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Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Debate

Well, the press buzz is that Romney won. I don't think Romney won it as decisively as their open-jawed shock would indicate, but I do think he won. CNN showed the best win ever in their poll.

Of course, Clint Eastwood could have won. Bugs Bunny could have won. The press has done this to a weak president because for years they have not asked him much in the way of tough questions, so now he is hitting finals having not even done the reading.  Let's face it - Univision wiped the floor with Obama. He literally does not know what to do as soon as anyone stops cheering his talking points.

If Hillary Clinton had been debating Romney, she would have slaughtered him. The country is really old-fashioned Dem at this point. Over and over again in the past few years I have heard individuals who normally vote Republican express sincere and growing concern over the economic plight of the average person, worries over retirements, etc. 

The problem is that Obama has shown no leadership whatsoever for three and a half years. This is a man who gets his budgets voted down by the Senate, without even one of the 60 Democratic senators casting an "Aye" vote. And then he does not go back and try to work something out. This has been the vacuous presidency. 

Luntz conducted a focus group of undecided voters. Link here. To understand just how badly many reacted to the president's performance, read this DU thread.  One person suggests that he was drugged, and another suggests altitude sickness. Another explains that Obama has to avoid the "angry black man" stereotype. 

I did not enjoy watching Obama standing there taking the punches, and I quit not too long after Romney kicked him in the 'nads with the energy subsidy comparison (50 years of oil tax breaks dumped into the likes of Solyndra). It was devastating, and Obama did not have an answer because you could tell that he didn't even know the numbers.

The bottom line is that younger voters and independents are going to switch sides in this election, and that puts Obama under. 

Why would you think Republicans have no interest in the economic plight of the average person? Are there also no "average person" Republicans?
I don't at all. My point is that they DO have an interest in the economic plight of the average person. The purported divisions in the population the Democratic campaign has been trying to manipulate do not, in fact, exist.

At this point, if you own a business that's got to be one of the main issues on your mind.

The Democratic party agenda has moved away from the interests of the average person. That's the problem. People don't want extended welfare programs - that's a miserable life. They want jobs. They want a shot at a real life, not another $25 a month on food stamps.

Romney is well-placed to pick up these votes, because he's a moderate, but he is a moderate who many feel may make a committed effort to achieve fiscal sanity.

Obviously I'm not being very clear. What I'm trying to convey is that I have never seen leaning-Republican voters so concerned about fundamental populist economics. We are looking at a Reagan-era type shift.

This BS about lady-parts is all designed to obscure the obvious realignment issues in this election, because the Democratic party simply refuses to address them.

The Obama version of the Democratic party appeals to environmentalists on the extreme side, to causists, to college professors, to public school teachers, to GE executives - and not too many other groups.

I'm a woman. I've never had my intelligence insulted so viciously and consistently over a sustained period as I have in this election. People actually think I'm dumb enough to vote on the basis of things that are absolutely NOT an issue in this election?
The press has done the country a disservice. My boyfriend is voting Romney this time (will be the first time he's voted Republican for the president). He's been explaining Fast and Furious to his lefty friends. One, a strong Obama supporter, is shocked he hasn't heard about it. He asked why Fox News hasn't covered it! He doesn't understand that he has effectively cocooned himself from the stories that are being covered by the right.

The debate is significant but we won't see the results for awhile yet. And I am looking forward to Paul Ryan. This is a Republican ticket that you can't possibly dismiss as "stupid".
This is an excellent article and really explains how the Democratic party has changed. The Not-So-Great Generation and the Vision That Dare Not Speak Its Name
One other thing my boyfriend pointed out, Romney's training as a Mormon missionary taught him how to put his case in the best possible light and how to accept rejection. Unfortunately for Obama, he hasn't had much practice in defending his ideas.
The Romney meter in large states such as Calif, NY etc will hardly move and have no impact on election night. The more interesting issue will be smaller swing states with large number of undecided. Frankly Romney could be running for either political party the difference during the debate was something only policy wonks could appreciate. The reality is that both political parties have similar economic, military and bigger government agendas with the difference's reflected on social issues such as abortion.

Anonymous 9:01am, I disagree. It depends on your viewpoint.

I'd agree that if you're flying at 10k feet in the libertarian airship, those two parties on the ground both look the same. But the difference (and similarity) between them can be illustrated by the recent furor over school lunches.

Congress (both parties) overwhelmingly passed a law requiring the USDA to set nutrition standards for school meals. That's the similarity--both parties agree that setting such standards is a proper responsibility for the federal government (with which libertarians and many conservatives would quarrel).

