Just a reminder that the one thing that could really upend the presidential election this late in the game would be a sudden economic crisis, and that Europe is still (along with, I suppose, the Middle East) the main danger spot. So pay attention to economic news, such as reports that Germany is going to move to support European Central Bank plans to support the Euro. Dan Drezner says: “If Germany doesn't backslide in the next 24 hours, this is a BFD for eurozone.”
On to the good stuff:
1. Nice reporting from Sam Stein on the Todd Akin “legitimate rape” flap (as of when I write this, Akin is still pledging to fight on), as he quotes David Axelrod working hard to tie Akin’s wild statement to Paul Ryan’s actual policy views.
2. No surprise, but a surprise that they admitted it: Ari Berman on the Ohio GOP, race, and the war on voting.
3. Blake Zeff on Medicare and the presidential election.
4. “We don’t want to put all our chips down on the health-care competition tooth fairy.” Peter Orszag explains why neither the current or the older Paul Ryan Medicare plan would produce the savings Ryan believes in.
5. Know Jack Kemp, know Paul Ryan: Nicole Hemmer has a fascinating dig into the history of this particular strain of conservative politician.
6. A good point from Ed Kilgore: We’re not really learning anything from that “are you better off?” question that pundits can’t get enough of. I can add a couple of things: The current direction of the economy seems to matter more than whether people are overall better off, and at any rate people aren’t very good at reporting why they’re voting for someone.
7. Kevin Drum argues that the current campaign is more petty than vicious.
8. And now for today’s big flap. No, not the Akin one, the other one. I’m not sure if anyone cares about Newsweek any more, but after the embarrassingly bad recent cover calling Mitt Romney a wimp, they’ve veered the other way and published an embarrassingly bad – and factually challenged – cover story about Barack Obama. Let’s start with a basic fact-checking and more from Matthew O’Brien.
9. Another great take-down of that Niall Ferguson Newsweek story by Noah Smith.
10. James Fallows takes it personally as a Harvard alum that Ferguson’s story is Just That Bad.
11. And then (via DeLong) Ferguson tried to defend himself…but did it by, as Dylan Byers noted, selectively editing a CBO report to change the meaning. Pathetic. As Byers says: “With all due lack of respect: What are you thinking?”
12. Is this overkill? Who knows, but it’s worth pointing out flat-out untruths, especially when they’re backed by a reputation that sounds impressive. So one more: Brad DeLong details just how bad Ferguson’s original piece and later defense really are.
13. In other news: Dylan Matthews has a great outside-the-box argument about labor mobility and the global economy. At least, outside of the normal presidential election box.
14. Michael Tesler brings the political science on Mitt Romney’s welfare ad. Very interesting.
15. And a free hint to Paul Ryan: If you want to impress people with your foreign policy credentials, just sound intelligent and well-informed on foreign policy and national security issues. Comparing yourself to Barack Obama in 2008 might be thrilling for those who are going to vote for you anyway, but it’s exactly the kind of defensiveness that got Dan Quayle into trouble in 1988.