Image 01 Image 03

If Obama gets any shorter, he’ll need a ladder to lift his bayonet onto his high horse

If Obama gets any shorter, he’ll need a ladder to lift his bayonet onto his high horse

Obama loves straw man arguments, known on the internets as being a shorter

The false choice between Obama’s position on an issue and some absurd extreme alternative is Obama’s way of framing most issues.

“Some say” we should have no government or similar ridiculousness is a typical Obama refrain in order to justify massive government.

The biggest straw man of all was the absurd comparison last night of the failure to meet the Navy’s goal of 313 ships with the fact that we also have fewer military horses and bayonets than we used to. 

Notice how Obama never addresses what the Navy says it needs. Most of the clips you will see of this segment omit Romney’s reference to the Navy’s own assessment of its needs.

The nutroots are gaga over this, but did it really help Obama?

I think the military may disagree that a fully equipped Navy, by the Navy’s own standards, is the equivalent of resurrecting the cavalry.  Same goes for the Air Force.

Let’s see …. Navy = Virginia, Air Force = Colorado.

Nice job, Obama.  You just insulted large constituencies in two swing states.

Go get a ladder.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



Obama obviously thought that was hyper-clever, but the reality is that segment will come back to haunt him starting about last night.

It is just too easy to fisk, and also quite snark-worthy for all Marine and Army types. A lot of the latter have to BUY their own fighting knives, since the Army does not make them standard issue these days. It HAS, in fact, reconsidered and started training in the use of edged weapons again.

And, if Obama knew his ass from a cypress stump about naval warfare, he would know that…regardless how powerful your surface ships…it takes a certain number of vessels to maintain a viable navy. Below that number, and you become very vulnerable.

    CalMark in reply to Ragspierre. | October 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm


    You got all of it.

    I talked in another posting at this site about how there is a certain quantity of everything (ships, troops, planes) below which you cannot go.

      Ragspierre in reply to CalMark. | October 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      McQuain over at Questions & Observations terms it the “tooth to tail ratio”. The eloquence of the ground-pounder…!!!!


The “bayonet” quip shows the dangers of surrounding yourself with sycophants unwilling to offer a challenge. I am sure Team Obama thought that sort of remark was a laugh-riot: however, I wanted the twitter feed last night and among regular Americans — most of whom know someone in the military — he became a laughingstock with it.

Mark my words that “Bayonets” is the “watch-glancing” moment of this debate season.

    counsel4pay in reply to Mutnodjmet. | October 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Bayonets, and our troops willingness to use them, have been part of our “Military Mystique” since the Revolutionary War. The British were staggered when Washington crossed the Delaware, and later reported: “They’ll cross an icy river…in the dead of night…on Christmas…TO KILL YOU.”

    A patriot Marine running toward at a Jihadist with razor sharp blade in front of his rifle is part of what made our soldiers the BEST in the world.

    Now, we are in the process of getting a Commander in Chief worthy of them. Two weeks. Romney & Ryan win big in two weeks.

What Romney did last night was deliberate. I think we will see it was successful too.

Your lips to God’s EARS, Dr.J.

While the ‘by wiring’ Gut Fighter/Fire-in-the-Belly NCS in me wished for much bloodier fists from Mitt(see Joel Engel below), the calmer, saner, impulse-control, restraint, ‘prudence in behavior’ Adult NCS Guy was impressed with Mitt’s presentation from the get-go and it steadily built. Most voters have made-up-their-minds prior to last night. The ‘Undecideds’ of various descriptions, I’m thinking, probably needed to see a True Adult..A man than can masterfully work with EVERYONE on all sides of all aisles. No huffing, no puffing, no posing and fuming. A very seasoned ADULT. My tiny-but mighty 95-lb Sicilian Wife gauges politicians—first and foremost—by BEHAVIOR. She loved(as did I)President Bush.

For Undecided Adult Women, it wasn’t even close last night.

Romney: Adult President.

Obama: Insolent-Defiant-Intemperate X-President.

Barack: Buuuu-Byeeeeeeeee….!

What Obama is doing with the military is what a parade of presidents did with manned space flight. The histories of the F-22 and F-35 remind me of the failure to design and construct replacements for the space shuttle before that vehicle reached the end of its lifespan. End result, we lost our competitive position in manned space flight vis a vis a bankrupted former superpower (USSR/Russia). Now we have to pay them to lift our personnel.

Sitting on one’s laurels while capabilities deteriorate is not a strategy of strength.

President Obama described a world in which America is stronger now than when he came into office, a formerly divided globe has been united, and “our alliances have never been stronger.” Obama’s military budget is “driven by strategy,” not politics. Throughout his presidency, he’s treated Israel as America’s greatest ally in the Middle East. In Syria, America is “playing the leadership role.” In the meticulous efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program, “We’ve been able to mobilize the world.”

