CA Republican

My political musings...

Why the heck is growth slow?

Been a while. But this slow growth topic persists. So the why is what is getting more irritating by the day.

Here’s my take. A great recession shatters the psyche. Anyone who is 40+ either directly was impacted by unemployment or knows someone who was. And not just the short variety - long, scary unemployment. Anyone who just recently graduated likewise has experienced the same struggle.

What this causes is risk aversion. People spend, but carefully. If I take my own inventory I could very easily consider buying new cars, washer/dryers, refrigerators, TVs and do some home improvements. These are things that are due in the normal course of time except times have changed. My guess is I could pump almost $100K into the economy in a year or two. But I won’t. Not having confidence in job prospects (even if you have one) creates a chilling effect. Having future known expenditures such as for kids heading to college creates a strong incentive to spend wisely.

And it is not so hard to extrapolate this mindset from the family to the corporation. Families don’t spend so companies fear lack of demand and don’t hire. Its a vicious cycle.

How can it be broken? Leadership. Vision. Optimism.

Unfortunately Obama does not fit the bill. To break this cycle the country needs a huge dose of hope. He has come up way short. His focus and messaging is on the safety net (which is indeed important during tough times). It would be a lot more fruitful if he worked on the safety net side (Obamacare, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, income inequality) in silence, without desperately seeking the political points this wins him, and uses the megaphone to propel optimism and hope. Only a breakthrough in the constrained economic cycle can free us from the viciousness of sluggish growth.


My Fiscal Cliff Deal (Hint: House budget)

'Tis the season for deal making. So why not I too put one out there. Everyone else is doing so. Here goes:

(1) House Republicans immediately pass Senate tax-cut bill passed back in July 2012: allows Obama to keep his campaign promise, taxes go up to Clinton rates for high earners, January 1 2013 fiscal cliff averted.

(2) By June 30, 2013 both House and Senate pass and Obama signs comprehensive bill inclusive of tax reform and spending cuts. If this bipartisan deal does not get signed, the House GOP budget passed in March 2012, is passed by the Senate.

I am sure there are ways for Democrats to try and weasel their way out of the “punitive measure” in step 2, but I am assuming our clever GOP Congressmen can find some fail proof mechanism.

Lets make it happen.


How they won? Not so complicated (in hindsight)

I came across a great post on Ace of Spades.


Decided to comment to it and so am capturing my comment for my own blog.


Scary chart. Sickening. But in the age of Idols and Stars not surprising. There is lots of mud slinging going on about Romney and campaign team and messaging and all that which is a bit silly though not unexpected. But we need to give credit to the other team. They knew that they would lose voters (and did as evidenced by 10M fewer votes than 08). But they figured out how to cobble together (and scare) segments that worked for them. Their targeting will also explain lots of the skewed data we are seeing. They will have high numbers on “cares about people like me” or even higher share than past elections of Latino votes because most of their voters were selected. Not organically won but cherry picked and messaged.

So they drew in their specific voters - for example:

* African - American - this was an easy connect with Obama as the candidate and they’ve got various sports/entertainment celebs to help them drive this segment
* Latinos - scare them with GOP primaries messaging and then specific cases that generate real anger for them (ex: AZ), pander to them with a band-aid mini Dream executive order, use channels like Pimp-with-the-Limp
* Single women - scare them with abortion (play up cases like Akin, Mourdock), birth-control issue via Obamacare, use surrogates like Fluke, Longoria (which surprises us but there is method to their madness), use channels like View, People, etc.
* Youth - campaign focus around colleges and specifically targeting first time voters - high school graduates over last 4 years who have likely been living a sheltered life in college and are less impacted by the real economy, use Dunham FirstTime (again surprises us, but scary clever), pander with loan payment incentives.

(And ofcourse Clinton - their main weapon who first did the job of telling the base that it is ok to not be embarrassed by the horrible record because no one could have done it better and this is when their campaign really took off, and then later he was a great scarer-in-chief for key segments - blue collar, seniors.)

This is why their messaging seemed so “small” to us. No platform. No plan. They did not need one. They were busy connecting with voters showing them they cared about them. They got into trouble when the first debate blew up because suddenly it created doubt about the candidate as a whole but they pieced that back together with grandstanding at the second and third debates. A jobs plan was a glossy book. Made no sense but it fits in with the segments they targeted and their method of messaging (basically a glossy is an excuse/crutch for the voter when they are challenged by rational people). Then they got Obama to strut around in a Bomber jacket and destroy the lack of bi-partisanship charge with Christie photo-ops. Every time they seemed to have a hole to fill they quickly plugged it with something superficial and it worked.

