Election 2012

Romney Won the Debate, But Will the Country Lose?

Mitt Romney's and Barack Obama's visions for government are more alike than different.

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Last night's presidential debate between Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney was far more substantive and wonky than most watchers would have ever predicted. More important, given Romney's strong showing and nearly complete domination of Obama, it shows that the race between them—already tight—is only going to get tigher over the last weeks of the election season. That's good news for the Romney camp.

At the same time, and despite multiple attempts by the moderator of the debate and the participants themselves to stake out radically different visions of the role of government, Obama and Romney were far more similar than different when they talked policy. That's bad news for the country.

Last night may have been the first night that many Americans—including diehard Republicans and possibly even the former Massachusetts governor himself—could really envision Romney occupying the White House and running the federal government. He was by turns charming, insistent, deferential, heated, and always on point.

Romney has always come off as almost a pretend-human—he wears blue jeans like medieval monks wore hair shirts—but last night the Romneybot easily passed the Turing Test. He had answers for just about everything and, most flattering to his candidacy, they were not perfect or glib. They were engaged and responsive to what was going on in front of him. He wisely stressed the core of his case to replace Obama, which was the president's own record. Twenty-plus millions (still) out of work, an anemic recovery (indeed, a recovery that is in many ways worse than the recession itself was), a failure to prioritize (his best large point might have simply been that Obama picked the wrong time to undertake health care reform when he should have focused instead on the economy).

For his part, Obama appeared off from the moment he started talking, invoking his anniversary and giving a shout-out to the missus in the audience. It was a forced gesture at best, seemingly calculated to draw oohs from the crowd, and it was all downhill from there. Whenever answering a question, he seemed to pile on answers and throw out phrase after phrase like a contestant from the old $25,000 Pyramid game show, desperately searching for that magic string of words would hook the audience or flatten Romney.

It's a small point but a telling one: If you're what used to be called the leader of the free world, the custodian of the largest economy and mightiest nation on Earth, and you're talking about ending tax breaks for the owners of corporate jets, it's not your night to shine.

Early polls of debate watchers scored the event a clear win for Romney (67 percent in a CNN survey thought the former governor won versus 25 percent for the president) which is all the worse for Obama since he was expected to win by most viewers.

So there's plenty of good news for Romney and his Republicans, and a lot of long nights ahead for Obama and his supporters.

The bad news from last night's debate affects those of us who suit up for neither Team Red or Team Blue and the 60 percent majority who feel government is already trying to do too much. Debate moderator Jim Lehrer constantly drew attention to the notion that Obama and Romney were in fundamental disagreement over the size, scope, and function of government. That they had radically different visions for the United States when it came to the issues under discussion. The candidates gamely obliged, saying yes to each invocation of hard-core splits.

But such claims were nowhere to be found in what the candidates were actually talking about. To be sure, Obama played the role of traditional liberal. He stressed a need to balance respect for free enterprise and freedom (the "genius" of America, he declared at one point) with a muscular vision of a large government that helped people out every day and in every way (he unconvincingly linked this vision to Abraham Lincoln's support for land-grant colleges during the Civil War). He openly embraced the phrase Obamacare to describe his signature legislative accomplishment from his first (only?) term in office. He defended Dodd-Frank financial regulations not so much on the grounds that it was good policy but that the only possible alternative was zero regulation. He talked about adding even more teachers (ostensibly paid for from the federal till) and never touching the old-age entitlements (Medicare, Social Security, and the large chunk of Medicaid that goes to seniors) that are bankrupting the country.

Romney pointed to all this and defined himself as having a boldly different vision, one that…supported the private sector and individual initiative and achievement and…a virtually indistinguishablly big government.

When it came to all the major spending elements in the federal budget, Romney is far, far more like Obama than he is different. When it comes to Medicare, his vision of "premium support" or vouchers with which seniors would buy care is so far off in the distance that it might as well not exist at all. Since 1975, Medicare spending per enrollee in real dollars has doubled even as the numbers of enrollees doubled. That's not in spite of reform efforts—it's because of them. The system is the problem.

Romney stressed that nobody anywhere near the age of 65 had anything to worry about, that things wouldn't change for them. Which is another way of saying that we will keep kicking the can down the road until there is no more road (and then we'll keep kicking it anyway). He stressed that he wasn't going to cut education funding. That we needed to keep plowing more dollars into defense spending (without mentioning the 70-percent-plus increase in real funding to the military over the last dozen years). That he wasn't going to repeal and replace "all" of Obamacare. His praise of his signature state-level health-care reform in Massachusetts is troubling, to say the least, given that state's massively expensive health care spending. That while Dodd-Frank was bad (and it is) he wasn't going to do away with all regulation. That he's going to help "small businesses," help kids go to college, and on and on. 

