Waaay Better from The Prez with two Major Fails

A lot of us were breathing sighs of relief last night when President Obama showed he could call the pretense out and not give way before Romney’s CEO demeanor.  The squawkies were all over the fact-check of Romney by Candy Crowley as he was going into full-scale chortle about Obama’s not having mentioned “terror” with regard to the killing of the US Ambassador in Benghazi, for oh, about two weeks. ” Not so,” said Crowley, “he said it the next day.”  Mitt went sputtering away…. [This barely rescued Crowley’s performance for the night, as she repeatedly back-stepped and apologized for calling time on both of them.  The fact check is a case in point   “No, he did,governor “( then dropped voice) “call it a terror attack.”  Obama: “could you say that a little louder, Candy?” Romney looks dismissive, and Crowley goes on ” But it was two weeks or so when the whole idea of civil unrest and everything came up…” [As if trying to give a 4th grader a little face, to make him feel better.]  Look, there is no reason the moderator should be an appeaser.  These guys, or their teams, make up the rules: force them to abide.  Give her a gavel, and keep using it:  You are out of order Mr Governor.  Martha Raddatz did a fine job in the second debate.  The moderators should go through schooling, like big-league refs.  “Yourrrrre Outaaa Hereeeee!”

Here are two simple suggestions to improve behavior in the debates.

1) Keep the timer on.  Show who is over time, and who under.  At the end, he who is behind gets the difference, uncontested, to  wrap it up.  He who is over, gets none.  Easy to implement.  Will grab their attention.

2) Give all audience members a dull wooden pencil like thing, or better, a childhood cricket.  As the person talking begins to go over, and it begins to concern the audience, they start drumming on their arm-rest, or clicking!  At first, not too much noise, but if the scofflaw continues, more pick it up until a din of disapproval drives him back to his seat.  Japanese University students reportedly do this by shuffling or stamping their feet to signal approval, disapproval.  Might be worth a try.


The big amaze for me was that Obama continued to let Romney get away with his business men know better trope –and people believe him.

In the first place:  Bain Capital was no business as 99% of us understand it:  hired few, made nothing.  In fact the number of deals it made have been tallied by the Wall Street Journal — under two dozen.  And the effects of each deal has been charted: it’s not a pretty picture.  He showed he can do spread sheets, and valuations and knew a wide swath of people who might buy what he dismembered.  That is NOT business as we know it, in fact he might be characterized as anti-business — “You build a great business, it falls on hard times, we are here to take it apart for you!”  Nor do those skills have  much to do with being President.  He is going to have far more to do than look into the thickets of financial reports for decades past.  Obama and his team know this, they need to get into his face about it.

Here’s Krugman on the same point:

Small-Time Mitt

So, I was amazed to hear Mitt Romney describing himself as having “come through small business”, as if his private equity firm were just like a mom-and-pop store or something. But Digby informs us that he made similar claims in his convention speech, making Bain sound like a scrappy little start-up. And it’s true it had only 10 people at first — that, and $37 million, yes, $37 million, in seed money.

Where did that $37 million come from? A large part from foreigners, in many cases investing via Panama-based shell companies. Also, funds from families of Central American oligarchs, who were sitting things out in Miami whiledeath squads sponsored by their class, and in some cases by their relatives, were roaming their home countries.

Hey, doesn’t this sound like just your usual small-business success story?

And here, earlier, a note on how Romney turned wealth into more wealth…no hardscrabble small business story here..

The GOP pioneered the idea of hitting their opponents on their strong suite; the Dems can do it quite as well.

The second fail was on the question of AK-47s.  Obama went into the same soft shoe Romney had taken about, “look we are a nation who believes in the second amendment, we are a people who like to shoot and hunt…  before wandering on to say assault weapons should not be on the street.  Call me a fool, but that got him nothing.  How about something like this?

Ak-47s!  And their automatic siblings on the streets of America.  Last year 30,000 gun related deaths in America! Most of them shattering skulls and mutilating bodies for their loved ones to witness and hold. We are not talking about gang-bangers here folks,  We are talking about Aurora Colorado and Tucson, Arizona.  Why is this happening?  What can be done about it?  Lots before me have told us what would work, and not much of it has.  Get every gun off the street?  Make every gun licencee have a once a year mental – health check?  Tax gun licenses enough to cover the cost of policing and mortuary services the states now have to carry?  I propose a blue-ribbon citizens panel, in the first month of my presidency to brain-storm possible answers.  Do we find them in Canada? Do we do what Shotlless, Nevada has done?  I have some ideas but when one house of Congress consistently says No solution needed — there is no problem, then those of  us who know there is a problem have to get out and convince the others they are wrong.  I don’t ave the numbers on this but I’ll bet not many NRA members believe the price of more and more  dead friends is worth the cost of their current beliefs.

The President and his team could do this a lot better, but the point is, like the Businessman idea, the 2nd amendment idea is one which can be attacked.  What is believed about it today, is vastly different than what was believed 50 years ago.  Show us you are a fighter, that you believe, and we will rise to stand with you.


Ezra Klein does what few of us have to time, expertise or contacts to do.  He presents the full transcript, with notes on what claims mean, how accurate they are, how likely promises are to happen.  Only for the serious!

3rd Debate, Part 1   e.g. – Where was climate change? The third question of the night was about Energy Secretary Stephen Chu’s contention that it’s not his job to lower gas prices. Romney, by the way, once agreed with Chu that lowering gas prices should not be the government’s goal. But that was back when both Democrats and Republicans agreed that climate change was a threat. Today, neither side talks much about climate change, and so while it wasn’t much of a surprise that Romney didn’t bring up global warming, it was notable that Obama didn’t, either. Instead, he bragged about increasing employment in the coal industry. Yuck.


3rd Debate, Part 2  e.g. on the China Question:

I called Joseph Gagnon, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics who has done a lot of work on currency manipulation and asked him.

“I think Romney is right that Bush and Obama haven’t been tough enough on China,” he said. “But every Republican I’ve talked to, and I’ve talked to three former assistant secretary or higher level members of the Bush administration, and all of them have said Romney will back down as fast as you can say ‘flip-flop.’ And I believe them. I think he’ll name China a manipulator and then he’ll do nothing. And he can get away with that, because they’ve improved the most of any of the currency manipulators. It would be very hard for us to threaten them now. Their current account peaked at 10.7 percent of GDP in 2007. This year, it looks like it’ll only be 2 percent.”

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