Now on our side we tried to present a vision. A platform. Solve serious problems. More traditional messaging. Broader. Attempt to create a movement which it kind of did as we saw with the crowds. It seems like we could have still won if we had truly turned out with max force. Basically Bush had about 62M votes in 04, McCain had about 59M and sounds like the final tally for Romney will be close to McCain (or even less!). So we could have driven out a stronger vote even though the margin for error on our side is very limited. We do have a need to broaden the base and hit some demographic segments better and this is being discussed by many. But lets also note that this suppressed turnout is not a coincidence. Here too their side played a hand (“Kill Romney”):

* Mormon - there was no large scale campaign but there was plenty of subtle messaging, the week before the election another secret video was released which did not make the main news but had gathered 1.2M views in the 5 days before election (see WaPo for article on this)
* Bain, Tax returns, 47% video - used to influence blue collar voting block
* Detroit bankrupt - economic, blue collar scare tactics and ideally linked to their geographic needs for electoral votes, aggressive Jeep Ad tear-down to re-confirm their “can not trust” messaging

* Mediscare - used to push down Senior vote

(And ofcourse our own corrosive anyone-but-Mitt primary - plus Ron Paul supporters - that damaged the Romney image and showed that besides having to reach out to new demographics we have to also learn to come together within our own tent.)

The bottom line is that the other team played a good game though seemingly a bit dirty. It seems at odds with how Presidents should be chosen - leadership, vision, policy platform. But this is the world we live in and they figured out how to exploit it. With the help of their allies - unions, MSM and ofcourse luck (politically that is - Sandy). And technology. With broad based communication of the old days there was a much greater need for mass communication - big vision, plans and such blasted over airwaves. But we are living in a micro-targeted world - every segment can be discovered and reached via unique channels. A game we will need to learn better.

But lets not beat our side up too much. We need to address the demographics. We need to use new world tactics and technology better. We can get cynical and attempt the same as them. Scare their segments. Cherry pick a candidate who fits our “base” profile and layer small targeted messaging on them. But then we would we be them. We instead looked at the times, identified the major problems, picked the best likely problem solvers for those problems (both Romney and Ryan are). I am much happier being a problem-solution type Republican even though a member of the losing side. For now we have demographic advantages in sufficient number of House seats to make that our firewall. And we don’t need to stand down there.

[Update 1: As it turns out I wrote this post kind of naively. Learnt a lot more about how sophisticated Team O’s use of data is in this article (and more). Lots for us to learn and this has to happen full time not during an election event. Part of infrastructure. Which sounds like a sore point for GOP given all that I am reading about ORCA GOTV issues. Technology can be deceptively seductive and deadly. Biggest surprise is that the ORCA system was not rolled out a month prior, to play with during early voting. Maybe the idea was to use stealth (as startups do) to get an advantage on Team O - from what I’ve seen stealth typically is lot less valuable than pure execution. And Team O seemed to be operating on another plain anyway. It sounds like maybe their campaign team should run their administration too!]

[Update 2: More light shed by an excellent set of heat maps of post-election state-by-state trend analysis by Ace shows that our side may have played a bigger role in the loss - i.e. by not turning out - possibly aided by Team O suppression tactics as described above. My comment to the Ace article is #135.]

[Update 3: This analysis based on up to date vote counts is truly worrying. It suggests that our side indeed turned out beyond Bush 04 in many swing states. Just that Team O was able to ratchet up key demographic turnout (more Latino, African American votes than even 2008 - the very segments with the highest unemployment rates which you would think would motivate them to vote against O - defies logic!) and even though Obama’s overall turnout in the swing state was down, the fact that he got a very high percentage of voters from these demographics allowed him to secure slender leads and win. Scary especially if these voters are as locked into being D voters as they seem. Clearly lots of work to do.]