In his campaign literature, Romney stresses that he will bring government spending—the single most-meaningful proxy for the size and scope of government—down to 20 percent of GDP "by the end of his first term" (Obama in contrast would spend over 22 percent). Let's leave aside some inconvenient facts for the current moment. Such as that Romney has never credibly indicated how he will accomplish that, especially given his repeated commitments to fully funding Medicare, Social Security, and defense spending at current or higher levels. Or that the Republican budget plan authored by his running mate Paul Ryan and passed by the House earlier this year forecasts federal revenues over the next decade as averaging just 18 percent of GDP, thereby guaranteeing 10 more years of deficits.

The plain fact is that even at 20 percent that level of government is far too much for us to afford. Since 1945, the federal government has managed to raise revenue equal to more than 20 percent of GDP precisely once—in 2000—and that was in a year where the feds spent the equivalent of 18.2 percent of GDP (did we go hungry or unclothed or uneducated in 2000?). And that's assuming that Romney is actually able to deliver on numbers.

Which brings us to an issue that haunted the debate hall last night: The recent history of the last time a Republican president occupied the White House. The Republican Party has not remotely come to terms with just how disastrous George W. Bush's two terms in office were in terms of expanding government. That for six of his years in power he had a Republican Congress only makes the disaster more complete. Across every possible area of activity, Bush and the Republicans performed not just poorly but abysmally. They increased spending and executive power and regulations and war and entitlements and just about everything else you can imagine. That's a millstone around the GOP and especially its standard-bearer in the 2012 election. Republicans clearly have a better grasp of the rhetoric of limited-government, but their actions speak louder than words (look at the chart above of federal outlays per capita and despair).

It's genuinely pathetic when Obama trots out his predecessor George W. Bush as the catch-all answer for why everything is rotten nearly four years into an Obama presidency, but he's got a point: Bush did drive us into a ditch. That Obama has spun his wheels and dug us in even deeper in no way changes that fact. But it does mean that when Romney lays out a vision of government that at best trims a bit off where Bush and Obama have landed us, it's not going to be particularly convincing no matter how well he performs in a debate.

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  1. It was glorious watching Romney say how much he LOVED regulation, regulation, regulation.

    He will repeal Romneycare, but keep the pre-existing condition clause. Everyone knows the personal mandate was only tacked on BECAUSE of the pre-existing condition clause.

    He may have spoke better, but his positions went right off the cliff.

    1. “He will repeal Romneycare, but keep the pre-existing condition clause.”

      “And with regards to health care, you had remarkable details with regards to my pre-existing condition plan. You obviously studied up on — on my plan. In fact, I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions.”

      Now read the plan very carefully:
      “Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage”

      http://www.mittromney.com/issues/health-care

      1. yeah, he dissembled on what would actually happen to those people, because Obama wants to force insurers to take them on, Romney just wants to keep them from being dropped, but in the end neither solution is very practical…its just playing to the anecdote vote.

        1. “yeah, he dissembled on what would actually happen to those people”

          How did he dissemble? His plan includes current law. Individuals with pre-existing conditions who MAINTAIN coverage can not be discriminated against.

          1. yeah but he talked like it was exactly what would happen under Obama’s plan (meaning the uninsured pre-existing conditions would get coverage…they won’t)

            1. “yeah but he talked like”

              No, he talked like this:

              “And with regards to health care, you had remarkable details with regards to my pre-existing condition plan. You obviously studied up on — on my plan. In fact, I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions”

              Where you hear that he “talked like it exactly what would happen under Obama;s plan” is where you’re hearing what you want to hear. It’s not there. It’s not in the plan he is referring to and it’s not in his statement.

              1. That beatdown was Romneyesque.

              2. And what plan would that be?

    2. honest question:
      Its commonly understood that politicians knowingly lie. They lie to peel off votes. Is it possible that promising to keep the pre-existing clause is simply a tactic to peel off votes?

      I understand that it seems lie those of us who want smaller govt are usually the ones lied to, but could this just be an instance of lying to the other side?

      If you dont believe someone in general, should you not believe the stuff that they say with which you disagree?

      1. I understand that it seems lie those of us who want smaller govt are usually the ones lied to, but could this just be an instance of lying to the other side?

        Yes, clap if you want Tink to live! I DO believe in fairies! I DO believe in fairies.

        1. Well put, Stormy.

      2. In my experience when they are either pointing out the flaws in their opponent, or talking about increasing/maintaining government power they aren’t lying.

        The rest of the time they probably are.

      3. Any of you have a better idea for how to deal with people with pre-existing conditions?

    3. There’s also the fact that while Romney won on presentation hands down, to anyone who’s not completely inummerate, the impossiblity of his tax proposal was obavious. He’s gonna cut taxes, but not reduce revenue. He’s going to eliminate deductions, but not shift the burden. He’s going to create new spending, but reduce the deficit. And how is he going to accomplish these wonders? It’s a secret!

      The fact Obama couldn’t take that apart is pretty sad.

