We all know that pundits want blood in debates. And so many will likely favor the aggressive style of Mitt Romney during the first debate, always on the hunt for Obama, always attempting to reposition himself for another attack, always pulling out the long knives. But in time after time after time, Mitt Romney lost each new piece of ground gained on lies.
The 5 Trillion Dollar Lie
If you cut taxes for the top bracket by another 8-10% (reducing revenues by 20% overall), it is a basic fact of arithmetic that it ends up costing an additional 5 trillion dollars over the next ten years. For the past 18 months, this tax cut for ‘job creators’ has been a center-piece of the Romney campaign. During the debate, for Mitt Romney, his center-piece tax cut for the wealthy got erased by an etch e sketch and now lives in a mythological world where 5 trillion in tax cuts don’t contribute to the debt or hurt the middle class through benefits cuts.
716 Billion Dollar Pinocchio
A republican false assertion that has, again and again, drawn fire from fact checkers is the endlessly repeated line that Obamacare cuts 716 billion out of Medicare. They take savings and spin it into a cut and, again and again, the fact checkers have called foul. Romney drew this red card more than 8 times during the debate. Funny he should mention telling a lie again and again to make it stick…
The I Care for The Middle Class Invention
Romney got rich shipping middle class jobs overseas. Yet, at the debate, over and over, he talked about the middle class, caring for the middle class, helping the middle class. Yet no specific policy Romney has proposed, much less the tax cut for the rich the ‘other Romney’ ran on before this debate, would benefit the middle class. So if you care for the middle class Mitt, what happened during the last 40 years of your life? Hmmm?
The invention is simply preposterous as were many other points during his debate…
State’s Rights Tentherism
At perhaps one of the most creepy points in the debate, Romney resurrected the argument that started the civil war. It is a favorite argument of John Birch Society members and other extreme right-wingers. But it is likely lost on the American people, who are more concerned about how a president can wield the power of government to help them, not re-fight the civil war.
Romney may have won the pundit blood tally. Shifty and assertive, he made point after point, some of which the President didn’t even respond to, probably because the assertions didn’t merit response. But he lost on substance. In sports, if you cheat too much, you get fouled out of the game. And, in politics, blatant lying is cheating. Further, Romney’s failure to describe any specific policy doesn’t describe him as presidential, it re-describes him, as has often occurred throughout this campaign, as a shifty political opportunist willing to say anything, no matter how untrue, to get elected.
My bet is that the media, both right and left, get so wrapped up around Romney’s lies and false assertions, that they forget the fact that Obama let Romney get away with some of those lies. And, maybe, it’s not really Obama’s job to refute every lie Romney spews out. Maybe Obama did well by avoiding sticking his foot in the debate tar baby that is Romney, who has no accountability, and who is desperate to drag Obama down to his mud-slinging level.
No. Tonight, Obama looked presidential. And he treated Romney like a punchy reporter with a fist full of misinformation and a handful of sharp answers, but no real words of substance. In short, Romney failed to rise to Obama’s level in the debate. And he did so by failing the first test of leadership — accountability.