Polite and Devastating Libya Questions

By now it is clear how Team Obama is trying to get past the Libya dilemma. Feign indignation. Show how they are offended/hurt by the unjust politicization of such a sensitive subject! And then show righteousness by taking ownership (Hillary, then Obama), promising to root out the issues and solve them while accepting minor errors along the way (“not optimal”). [No kidding! They have chosen to take flak for poor communication as the alternative is a cover-up which is a lot scarier for them.]

Ok, so we are getting the gist. In my view the best way to counter this would to be polite and devastating in questioning Libya. Not confrontational but instead providing more rope to let them hang themselves. Here is my attempt:

Mr. President, I will be frank, until the last debate I had a certain understanding of the position of your administration as it related to this incident. But after the last debate, as it was obvious, I am thoroughly confused as I am sure are many Americans. What we believed till the last debate was that based on initial intelligence it seemed that spontaneous mob action sparked by an internet video resulted in the death of the ambassador and three others. This seemed to be reflected in your actions wherein you campaigned in Las Vegas on September 12th. It lined up with the statements made by your press secretary, your UN ambassador on multiple TV shows, and even by you in multiple interviews. Even the creator of the video was arrested. Then over a period of two weeks your administration said that as intelligence became more clear you were able to declare the incident as a “self-evident” terrorist attack. Now here is where your comments at the last debate throw things into a state of confusion. Your statement in the Rose Garden on September 12th referenced ACTS (plural) of terror so the assumption was that you were making a general comment. Now you suggest that you were declaring the Libya attack an act of terror on that day. That statement did not seem as strong as one would expect given the loss of life. All the subsequent actions and statements made by yourself and your administration seemed to contradict the fact that you declared an act of terror on September 12th. Last week after the debate we also heard that you stated that the communication was “not optimal”. As you can imagine Mr. President, we are confused. Would you mind clarifying when you knew it was a terror attack, who decided on the communication plan? Many Americans are eager to hear more and this debate gives you an opportunity to clarify what happened. I’ll let you respond.

<whatever answer + some follow-up questions>

[Update: Our side is mad about this. They want answers. Certainly a presidential debate is not a place to vent this anger but I guess it is fine to do some tactical QnA about things like other attacks pre-9/11 and given these why security requests did not reach the White House, how did the movie get connected to a mob and then to the attack, etc.]

Thanks Mr. President. That does lay out your timeline but frankly given all the conflicting information it is still confusing. As you know when there is confusion and lack of clarity, people lose trust in what is said. (And then take the debate to a higher level as I outlined in an earlier post.)

I have noticed that lack of clarity is a recurring pattern with your administration. Lack of clarity about Israel defending itself, about Iran sanctions, about different approaches to Libya-Syria, about troop surge and withdrawal dates. Lack of clarity is damaging because it destroys trust. This Libya incident is a case study where the American people have now been first hand witness to how lack of leadership results in lack of clarity. It is not surprising that our allies and foes alike are confused by our messages and can’t trust our word. It is not surprising that without trust our foreign policy initiatives do not bear the fruits expected of them. Strength, leadership and clarity will be the cornerstone of a Romney-Ryan foreign policy agenda.


Clarity and Trust

Three down. One to go. What we’ve got from these three debates is (1) Romney ready to lead (2) Romney not the Romney Team Obama made up (3) Romney-Ryan a capable team. This addresses the personal attributes. On the policy side the economic debate is over. Both in terms of prosecuting Obama’s failed policies and having a more credible plan going forward. So whats next? I say clarity and trust.

The next debate is on foreign policy. On paper this is an area of strength for Obama. Killing Osama and bringing troops home has given him a buffer that voters will not overlook easily. Prosecuting a case against failed foreign policy is more difficult because people do not directly feel the impact. They do not have the information that led to decisions and so can not analyze the decision making and find fault with it. They can look at the results - burning middle east, brazen Iran, obstructive Russia, distanced Israel - but without a direct correlation to their daily lives its difficult to develop a deep sense of anguish. Wars and terror attacks however have a more direct impact and that is where the Libya story comes in.

Besides the fruits of the first three debates outlined earlier the biggest offshoot of the last two have been major blunders by Biden and Obama. Biden distancing the White House from security decisions and Obama claiming that he acknowledged a terror attack on the day after 9/11/12. This opens the door wide to build a case for lack of clarity and trust destroyed. I expect that Romney will make the peace through economic and military strength (not leading from behind) case against Obama. This should be overlaid with clarity and trust.