      1. Cutting tax rates doesn’t necessarily reduce tax revenue. Sometimes it increases it. Laffer Curve, baby.

    4. I’m too depressed to care anymore.

      1. Try indifference. It feels better.

  2. Any bets on how likely a decent Republican candidate is in 2016? Any chance Paul changes his mind and runs again?

    1. By then he’ll be older than Reagan was when he ran against Carter.

      1. He’s already several years older than Reagan was in ’80.

    2. We’ll get the younger Paul, who has been shaped his political career very specifically to appeal to the mainstream republicans so as to avoid the connection difficulties of his father.

      Personally, I look forward to it.

      1. Not if Romney wins.

        Or maybe if Romney wins and it is a total disaster, but doubtful that he’d primary a sitting president.

    3. Any bets on how likely a decent Republican candidate is in 2016?

      It’s going to be Romney running for re-election.

      Any chance Paul changes his mind and runs again?

      No.

    4. Past history indicates it’s going to be the second place finisher from the last contested primary. So Santorum is the most likely nominee in 2016.

      1. Yeah, I don’t think so. That’s a sample size of “1” right there.

        1. Romney came in second to McCain in 2008
          McCain came in second to W in 2000
          Dole came in second to HW in 1988
          HW came in second to Reagan in 1980
          Reagan came in second to Ford in 1976

          Only miss is W in 2000 and that because Buchannan (second to Dole in 1996) had left the party entirely.

          If Romney loses, the GOP meme will be that it was because they nominated a moderate again, and if they had voted for a “real conservative” like Santorum, he would have won easily. Four years of Limbaugh, etc. repeating that as gospel and most of the Republican base will believe it when the 2016 primaries roll around.

          1. Santorum only appeals to evangelicals. If that was enough to get you nominated, Huckabee would be the nominee right now. And he only finished second this year because he had no competition for the evangelical vote. That is unlikely to be true in 2016.

            And everyone knows there is nothing “conservative” about Santorum.

            1. Santorum only appeals to evangelicals

              In a sane world, you’d be right. But you wouldn’t believe the number of die-hard Republicans I know that are convinced Santorum is a libertarian leaning moderate.

              And I know he’s not actually conservative, hence the irony quotes. But he’s what passes for conservative in a big chunk of the GOP electorate.

              1. I will say this. If Obama wins and things really go south, the danger would be that a populist demagogue would replace him. And Santorum is about as close to that as we have. But something tells me that if the country went populist demagogue it would be for a candidate a lot more sinister than little Ricky.

                1. The problem with populist demagogues is that the usually only look sinister in hindsight.

            2. Santorum is the worst of both sides. Big spending socon.

              1. Yes, he’s mostly in the opposite corner of the Nolan Chart: a populist, the opposite of a libertarian.

          2. Only miss is W in 2000 and that because Buchannan (second to Dole in 1996) had left the party entirely.

            No f-ing way Buchanan would have gotten the nomination in 2000 even if he had stayed in the party. He left the party because he knew this.

            HW Bush got the nom because he was Reagan’s veep and McCain got it over the objections of tons of Republicans in ’08, because he was the darling of independents. I’ll give you Dole and Romney as “intertia” candidates.

          3. Huckabee came in 2nd to McCain in 2008
            Buchanon came in 2nd to Bush in 92
            HW was picked in 88 because he was the sitting VP, not because of his 2nd plae finish in 80

          4. If Romney loses, the GOP meme will be that it was because they nominated a moderate again,

            …and that therefore they’d better nominate a clear “liberal” in 2016.

            Consider who they got after Goldwater got creamed for the presidency: Nixon. And if it hadn’t been Nixon, then it would’ve been a (George) Romney, a Rockefeller, etc. Eventually thru appointments and succession they wound up with Gerald Ford. Following Ford, Reagan was an anomaly; the Bushes, more typical.

        2. Two. McCain finished second in 2000. But I don’t think so either. If Romney loses people like Christie and Jindal and Rubio and who knows else will run. Santorum won’t have a chance.

          1. As much as I’d like Christie to be the nominee, he’d end up being Guilianni II. Everyone loves him up to the second he starts running and runs into the litmus test on issues like abortion.

          2. Christie, Jindal, Rubio (and Rand Paul) was my exact list when I thought of this question. Maybe add another GOP Governor from somewhere. Santorum will run though, but I don’t think he’d win. Think Bloomberg would give it a go?

            1. I bet he wants to. But I have a feeling the next four years won’t be so good for NYC. That would probably kill his hopes.

        3. Seems pretty accurate:

          2012: Romney (2nd, 2008)
          2008: McCain (2nd, 2000)
          2000: Bush II (N/A)
          1996: Dole (2nd, 1988)
          1988: Bush I (2nd, 1980)
          1980: Reagan (2nd, 1976 1968)
          1968: Nixon (N/A)

          1. Come to think of it, Buchanan throws a bit of wrench into it since he primaried Bush I and lost massively to Dole in ’96. I guess most Republicans just pretend it never happened.

            1. You’re thinking of Pat Robertson. And I don’t consider one guy running against a sitting president in his own party and getting 13% of the vote to be a contest primary.

              1. Robertson was ’88. Buchanan was ’92.

              2. No wait, Robertson was in 1992. Sorry, I keep getting Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan mixed up.

