Fighting the War on Error

"You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists."
- Political & Social Activist Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My word on the third...

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 for Barry.  

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, and no 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 days.

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. Every 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 and patriotism.

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 Vietnam? 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 pretty pathetic.

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...


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