gets a Hat Tip, is the H&R official sign of deflowering. (Keep in mind Gillespie Hat Tipped the hell out of Anal Vanneman, noted rump lamprey, for a while, there.) And, as you’ll notice, The Staff is especially self-centred (Exhibit A: Robby Horses), frigid, and not putting out.

                    Which is why weirdos like Suderman are spokesman for FemBots for Fat Neckbeards.

                    Squirreling is like one’s first flash at Mardi Gras.

        2. They’re just gearing up to unleash a tidal wave of OUTRAGE on Saturday.

        3. My Derpbook has been heavy on the fascist Obama heroic propaganda, a la Lenin and Kim Il Sung.

        4. Say for instance, the anti-war movement. I expect they’ll remember they exist sometime before the month ends.

          Code Pink is already back. They were making a visual nuisance at one of the Cabinet hearings (I don’t remember which one, but it did catch my attention; I lol’d)

          1. Women’s march tomorrow-Make America Pink Again. It was initiated as a Hildog victory march!!!

      2. Go to college bars and find lady-snowflakes drowning their sorrows just enough?

        1. Let’s just say working in a gym, despite the mediocre pay, has its perks.

        2. Ah, that was for John.

          Fucking threading here…

          1. TH,

            Your comment, among other things, reminded me of this Pink Floyd song (profanity is replete).

            1. Oh, lovely!

              Pink Floyd was my very first concert. Division Bell tour. No Roger Waters but still a very memorable experience. I had yet to smoke at that age but I swear I got a contact high while there. Not entirely sure that’s possible in an open-air football stadium but placebo effect plus a lot of fucking lazers and flying pigs? I don’t know.

              1. I saw the Floyd at Badger Stadium kicking off that tour (?) Probably 1994ish? I didn’t have a contact high, if you know what I mean.

            2. I love the background singers doing “fuck all that” in that song.

              I’m listening to my brand new LP of Meddle right now, as it happens.

              1. TH and Zeb,

                Here is an interview with Clare Tory regarding her involvement with Pink Floyd’s “The Great Gig in the Sky”.

                What do either of you make of this Pink Floyd song?

                1. That’s one of my favorites.

                  Fun fact: this song, while in the film The Wal, was not on the record. While Hey You, while on the record, was omitted completely.

                  1. *Wall

                2. I quite like it in the appropriate context. Very moving. Say what you will about Roger Waters, but he has a great sense of drama.

                  They put it on an updated version of The Final Cut and it works well there too (which makes sense as the album started out as rejected songs from The Wall).

  11. Hey Welch!

    Could you start throwing us a pdf of the transcript or something when you post these things? Some of us prefer to read.

    1. Ain’t been transcribed yet, far as I know.

      1. I don’t know how you interact with these people without being a complete dick. I really don’t. Chait is a combination of profound ignorance, intellectual narrow mindedness and unbelievable and utterly baseless arrogance. I couldn’t have a conversation with him without laughing in his face in the first 30 seconds. Chait is one of the most absurd and offensive characters I have ever seen.

        You have more self control than I do Matt. You stood up there and pretended he was serious. My compliments.

        1. Chait is a combination of profound ignorance, intellectual narrow mindedness and unbelievable and utterly baseless arrogance.

          A thinking man’s Matt Yglasias, then?

          1. No. Yglesias is the retarded man’s Jonathan Chait.

            1. “Poor man’s JChait”, if you really want to twist the knife.

        2. I don’t know how I interact with you people without being a complete dick myself and I don’t even have to be here.

      2. Well shit…

        Then ruffle Rico’s hair for me.

        1. instant 700 years of bad luck.

    2. Yep. I can read a transcript of a 1.5 hour debate much quick that I can listen to it.

          1. Your reading skills are clearly above reproach.

          2. quicker than

            Fuck phones.

            “Homophonic fetish or homophonic slur? You won’t BELIEVE what comes next!”

          3. You cut me to the quicker

        1. Wouldn’t that be “more quickly”?

          Asking for a friend.

          1. I do not believe so.

            One-syllable adjectives use the suffixes “-er” or “-est” on the end of the adjective. For example, “tall” has one syllable, so, if you wanted to compare the height of your family members, you might say, “I am taller than my sister, but I’m not the tallest in the family.” It would sound odd to say, “I am more tall than my sister, but I’m not the most tall in the family.”

            1. That’s for adjectives. We’re talkin’ adverbs here.

              1. So far we’ve talked about adjectives, but adverbs follow the same rules. Adverbs are words that describe adjectives, verbs, or other adverbs.

                1. So… “quicklier”? I don’t think so.

                  1. Grammar fight in aisle 4…

                1. Lolly Lolly Lolly!

                  Dang, I loved that tune when I was a kid.

                  1. Dang, I loved that tune when I was a kid.

                    My son *LOVES* Schoolhouse Rock YooToob vids! He tries to babble them along with this very popular Russian children’s song. This one too.

                2. Best comment in Groov’s link:

                  Bill Ramey11 months ago
                  No one buys their adverbs from brick-and-mortar stores anymore.?
                  Reply 49

          2. Wouldn’t that be “more quickly”?

            Asking for a friend.

            Yes.

            1) I can read much more quickly (modifying the verb, “read,”) than [I can] listen to it.

            1) I am much quicker (modifying the noun, “I,”) at reading a transcript than listening [to a broadcast].