                1. Outside of trivia, it’s not like there’s a good reason to remember them anyway.

                  1. They’re also both pasty white republican socons who spend most of their time bloviating about how much they hate changing society on basic cable and who are named Pat.

                    They have too much in common for my brain to keep them conceptually separated apparently.

                    1. Pat Buchanan is the one that had red hair.

          2. Sample size of 7 with 2 errors? No, that’s not accurate. And don’t bring up the silliness of Buchanan leaving the party — if the pattern really did work, why the hell would he have left the GOP to run as a third party candidate?

    5. It won’t matter if they cloned Reagan in 2016, Texas will be blue if the current Hispanic boom continues to outpace projections. Gerrymandering is at it’s limits, there is no more wiggle room. At that point you will have two parties to choose from: Democratic Party and the Socialist Party.

      1. Texas will be blue if the current Hispanic boom continues to outpace projections.

        Which is really weird if you look at how socially conservative and hardworking the stereotypical new Hispanic immigrant is. With their values, they should be lining up to vote GOP. W missed a very big opportunity to sell the GOP brand to Hispanics nationwide.

        1. Mexico is not a completely fucked up country because Mexicans reject socialism.

          1. I’m not sure what the point of that comment is. They have more nationalized services than the USA, if you were trying to compare that aspect.

  3. “Which brings us to an issue that haunted the debate hall last night: The recent history of the last time a Republican president occupied the White House.”

    “It’s genuinely pathetic when Obama trots out his predecessor George W. Bush as the catch-all answer for why everything is rotten nearly four years into an Obama presidency”

    If you can do it, why can’t Obama?

    1. Reading comprehension is a valuable skill.

      1. There’s a whole paragraph on Bush and the GOP regarding spending. Tell me what the purpose of the paragraph is.

        1. Did that paragraph state that Bush is the catch-all explanation to why everything is rotten four years into Obama’s presidency? No, so your post makes no sense.

          1. “Did that paragraph state that Bush is the catch-all explanation to why everything is rotten four years into Obama’s presidency?”

            No, it’s a catch-all explanation as to why Romney = Bush. It’s the same argument Obama makes.

            1. Ok then you should have said that, because that’s not the same thing you said Reason claimed. And Romney is Bush 3.0. Obama is 2.0

              1. “And Romney is Bush 3.0”

                Yeah, that’s a lot easier to argue than actually reading transcripts or examining records. Also. Na-na boo boo.

                1. Tell me these great differences wise guy? Romney doesn’t want to cut Medicare or education spending. In fact, he hasn’t proposed cutting anything of substance. He wants more military spending, just like Bush, and has pretty much the exact same foreign policy. He’s proposing to do even less about SS than Bush did. Both guys supported TARP. Both supported some form of stimulus when the recession hit. Both guys have atrocious views on civil liberties. What are these differences? And what is that last line supposed to mean? You’re the one who throws a hissy fit every time someone doesn’t join you in carrying water for Romney

  4. but what does The Jacket think?

  5. Romney: “You’re damn right I’m an unprincipled serial flipflopper who cares more about the sheen on his boat than a philosophy of government. And I just showed you why that works for me.”

    1. Yes, and that just drives you crazy, doesn’t it?

      1. Not especially. He still won’t win.

        1. He might, if professor obama performs in his next two debates as he did tonight, he’ll lose a huge amount of independents.

          1. If Mitt Romney out-panders and out-‘centers’ our Lightworker Uniter, I will just laugh for days.

            1. and then shed a single tear for lost libertarian causes.

              1. Given that both of them are so obviously The Suck, I’ve decided that this Election is for the Lulz.

                And Obamatron tears are way tastier.

                1. Do you want your tears in one glorious election week? Or do you want them dripped out over four more years as Obama’s second term becomes the biggest train wreck in American history?

                  Each choice has its merits.

                  1. I am honestly not sure what would be yummier. The tears if Obama loses, or the tears as Obama fucks up the country for the next four years.

                    I honestly think that it might be *extremely* enjoyable to watch progressives twist and writh in agony when their beloved leader is forced to deal with the fiscal collapse brought about by his deficit spending.

                    That might be far, far, more yummy than the week or so of tears that would follow a Romney victory. A Romney victory would fllowed by years of having to explain to people why Romney isn’t a libertarian.

                    1. Some of us have kids, bills, ambitions, etc… and would rather no see the apocalypse occur in the near future.

                    2. Thank you, Drake. I’m not sure why so many libertarians think that the Fiscalypse is going to inevitably lead to a lessening of state action and an increase in liberty.

                      Still voting for GJ, want O to lose, but think he’s going to narrowly win instead.

                      It really depends on how jacked-up (if at all) the Dem oversampling is in these state polls. If O loses 3-4 points of support in a couple of key states, maybe less than that, he loses.

                    3. I’m not sure why so many libertarians think that the Fiscalypse is going to inevitably lead to a lessening of state action and an increase in liberty.

