Yay! Welcome Back President Obama

For this one day I will celebrate the common sense and moderation of the Americans who voted in the 2012 election. Tomorrow we will admit that all will not be peaches and cream in Washington. The Republicans have not retreated from their positions and they still control the House of Representatives. However they did get spanked in the Senate and perhaps that will help them be a bit more humble, a bit more civil, and perhaps they will give compromise a chance. The economy probably will not recover quickly, but slow and steady is much better for our future economic stability. Now I know that we will continue to have a compassionate economy; an economy that does not push upward by climbing on the backs of our less affluent citizens. Now I know we will not try to retreat from our inclusiveness; we will not react with fear to a diverse America. We will find a way to be an America our forefathers would approve of and, at the same time, to embrace the changes that the 21st century will bring. This morning we are America the beautiful.

OMG – The Election is Here

OMG, the election is here. Today, Tuesday, November 6, 2012, we will decide who will be our new President. We will learn the composition of the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. The pundits of “politics day” on Sunday TV suggest that the House will retain its Republican majority and that the Senate will retain its Democratic majority (although by a slimmer margin). The Presidency is still in a nerve-wracking virtual tie. Will Florida mess up and send us all into a tizzy of déjà vu and conflict? I certainly hope not. What will happen in Iowa? What will Ohio do? The importance of the answers to these questions has been drummed into us day after day?
If the Republicans win I know that you can probably guess how upset I will be. I thought of retracing my ancestors’ steps and high-tailing it back to Canada. But alas, I am an America. I fear that I would always feel like an outsider, an expat if I left. I also have some curiosity that makes me want to observe what will happen as those Republican bombs drop on all of the people who think they want this stuff; stuff like small government, like returning to the private-insurance-only health plan we had for most working Americans, like cuts in social programs, like taking away choice from women and dealing with the flood of babies born to people who cannot care for them and the flood of older children whose lives will be affected by these additional births; stuff like whether tax cuts will indeed stimulate our economy and improve the job market or whether it will merely make the rich richer. What will our day to day existence be like with these changes?
If Obama wins without any changes in the numbers in Congress I will have to hope that he can hold the line on what he has already accomplished and make some progress on the things he would like to accomplish, especially in the area of modernizing our infrastructure and improving our educational opportunities and outcomes. We will see if Republicans continue their prolonged hissy fit about losing in 2008 and about the way the ACA was passed; we will see whether or not they will continue to be the problem with America or whether they will choose to be part of the solution. Can they let go of their insistence that they alone hold the answers for America, that they are the more genuine Americans, and that any compromise on their part will destroy America for all time? I hope they can. We are all human; it is usually the case that the more complex the issue, the less likely it is that there is one and only one approach that will resolve the issue. Why would we want to take the approach that will hurt most those who have already been injured by the economic tsunami of 2009? Abandoning poor children who have been the very people we have been trying to target through government assistance in order to allow rich people to grow richer is an unconscionable choice. Can Republicans loft a red balloon to hold all their anger and float it away into the stratosphere? Can the Republicans pitch in and help solve our economic dilemmas without stepping on poor children to do it? Yes they can! At least I very much hope so.
Please go out on Tuesday to vote, and I will hold on to my hope that Obama will win until the last vote is counted.

