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Debate Trey

October 23, 2012

I was amused.  Win or lose, Romney has been controlling the debates.  Let’s look at them:

Debate 1: Obama is asleep.  Romney is presidential.

Debate 2: Obama is defensive.  Romney is controlled and in his face.

Debate 3: Obama is offensive.  Romney is presidential.

Romney has been consistent and playing Obama like a fiddle.  In the first debate he just had to show up (what in the world was Obama thinking?).  In the second he hits hard and Obama backpedals.  Romney introduces new stuff; Obama sticks with the old.  In the third, Obama clearly expects to be attacked on Syria… and Romney steers clear, putting Obama off-balance and flailing.

All Romney had to do in this debate was show he understands the foreign arena.  He counted on Obama stepping in it and sure enough, he did.  His remarks about bayonets and horses… well, I expected to hear a certain Marine up the street yelling from here.  At work today you knew who the Marines were because they all made comments about happily showing Obama their bayonets (and most brought up the last debate where Obama displayed he doesn’t know what weapons they use).  One Navy guy also cheerfully explained the proper use of the Navy, contrary to the President’s understanding.  Yet another took exception to “the military isn’t even asking for money.”  They don’t, they ask for resources which they haven’t gotten from either party.

The press will say that Obama won.  A sitting president should win a foreign policy debate, BUT I think Romney achieved all his objectives.  Obama was slapped silly by his own flailing.  Romney just got out of the way.

It’s funny, I sound like a die-hard Romney fan.  I’m not.  I think he has the potential to be a great president but I don’t know if he will.  Obama has simply proven beyond doubt that he can’t be even a competent president.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2012 3:38 pm

    The only debate I was able to watch all the way through was the VP debate, which was pretty interesting. From what I saw of (and heard about) the other three, the consensus seemed to be that Obama may as well not have even shown up for the first, the second was more or less a draw, and Romney got his you-know-what handed to him in the third because the man is utterly clueless about foreign policy. Syria is Iran’s path to the sea? Has the guy even looked at a map?!

    Anyway, at this point I’m pretty convinced of two things. The first is that Obama will win re-election, and probably quite handily. The second is that the people voting for Romney are doing so because they want ANYONE besides Obama (and preferably a rich white guy, thankyouverymuch). I mean seriously, what other possible reason is there to vote for the man? It can’t be his stances on the issues or the details of his policy proposals, because frankly neither exist (at least not in any sort of consistent state). Who is Mitt Romney? I don’t think even he knows. As governor of Massachusetts he was moderate Mitt, and the results he got there were not great, as evidenced by the state leaning towards Obama in a landslide. In the primaries he suddenly became hardline conservative Mitt, disavowing most everything moderate Governor Mitt ever did, because that’s what was required to win. In the general season–particularly the debates–moderate Mitt came back with a vengeance, somehow now disagreeing with BOTH moderate Governor Mitt and hard-right Mitt. In the third debate I gather he disagreed with most everything Obama has done or proposes to do in foreign policy–then came out with pretty much the exact same suggestions, like the 2014 Afghanistan withdrawal timeline that he and Ryan have slammed repeatedly. And of course he keeps harping on the Obama Apology Tour thing, which is just about in line with Birtherism in its relationship to reality. You call it “introduc[ing] new stuff”–the rest of us call it “major-league flip-flopping” and “pandering”. I think the most genuine portrayal of Romney we’ve seen was the leaked fundraiser video, when he didn’t know cameras were rolling. It wasn’t pretty.

    We’ll see how it all plays out soon enough, of course, and whichever way it goes won’t be the end of the world. As much as we fuss over Presidential elections, it’s been Congress that’s been the real stumbling block in the past few years, and its makeup doesn’t look likely to change much this time around–the Dems will probably keep the Senate (but without a supermajority) and the GOP will keep the House (though hopefully with a few less Tea Partiers like Sandy Adams, to whom I say good riddance), so they’ll be able to continue obstructing both chambers when Obama wins, failing to learn any lesson from being unable to unseat the President even in lingering economic doldrums. And the rest of us will continue to ride along in our respective handbaskets until the steady tide of demographics finally renders the present incarnation of the GOP simply untenable. And then who knows what’s next. 🙂

  2. October 25, 2012 7:16 pm

    I’m actually surprised you’d comment on things you haven’t seen, to be honest. And I take offense to the “rich white guy thankyouverymuch” which seems to imply racism which belong solely to the left, I think. Obama was elected because he was black. He’s proved his incompetence and poor judgment at every turn, not because he’s black but because he’s a man of poor judgment; yet if he’s elected again it will be… because he’s black. He blames Bush, yet seems to do the same things except with even dumber exceptions.