                      We’re so far gone, how much further could we go? Actually if it leads to some sort of horrible Hugo-Chavez like authoritarian, we could enjoy calling progressive a bunch of facists, and it wouldn’t even be hyperbole.

                      I would love to torture progressives with what a bunch of demonstrable facists they are at heart. See? This is the shit your ideals lead to, assholes. See?

                    4. …and then they shoot you for being a subversive.

                    5. I choose the tears from Obama fucking up the country for four more years. If romney gets in and fucks it up, we’ll be treated to a litany of bogus, “See? Free markets don’t work!” arguments, we’ll elect Obama II, the Revenge of Obama.

                    6. We might even re-elect Obama in 16.

                    7. Hahahaha… no.

                  2. Do you want your tears in one glorious election week?

                    Yep.

                    One thing I am looking forward to is pounding the Republicans on all their lies as of January 20, 2013.

                    1. Like I always tell the Reason staff. If Romney wins, liberals will pretend to be your friends and that they care about civil liberties again. So there is always that.

          2. It’s possible. Romney has only led once in national polls and I think that was in 2011. Nate Silver says debates have a maximum bump of 3 points nationally and Mitt may achieve that. Swing states are even worse for Romney, so it goes without saying that one would rather be in Obama’s poll position and have his debate performance than the reverse.

            I thought it was a good debate actually, and Romney definitely won on style, which is all the media seemed to care about.

            1. If there is anyone to blame for the fact that Style is superior to Substance, it’d be the guy who thundered on about “healing the planet” in front of Greek columns.

              1. And someday when the earth is a smouldering cinder there will still be Wolf Blitzer commenting on the posture and gait of President Zipp Romney.

                1. Tony,

                  You sound angry, defensive. Do you need a hug? Do need to talk to someone, you know someone with some professional expertise in dealing with grief?

            2. Nate Silver says debates have a maximum bump of 3 points nationally

              Then Nate Silver is full of shit. See Carter vs. Reagan, Reagan vs. Mondale, and Bush vs. Dukakis, just to pull three very easy examples right off the top of my head.

              Also, in the next few days we’re not just going to see the result of this debate: we’re going to see the result of this debate combined with the result of the release of the entire disgusting Obama racial tirade about the government that the country had never seen before, until now.

              1. Carter Reagan is the most applicable here. Obama’s only justification for re-election is that Romney is unfit for office. Last night did a lot of damage to that argument.

              2. Reagan got a 2.8% bump. Mondale got a 3.6% bump and Bush got a 0.9% bump. So not sure how Silver is full of shit.

                http://graphics8.nytimes.com/i…..log480.jpg

                1. Reagan got a bigger bump than that. The debate was on October 28th. The election was less than a week away and Reagan won by 9 points. That chart is misleading.

                  1. Yeah, the only way Silver’s ridiculous claim can be made to seem plausible is if you limit the bump to only the first day or so after the debate takes place.

                  2. The polls in the “before” row consist of a simple average of all polls that ended their interviewing within a week before the first debate. The polls in the “after” row consist of those that began their interviewing in the week that followed it.

                    1. But Mo. I Reagan Carter there was this poll called the election less than a week after the debate.

                    2. Right. But you have to compare like to like. Who know what an election held before the debates would have looked like to compare. If Gallup was so far off compared to the election, what makes you think they had their finger on the pulse before the debate.

                    3. That is true MO. But that just means the polls were bogus and you can’t tell what kind of a bump Reagan got.

                  3. Exploding the Reagan 1980 Comeback Myth

                    “The legend of Reagan’s epic comeback is largely the result of anomalous Gallup polling, which even showed a Carter advantage over the final month of the campaign. But if RealClearPolitics or Pollster.com had existed in 1980, the conventional wisdom would have been a little different. In fact, Reagan held a lead from mid-September onward and had a two or three point lead heading into the debates. Private polling conducted for the Reagan and Carter campaigns showed the same thing. Reagan’s 10 point victory is a precedent for sweeping undecided voters, but it isn’t a model for a come-from-behind victory.”

                  4. Reagan was winning before the debate with Carter:

                    http://www.outsidethebeltway.c…..ts1980.png

                    1. Even if you throw away the Gallup polls from back then as outliers and only look at the ones that showed Reagan leading by two points, Reagan’s real life bump was clearly a hell of a lot more than just three points, no matter how the left tries to retroactively spin things.

            3. T o n y| 10.4.12 @ 11:07AM |#
              …”Romney definitely won on style, which is all the media seemed to care about.”

              Shithead, these grapes aren’t sour at all, regardless of your whining.

            4. Come on, Tony. Tell us how brilliant the great orator was last night. Tell us how it was just unfair and it was all the moderators fault. Come on, Tony, you are disappointing us, you can do better than this. Tell us how Obama really won the debate and why?

              1. He won on facts but not style. Mitt deserves all the praise he’s getting for his ability to tell blatant lies with conviction.

