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Category: Robert Farley

The Second Term FP Team

[ 23 ] November 16, 2012 |

The President is never entirely free to choose his foreign policy team, but Obama has a great deal of latitude for the second term:

The upshot is that the Obama administration begins its second term with much greater foreign policy freedom of action, whether in domestic, strategic, or bureaucratic terms. If Obama wants to follow through on the “pivot” to Asia, he should have the freedom to do so. The first year of the second term should demonstrate how seriously Obama intends to pursue a redistribution of military and diplomatic effort towards Asia. An early indicator will be who the president taps to replace Petraeus at CIA, as well as how the administration handles sequestration. For those either anticipating or dreading a larger U.S. commitment to Asia, uncertainty shouldn’t last long.

One way of interpreting the attention paid to the Benghazi imbroglio is as an effort to cripple the second term team.

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Foreign Entanglements: Future of Conservative Foreign Policy?

[ 4 ] November 15, 2012 |

On this week’s episode of Foreign Entanglements, Matt and James Joyner talk about the conservative foreign policy landscape:

What Did Bolivia Do to Deserve This?

[ 69 ] November 12, 2012 |

Imagine opening up a box you think will be filled with “Detroit Tigers: 2012 World Series Champions” hats and t-shirts, and instead finding this:

Beth Cox wore a Mitt Romney T-shirt, a cross around her neck and fresh eyeliner, even though she had been crying on and off and knew her makeup was likely to run. A day after the election, she tuned the radio to Glenn Beck and began pulling posters and American flags off the wall.

Her calendar read “Victory Day!!” and she had planned to celebrate in the office by hosting a dance party and selling Romney souvenirs. But instead she was packing those souvenirs into boxes, which would be donated to a charity that sent clothes to South America. Instead a moving company was en route to close down the office in the next 48 hours, and her friends were calling every few minutes to see how she was doing.

Via Rude Pundit. And if you haven’t seen this, then you just don’t understand schadenfreude.

Duckgistics

[ 48 ] November 10, 2012 |

Dunno how I missed this:

Curious to see how Kelly handles Barner in this game. Cal has played Oregon tough in the past, but I’d be stunned to see this game in any meaningful doubt beyond the early third quarter. Barner has a legit shot at the Heisman if he gets enough touches, but it’s unclear if Kelly cares enough about that to risk his starting running back.

Incidentally, I don’t see how the Ducks don’t drop 50 on Alabama, other than the Alabama-probably-not-gonna-go-to-the-BCS-title-game problem.

Asymmetric Beliefs Can Lead to Bad Outcomes

[ 88 ] November 8, 2012 |

This may, believe it or not, be the scariest thing I’ve ever read about the modern GOP:

Romney advisers are telling CBS News that there wasn’t one person on the Romney campaign who saw the loss coming, and the GOP presidential candidate was “shellshocked” by the results. Here’s what they have to say:

  • “We went into the evening confident we had a good path to victory…I don’t think there was one person who saw this coming.”
  • “There’s nothing worse than when you think you’re going to win, and you don’t…It was like a sucker punch.”
  • Romney “was shellshocked.”

The CBS story indicates that the Romney team even bought into the “unskewed polls” theory, believing that the polls dramatically underestimated Republican turnout and overestimated Democratic enthusiasm.

This report comes after other indications that the Romney campaign was disregarding polling data.

It’s one thing for the rubes to believe that an election is in the bag when the actual chances of victory are south of 10%; indeed, a good campaign requires creating the conditions for suspension of disbelief. It’s entirely another when the braintrust of the campaign has determined to smoke its own product. When I wrote this post, I didn’t really think that the core strategists in the campaign had abandoned connection with reality; rather, I figured it was mostly #2 and #3. Asymmetric beliefs about the probabilities of success in conflict can produce bad outcomes. Another way of phrasing is that it would be remarkably more reassuring to learn that the campaign was simply lying about its chances (and, of course, they may still be); lying, at least, can be entirely rational. See also Ari Kohen on the difference between hope and delusion.

As it happens, Dan Nexon and I chatted about this just today:

Trojan Fail

[ 24 ] November 8, 2012 |

I’m just gonna come out and say it: The failure rate of Trojans is way, way too high for comfort.

From ESPN LA: “USC fired a student manager for deflating five game balls below regulation levels for the USCOregon game last Saturday, the school announced late Wednesday.”

Deflated balls are easier to catch and hold on to, so the idea is the manager was trying to help the Trojans offense. The Pac-12 has fined and reprimanded USC.

USC also reported this:

When informed of this allegation by the Pac-12, USC investigated it immediately. The student manager confirmed that he had, without the knowledge of, or instruction from, any USC student-athlete, coach, staff member or administrator, deflated those game balls after they had been tested and approved by officials prior to the game.

So this unnamed manager acted alone and without the knowledge of anyone else. Hmm. Pause for a second and allow your credulity to catch up. Now slap your forehead and shake your head. My guess is you just duplicated what USC AD Pat Haden did when he first learned of this small but notable embarrassment.

