In order to pay homage to how this blog got started, I decided to blog this year's Presidential Debates, which were the first posts I ever had back in 2008...And after looking back at those posts, let's just hope that my writing's improved over the past four years.
As an economic conservative who's socially liberal, I'm kind of a man without any party, affiliation or loyalty...Kind of like Pee-Wee Herman, Brett Favre, or any founding members of the Beach Boys.
In other words, my vote's up for grabs. So let's sit back and figure out why the religious white guy opposed to gay marriage has a 50% chance of being a closet homosexual, and our young hip African American President is really whiter than Tiger Woods.
The first Presidential Debate of the 2012 Election took place at the University of Denver, with PBS television personality Jim Lehrer inadvertently serving as Mitt Romney's facilitator...I mean the Debate's moderator.
The first of six topics was a question for both candidates about how their plans to stimulate the economy differed.
President Obama began by wishing his wife Michelle a happy anniversary, and promised her that next year they wouldn't be celebrating with 40 million people.
And based upon the way he ended up performing in this Debate, next year's attendance at his Anniversary might end up being about 39,999,998 people short of what it was this year.
President Obama went on to stress that the answer to stimulating the economy "Is not where we've been, but where we're going," and pointed to his bailout that turned the auto industry back around.
Gov. Mitt Romney capitalized on President Obama's play for sympathy regarding his anniversary by noting how there was no place more romantic place for the President to be than on stage together.
Missed Opportunity: Not only did Romney's joke take the perception of him being a stuffy upper class white upper class guy down a notch from the very onset of the debate, but President Obama missed a prime opportunity to quip back by saying something along the lines of, "Yet Gov. Romney, you're the one who opposes gay marriage."
With President Obama pointing out that Gov. Romney's proposed tax cuts could not lead to a balanced budget as he was claiming, Romney tried to dispel that statement by setting forth his 5 part plan for the economy that included:
1. Energy independence for North America;And considering that Gov. Romney's "five step" plan actually involve six steps, I think I'm going with President Obama when it comes down to who's math believe.
2. Increasing free trade;
3. Cracking down on the Chinese for unfair trade practices;
4. Enhancing technical skills and education;
5. Balancing the budget; and
6. Facilitating small business.
With trivial matters like being able to add up to six aside, Romney strongly drove home his point that his proposed tax breaks would be for the beleaguered middle class and not the rich, as it was the middle class that had been hammered by increased fuel, food and health care costs under the Obama Administration.
Missed Opportunity: I thought that President Obama missed the chance to shoot back at Gov. Romney by saying, "Of course health care costs rose while I was in office, mainly because I was the first President to make health insurance available to everyone."
Gov. Romney also said that he would not approve of any type of tax cut that raised the budget deficit, and would instead balance any lost revenue from middle class tax breaks by closing tax loopholes for the rich.
In what may have been the line of the night, Gov. Romney shot back at President Obama's claim that his plan to stimulate the economy involved "trickle down economics" by saying that he didn't believe in Obama's plan to stimulate the economy through "trickle down government."
After the first topic far exceeded it's fifteen minute allotment, Jim Lehrer finally decided to intervene and make Romney spend five more minutes recapping the key points of his economic plan, while President Obama sat in amazement with a bewildered look on his face.
When Mitt Romney was finally kind enough to let President Obama and Jim Lehrer move on to the next topic, the candidates were asked to explain how their plans to tackle the budget deficit differed.
Gov. Romney began by suggesting that balancing the budget was a moral issue, where the current generation should not leave an unpaid debt to our future generations.
Of course that's a political fallacy, much in the same way that the baby boomers talk about preserving the environment for the sake of their children, but then in the same breath pitch a holy bitch fit the moment that a candidate even mentions cutting Social Security, which in our current "pay as you go" funding method stands to bankrupting multiple generations in the future.
Romney did shit in the Easter Basket of every kid in America by indicating that he would help balance the budget by cutting unnecessary government subsidies like those being made to PBS, you know, because that's the biggest fish that the Republicans have to fry.
In what seemed to be a cheap shot straight to Jim Lehrer's balls, Gov. Romney said, "I'm sorry Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS. I like Big Bird, I actually like you too, Jim."