    To your point, though, I have to agree Romney isn’t the best candidate. I think he has the potential to be a great president but don’t realistically think he will be. Has to be better than Obama, though. Not saying much.

    We disagree on much, you being one of the only Dems to admit that you think spending more is the solution, me seeing slashing spending and government to bare bones so our kids don’t pay and pay and pay for our national stupidity is part of the solution. Romney won’t do that. He’ll take some token swipes, but probably not much beyond that.

    I think the birther movement is silly, but one cannot credibly call the Apology tour anything but the Apology tour. I’m not even saying he’s wrong, but those kinds of things must be said off the record, if at all, by diplomats, not the president.

    I simply can’t understand how anyone could vote for Obama other than they don’t like Republicans or think voting against a black president would make them racist.

    * Programs we can’t pay for.
    * Downgraded credit score.
    * Borrowing from China.
    * Pandering to voters.

    Those are an indictment against all politicians, though. These are Obama’s alone:

    * Fast and Furious
    * The non-handling of Syria
    * Harming our closest foreign relationships
    * Breaking every promise he made (if they weren’t possible because of evil old Bush, then he displayed his poor judgment by making them)
    * Claiming to be transparent yet hiding anything that makes him look bad.

    One can call Romney a flip-flopper, but I think he was representing his citizens; not always in ways I’d want, but then, I wasn’t one of his citizens. I think he has at least as much knowledge of foreign affairs as Obama (people say no one loses or gains votes from a debate, but I know several former soldiers who can no longer vote for him when he clearly knows nothing about the soldiers or the military he commands).

    I think what America really needs is Gary Johnson. He’s right on almost everything but it’s so extreme (because America has drifted so far off) that he won’t get votes. We pampered Americans have to be nudged slowly to correction. Obama won’t even do that.

    • October 26, 2012 7:14 am

      In our dialogues in this space you and I have each tossed out plenty of absurdities, no doubt–but I think this one will be difficult to top: “racism… belong[s] solely to the left, I think.” Are you serious? I don’t deny that there’s a brand of racism operating on the left–undoubtedly, the fact that Obama is black is why Romney regularly polls barely north of zero percent support among African-Americans (as opposed to, say, the 2-3% he might pull if the Democrat candidate were white). But in my mind that’s almost understandable–for African-Americans, this has been their first real chance to vote for a candidate of their race, so of course they’re going to take it. But on the right, there’s a different strips of racism at work, and it is an ugly one. I pop in on right-wing news sites and blogs occasionally (as I’m doing now!), and while I often find the primary content repugnant enough, the comment sections of such sites are absolute morasses of virulent racism, adolescent epithets (Obummer? Odumbo? srsly?), and insinuations of violence ranging from thinly-veiled to call-in-the-Secret-Service level. The signs that have shown up at many Tea Party rallies are of the same sort, and even photos of a few church marquees with racist anti-Obama messages have made the Net and news cycle. There’s a reason why the Tea Party is something like 90% white. There’s a reason why the GOP polls astoundingly low among minorities and even women. Those reasons are pretty similar: the GOP has become, to a very large extent, the party of angry white men. So yes, I do believe that a great many people are voting for Romney because not only is he not Obama, but because he’s not black. It’s just the way it is.

      It’s actually kinda funny how insidious the racism element is. Colin Powell endorsed Obama this week, as you probably heard. The response from the right, of course? “Well sure he endorses Obama, he’s black.” Is there any truth to that? Maybe, who knows? Powell hails from a time when the GOP wasn’t quite as extremist and exclusionary as it has become in recent years, so maybe he has valid reasons to favor a moderate Democrat over his own party’s offering. But in its turn, it’s actually racist to remark that Powell would only endorse Obama because they’re both black men. Vicious cycle.

