Election 2012: The First Debate

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, head-to-head in the first debate of the year

The last couple of weeks have been unfortunate for Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign: Economic recovery combined with a bad PR day over the so-called “47% remark”  have given incumbent Barack Obama a significant lead in the ten or so states that will decide this election. Even the predictions of some news networks that tonight’s presidential debate could turn around the election seemed implausibly optimistic in the light of the President’s frightening lead, but over the course of one and a half hours this past night, those journalists turned out to be right. Romney came out swinging tonight, giving his campaign just the spark it needs to have a fighting chance at victory this November.

The debate was conventional in many respects; it hit upon key issues such as jobs, education, and healthcare, but it was novel in that it allowed people all over the country to view both candidates’ plans and promises in a more factual light than could ever be seen in the propaganda ads launched by campaigns and PACs. Romney was forced to bite the bullet and respond to Obama’s complaints that his healthcare plan does not cover those with pre-existing conditions; Obama could not avoid being interrogated by over the debt that his administration has accrued. It was politics at its most direct, its most objective, a contest in which the winner gains not only a victory of public support, but also a victory of logic and sensibility.

Both sides were armed with ample statistics; obviously, neither candidate wanted his spending proposals to look bad, but even before the crossfire started, it was clear that Obama was going to end up playing on the defensive. He had almost no way to cover his poor track record with debt and unemployment, yet even though his challenge was the more difficult during the debate, the President failed to pounce upon several opportunities for a counter-attack that the 2008 Obama would have been more likely to tackle.

The aforementioned “47% of all Americans depend on government” remark ties in perfectly with the President’s earlier campaign ads portraying Romney as a job-killing demon, yet Obama failed to expound upon that weakness, wasting a potentially excellent opportunity to convince voters that he is the “hero of the common American” that he has been trying to sell for the past 4 years.

This is not to say that Governor Romney’s successes in the debate were merely due to a situational advantage and the blunders of his opponent. For each minute spent decrying the follies of massive government spending, Romney spent another minute preaching the good word of the free market, of the efficiency of private enterprise, incidentally highlighting the broad fundamental differences between the two candidates’ plans for America. The Republican ticket recognizes that private enterprise is the engine that spurns economic growth, whereas the Obama faction possesses little more than blind, idealistic faith that the bureaucracy, given enough money, can fix anything.

This is an oversimplification of both sides’ stances, but at the same time, it is exactly what they boil down to. Romney can be a wild card at times, but he at least recognizes that a federal government that sits at 25% of our GDP can’t reduce our debt by continually increasing its spending. The Republican ticket proposes a sensible alternative, to eliminate wasteful government spending and do away with stifling regulations that hurt businesses and slow down our economy, and they hit the message home over the course of the debate.

On In-Trade, the country’s leading prediction market, Romney’s chances for election have jumped from as little as 23% last week to over 32% today, and if Romney and Ryan continue what they started today, they could carry the day this November. It’s not clear at this point whether the Republicans will recover its reputation among battleground states, but this debate was a key step towards victory. Integrity and reason have returned to Governor Romney’s campaign to restore the confidence that they will need on Election Day.

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Election 2012: Obama’s Dirty Tactics

It’s July right now, just above four months before Americans head to the ballots to select our next President, and already,  candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are tearing at each other’s throats like two lions fighting over a dead gazelle. The Republican campaign is sinking its teeth into Obama’s failure to curb unemployment and reduce our enormous national debt, whereas Obama and his team have been promising change this time around and calling Romney an “enemy of the middle class”. The mud smells fresh, and it’s being slung: That’s the smell of election season.

Recently, the Obama re-election campaign has sunk its teeth into a juicy chunk of information concerning Mitt Romney’s company, Bain Capital: Between 1999 and 2002, Bain purchased several smaller companies, shut down factories, sold jobs overseas to China and Mexico, and made a handsome profit. In his latest ad campaign, Obama has capitalized upon Bain’s track record, denouncing Bain’s profits as an exploitative profit made off of the backs of working Americans, and labeling Romney, as the founder and CEO, as a “corporate raider” who has no business being President. In doing this, the Democrats have managed to fool many people into distrusting the Republican nominee, but their arguments only sound convincing: Romney is not the unscrupulous profiteer that the left wants you to believe he is.

