I watched last night's debate. Stupid, silly me, I was watching it for substance, and from that perspective at least President Obama cleaned Romney's clock. But right after the debate, which I watched on MSNBC, I found two angry white men screaming hopping mad at Barack Obama on my TV. These two men were venerated "news" man Chris Matthews and the self-appointed Liberal spokesperson and former Republican Ed Schultz. What did they get so worked up about? That Obama was "professorial" (why the f*ck is that a bad word these days, anyway?) and not as aggressive. The closest these screaming heads got to mentioning the policy matters the debate revolved around was lamenting that the President didn't confront a schoolyard bully to a mano-a-mano over his "47%" comment.
Let me quickly summarize my thoughts on the substantive part of this debate, and then expand on them. First, I don't know where the pundit world has been, but last night, President Obama got Mitt Romney to admit outright that he will voucherize and end Medicare as we know it, while he (the president) laid out the expanded benefits in Medicare under Obamacare. Second, Mitt Romney ran so fast from his own tax plan that he should get an Olympic gold medal. Third, President Obama presented a defense of his record in context, with Mitt Romney essentially agreed to the context!
If our media had any modicum of objectivity, this would be the headline: Romney admits he wants to voucherize Medicare!
So, let's talk about Medicare first. You know, what with certain swing states being full of people who are on Medicare and what not. Allow me to draw your attention to this part of the exchange (debate transcript):
PRESIDENT OBAMA: First of all, I think it’s important for Governor Romney to present this plan that he says will only affect folks in the future. And the essence of the plan is that he would turn Medicare into a voucher program. It’s called premium support, but it’s understood to be a voucher program. His running mate --Romney later went on to dispute the $6,000 number, but facts are a stubborn thing, regardless of Mr. Romney's intolerance for them. I couldn't believe this exchange when I heard it. Mitt Romney disowned his own tax plan in the debate, but this is what he chose to stick by - the voucherizing of Medicare? Romney was so hell bent on making it clear that his plan won't destroy Medicare for current retirees (except of course by making it go bankrupt 8 years earlier by repealing Obamacare), President Obama landed an undisputed factual punch: Mitt Romney plans to turn Medicare into vouchercare. Mitt Romney even said at one point that he prefers private insurance to traditional Medicare (hear that, seniors?). On top of that, the President explained the $716 billion in savings in Medicare coming from reducing overpayments to private insurers and and going to extend the life of Medicare and close the drug coverage gap.
MR. LEHRER: And you -- and you don’t support that?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I don’t. And -- and let me explain why.
MR. ROMNEY: Again, that’s for future people --
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I understand.
MR. ROMNEY: -- right, not for current retirees.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: For -- for -- so if you’re -- if you -- you’re 54 or 55, you might want to listen, because this -- this will affect you. The idea, which was originally presented by Congressman Ryan, your running mate, is that we would give a voucher to seniors, and they could go out in the private marketplace and buy their own health insurance. The problem is that because the voucher wouldn’t necessarily keep up with health care inflation, it was estimated that this would cost the average senior about $6,000 a year.
Will the media talk about any of this? Don't be ridiculous. They're too busy writing Mitt Romney's "comeback" story to care about facts.
After owning up to vouchercare, Mitt Romney straight out lied and abandoned his own tax plan!
There was this doozie...
MR. ROMNEY: So -- so if -- if the tax plan he described were a tax plan I was asked to support, I’d say absolutely not. I’m not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut. What I’ve said is I won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. That’s part one. So there’s no economist can say Mitt Romney’s tax plan adds 5 trillion (dollars) if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan.Yeah. Shut up, you economists! Stop telling me my tax plan of an across the board 20% tax cut, plus eliminating the estate tax for rich kids would cost $5 trillion, because I, Mitt Romney, say it does not! Now factually, this means either that Mitt Romney just changed his tax plan on the fly, drawing the sharp retort from the President, "Well, for 18 months he’s been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election, he’s saying that his big, bold idea is “never mind.” "
Alternatively, it means that Mitt Romney was flat out lying about his own plan, as President Obama also pointed out. "And the fact is that if you are lowering the rates the way you describe, Governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. It’s -- it’s math. It’s arithmetic."
So again, if our media had any shame or objectivity, right now it would be busy asking the Romney campaign what the f*ck happened to his tax plan, instead of staging freakout brigades of supposed liberals on MSNBC. The only person I saw challenging the media pre-ordained media narrative was Rev. Al, also on MSNBC, who correctly pointed out that in the age of Google and YouTube, Mitt Romney's spectacularly well-polished lying skills may not be enough to "win."
President Obama got Mitt Romney to admit the terrible hand he was dealt, as he took command and then described how he has worked hard to restore our economy.
Mitt Romney ceded the terrible conditions President Obama found himself in:
MR. ROMNEY: I just don’t know how the president could have come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the -- at the kitchen table and spent his energy and passion for two years fighting for “Obamacare” instead of fighting for jobs for the American people..Wait a minute, wait a minute. What'd Romney say? President Obama came into office facing an economic crisis? Uh oh, watch out there. That's a different version of the story than the Republicans and Mr. Romney himself has been trying to sell - that everything was just peachy before the black dude became president! Was I the only one to notice how this fit perfectly into the President's strong defense of his record, presented in his opening?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, four years ago we went through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Millions of jobs were lost. The auto industry was on the brink of collapse. The financial system had frozen up. And because of the resilience and the determination of the American people, we’ve begun to fight our way back.So, just to recap: President Obama: We came into office in the midst of an economic crisis, and through those tough times worked hard so that now we have 5 million new private sector jobs and a whole American industry saved to show for it. Mitt Romney: Umm... yeah... he kinda did come to office in the midst of an economic crisis (obviously) not of his own making.
Over the last 30 months, we’ve seen 5 million jobs in the private sector created. The auto industry has come roaring back and housing has begun to rise. But we all know that we’ve still got a lot of work to do. And so the question here tonight is not where we’ve been but where we’re going. Governor Romney has a perspective that says if we cut taxes, skewed towards the wealthy, and roll back regulations that we’ll be better off.
Somebody please tell me why this is a win for Romney, because my geeky brain is having a lot of trouble understanding that part.
I have been saying this for a while, but the angry white men on the Professional Left need to take a chill pill. Please quit losing your crap every time Barack Obama fails to run his campaign according to your considered advice. Please try to realize that he's in the order of magnitude smarter than you, more cool and collected than you in crisis (this was the man that lead us out of a second Great Depression and gave the order to take out bin Laden), and frankly, far more politically astute than you (see President of the United States, first African American). Stop yelling at him, and start doing your jobs. Now would be a good time.