Perhaps the Best Propaganda Technique of All

I keep thinking back to that first debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. I, along with everyone else who watched, was surprised by how laid back and enervated President Obama acted at that first debate. Because I couldn’t sleep until I had analyzed the situation to my satisfaction, I eventually realized what it was that bothered me and also, perhaps Obama. Mitt Romney began his strategy, which he has now pursued straight through the rest of his campaign and that strategy was and is to co-opt the centrist policies of his opponent and pretend that he originated these policies and that he never, ever took that giant hook to the right which ended when someone ‘outed’ the tape of him disowning the 47% of Americans who have been victimized by “big government”.
He suddenly reassured us that he did not intend to dismantle the safety net (even though he chose Paul Ryan as his running mate), but only to strengthen it. He assured us that when he ended the Affordable Care Act by decimating it, people with pre-existing conditions (well, most of them) would still be covered under his plan , which never mentions ‘vouchers’, but does talk about making health care the province of the states and which is a plan he does not really explain in any detail. So, in a sense, he co-opts Obama’s health plan by keeping the provision that appeals most to Americans. He tells us that although he will not raise taxes on the wealthy, he will not raise taxes on the middle class either; and he will close some unspecified loopholes.  This is not what Obama has said, but isn’t what Paul Ryan has said either. Romney did not make it sound like we were all being sent to the principal’s office as Paul Ryan always does.
He tells us he is pro-life (anti-abortion), but that he does not know of any laws that are pending that will change the current status of women’s health issues (and what does that mean). He still promises to defund Planned Parenthood, and PBS, but Obama knows that we understand that he will also have to make budget cuts. Now Mitt Romney has reinvented himself as Barack Obama in 2008 and he has co-opted the “Big Change” message that Obama ran on and which people say is the source of their greatest disappointment in Obama. So Romney tells us that Obama couldn’t do it; he couldn’t make big changes, but he, Romney, can. Well, if he is elected and the House is still in Republican hands maybe he can push through his changes, but they won’t look at all like what Obama’s changes would be. He will have to take that right hook again and what he does will be what the self-styled “young guns” and the “tea party” want.
No wonder Obama looked so shell-shocked at that first debate. Romney practically turned himself into a clone of Obama. How do you fight yourself? All the arguments prepared for answering a right wing nut were nullified; all Obama’s weapons were de-weaponized. Romney has continued to sound more moderate or centrist by the day and I can’t see why we would go to all the bother of switching Presidents when the only difference Romney seems to stick to is that he still will not raise taxes on the richest Americans. Co-opting his opponent’s arguments has seemed to work well for Romney and that is why it may be the best propaganda technique of all. Let’s hope it will not be good enough to get him elected.

Bamboozled by Political Invective

I am very disappointed that the American people are so susceptible to political propaganda. The Republicans have played us like violins. They have supported the most strident pundits on the FOX network for most of the past 4 years. They also have bombarded radio audiences and the internet with every kind of technique ever invented to sway public opinion and they have done it endlessly and unrelentingly.
Name calling has been one of their favorite devices. They have called Obama a “Socialist”, Hitler, a Nazi, a Muslim, a terrorist, an alien (not the space kind, the non-citizen kind). They have used repetition as a sledge hammer. Say the same thing, say it over and over again, repeat it at every interview, in every newspaper and magazine article, and it will start to ring true. It will create a self-fulfilling prophecy and sweep their party into office on rhetoric alone. They have used the “I’m rubber, you’re glue; everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you” technique over and over with issues like women’s rights and the issue of divisiveness. They turn what we thought we knew inside out and upside down and people are buying this.
It makes me sad to see people being “brainwashed” by those who know what strings to pull. They prey on people’s fears of terrorism which are relatively new to us and they prey on our fear that white people are losing control of America and that America will become a nation in which white people, as the new minority will have little or no say about what will happen in America. Of course they do not state it so baldly but they want to make us believe that America will become a Spanish nation or a nation of color and the Constitution will no longer call the shots in America even though all of these groups are proud American citizens. They remind people that their hard-earned dollars are paying for people who have been institutionalized by government handouts and people start bellyaching about that until it makes them almost physically ill or so angry they start oiling their guns.
The pundits are whipping up these frightened white guys and even some white women who have perhaps already been displaced at their jobs by a new policy that favored diversity in the work place and which replaced expensive workers  with seniority and no college with college educated and perhaps minority “youngsters” who could be offered starting salaries. The pundits are using the residual anger of middle-aged white men who were forced out of their jobs during their peak earning years to elect the Republicans, who are laying claim to the Conservative grounds of a fundamentalist Constitutional interpretation. They insist over and over that America is on the wrong path without specifying exactly what the wrong path is beyond saying that government is too big and too invasive because if they spelled it all out they would be properly identified as bigots. They try to distract us from noticing that they have actually come to espouse some even nuttier ideas on science and social issues.
 We have let these fear-mongers pull our chains and blow air up our skirts and any other invasive clichés we can think up. They have treated us like puppets by finding our fears and playing on them. They have identified the buried anger in displaced workers and have been happy to subtly kick it up a notch or two. They have blamed other Americans for simply going after the American Dream and they have diverted anger from the real culprits who shipped the jobs overseas. Those new workers often did not get to enjoy their promotions for very long. None of us realized that we were going to be caught up in a global economic tsunami. We should feel embarrassed that we are so easily led by stirring speeches that are oh so wrong in content and intent. Drama may be fun; it may wake us up and make us feel alive, but it is not necessarily true or real.
What people think they long for is no longer possible. The world is changing and the changes cannot be stopped and they cannot be reversed without genocide, environmental disaster, or divine intervention. We can try to build a wall all around America to keep out the future but I hate to think about what we will become if we take this path. We will be living in a global world unless all engines cease working and people can no longer travel long distances quickly. Diversity is unavoidable. Dealing with the baggage of other nations is unavoidable. The fears that these tricky talkers are riling up are dinosaurs from a past to which we no longer have access. The future will find us no matter how hard we try to regress. Will we like the future? I think the chances are greater if we stay in the game and try to help design a future we can accept than if we wail and moan and go to the trenches to escape the changes that are already in process. One way we can keep ourselves present in inventing the future is to refuse to elect the party of propaganda, the party of sleight of speech, those carnival shills, the Republicans. Elect Democrats to disperse the cloud of obfuscation. They have a more understanding approach to the future.

