Thursday, October 04, 2012

Obama loses 1st debate and the moral is never have a debate with a professional liar.

The man who recently told 47% of America that he can't worry about them because they are moochers on the government that he can never help, may have just won over some of those who are independent voters who he is hoping didn't take his earlier comments seriously.

Mitt Romney's personal performance on stage in Denver tonight during the first Presidential debate may have just saved his political career and made President Obama's fight to reclaim his office much more difficult.

The lack-luster performance of President Obama is sure to leave many of his supporters disappointed.  When I witnessed this, at first I thought that he was tired or ill or just didn't want to be at the debates this night.  Then I began to realize what may have actually happened that put him into what appeared to be a bad mood.

The first question was  about differences in economic policies.  President Obama answered honestly by explaining his idea was to build the economy from the middle-class out and not top-down.  He stated his views just as we have heard them over and over again during his campaign speeches.  He complained that Romney's tax plan to reduce top earners and corporate taxes as well as adding $2 trillion for military spending that the military did not ask for would increase the deficit and was not good for the economy.  He did not think it was good for the economy for government to give oil companies $2 Billion annual subsidies nor did he think that government tax credits for sending jobs overseas would help create jobs in America.  He favors eliminating the oil company subsidies and giving tax breaks for those companies that bring jobs back to America.

When the question was asked to Mitt Romney, his approach was to turn on the etch-a-sketch at full steam and change the policies that he has stated on the campaign trail and documented on his web-site.  Mitt is no longer for a top-down economic approach.  Now he is for a middle out approach that preserves middle-class tax cuts and does not reduce the tax burden of top earners.   He adds that he sees the economy improving by gaining energy independence, increasing free trade, giving workers skills training, balancing the budget and helping small business.

That's when I knew President Obama was going to have a difficult time during this debate.  When I realized he was arguing with a pathological liar.

A distinct advantage that Romney had going into this debate was that he was sure of what President Obama's policies were.  He could count on the President to state the facts as he always had.  Romney knew the President wouldn't lie.  Governor Romney knew his enemy, so to speak.

The President, on the other hand only thought that he knew what Romney would say.  Being a man of honor, President Obama was annoyed by the fact that Romney chose debate night to change his policies yet again, and you could see the disbelief in the President's face.  Now the President was in a bind.

The President reacted to Romney's lies in a gentlemanly yet impotent way. President Obama's facts were correct in each case, yet they did not hit the mark with the audience.  Even more troubling was the potential for uninformed voters to believe Romney's lies simply because he presented them more enthusiastically than the President's facts.

Romney's lies continued by claiming that President Obama was removing $716 Billion from Medicare and that he (Romney) would return that to Medicare by repealing ObamaCare.  He claimed that 15% of hospitals and 50% of Doctors would not treat patients on medicare because of the drastic cuts to it by Obama's policies.  He said that small businesses were dropping health-care for their employees because it was too expensive.  He indicated that small businesses reported to him that they are less likely to hire because of ObamaCare and that ObamaCare would add $2500 to the expenses of the average American's health care costs.  He shook his etch-a-sketch to say that under his replacement for ObamaCare a person could take government insurance if it was cheaper.  That he would allow young adult children to remain on their parent's policy.  That he would allow insurance to people with pre-existing conditions.  He lied about ObamaCare saying that it requires a board of health experts to determine what kind of individual care a person could get.

President Obama rejected all of these ideas but with much less enthusiasm than Romney had in presenting the lies.  This may have made the President appear to be less confident than Romney, even though he was being truthful and correct.

Dodd-Frank Act
Romney even said some things that have been widely unpopular with voters, but he said them with such enthusiasm, he may have made some people think that this hard medicine was needed to get our economy back in order.  For example, he admitted that anyone under 60 years old would be subject to his voucher insurance program that would go into effect when they would have otherwise received Medicare insurance.  He was in favor of repealing the Dodd-Frank bill that put controls on the banking industry and Wall Street brokers as a result of our financial meltdown.  But even with that he shook his etch-a-sketch and said he would only repeal parts of the bill that he didn't like.  (This is in spite of his own website calling for complete repeal of all Obama era legislation.)  He admitted that he would repeal ObamaCare, and right after that discontinue government support to the Arts and Humanities and PBS.  Good-bye Sesame Street.

Big Bird of Sesame St. fame
Given a chance to describe how they would work across partisan lines, President Obama told of only the positive interactions that he had with Congress (of which there were a lot) and decided not to implicate the Republican obstructionists for the legislation they have blocked.  Mentioning this may have worked against him and since this was not Romney's fault, I think he made a wise choice.  

On the same question, Romney may have gained points by saying that when he was sworn in as Governor of Massachusetts he had a mostly Democratic legislature and that he learned early on how to work along bi-partisan lines.

Overall, Romney attacked more, appeared more enthusiastic and appeared more prepared.  It was Romney's etch-a-sketch moments that appears to have really caught President Obama off-guard though.  The President just doesn't seem to know how to react to a flim-flam man and showing disgust seems to be how he handled it.  Unfortunately for him and for Obama supporters everywhere, this may ultimately be how he lost this debate.

An approval rating meter was displayed on the TV screen so that we could judge how Independent voters in the audience were reacting to each of the men.  That was interesting to watch, but a suggestion for the next debates which may have more significance to viewers would be to have the two men wear lie-detectors.

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