Rope-A-Dope v. Etch-A-Sketch

October 6, 2012

Barack Obama brought his genial demeanor and prose to a knife fight. Mitt Romney brought his inner bully and an Etch-a-Sketch. Romney kept writing checks his platform won’t cover and basic math indicates he can’t cash. Obama seemed both bemused and befuddled. The President came to debate a Romney who has downplayed his inner moderate to prevail in the kill-or-be-killed Republican primaries. Through the Republican convention, Romney has held fast to the convictions of his party’s right wing, even choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Last night, Romney pressed the button. Obama was either unprepared or unwilling to point this out. On an evening that is granted undeserved independent significance and uses an unwieldy format, the candidates must police themselves. Obama’s rope-a-dope strategy fell flat. This was no time to remain above the fray. In the absence of any meaningful context, the way reporters and talking heads prefer to score this “event,” Romney has been declared the winner.

Some undecided voters may even be swayed by Romney’s “performance,” but actions should speak louder than one evening’s words. In a democracy, a politician should also be judged by the company he keeps, the legislation he’s supported or opposed, and the policies he’s espoused elsewhere. Re-dos should only sparingly be granted.

Shape-shifting for 90 minutes can win a battle, but will it win the war? Not if the President chooses to fight back. Eventually, the truth will out. One hopes.

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[edited out – I’m limited to 240 words and overnight I took this in another direction . . .:]

Will the safety net survive? Paul Ryan, channeling Ayn Rand, sees no need for one. Governor Romney claimed states can’t wait to take responsibility for medicare funding and a whole lot more. Really? State and local governments have been shedding jobs so rapidly the past few years that staffing up to assume new, critical societal functions seems inconceivable.

Romney’s not going to raise anyone’s taxes, but he will “fully support” education. My sister, a lifelong Republican who is a school counsellor in Massachusetts is going to vote for Obama because of what Romney did to that state’s educational system when he was the governor. Talk’s cheap.

No new taxes will be needed because 20% cuts in federal spending (excluding the defense budget) will create enough new good-paying jobs to shore up revenues (along with closed tax loopholes that shall not be named). Cutting the federal budget by 20% will put a lot of people out of work, eliminating their wages from the economy. How quickly, if ever, will the “new jobs” be created? Will the laid off federal workers be able to get them? In the interim, what will keep the economy from cratering and the deficit/debt from exploding?

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