Showing posts with label Debates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Debates. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Final Pivot

Mitt Romney took his last chance to pivot to the center before a national audience and completely embraced it. No longer the saber rattler, Romney is now on board with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and diplomatic solutions with Iran. There were no attacks on the president's handling of Libya and a whole lot of head nodding in agreement with the president. In fact, dare I say it, Romney seemed quite dovish compared to the president. But that's all part of the plan.

Romney knows that in order to win he needs more women to vote for him. He's closed the gap somewhat but it's still not enough. He also knows that the neocons aren't popular at all in the country (even with many on the right) so it's buh-bye to the tough guy. It's truly amazing to me what this man will say to become president. What exactly does he stand for? Who is he? After last night, he's clearly someone who is a novice on the world stage.

Many pundits (including myself) thought that last night's debate wouldn't matter. I think I may be wrong. Romney played prevent defense because he wants to maintain his "within in striking distance" of getting Ohio. But as any football fan knows, prevent defense prevents you from winning the game. He looked weak last night and too conciliatory to the president. I suspect that deep down many folks on the right are not happy at all about voting for this guy. We may actually see some loss for Romney at the polls with this debate. People like their presidents to look strong.

So, now we head to the final two weeks of the campaign with the president still holding an electoral edge. Obviously, it's going to come down to turnout but at this point, I predict a 281-244 victory for the president (popular vote 50-48) with Virginia votes still being counted in January. Of course, this could change:) Regarding Congress, the Democrats will net 15 seats in the House and they will pick up one seat in the Senate making it 54-46. Essentially, we will basically be right where we are at now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Good Lord...

My wife and I to flip over to Fox News for a laugh after last night's debate and this what we saw.


After a few seconds, I turned to look at her and she looked like she was having deep abdominal pain. What a collection of (ahem) people.

Frank always does a good job of shaping reality for people that are easily susceptible to suggestion (see: most conservative voters) but this video is a perfect illustration of the shrinking demographic of the base. Where are the young people? Where are the people of color?

Seriously, why didn't they just have a "Don't Tread On Me" flag set up in front of themselves...:)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thoughts on the Debate

For those of you wondering what happened to Barack Obama in the first debate need not wonder after tonight. He's back and in massively full force!!

The president did a fantastic job tonight touting his accomplishments and explaining what a second term would mean for the country. He called out Governor Romney for his blatant lies and complete policy about faces in a most excellent way. In fact, I think he spent some of his debate prep watching the videos below. For all you undecided voters out there, there's no need to listen to anyone else but Mitt Romney himself.

I wonder how long it will take (less than a second) for a "Voices in My Head" mouth foam...:)

Anyway, this calling out clearly rattled Romney and, unfortunately for Republicans, this brought out the old Mitt...repeating the same question over and over again ("Have you looked at your pension? Have you looked at your pension?")in a similar way to how he tried to bet Rick Perry $10,000...talking about binders with qualified women (?)...looking the perfect combination of hyper and flustered when told he was wrong about something (the president's post Libya comments)...among many other awkward moments that make it pretty clear that the president won the debate tonight.

On a personal note, I was shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED, to hear the president actually have the guts to say what I have been wanting someone in government to say in the last decade:

Some of those jobs aren't coming back.

Praise the Lord! Someone who is FINALLY honest about globalization. And he followed it up with a very thoughtful and intelligent comment about education and retraining workers. So what does all this mean for the race? I think it will stop the momentum that Governor Romney had and re-energize the Democrats which is really great because they are less enthusiastic about voting than the Republicans.

More importantly, I think it cements the electoral firewall the president has set up in Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa which still makes this a very tough race for Romney to win. But it's still going to be closer than it looked before the first debate which makes it all the more exciting!


The second presidential debate is tonight at Hofstra University and it's very clear that the race has changed since the last debate. If you would have told me before the last debate that the president's chances of re-election went from  347-191 to 281-235 (with Colorado and Virginia being pure tossups), I would have said you were nuts.

But that's what one poor debate performance and a completely new and improved Mitt Romney does for a presidential race. The president has a tough task ahead of him tonight. He has to obviously be more upbeat than he was in the last debate and he also has to challenge Romney on his many about faces on the key issues. Yet he has to do it without seeming belligerent because this is a Town Hall style debate with undecided voters in the audience who would likely frown upon heavy partisan bickering. A tough task, indeed.

What I would do tonight if I were the president is point to his list of accomplishments in office and use them to challenge Romney. The president could say, "Mr Romney says that he is a job creator...well, he's sharing the stage with one right now. I've created 5 million jobs in my four years in office and that was after the greatest economic contraction since the great depression. The stock market is seeing new highs, housing is coming back, and consumer confidence is getting higher everyday. We've cut the deficit by 200 billion. We're on the right track, despite the policies of the past that Governor Romney wants to return us to." This is the way he has to frame it. He can't be the attack dog that the Democrats want him to be.