The Great American Divide

Ages and ages ago when this election began, the split between Democrats and Republicans was 47%/47%. Now after months and weeks and days of campaigning, after billions of dollars in ads, after weeks spent cramming for debates and after three televised debates, we, the American people have not budged. We are still facing the same great political divide we have faced for the past 4 years. How will we ever resolve our differences? We will have to depend on that little 6% in the middle, the 6% that can’t decide which way to go or that has no interest in the election and therefore will not vote. In fact we really don’t know how many of each of the 47% groups will vote. Does everyone feel a sense of urgency about this election? It seems that way if you watch CNN or FOX all day, but if you listen to family and friends on Facebook, the election is not as important as sports or their everyday lives. People who plan to vote seem to have already made a decision about who they will vote for and they are done with that. They will go vote on November 6th or not, but their attention has moved on to other interests and entertainments.
Will Democrats stonewall Republicans if Romney is elected? Well they won’t be able to unless the House changes hands and the Senate stays as it is. But they can sure try and I think they should. If we are truly evenly divided we should not allow the opposition agenda to go forward. The Democrats should cause just as much frustration for the Republicans as they have caused for us. Even though Romney is so squishy about his agenda, he still wants to do things that I don’t agree with such as overturn the Affordable Care Act and appoint Supreme Court judges who may overturn Roe v. Wade, defund Planned Parenthood, send Medicaid to the states, make 5% cuts to all discretionary items in the budget except Defense and not raise taxes on anyone at all. He implies that Obama does not take enough pride in America or beat the drum loudly enough in his foreign policy stands. While it is true that Obama didn’t call anyone the “axis of evil”, he does understand that people all around the world are interested in the same rights and privileges we treasure in America and that, when push comes to shove, he is on the side of people fighting for their rights. He also reminds us that he has gone to our allies around the world, those allies who do not favor aggression and tyranny, and that he has created a coalition of powerful nations who will at least cooperate to limit access to nuclear weapons and to help keep Iran, in particular, from making a nuclear weapon. Since Romney has moved himself to a place where he sounds far less extreme than his base, and since his foreign policy is almost exactly the same as that of Obama, I really don’t understand why we need to change horses in midstream so to speak.
If the election ends in a tie, rather than appeal to the Supreme Court for a decision, I would prefer to have 2 Presidents and 2 Vice Presidents. Maybe co-Presidents could get the job done. I am sure they would not want to turn the oval office into a boxing ring. I know this makes me sound nutty, but I prefer to categorize it as “thinking outside the box”. I am not, in any way, abdicating my preference for Obama. I just don’t ever want us to do what we did in the “hanging chads” year. The resolution to that election left almost no one happy except the Republicans in Washington. To knit the American people back together we need meaningful and carefully crafted compromise; or we need Obama!

Obama v. Romney/CNN Off the Deep End?

