Here are a few post-presidential debate thoughts as I complete my 2nd cuppa coffee and review last night’s debate tweets. If you want to see all the tweets I’ve gathered, try this selection from my cover it live.
Do I even need to say it? OK. Obama got back in the groove. He won.
46% polled by CNN last night thought Obama won while 39% thought Mitt got the edge in the debate.
But I am not an “undecided voter” who as we all know are the people who decide elections [at least when nasty election tricks and vote suppression don’t get the best of the process]. Of undecideds polled, 37 percent thought Obama had the upper hand, 30% thought Romney won, and 33 percent called the debate a tie – (source=NYTimes / CBS News/Knowledge networks poll)
Here’s a link to the full debate video.
Let’s dig into the debate content.
MoveOn.org asked their followers to use the hashtag #MittLies last night and the use of the tag immediately exploded. The first lie Mitt got trounced for was his vow to expand the Pell Grant program. One Wisconsin Now tweeted that Paul Ryan’s budget plan would cut the grants for 60,000 students in the first two years.
That Just Isn’t True
Obama let himself get practically pummeled by Mitt’s torrent of lies in the first debate. This time he managed to both call Mitt on his fabrications and remain “presidential” in tone: “What Governor Romney said just isn’t true.”.
Still, Obama missed some easy ones. The twitterati went nuts when Mitt claimed that he ran the Olympics within budget. Mike Elk tweeted “Romney only balanced the Olympic budget after he got a government bailout post 9/11”.
Detroit and “Bankruptcy”
Mitt tried to clarify that when he said Detroit should’ve been allowed to go bankrupt, he meant a structured bankruptcy like the ones that allow big companies to shirk their debts and come out ahead. I’d like to point out that Mitt’s suggested bankruptcy would also allow a company to shirk responsibilities to unions like United Auto Workers. Mitt penned a November 2008 New York Times editorial that is entitled, Let Detroit Go Bankrupt. An excerpt:
“A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs.”
Energy is science stuff. Republicans don’t dig science. This is why Mitt once said, “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it”.
There are imperfections in the energy agendas of both candidates. I saw a lot of tweets along these lines, “@cruiskeen I love Obama, but clean coal is a farce.” I’m becoming more the environmentalist every day. I cringe to hear Obama talk about more natural gas because I know that there are some terrible issues with fracking in this country.
And yet I know that there’s going to be a president of these United States sworn in come January 2013. There is hope in getting President Obama to hear me out. There’s zero hope in getting Mitt Romney’s attention. So let’s keep it basic: Romney is Rah Rah fossil fuels. The big point he hammered on last night: expanding drilling of oil on federal lands with less EPA oversight [umm…oversight…can anybody say “British Petroleum”?]
Obama does promote clean energies like wind and solar in his agenda, and if you’ll let me go all woodsy for a minute, I’ll note that we did see some savvy improvements in boiler technology proposed by the EPA recently – the end result being that wood waste (biomass) fuels have greater potential to reduce our use of coal and fuel oil in manufacturing and industrial outfits.
President Obama said, “We haven’t heard from the governor any specifics beyond Big Bird and eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood in terms of how he pays for that [Romney’s tax cuts].” He then said Mitt’s mysterious tax plan was a “sketchy idea”.
According to tweeter @jimwitkins, Romney then looked “dumbfounded” and his face turned red.
Well, we did get some specifics from Mitt last night. But they’re not a plus since they aren’t relevant to the vast majority of Americans. Mitt proposed cuts in capital gains but those are only going to be interesting if you’re making over $200 thou. Mitt mentioned a cut in taxation on savings interest and my better half here at home laughed like a banshee.
In reviewing last night’s tweets, I browsed a post by American Bridge PAC shared by #WIunion dude from way back, @babaoreilymike. When I see that Mitt wants to roll back improvements made in the Earned Income Tax Credit — -which puts more $ in the pockets of working families with kids — well, that’s where I cringe.
May as well note here that Mitt carries a big flip-flopping bag of promises on tax cuts. Here’s just a few seconds of video shot during the GOP primary in which Mitt says, “we’re going to cut taxes by 20%” for everybody including the top 1%.
Well, well. At the time of the debate, I didn’t catch this bit on military service being Mitt’s suggested pathway to citizenship. Here’s a tweet from @DCdebbie:
Mitt Romney said a pathway for children of “illegal” immigrants should be military, not college. Send them to die! #Debate2012
And Mitt called people “illegals” last night. That’s not something you can cover up with a spray tan.
It’s also hard to cover up that Mitt has sided with Arizona extremists. He said during the primary that Arizona’s punitive anti-immigrant measure SB 1070 should serve as “model” for the nation.
President Obama didn’t let it slide:
“His top adviser on Immigration is the guy who designed the Arizona law.”
*DING*. Score for Obama.
Women and Work and Wages
A big thanks goes to Appleton Wonk AKA @Jane_WI on twitter who helped me hold down the blog fort last night.
