Friday, October 12, 2012

Dems get high on "smokin" Joe Biden (and that's no malarky)

Vice President Biden
President Obama owes Joe Biden a debt of gratitude tonight because the Vice President's performance in the Vice Presidential debate is sure to widen the gap in the polls between the President and Romney with the President soaring high.

Vice President Biden was fierce.  He never allowed Ryan to make inaccurate claims either about Republican plans or Democratic policies.  He even broke into Ryan's monologue on numerous  questions to call him out on his inaccuracies.  Vice President Biden spelled out the differences between Republican and Democratic policies on every topic presented by the moderator.  Some of those where the differences between the two men were greatest is described below.

He was able to remind viewers of Romney's flip-flops.  He reminded them of Romney's malevolence with 47% of Americans and Ryan's discontent with 30% of them.  He pointed out Romney's outrageous behavior in using the attack on the US embassy in Libya for political gain.  He reminded viewers that Democrats are the guardians of medicare and social security and asked them the question "Who would you trust to protect those institutions...the party that introduced and protected it since its inception or the Party that has been fighting against it since the beginning?"

About Iran, Ryan indicated that the administration's position is weak and giving mixed signals when we supposedly separate ourselves from Israel and say that all options are on the table.  He implied that because of that, Iran was working faster to make a nuclear bomb.  The Vice President challenged Ryan's attack on the administration's policies, showing that the sanctions against Iran are working and supported by our allies across the world.  He gave confidence that the intelligence being supplied to the government about Iran's capabilities with nuclear weapons was accurate and that the United States would never let Iran develop a nuclear bomb.

About the economy, Ryan repeated the claims that the President has had enough time to solve the problems and has not kept his promises of 6% unemployment.  He mislead the conversation by saying that the jobless rate was going in the wrong direction despite the fact that the Obama administration has seen a constant and steady increase in employment since the President took office.  The recent news of the lowest unemployment rate since 2008 did not seem to make an impression on Ryan, or he didn't believe it.  He gave no specifics on how a Romney Presidency would improve the jobs situation other than the empty promise encapsulated in Romney's speeches about reducing the tax burden on the job creators.  Biden noted that if they (Republicans) were in favor of improving the economy perhaps they should not stand in the way of the American Jobs Act offered by President Obama or perhaps they should allow the middle class tax break to go through without holding it hostage to a tax break for the wealthiest of Americans.

Viewers never got to understand the details of Romney's tax plan and supposed elimination of tax loopholes because Ryan could not give any solid examples.  He only stated that they had a framework of 20% across the board tax cuts.  We never got to see the math.

On defense spending, Ryan went on about proposed cuts by the Democrats that would weaken the military.  Vice President Biden made it clear that the joint chiefs of staff do not want or need the kind of military budget that Romney is proposing.  Further he made it clear that the cuts in military spending and other government budgets are required now as the result of an agreement that the Republicans wanted if the super committee could not agree on budget deductions being worked on earlier this year.

In a modified view of abortion, Ryan indicated that Romney would be against abortion except in cases of rape, incest or health of the mother.  These conditions were never part of Romney's recent policies and do not abide with the Republican platform.  Vice President Biden noted the change in policy and indicated that he agrees with the right to life on a personal level, but he would never impose his personal beliefs on others whose faith or beliefs may oppose his.  He reminded us that a Party's belief in that area should not violate existing laws or require the government to interfere with or control women's health issues. He added that a Romney Presidency would likely select Supreme court judges (two of whom may be retired during the next President's term) who would support Romney's view on abortion rights.  Romney has declared that he is going to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Roe v Wade during his Presidency.

"Smokin" Joe Biden did the job that Obama needed him to do.  The bounce in election polls is sure to follow.  Way to go Joe!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Before the VP debates: My assessment of how it will go

Remember the first Presidential debate?  President Obama was put into a state of shock by the abrupt policy changes Mitt Romney decided to take effect immediately as of that debate night.  The President failed to call Romney on these and because of that, led some uniformed voters to see Romney's enthusiastic lies as facts.  Even though the Republican Campaign Committee has taken much of what he said back, the President has paid for his failure to respond to Romney's claims by loss of support in the polls.

It appears that Romney's exaggerated policy changes were just another move in this "chess game" for  the Presidency.  Being so far behind in the polls and having had so much bad press about his actions, words and deeds in this campaign, my guess is that Romney's campaign decided that they had nothing to lose and everything to gain by lying to voters to soften Romney's conservative views and improve his appeal to undecided voters.  After all, you have to win the Presidency first before you can carry out your actual policies.

Tonight Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan are debating each other.  I have to cite some of the differences that I think will make the first VP debate more honest and a better read of actual stances of the two contestants that voters can use to compare them.

Even though they are offensive to many voters, Paul Ryan believes that his policies are correct.  Having a somewhat slanted view of reality based on his faith in Ayn Rand's teachings, Ryan strongly believes in survival of the fittest.  Bill Clinton has aptly named this the "you're on your own" policy.  This belief system leads to such Ryan policies as removing the social safety net from the least fortunate Americans by cutting budgets for those services.  It leads to his desire to change social security into a privatized business.  It leads to Ryan's policies to reduce Medicare to a voucher system.  At the same time, Ayn Rands anti-Christian dog-eat-dog teachings taught Ryan that the most fit and powerful should receive the entitlements in society.  This leads to his policies of reducing taxes on the very rich without consideration for how the shortfall in tax revenue will be made up, even if it means that the less fortunate will pay or lose out for it.  Ryan will not run away from those beliefs.  Unlike President Obama's debate, there will be no surprises for Vice President Biden.

Ayn Rand
Vice President Biden will have an excellent opportunity to show middle class Americans that Ryan-Romney policies will hurt them.  I believe he will enthusiastically cite specific examples of their differences.   

Vice President Biden should reassure Americans that the Democratic Party is the Party of the middle- class while emphasizing that Republicans are the Party of the wealthy.   He should expose the Republicans' true stance on social issues, women's issues, tax plans, jobs plan and military spending and the effects those will have on people and on the deficit.  He should never let any of Ryan's debate  attacks stand un-returned.  If he can do those things he should revive the support of America back to President Obama.  

This debate means a lot and could turn the tide of popular opinion back to Obama.   Perhaps you don't agree but I believe President Obama should get a huge bounce in the polls because of Vice President Biden's victory this night.    

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.