Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Second Presidential Debate

As an Obama supporter, I was relieved that he did better in this debate and fought back on Romney's lies and misrepresentations. 

I thought Obama did well, but not as well as the pundits seem to think. For one thing, he could have done a much better job of tying Romney to the far right positions he's taken during the primary season. He could have done a better job of pointing out Romney's flip flops over the years as evidence that Romney seems to have no core beliefs and will likely be a pawn of the far right if he's elected President. Additionally, he didn't distill down the Republican position the way Biden did: given their history, who do you trust?  I also thought Obama had a tendency to be defensive about his administration rather than telling us what he would actually do in the next four years. What's Obama going to do differently if he gets re-elected? We don't know.

Following up on that, Romney's best moments were when he pointed out that Obama has had four years and hasn't improved things, that the economy is still not doing well.  However, I thought Romney came off as a bully. He started right off the bat, with the first question! He was arguing with Candy Crowley as soon as the thing started! I mean, come on, that's ridiculous.

I was disappointed that Obama didn't mention climate change in the discussion of energy policy and gas prices. I thought the argument about exploitation of natural resources on public lands was a bit obscure. Romney seemed to think everyone agrees that this is a good thing and Obama should have been doing this more. I thought it was a bit more controversial than that. No one mentioned that gas prices are highly dependent on the vagaries of a world market.  No one answered the actual question asked, either, for that matter.

I really don't understand what point Romney thought he was making when he pointed out that Obama said Benghazi was an act of terror the day after it happened. He acted like he was making some big "gotcha" moment. It made no sense. And what is the big deal anyway? I don't understand the supposed scandal over this. Does anyone really think there was some kind of cover-up? That's what the Republicans are implying, if not stating outright.

Romney had no answer to the question about pay equity for women. None. His response was that he tried to hire women in his administration in Massachusetts. Well, that's nice, but what about policies that will help women overall? Nothing. What about actually saying you support pay equity for women? Nope. Also, this phrase: "If women are going to be in the workforce..." Bad. Yes, Romney, of course they're "going to be in the work force"! Women have been in the workforce for a long time. Contrast this with Obama talking about women being breadwinners, which is a much more accurate characterization.

Romney's response to Obama bringing up contraception was terribly misleading. He said he thinks everyone should have access to contraception. "Access to contraception" is not the same thing as getting insurance coverage for contraception. You can have "access" to it, but it's meaningless if you can't afford it and your insurance doesn't cover it. That's the same thing as saying increased regulation of abortion clinics that essentially puts them out of business has no effect on women's right to an abortion. That right is meaningless if insurmountable hurdles are placed in front of it.

(maybe more thoughts later)

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