Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Obama vs Romney: Who Won? Presidential Debate No. 1

Tonight we had the well-coiffed, white-toothed American hustler versus the embattled President.  This debate was similar to the famous Kennedy Nixon debate of the 1960's.  If you listened to that debate on the radio, you would have clearly thought that Nixon won.  If you watched the debate on TV, you would have given the victory to Kennedy.  Looks and body language make a big difference.  In this case, we had Romney standing tall and looking strong.  He was aggressive and didn't mind looking at Obama while attacking him.  Obama, uncomfortable in the attack role, appeared more hunched over and defensive.  He didn't look at Romney while answering him, which appeared to give him a more submissive posture, not a good thing when you are a sitting President.

This is bad news for Obama, because Romney is an empty suited, principle-bereft goddamn liar.  He is little more than a good looking con man who deserves to be in jail for his financial misdeeds instead of running for President. Obama was living in the real world during the debate, using facts and arithmetic to defend his positions and expose the consistent lies vomiting forth by Romney.  But the American people don't care about facts or arithmetic.  They want to believe the myth that cutting taxes for the rich will lead to increased revenue, even though this hasn't worked for Reagan or Bush Jr., and in fact increased the national debt. Tonight Romney managed to flip flop once again.  Like his stand on abortion, he moves according to what works.  So before tonight, he was all for reducing taxes on the rich and fully repealing Obamacare, good parts and all.  Now, all of a sudden, he wants to keep the taxes on the rich the same and keep the good parts of Obamacare.  It's amazing what being down in the polls and 5 weeks before an election can do for your platform.

Despite the tensions, the policies of the two men on many areas are unfortunately too close.  On education, both want to continue programs which lead to students taking more mindless, fact-driven standardized tests.  Both want to continue drone attacks and stomp on the civil rights that leads to more terrorism.  These facts aren't highlighted, however, because it's more comfortable for us to believe that we have a real choice in this election.

We do have a real choice, but not the one we need.  This election is only important because the United States is so powerful.  The little choices we make have a big impact.  So if we give Israel the go ahead to start World War III in the Middle East, this means hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake.  Or if we decide to elect Romney and have him choose another crypto-fascist like Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court, then indefinite detention, extrajudicial killings, torture, and all the other civil rights violations are on the table.  And this has very real consequences for our freedoms.

The only reason the Republican Party even has any chance at winning is because it holds a trump card--abortion.  There are millions of decent, God-fearing, religious people in this country who are horrified by legalized abortion.  They believe that life begins at conception and this issue is very important to them.  As such, they put their faith in the Republican Party, hoping they will make abortion illegal.  The problem is that the Republicans know this, and they aren't going to give up their trump card by making abortion illegal.  Ronald Reagan and both Bushes were able to essentially do whatever they wanted during their terms, but somehow they expended almost no effort to end legalized abortion.  Other than discussing the issue at election time and banning stem cell research, they did nothing.  They appointed most of the current Supreme Court justices, and yet they still haven't gotten abortion overturned.  This is no accident.  This is amazing considering the fact that Ronald Reagan managed to get away with funding illegal arms sales to the Contras, illegally bombing whoever he wanted, and nearly bankrupting the country with debt by giving tax breaks to the rich and spending like Kim Kardashian on speed.  George W. Bush got away with lying about weapons of mass destruction to start two major wars that tripled the deficit.  His financial policies led to the biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression.  He got away torture, indefinite detention, and illegal spying.  Yet we are somehow to believe that he couldn't pull off ending abortiont?  Please.

Regarding the debate--this sure wasn't the intellectual equivalent of the Lincoln Douglas debates.  That is for damn sure.  In an age of television, marketing, and the public relations industry running campaigns, it's all about sound bites, appearances, and manipulation.

We're all the losers in this election, regardless of who wins.  If it's Romney, however, we can add to our losses the increased demise of the middle class as well.  At the end of the day, abortion is still going to be legal and we will still be arguing about gay marriage while our jobs are outsourced, college becomes more unaffordable, and we can all work three shitty paying jobs to pay for our increased gas and food bills while Mitt Romney's friends on Wall Street look down from their penthouses and from their gated communities, laugh, and tell the remaining 99% to eat cake.  After all, "we can't worry about them."

God bless America.

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