What’s up with CNN? After the last debate they never stopped drubbing President Obama. Even after this debate they still seem to be favoring Mitt Romney. They are political wonks, who love following every nuance of an election, ad nauseum, especially Wolf Blitzer. I can’t decide if it is making the election more interesting or turning it into an exercise akin to diagramming sentences.

I am beginning to believe that CNN is not just trying to report on a presidential election, they are trying to influence the election. Maybe that is just the nature of the 24 hour news beast that in trying to fill each day with interesting, gripping news they actually begin to skew the news in a direction that matches their reporting. Perhaps pressure is being placed on CNN because they have fallen in the ratings or perhaps one of their key sponsors ChristianMingle.com, with its right-wing sponsors, is steering them by threatening to pull their ads. Whatever is going on, I suggest that their endless criticism of the President’s performance in his previous debate and their insistence that Joe Biden was terribly rude in the Vice Presidential debate may have helped to move the electorate.
They have been repeating the fallacy that Obama does not have a plan for the economy but it is clear that Obama plans to continue on as he has been going. I know this is the crux of the matter. People are very unhappy that Obama’s methods are too slow, that they are not offering an instant cure to our economic woes. That is what people have found appealing about Romney’s plan. It sounds like it will bring immediate and extremely positive economic results. After all he has promised us 12 million jobs (I believe it is over the next 10 years, though, not actually immediately). Whatever – he sounds like he knows exactly what to do. He has a lot of big business friends. Maybe he can pull it off. He reminds us that Ronald Reagan did it. Well he is no Ronald Reagan and we are living in different times. Maybe cutting taxes for everyone will balance the budget but it certainly sounds counterintuitive. What is obvious is that Mitt Romney never brings up the “environment” or all of the challenges we face with doing business in such a way that we also safeguard the planet we call home. No one has actually brought up the environment because how can you argue about the effects of fossil fuels on the climate when the other side insists the effects are minimal or nonexistent.
Obama’s plans for the economy are not “sexy”. He feels that slowly, through effort and innovation and energy independence (that tries to keep environmental concerns in mind), we will build a new American economy that is oriented towards the future needs of a world that will contain 9 billion people by 2050 and that the America we build in this fashion will be stronger than an America that goes backwards to try to woo the same factories who left America with lower taxes, lower wages, fewer or no benefits, no environmental protections and few business regulations. Obama has managed to hold to his agenda and make some progress even though he had no support from Republicans and precious little from Democrats who were fearful about keeping their posts. I truly believe that Obama has the better approach to the economy. It doesn’t rely on magic and it doesn’t rely on going to corporations to beg them to come back to America. It relies on retraining, retooling, reimagining and rebuilding. He is more like an orchestra conductor deciding when the strings should come in and how loudly or softly they should play, when the brass needs to be heard, and etc., than he is like an old style “pol” who says anything to get into office.

Obama will involve the whole orchestra, in other words, he sees the American government and America as not just a business entity, but also a social entity which is what a government must be. With Romney we don’t know what our health care will look like but we know it will not look like it does now, we don’t know what will really happen to social programs that “lift up” the 47%. We have no assurance that the economy which is skewed towards the wealthy will be “unskewed”. I do not feel confident, if Romney is elected, that four years from now Roe v. Wade will still be the law of the land. Romney exudes traditional values which put wifey in the home as a helpmate. I’m not saying things will go this far, but he is not exactly a feminist. Romney conducts only a string quartet. String quartets are lovely, but not nearly as difficult to juggle as a full symphony orchestra. If we could give Obama four years with true bipartisan support I believe we might see something really great: the beginnings of our future. For those who imply that Obama cannot expect bipartisan support and that therefore we need to go with Romney instead I say he will be even more harmful because he does have bipartisan support and he only has it because he doesn’t want to change anything. He, and the Republicans, are yearning, yearning for what we had and going back to 1950 would be the best scenario of all. I don’t think we can get back  to 1950, or even that that would be a good thing.

CNN, if you are not trying to influence the election then be more careful about what you are doing. Maybe scale back your election coverage and cover the other things that are going on in the world. You are turning us all into election junkies. Obama does have a plan for the economy and it is the better plan.