Obama claimed that he had acknowledged a terror attack in Libya the day after. If this is indeed the case, it was the weakest acknowledgement of a terror attack ever! One that claimed an Ambassador’s and three other lives. It creates a gaping hole in the position the administration (and he himself) took from that point forward for the next two weeks - that a video was the motivating factor in the attack. If Obama backtracks and says he just hinted at a terror attack due to lack of definitive intelligence then it opens up the cover-up angle as the administration tried to muddy the waters with vague stories that they suspected to be untrue very early on.

Regardless of which opening is available, what is abundantly clear is that the American people have been confused. There is an utter lack of clarity. Clarity could have been achieved by being ambiguous from the onset. But set positions varying over time has created seeds of doubt. In and of itself this incident may not account for much as it can be written off as “fog of war” as Hillary did. However lack of clarity is a recurring pattern with the Obama administration. Lack of clarity about Israel defending itself, about Iran sanctions, about different approaches to Libya-Syria, about troop surge and withdrawal dates. Lack of clarity is damaging because it destroys trust.


The unraveling Libya story has shown how lack of clarity destroys trust. And this is amongst people with a common interest. All Americans. Once trust is destroyed it creates a sense of insecurity. Currently there is widespread distrust in the country about the motivations and reasons for the lack of clarity. Even if it was a series of mistakes that will be acknowledged and addressed later, once trust is damaged it is hard to re-earn.

Now extend this to the other cases I highlighted earlier. The lack of clarity on a host of issues with allies and foes creates deep rooted doubt and a trust deficit. In an environment where trust is lacking respect is never created.

If the American public does not trust its own administration can we expect us to earn trust overseas? How do you conduct foreign policy without trust? A loss of trust is devastating to an administration and a clear indicator that it is time to replace it.

The Libya story has brought to the front something that is difficult to prosecute in the abstract - i.e. lack of clarity and destruction of trust. It is a case study of how this administration has blundered its way through foreign policy and the American people have now been first hand witness to how failed leadership results in lack of clarity and destruction of trust.


I am still here

Mr. President, your record is bleak:

* crippling unemployment

* stagnant growth

* falling incomes

* increasing poverty

* exploding debt

* no budget passed

* looming fiscal cliff

* unpopular healthcare bill

* doubled gas prices

* unraveling foreign policy

And your plans are non-existent except for:

* doing more of the same

* increasing taxes that you yourself thought was a bad idea in a slow economy not that long ago

* a deficit reduction plan which is a speech

It is no wonder that you have built your entire campaign around painting me as someone to run from and to attack me personally. What your campaign labeled as “kill Romney”. Well, Mr. President, even that has not worked. I am very much still here.


Obama Blame Game

Mr. President, when the Libya news broke we were expected nothing different from you except for blame. 

* Blame Romney for speaking out too soon

* Blame video

* Blame intelligence

* Blame State department

* Blame Fox News and CNN

* Blame Congress for hearings

* Blame Romney campaign for politicizing the tragedy

After all, we know how you operate based on your handling of the economy:

* Blame Bush

* Blame Congress

* Blame Tsunami

* Blame Europe

* Blame companies for hording cash

* Blame wealthy people

* Blame banks

You see, we see a familiar pattern.


Close the deal - A walk down the 5-point Jobs plan

Last night was fun. Certainly for us Ryan backers. And in a strange way the person who seemed to be most amused was our gaffe machine VP himself.

Now its time to close the deal. And I am glad that it is now in Mitt’s control to make this happen. I believe that he needs to drill down on his 5-point jobs plan. Take people down a real world walk down the plan. Not wonky material but information that they will be able to relate to. To help them understand the rationale for his 5-points. Is this all that is needed to close the deal? Probably not, but it certainly seems like a necessary and easy step. I heard a post debate focus group on some channel where a lady specifically asked for more information - basically the 5-point plan has got their attention and they wanted to hear more. So now its time for a little more substance. I think people want to be able to connect with one or more specific item. Something they recognize from their own lives and experience. Not necessarily a specific policy initiative and its details. Something they can nod their head in agreement to.

One challenge is how do you deliver this substance. The distribution method impacts the content. One method is to use the debate as these have the largest eyeballs. But time is tight. In a 2-minute answer it could be possible to mention 5, talk more about 1 and refer the audience to the campaign website to go watch a “10 minute video”. Another is to do a speech but this gets a lot more formal than what I think people want to consume (but maybe a detailed wonky speech is needed to whet the appetite of punditry and media). There could be Ad buys for 10 minute slots in key states/counties (no idea how this works).