            Original HM sentence:

            Yep. I can read a transcript of a 1.5 hour debate much quick [sic] that I can listen to it.

            Should be:

            Yep. I can read a transcript of a 1.5 hour debate much more quickly [modifying the verb, “read,”] that I can listen to it [the broadcast].

            1. “that” == “than”

              Fuck you, joe’z Law.

              1. It’s times like these when I miss Nicole.

            2. But are you a professional linguist?

              1. But are you a professional linguist?

                Of sorts; technically, yes, since I taught EAOSL (English as a Second Language) and Medical English to Wayward Nubile Ukrainian Babes for extra cash for the first year I was here. In fact, it was HM himself who provided me the necessary foundation material for instruction.

                Physicians and nurses can be wrong on occasion, so why can’t linguists and instructors?

                1. THAT”S THE JOKE.

                  1. THAT”S THE JOKE.

                    ALLCAPS are symptomatic of an enlarged and engorged prostate, just like Fist. Or imminent Sasquatch Rape.

                    1. What does the quotation mark in place of an apostrophe indicate?

                      Hemorrhoids?

                    2. What does the quotation mark in place of an apostrophe indicate?

                      Prolapsed rectum.

            3. Jesus fucking Christ guys. The “yep” should have signaled to you that I was intentionally “speaking” (typing) in an informal, conversational register.

              1. The “yep” should have signaled to you that I was intentionally “speaking” (typing) in an informal, conversational register.

                I’d believe this excuse if not for your blatant homophonic Fraudian slip, HM. And your choice in commercials. Even Soave is better than this.

      1. This partly explains my seething hatred for podcasts.

  12. I just refreshed your podcast feed and it isn’t there yet. What gives?

  13. http://heatst.com/politics/war…..cles.47942

    This is funny

    At the 1:41 mark of the video, Warren clearly does raise her hand to wave at DeVos before walking away. But what is being denounced as a vicious snub on Warren’s part is perhaps better understood as an example of cultural misunderstanding, or, at worst, racist insensitivity on the part of Warren’s critics, including DeVos.

    Upon closer examination, Warren appears to be signaling to DeVos in her native Cherokee. The open hand gesture, first developed in 1823, is universally recognized among Native American Indian sign-language studies, according to manataka.org.

    1. Her native Cherokee? People seriously still believe The Land ‘O Fakes woman is a Cherokee?

      1. They are being sarcastic on that very account.

      2. It’s a satire site.

        1. Sorry, didn’t go to the site. You have to admit, it’s plausible that Warren’s supporters *would* really say that though.

          1. I don’t know about that. As absurd as people can be, that one’s a bit of a stretch.

        2. It’s a real site, but that piece is satire.

      3. It’s a joke article.

  14. Reason’s falling down on the Millennial clickbait. Better headline:

    Matt Welch DESTROYS Jonathan Chait.

    1. Lol yea.

      I can’t stand that or when someone says debunked. Or starts article…..no, we do not blah blah

    2. How about some reader pandering?

      Matt Welch STEVE SMITHS Jonathan Chait!

      1. Can’t do that. Rape culture is bad.

        1. STEVE SMITH GO BEYOND RAPE ALSO HAVE NO CULTURE

        2. Not after the inauguration! Woohoo!

        3. STEVE SMITH MAKE CHAIT RAPE CULTURE GREAT AGAIN!

      2. [golf clap]

      3. Matt Welch DOOMCOCKS J. Chait?

  15. If only they’d done what Obama asked and raised taxes!

  16. “aren’t [Obama’s] rules for what government should be?”

    Judging quietly.

  17. Damn Republicans, making Obama look partisan!

  18. Listen to Matt Welch Defeat Jonathan Chait in a Debate at the SoHo Forum

    You should have sent this out in a tweet before the thing ever happened.

    You know, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Pumping Iron.

    He called Lou Ferrigno’s family the day before Mr Universe (or Olympia? who cares) and told them it was already over and he’d won.

    You should also have worn a shirt saying, “Welch is Numero Uno”. These were missed opportunities.

    1. Gilmore, you of all people should know there are a thousand different ways to fuck with an opponent’s mind. Especially if said opponent is one in the past who has picked fights. Pumping Iron has been very instructive over the years; not everyone is Lou Ferrigno…..

    2. +1 Arnold smoking a doobie, eating cheesecake, and drinking white wine.

  19. “[America] only industrialized country that doesn’t supply basic health insurance to all its citizens”

    Is that true?

    1. Of course it’s true – if you define “industrialized country” as “a country that supplies basic health insurance to all its citizens”. And don’t try that shit of pointing out that the US has a Medicare/Medicaid system designed to provide basic healthcare to those who can’t afford insurance or need the most healthcare that works just about as well as most countries universal healthcare systems, that’s got nothing to do with nothing. We’re talking about government-supplied healthcare, not Medicare/Medicaid.

    2. You can compare lots of OECD healthcare data here

      contrary to popular belief, despite not having “nationalized” healthcare, the US govt still spends more per-cap on healthcare than most other OECD nations

      *ergo = using Elizabeth Warren’s notion of “Money is the Metric”… therefore that means we are better.

      (never mind that drug costs and physician expenses are many times higher)

    3. America does provide care without insurance; places like the UK and Canada provide insurance but are hit and miss in the care department.

      Or so I am toldl

    4. And yet we haven’t started turning away cancer patients yet like the industrialized countries that do.

      Conversation with a prog yesterday:

      Me – “Why is England turning away cancer patients if medical care is a right?”