                1. Name some of these facts. What did Mittens lie about, specifically?

                  1. That his tax cut plan won’t add to the deficit was the big one.

                    1. It won’t if we cut spending, Tony. But you proglodytes can’t conceive of not spending, mostly wasting, as much of other peoples money as possible, can you?

                    2. But he’s not going to cut spending. He boasted about increasing military spending, in fact. His claim is that his tax cuts are revenue neutral because of unnammed deductions that will be done away with. But there aren’t enough deductions for wealthy earners to make up for the cut. I doubt he’ll propose actually raising taxes on the nonrich, so we must conclude that he has no intention of making his tax cuts revenue neutral.

                    3. “But he’s not going to cut spending. He boasted about increasing military spending”

                      And military spending is the only spending.

                    4. Well PBS certainly isn’t.

                    5. His claim is that his tax cuts are revenue neutral because of unnammed deductions that will be done away with. But there aren’t enough deductions for wealthy earners to make up for the cut.

                      Translation: “I have completely internalized the bullshit and by-now serially-discredited Tax Policy Center ‘analysis’ of Romney’s tax plan.”

                    6. They both freaking lied Tony. Or do you think Obama has actually cut $50 billion in Medicare fraud

                    7. They found $50 billion in Medicare fraud. The problem is it took a LOT more than $50 billion to FIND or PREVENT that fraud. You can’t save money by spending more than you save.

                2. T o n y| 10.4.12 @ 11:41AM |#
                  “He won on facts but not style.”

                  Nope, shithead, these grapes are quite sweet.

    2. Romney owns a boat? I think you’ve got him confused with the senior Senator from Mass.

      1. Scott Brown has a boat?

      2. All rich people own boats.

        1. Wouldn’t you?

          1. I love my boat. Mitt’s fondness for the water and his impeccable grammar almost make me want to vote for him.

          2. I would, I would be cruising the Chesapeake and engaging in all manner of lawless hedonism, as much as possible.

          3. Wouldn’t you?

            I can already tear up Franklins while standing in the shower, in my nicest clothes, thank you.

            OTOH, with a boat, you can act like Tom Vu

  6. Get that little Lokai and Bele picture up on here! I never tire of that reference.

  7. Great article Nick! Ever consider running for the preidency yourself?

    1. probably not, but im sure the jacket has.

      1. Why would the Jacket be interested in what would be a lateral move, at best?

        1. The jacket has always loved the limelight, it gives it a wonderful sheen.

      2. Was the Jacket even born in the US?

  8. I just heard some analysis on NPR. That debate must have been a disaster, you could actually detect emotion in their voices. They denounced Romney for saying dumb shit, but wouldn’t play any audio.

    1. NPR is totally trying to spin the “lost on style, but won on the facts” line.

      They were picking apart everything Mitt Romney said this morning explaining how it’s lies, all lies, particularly the $5 trillion tax cut part.

      Somehow they keep ignoring the fact that Romney keeps saying he won’t cut rates as much if he can’t keep it revenue neutral.

      1. NPR is a den of leftist wackos. I sometimes listen to a few minutes of it when I am changing radio stations while driving. I can’t stand more than a few minutes, everyone on there are complete DNC sheep and sound like they are brainwashed 10 year olds.

        I watched the damn thing live and there is no spinning this. Most of the MSM is not even trying to, that is how bad Obama was. He got his nuts kicked, nuff said.

        1. There are few things more entertaining than listening to All Things Considered the morning after an election that went badly for the Democrats.

          1. There is only so much stupidity that one can tolerate. But yummy proglodyte tears, can’t ever get enough of those.

            1. I swear the mood on that show was more subdued and mournful the morning after the 2004 election than it was the morning after 9-11.

              1. I listened to Al Franken on XM Radio the morning after in 2004. Such sweet tears.

      2. Did they use those exact words (‘lost on style …’)? Cause Tony used those exact same words in a post about 20 minutes after yours, so I’m wondering if he got his talking points from NPR this morning

      3. NPR=Tony writ large.

        1. I thought T o n y was a condensed version of the worst of NPR? NPR can be retarded, but for the most part they’re not T O N Y retarded.

    2. They’re probably upset about that multi-millionaire, Big Bird, not getting more taxpayer loot!

      Al, The Plumber of the Depths of Lunacv!

    3. BTW, fortunately Obama never said any dumb shit. For one thing, I’m greatly relieved that Social Security is perfectly sound. Obama probably got that 24/7 Government expert, Bernie Madoff, to straighten it out.

      That’s REAL PROGRESS!

      Al, The Plumber of the Depths of Lunacy!

  9. In that debate last night Obama got exposed. Not his plans getting exposed or his ambitions or what-not, but his general capacities. The guy was flummoxed, things were moving along faster than he could keep up, and with no programmed script he was lost. Ideology aside, Obama ran into somebody who was ambitious, craven, and flippy-floppy as he is – but much quicker on the uptake and more prepared.