In Obama’s world, the greatest threat to national security “will continue to be terrorist networks,” so “we have to remain vigilant.” But by and large, America has stood with democratic movements in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, degraded al-Qaeda, and in the interest of rebuilding American strength, it is now time to focus on ramping up government spending back home — with more government programs for road-building, bridge-building, school-building and subsidies for federally approved research and technology that will keep us at the cutting edge.
—Claudia Rosett at The Corner

And if that seems like it fits reality to someone…I guess they will vote for it.

That can’t be a majority of American voters, however.

Since 1984, the US Miitary has ordered 405,000 new M9 bayonets. Why – to replace some of the millions of M7 and other older bayonets in service. Every one who goes through basic training learns how to use a bayonet. Anyone who had a clue about real military service would know this, and would know how stupid Obama’s bayonet comment was. Its no wonder that the military has no respect for this man.

    The Drill SGT in reply to Giglawyer. | October 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    and we have more bayonets than 1916. (fewer horses though).

    On Basic training? They are cutting bayonet training out of BCT, and replacing it with more “combatives” (e.g. hand-to-hand). I understand, but there is a lot to be said for bayonet training and the attitude adjustment that it made in the troops. Nothing seems to teach aggressiveness better than a yell and running at a rubber-tire to give it a long thrust or a vertical butt stroke.

casualobserver | October 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

Bayonets. Corpsmen. Potentially the lowest voting activity within the armed services in modern history. I don’t think that many people will buy that he has a full grasp and is a powerful Commander in Chief.

I fully expect Romney ads (and/or PAC ads) momentarily using Obama’s words IN CONTEXT to show his weakness when it comes to foreign policy….um, and the economy……um, and leadership……

I only watched about 20 minutes of the debate, but it reminded me of a situation I was witness to about 12 years ago where two company Chairmen were at a table with their bevy of lawyers and ‘advisors’ in a fourth round of heated discussions on a buyout/sell. One was full of factoids and making all kinds of aggressive statements about his company’s better financial position and better market position (mostly true). The other was just more strategic and clever. The more clever man’s company ended up winning and buying out the bigger/better one. That’s how the debate felt. Romney just seemed more clever by not getting into a scramble with Obama and by keeping his composure (in the portion I saw).

LibraryGryffon | October 23, 2012 at 10:11 am

I agree with casualobserver. “We don’t use bayonets anymore, we have these ships called air craft carriers. We have ships that go under water.” …. etc., etc., etc.

I’m married to a submariner. And as a commenter someplace pointed out, ships that go under water are SUNK; boats can resurface on their own.

Add these to the “corpsemen”, and the other military gaffes and blunders over the last few years, and it’s obvious to anyone who knows anything about our military, that this man knows nothing about the forces he purportedly commands. And he doesn’t have either the humility or the interest to learn.

    B.O. knows politics. Nothing else, but he knows that VERY well. (Comrades Alinsky and Ayers taught him well.) And B.O. doesn’t care whether or not he’s insulting military people.

    And THAT is why he is suppressing their vote.

VetHusbandFather | October 23, 2012 at 10:14 am

The ‘aircraft carriers’ statement and the his lack of understanding about Romney’s geopolitical foe statement shows just how clueless Obama is about the geopolitics. Claiming that the need for surface vessels has been replaced by aircraft carriers and submarines is just absurd. I would think that as the commander in chief he would at least have a basic understanding of warfare at the strategic level and geopolitics, or at least cram on those issues before a foreign policy debate. Either the guy is totally ignorant, or he’s making jokes playing off the fact that most Americans are too ignorant to understand.

For Obama America is just another “person” living in a shanty. His foreign policy is to look the other way and go fight windmills.

ShakesheadOften | October 23, 2012 at 10:18 am

Beyond that, the tone he used was massively patronizing and condescending. That may play well to his base, but it’s turning off the middle. I think (hope) he will pay for that come Nov. 6th.

So, Obama’s base was most impressed by his childish outburst. Huh, who’d a thought?

theduchessofkitty | October 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

Love this!

Obama: ‘This Nation. Me.’

L’ etat, c’est moi! [I AM the State!]” – King Louis XIV.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | October 23, 2012 at 10:27 am

Obama’s bayonet remark caught me off guard. I was trained to use a bayonet when I served in the infantry less than 30 years ago during Reagan’s administration. I’m positive there were more bayonets in use in the early 1980s when I served than there were in 1916 because the size of the military was multiple times larger in the 1980s than it was in 1916.

Lots has changed since I served, but I find it hard to believe that warriors trained to serve in a combat MOS do not have a bayonet as part of their “go-to-war” gear.

Not that it really matters, because Obama has already made his snotty remark, but I’d like to know if the military has changed so much in less than 30 years that there are fewer bayonets in service now than there was in 1916.