      Him – “They aren’t.”

      Me – “Yes, they are. Here is the story.”

      Him – “It says they have run out of bed space.”

      Me – “They ran out of bed space? What? Why are beds in short supply? They cant make more of them?”

      Him – “There aren’t enough beds.”

      Me – “I dont understand. Why cant they get more beds? They cant make anymore? Don’t they have a bed factory?”

      Him – “The bed space is all used, they don’t have anymore room.”

      Me – “You mean they ran out of money paying for ‘free’ healthcare so now they are rationing care by allowing the most expensive patients die. Death panels.”

      Him – “No, they ran out of beds.”

      Me – “I…uh…It seems….I mean…oh fuck, never mind.”

      I felt like I was living in a Monty Python sketch.

      1. I don’t know how to get someone over something where we disagree on the premise.

      2. Cleese: Look, if I *argue* with you, I must take up a contrary position!

        Palin: Yes but it isn’t just saying ‘no it isn’t’.

        Cleese: Yes it is!

        Palin: No it isn’t!

        Cleese: Yes it is!

        Palin: No it isn’t!

        Cleese: Yes it is!

        Palin: No, it ISN’T! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

        Cleese: It is NOT!

    5. Insurance isn’t the same as health care. My wife’s grandmother died due to medication interaction. Her general practitioner sent her to a specialist, but there was no communication between them despite her seeing each multiple times.

      Her grandad has been waiting to see a doctor for a very long time for liver issues, due to overmedication . Finally he had an issue serious enough for an ambulance.

      But it’s all insured so all is good right?

    6. Insurance isn’t the same as health care. My wife’s grandmother died due to medication interaction. Her general practitioner sent her to a specialist, but there was no communication between them despite her seeing each multiple times.

      Her grandad has been waiting to see a doctor for a very long time for liver issues, due to overmedication . Finally he had an issue serious enough for an ambulance.

      But it’s all insured so all is good right?

  20. Chait i thought obama couldn’t get anything done due to obstructionism?

    1. What obstructionism? I guess all those Cromnibus Budget Packages never happened either, yes? *ESPECIALLY* the last two, where even Pelosi and Reid admitted TEAM RED gave away the store so’s The Press would be nicer to them.

      1. And that aside, his party suffered massively for what he did manage to ram through. The electorate was voting for obstruction.

  21. The audience isn’t very pleased with Obama.

  22. Wow Chait shows he is a racist.

    White Progs only care for minorities as long as they worship white progs and use them to make themselves feel good about themselves.

    Progressives are nasty nasty individuals

  23. “The crisis in the banks was completely solved.”

    Have fun, Matt. Don’t know how much more I can listen to.

    1. I realized how much of a bubble I live in when Chait started touting Dodd-Frank and Cash for Clunkers as unalloyed successes.

      1. I don’t see how you couldn’t have heard those assertions before. They both are stated as fact in the media constantly.

        1. I honestly haven’t heard anyone say anything good about Cash for Clunkers in years.

          1. I’m not Domestic Dissident, so you don’t have to say, “I honestly…”. I include C for C in the same category as “Saved the Auto Industry!”. Here’s a quick google search result on it: http://www.businessinsider.com…..y-2016-12. So good that we should do it again for a different reason.

            1. Oh, fuck that. What the hell is wrong with people?

              I guess there probably ar eplenty of people still singing its praises. But whenever it comes up in conversation, I say what I think of it and never get much disagreement.

            2. I wouldn’t mind another go around that carousel. I have a real clunker I wouldn’t mind trading in for top dollar.

      2. Cash for Clunkers? People are still defending that piece of shit?

          1. I sold my $4k SUV for $7k after CfC!

  24. “To be sure, Obama’s negotiating skills with regard to Cuba are not as great as they should be.”

  25. “I’m not saying you’re all racists, but…”

  26. Doesn’t sound like Matt is landing any blows at all. He isn’t even challenging most of what Chait is spouting in regards to “stimulus” ACA, etc.

    1. I don’t think it’s that kind of debate. That would allow Chait to fire hundreds of facts in a 5 minute period, that Welch would have to scramble to refute in his 5 minutes, then Chait would go on to the next five minutes of facts and so on.

      Each came with a prepared argument on topics chosen by both Welch and Chait.

      Here’s why Chait thinks he’s awesome.
      Here’s why Welch thinks he’s not.

      1. I was wonder what an “Oxford-style” debate is. That must be it.

        1. I come from the Hit & Run school of debate.

          Comment 1: I think this is awesome/terrible!

          All the other commenters: STFU Tulpa!

          1. Diane Reynolds (Paul.) outs self as Tulpa. News at 11.

      2. Fast talking Democrats are nothing new, but they seem to overwhelm people like Matt.

        1. I might gently divert your attention to the scoreboard.

  27. Mitt Romney, that notorious free-marketeer!

  28. Chait is actually fighting hard…unfortunately, the audience isn’t really buying it…

    1. Meanwhile, Matt is talking about himself and conceding to Chait. Pathetic.

    2. Chait actually landed a very good blow, questioning Matt’s requirement about foreign policy. Also, what the hell is Matt talking about stopping Putin’s aggression in Georgia? Putin went in to protect Russians from the instigator, which was the Georgian government.