On to the content itself. It must be simple and easy to relate to. My shot below and I am sure Team Romney can do this really well.

(1) Energy independence: By freeing up domestic energy production we directly create jobs as people are hired for projects like the Keystone pipeline. By streamlining regulations and the permitting process and by drilling offshore we plan to increase supply with the goal to push down fuel prices for businesses and consumers. For example, as you know, gas price is almost double what it was when Obama took office. This means that a business has less money to hire people and consumers have less money to spend on products and services. We must drive down fuel prices to help drive economic growth.

(2) Champion small business: Small business is the engine of job growth. We must remove barriers that prevent them from hiring full time employees. As you may have seen in recent job reports most hiring that is taking place is for part-time workers. Businesses are scared to hire full time workers because they do not know what Obamacare will do to their payroll. People welcome part-time jobs but this means they remain nervous about their future. They tend to spend less which means less money is going into the economy. By repealing Obamacare we free up small business. Also small businesses needs access to easy credit. By repealing Dodd-Frank we allow them to get the capital they need to invest and grow. We will also reduce the tax burden by 20% on small businesses allowing them to keep more of their money to invest in their business. We will provide a 20% tax cut to middle income families so that they have more money to spend on products and services that will help drive economic growth.

(3) Cut the federal deficit: We will cut the federal deficit by pushing for growth. Growth means more jobs which means more tax revenue to help pay down the deficit. We will also control federal spending by bringing it below 20% of GDP by reducing discretionary spending and also tackling difficult challenges like healthcare costs, Medicare and Social Security solvency, and we have specific plans for each of these. Increasing deficits creates huge uncertainty for business. They do not know when interest rates might spike or the US dollar may fall. This can potentially have a big impact on their business and this is particularity true for large companies. The uncertainty causes them to hold off or hire very slowly. We must assure businesses that the federal government will get the short term debt situation under control and that we have a credible long term plan that will give businesses confidence to invest and hire.

(4) Curtail unfair trade practices: We will push on China to stop artificially weakening their currency as this puts pressure on jobs in our country. By manipulating their currency they are able to provide cheaper goods than US manufacturers. As their economy grows and wages rise the salary gap between the two countries is becoming smaller. That means with the higher productivity of the US worker our businesses can compete with Chinese products but only if we leveled the playing field. Driving manufacturing back into the US will result in more high paying jobs and the development of communities around these manufacturing centers. We will also crack down on intellectual property theft by overseas companies. Ours is an innovation economy and we have to allow our businesses to maximize profits from their assets so they can hire more people.

(5) Improve education and job training: As you may have heard, that even while there are many unemployed people out there, there are also many unfilled job openings. We need to help close this skills gap and we will do so by training via avenues like community colleges and trade schools. But the best place for job training is on the job itself. However, when businesses are hesitant to hire they tend to look for a “perfect match”. As we drive higher growth and reduce uncertainty, businesses will be more willing to make longer term investments in employees which means full time jobs and training. We also need to fix our K-12 system as this is critical to give the math and science foundation our children need to compete in a global and more technological economy. We will increase competition via school choice and we will get the best teachers for our children by changing how teachers are hired and evaluated.

These five steps will allow us to stimulate growth and add 12 million jobs in the next 4 years. Our basic principle is that the federal government must create an environment for job growth. Reduce risk and uncertainty. Get out of the way by reducing unnecessary regulations. Above all, fixing this problem requires that it has the highest priority and nothing will have a higher priority than the growth of the economy and jobs.


Tax cut math - $5 Trillion? More like $50 Billion/year?

Someone please help me with this tax cut math.

imageApprox $1 Trillion in individual income tax revenue. Across the board 20% cut would be $200 Billion in lost revenue. But this assumes no growth from the tax cuts.

Lets assume the resulting growth is 3% in individual income tax revenue ~ $30 Billion (0.03 * $1 T).

So that leaves $170 Billion that needs to be found from offsetting lowering of deductions. 

Based on PolitiFact research the Federal government gives up approx $1 Trillion in deductions annually. We also know that top 5% of earners pay about 60% of the Federal taxes. So if we assume they get an equal share of the deductions we get their deductions to be worth $600 Billion. So if the high income (top 5%) deductions are also reduced by 20% we get back $120 Billion.

