Primary Concern: Strategery 2012

By Adam Smith on October 4th, 2012 at 7:00 pm.

Simply put, Strategery 2012: Right Makes Might interprets the Republican Primaries as Advance Wars and it’s a fine interpretation. I missed the first Presidential debate, having become all tuckered out watching America’s other pastime, and exulting in the thrilling and improbable conclusion to the A’s regular season. Now, having read the morning papers and opinion pieces aplenty, I’m glad I missed the debate. Winners, losers, boxing metaphors, body language, emotive reductions – so much said about the art of saying nothing that hasn’t already been said. Silverware’s vision of the Primaries as a battle for control is reductive too, but it’s also enjoyable and clever. The dialogue in particular is much less overtly comic than you might expect. And it’s free.

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23 Comments »

  1. Kestrel says:

    Surprisingly, there was more substance in last night’s debate than I’ve heard in ages.

    • Sidion says:

      The downside of course is we’ll never get another debate like that. People are already claiming it was unfair, and the moderator was horrible.

      Downside to a two party system. Someone always cries cheater when they lose, because there isn’t a third party to roll their eyes and call them expletives.

    • Amun says:

      On the subject of debates, watch this.
      http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-big-money-big-media-big-trouble/

      It’s about an hour, but it’s worth every minute if you’re interested in the tangle of media, politics, and power in the US.

    • InternetBatman says:

      And yet the press declared Mitt Romney a winner because he told personal stories and avoided discussions of specifics.

      • AgamemnonV2 says:

        The press (at least the ones that weren’t doing a bad job spinning what happened) declared him the winner of the debate because he had the clear presence throughout the debate and seemed far more confident. That’s how televised debates work; it’s why people felt Kennedy had won the televised debate vs. Nixon, where the popular opinion was that he won the radio broadcast back in 1960. It’s all about public image, and both sides more than use that as ammunition against the other.

        I have been thoroughly enjoying how rather upset the Obama camp has been though. Before the debates it was all, “Obama won’t even have to try, Romney won’t win the debate and we all know the debate determines who actually gets elected” on Reddit, and now, after last night, the defense brigade has been out in full force, saying, “Well, how was Obama supposed to respond when it was all lies” and, “Oh, well, we all know the debates don’t matter”.

        Not that it would have been any different if it was the other side. Although the difference here is that one side likes to pretend they don’t pull the same below-the-belt tactics as the other side.

        • Strangerator says:

          Al Gore found the real reason Obama lost…

          http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/gores-blames-altitude-obamas-debate-woes_653613.html

          Priceless! Scary how many people turn to this guy for science.

          Also, did you know the earth was this hot?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMrxC-qEHb8

        • Consumatopia says:

          I don’t know about reddit, but James Fallows at the Atlantic, among others, had done in depth analysis of Romney’s previous performances and was warning that Romney had a better record than Obama, and Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, among others, was saying primaries usually don’t move the polls very much (thought that doesn’t mean that they won’t move after a performance like last night).

          I don’t think there’s any denying that Romney presented himself well and Obama presented himself poorly. I also don’t think it’s crazy to judge presidents on how they present themselves under pressure (though hopefully that’s not your only heuristic–it’s not clear that any real situation in the White House resembles a televised debate). It’s pointless to make excuses here–Obama had no right to be surprised that Romney would make stuff up.

          But let’s be clear. Romney is amazingly good at making stuff up. Obama doesn’t do the same thing not because he wouldn’t but because he couldn’t. You have to confidently know an issue inside and out in a recursive way–so when someone calls you out on it, you know exactly what else you need to make up to save yourself. Explaining what your actual policy is and the actual reason for it is a completely different cognitive process than coming up with the best sounding argument that takes the longest to rebut. Mitt Romney is the master at this. (Bill Clinton is good too.) It’s the only way someone who signed Romneycare could win the GOP primary.

          Taxes and health care were probably the biggest issues. And it’s where he told the most audacious fibs. That his tax plan wouldn’t cut revenue, and that he his health care proposals would take care of pre-existing conditions. Those are so huge that Romney should be (and I’m sure is!) proud of himself for pulling them off. It’s not that Obama is too scrupulous for it, he just doesn’t have the nerve.

    • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

      ‘Surprisingly, there was more substance in last night’s debate than I’ve heard in ages.’

      With all respect due to a fellow human being, have you spent your life in a sensory deprivation tank? The stupendously substance-free, breath-takingly milquetoaste, valueless rhetoric filled hour of peerless bullshit which that debate was set a new standard for utterly meaningless discourse in what should be the most important political discussion of the year.