      1. When your troops are first across the border, you’re the aggressor.

  29. Libertarians don’t like Obama because Obama isn’t a libertarian.

    Chait says he understands libertarians–and then he treats us like we’re all about identity politics. Tells us more about Chait than anything else.

    1. No kidding. Libertarians still aren’t going to supplant the left until they debunk the breathless hyperbole that comes from people like Chait. Chait doesn’t have to understand libertarians BECAUSE LIBERTARIANS DON’T MATTER. His job is to serve as a chorus to the MSM and the massive numbers of Democrat losers.

  30. OMG…Obama is against rioting and cop-killing…

  31. Federal asset sharing isn’t a local program, moron!

  32. Yay, Obama is the Charter Schools President, what a great guy!

  33. “Spending has been 3.6,3.7,3.8(T)”
    (Interruption by Chait)
    “But its gone down as a %”

    The perfect microcosm of discussing Obama with team blue shills. Interrupt with an idiotic point.

  34. Well, I don’t want to buy Chait’s book, but I’m interested in the book Welch was doing with Lucy and that third person – is that book going to come out, because I haven’t seen it plugged on Reason?

    1. It was a brief & passionate Twitter discussion like 15 months ago. And his name is Ken Layne.

  35. He obviously wrote that book before Trump was elected.

    It expired before it was published.

    1. Which book – Chait’s or Welch’s?

      I didn’t know they were still on speaking terms with Lucy.

  36. I think the debate was seriously tilted against Chait. There were no pro-Obama questioners from the audience, but lots of anti-Obama people making Welch’s points for him…plus, they gave Chait the affirmative of proving Obama to be great…though I suppose that part is Chait’s fault, since that’s what his book is about.

    1. Hmmm…I wonder what could have induced Chait to accept a debate on such conditions…almost as if he had a book to sell and was looking for as many venues as possible to discuss it?

      1. Sounds like Ann Coulter at a roast.

    2. There were no pro-Obama questioners from the audience

      So? that just means he had more opportunities to change minds.

      1. Eddie’s point is that Card-Stacking is effective, and interesting that when Anderson Cooper, amoungst others, was engaging in this very practice against GayJay & The Geld, most here were crying foul, since it really made GayJay look bad (not that he needed much help from anyone else), as opposed to, “Well! More outreach opportunities for audiences extremely unlikely to be sympathetic to my POV!”

        People were bitching that Cooper himself showed bias (true, after polls show he was starting to siphon votes from Shrill-Bot), asking loaded questions, but overall, Card Stacking was still most effective in the end, and it shows just as effective a sales technique overall as it does here (though I doubt many in the audience will be bum rushing the stores for Chait’s book).

        1. I think the only reason Chait put up with it was he was selling a book and the discussion entailed dealing with the subject-matter of his book, not to mention referencing his book and did I mention he has a book?

          So he could at least get some sales out of it.

          1. “This stuff is awful! And such small portions! Buy it anyway for the novelty!” is a terrible sales strategy.

    3. His people — and there were some, believe me! — didn’t ask questions.

  37. In voting before the debate, the audience declared themselves as 31 percent pro-greatness, 51 percent anti-, and 18 percent undecided. After the discussion those numbers were 22, 75, and 3.

    Can’t listen to it now, as I’m at work, but sounds like uber-pwnage (do the kids still say “pwnage” anymore?).

    1. Matt was good, the audience questions helped, too.

    1. I’m ecstatic that he’s leaving. I guess that’s an “emotional” farewell, too.

  38. Matt and most of the audience sounded so laid back and disorganized that I wonder if they were passing around a controlled substance.

  39. Those numbers, pre- and post-debate, really surprise me. You stacked the audience, didn’t you Welch??

    1. It’s a libertarian forum, so I was surprised Chait had any (vocal!) boosters in the crowd at all.

  40. Chait starts off his bit with the suggestion that “libertarians are impossible to argue with” because they’re uniquely-ideological and therefore somehow unreasonable.

    the analogy he uses is to say that “its like going to dinner with someone who’s kosher = they’ll never accept that the ribs are any good”….

    …as someone who grew up with lots of Kosher jews, that’s one of the dumbest fucking analogies i’ve ever heard. Find me a jew that actually says “bacon is disgusting”. Sorry Chait.

    Its just a handwaving exercise to suggest he’s reasonable and you shouldn’t examine his ideology (because its not really ideological) whereas you should dismiss his opponent (without even hearing what they argue for yet) because whatever they say its driven by some abstruse ideology.

    1. he then at the end of his long litany of dubiously-sourced claims about policy success…

      (mostly citing methods of measuring “Success” which were created by the administration itself, and not statistics which anyone else in the world has ever previously used as benchmarks; basically, chait seems to think the most compelling sources of “proof” are people like Brookings or Center for American progress and their white-papers)

      …when asked to quickly wrap it up, he throws in “and Obama raised taxes on the rich (as though this is a good thing by default) and cut taxes on the lowest earners… thereby raising their income (which i find dubious because the “lowest earners” don’t pay taxes)…

      Matt gets classy-points for opening his bit by plugging Chait’s book. It takes a bigger man than i to simply ignore Chaits petty dig about the inherent irrationality of libertarians.

      1. I think matt takes a smart tack in the debate by posing a simple formula then proving it

        e.g. “all great presidents need to do something especially successful in the realm of foreign policy – if they don’t, they don’t qualify, regardless of everything else”

        (while chait simply tries to pile as much disparate, anecdotal, debateably-“good stuff”, and suggest that a pile of these things adds up to ‘greatness’)

        it removes the burden of having to actually even address Chaits argument; it basically says, “all that stuff you said is nice = but none of that matters for the specific claim you need to prove”.

