Monday, October 1, 2012
Hanging by a Thread
The Sunday talk shows centered on what Mitt Romney needs to do to get back in the presidential race. They all made the Wednesday night debate the pivotal point in his campaign. The pundits would have us believe that if Mitt could make the president angry by calling him a liar, or if he just threw out a memorable line, the race would be knotted up Thursday morning. Those were just two of the many opinions that were used yesterday to make Wednesday night's debate, the mother of all debates.
The debate will be about the economy, health care and the deficit. The Romney campaign hopes that Mitt can do better than Paul Ryan did in trying to explain a tax plan that cuts marginal tax rates by 20% for everyone, yet somehow it's revenue neutral. It's easy to tell when Ryan is stumped because he'll say," I don't have time to get into the details." Paul Ryan would never tell Chris Wallace (although he was asked three times) the cost of Mitt Romney's tax plan because he would have to divulge the deductions that he would eliminate in order to make it revenue neutral. I'm waiting to see what side of health care Mitt Romney will be on Wednesday night because he's flip- flopped so much just in the last three weeks. They'll also be interesting to know how Mitt will handle the deficit, since raising taxes is off the table, as well as defense spending. Inserting growth as part of a financial solution is more of a wish list than an economic policy.
It will be incumbent on the president to say what he will do in his second term. He will have to say that a 1.3% growth rate is terrible, and the job numbers reflect that but the housing market seems to be recovering, a new source of cheap energy(natural gas) is a plus, as is the stable stock market. He can also say consumer confidence is coming back and that’s a reason to have some optimism. He must then emphasize that going back to the policies that got us into this mess is not the way to go. The popularity of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)rose to 48% after the Supreme Court ruling, this gives the president some wiggle room when he paints his opponent as one who will repeal Obamacare, which will take away the popular " pre existing" provision and the fact that CBO said that when fully implemented, ACA would lower the deficit. He'll have to say that Mitt Romney was one of the presidential candidates who raised his hand signifying he would not take a deal which included $10.00 in spending cuts for $1.00 in taxes.
The Republican representatives did not disappoint because they all pulled out their Reagan card, they keep close to their vest pocket saying “Reagan pulled us out a recession in a lot less time.”I expected the talking point and I wasn’t surprised when they didn’t admit that Reagan’s recession was not as severe. Our deficit is 7% of GDP and the GOP Congress won’t consider raising taxes, even thou Ronald Reagan raised taxes when the deficit was 4% of GDP. President George H. W. Bush ruined his chances of a second term by raising taxes when the deficit was 3% of GDP. No economist worth his salt thinks that we can get out of our financial doldrums without raising taxes. it has to be part of the equation.
I think Mitt Romney will and should do well in the debate Wednesday night. I don't think the voters are rejecting Romney as much as they are the Republican brand of today. I think any of the 2012 candidates would be in the same shape or worse if they would have won the primary.
I forgot the pundit who quoted a rapper who said, “don’t get high on your own supply." That's what the right wing of the GOP does when they double down on what they think are conservative principles. How many years do Republicans have to go down in flames before they realize that America does not want to give up or consider Social Security and Medicare alternatives? The GOP had a 20% old- folk advantage over Democrats but that as dwindled down to 4% in Florida. A recent poll in Florida showed that people by 70% want to keep Medicare and Social Security; as it is. I remember after a storm, Eric Cantor initially rejected FEMA aid for his own state, without cutting other programs to pay for it. He quickly changed his mind after all the blow-back.
Mitt Romney's presidential hopes took a downward trend after a convention that was built on a theme of " you didn't build that" to mock the president but little else to show the country what they would do to get the job market going besides the same ol'trickle-down economics. It's not always about taxes. People want to hear optimistic visions of the future in education, innovation and infrastructure. We can get committees to tackle the deficit, and the debt but tunnel vision is never a plus. The Democrats can keep their gun holstered because the hard-line conservative Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot by not realizing that there are other opinions out there.
It's going to be a close race to the end unless something drastic happens. Early voting has started in Iowa and Ohio will begin this week before the debate Wednesday night .