However, the Obama Administration (led in this case supposedly by Mrs. Obama) used the standard-setting power to impose a restricted-calorie (and low-protein) diet on ALL schoolchildren. Not to make sure they got their minimum servings of fruits and veggies, not to set standards for food quality. They decided to enforce a diet that has no known science-based health benefits in the broad population of children, and has known risks (sufficient protein and good fats are really essential, particular for elementary school-aged kids). The only benefit is that it is a fashionable diet, and will allow Mrs. Obama and her supporters to feel a certain moral vanity at having imposed it on the country.

The USDA's recommendation for kids who suffer the consequences? Bring snacks. Once again, this is illustrative--the government breaks a system that was more or less functional while increasing its cost, then tells us all that we have to deal with the consequences out of our own pocket.

THAT is the difference between the parties. The new Democrat party imposes onerous regulations that have no basis in reality, that increase cost and decrease value. They are making the Federal government irrelevant in terms of value-add, while making it dominant in terms of the percent of GDP it controls.

The Republicans may not get to the root of the problem, but at least they won't kill us quickly.


well said Neil
Anon @ 9:01 AM - I had to stop and think about what you wrote. To some extent I agree, but that extent is limited.

Of course, a lot depends on Congress. Any president we elect will have a different term depending on the Congress we elect.

Setting that reality aside, I would expect very different policies from an Obama v 2.0 presidency and a Romney presidency. The largest economic difference would be in energy policy, but that I consider to be very important.

I do think that Romney would try much harder to work with Congress on various issues. One of Romney's telling hits in this debate was the bipartisan/Congress bit, which came up in the context of Obamacare. But Obama truly has refused to even work with the Democrats in Congress, for which I really blame him.

I also think that Romney's tax policy would be quite different. I approve of the basic strategy of lowering rates and limiting deductions, because we do need increased economic activity and lower rates have proven to produce that in various countries under various circumstances.

Deductions are a way to control behavior, but the American people have been thrown a curve ball and we will have to be flexible on behavior. The bottom line is that the people will have to do this for themselves. The best we can hope for is to get some of the government control out of the way.

The "Big Gulp" syndrome exists in both Dems and Reps, but the Obama regime has seen a particularly acute outbreak.

Romney's EPA would be less of a blight upon economic activity.

I do not agree that Republicans want to control on social issues the most. I think Democrats do.

The social conservative/liberal compromise that stood for many years (abortion okay, but government doesn't pay for it, sexual freedom, but we don't have to approve/pay for it, birth control, but we don't pay for it) has given way to a progressive philosophy that wants to control both thought and behavior on such issues. This is out of line with the population, which does not have a consensus on such matters, knows it doesn't, and doesn't want to make a political firestorm out of it.

Because of the increased power of the regulators, which are under the control of the Executive, the presidency is assuming more power. I do not like this trend in American politics and I consider it pernicious, but it is real. Therefore I would expect these two men to have very different presidencies just due to their appointees.
Alan Keyes made some remarks regarding Romney as a conservative date 06/2012, I found the whole interview very interesting including his remarks about Obama. Frankly I think Obama is a terrible President but fits the recent mold and Romney could easily be running as a Democrat in today's political environment so if you vote for either of these political parties one can expect little change but lots of PR and lip movements!!!!
Except, Anon, we HAVE to change. We don't want to - but we will be forced to change.

The status quo can't last out the the next presidential term. Our gross debt is currently over 100% of GDP. But that gross debt includes the "mythical" debt containing the IOUs for federal and population retirements. Actual debt borrowed (Debt Held by the Public) is currently 72% of GDP. That borrowing is what concerns the markets.

Romney's reference to Spain was actually acute - in the next president's term we will get to Spanish territory. They expect to get to 90% debt-to-GDP ratios this year. Borrowing a trillion dollars a year will push us there in a few more years.

So an expectation that nothing will change is completely wrong. The change will occur by 2016/17 (also the time when we can no longer pay Disability benefits in full).

The question for the US is not whether anything will change - it is whether we will adapt to the change in a controlled manner or whether we will get change forced upon us by the markets.

Given that the crisis is nearly upon us, there is another big difference, at least in my opinion.

The president is on record as a believer that the U.S. Constitution is an inequitable document that needs to be radically altered, specifically because it does not include positive "rights" as opposed to the list of negative rights. He has also expressed the opinion that a large minority opposition party should not be able to prevent the implementation of policy. His challenger is on record as a supporter of the existing constitution.

In this election, we are deciding whether or not to retain the 1789 Constitution. Not a small difference at all.

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