        Its a great tactic, especially if you go *second*.

        1. its also smart because it knows his audience

          no one in there really cares about debating healthcare statistics, or the ‘multiplier’ of stimulus spending.

          Whereas, whether liberal or conservative, if you point out the glaring horribleness of Obama’s track record in places like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, etc…. Everyone already knows exactly how correct you are.

          1. Oh, and his closer. =

            “the biggest thing to cut carbon emissions has been Fracking”

            (swoon)

        2. Did either one address his pathological lying?

          1. as noted = matt was smart and basically (gently) praised chait instead of calling him on his b.s.

            i think debate is more effective when you do what matt did = “Yes, BUT _________”

            iow, don’t fight people on their own territory… drag them into your territory. Don’t debate the details of their claims = dismiss them as irrelevant and introduce something else which they can’t do the same thing to.

            1. “Yes, But”-monkeys instantly turn me off. I don’t like being patronised, and neither do most people.

              However, this is gold:

              [D]on’t fight people on their own territory… drag them into your territory. Don’t debate the details of their claims = dismiss them as irrelevant and introduce something else which they can’t do the same thing to.

              Except for one thing: People tend to really hate this tactic unless the speaker already has them on his or her side right out of the chute. Eddie addressed this upthread with his point about Card Stacking. Otherwise, people on the fence or opposed to the point tend to hate this technique, since it opens up one to the charge of, “Did you actually answer the question as asked, or are you bullshitting me in an uncompelling, dishonest way?”

              Troomp made this technique effective because he went way out where a typical politician won’t really go, and he’s a naturally persuasive person. There are ways to sell people stuff they may not want, but really need, and ways to sell them stuff they want, but really don’t need. All of the other candidates, since most don’t market any products on the scale Troomp does, FAILed at this.

              1. I think talking about what audiences prefer or not is speculating.

                the difference, in my view, is that the person who argues by “piles of details” needs people to pay attention to those details for them to matter. the problem is that they generally don’t.

                When someone else comes along and says,

                “that’s all very interesting, but here’s one gigantic fact which none of that applies to = Your Peace-Prize winning president has jumped headfirst into at least 3+ “wars of choice” (e.g. Yemen, Libya, Syria)…. none of which, it might be added, are serving any interest of the US. Unless you care to offer one?”

                they are fucked. because none of their precious ‘data’ helps them justify bombing kids in Yemen

                boiling down my case = “one very simple and very robust point (greater than) pile of smaller points”

                Chait relies on an accumulated mass of dubiously sourced evidence. Matt simply says, “but he drone-murders babies” and he wins.

                1. Honestly, I thought the audience members made stronger points than Matt, especially as it relates to injudicious drone strikes.

                  I love Matt, but he really made this harder on himself than it had to be. My main points off the bat would’ve been:

                  -Mr Nobel Peace Prize killed kids and innocent people with injudicious drone strikes

                  -He’s started endless wars, when he said he’d end them

                  -People’s wages have stagnated under Obama (and Bush), and Obamacare, while giving insurance to 20 million more people, may have actually made premiums/deductibles unaffordable to those very people, while absolutely screwing the other 300 million people in this country.

                  Matt eventually made most of these claims, but it took a long time to get there, and he started out with mostly points that wouldn’t necessarily prove or disprove in the first place.

                  I suppose Matt was trying to rise above. He seems like a genuine likeable guy. I can’t believe he didn’t immediately call BS on Obamacare saving the average family $5,000 a year. What unmitigated bullshit.

          2. Not as much as I would have preferred, but I did get into the mendacity of the Obamacare sales job during the Q&A.

        3. I appreciate your close reading. Going second helps a lot, as does the heavy burden of the guy who goes first. That said, part of my opening bit was also very much about AFGHANISTAN, which almost goes unmentioned in his book, and which I think is a real stain here — 2/3rds of U.S. deaths in that war came on his watch, and for what fucking reason? And, as you know, part of the reason to loll around in FP territory was to isolate the fact that his argument (and his book) basically comes down to Stimulus, Obamacare, Climate Change, which are, to put it gently, contested issues.

          1. part of my opening bit was also very much about AFGHANISTAN, which almost goes unmentioned in his book, and which I think is a real stain here — 2/3rds of U.S. deaths in that war came on his watch, and for what fucking reason?

            Yeah, i thought that was very well put. I know *you* didn’t make the “look at all the various wars Obama got us into” case. I was vicariously piling that on top.

          2. Those things aren’t considered contested by him or much of the left, unfortunately.
            Well done though. You kept your head up.

    2. I love when political pundits use “ideological” as some sort of derogatory term. “Ideological” is a synonym of principled. They’re pretty much saying that you suck if you don’t believe in principals over principles.

      1. “”Ideological” is a synonym of principled.”

        It’s a synonym of “has principles I don’t share.”

      2. Better to be Ideological than to be Dialectically Material!

    3. If they thought bacon were disgusting, they wouldn’t have to ban it.

      My Jewish friend loves bacon wrapped shrimp. She is probably going to hell, but it will be because she voted for Hillary.

