jet lagged debate blogging

I've been back in North Carolina the last few days helping a couple of dear friends celebrate their undermining of my marriage by promising in front of family and friends to be faithful to each other for the rest of their lives. Didn't spend a lot of time in front of screens, except to watch a few movies on the iPad during some long flights.

We got home in time to catch the last 25 minutes or so of the debate, so what follows is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis (though is it ever, really?)

-I'm glad to see Obama get angry over the politicizing of Benghazi, and stand up for his State Department.

-I thought both candidates' answers to the China question (it was technically a question about jobs moving overseas) were unsatisfactory, but Obama's was closer. What they both missed is that China's competitive advantage *now* isn't really lower labor costs--those have risen and are largely offset by the costs of shipping--in fact, the reason things are made in China now is because that's where all the manufacturing infrastructure is. They are bigger, more flexible, and closer to their own suppliers. They can re-tool in a matter of weeks. American plants, by and large, simply cannot do that anymore. You could slap a 20% tariff on Chinese goods tomorrow and this would still be true.

-The common thread through both Fast and Furious and an awful lot of gun violence here is the drug war, which of course neither candidate mentioned. One of them is going to have to deal with at least one state legalizing marijuana, possibly as early as next year. It would be good to get a sense of what they are actually going to do about it.

-If you find yourself complaining about the moderator, your guy lost.

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