• A Debate To Forget

    Yesterday was definitely not a debate to remember. For starters, Obama actually beat Romney as the most boring man on the stage. Granted, he didn’t win the most boring man in the room; that prize went to moderator Jim Lehrer.

    The pundits are calling Romney the winner. I saw it as sort of a push. Still Romney gets points for being aggressive and outshouting the moderator and challenging Obama on… the facts? Obama looked like he was ready to go to sleep right on the stage and decided to allow Romney to get away with repeatedly misrepresenting the facts. Obama didn’t defend his positions very well at all and didn’t respond to any of the challenged Romney brought up even though ThinkProgress already knew what Romney’s challenges would be prior to the debate.

    Romney did control the debate in the sense that he wouldn’t let the moderator get a word in edgewise and the moderator wouldn’t let Obama get a word in edgewise. In this sense Romney appeared to dominate the debate. I suspect he spoke for much longer than Obama did, but I haven’t looked at the numbers. It is just a suspicion.

    There were a couple of moments in the debate that got my attention and they were both from Romney and in my opinion hurt Romney. One of which will haunt him past Halloween. The first was when he was critical of Obama spending a lot of money (I think it was $900 billion) on green jobs. Okay, what part of that sounds bad? The green part or the jobs part? Yeah, Obama spend money to help the environment and to create jobs. So what? I don’t get it. Aren’t the environment and jobs good things to spend money on?

    Of course the second Romney gaff was his infamous man-on-Big Bird love which culminates in killing Big Bird. Yeah, Romney actually said that he loves PBS and Big Bird, but he will gut them anyway. Why will he gut Sesame Street, which has helped to educate children for nearly 40 years? He wants to do it so that he can save his billionaire friends a few extra dollars that they don’t need and aren’t going to spend. They will just stuff those extra few dollars away in a secret bank account in a foreign country to sit around not being used to educate young children.

    Once again, Obama won just by letting Romney be himself. I don’t care what the pundits think; this Sesame Street line will hurt Romney far more than their opinion that Obama was boring and sleepy. Romney will probably get a small bump from this debate, but once the Big Bird ads fly, Romney’s wings will be clipped because at the end of the day, people will see that Romney values Wall Street over Sesame Street. That will be the only message remembered from this debate.

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    Category: Politics


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.


    1. I agree about entirely that any small bump Romney might get from the debate will be ultimately overshadowed by his war on Big Bird, which will haunt him long after his political career is over. It may ultimately become his: misspelling potato, read my lips: no new taxes, I can see Alaska from my house moment due to its utter ridiculousness. That PBS was his only example, as if cutting PBS would save the entire economy, is infinitely mockable. And it seems like it took a whole of 5 minutes before the Big Bird memes hit the internet. And of course it’s worth noting that Romney almost scored a perfect 100% in the lying department while Obama mostly told the truth. Romney dodged answering whether he supports a voucher program for Medicare, claimed to support sensible Wall Street regulation, called Dodd-Frank “a killer” for small banks when in fact, most of new regulations apply only to a few dozen of the largest banks, said he planned to repeal Obamacare which will actually increase fed deficit by $109 bil over the 2013–2022 period & cost 72 Million ppl health coverage, said he’d cap tax deductions individuals can use at $25,000 or $50,000 when the day before he said $17,000, attacked “trickle-down” approaches, and claimed he’d reach across the aisle while implying Obama doesn’t (and Obama memorably nailed him on that suggesting his first day in office would be a busy one if we planned to gain Democrat support while destroying healthcare).

    2. A debate like this is no place to learn facts (as evidenced by the fact checking marathon afterwards).

      As far as I can tell, the purpose of the debates is to measure demeanor.

      Am I the only one who saw Romney as nervous, blinky, and fidgety, a sort of high school debate team performer on speed? I was floored when pundits started calling Romney “presidential”. I mean, seriously? That is how they want a president to act?

      Obama was cool and confident, a man versus a boy. “No drama” I believe they call it. He could have attacked more. But in terms of “presidential”, you couldn’t ask for better.

    3. The media response to the debate points out that substance doesn’t matter at all. Romney appeared to pivot sharply toward the center, softening stances he has taken to get his party’s nomination, but wouldn’t endear him to independents. He’s a master at evading questions or giving non-answers that sound good to people who aren’t paying attention. The 20% rate decrease for income taxes was a centerpiece of his tax policy – now he denies it, or does he simply deny that it amounts to $4.8 trillion? He has no intention of saying how he intends to make up for it. He’s aiming squarely at low-information voters, and the media are treating the whole thing like it’s Dancing With the Stars.

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