David Frum


Foreign Policy Debate Live-Blog

(10:31) Nevermind on the debate call. Obamney wins.

(10:27) The theme of this evening: disappointment.

I remember naively supporting Obama in 2008 because I hoped he cared about civil liberties and thought for the future. What we saw tonight was a conservative Democrat who fights to preserve the economy of the 20th century, a bipartisan consensus in favor of a foreign policy that endangers the America we love, and a Republican who could criticize the President but can't seem to figure out a way forward.

I'm not sure who won this debate, but I'd like to see how many people changed the channel about an hour ago, and I don't blame them.

(10:21) Memo to the President: GM did go bankrupt. You know you want to slam Romney for it, but it's a lie to suggest otherwise.

(10:13) On drones, both candidates in favor. No mention that they are not "surgical," that "collateral damage" is a euphemism for "innocent people died," and that the policy of extrajudicial killings is something Obama vehemently opposed as recently as four years ago. This is the time partisanship should cause these questions to arise, but instead we have a consensus on the issue. Shameful.

(10:10) Credit where it's due. Romney's answer on Pakistan, while rambling, was solid and nuanced. Perhaps this is something he wants to apply to other regions of the world?

(10:00) A silly, silly debate. We actually had a hypothetical phone call brought up before the candidates were asked about a real crisis, such as, eh, Mexico. No mention of the drug war. No mention of civil liberties and what a president thinks is permissible for war powers and on the Constitution. Forgive me for this, but I think the real question in a foreign policy debate isn't what Mitt believes, it's what Obama's abandoned.

(9:55) I'm with Sullivan on this:

9.50 pm. Romney wants to indict Ahmadinejad for speech? Is he for or against the First Amendment in the United States?

You don't indict Ahmadinejad. You treat him as what he is: a buffoon.

(9:50) Per Romney's insistence on preventing defense cuts, recognize that they are his version of the stimulus. Those ships he speaks of equate to jobs at shipyards, the planes to jobs at Boeing/Lockeed/etc., and the other materials to other jobs across the country. I think Obama's mocking line about bayonets and horses was quite amusing, but it will be less so to people whose jobs depend on such military spending.

(9:46) Obama: "We can not afford a nuclear arms race in the most volatile part of the world." Would like to hear his thoughts on a certain nation named Pakistan, which is currently engaged in a low heat arms race with our friend, India.

(9:40) So here we are, 40 minutes into the foreign policy debate that voters will use to help inform their decision for the next president of the United States. Romney has agreed with Obama on Libya and Egypt and has essentially agreed with him on Syria. The candidates have spent ten minutes arguing over domestic policy, and moderator Bob Schieffer is nonexistent.

This is as minimal choice an election as I could ever imagine.

(9:33) So this is now a domestic policy debate, huh? Why are we debating again?

(9:30) I was wrong on one question that won't be answered:

For Gov. Romney: which would you prioritze: international stability, or democratic governance? The two, as you seem unable to articulate, are frequently mutually exclusive.

Romney is discussing this, but man oh man is he waffling. If there's an award for saying a lot of words without anything concrete, he's running away with it right now.

(9:20) A question for Gov. Romney. What precisely can we do that would push out Assad faster than his current trajectory? I understand you have to differentiate yourself from the POTUS, but perhaps a little skepticism would be helpful?

(9:15) 15 minutes of arguing over Libya and Iraq. We've yet to hear anything new from the two candidates. What exactly was the point of that question?

(9:10) Oy. #MittRambles early on. Looks lost.

(8:50) T-10 minutes. If you haven't already, I highly suggest making a drink. You'll need it to endure this debate.

(8:10) Here are five questions you won't hear tonight.

Different debate, same style. I'll be live-blogging the debate and there will be an open (and live) chat immediately below. David's tweets will be directly imported, so you can relax and enjoy the carnage from the safety of the Frum blog.