Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Iraq

The Democratic Party Debate: 5 Reasons Why Sanders Won and Clinton Lost

I watched the first Democratic Party debate, hosted by CNN. CNN also hosted the second Republican Party debate, and in both debates it tried to get the candidates to fight each other on camera for the entertainment of the viewing public, repeatedly asking questions designed to get candidates to criticize or attack one another. In the republican debate, this tactic worked perhaps too well–the debate deteriorated into a series of personal attacks, with little relevant policy content. For that reason, I didn’t bother to write up an analysis of the second republican debate–there was little of substance to analyze. The democratic candidates did a better job of resisting their baser instincts, and we did manage to get some interesting exchanges on serious policy issues, particularly between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. In these exchanges, it was quite clear that Sanders was the winner–his arguments were significantly stronger and more convincing than Clinton’s.

Read the rest of this entry »

I Read It So You Don’t Have To: The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

There are a lot of people out there who say that we shouldn’t write about Donald Trump. They call him a figure of fun, an entertainer. But at this point, Donald Trump has been leading in the national republican primary polls for longer than any of the anti-Romneys we saw in 2012:

GOP Surges

The day may come when Trump no longer leads in the polls, but it is not this day–despite the claims of pundits to the contrary, far more viewers picked Trump as the winner of yesterday’s GOP debate than picked any other candidate:

2nd Republican Debate Survey

So I think it’s appropriate to take Trump seriously, to really try to figure out what makes him tick and what his appeal is. To that end, I have acquired and read, cover to cover, The Art of the DealTrump’s 1987 bestseller. I am now prepared to share what I have learned with you.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bogus Claims and Broken Arguments: The First 2016 GOP Presidential Debate

The pundits are out in force today arguing about which republican candidate performed best in yesterday’s debate. But the pundit definition of “best” is, well, not the best. They evaluate politics descriptively, disputing who will get the most support, not who should. There’s precious little serious reflection on the quality of the arguments presented. Candidates know this, and consequently every election they behave more theatrically, trying to score cheap points with burns and put-downs instead of engaging in nuanced policy discussion. So instead of discussing whose personal anecdote was the most touching or whose one-liner had the most zing, I invite you to join me in a dissection of the substantive claims and arguments we did see.

Read the rest of this entry »

Candidate Evaluations: Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham is running for president, so it’s time for another candidate evaluation. I’ll be evaluating Graham’s background, policy history, and explicit statements to determine whether or not he would make a good president. I won’t be paying attention to electability or likeability, as is often common elsewhere on the web. Read the rest of this entry »

13 Terrible Tory Counterarguments

A few days ago, I wrote a post called Britain: For the Love of God, Please Stop David Cameron. I didn’t expect much out of it, because my usual audience is predominately American, and many Americans take little interest in the British elections. So I was pleasantly surprised when it went semi-viral in the UK, quickly becoming the most popular post I have written. Naturally, with a larger audience comes more critical (and sometimes just aggressively hostile) comments, and my usual policy of responding to every critical or interesting comment I receive is increasingly no longer practical. So instead, I’ve decided to write this all-purpose response to the most common bad critiques I’ve seen levied at my post. If you’re one of the wonderful people who read my post and deemed it worth sharing, I hope that this post will help you deal with any Tory supporters you may run across who may try to give you grief about it. So let’s get started.

Read the rest of this entry »