As it became obvious that Romney was beginning to dominate the debate in terms of aggressively seizing the microphone, Jim Lehrer tried to lob President Obama an easy question regarding how Gov. Romney could possibly decrease taxes while raising revenue.
Unfortunately for President Obama, Gov. Romney promptly intercepted that question from him and began talking about his own agenda as the President was shown looking visibly frustrated.
As the subject matter moved on to Medicare, President Obama talked about keeping the current plan in place while making minimal cuts.
On the other hand, Gov. Romney made a bold tactical move that played the votes of senior citizens when he said that, unlike Obama, he did not advocate taking any money away from the system as it currently stands for current retirees, and would instead change the way it was funded for future beneficiaries.
For some reason President Obama seemingly failed to recognize that Romney was engaging in the common political scare tactic of kneeling down and sucking on the AARP's catheters, as he went on to engage in an educated discussion about why Romney's private sector voucher plan for future retirees was flawed.
However, he failed to address the likely concerns of a block of voters who were more likely to see Medicare as a determining issue as to how they vote, with that block being the dense population of Baby Boomers who are current retirees.
The fourth Debate topic revolved around the level of Federal regulation that each candidate believed there should be in the economy.
Instead of advocating for a complete "free market" approach, Gov. Romney said that all business needs some level regulation in order for a "free economy" to work.
However, he noted that some aspects of current regulations were out of date, leading to harmful unintended consequences on the economy.
While President Obama spent much of his time criticizing Gov. Romney for wanting to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, Gov. Romney quickly clarified by saying that much of that legislation was necessary, and that only certain aspects needed to be repealed.
By this point in the Debate, President Obama was clearly rattled, as he could be seen on camera scowling whenever Gov. Romney spoke. On the other hand, Gov. Romney was presenting himself rather confidently, if not arrogantly, with a smug smile on his face.
Gov. Romney did advocate a repeal of ObamaCare, mainly because he felt that the expense of such hindered small businesses, gave people less choice in terms of treatment, and diverted money away from Medicare (which again was a not so secret attempt to pander to the AARP).
On the other hand, President Obama made it very clear that he was proud of the label "ObamaCare," and he stressed the need for it to continue due to "market failures."
He described those glitches in the private insurance market as policy limits, an inability for people with pre-existing conditions to obtain coverage, and a relatively high "experience rating" for uninsured people still seeking coverage.
And much to the surprise of everyone, when Jim Lehrer finally decided to interrupt one of the candidates it was President Obama, and not Gov. Romney.
Taking the offensive for the first time all evening, when he was told that his two minutes were up, President Obama sarcastically said, "I think I had five seconds before he interrupted me."
And when the audience broke out in laughter in violation of their agreed upon vow of silence, Jim Lehrer threatened to make anyone who was preventing the Debate from proceeding smoothly leave...Ironically, he wasn't just referring to the audience, but to himself as well.
Mitt Romney went on to proclaim the virtues of his health care plan while he was the Governor of Massachusetts, which contained a controversial assisted suicide provision that included sending Jewish people to the gas chamber and then posthumously baptizing them as members of the Mormon Church.
In all seriousness, Gov. Romney did highlight that his health care plan was passed by a Massachusetts' state legislature that was 87% Democratic, while ObamaCare was pushed through without a single vote from a Republican lawmaker.
By the time that the topic changed to how they viewed the role of the Federal government, Mitt Romney's interruptions were becoming so prevalent that I fully began to anticipate the opening segment of this week's episode of Saturday Night Live to go something like this:
Jim Lehrer: Candidates, please state your names, starting with you, Mr. President.President Obama related he felt that his first role in charge of the Federal Government was to keep people safe as Commander in Chief. He also believed that the Federal Government should play a role in creating opportunities without restricting people's freedom, such as through education.
Mitt Romney (interrupting): He's President Barack Obama, but I'm Mitt Romney and... (as he goes on to talk about which one of his father's four wives was his favorite).
Gov. Romney believed that the Federal government's primary role was protecting the right to life and liberty as specified in the Constitution, which like President Obama, he be believed should be done through a strong military, only without any funding cuts.
