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This week on, Noah Millman rated the first presidential debate, Jim Antle considered the GOP’s declining Senate prospects, and Jack Hunter wondered what happened to our civil liberties. Patrick Deneen reevaluated Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind after 25 years, and Kevin Gutzman rescusitated William Rehnquist’s Jeffersonian legacy.

Hunter found Romney’s budget-reduction plan unserious but Patrick Buchanan was impressed by his debate performance. Scott GalupoDaniel LarisonDaniel McCarthyScott McConnell, and Rod Dreher also assessed Romney’s performance. Galupo analyzed Romney’s attempt to stake a claim to the center ground as well.

Samuel Goldman investigated the meritocratic potential of high-school entrance exams and debated the political future of European Jewry with Paul Gottfried. Gottfried also marked the passing of Eric Hobsbawm, the towering Marxist historian, and Micah Mattix explored his love for trains.

Eamonn Fingleton spotlighted Japan’s auto trade protectionism, and James P. Pinkerton called for a more effective water policy. Dreher contemplated the world-historical nature of the French Revolution, and Larison argued that Romney is unlikely to disown the legacy of the Bush era

He also cautioned Romney against making any major foreign policy pronouncements, and Philip Giraldi lamented America’s virtual surrender in Afghanistan. Robert P. Murphy challenged mainstream Keynesian economics, and John R. Coyne Jr. reviewed Sam Leith’s Words Like Loaded Pistols: Rhetoric From Aristotle To Obama.

Kelley Vlahos investigated the premature deaths of Texas veterans recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, and Michael Brendan Dougherty offered advice to the Romney campaign.

Finally, Eve Tushnet highlighted the horrors of the troubled-teen industry, and Jordan Bloom observed the slow but sure death of church music.