Contrary to what the pseudo-intellectual left wants you to believe, job outsourcing is not, by definition, a heinous tool of “profiteering” used by the rich to assault the poor. Apart from the fact that work shipped over to third-world countries tends to offer workers higher salaries than they would have been offered at more local jobs, the work that ends up moving away is often too economically infeasible to be performed in the US, often performed by machines anyway.

Even if moving jobs overseas ends up leaving workers over here unemployed, that leaves companies with a supply of potential employees they could have, and they may end up creating new jobs to fit their demand. Outsourcing may end up eliminating jobs in some instances, but it is erroneous to assume that any executive who moves jobs overseas is a “corporate raider” as Obama would have it.

You may still accept that Bain was unethical in moving jobs overseas, but we cannot conclude that Mitt Romney was at the bottom of it, as Romney wasn’t actually working with Bain during the time of the controversy according to Fact Check reports. Having moved to Utah in order to help run the Olympics, he played little role in the management of the company. The reports filed to the Securities and Exchange Commisison listing him as the CEO are not inaccurate, he did not fully step down, but to this date, the Obama campaign has found no evidence to suggest that Romney took an active role in managing Bain since 1999. In short, the allegations lobbed against Romney were false, little more than a pile of sensationalist junk.

Let’s accept for just one minute, though, that the left is right about Romney and the evils of outsourcing. Bain is a company of assholes. It buys businesses just to close them. Fired workers are asked to take pictures of their unhappiness so that Bain’s executives have something to laugh at. Even if any of that were true, you can take the halo right off of President Obama’s head; he’s accepted  plenty of money in donations from Bain, and shows no signs of stopping. I wouldn’t buy flowers from Joseph Kony, so if Obama accepts funds from what he thinks are “corporate raiders”, then maybe he should shut up about Romney.

Aside from making up false information about his opinion to confuse uninformed people, Obama has also been sticking up a giant middle finger to the hard work and talent that America is built upon. Stating that “if you have a business, you didn’t build that — somebody else did” (here’s the original video for reference), our President displays his gross misunderstanding of how success is made, belittles the hard work it took to form major companies like Microsoft or Apple, and attributes every last iota of productivity and progress in our nation to the state.

To an extent, his message is correct; a stable infrastructure of roads, buildings, and schools helps form the shoulders that we all stand upon, but as is the case with people at any level of technology, some individuals rise above their peers. Steve Jobs was just one of millions who benefited from public schooling, but only one of those people became the mega-success who was Steve Jobs. If Jobs (and Wozniak) had been killed right before they started Apple and were replaced by some ditch digger, then the iPod, iPad, and Mac would not exist today. Don’t flatter yourself too much, Mr. Obama, people can succeed just fine without the mountains of debt and high spending that you created.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to pass Romney off as some sort of saint, even in comparison to Obama: Our handsome GOP contender is a shameless flip-flopper with a penchant for war (foreign wars and drug wars), and he would have no scruples about signing laws that would let him arrest you if he feels like it. Unfortunately, our big-eared incumbent can’t say that he shines above his deficit-eating cousin on any of those counts: He has bombed 3 countries after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, refused to close Guantanamo Bay, killed US citizens, and  actively fought against your right to a fair trial (so much for swearing to defend the Constitution). There are Democrats out there who surpass Romney as champions of your rights (i.e. Ron Wyden), but Barack Obama is not one of them, and where he differs from his opponent, he surpasses only in building castles in the sky out of money he doesn’t have.

Would a Romney Presidency be an unfortunate prospect? In light of the other candidates who could have been the GOP nominee, Republican voters clearly didn’t pick the best out of the bunch. However, when weighed against the bag of mixed unpleasantries that is Barack Obama, the choice becomes clear. Romney’s spending policies are saner, he has a plan for reducing the national debt, and he opposes Obamacare, so unless you want to feel good about healthcare for a few moments before costs and spending shoot through the roof, Romney is the choice to make this November.