Her comment after hearing Obama answer the question [paraphrased], “How will you create and enforce equal pay for women?””:
Jane_WI: Good question on equal pay for women… Obama raised by single mom while going to school. Grandma started as secretary in bank and worked up to vice president of bank. She trained people who took jobs over her. The first bill he signed was Lilly Ledbetter bill.
Mitt failed twice in his response, both by not really answering it and by laying down another Big Bird moment. Mitt told the tale of trying to hire a woman for a top job and not seeing any women candidates being looked at he says he exclaimed that his firm had “binders full of women” who were qualified. He also talked about how women need flexible schedules and yada yada, nice nice but it was “should” and “oughtta” stuff – – there was no policy commitment expressed in there for fairness to women in the workplace.
As @cruiskeen tweeted it, “So we have legislation for equality vs. “I hired women once”.”
Here’s the 1 minute portion on binders:
12 million jobs promise?
Mitt Romney promised 12 million new jobs for America in the debate and he’s started to do that in his ads. This is the Scott Walker technique: tell you that government can’t create jobs, then apply for a top level government job and promise to make X number of jobs. Walker promised 250,000 jobs for WI in 2010. The other day, that promise disappeared from his web site. Maybe I can smell the BS around Mitt’s job promise but will the general public? I worry because the job lie got Walker in back in 2010 and now he’s burrowed into my state like a mole rat.
Washington Post has a piece on the matter that has already garnered over 1,000 comments: Mitt Romney’s ‘new math’ for jobs plan doesn’t add up
Mitt’s obfuscations and theatrics over Libya were passionately and effectively trounced by Obama. As @HenryADecker tweeted: “Wow, I think that’s the end of Libya as a GOP talking point.”
I am losing time this morning – won’t go into the weeds and will just mention the three most important things Obama did.
1) Reminded us all that Romney made political hay off of the misery of the Libya attack.
2) He said the responsibility is with him, even though Hillary took that on Monday and he said
3) “I’m the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home.”
3 minutes of gotta watch it stuff:
I’ll be blunt and brief. We need a lot of help on gun violence in America and neither Obama nor Romney has made it their campaign focal point. However Romney is totally going to kow tow to the NRA.
Romney could have left it with, “I’m not in favor of new gun legislation.” But he had to imply that single parents are to blame for gun violence, pivoting to the statement, “one parent households are half-cocked”.
Sensata Not Mentioned
This was surprising to everybody. Check out this tweet: @JohnFugelsang I’m not going to make any debate predictions but my drinking game word is not “Sensata.” #current2012
GOP Obstructionism Wasn’t Brought Up
I know it’s a hard one to work in without sounding whiny, BUT I would’ve advised Obama to figure out how to talk about the nasty obstructionism of Congress. The twitterati repeatedly brought it up during the debate:
@millbot Dems never had a supermajority in Congress. Only had slim majority for 6 months. GOP spent all time blocking everything, anyway. #debate
President Obama Threw Down Some Zingers
I’m not sure what happened in that first debate for President Obama. We always knew he had this in him.
“Romney has a one point plan – to let wealthiest play by different rules.”
“I don’t look at my pension as often, it’s not as big as yours and doesn’t take as long to go through.”
Yes. His name was uttered. The question from the audience: How are you different from President Bush.
Tweets such as the following erupted:
@OneLegSandpiper YES!!! She says the whole GEORGE W. BUSH name!
Let us now note that Candy Crowley of CNN is America’s first female presidential debate moderator in 20 years and she did her job well. Mitt was constantly trying to edge in more time for his own words. Some of this is expected in this competition for the most powerful job in America. But Mitt was brash enough to come of as plainl old rude. Here’s a tweet from last night:
Oooh…@crowleyCNN had to tell #MITTLIES to sit your ass down & wait your turn.
And another from Bill Maher:
Mitt is the kind of prep school bully who tells the president of the United States “you’ll get your chance”.
Mum on Poverty
Obama and Romney didn’t delve into poverty much at all instead sticking to the safer topic of what they will do for the shrinking “Middle Class”. I have to be frank: this is really not OK by me. Democracy Now noticed the problem and tweeted a broadcast of Tavis Smiley and Cornel West discussing poverty during the debate. No surprise, that one tweet got retweeted 75 times.
As Stephen Colbert might say it: Nation, this nation wants to discuss poverty.
I love how Ryan’s useless pot washing at a St. Vincent’s soup kitchen is still living on:
@MaryErpenbach Writing last sentence of an article; PaulRyan just forced way into my studio and pressed one key on the keyboard. #dishwatergate #saycheese
Everybody has multiple screens to look at now. Check out BabaOReillyMike’s set-up:
Kk, GO! twitter.com/babaoreilymike…
— Mike Truthseeker (@babaoreilymike) October 17, 2012
Here’s LOLGOP’s “Debate Musts” twitter list.
Above image by tsevis. Creative commons use.