I'm glad tonight's debate had the candidates sitting down - I don't think I could stomach another performance where they were both circling each other like two professional wrestlers getting ready to perform. (By the way, a note on tense - I wrote my thoughts as I was watching the debate, so even though I'm pushing the "publish" button much later, this is in present tense - I feel it's much easier to read.) Okay, I'll get to it...
Right from the start, Obama is going on the attack, as he needs to,
whereas Romney seems tentative with a very muted response. Obama's acting like the underdog, and Romney’s acting like he doesn't want to
upset the applecart.
Surprise! It didn’t take Romney
long to start lying – he's stated on a number of occasions that we made a mistake for not leaving
troops in Iraq (a sop to the neocons, perhaps?!?). Romney literally must have a
great deal of difficulty remembering what he says week-to-week. Does this guy
honestly stand for anything?
A high-hard one from Schiffer
– (to Obama): "You said a year ago that Assad has to go," and he's still there. A year ago, and Assad
continues to slaughter his own people. [Emphasis mine] Obama seemed to handle it pretty well –
coordinating with our allies in the region. Romney’s response? A not-so-hawkish
response – no military intervention. Um, hello, 180! If memory serves me correctly, this is not
what Romney’s been saying in recent weeks. He's toning down his rhetoric from
recent weeks. It might seem like I’m nitpicking, but I don’t like Romney’s
statement that Syria is “an opportunity for us.” Why does every revolution and
war have to be an American opportunity? I firmly believe that this is why a
good deal of the world resents our constantly muddling in Mideast affairs, and elsewhere.
I have to give Obama
credit for staying on the attack about Libya and Syria – I’m trying to not be
to partisan here, but I have to give Obama the edge so far, about 20 min. in. Romney's pulling in the reigns early on.
An Obama high point on Syria: “What you
just heard Gov. Romney said is, he doesn’t have different ideas, because we are
doing exactly what we should be doing to try to promote a moderate Syria [sic] leadership
and an effective transition so we get Assad out. That’s the kind of leadership
we’ve shown, that’s the kind of leadership we’ll continue to show.” Score one
I find the president’s
thoughts on Egypt interesting, especially considering that their new president
is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood
– Obama seems to be treading very lightly,
and he even brought it back to domestic policies, too, opining that we can’t
show leadership in the Middle East if we aren’t showing leadership at home with
regard to jobs and the economy.
Again, Romney agrees with Obama more than
disagrees with him, and he even said so. It doesn't take long for Romney to circle back to
domestic policies, too. There’s no way this is an accident. I find it absolutely
hilarious that Romney is taking about debt, debt, debt
. I’m sorry, but it’s
fucking ABSURD that the GOP has become the “party of debt” when during the Bush
years, the deficit was all but ignored, to the point of the worst vice
president in my lifetime, Dick Cheney, saying “deficits don’t matter.” Samuel L. Jackson
is absolutely right: people need to “wake the fuck up.”
Next Romney’s whining
about “missile defense” – a tremendous waste of money, and he also is pimping
the defense budget, saying he will “not cut the defense budget.” Earth to
Romney, and his zombie supporters: You can’t be sooo “concerned” about the
debt, without putting the defense budget on the table, PERIOD. This isn’t simply my
opinion, it’s the opinion of leading economists in the country. Obama needs to
HAMMER him on this, and he did it, to a moderate degree, but I would have gone
after him much, much more forcefully and harder.
At the half-hour mark,
Romney’s filibustering with his talking points: a balanced budget (with tax cuts,
military cuts?!? HA!); 12mn new jobs (at the last debate, he stated “government
does not create jobs," a WHOPPER that Obama has not exploited and pounced on
nearly enough); and most laughable of all, energy independence, which is
laughable on so many levels, I won’t even tick them off now, or I risk getting
off track myself. We cannot drill our way to energy independence, no matter what
ANY politician says, PERIOD. And a Keystone Pipeline
isn’t a magical solution
to our energy needs, either.
It’s stupefying that
Romney keeps getting away with his non-answer answers, having the audacity to
invite Bob Schiffer (and presumably, the mindless morons who are still “undecided”
after a full year of campaigning) to go to his Website to get his answers.
Unfuckingbelievable. I loved it that the president later said, “we spent a lot
of time on the Website, and it still doesn’t add up.”
Romney keeps carping
about sequestration, the mandatory defense cuts that will take effect on Jan.
1, 2013, and I'm very heartened to hear Obama finally (FINALLY!) slam the
door on Romney about it – sequestration
was Congress’ idea, not the president’s.
The first big zinger of the night! Romney whimpers about our
Navy having “the fewest number of ships since 1917.” Obama responds, “Well
governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets. We now have aircraft
carriers, and nuclear submarines that go under the water.” Stick that, gov.
Romney’s scare mongering on the military, and it seemed to me that this line of
attack would be more appropriate for the Cold War, not the 21st
Century. It won’t be long, and the voters will soon decide if his numbers add
up. I fear that too few people are paying attention.