While Gov. Romney generally advocates a hands off approach for the Federal Government in business and personal matters, he astonishingly announced his belief that a major role of the Federal Government should should be to protect our Constitutional right to "pursue happiness" as we were "endowed by our creator."
Unless, of course, your happiness happens to involve the right to pursue gay marriage, in which case Mitt Romney's Federal Government doesn't believe you should pursue happiness.
And while I too warship "The Flying Spaghetti Monster" and all of the freedoms she's endowed upon us behind the privacy of my own doors, I've said for years that Republicans like to tell you what you exactly what you can and can't do from a moral standpoint, while Democrats say it's okay to do whatever you want, only so long as you do them exactly how they tell you to do it from a paternal standpoint.
For some reason, President Obama kept making complimentary remarks towards Gov. Romney's programs in Massachusetts, and praised his technical training and educational programs for their success.
While I think President Obama meant to do so by pointing out that Gov. Romney's programs in Massachusetts were based upon policies and theories that were more Democratic than Republican in nature, he never really articulated that conclusion, allowing Romney to smile and thank him for his praise.
In what was sure to be a divisive statement, Romney criticized President Obama for investing over $90 billion dollars in floundering green businesses instead of on teachers...Again pandering to the teachers unions, who are typically less blue collar than most labor unions and more likely to vote Republican.
The final question involved dealing with partisan gridlock, and how each candidate would respond to bi-partisan efforts.
Given Gov. Romney's prior statement on how he passed his own health care program in Massachusetts despite a State Legislature that was 87% Democrat, it almost seemed as if he'd been handed the questions in advance straight out of the Days Of Our Lives episode involving E.J. DiMera and Abe Carver...And yes, I need to get a life.
President Obama seemed to go on the defensive when it came to whether he was willing to work with the Republicans, suggesting that it would not go over well with the Democrats of ObamaCare was repealed.
In fact, he flat out said that part of bi-partisan politics involves being willing to "say no" to the other party. And as we all know, that line pretty much worked wonders for Nancy Reagan.
Gov. Romney's closing statement focused on the middle class and how incomes are continuing to go down and prices going up.
Missed Opportunity: I thought Romney missed out on an ideal opportunity to bring up one of the worst phrases you can apply to describe an economy not involving depression and relate it directly to the Obama Administration...."Stagflation."
Overall, President Obama's camp has a lot of work to do. He looked older and more tired than Gov. Romney. He was not as confident, sharp or as aggressive as Gov. Romney.
Not only did President Obama make the mistake of being complimentary on some of Gov. Romney's programs in Massachusetts, but he almost came across as apologetic for some of his own policies.
In fact, as the debate ended, ABC's coverage noted how President Obama did not enforce a debate rule to limit the number of family members who were allowed on stage, which again showed tremendous deference to Mitt Romney's Mormon faith, allowing him to be greeted by all of his wives.
In contrast to the older and tired version of President Obama that we saw, Mitt Romney looked somewhat chiseled and like bastardised version of Stan Smith from American Dad. It also seemed pretty clear that he'd been to a tanning bed before the Debate...You know, to make him look less white.
In fact, Gov. Romney is only a housekeeper away from completing the Jersey Shore Triple Crown consisting of "gym, tan, laundry" all by himself.
|Mitt Romney's not really old stuffy and white...He's Mormon!|
All in all, score this Debate as a decisive decision for Romney, but certainly not a knock out.
For Democrats questioning President Obama's performance, keep in mind that this entire debate focused solely on the domestic economy, which is probably not Obama's strongest selling point.
He should fare much better at future debates that focus more on foreign policy and social issues.
Let's just say that I expect a little bit more from the President in every category ranging from his appearance, to his demeanor, to his conviction in his own policies in the upcoming debates.
Then again, according to
the internet, I mean The Al Gore, President Obama's poor performance could be blamed upon on Denver's mile high altitude.
Of course, The Al Gore seemed to forget that President Obama actually had a genetic advantage debating in a higher altitude like Denver being that he was born in Kenya, which breeds genetically superior distance runners with better lung capacity due to the altitude.