Tag Archives: debates

Romney vs. Obama: Colorado

4 Oct

On style, Mitt Romney ran away with the debate. President Obama barely showed up, and seemed to be completely disengaged and bristly. Romney denied and attacked consistently and constantly, and Obama sort of repeated himself and backed off of capitalizing on huge entrees. 

Then again, debates don’t win elections – zingers and good performance don’t win debates. Dan Quayle defeated Lloyd Bentsen, you guys. George W. Bush was one of the least articulate candidates in history, with a superficial grasp of issues and he defeated Al Gore and John Kerry. 

But here’s the thing – Obama is weakest on the economy. This performance may have been a strategic choice. After all, we still don’t know how Romney will pay for his tax plan, do we? We still don’t know the details of what he’d replace Obamacare with. We don’t know how he’s going to get insurers to cover pre-existing conditions without Obamacare/Romneycare’s promise of more customers through a mandate. 

Instead, Romney started in with death panels again, and Obama meekly defended the Affordable Care Act’s advisory groups that would streamline care and make it more efficient for patients. Instead, Romney repeated the “take $716 BN from Medicare” lie. 

The Republicans are demonizing efficiency and cost-cutting. 

When Romney somehow tries to claim that Obamacare differs from Romneycare, he’s lying. When your lie is caught and you then devolve to a state’s rights argument – why should people in Iowa have worse access to care than people in Massachusetts?  If health insurance universality is worth doing, it’s worth doing universally. Obama’s failure was in not confronting Romney on his blatant lies

“I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of the scale you’re talking about. I think we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I won’t reduce the share of tax paid by high-income people. … I’m not looking to cut massive taxes and to reduce revenues going to the government. My number one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that no tax cut that will add to the deficit.”

So who’s right?

Romney has run for months on a plan to lower everyone’s tax rates by 20 percent — an amount that independent analysts have concluded will reduce revenues by $5 trillion over 10 years.

Romney has also insisted that his plan will be deficit neutral and that it won’t increase taxes on the middle class. But according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center and other analysts, Romney won’t be able to make good on both of those latter promises.

According to TPC, even if Romney closes all loopholes and deductions for high-income earners, that alone will not account for all the revenue he loses because of the rate cut. Thus, to make the overall plan deficit neutral he’d have to raise the tax burden on middle income Americans.

If Obama had the attack line on deck, responding to the lying denial should have been ready to go in the dugout. It never came to the plate. Obama got a few good lines in, delivered sleepily. Obama asked whether Romney was “keeping the details of his plan secret because they’re too good?” Under Obamacare, insurers will no longer get to “jerk you around”.  On substance, Romney seemed to pretend that the world began in 2008, and Obama did practically nothing to disabuse him of that notion. 

Obama said, “budgets reflect choices. If we ask for no revenue, we have to get rid of a lot of stuff…severe hardship for people, and  no growth.”  It was too wonky by half. The poor economy is most people’s central issue. Selling the successes and benefits of health insurance reform is critically important. Obama whiffed on all of them. He didn’t strongly defend his administration’s record, he didn’t strongly enough rebut Romney’s lies and promises, and he simply sleep-walked through the thing. 

On a side note – Jim Lehrer also barely showed up. I have never seen a less structured debate or a less forceful moderator. At times, he was simply trying to get a word in edgewise, saying, “um…hey….guys”. Perhaps someone slipped something in Obama’s and Lehrer’s drinks. 

Twice, Romney claimed that Obama wanted “trickle-down government”. Along with his tax claims and his health care obfuscation, I suspect that this is a line that will come back to haunt him.

It’s easy to be confident and outperform your debate opponent when you’re lying. Romney tried to remake himself last night as a champion for the middle class – this is the same guy who opposed the auto bailouts and denigrates 47% of the population as victim moochers. Time will tell how this will play out, but debates aren’t game-changers.  Coming up: 

Thursday, October 11 – Vice Presidential Debate

Tuesday, October 16 – Second Presidential Debate (Town Hall)

Monday, October 22 – Third Presidential Debate

ACORN! AYERS! Debate Live-ish Blog

15 Oct

Wrap-up: McCain was more aggressive, almost excessively so, and I didn’t think it came across well. The split-screen was not McCain’s friend tonight. McCain seemed like a hyperactive kid who can’t sit still, be nice, and behave. He seemed to me to be throwing whatever he could against the wall to see if it would stick. Ayers isn’t important, but let me throw some accusations about Ayers at Obama and demand a response. I don’t have a litmus test for judges except for Roe. The pro-abortion extremists are always sooooo concerned about the mother’s airquotes-health-close airquotes. (WTF was that about, BTW?)

