Thursday, October 4, 2012
A Wake up call?
There's no way to sugarcoat it, Mitt Romney gave President Obama a good old-fashioned country butt kicking. Mitt Romney put on his establishment Republican moderate game face and was relentless in his attack on the president's policies. Last night Mitt Romney showed how he became the governor of Massachusetts. I'm not going to whine or make excuses, I'm going a step further and tip my hat to him for getting the job done. I looked forward to the debate, but I was very disappointed of how it transpired. The panel at MSNBC was angry and made no bones about the president being soundly defeated by his challenger. Bill Kristol of Fox News said it was the best Republican debate performance since Ronald Reagan in 1980.
The great thing about debates is that people can come away with different opinions and still be correct in their analysis. I think Mitt Romney took over the debate when he ran roughshod over the moderator, Jim Lehrer, and got away without naming the deductions in his tax plan that he would eliminate. . Mitt Romney went immediately after "green jobs" although Jim Lehrer never asked him about that. President Obama never challenged the obvious contradictions in the statements of last night's version of Mitt Romney. I think the Obama prep team over emphasized the “staying above the fray “part. The undecided voters may have looked at the debate and came away wondering if that's the way the president negotiated with the opposition.
Mitt Romney won on style and performance, but he left a lot of material that the Obama campaign will use in their 30-second ads. I think the president could have used Romney's characterization of himself as being one who could get along with the opposition. The president could have said, “yes Mr. Romney you gave the Democrats what they wanted; and if I was to offer a big tax cut for the wealthy; I'll have 87% of the Republicans with me." The idea that Mitt Romney will be the one to get the parties to work together is laughable. As the president said," you'll repeal Obamacare on day one; Democrats will not be in the negotiating mood." The president never mentioned Mitt Romney's 47% comment, the intrusive methods of stopping abortion favored by Republicans, pay quality, the obstructionist Congress, or Mitt Romney's self-deportation comment. The president even lost the closing statements because I said to myself, how can you convince people that you will fight for them if you didn't do it in the 88 minutes you had to expose and demolish your opponent?
The president did a good job in explaining how Medicaid recipients would lose 30% of their benefits if the federal government were to send the states ,block grants. He did get Mitt Romney to admit that we do need to regulate Wall Street, and that he would keep Pell grants but most importantly; that there is not a situation imaginable where Romney would raise taxes on the wealthy. The president President Obama did a good job of explaining health care, Medicare and he did get Mitt Romney to admit that his Medicare plan is a voucher program. The president didn't make to the point that might have made Mitt Romney stutter a little. The Romney plan will give those over 55 a choice of traditional Medicare or a voucher system; those under 55 will not get that choice. The president just took it for granted that we all know Romney's plan would not get off the ground if he included current Medicare recipients in his plan.
There's no question that Mitt Romney had a terrible September but this debate gives him a chance to pail out some water and duct tape some of the leaks in his sinking ship. When the Tea Party wakes up from their sugar high of last night's debate win, they are going to say, “He said what!” Mitt Romney did sprinkle in a little of state rights, cutting off the funding for Big Bird, but he also said that he would fund education programs.
My final analysis is that President Obama was blindsided by a well-prepared Mitt Romney. I don't know how you can prepare for someone who doesn't give details of his plans because you can't contradict something he doesn't produce. Mitt Romney got away with plausible deniability. I also realize that the president hasn't been challenged for four years; he got a rude awakening last night. For example, and Paul Ryan and the GOP Congress passed two budget proposals that totally contradict Romney's plan. Romney will have a harder time negotiating with his own party. The thing that annoyed me the most was the president allowing Mitt Romney to use "growth," as a way of raising tax revenue. Growth or the lack thereof is a result of a policy and not part of the calculation. For instance, if a boat salesman included all the fish that you would catch as part of the selling price, you probably wouldn't accept it.
Today, the fat cats will write out the checks to Mitt Romney, the polls will tighten and the Republicans will have that twinkle in their eye as they speak fondly of their candidate. Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and the right wing blogs will all have a bounce in their step today. Republicans like bellicose, substance and facts come in a distant, second and third.
The Obama team can't afford to hang down their head in defeat but instead have to look ahead to the rematches and the vice-presidential debates in two weeks. They don't have to worry about Joe Biden going on offense because that's what he does best. He's already calling the Republican's version of Medicare..." Voucher care." As even Ryan Paul admits, the gaffes Joe Biden makes are usually in informal settings, so there's no doubt that he'll bring his “A” game. It reminds me of Dick Cheney beating John Edwards after an obvious President George W. Bush loss. Despite losing the debates, President Bush won the presidency.