      Consider, the U.S. has less than 5% of the world’s population yet almost 25% of it’s prisoners, it should be a hysterical, incessant scandal at the forefront of any U.S. domestic policy discussion yet due to institutional factors both candidates in-effect (to be generous) agree on perpetuating this atrocity. Both are equally disconnected from this problem, just as they are to any meaningful reform of finance, let alone capitalism as a whole. The poor of America are forgotten entirely and dismissed outright in favour of the nebulous ‘middle-class’.

      Both agree on the foundational questions of American empire, extra-judicial murder (drones), the surveillance state and the intelligence-security system that is reaching obscene portions as documented by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin in the Washington Post’s ‘Top Secret America’ investigation.

      It’s because these issues are institutional, not personality-driven which is what these fucking miserable jokes called ‘U.S. Presidential Debates’ are all about; where the fuck are the third-party candidates? Forced into a self-perpetuating cycle of irrelevancy by the private institution that administers these debates, run by the two major parties, consciously excluding dissenting voices and ensuring a unanimity of opinion by unrealistic and conveniently shifting standards.

      • frightlever says:

        “Consider, the U.S. has less than 5% of the world’s population yet almost 25% of it’s prisoners”

        To be fair most of the US is pro-death penalty so it’s not like they aren’t trying to get those numbers down.

        But seriously, concentrating your policies on the poor is a kinda zero sum solution. What you put in is what you get out and nobody is really any better off. The nebulous middle class are the ones you want to foster because they pay the taxes and drive the economy with their spending. Right now that nebulous middle class is hunkered down in their McMansions not spending any money because they’re legitimately struggling to pay off their mortgages, praying they don’t slide down the social scale.

        But fostering that middle class doesn’t mean handing them benefits, it means creating an encouraging environment through corporate tax policies – remember businesses create jobs, while the rich hoard money. There is little benefit giving tax breaks to the rich to create jobs. That’s not what happens. Tax investment, tax financial speculation, but make it cheaper to do business.

  2. Charles de Goal says:

    I’ve tried to follow the tutorial but it’s boring as hell, and totally lacks fun.

  3. mckertis says:

    Too bad Romney & Obama arent actual units on the map we can slaughter.

  4. Sic says:

    Four years ago the argument against Romney was “LOL, a guy named Mitt, fat chance, go fuck yourself”.

    Suddenly, he has a chance against Barack Obama, arguably the JFK of our time.

    I don’t have the faintest idea how the american election works, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.

    • TCM says:

      Comparing Obama to JFK would certainly prove that you don’t have the faintest idea about the American presidency in general.

      • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

        I struggle to see why people remotely respect JFK’s presidency, except out of a reflexive admiration for power or second-hand information from the continuous hagiography of him that is popular consciousness. His authorisation to use napalm upon Vietnam, his personal direction to his brother to ‘bring the horrors of the earth’ upon Cuba (initiating a campaign of terrorism and subversion against a sovereign nation which will last decades) and brinkmanship over the missile crisis make him a despicable figure. Compared to those crimes, one of which engendered the possibility of ultimate doom, Obama already wins by default.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Appropriate avatar for discussing nuclear apocalypse, really.

          (Except that president Muffley was actually pretty reasonable.)

        • frightlever says:

          I dunno. Obama inherited the War on Terror and immediately dialled it up a notch, ramping up, amongst other things, drone attacks that have routinely killed civilians. I think his heart is in the right place, but sins of omission are still sins.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          JFK was a pretty terrible President who is remembered well because he was popular and was shot. His policy making record was pretty mixed on on the big points he mainly failed, (Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, Civil Rights, Vietnam).

          Being popular and being a good President are not the same thing.

    • wodin says:

      No he was hyped as being a new JFK..which he was never going to live upto…he was doomed from the start…

  5. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    Well this is one of the most charming Advance Wars clones I’ve played.

    Rapid response staff berating an opposing, constantly smiling campaign bus driver into submission.
    Excellent.

  6. Bushcat says:

    Got no jobs,got no money,got no future.Maybe time for the people to rise up,before they sell your slave ass to china?Look up in the sky is it a bird or a plane?Its a fully loaded drone bird prepping up your shame.

  7. Universal Quitter says:

    I’ve always wondered, are major elections in the UK as farcical, inane, and absurd as they are here, in America? Sorry, about all those commas, by the way. I think you guys do lists differently, there.

    Anyway, is the political process as discouraging over there?

    • Swiggs says:

      Comma usage seems reasonable!

      Labour are incompetent, Conservatives are out-of-touch elitists, and the Liberal Democrats are liars. Technically, we shouldn’t be voting for the Prime Minister, however, but merely for local MPs, but these days it can go “this local MP is quite good, but I risk voting in the wrong PM by voting for him, so I might have to vote for this numpty here…”

    • Sorth_31 says:

      The political process is fine. It’s the politicians that are discouraging.

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