How did President Obama lose the first debate? Let me count the ways:
* He never even mentioned his plutocratic opponent’s “47 percent” statement branding disabled veterans and such as losers, which was like leaving your 50-caliber machine gun in place and untouched so you can defend yourself with a feather pillow.
* He failed to point out the falseness of Mitt Romney’s charge that the Affordable Care Act would run off with $716 billion in Medicare funding. He even fell lamb-like into place by agreeing to his opponents’ derisive name for his health law.
* Obama never explained that the government health “boards” that Romney decried already exist in the form of corporate insurance boards that make health decisions almost solely in terms of profit and loss. Presumably public boards might pay more attention to keeping patients alive and healthy.
* He didn't flatly state that it's impossible to cut taxes without raising the deficit and that Romney's far-fetched "plan" to accomplish this imbecilic claim is something he keeps secret from voters. He needed to ask Romney to his face, which Romney are we to believe? The one who tonight says he has no plan to cut taxes for the rich? Or the one on the campaign trail who promised four or five times a day to do just that?
* Obama's American flag lapel pin was noticeably smaller than Mitt's.
Early on Romney learned he could score repeatedly with punches that Obama wouldn’t deflect or counter, so he threw them again and again, gaining in confidence as the President looked and felt less and less sure of himself.
Using mystical algorithms I won’t try to explain, I figure Romney gained 1.2 million votes in the first debate, possibly putting himself right back in the race. He knew what points he wanted to make, and he made them with little regard for their truthfulness. Obama barely challenged him on his veracity. You could also say Romney took the kickoff and ran down the field, not believing his luck as the other team’s players stared at their shoes instead of throwing tackles.
Why did this happen? Obama, a 51-year-old black American man, has been taught again and again that if he gets tough he loses white Americans’ sympathy. Too many of them will not tolerate combativeness in a black man. So he tries to follow the Magic Johnson formula, a formula by the way, that always worked well for Magic and was in no way demeaning to its practitioner. But it’s hard as hell to mimic. Magic smiled sweetly while he kicked opponents’ asses out on the court, and after the game he made them believe it was almost a privilege to be trampled by him. It’s a tough recipe to follow no matter how carefully the chef writes it out.
We're not in a post-racial America yet, but if Obama would act like it, maybe it could help us get there. He needed to go out there, forget caution, take no guff, and slam that lying white man again and again, as in, "Governor, your claim doesn't square at all with that 47 percent label you clucked about to your rich buddies in Florida. My own family was part of that 47 percent, and believe me, we didnt want to be there. Which is why I'm telling you to your face you're wrong about Americans. They're not victims or victimizers, and on their behalf I object to your offhand categorizations about what makes us tick." Etcetera.
Obama has been conditioned by his surroundings. He was able to romp past the addled John McCain in 2008, who was saddled with the record of the previous eight years. But when he went mano a mano with male-model-handsome Romney he backed up, covered up, and absorbed punches. I know I’m mixing metaphors, but cut me some slack, okay? I mean, how much did you pay for this commentary?
The $716 billion “robbery” is an example of what Stephen Colbert calls “truthiness.” A piece of it is a little true, but in its totality, it’s starkly false. The money would come from overpayments to unregulated middlemen. The non-plan we now follow pays for procedures instead of results, which is basically the same model used by Halliburton and other Pentagon-connected fraudsters when they make billions from cost-plus contracts.
If Obama prepared well for this debate he slipped up in the presentation, but I’m guessing he didn’t prepare well. He needed to make a short list of points to make no matter what, and to make them. He didn’t, and it cost him dearly.
Causes Ivan Goldman Supports
American Heart Association
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Beit T'Shuvah Recovery Program