Obama Vs. Romney
Like most progressives, I've gotten used to lowering my
expectations for Obama to the subbasement. Well, get out the shovel,
because it's time to dig to a new level, maybe -10.
Perhaps the most telling moment of the debate was the chummy get together AFTER the debate, where the candidates' friends and family all gathered onstage for a laugh fest of conviviality. You'd think they all went to the same schools! Wait...they did, at Harvard.
Aren't these two supposed to have significantly different
views of the country, the role of government, etc? How do you "pal around" with someone you vehemently disagree
Obama looked tired, put upon, and even bored. His answers to Romney's flat out lies were mild rebukes at best, leaving the real work to after-the-debtate fact checkers. If I didn't know anything about either candidate before the debates, I might even vote for Romney.
Nothing about Romney's elitist statements to the 1% about the 47%, his tax cuts for only the wealthy (you know, the 53% that isn't lazy, shiftless and feels they are owed a living); nothing about how Romney plans to abolish Medicare, gut SS - maybe because Obama secretly expects to do the same after the election? They spent so much time saying how they agree with one another, I began to think they were running together.
When Romney said how poverty, unemployment had increased during Obama's tenure, Obama didn't even refute that, or at least point to Republican obstructionism as the reason there were no public works programs worthy of the name, no curbing of race-to-the-bottom free trade, no plan for revamping our energy grid in a sustainable, efficient way. When Romney challenged Obama on his healthcare plan, saying some $716 billion in cuts to providers would trickle down to higher costs and less access for consumers, Obama didn't even directly challenge him on it, turning instead to his own in-house studies that said these would be net savings instead. Of course, Obama long ago admitted to modeling his plan on Romneycare, so he couldn't embrace Single Payer or Medicare for All at this late date.
Foreign policy never even came up, and if it had, there would be even less disagreement. Quick: who is more likely to lead us into another war, Obama or Romney? Exactly. Romney wants to spend unlimited amounts on defense. Obama wants to cut some proposed programs that might never have been approved anyway. Big diff.
Obviously, these are not things Obama talks about anyway, so how could he bring them to the debate? Obama has set himself up to fail, leaving so little wiggle room between his positions and Romney's that only boring nuances separate them. The problem is not just debate performance, but policy performance. The problem is, in reality, there is very little fundamental difference between the two candidates, and where they agree, they are both wrong.
According to one prominent offshore gambling site, Pinnacle Sports, Mr. Obama's odds of winning the election declined to about 73 percent after the debate from around 80 percent beforehand.
For a real difference, we would have to see candidates from the third parties, something both major parties have effectively prevented: Rocky Anderson from the Justice Party, Jill Stein from the Green Party, or Gary Johnson from the Libertarian Party. This would have forced new issues onto the floor, where they could be picked up or rejected by the established duopoly candidates.
The Green Party platform supports a Georgist Land Value Tax, Monetary Reform that would put money directly into public works and not into the banks. Rocky Anderson supports Monetary Reform too, and a comprehensive and comprehensible audit of the nation's 180,000 Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (listen here: https://vimeo.com/48256412 at the 1:15 mark) to see what under-reported assets could be returned to the People. Both candidates support State Banks like the Bank of North Dakota.
The full interactive transcript is here:
Two other things are worthy of note. Jim Lehrer looks like he has conducted his last debate. He lost control of the candidates and the time, didn't force them to answer his questions, and generally seemed out of his depth. And, related, fact-checking used to be something that was done during the debate, not by fact-checkers afterwards. The world is a more complex place, perhaps, but there is more technology and expertise too, enough to challenge the candidates during the debate, not in some dry after-the-fact partisan journalist's wing. No wonder trust of the media is at an all-time low.