Monday, October 8, 2012

Romney - Man Of The People

What kind of political blowhard observer would I be if I didn’t say something about Wednesday night’s presidential debate?  Meant to do this sooner but we’ve had technical difficulties for over a week now.  Very spotty internet service from AT&T broadband.  I’m sure it’s the government’s fault somehow.

Anyhow, I’ll try to be brief.

This debate was a snoozer.  One candidate must have agreed with me because he looked like he needed a nap. He seemed bored and a little irritated to even be there.  That would be our president.  The other guy came off like he’d been downing Red Bull all afternoon.  If they were trying to provide contrast they succeeded in that regard.

So Romney “won”.  Obama was blindsided and frankly, so was I.  The Romney who has been campaigning the last twelve months was not the same guy who was on stage Wednesday night. Not in demeanor, but more importantly, not in policy.  Or so he’d have us believe. It’s pretty easy to win a debate when you change your major policy positions on the fly and simply deny any of the negative things associated with what you’ve proposed. I can’t blame Obama too much. I have no idea how you are supposed to debate with that.  It’s frowned on to look your opponent in the eye and say “Governor, with all due respect, you are completely full of shit.”

Romney started off with the standard right wing chorus: regulations and taxes are killing the economy.  Less than fifteen minutes later we got to hear about how he loves regulation, especially for Wall Street.  Then there was the big tax discussion that took up most of the debate.  Romney says he will cut tax rates, especially for the wealthy, but don’t worry.  He promises that that nobody, especially the wealthy, will actually pay less taxes. So don’t be concerned about those tax cuts impacting the deficit.  Healthcare was a big topic too.  Romney of course will ‘repeal Obamacare on day one’.  But again, don’t fret. He’s keeping all the good parts.  Romney miraculously turned into Mr. Middle Class seemingly overnight.  He was determined to use the phrase “middle class” more than Obama. It would’ve made a good drinking game.

In short, it appeared to me that Romney’s strategy for beating Obama…was to sound more like Obama.  A man in love with regulation who is determined to see that the wealthy don’t pay one less penny in taxes because they are ‘doing just fine’, who thinks of nothing but the well being of the middle class and wants to make sure that health insurance companies can’t deny people with pre-existing conditions. 

Look – if the republican strategy for winning the presidency is to pose as a democrat, we are winning. 

I won’t bother with all the factual inaccuracies (one count had Romney at 27 lies misstatements in 38 minutes) because anyone can look that up.  But even if he was sincere, here is someone claiming that the United States can solve its debt problem, create twelve million jobs, give everyone awesome healthcare, and nobody anywhere will have to sacrifice a thing.  And we all get a free pony. 

Maybe in a country where football and little honey boo boo get more attention than politics people will fall for this all gain no pain fantasy.  Maybe nobody will dig into the details and see that Mitt Romney’s healthcare “plan” does indeed prevent insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions – but only for people who have not had a lapse in insurance coverage, a provision that is already law. In other words, no change there.  Maybe nobody will pick up on the fact that this person who claims to be so serious about lowering the deficit and debt never denied that his proposal calls for increasing the already outrageous military budget by $2 trillion dollars.  Maybe nobody will ask how that gets paid for (and find out that it doesn’t).  Maybe nobody will question the mathematical impossibility of cutting taxes by 20% without lowering actual revenues.  Maybe they’ll overlook the fact that eliminating every single loophole and deduction would still not make up that 20%.  Maybe nobody will scratch their head at how the guy who has spent his entire campaign breathlessly decrying regulation just stood behind a podium in front of 17 million people and literally said the words: “I like regulation!.” Maybe nobody will note how utterly ridiculous and laughable it was, when asked for a single specific thing he would cut to lower the deficit, all he could come up with was to defund Big Bird.  Maybe they won’t realize that funding for public television and radio makes up a whopping .00014% ($135M) of the total budget, or question why he wouldn’t touch the $7 BILLION of government subsidies that go the oil companies.

Sorry for all the maybes but it would take a massive amount of cognitive dissonance and selective listening to even begin to think that is a serious person with a meaningful vision.

Yes, Obama flubbed the thing and ignored a wagon load of low hanging fruit. I think part of it was falling victim to the baffled by bullshit tactic that was deployed against him but that’s no excuse for his terrible energy level and demeanor.  As someone who remains convinced that a Mitt Romney presidency will be George W. Bush Act III, I sincerely hope that next time the president is rested and better prepared to deal with a guy who will say anything on the fly.

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