Romney: “The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now down to 285. We’re headed down to the — to the low 200s if we go through with sequestration.

…since FDR we had the — we’ve always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we’re changing to one conflict.

Obama reveals his depth when he talks trash like “we have things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them”. He is truly childlike on serious issues, and it has worked for him as a rabble rouser. Does America want four more years of President Trash Talk?

Obama orders cuts, then “orders” the military to shut up when he claims that is what they wanted. Russia supplies Iran and the terrorist clients, yet Obama treats Russia as his friend, and the American voter as his enemy. (as evidenced by his flexibility after the election statement)

A straw man needs to resemble a real man. Obama argues with stick figures.

Yep, the BS Poser-in-Chief wagging his scrawny finger at Mitt and s’plaining ‘How things really are’ in our armed forces was, at best, FARCICAL.

His utter Vapidity/Cluelessness is a great, obvious ‘Tell’ on his lack of interest in our Warriors and their tools. How could he, really, have learned much of anything. He’s been on his Perpetual Campaign since Day-1. Regularly misses Intel-Briefings, has had minimal cabinet meetings and HATES drudging, step-by-step, roll-up-the-sleeves, sit in the Oval Office and WORK & Lead by brains and sweat WORK. Anybody know if The Boy King has spent more than 3-5 days at’a’time in the Oval??

Same man that dissed Bibi at the hugely important UN Show & Tell by his absence. Wasn’t that the day he had Letterman..or was it the Girlish play on ‘The View’. A moral midget. Neither Rice nor Hillary could cleat their lunch plans that day either. LOATHSOME and Unforgivable. And, a Gigantic ‘TELL’.

legacyrepublican | October 23, 2012 at 10:43 am

In an odd sort a bizarre parody of a Reagan joke I quite like, optimistic Obama has confused horse poop for the horse and in so doing believes he is Reaganesque.

And, of course, we are stuck with the smell and the mess.

Beer for my horses,
Bayonets for my Marines.
Apologies to Toby

As a former Naval officer, I thought the “horses and bayonets” comment was the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard said by a sitting US President.

After all of his crowing about “getting Bin Laden” he seems to forget that it was the US Navy he sent in to do the job.

On the good side, he probably just lost two states with large populations of Navy personnel, Virginia and Florida.

Obama has actually stuck his foot in his mouth with this one. My husband (former naval officer) pointed out to me that there have been recent bayonet charges by the Brits. One in Iraq and one in Afganistan. Our special forces frequently use horses in Afganistan. My contribution is that there has been bipartisan support for increasing the size of the navy due to concerns over the Chinese build-up. In addition, we also had the Chinese fire a missle off the coast of California which was dismissed by the government as “contrails” but even the Californian media didn’t buy that one. Add all this to what the professor has said about the navy saying they need more ships, and you have our commander in chief looking like an idiot. Although, that is somewhat insulting to idiots.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to lightning. | October 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Even the Puffington Host had an article about Friday’s dedication of a huge statue honoring the Special Forces outside the new WTC in New York. It features one of the Afghan Horse Soldiers. Indeed horses are used a lot by “advisors” in the little actions that never happened in various parts of the globe.

Thank you Professor. You are the only person that I have seen on the net that has called out Obama’s comment for what it is, yet another in a long line of straw man arguments.

While this makes absolutely no difference to his base, I am certainly hoping that “independents” can see through his BS.

Øbama really lost me, and my apolitical wife (who I use as an unbiased gauge of the debates), with the condescending attempt at belittling Romney with the snarky commentary about “We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines”.

I mean, if he were just a bit more extreme, he would be talking like a caveman and drawing pictures in the sand with a stick! My wife said she thought it was how HE (Øbama) understood it! LOL! Talk about backfiring!

And for the preezy, who thinks that ships are outdated, maybe he should go and tell the Chinese, who just launched a brand new aircraft carrier (

Henry Hawkins | October 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm

In honor of Obama’s strategy of pyrrhic zingers and nitpicks, I sat down at midnight last night with a steaming mug of magic tea, donned the ceremonial headphones, and listened to Steve Martin’s “Let’s Get Small”.

In the continuing CANNOT MAKE THIS S**T UP, I saw a minute of Rev.Tawana Sharpton crowing & gloating about Obama besting Mitt last night!!!!!!!!!! Yep, he was showing those pithy zingers from The Boy King about ships and bayonets and travels to Yad Vashem,’Yo! Oh, mein Gott, they’re going to be suicidal over at PMSNBC by mid-late evening of November 6th. Inconsolable, I tell’ya. Think I’ll call Suicide Hotline a few days too late…Just to show I CARE.

Rush said today that it took him half an hour into the debate to fully realize what Mitt was doing. Once he “got it”, he considered it brilliant.

Barack: Buuuuuuuu-Byeeeeeeeeeeeee…!