Presidential Debate, 10/3/2012

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’re probably already aware that the general consensus, from both right and left of the political spectrum, is that Governor Mitt Romney won the first of the Presidential Debates last night.

The spin has been predictable and pathetic from the Democrats, Al Gore going so far as to suggest that the President had arrived in Denver late and had not had enough time to acclimate himself to the thinner air and thus was mostly unintelligible because he couldn’t think straight due to oxygen deprivation. Or something.

The post debate shenanigans have been adequately covered by the alphabet soup television media stations and others and there is no need to further cover them here.

During the debate, it appeared that the President’s mood, as reflected in his facial gestures, slogged from guilt at being caught with his hand in the cookie jar, to bewilderment, to frustration, to anger to apathy. I do not remember the anger visible on his face being reflected even once in his voice… probably a good thing.

But, more than that, I do not remember, other than briefly, hearing any passion reflected in his voice, either. It is extremely easy to lose a debate when you concede your opponents points (by voice or by action), do not adequately defend your own, appear to be unprepared, and demonstrate no passion in your presented arguments.

These are all unforced errors and most likely will not be present, or will be greatly reduced in the remaining debates. By contrast, I would expect a very strong showing in these areas by the President at the next meeting between the two candidates.

Areas that will be harder for him to fix are areas dealing with matters of actual substance. Several of Mr. Obama’s answers were rehashed campaign speeches and State of the Union speeches. During the course of the evening, he blamed President Bush1, took a dig at insurance companies for making a profit, railed against bankers2 for offering loans they knew were going to go bad, and repeatedly insisted that he and his campaign knew better what Romney was saying and thinking than Romney himself.

At one point in the debate, the President said: “The auto industry has come roaring back…” The US auto industry never left. Ford, Toyota, Honda and other auto manufacturers in this country did not accept any bailouts when they were offered. Only GM and Chrysler did. And the big winners in those auto bailouts? The UAW3. The auto bailout, in essence, resulted in government theft of private property4, and the redistribution of that wealth to the auto workers union.

Another response from later in the debate that caught my attention. When asked about the responsibilities of government, President Obama appeared to say 1) Protect the American people 2) Invest (spend) more (raised) tax dollars and 3) Hire more teachers.

Governor Romney, on the other hand, said that government is to operate within the parameters set forth in the Constitution and to allow the American people to live their lives by the principles of individual freedom and liberty as established by the Declaration of Independence and by the Constitution.

Over the last several months, President Obama has name-dropped Abraham Lincoln into many of his speeches, conveniently when his words or ideas closely (or kind of) track those of our 16th President. He did it again last night. Ask yourself this, though. Can you ever imagine our current president echoing the following words of Lincoln?

I believe that every individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other men’s rights.
— Abraham Lincoln

  1. without using his name — see opening statement by the President
  2. The President is being disingenuous with this argument. The facts are that such loans were being mandated by federal government regulations through the Clinton Presidency and continuing well into 2006 & 2007 by Democratic controlled Congresses.
  3. United Auto Workers Union
  4. The capital interest of shareholders and investors in those companies

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