The VP Debate – Questions We Are Left With

The Vice Presidential debate left us with all the same questions we have been mulling for the past three or four years and, although I cannot imagine why, it still leaves us split about 50-50. I am not talking about the behavior of either of the participants. Debates are frustrating. You have to give your opponent time to have their say on a subject even though you are itching to refute their argument. Paul Ryan tends to pontificate, Joe Biden has a great smile and he used it to let us know when Ryan was repeating a policy point that Biden had already heard reiterated many, many times and which he felt was “malarkey”. I have an equally difficult time keeping myself still while someone says something I disagree with. I felt that smile helped keep Biden from interrupting and that’s how he used it. It signaled his disbelief without necessitating speech. But the demeanor of either candidate is not really the issue here. The issue involves your answer to a series of questions:

The economy:
Do you think that we should cut taxes for wealthy Americans?
Do you believe that if we give these tax breaks then jobs will be created by the Americans who are awarded these tax breaks?
Do you think it is possible that so much wealth has collected in the hands of so few, that the gap between 99% of Americans and the 1% is widening and that this is because the laws that govern finance have been skewed in their favor?
Do you believe that these wealthy Americans, once rewarded, will/can bring manufacturing jobs back to America?
Are you willing to scale back the laws protecting our environment in order to make America attractive to manufacturers once more?
Do you believe that if we scale back environmental protections then manufacturers will come back to America?
What tax exemptions would you be willing to give up to balance the budget once taxes were cut?
Should we drill everywhere, with all technologies available, even on public land?
Will drilling bring jobs?
Will drilling put our clean water supplies in danger?
Are we at a “tipping point” with climate change?
The social network:
Do you believe that we should privatize social security?
Do you believe that we should privatize Medicare?
Programs for the poor were not discussed but we need to consider them also.
Should we scale back or end food stamps?
Should we scale back or end Medicaid?
Should we scale back or end WIC?
Should we scale back on our disability program?
Do you want a voucher for health care?
Why would we give our dollars to the government and then have them give them back to us? Shouldn’t we just buy our own health insurance?
Are social programs responsible for our debt and our deficit?
How will we pay down our debt and lessen our deficit if we keep social programs?
Is privatization always the answer?
Foreign Policy:
Do we want to go to war with Libya?
Do we want to go to war with Iran?
Do we want to go to war with Syria?
Has Obama been apologizing for America?
If you don’t want war will we look at diplomacy as weakness?
Did President Obama and his administration lie to us about what they knew about Libya, or is there a disconnect between the State Dept. and the Oval Office?
Was it done to cover up the lack of security in Libya or was it done for reasons of national security?
Did Ryan give us any new facts about Libya?
Did Biden give us any new facts about Libya?
Which party is more “hawkish”?
Given the realities of the deaths and wounds suffered by our soldiers and their families, should we rush to war right now?
How will we avenge the death of our ambassador?
Is vengeance where we want to go?
How soon will Iran have a nuclear weapon?
How will we stop them from getting a nuclear weapon?
Who do you trust more to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?
Is it because they sound hawkish?
Will Republicans be willing to go to war with Iran?
Will Democrats be willing to go to war with Iran?
Who is likely to take us to war sooner?
Should abortion be illegal?
Is this an example of religion getting mixed up with politics?
Should Planned Parenthood be defunded?
Who was more willing to try bipartisan solutions; Republicans or Democrats?