Chip Kelly was uncharacteristically laconic: “”This story means absolutely nothing to Oregon Ducks.” However, I’m sure that Marcus Mariota was thankful, and that Kenjon Barner found it much easier to run for 321 yards with the deflated pigskins…

I Accept Your Terms, Sir!

[ 253 ] November 7, 2012 |

I can strongly endorse this position:

However, for me, I’m choosing another rather unique path; a personal boycott, if you will. Starting early this morning, I am going to un-friend every single individual on Facebook who voted for Obama, or I even suspect may have Democrat leanings. I will do the same in person. All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt

I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted ‘O’. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats.

Lotta great stuff out there for those who enjoy despair-of-the-broken-and-defeated posts. Assrocket and RS McCain are the best I’ve seen; feel free to link to others in comments. With regards to the LGM Electoral Challenge, Florida remains outstanding (“What are you doing Florida? You got the rest of the union to help you along. What’s going wrong?”), and the cut off point for vote counts doesn’t happen until Friday in any case.

And a victory without Drama isn’t really a victory at all:

Synthesis!

[ 24 ] November 5, 2012 |

I would to add to Scott and Erik’s commentary by reporting that Randy Barnett understands the basic voting incentives inherent to a structural two party system.

That is all.

2016

[ 67 ] November 5, 2012 |

This has all the coherence that we’ve come to expect from Major Intellectual Newt Gingrich:

“Once we deal with the issue we’ll have a permanent majority for a generation,” said Gingrich. “But until we do we’re permanently in danger of losing.”

Gingrich’s solution, regardless of whether Romney wins: “It’s going to require Jeb Bush coming to Washington for about six months and working directly with Marco Rubio and building a bipartisan majority. We really need Jeb to live in Washington for six months to get this done.”

In other news, I have an op-ed at Global Times pointing out that it’s never too early to start thinking about 2016. Note that the assumption of an Obama victory was made at GT’s request.

Go Ducks!

[ 30 ] November 3, 2012 |

I would like to withdraw any suggestion/implication that Darron Thomas may have been better in any way than Marcus Mariota in critical road games.

By the way, Kenjon Barner is pretty goddamn obviously the Heisman Trophy favorite at this point.

Der Tag

[ 34 ] November 3, 2012 |

Today is the day that was supposed to set the terms on which Pac-12 and the SEC would be decided. The SEC has mostly held serve; if LSU wins at home they’ll likely knock Alabama out of the SEC championship game, and (probably) out of national title contention. Not so much in the Pac-12, where USC’s losses to Stanford and Arizona mean that the Ducks will probably host the Pac-12 championship game regardless of today’s outcome.  Still, USC could effectively end the Ducks national championship hopes, so it remains a pretty important day.

Were I a betting man I would probably take the Ducks -8.5, but I wouldn’t give much more than that. Marcus Mariota has played well, but I wouldn’t say at this point that I’d rather have Mariota running the offense against USC than Darron Thomas. Mariota appears to be more talented than Thomas, but holding it together in a critical game against an excellent opponent on the road is a thing, and Thomas had that as part of his skill set. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mariota turns out to be brilliant, but he has demonstrated a tendency to try to force passes into triple coverage, which won’t play against the Trojans.

Then again, the Trojans lost 39-36 to a team that the Ducks beat 49-0, so it’s hard to be bullish on their chances.  Even in the wins they haven’t looked great.  Barkley has demonstrated a surprising tendency to make significant mistakes, and I don’t like his chances against the Oregon secondary.  That said, USC is sufficiently talented to pull it together for a single game and beat anyone in the country, so there remain grounds for concern.

I’ll also say that the Ducks defense has been even better than I expected.  The 2010 defense was deeply underrated, mostly because surprisingly few people could make the connection that even an excellent defense will give up a lot of points in Chip Kelly’s scheme.  But this is really a fabulous defense; shutting out Arizona (which scored 39 against USC), and holding ASU and UW to seven each in the first half are genuine accomplishments.  USC probably has the best offense the Ducks has faced so far (although Arizona is close), but I’d be pretty surprised if they put up the same 38 that they did last year.

As for the other game, Alabama looks really, really good, and LSU has struggled in a couple of victories.  I think that the nine point spread is fair, in that it would leave me sorely tempted to bet on LSU.  I hope that LSU wins, as that’ll make it less likely that the Ducks will get pushed out of the national championship game in favor of one of the other undefeateds. Incidentally, Kansas State was scheduled to play at Autzen this year, before they opted out; coulda been a great game, but serves to demonstrate the disincentives that elite teams have for playing one another in the preseason.

…[EL] Here’s a great story about the nation’s best running backs coach, Oregon’s Gary Campbell. The underrated reason Oregon is so dominant is an amazing assistant coaching staff, especially at the running backs and offensive line. I’ve followed Oregon football for 30 years, almost the exact same amount of time Campbell has been there. I don’t think they’ve ever had a year with a bad running game.

Foreign Entanglements: War on Statistics

[ 3 ] November 2, 2012 |

On the latest installment of Foreign Entanglements, Matt and I talk War on Statistics:

We also talk about what the foreign policy wonk space look like if Romney wins, and why there’s such a market for progressive critiques of Obama.

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