      I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the debates because that’s frankly all they deserve. Barring a Rick Perry “I can’t remember the third Federal agency I’d dismantle, sorry” moment, it’s just a chance for the candidates to regurgitate their talking points, and clearly the debates are judged more on style than substance. Look at your own assessment–you say nothing about content, just about who was “presidential,” “defensive” or “offensive.” Everyone acknowledges that Romney won the first debate on style, but how much attention is given to the fact that he distorted the truth 27 times in his 38 minutes of speaking time? In the second debate it was 31 lies/41 minutes. You still call that winning?

      Let me examine your arguments against Obama, just for thoroughness. 🙂
      “Programs we can’t pay for.” Of course there’s excess and waste in government, as there is excess and waste in all large institutions. Could cutting be done? Of course. But should we be cutting programs that help our truly needy, our sick, our poor, our elderly, our children? You might say yes. I say no. Cut where it makes sense to cut, raise taxes on those who can afford it, and voila–suddenly you have programs we need and can afford.

      “Downgraded credit score.” Wow, you blame Obama for that? From the S&P report on the downgrade: “We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the
      prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process.” And who was responsible for the “prolonged controversy” they mention? Republicans in Congress, with VP candidate Paul Ryan at the forefront.

      “Borrowing from China.” A fairly small percentage of what we borrow comes from China, but I’ll assume you’re really talking about the broader issue of deficit spending and public debt. Fair enough. Of course, it should be noted that the majority of our current $16T debt was incurred under Presidents Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, and a good chunk of our current deficits are the result of Bush-era policy. Have you noticed that good old Dubya has hardly been mentioned by either side in this campaign? Maybe by Obama negatively, of course, but I haven’t seen many GOP candidates bring him up–Romney only when forced, like in the second debate. I wonder why that is. Anyway, again I agree that we need to bring down the deficit, even though the only people who seem to care about that are the GOP when they aren’t in control of the White House. Certainly our debt hasn’t had the impact on interest rates and inflation that the right’s doomsayers have said it would. But pretty much every economist agrees that the only way to get to a balanced budget is to both cut spending and increase revenue, and only one party proposes that path. Hint: it ain’t Romney’s.

      “Pandering to voters.” Again, wow. If you can say nothing else about Obama, you must at least admit that he is consistent. Consistently incompetent in your view, but it’s not like he’s proposed anything in the 2012 campaign that we haven’t heard from him before. Romney, on the other hand? Is he pro-life or pro-choice? No need to choose, he’s been both! Is he for the individual mandate or against it? No worries, he’s been both! Does he believe government can create jobs, or that government needs to get out of the way for the private sector to do so? On this he is particularly impressive, having espoused both points of view within 45 minutes of the second debate. Does he agree with Obama’s 2014 timeline for leaving Afghanistan? Not at all, so he’s proposed his own timeline of.. 2014? Remind me again who’s the pandering one?

      While I’m on that topic,

      Oy, I’m writing a novel. Let me sum up the last few: Non-handling of Syria. This could be better, but what’s the answer? Boots on the ground? Again? What’s Romney’s proposal? At the last debate he seemed to be in lockstep with Obama on pretty much everything, so where’s the difference? Harming our foreign relationships. Um, okay, if you say so. Breaking every promise he made. Um, okay, if you say so. Hiding anything that makes him look bad. I don’t know, doesn’t every politician try to do that to some extent? We are, after all, still waiting on those 2007-2009 tax returns from Romney. 🙂

      Anyway, no one’s mind is being changed here, as we well know, and we’ll see soon enough whether Romney’s flip-flopping and rhetoric has had enough effect to unseat the incumbent. I doubt it, but like I said, I’m actually a bit more interested in how Congress takes shape, since they’re the real stumbling block these days. But we may not see big changes there until 2014, when enough people finally get sick of the GOP obstructionism therein (or see what happens in a Romney administration).

  3. October 26, 2012 7:00 pm

    I’m not saying there aren’t a small percentage of dim-wit racists on the right. Name calling is equally dimwitted, but the ones you mentioned aren’t racist, just petty and lacking imagination. If Obama were white, would any of the these people vote for him? No, they’d still be against him because he’s a democrat.

