Ok, if you're Republican, two things... congrats, Gov. Romney gave an outstanding performance last night. Second, read no further, it won't change your mind. However, for the disheartened Dems and especially the Undecided, please read on.
I came to the debate last night with great expectations that our President would be seen for the far superior leader that he has been throughout this race. And it was hard to watch him fall short of that mark. He seem upset, distracted and disengaged from the first moment he walked on stage. I was actually concerned that he had been told about some grave national security threat just before being introduced and that he couldn't get his mind off it. Hopefully and apparently, such was not the case. He simply did not give a good performance last night.
Twice now, I have used the word "performance". It is deliberate. Gov. Romney won the night, not on ideas, but on performance. His was far superior and we will see that reflected in renewed Republican energy and in the polls. Romney learned how to connect and seem caring last night. The President doesn't need help with seeming to care, but he did not connect last night.
However, as a professional actor and director, I feel like I have a profound understanding of the difference between "performance" and "substance". And if we re-examine the questions and answers, the President comes out way ahead.
Gov. Romney did last night what he has done throughout his career - he morphed. And he was either ignorant of the facts or he lied on several key occasions.
1. his tax plan of cuts immediately adds 5 trillion to the deficit. He can deny it all he likes but that is just math. Those cuts, alone, would add 5 trillion immediately to the deficit.
Now, he says that he will address the tax code, closing loopholes, in order to compensate for that gain. Which loopholes? Who knows? He doesn't. Or if he does, he isn't willing to share it. He talked about the ones he won't close like the subsidies for the oil industry. But he has never spoken a single specific to what he will close. If he went hogwild and closed mortgages as a loophole - does that help you? Does it help anyone in the middle class? He won't close charities cause that's where he's putting a lot of his deductions, bless him. BY NO ACCOUNTING can he find anywhere near 5 trillion in loopholes. Also, what's his incentive to close loopholes that the uber wealthy are benefitting from? They are his food source. Is he really going to make it harder for the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson to dodge taxes? So, CONCLUSION - REGARDLESS OF HIS LIE LAST NIGHT, HIS TAX PLAN WILL IMMEDIATELY ADD 5 TRILLION TO THE DEBT. AND HE HAS BEEN RUNNING ON THIS PLAN FOR OVER A YEAR. Just not last night.
2. Medicare. This is an entitlement program that both Romney and his running mate have repeatedly said must change. It is choking the economy. Their plan - make it a voucher program whereby individuals can apply it to pay for private insurance. Lovely. And one of those programs would be a version of Medicare. Terrific. He, himself, said he wouldn't leave his insurance for that, but it would be there. Well, he's half right - he surely wouldn't leave his insurance for it cause he's not that stupid.
Everyone that gripes about Obamacare focuses on the mandate, that you will be forced to buy insurance or be penalized. The Rep/Cons hate that. They don't believe anyone should be forced to buy health care insurance. So that means that if someone is sick or injured and they don't have insurance, we the people will pay for their care or we will leave them to die in the street. So far, no one has advocated publicly for leaving them to die. So, we - you and me - will pay for the uninsured because they didn't feel they needed insurance. Nice plan, right? I thought Conservatives believe in personal responsibility. So why should I pay for their uninsured kid's health costs? Isn't it their responsibility?
Obamacare DOES NOT force everyone to purchase insurance. It mandates coverage for those within a certain economic range. If you do not earn that level of income, you cannot and will not be forced to buy insurance nor penalized. That's the fact. It's in the law. But it does say that if you earn a certain amount, you must take responsibility for your health care costs. OH MY GOD - SOCIALISM!!!! NOT.
Gov. Romney has said that he will repeal Obamacare on day one. That means all the gains - extended coverage for children, no pre-conditions, no caps -- are all gone on day one. Last night he SAID that those elements would be in his plan. Ok, let's say they are. Let's say that within the first two years of his administration, he gets around to health care. That still means two years where you are back in limbo. Those benefits are gone. They may come back. But for tomorrow and the foreseeable future - they're gone. Wave goodbye.
Now back to Medicare, he and Ryan like the idea of privatization. Government gives you a voucher for a few grand a year and you go out and buy your own insurance. How much is the voucher for? Don't know - won't say. What if it doesn't cover the cost of good insurance? How much will the cost of good insurance be? Don't know - and without regulation (which they hate) we have no idea if the voucher will cover 80%, 50%, 25% or less. Without regulation of the health insurance industry, you have no way of knowing if what you would be buying will actually cover your illness or eventually bankrupt you. Medicare is an absolute program. It is imperfect and it needs improving. But it has worked for a long time.
Obama cut costs in that program - big costs. And last night, they threw it in his face. How dare you cut those costs - they are services to people. NOT ONE IS A CUT IN SERVICES OR BENEFITS TO PARTICIPANTS. NOT ONE! READ IT! Romney got up there and lied. He twisted the cuts that were made to PROVIDERS, that force THEM to cut their disproportionate expenses and overheads and markups, and tried to turn that into cuts for recipients. It is the worst kind of lie. And he should be ashamed.
Bottom line - Romney/Ryan want medicare as you know it gone. If you want it gone, they are your guys.
