Wednesday’s presidential debate covered everything from the economy to health care to the role of government. We provided an overall analysis, as well as some fact-checking fun, yesterday, but with so much said, and as Geo discusses, unsaid, there’s was still much to, well, debate.
Many pundits reacting to Wednesday’s debate were surprised, some even livid, that President Obama did not bring up the ’47%’ comments that Romney notoriously made in a video that surfaced some weeks ago. In a campaign for US President, Obama was expected to do just that and go for the jugular. Instead, Obama stayed within the structures of the actual debate, doing his best to provide answers to moderator Jim Lehrer’s questions. The ’47%’ comments are no doubt important, as they significantly clue you in to the type of thinking Mitt Romney is capable of committing, but that particular debate with those particular questions wasn’t the place to bring it up. And because Obama respected Lehrer’s position as moderator, he lost the contest. On the other hand, the same pundits were shockingly impressed with Mitt Romney’s bite but seemed to have failed in listening to what he was barking. The level at which behaviour and body language trumps what you’re actually saying in these debates astounds me. Fact-checkers have been having a field day with Romney’s information. But to many attention-deficit viewers, I suppose aggressive over-assertiveness is what’s really key here, which is why they claim Romney won.
For someone whose former company, which they still invest millions of dollar in, just closed a car parts factory in Illinois in order to operate the same factory in China, Mitt Romney talks a lot about caring for small businesses. When speaking about Obamacare at Wednesday’s debate, Romney cited a report that said it made small businesses less likely to hire new employees. What Romney didn’t mention was how it allowed small businesses to actually provide insurance for the employees they already have. When I moved to Vermont a few years ago, I worked full time for over a year without any health insurance because the very small business at which I worked couldn’t afford to provide me coverage. Thanks to the subsidies given to small business who offer their employees health insurance by Obamacare, the company was finally able to offer me health insurance.
Additionally, Romney mentioned during the debate that people don’t want to open small businesses in the United States. What he failed to mention is that without the guarantee of health insurance, it is far too risky for potential entrepreneurs to quit their jobs to start small businesses. All of this makes it perfectly clear that Mitt Romney cares about profits, not people, and an American president needs to prioritize both.
The President’s ‘Performance’
The backlash over President Obama’s ‘performance’ is particularly symbolic of the American public’s insatiable desire for entertainment. This was a presidential debate not reality television. Audiences, pundits, and journalists act like they were promised a fist-fight between Romney and Obama, and when it didn’t happen, they pissed and moaned about Obama’s ‘flatness.’ (Note: it would be fun to see Obama sock Romney right in the schnoz.) Obama presented intelligent, well-thought out answers to Jim Lehrer’s questions. Romney, on the otherhand, spewed one-liners, their accuracy debatable, and essentially gave the American public what they wanted: conflict. What we need in our leaders is not the ability to satiate our boredom with nonsensical, but entertaining verbiage. We need someone who can concisely and intelligently express himself, listen to others, and make logical and rational conclusions and decisions – i.e. we need Obama.