    It’s odd to think, but Obama never has had a real competitor in a national contest past maybe Hillary in the 2008 primaries. He ran into a cookie-cutter politician and got his ass handed to him on a plate last night. No wonder he avoids anything unscripted beyond The View or Letterman. He’s inept on his own.

    1. Do you honestly believe that the View or Letterman were unscripted?

  10. If Romney doesn’t dominate the debates, he’s a pathetic loser. 4 years of cabinet incompetence and dysfunction:4 chiefs of staff in 3 years and Valerie Jarret cock-blocking anyone who wants POTUS facetime (thankfully, lest they were capable and pushed though MORE bad policy.) Add in anemic GDP growth, gross underemployment and record deficit spending and you have the makings of President Pi?ata in a debate.

    Romney still sucks, just less than the proven loser in office

  11. “It’s genuinely pathetic when Obama trots out his predecessor George W. Bush as the catch-all answer for why everything is rotten nearly four years into an Obama presidency, but he’s got a point: Bush did drive us into a ditch”

    So Bush created the real estate asset bubble that was at the heart of the recession all by himself?

    It had nothing to do with federal reserve monetary policy, fannie mae or freddie mac or the rating agencices assigning bogus AAA ratings to mortage backed securities, etc. ect.?

    I don’t think so.

    1. It is almost like there wasn’t a Congress back then. I for one regret voting Bush in as God emperor.

      1. Back then Senators were only allowed to vote “Present”.

  12. So, the next Democratic talking point will be that Obama was playing a sneaky hustler game intended to make Romney all overconfident, and then pull a switch and the stunning orator will emerge in debate 3 and sweep the floor with him.

      1. That is pretty pathetic.

        In the deepest darkest Paultard corner of the internet, I haven’t seen that level of delusional worship.

        1. I was actually unable to get more than a few paragraphs into the article. The delusional worship was just too much to bare.

        2. As I said in a thread yesterday, I have a very bright friend and small-business owner who is puzzled as to why Obama hasn’t yet shown that he’s the George Washington-level figure my friend is sure he is….

  13. Seemed like Romney wasn’t willing to cut big things (Medicare), wanted to increase spending in other big things (military), didn’t want to increase revenue, didn’t want to cut spending in medium sized things (education spending), but figured we could balance the budget by firing Big Bird and Jim Lehrer.

    1. I think Big Bird will still keep his job.

    2. On the Bele side, I believe that Obama has said that he can balance the budget by nationalizing health insurance and finding “fraud waste and abuse”.

      It’s (as you said) substantive bullshit all the way down.

  14. Holy shit- there’s some guy on Bloomberg right now talking about what an EEEEXCELLENT President Obama has been. He is like a Saviour come down from Heaven.

    Let us praise Him.

  15. “…Bush did drive us into a ditch. That Obama has spun his wheels and dug us in even deeper in no way changes that fact.”

    Example of the fallacious paradigm, employing a president’s term as a metric for determining root cause, performance and remediation.

    Staying with Nick’s motorist metaphor, Bush’s ditch and Obama’s digging are just the logical end of a century-long detour of off-roading. This has been a hundred years of corporate favors, citizen dependency and addiction, fiat money laundering, intrusion, interference invasion, and predecessor blame.
    Now to be sure, this is a political game, “Team Red vs. Blue” pom-pom waving, hair-splitting canards for deciding which guy’s buddies get the next wave of four-year jobs.
    So pot and kettle can duke it out and that’s the world we live in.
    But to use these 4-year or 8-year window views as meaningful, misses the forest for the trees. The statist claws that guaranteed inner city poverty, institutionalized racism, murdered human beings, created generations of tribal slaves who yearn for a better master, have ripped at the throats of citizens for decades.
    For presidents, it’s all about timing, riding a wave at the right time.
    Until a massive cultural change occurs, when individuals believe they are just as valuable and important and empowered as these empty suits who are referred to as “The Honorable…”, it will simply be more of the same — as it has been, for longer than virtually all readers here have been alive.

    1. This has been a hundred years of corporate favors, citizen dependency and addiction, fiat money laundering, intrusion, interference invasion, and predecessor blame

      In other words, 100 years of progressive doctrine and policies implemented.

    2. Agreed. I always wonder what the point is of moaning about how unpopular your view is, or are some libertarians just beginning to figure out that they’re on the fringe of political viewpoints? Whatever the case, it’s self-absorbed and ineffective. Politics affects us all but you don’t convince anyone by whining about how no one listens.

      1. Libertarians are not so fringe anymore. We are the fastest growing segment of the political sphere. As our out of control government continues their trend towards tyranny, that trend will accelerate. They are creating Libertarians by the moment.

        1. Don’t conflate radicals with moderates. You both may be right, with Lisa referring to radical libertarians and Hyperion to moderate libertarians.

    3. They’re setting an example for the rest of us. To quote the Hon. Judge Smails, “The world needs ditch diggers too!”

  16. I read that as: “Team Red vs. Blue” pom-pom waving, hair-splitting canards for deciding which guy’s buddies get the next wave of four-year hand jobs.”