3. Taxes - I thought Gov. Romneys most compelling moment last night was when he talked about what happens when you lower corporate income rates and how it affects small business. "If you drop the rate from 35% to 25%, they hire more people - that's more tax revenue - more people working means more people buying and the economy rebounds".
It sounds foolproof, right? It makes absolute logical sense. How do you negate that thinking? I wish there weren't a way, because then we could all rally behind that cry and fix the nation. Unfortunately, there is a name for his approach. It's called "trickle-down economics". That is exactly what trickle down is - you give breaks to the guy at the top - in this case the small business owner. Let's put aside the fact that Obama's plan LOWERS rates for 97% of small business owners, except the guys like Trump that he exampled last night. But okay, lets go with Romney's idea. So, you give a break to that great God of economy, the small business owner. Now his taxes are lower. Does he run right out and hire people?
Not if his product isn't moving or his services aren't selling. First, he waits for the market. If the market moves, he hires. If the market sits, he hordes his savings and waits for the market. How do we know this? BECAUSE TRICKLE DOWN HAS BEEN TRIED SEVERAL TIMES IN OUR RECENT HISTORY AND IT HAS NEVER, NEVER, NEVER WORKED!!! Not once, not ever. It is a beautiful theory. On paper, it's gorgeous. But it has never worked.
Romney called Obama's plan "trickle down government". It was a good line. But it is only a line. Obama's plan doesn't trickle down, it trickles up. It says that the benefits MUST go first to those in the middle. When the middle are invigorated, they move and they buy. When the buying moves the market, the market hires. And the markets hires regardless of 35% or 25%. What the 25% guarantees is less revenue for the government to work with.
Romney doesn't believe the government should be the source of investment in this country. He believes the private market will do it. The private markets did not end the Great Depression. FDR and the New Deal - a huge government investment program, is what put people to work, invested in the future of technology, education and infrastructure for this country and turned our greatest fiscal crisis into our greatest boon. Same structure worked for Reagan and Clinton. No one prior to George W. has tried to rebuild an economy by lowering revenues to the point where the elected government of the people could not invest in their future. Why does Romney and Neo Cons want it? They want the money. It is their corporations and companies that will fill the void. And if they fail, or fail you - well, sorry. But they still got your money. Corporations and companies are in the game for PROFITS. Not government.
Obama puts investment in the middle class first and allows their success to spur the rest. If you are in the middle class, that is your best shot at improving your financial situation.
I could go on and on about this. Last night, Gov. Romney in a brilliant performance, stepped far away from policies and plans that he has touted for over a year. He has provided no facts, no figures, no specifics that stand any kind of scrutiny. The biggest problem with the Governor is that we never know what he truly believes or stands for as they have changed to polar opposites with time and they have changed seemingly overnight if we are to believe his appearance in that debate. After 18 months of watching him, I have no idea who he is or what he has to truly offer. And what I do know scares me.
He will repeal Lily Ledbetter. No equal pay for women. In fact, women's home's and bodies and wombs will become government property. Women's right to determine their own reproductive health will be a thing of the past.
He will absolutely hire a Supreme Court judge that is joined at Scalia's hip and that will set the social/legal agenda for a generation.
He will push back regulations on FDA, EPA and all corporate regulation. Yes, we need energy independence. But if you tank the environment to achieve it, what have you accomplished? You've got gas in your tank but you can't breathe very well. Good trade? He does not support global warming science. He does not support stem cell science. He does not support gay civil rights. He does not believe in the separation of church and state to the extent that it has been practiced for hundreds of years. He has, and I hope we will see, a bizarro take on foreign affairs. He is a hawk, just like George W. and he will set the Middle East on fire, but this time, without Russia and China on our side, it will not stay contained in the Middle East.
President Obama was not flashy last night. He was off his personality game. And in politics, that can really hurt you. Governor Romney was on his personality game last night. But let's count the nights - how many would the governor come up the winner? The nights he said,
"I'll never get those 47%. They're victims"
"Corporations are people, my friend"
"Wanna make a ten thousand dollar bet"?
"When it comes to saving the auto industry, I'll take a lot of the credit for that".
"I don't recall what I said but I stand by it".
I won't take space for the long list of others.
In short, fellow Dems, don't be discouraged by the President's demeanor last night. He got upstaged by a better actor. But as for whose show will run longer and make audiences happier, he's still the winner by a landslide.
And for those on the fence, it's time to do the research. If the Romney/Ryan plan benefitted most Americans I'd be advocating it loudly. It certainly is the better financial plan for me in the short term. But when my fellow citizens are left holding the bag the same way they have every time trickle down is tried, my temporary gains become meaningless. In you are undecided still, all I ask is you do some research. Find one instance when trickle down worked. Find the facts and figures of the Romney plan and compare them to Obama's by a reliable, impartial source. Don't be fooled by the nice hair and the power tie and the warm tone in the voice. I"m sure the Governor is a lovely, smart, decent guy. What he is not is the right man for this job -- in my humble opinion.
And to those who have read this and disagree - it is only my opinion. One other citizen among you. I've looked and considered both men. I've made my choice, you've made yours. As good citizens, we are supposed to advocate for our choices. Hence, I have.