|The first Presidential debate of 2012 was a cringe-fest that was poorly |
moderated by PBS's Jim Lehrer. photo: MSNBC
Here are some observations on last night’s debate:
I was horrified on three fronts—the stunning platform tax reversal flip-flop (call it what you want) of Mitt Romney and his sheer arrogance made me recoil with physical pain. And two-- President Obama failed the progressive community last night—if anything he could have shown more passion for the issues he so deeply cares about. He missed several opportunities to nail Romney to a wall on his bold faced lies, and failed to do so. Thirdly, Jim Lehrer's time as the king of television era Presidential Debates has come and gone. He was ineffectual and let both candidates walk all over him. Furthermore, this debate illustrates that honesty and truth doesn't matter much when you are running for political office and an uninformed electorate superficially appreciates style over substance any day of the week— especially when you have so many low-information voters tuning in for the first time.
Here are a few of the Mitt Romney lies:
- Romney says he is not cutting taxes on the rich and he plainly plans to do so if elected. His top donors would not have it any other way (wink-wink).
- Romney claimed his tax plan doesn't raise taxes on the middle class and it does.
- Romney says Obama will raise taxes on the top 3% of small businesses and that is not true.
- Romney says oil subsidies go to “small” companies—which is laugh-out-loud funny.
- Romney told the big fat GOP tax lie that ending the Bush tax cuts will kill jobs.
Somewhere in the wonky blizzard of lies, facts, statistics and studies thrown out on stage was a fundamental philosophical choice about the future of America, quite possibly the starkest in nearly three decades. As President Obama and Mitt Romney faced off for the first time, their babbling snooze-fest may have disguised a fierce clash of views not only over taxes, spending and health care, but over the very role of government in American society.
On one side was an incumbent who, while recognizing that government is not the solution to all problems, argued that it plays an essential part in promoting economic growth and ensuring fairness for various segments of the population who have been traditionally marginalized. On the other was a challenger who, while not recognizing the basic value of government at all, argued that we should privatize everything under the sun and the best thing government can do is get out of the way of rich people and multi-national corporations so they can rule the free world.