    4. He was trying to anticipate an antagonist who didn’t show up.

  41. But it’s about how many minds you change, man.

    I thought winning in big league political discussion was about how many books you sold? After listening, I think Mr Chait should have titled his book, Audacity: How I pull my favorite color of lipstick out of my ass to put on the pig that was the Obama Presidency. Subtitled: He never said he wouldn’t violate constitutional powers.

  42. this is hard to listen to. The audience booing is nice.

  43. From the first minute of that debate I learned that Matt Welch and libertarians are like kosher jews demanding to be accommodated on a group decision about which restaurant to go to . I believe Chait is jewish and Welch is not. Some projection, perhaps? Everyone knows how finicky libertarians can be.

    1. Wouldn’t libertarians rather go to an all you can eat buffet so everyone can get what they want?

      1. True libertarians would go out and kill something to eat.

      2. Libertarians only want themselves and their rich friends to eat, fuck the poor.

        If they want to end welfare, isn’t that what it means?

        1. No. We want to end the government’s interference with people and communities making their own choices in what and how they buy, sell, work, eat, drink, smoke and use. To each their own and harm no other. With more freedom comes more prosperity and charity.

          Cold turkey from the current top-down State welfare system would cause a horrendous human toll, but if people could clean my garage for 20 bucks, drive a cash register selling holiday cards for less than $15/hr, more people would benefit.

          The relative poor will always be a part of human society, but the more freedom we all have, the more opportunities we will have.

          1. Aw c’mon SQWRLZ, I was doin’ a bit. But well put.

            1. Sorry, it’s a reflex.

  44. Chait misspelled mendacious.

  45. Happy Thursday, you reprobates.
    Read half the comments, got bored.
    Anybody know anything about Kawasaki mule differentials?

      1. Yeah. It’s only 2 x drive. So, like when a half axle jumps out of the tranny in a front wheel drive, you step on the gas, engine revs, nothing transfers to drive axle.
        Lock differential, and drivers side axle turns and drives vehicle forward.

        1. Splines worn on that side? That is a little weird.

          1. That’s what I’m thinking. Or, a snap ring broke, i don’t know how that would happen, and the half axle slipped an inch or so out so the splines didn’t catch?
            We sent the other Kawasaki into Sun autosports last fall and they bent us overwith no lube.
            Don’t really have the time to tear into it myself, but, damn, outsourcing gets pricey.

            1. Either way, i guess i need to personally find the problem before i send it off to get fixed, otherwise they’ll just screw me over again.
              Damnit, i don’t mind playing mechanic, but i have my own work to do

    1. Oh, a Saki with 4 wheels? No.

  46. Oh, the unfairness of it all!

    “Finals to keep many Bay Area students in class on Inauguration Day”
    […]
    “A controversial Berkeley teacher is calling on all Bay Areas schools to shut down Friday and allow students to take to the streets in defiance of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
    Yvette Felarca ? who was placed on forced leave last year after a YouTube video surfaced showing her attacking neo-Nazi protestors at the state Capitol building in Sacramento, an incident that resulted in seven stabbings ? is attempting to galvanize students and teachers to rise up against Trump by walking out of class “when they can.”

    Brown shirts available

    1. To accompany proggies’ brown pants?

  47. As a purely stylistic thing…

    … i hate people who talk/argue like chait. he tries to stuff as many details as possible into the time he has, instead of slowing down and articulating a indisputable *rationale*. He seems to think “more information wins”. This is sort of like why Ted Cruz was so awful in the GOP primary debates. He seemed to think he would win by adding to a steadily-increasing pile of “small exchanges” in which he made ‘accurate points’. He seemed to think someone somewhere was ‘keeping score’

    that’s not how a battle of ideas works. The person who makes the simpler argument with less, but better evidence tends to win.

    1. ^^
      My eyes glazed over about 10 seconds into his bit.

    2. The person who makes the simpler argument with less , but better evidence tends to win close the deal.

      Advertising and marketing 101:

      He who sways a heart, changes a mind.

    3. Yes we can! Build that wall!

      Eats shoots and leaves!

  48. Oh, chait’s foreign policy rebuttal

    “the iran nuclear deal was a really important achievement”

    and then people start laughing at something no one can see. but it sounds as though its in reaction to him, and deservedly.

    I also think Matt scores great points by citing chait’s own book as a source. “his words not mine

    1. Matt also neuters Chaits claim about this, not by saying, “no it wasn’t important”, he just says, “I don’t know if it will provide any value, and neither does he”

      Rather than disagree about a claim, just say the claim is un-provable and any opinion about it is speculative.

      1. Has the virtue of being true. Preventing the Great Depression 2.0? Pure speculation. Iran/nuke deal great? I hope so, and root for it, but there are reasons for skepticism, and we just won’t know for a while. Obamacare? Uh, I think the answer’s no. And the climate stuff is really spiking the football after succeeding in not preventing the touchdown, more or less.

  49. Did he really defeat him or will I waste my time?

      1. I’m going to listen then.

    1. Never mind. 75%. Well down Matt. That’s why you’re our resident Cicero. Or Cato? No, Cato was an ass. Cicero.

      1. done

    2. He won the crowd and my attention. FF through Chait.
      It’s kinda slow at times but when Matt spoke I perked up. Chait about put me to sleep.

        1. Really? Like maybe when he insulted the host? Pff.

  50. Ha! Mexico extradites “El Chapo” to the US on the eve of Trump’s inauguration

    Reminiscent of the Iranians freeing the hostages on Reagan’s inauguration day.