    1. A four year hand job just sounds painful.

      1. And I would imagine that a four year erection is probably terrible for one’s health.

  17. That last paragraph was a stinker.

  18. Al Gore explains the debate:

    GORE: I’m gonna say something controversial here. Obama arrived in Denver at 2 pm today. Just a few hours before the debate started. Romney did his debate prep in Denver. (fellow panelists: “Hm.”) When you go to 5,000 feet (panelist: Exactly!), and you only have a few hours to adjust, uh, I don’t know, maybe the altitude?

    1. The altitude, bwahahhaaaahaaaa!!! That is priceless. No, manbearpig, Odumbo is just as retarded at sea level. He has been proving it for 4 years now in DC!

      1. Please don’t tell me you just said that. The only thing missing is FWD FWD FWD: and a whole pile of chemtrails and racist stuff from dad.

    2. Is this real? Or is it from the Onion? Do you have a link?

    3. “GORE: I’m gonna say something controversial here. Obama arrived in Denver at 2 pm today. Just a few hours before the debate started. Romney did his debate prep in Denver. (fellow panelists: “Hm.”) When you go to 5,000 feet (panelist: Exactly!), and you only have a few hours to adjust, uh, I don’t know, maybe the altitude?”

      Better never let Obozo make decisions while flying.

  19. http://www.politico.com/news/s…..81973.html

    Looks like releasing the Obama video might be the disaster for the Republicans Nick is convinced it was.

    1. Whatever you do, do not read the comments there. Politico is the home of the dumbest posters on the planet, on both the right and the left. They make HuffPo posters look smart.

      1. Huff Po is pretty bad. Those people are insane.

        1. They are, and they they send their rejects to Politico. There are trolls there that make derider, o3, and even crayon look normal.

          1. Yeah. I go to Althouse once in a while. And it makes you realize, Tony is actually a pretty intelligent liberal. If that doesn’t scare you nothing will.

            1. This is true

    2. What video? Tucker should have held it till today, in case it was needed.

  20. How does thye guy who lives in the rarified air of the Obama White House get altitude sickness?

    1. How does a fit person in their 40s get altitude sickness at 6000 feet? Very unlikely.

      1. He’s 51.

        1. Even still, highly unlikely.

        2. Tony knows because every year on Obamas bday, he pulls his graven Obama image out of the closet and bows down in worship of it.

        3. T o n y| 10.4.12 @ 11:56AM |#
          “He’s 51.”

          So, shithead, that explains things?

      2. I was 19 and in phenomenal shape when I moved to Denver, and I had altitude sickness for almost two weeks. The difference between sea level and 5200 feet (the actual elevation at DU) is extreme. That said, altitude sickness takes time to show up, and if he actually arrived at 2 PM, he wouldn’t have felt any different until probably this morning. And it just gives you a headache and makes you nauseous, it doesn’t turn you into a blithering dumbass. That part had to have been a pre-existing condition.

        1. “And it just gives you a headache and makes you nauseous, it doesn’t turn you into a blithering dumbass. That part had to have been a pre-existing condition.”

          This. I’ve had altitude sickness. It sucked, but it’s symptomatically different than Obama’s retardation last night.

  21. I swear to fucking god, if Romney gets elected prezzy and sez ONE time during his monarchical tenure that something is Obama’s fault I’m going to sucker punch his ball sack with divine force. I want to hurl vomit particles every goddamn time O whimpers about what Bush did back there. We KNOW Bush is a fucking douche, O. SHUT THE FUCK UP about past losers, current presidents. Sorry, had to get that off the old hairy.

    1. Oh, no! On the contrary, I think it would be marvelous! Just for the MSNBC reaction alone.
      But won’t happen. Big O will most probably rule again, and there will emphasis on “our work is not finished” rubbish — parenthetically along with the “…because of what we inherited….!” LOL

  22. Either/or, neither/nor, how does it work?

  23. In my experience when they are either pointing out the flaws in their opponent, or talking about increasing/maintaining government power they aren’t lying.

    In my experience, they often lie about the alleged “flaws”, or flat out lie about what their opponent has done or wants to do.

    Ascribing truthfulness to national politicians is a fool’s game.

  24. Obama and Romney were far more similar than different when they talked policy. That’s bad news for the country.

    I’m sure exactly the same is being said by socialists.

    Folks, it’s always going to be like this. Politics is about capturing the center, and you don’t capture the center by playing to the wings; there is no successful hypermodern politics. What we want to do is move the center closer to us, and not be so concerned about how little off the center those who represent the masses of us are.

    1. It’s so true.

      If the centerpiece of your campaign is cutting education, defense, or medicare, you just won’t win.

      Mitt Romney beat at least one social conservative and one fiscal conservative in the primary. No one really came close to challenging, even though they made an issue out of Romneycare and his big spending policies.

  25. It doesn’t matter.Whoever gets elected WE LOSE!

    1. You lose. Even with no President. Learn to do for yourself.

  26. Won the debate, lost the debate. What are we in High School? rhetorical. 4 more years.

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