Mitt Romney and a Lava Lamp

For almost four years we have listened to the extreme ideas of the modern Republican Party: things like what deadbeats we are if we rely on our own government for any of our support, even Social Security; things like signing a pledge to never raise taxes; things like repealing the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade; and things like planning every move to make sure that our President would not get a second term. They have called Obama Hitler, a Socialist, a liar, and have implied that he was a non citizen, a Muslim, and a possible terrorist. Then they chose Mitt Romney as their candidate. Mitt Romney has been around for quite a while and he has never embraced an ideology that was this radical in the past. This led me to believe that he had been chosen as a figurehead and would have to dance to the tune of the right wing of the Republican Party.
Until that stunning debate last week he continued to espouse the radical ideas of the new right, although sometimes in such garbled form that it became clear that the ideas did not originate with him and that he had not internalized them. He made the kinds of mistakes people make when they memorize a script and then try to ad lib. His remarks about the 47% were terribly insulting to almost half of America, but it seemed that he was not really clear about what he was saying because he explained it in at least two different ways after he said it. At the debate we were all astonished when a much more moderate Mitt Romney showed up. I believe that President Obama was so surprised and perhaps disgusted that he decided that to engage would be senseless.
Who is the real Mitt Romney? My guess is that there is no real Mitt Romney or that he really has no idea what he will do. If he does not get really specific about what tax cuts he will make and what loopholes he will close how can we explore the math? We will have no way to know the effects of his tax plan. Have the Republicans asked him to be deliberately vague? Does he think we won’t notice? No one in the GOP is giving the American people much credit for any intelligence or gumption. I remember Mitt Romney used to say that he isn’t worried about the poor because they are taken care of by government programs. Does anyone else remember this? Does CNN have this on tape? Today he said that he isn’t worried about the wealthy because they can take care of themselves. What are we, the voters, supposed to think? If the wealthy are the 1% and the poor are the 47% then that leaves only 52% to be the 100% of the middle class that Mitt Romney is suddenly passionate to help. I never heard him offer to be so nice to the middle class until, let me see, just last week.
Then there is that other issue that Romney is a “pro-lifer” who wants to defund Planned Parenthood on day one. Yet he assures us that there are no anti-abortion laws currently on the agenda (as far as he knows) that he will need to consider. This is no reassurance whatsoever. We can assume that if there is such a law to consider at any point in his tenure he will sign it. One of my sister’s likens Mitt Romney to a “snake oil salesmen” and I can see that. I see him more like those blobs that float around in a lava lamp. They are fascinating to watch as they shift their blobby shapes, but they are constantly changing and cannot be counted on for anything beyond temporary, mindless entertainment. How can anyone vote for a lava lamp? I know we want a strong President, and I know Mitt Romney seemed that way in the debate, but I don’t think he really will be a strong President. He changes his views too easily. He may sound more moderate now, but I still believe that all Republicans have to dance to the tune of the new right or be very quiet.

Why We Need a Do-Over

I want to talk a bit more about racism, because I know many people scoff at this accusation and want to totally discount it as an active factor in Washington. However, I don’t think we’re there yet, in that place where we’re completely color-blind. African-Americans and Caucasian Americans do not all grow up in the same America, even in the 21st century, and, racism in America cuts both ways, if we are completely honest. We even have terms created to describe the phenomenon: racism and reverse racism. These terms are not equal but opposite terms. African-American resentment against white Americans is justified by years of inequality. White “hate” is justified by years of imagined domination and culturally nurtured feelings of superiority. Slack must be cut at least in the case of the former.
I do believe that both racism and reverse racism have lessened and will someday disappear (perhaps I should call that hope). But for now that situation does not pertain. So we have to do that exercise of standing in someone else’s shoes. We have to imagine an American government where African-Americans hold a majority and there are only a few elected Caucasians. Imagine that our President has always been “black” and now a “white” man is elected. Would this President be accepted with open arms and find it possible to “fit right in”; maybe or maybe not? Add to that the huge partisan divide that we have had in America for the past 5 years and you double the chance for shutting out this “new man” who comes hoping to be able to “change” a government, which is perhaps the very thing those who have been in the majority for so long have been most afraid of experiencing. Will this person, whose people have been oppressed for so long, want revenge? Will this person deliberately sabotage the government? Or between the racial divide and the ideological divide is rapprochement just too difficult? A lot of this can be quite subtle or even unconscious, although the ideological divide has been anything but subtle.
It’s quite sad to me that we wasted our opportunity to welcome our first African-American President, who is a very decent and erudite man, and that we made his lovely family uncomfortable in this house of the people. So I say shame on us all. I understand these were hard times but with a bit of trying and a bit of cooperation we might all be in a better place right now. I hope we reelect Barack Obama because I would like to think that we all deserve a “do-over”.