Another thing he could say to erase the last debate is to say something like, "I was shocked at the last debate to see that Governor Romney has come to my way of thinking on issues like health care and taxes. I'm glad he wants to save social programs and keep most of my health care plan like pre-existing conditions and children being able to be insured by their parents until they are 26. I think it's great that he thinks taxes don't need to be cut for the wealthy. But he still hasn't said how he is going to pay for all of this."

The president can nail Romney on specifics without going negative. He could simply say, "I stand for the wealthy paying more of their fair share of taxes. I want to keep tax cuts permanent for the middle class. I'm looking forward to implementing the rest of my health care plan. Who are you, Governor Romney and what do you stand for?"

This point really has to be driven home because it's enormously aggravating that Romney is now suddenly a moderate who supports helping the middle class. More irritating is the sound of crickets I hear from the Right who now have made it abundantly clear that they just want Barack Obama to lose and it's not because they think his policies are wrong for the country. It's because they KNOW they are starting to be effective (which Romney will, of course, take credit for if he wins) and that would hasten the end (already inevitable, demographically speaking) of their party as they know it. It matters not if Mitt Romney does these things...just as long as it's not Barack Obama.

Honestly, I don't think Mitt Romney can do these things. I think he's a nice guy and he is exactly like all the dads of the kids I with whom I went to school (private school, grades 7-12) but he's not presidential material. The fact that people are now of the mind that he "looks like a president on the TeeVee" is really disappointing to me. I thought we had moved past all that.

I guess I'm very pessimistic about the race at this point. Perhaps it's because there was such a comfortable lead by the president that has now been needlessly squandered and we are left with an honest to goodness nail biter that sadly isn't based on substance. More frustrating is the fact that the Democrats are likely to pick up 12 seats in the House and hold the Senate, possibly even gaining a seat or two, given the fact that the GOP candidates are so awful this year and the Democratic candidates are so good.

281 does win it, however, and so perhaps I'm being overly paranoid. With Ohio holding the way it is (even after the president sucked in the last debate), that means that Romney is going to have to run the table on the rest of the states. Even Frank Luntz says that the president is likely going to win simply because of electoral math.

So, the president could really help himself tonight and I'm hoping that he will!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

More Post Mortem on the Debate

I find it very interesting that the "liberal" media has been so critical of the president since the conclusion of the debate. Why is that? Are they angry that he didn't do his part to make it like a WWE wrestling match?

Moreover, there seems to be a disconnect between the undecided voters and the media's continued ripping of the president. As I flipped around last night checking out each network's coverage of those undecided focus groups, the individual voters interviewed seemed unfazed by the media's take. Their central concern seemed to be that neither candidate was giving them enough information to make a decision. It will be interesting to see how this shows up in the polls.

Here's a graphic that shows how little persuadable voters are interested in the debates.

In addition, none of them reacted well to any hint of negativity which makes the president's strategy last night now seem very wise. Of course, I'm still trying to figure out why he didn't want to be there last night. What was going on? Obviously, the first thought is a negative one: he's aloof, non caring, and an elitist snob. But what if it was something else? Did he have a fight with his wife? Something going on with his daughters? Some other sort of bad news? He's only human after all. We may never know.

A female friend of mine commented on my FB status today on the debate with the following.

I always wonder how the president runs the country and then has to find time to prepare for a debate. Obama looked so tired last night. Not his best debate for sure.

Women love the president and may ultimately be his saving grace from this poor showing with their sympathy.

Another good thing that came out of last night was the "newly discovered" Obama speech from 2007 is now ancient history. The Right can now spend the next few days pouncing on the president for his bad debate performance.

I also disagree with nearly everyone in the media when they say that Mitt's only awkward moment was the Big Bird comment. It wasn't awkward at all and was actually funny. Mentions of Big Bird have gone up 800,000% on Facebook today which shows you just how interested in the substance of the issues the general populace is these days.

Some other notes from around the inter-webs...

Governor Romney didn’t win the election last night, he just stopped losing it. That may not last; the road to the election is still very long and we are more likely than not to see momentum shift back and forth some more. (Walter Russell Mead)

If you watched it without sound – or, even better, if you didn’t speak English, so you could hear the sound but couldn’t understand the words – I have to believe Romney won by a mile. But if you didn’t watch the debate, and read the transcript, what you’d see is the following. When Romney attacked, Obama generally had a policy response – some more persuasive than others, but the response was generally policy-related. When Obama attacked, Romney would generally deny that he took the position that was being attacked. Romney’s palpable zest for the debate made him look like a guy ready to take charge, and the President’s demeanor suggested some willingness to let him do so. But his refusal to stand his ground on anything – and the marked contrast with the President in that regard – made him sound like a snake-oil salesman. (Noah Millman

I’m not particularly concerned with who won the debate, although if I were forced to declare a winner, I’d say Romney did. What I am concerned with was the poor quality of the debate. There was plenty of talk about the working poor and the unemployed, but they were used mostly as props. The crucial issue for the next four years is how to make economic growth work for everyone, how to get people back to work, and how to find and deploy the resources necessary to make our systems function well. I heard a lot more discussion of Dodd-Frank and Simpson-Bowles on Wednesday night than I did on those topics.(Daniel Gross)