I keep forgetting to wish everyone, or at least everyone celebrating, a Chag Sameach. I love Sukkot! Nothing like a holiday where we're supposed to spend a week rejoicing. Much better holiday than that one last week.
I was on the Brian Lehrer on WNYC radio this morning talking "skewed" polls. Listen to me duck a question about the PA voting decision because I didn't want to say anything without knowing something about it first!
Meanwhile, at PP I talked about how to answer the question of whether war is more likely with Barack Obama in the White House or with Mitt Romney. I mostly wound up, as you might expect, going with Romney, based on two things: the likely personnel in his administration, and the skills he's demonstrated with foreign policy and national security to date -- although the latter only counts if you think that Iran would be a likely fiasco. This gets back to the old Neustadt idea that ambitious, influence-seeking presidents are well-positioned to support viable public policy because the sorts of things that build a president's influence turn out to be excellent clues to policy that will work. Under that reading, for example, George W. Bush's problem in Iraq is that he just wasn't a good enough president to see how personally damaging that war could be for him. This all came up (I think) because Conor Friedersdorf raised the question...I've still planning to respond to his larger question he's been on about for the last week, but I think on this one I'd say to him: you're certainly correct if you think that Obama has demonstrated that moral reasons would probably not dissuade him from war. However, presidents don't go to war all the time and it's unlikely that the immorality of starting a war is really a very important constraint in any of that.
But then again, as regular readers know, I generally don't want a president who tries hard to do what's good and moral and right; I think that's a recipe for disaster. I want a president who is a highly skilled politician; I think we're all better off with those.