Obama was cool as a cucumber and gracious to McCain. I noticed at the very end of the debate, when McCain got in some petulant dig at Obama and started giggling, Obama did not react. I liked that. He maintained. That’s all that he needed to do to win, and again, Obama is 3 for 3, although McCain came out swinging, but soon got nasty while Obama just kept doing his thing.

10:30 — Education question from Schieffer – Obama ties it into our economic future, which is perfectly excellent. We need to feed that hunger for knowledge. McCain goes to school choice and vouchers. The thing is, Obama already explained that he was for charter schools and merit pay for teachers about an hour ago.

Why is McCain being such an unrepentant dick to his opponent? It doesn’t become him.

10:14 — Obama parries every one of McCain’s increasingly desperate-sounding attacks, and McCain’s eyebrows head for the stratosphere, making him look grandmotherly.

Ledbetter v. Good Year Tire comes up in the debate – Obama uses it as an example of a decision he didn’t like because it rejected a lawsuit by a woman who sought pay parity.

Hey, let’s play “men talk abortion!” Roe v. Wade – McCain says it should be a state issue. I agree. I think New York should become a safe haven for women who want abortions. Did McCain just use air quotes? Seriously? They’re talking supreme court justices now. Harriet Myers need not apply. Obama says – no litmus test, he wants judges who will be fair and just.

10:06 — McCain’s nasty tone is not pleasing the uncommitted Ohio voters. Can you fucking believe that we’re the richest, greatest country in the world and we refuse to give people insurance coverage? Seriously, my friends, Joe the Plumber would probably want the government to take health care for his employees off his hands, too.

Obama is taking it to McCain a bit now when McCain accuses Obama of wanting to fine businesses who don’t cover employees, and for advocating for single-payer, raising the specter of “Canada and England”, both of which have health care systems that are not significantly more or less dysfunctional than our own. So I fail to see the point, except that there, you can undergo major surgery or deliver a baby gratis.

Does your “gold-plated Cadillac” healthcare plan offer cosmetic surgery coverage?

Obama lays out his health care plan, which maintains your current plan if you’re happy with it, but will also provide people without insurance to obtain coverage. The CNN approval-ometer just went through the roof. I wonder if McCain thinks every time he says “Joe the Plumber” that might count for a 0.1% poll rise.

9:57 — McCain: Obama = Hoover. Jesus, that’s a Stretch Armstrong stretch.

Obama sets up free trade as not being free as far as China and South Korea are concerned – they manipulate the system to ensure that they can dump our market, yet they place barriers against our products going there. This is a key issue that needs to be addressed and enforced. I’ll note McCain is being very dismissive and insulting to Obama, while Obama is being respectful to McCain.

Notice that almost always, Obama talks right to you – in the camera – while McCain is addressing Schieffer. This isn’t Face the Nation, Senator. You should be addressing the voters, not the moderator.

McCain poo-poohs the notion that we need to ensure that nuclear energy production needs to be done safely. Has everyone forgotten Three Mile Island? Already? Chernobyl?

9:46 — I’m on trial this week, so I’m home watching this “debate” which so far has been little more than a McCain hail-mary pass whereby he is throwing red meat to the base, bringing up ACORN and Bill Ayers. Somehow a “Sarah Palin is a c*nt” t-shirt is, according to Senator McCain, the moral equivalent of Sarah Palin accusing Obama of “palling around with terrorists” and McCain supporters calling for the assassination of the “terrorist” Obama. McCain’s aggressive tone tonight may certainly help shore up the already-shored-up base, but I don’t know whether or not it will play well with independents.

Obama so far is doing a good job trying to steer the debate back towards issues that people are concerned about like the economy, health care, education, foreign policy, and giving the middle class a tax cut. I thought McCain sounded whiny on these points.

The other star of tonight’s debate is “Joe the Plumber“, who has become the emblem du jour of the everyman. Obama’s point is that under his tax plan, the plumber would have had a tax break and been able to buy the business he wants to buy sooner.

The Debate in a Nutshell

3 Oct

I’m cribbing this wholesale from Roatti at TAP, but I thought this was not only Biden’s most compelling moment last night, and Palin’s inability to diverge from her talking points (“mavrick”) is underscored here.

Note also that the question had been, “what is your achilles heel”, and Palin answered first. Her answer was replete only with her recounting her supposed vast executive experience – she either didn’t hear, didn’t understand, or ignored the question. You betcha.


The YouTubes Don’t Lie

27 Sep