On Iran, Romney agrees with Obama AGAIN. Interesting that Obama
calls out Romney’s war-mongering and saber rattling on Iran, specifically
about a pre-emptive action on Iran. Flip Romney strikes again – a “military
option should be the last resort,” yet another new opinion on Iran, and yet the
umpteenth example of Romney running to the middle, for votes. It’s insane to me
that people don’t see this for what it is – shameless pimping for votes. The
president isn’t right on everything, but his flip-flopping on issues is a
fraction of Romney’s.
One of my favorite Obama
rejoinders of the night, after Romney spouted a Faux News talking point, about
the president going on an “apology tour” in the Middle East:
“Nothing that governor
Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. This has
been one of the biggest whoppers that’s been said during the course of this
campaign, and every fact checker and reporter who’s checked into it has said it’s
not true. When it comes to tightening sanctions, we’ve put in the most
crippling sanctions [on Iran] ever.” A nice dig about Romney being still
invested in an Iranian oil company, too. Is it true? We’ll know in the coming
One other thing strikes
me as fantastic, and that’s this whole notion that sitting down with one’s
enemies is an “honor” to receive from the POTUS, as Romney said with regard to
America’s enemies. Much like the GOP seems to now regard intelligence and one
having an education as being a vice instead of a virtue, this one baffles me,
too. When the hell has it been a bad thing to want to sit down with our enemies
to discuss important matters, and most importantly, our differences? I'd think a party that never misses a chance to fellate President Reagan
would remember his summits
with Mikhail Gorbachev
president in the post-war era has done it, from Truman to George W. Bush. If
anything, Obama hasn’t done nearly enough of this (and I’d submit that it’s one
of his weak points, and if he wasn’t running against the modern right wing-nuts
of the Republican Party, a sensible opponent would hammer him for a paucity of diplomacy). But, in Romneyworld and the neocon orbit, it’s a weakness to sit
down and talk with mortal enemies. Yet, military intervention should be the “last
option” (according to Romney) regarding Syria and Iran. Then, how will our
differences be solved? A Magic 8 Ball?!? Insanity!
This could be the
biggest lie Romney has EVER told: "America has not dictated to other nations. We
have freed other nations [in the Middle East]." This is precisely the BIGGEST
thing that’s wrong with our foreign policy – we are bullies, meddling our noses
into the affairs of other countries, if it serves our interests, and it’s
a big reason why other countries hate us so much. This is little more than red meat
for the neocon war mongers. I’m so sick to death of American Exceptionalism
and politicians pimping to voters saying how great America is, and blah blah
blah. Just for once, I’d love for a politician to stand up and tell the
American people that our policies are wrong, and that we need to change course.
It’ll never happen until voters demand it. Both parties are guilty of this election
year pandering and pimping for votes, telling everyone how great we are as a
nation, and that we seemingly have never done anything wrong, anywhere.
However, I read, I have an education, and I know otherwise. Many
more Repubes are guilty of this than Democrats, but there’s plenty of blame to
go around on both sides with this annoying, debilitating, American cheerleading
Quick aside: I wonder
how the people of Iraq feel about us “freeing people,” governor? Or the people
of Iran, when we assassinated
their democratically elected leader in 1953? Or
the people of Chile, when we did the same thing in the 1970s
? Or the people of
? I could go on, but back to the debate…
Kudos to the president
for mentioning his visiting Yad Vashem
in Israel (no doubt to combat Romney’s
pimping for the Jewish vote by trying to start up a phantom controversy of the
Obama administration’s “gulf” with Israel) while Romney went to fund raising
events while there. (The fact checkers will reveal the “truthiness” of this one.)
Note to Romney – quit listening
to Faux News – it’s DemocratIC Senators, not Democrat Senators. It rankles and
amuses me that Repubes still use this McCarthy-era slur against Democrats. It’s
I was delighted to hear
Obama talk about “nation building at home.” I hope vets are paying attention,
and I know a few personally who have slammed Obama for not doing enough. I’m
not as qualified as they are to talk about what they need, but Obama deserves
credit for this, as well as talking about rebuilding our infrastructure with
funds that aren’t being used in Afghanistan for a war with an unclear mission.This is in contrast to Romney's not even mentioning the troops at all in his acceptance speech
at the Republican National Convention.
Both candidates closed out the debate in predictable form. Being as objective as I can be, I score this one for Obama, although I question how much it will move the polls. This election is going to be incredibly, incredibly close, no matter who wins. Honestly, and I hate to even mention it, but it brings up the legitimacy of our entire election system, and how badly it needs fixing. The UN has decided to send observers to monitor our elections. In the United States! We need to return to paper balloting, and to get a receipt when your ballot is cast - anything less is open to rigging and manipulation. I pray we don't have a repeat of the 2000 election again (in more ways than one!) More soon...