In other words we have an offset between loss in revenue and gains from cuts in deductions of $50 Billion for one year (a rounding error!). And over 10 years this number is $500 Billion —> hardly $5 Trillion. 10X lower.

PS: I heard a nice counter-point to the “loopholes” argument by a TV pundit. He said that Obama wants to cut corporate tax rates and offset this by closing loopholes so as to not add to the debt. BUT Obama does not specify loopholes either. So why should Romney.

[Update: Finally found an analysis that Romney’s tax reform math works - here and here. My back of the envelope numbers are close enough and the article highlights a path to offset tax cuts with deductions and growth based revenue increases. In summary, there is no $5 Trillion tax cut and when tax reform is applied to reduce deductions there is no net increase in the middle/low income tax burden. ]


Libya could be the needle

Does anyone think that Biden will not come out hyper-aggressive to the debate? My guess is that he will be pumped up to “save their ticket”. He will be asked to push Ryan hard. I think their side is also going to increase focus on social issues. I have been watching the MSM for clues during this campaign and I have noticed that somehow they seem to get the messaging framework into their narrative before it gets used by the campaign itself. This week I started seeing a lot more stories about “weird” Republicans. So Ryan will need to be ready for this. Before the last debate the MSM signalling suggested the focus on “plans” - specifically loopholes - and Obama stuck to this theme. I am sure this theme will also be used at this next debate but now also with the “lies” narrative thrown in - lying about arithmetic on loopholes, lying about pre-existing conditions, lying about keeping some Dodd-Frank regulations and which ones, lying about Medicare, lying about replacing Obamacare and with what, and so on.

However, the hyper-aggressive Biden may also create an opening to use Libya as the needle to prick their campaign balloon. Joe could be teased and annoyed into a near melt down. People expect that Ryan will be the financial wonk. That he will be able to detail out intricacies of the budget and make Biden’s head spin. Basically people expect Ryan to win on his strengths. I suggest that he take it to Biden on their so-called strong points. In an earlier post I suggested poking the GM is alive theme that Biden loves so much. Another area that people would not expect Ryan to go to himself is foreign policy. Biden is the supposed long time foreign policy guru though he is the same guy who wanted to split Iraq into three!

So back to Libya. I know many had wanted Romney to lead his debate off with this topic but I think it is now perfectly set-up for Ryan. In his opening remarks or first answer, regardless of question or topic, Ryan should say something like “At last weeks debate the focus was on economics, so Libya did not come up. We will discuss other topics at length during this debate but before we do Mr. Vice President, the country deserves clarity on the 9/11 terrorist attack in Libya that resulted in the murder of our Ambassador and three citizens. Your administration has been covering up facts and we deserve answers.”. And then a series of questions to hit the lies narrative with an attack of his own. 

1) There were several security incidents in Libya before the 9/11 attack. Did this not suggest that security should have been increased rather than decreased by pulling out special forces in August or by denying requests for more assets? Even the Ambassador seemed to have some foreboding of the danger based on his diary and based on posts made by another of the victims in an online gaming forum.

2) 24 hours after the attack there was evidence that the attack was a terrorist attack, yet the UN ambassador and your administration kept blaming a video for a week - why the cover-up? Don’t the American people deserve the truth?

3) It took the President more than a week to acknowledge that a terrorist attack had taken place. Should he not speak directly and honestly to the people when the country suffered a terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11? Is it right for the President to go on a fundraising campaigning to Las Vegas the day after a terrorist attack that resulted in lives lost?

I hope Ryan needles Biden early. And we can hope to see the balloon burst. 

[Update: Post debate note - it was good to have the moderator herself bring up the Libya needle. As it turned out the Congressional hearings this week and the CNN interview with the mother one of the victims the night before plus the crazy pronouncements of Cutter on the day of the debate pushed Lbya to the very top. I did my tiny itsy bitsy miniscule bit by tweeting this to the moderator in the AM “Mother of State official slain in Libya demands answers  - @MarthaRaddatz - story of day & ppl r mad. Must be 1st ques.”. The end result is the gaffe of the night - Biden badly misfired on Libya and this is the post debate headline (besides his crazy Joker faces). ]