    MAGA

    1. Are we ransoming him back to pay for the wall?

  51. Watching Tucker Carlson segment on protests outside National Press Club – “leaders” of protest stating they are seeing Nazis salutes from people inside – these people are bat-shit crazy.

    1. any pics for this claim?

    2. Starting about 8AM tomorrow, it’s probably a good idea to leave TV off until you might want to watch a ball game or two.
      The tearing of hair and rending of garments will be featured front and center as the ‘press’ tries one more time to claim relevance.

    3. Rico is on Kennedy

  52. Would a live chat for each published article ruin the decorum?
    Cause we obviously want to chat about stuff, but we have to F5 every couple minutes.

  53. Chait’s argument re: Obamacare is basically that people have been fooled into believing “its bad”.

    He says the law “succeeds” as designed;

    maybe – but if it was designed to burden the majority with added-cost and less-choice in order to provide the disadvantaged (the uncovered, the already-sick) with benefits…. you need to convince the people being burdened the trade-off is WORTH IT.

    He may say “but the system works!” …but that makes no difference if no one wants this kind of “success”. (*i would also dispute it actually does do the ‘cost savings’ he imagines, but why bother)

    it also brushes aside the fact that there was some very deliberate deception about what these tradeoffs would be before the law passed.

    1. “He says the law “succeeds” as designed;”

      He can claim that *after* he defines the “designed” goals.

      1. The data people tend to cite claiming cost-growth-reductions are highly dubious.

        1) they tend define “cost” narrowly to “just premiums”

        (and not total consumer-expenditure YoY, or average total out of pocket for an average person, etc; they don’t try to show actual CARE cost, just that the insurance premiums have slowed – which is conveniently something that the admin has some degree of control over)

        2) they focus on cherry picking 2013-2014 vs 2014-2015… versus long term “average growth”. as though one ‘better than average’ year is supposed to validate an entire highly-complex system.

        (the problem being that the comparison is mostly meaningless; was a slowdown in premium growth in the years preceding the passage of the ACA; its very likely lots of the low-growth was due to other factors)

        2) they don’t actually factor in the huge subsidies being shoveled at insurance companies to keep premiums down; they’re basically trying to compare “organic” premium growth to “highly subsidized” premiums.

        …none of the above even makes an attempt to look at changes in how individually insured utilize care, etc. Other reporting has suggested that the super-high premiums have dissuaded people from actually utilizing their own ‘new’ coverage.

        Chait’s entire MO is that to regurgitate liberal think-tank white papers and expect to be applauded for the skill. he rarely seems to show any willingness to look outside the margins of his own claims.

        1. See below, reply to Cyto, but any claims regarding lower costs are prima facie false.
          You cannot increase demand on a static supply of a good and thereby find a lower cost for that good.
          As you mention, you can pick some data cherries and hope someone accepts the deception, but there simply is no way to increase demand and lower cost without increasing supply.
          O-care did nothing of the sort. It did the opposite.

  54. So are comments broken?

  55. So I listened to the opener. And I kinda got stuck on the healthcare adoration.

    Healthcare inflation is at historic lows? Healthcare costs have come down?

    Are you high?

    In 2010 I had a high deductible plan – covered the whole family for about $650 per month with a $3500 deductible. (that’s the full cost – my employer covered about $200 of that).

    Now…. being self-employed I’m on the exchange. This year it jumped to about $22k per year, with a $13,500 deductible. That’s with a federal subsidy.

    Under no circumstances can you pretend that this is an improvement.

    Plus, I’ve had to change companies every year because they keep dropping out of the exchange.

    No, it is not an incredible achievement. It could be the worst domestic policy of all time, from an economic or healthcare point of view. It did manage to force a lot of people on to medicaid. So there is that.

    In my state a family of five earning $80k qualifies for medicaid. In fact, you can’t buy insurance on the exchange if you qualify for medicaid. So even if you want to buy insurance, you can’t. So you have to go on the dole and hunt around for a doctor who will take the medicaid plans (they are few and far between, because reimbursement is very low).

    It is just terrible from every possible angle.

    Unless you are single and just out of college and you are on your mom’s policy. Then I guess it worked out OK.

    1. Cyto|1.19.17 @ 11:32PM|#
      “So I listened to the opener. And I kinda got stuck on the healthcare adoration.
      Healthcare inflation is at historic lows? Healthcare costs have come down?
      Are you high?”

      There is an O-care apologist who shows up on O-care threads (“mortiscrum”, unless he changes his handle again) who made that claim and provided a link.
      The link was a Brookings paper (a year of so out of date) which projected that health insurance rates would have been higher absent O-care if this and the other condition were met; arm-waving.
      I (and others) responded with links showing the results (rather than projections) were the opposite. Mortiscrum responded with a couple of more links, each one a secondary source to the same Brookings paper.
      Bleevers bleeve.

  56. Chait’s assertion that the IRS has been cleared of any wrong doing in the targeting of conservative groups is belied by the fact that law professor Paul Caron has been writing about this story for 1,351 days and counting:

    http://taxprof.typepad.com/tax…..s-scandal/

    Chait is either misinformed but his reply was so hasty that it appeared that he was simply parroting left-wing talking points.

    1. “Chait is either misinformed but his reply was so hasty that it appeared that he was simply parroting left-wing talking points.”