Losing, But Winning

I can’t pretend that I wasn’t bummed out by last night’s debate between Obama and Romney. The debate bothered me right from the beginning because it did not conform to the usual structure for a debate. The loosey-goosey format was disconcerting to me. On the surface, of course, Governor Romney seemed a clear winner. President Obama let him get away with an awful lot. He did not spend a lot of time attacking but seemed to be spending a lot of time on defense. However, all that said, this debate did not make me want to run out and vote for Mitt Romney for President. Although he seemed to have revised some of his approaches, they are not as different as they would need to be to win my vote. He did concede that free enterprise must be reined in a bit with some regulation, but he was not happy with the Dodd-Frank restrictions (as is true of many people, although I don’t know if it is a majority). He was very clear about what parts of Dodd-Frank he would do away with. This is a departure from the Republican base and I had never heard him say this before. He has described his tax plan but in such a vague way that it is impossible to crunch the numbers to see whether this tax plan would increase the deficit or not; we are not even sure whose taxes would increase, whose would decrease, or whose would remain the same.
Romney’s health care plan and his plan for education are the same. Both of these programs would become the domains of the states. I shudder to picture an America with 50 different health care systems and 50 different educational constructs. What is also completely unclear to me is why we would pay our tax dollars to the federal government which would then dole them out to us as vouchers to pay for health care and education. If the states have control of these two areas of our lives but they are not given tax dollars because those tax dollars have been given back to the residents of the state, how will the state afford to fund education or health care? What he is really describing is a totally private system for both health care and education. It would certainly be different, astronomically different; but would it be better? The restructuring alone would be a chaotic mess over a long period of time. I don’t get it and I don’t want it.
Yes Governor Romney seemed strong and he seemed to walk all over President Obama, but I think Obama was so stunned by the things Romney was saying that he didn’t think it worth the bother to argue with him. I believe he felt, as I do, that Romney was hanging himself. This debate was staged as a “night at the fights”. Everyone was sitting around waiting for blood. It was the gladiators and the lions. It was disgusting.
Someone, I think it was David Axelrod, said that you could wrap something up as beautifully as possible but if you didn’t like what was inside, the wrappings would soon found useless, except he didn’t get to finish his thought because Candy Crowley interrupted him, so I finished it for him. I think we also have to consider the things that Governor Romney said about energy as a terrible setback of the progress we have made with the environment. I guess we miss things like acid rain and smog and we want them back. However, a small planet revolving around a warm yellow sun but with no clean water is not a future I want to contemplate. We do need jobs, but jobs won’t matter if we don’t safeguard our planet. There will be 9 billion people on our little earth by 2050. We have to be very careful about what we do to our environment. We have to think it through and study it. The days of wildcat drilling are over. And when Governor Romney talks about drilling on public land exactly what public land is he talking about?
Even the expressions on Governor Romney’s face were weird. He either looked blank or he had this soft look of phony compassion that says “I am hearing your pain”, or “I’m showing how caring I can be”, or “I have to pee”. And yet when Governor Romney discussed the fate of seniors and the disabled he never actually volunteered any help from the government. He actually sounded like they would take care of each other somehow. It was not very reassuring. I definitely preferred President Obama’s facial expressions which were far more normal and actually less condescending. He gave his little smirk that he gives when someone is spewing nonsense and he had to swallow his anger or impatience a few times, but, being a veteran of many meetings, these expressions, although they are “tells”, do not really affect the overall flow of progress in a discussion.
Actually, the Republicans have behaved so badly over the past four years that they should have been benched and not allowed to put a candidate in the 2012 race at all. We should not even have to listen to them repeating over and over again what Obama didn’t do and what they don’t like about what he did do. With the help of the American people who lost their nerve, the Republicans were able to block Obama and the Democrats and they have pouted at our expense because Obama found a way to pass the Affordable Care Act without them. They used tactics that were unfair, that were basically a sort of technical coup d’état and that were probably racist. To expect Obama suddenly to be a good ole boy when he was probably never admitted to the “club” is racist. So I say the American people should bench the Republicans for unsportsmanlike behavior and for really bad policy. I haven’t changed my mind. If Obama still wants to be our President, (although we don’t deserve it) then he’s my man. I still believe that he has the most realistic goals for America.