    The comment about Colin Powell… I don’t know. Powell is highly intelligent (and I’d vote for him in a second), but most of us on the right can’t for the life of us imagine why people are democrats. This guy may have been casting around trying to figure out why Powell would endorse Obama. I can’t imagine why.

    Piece by piece:

    Foreign relationships does not equal popularity. Who wouldn’t love a guy who’s easy to push around, says negative things about America, and represents little threat to bad actors?

    Each president is responsible for their term, so yes, downgraded credit rating is on his shoulders. The other guys get their lumps too, sure.

    I won’t bother defending Romney. He has issues. Just better than Obama.

    Promises: I looked at your link. You’re right, it would have been better had he broken all of them. We’d be in better shape. Seems the ones that mattered, that would improve the country by all consensus, he failed at.

    I would love a third or fourth party to be involved. Johnson is the only third party actually running for President that I’ve seen. The others just have ideas with no plans to get there.

    In the frustrating system we have, I reluctantly vote Republican or at least anti-democrat.

    The real issues facing America aren’t even on the agenda. Welfare reform; reforming the gimme-attitudes of much of the poor; reforming the greed of the wealthy; healthcare (as opposed to sickcare) and so many other cultural things that harm America.

    • October 27, 2012 7:25 am

      Just wanted to add an interesting recent quote from retired US Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff: “My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people — not all of them, but most of them — who are still basing their positions on race. Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.”


  4. October 27, 2012 9:49 am

    Not to be pedantic, but that’s absurd. It has everything to do with his policy, character and competence. Clinton and Carter got the same vitriol (Clinton on his character, Carter on his competence).

    OK, wait. They are politicians, so I really can’t say that. US and THEM may well control them and they’ll pick at anything (I’m referring to both sides). Crud, I can’t defend the character of any politician. How depressing is that?

    I’M talking about conservative PEOPLE, none of us more pure than liberals. I simply don’t believe racism is that big a deal today (well, in the educated class, anyway). I have a LOT of friends (seriously, I do), and not a single one of them is against Obama because he’s black.

    I’m not really trying to walk this one back, but people suck, so there is no doubt truth in what you say, but I think there is just as much or more in the liberal camp. I think Romney would simply walk away with the election if Obama were white, just like Jimmy Carter got routed.

    I look around and this isn’t the America I want for my kids. No politician will get it there because as messed up as our politics are, our people are worse. We sue at the drop of the hat, we feel entitled, we’re greedy, and we don’t help one another. Schools are bad because most parents have checked out. Society is bad because kids with checked-out parents have grown up.

    If it makes you feel better, I’ll slam Romney when he doesn’t do things he promises (that should be done) or fulfills ones he shouldn’t.

    I want Ike back.

    • October 27, 2012 11:01 am

      See, and I agree with a great deal of this too. But I’m really trying to not be quite so cynical. As I’m sure I’ve noted here before, adults have regarded the younger generation as a lost cause for millennia now, but we’ve managed to plod along and make progress in spite of those young whippersnappers’ predilections. 🙂 I think we do have a society that encourages a lot of bad behavior, and I’d suggest that a big reason for that is because bad behavior is profitable–to someone, if not those behaving badly. And profit seems to have become the single most important concern in life to a great many people (not least, the guy topping the GOP presidential ticket), which is ultimately why we now have a two-party system of government in which one party is beholden to their corporate masters and the other is a wholly-owned subsidiary. So I come back to my same, tired old declaration: nothing will meaningfully change until we get the outside money out of our politics and our government, free our politicians from the need to kowtow to corporations and wealthy donors for campaign funding, and allow them to once again make decisions for the good of all of their constituents instead of just the ones footing the bill for their re-election. Maybe then we’d focus on the things that really do bring us together as a nation and lead to a brighter future: education, infrastructure, technological innovation, community enhancement, health care, and strong social safety nets. It will never be a perfect nation, just as it has never been a perfect nation (despite what some on the right seem to think)–but it would be a step in the (note my reluctance to say ‘right’ here) correct direction. 🙂

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