      I’m guessing the latter. The facts are irrelevant to bleevers; Chait bleeves. Comments regarding Clinton dealing with classified material as if it were her laundry list will be waved away with glib comments regarding how ‘everyone has email accounts’.
      Welch may well have swayed some of the audience, but there’s no way Chait left that room bleeving other than he does.

      1. I agree that Chait is factually challenged but I would have thought that Matt would have known about Paul Caron’s blog and the work he has been doing, especially in light of the crap he has taken from other law professors.

        1. He may well have been, but it might not have served his purposes in proving the point in general.
          See our brain-dead commie asswipe just below; he’s wondering why some GOP loser wasn’t compared to the D loser in question.

      2. No, they investigated themselves and found that there was no wrongdoing. Totes for reals.

        They even investigated almost 3 liberal groups.

        So they were super-cereal about their jobs.

    2. So, he was employing that time-honored debating tactic of simply lying through his teeth?

      -jcr

  57. What was the proposition? That Obama would have been better if he launched a war with Iran, or that he kept hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq? I don’t really have time to go through the details so I’d like to know just how great Mitt Romney would have been. Too bad.

    1. american socialist|1.20.17 @ 12:07AM|#
      “What was the proposition?”

      Reading is hard for commies!
      “Was Obama a ‘Great’ President?”
      Oh, and fuck off.

      1. We talk about Obama too much. In a couple hours you and I– as libertarians– are going to be on the same side. Can we just stop talking about how Obama brought 165,000 troops home from the ME, 6 years of private sector job growth, a nuclear deal with Iran, normalized relations with Cuba, thousands of commutations and pardons given to non-violent drug offenders, and an end to DADT and start talking about how Trump sucks dick? I want to be friends.

        1. american socialist|1.20.17 @ 12:26AM|#
          “We talk about Obama too much.”

          “We”, asswipe? Fuck off.

          1. You’re right. It’s mostly you. You can stop. TRUMP fucking sucks donkey balls– already he’s laid down the bait and switch on people who wanted to get rid of the Department of Energy and instead wants to zero out the National Endowment for the Humanities. That’s different. More guns and idiotic walls and less butter is all this tin-pot fascist can muster.

            1. american socialist|1.20.17 @ 12:48AM|#
              “You’re right.”

              Thanks, asswipe. Fuck off.

            2. TRUMP fucking sucks donkey balls

              Sure he does, and that’s why it was pretty fucking irresponsible of the leftard wing of the Ruling Party to nominate the only crook in the country who could lose to him.

              -jcr

              1. Or to eliminate a century of Senate tradition that would have put the brakes on his nominees.

                But that was just in case the historically evil Republicans who didn’t control either house of congress and didn’t even have enough votes to sustain a debate for most of the first two years.

                If you needed to invoke “the nuclear option” under those conditions, you are inept. And that you did so in the face of having to turn one – just one vote – is embarrassing.

                But like all great failures, this one keeps on giving. So now Team D is left with the politics of personal destruction, taking quotes out of context and having a willing press harp on them like they are the confessions of Joseph Mengele.

                And Trump will get anyone he wants. Because the left is so deranged that no republicans are going to peel off and vote with them. Well, except maybe Lindsey Graham. And McCaine. That guy really hates Trump.

  58. In voting before the debate, the audience declared themselves as 31 percent pro-greatness, 51 percent anti-, and 18 percent undecided. After the discussion those numbers were 22, 75, and 3. My parting gift to the president of the United States was apparently to convince one-quarter of the people in a ballroom to turn against his eight years in office. It’s true that I definitely had homefield advantage?the crowd was none too pleased about Chait’s ????? ?? ??
    ????? ????characterization of the Tea Party as being partly a product of racist animus, nor about his gushing for the Iran deal. But it’s about how many minds you change, man. (Or at least, whether you can get your debate opponent to call you a “vile” and “nasty” man.)

  59. You’re right. It’s mostly you. You can stop. TRUMP fucking sucks donkey balls– already he’s laid down the bait and switch on people who wanted to get rid of the Department of Energy and instead wants to zero out the National Endowment for the Humanities. That’s different. More guns and idiotic walls and less butter is all this tin-pot fascist can muster.????? ????? ???
    ????? ???? 2018
    We talk about Obama too much. In a couple hours you and I– as libertarians– are going to be on the same side. Can we just stop talking about how Obama brought 165,000 troops home from the ME, 6 years of private sector job growth, a nuclear deal with Iran, normalized relations with Cuba, thousands of commutations and pardons given to non-violent drug offenders, and an end to DADT and start talking about how Trump sucks dick? I want to be friends.

  60. “In voting before the debate, the audience declared themselves as 31 percent pro-greatness, 51 percent anti-, and 18 percent undecided. After the discussion those numbers were 22, 75, and 3. My parting gift to the president of the United States was apparently to convince one-quarter of the people in a ballroom to turn against his eight years in office”

    In the voting before the debate 31% of the people thought Obama was ‘great’ and 69% did not. After the discussion those numbers were 22% and 78%.

    It seems Matt’s parting gift to himself was a self-important misreading of the statistics which equates 9% with ‘one quarter’

    1. He did knock most of the fence sitters onto his side. Though was it Welch’s arguments or Chait’s smarminess is debatable

      That a leader should judged on the basis of his own terms of what his goals are while ignoring what the means of doing so are lawful or even if the goals themselves are worthy of praise. By that metric, I suppose that Trump ois correct and Putin is a great leader of his country.

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