Thoughts on the 1st Presidential Debate

Last week President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney squared off in the first of three debates. It is widely reported that Romney “won” the debate and gained some momentum in his otherwise stagnant campaign. Personally, I thought Romney came off as a bit more forceful and more conversational than I had seen him previously, while Obama didn’t seem to bring his A game. That being said, I don’t think it will swing the election to Romney; I still believe Obama will win a tight race.

Clearly Romney was prepped very well. While both candidates hammered their messages wherever possible, the former governor appeared more decisive and engaged. A few thoughts:

  • Romney asserts that his energy program would create 4 million new jobs. That’s an absurd claim and one that he never bothered to back up with any facts. Even more implausible was his proclamation that he would somehow create 12 million total new jobs. We are creating around 125,000 jobs a month now. If we double that, which isn’t likely, it would take five years of uninterrupted growth to get there. Does that seem reasonable to you? It simply can’t happen.
  • Throughout the debate Romney tried to position himself as the champion of the middle class, which after his 47% remark came off as a bit disingenuous to me. That being said, he was absolutely correct when he said that price increases crush the middle class. That is the brutal effect of inflation.
  • Romney was clearly pandering to middle America by claiming to support coal, which is on its way out as an important power source in this country. It is too dirty and has been supplanted by cheaper natural gas.
  • Romney hammered Obama for proposed tax cuts on the military. The truth is that our military budget is larger than the next dozen countries combined and can easily be reduced without sacrificing our defense one bit. Cuts must be made as part of a larger effort to reduce the deficit.
  • Romney was correct when he stated that raising taxes, as Obama proposes, will likely slow economic growth and stunt job creation. The best way to increase tax revenue is to broaden the tax base, not increase the tax burden. I also agree that we should move more spending from the national to the state levels.
  • I don’t understand how Romney can justify his opposition to Obamacare when it is build on virtually the same model as the health care program he instituted as the Governor of MA.
  • Obama correctly hammered Romney on his lack of specific details in his economic plans. It’s easy to say you’ll reduce taxes, add jobs and reduce the deficit. It’s harder to show how that’s actually possible. 
  • Romney had the best line of the night accusing Obama, with a nod to the Reagan-era, of “trickle down government”. I like that a lot.

Overall, Romney came across as better prepared, more on point and better engaged while Obama was hesitant and disengaged as he attempted to remain above the fray. I’m sure that will change with the next debate. Still, the debate is simply a beauty contest; more style than substance. It’s still Obama’s election to lose. And it’s one in which every American should vote because it affect’s your money and your life.

7 thoughts on “Thoughts on the 1st Presidential Debate

  1. Here’s the deal with the election: Doesn’t matter who says what. Doesn’t matter how they say it. ACTIONS ALWAYS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS and WE, as Americans, have a HUGE problem:

    The threat of total annihilation. That’s right. I don’t mean to seem sensational – but Islamic Fundamentalism is our biggest threat right now. Indeed, we have many domestic issues that need solving. But what’s the point if we have no country in which to solve these domestic issues? If the country doesn’t exist – our domestic issues vanish. National Security is, by far, our TOP priority. Why?

    With the coups sweeping the Middle East, fundamentalism is becoming stronger and modernity is weakening day by day. King Huessin of Jordan, may he rest in peace, would have been assassinated by now because he was one of the most progressive leaders the Islamic world ever had (Sadat of Egypt being the notable other, who, indeed, was murdered by one of his own fundamentalists). In fact, it’s important to point out here that some of the most progressive leaders of the Middle East were murdered by their own – both were fundamentalists. Sadat was murdered by an Egyptian fundamentalist and Rabin of Israel was murdered by an Israeli fundamentalist.

    This is NOT an Arab-Israeli Conflict. This is a Western-Fundamentalist Conflict.

    Fundamentalism teaches that those of Western thought/lifestyle/belief are the devil and they must do everything in their power to annihilate Western existence. And it grows like a weed. So the death of Osama bin Laden means NOTHING. It only serves to feed the prevalent anti-Western sentiment across their culture.

    With that said, the ONLY democracy in the Middle East is Israel. She shares the same values, priorities, and goals as the US. Historically, these two allies have enjoyed a very close relationship. AIPAC is the largest and most endowed lobby on the hill and Israel provides the US with a stable ally in the Middle East.

    However, this relationship is severely frayed thanks to the Obama administration who doesn’t even recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Romney does:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2012/jul/30/mitt-romney-jerusalem-capital-israel-video

    Coming from a region who collectively wants to annihilate the US, we NEED Israel for her stabilizing presence in the Middle East, her expertise in terrorism, and for her loyalty to us.

    Israel-US relations are at an all time low – coming at a time when fundamentalism is stronger and more prevalent than ever.

    We can not afford to have Obama in for a second term. This is not about thriving – it’s about surviving.

    Thanks for reading – sorry it’s a little long. Just wanted to make sure everyone has the macroperspective on THE MOST important issue today.

    Take Care,
    Danielle
    Former Israeli Economic Attache to the US – Midwest Region
    Masters in Mid-East Politics

  2. Wow, two extraordinary, provocative and well articulated perspectives, both undoubtedly valid opinions and viewpoints most certainly worth a second read! I will and then weigh in…. in the meantime thanks for providing meaningful insights that are not media driven!

    Brian

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