Friday, October 5, 2012

Who really lost the presidential debate

To my mind, there is no way that Mr. Willard Romney won the first presidential debate. Sure, he was smooth, self-assured and aggressive, but he was also trying to deceive the people. Who lost the debate? No doubt about it: the American people.

Presidential candidate Mr. Romney tried to put a few indefensible falsehoods over on the American people and the media let him get away with each one. What I'm about to list is not necessarily a comprehensive list, just what jumped out at me.

On taxes, Mr. Romney said that his tax cut is revenue neutral. That is possible, but whenever he's been asked for specifics, he's refused to tell. Mr. Romney is trying to hide the fact that the only way to make the tax plan revenue neutral is to cut deductions and exemptions that are very popular. In effect, it would be a tax cut for high income people that will be paid for by tax hikes for the middle class.

On health care, Mr. Romney plans to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something, but refuses to give a real plan. He says he'll deal with preexisting conditions, but he's not saying that he will only deal with some preexisting conditions. Mr. Romney complains that Obama plans to cut Medicare, but these are not cuts to benefits, they are savings through increased efficiency... and Paul Ryan budgeted these savings in his latest budget proposal. Mr. Romney is eager to cut Medicaid. Maybe there isn't a lie in this, but he wants to cut Medicaid by about 30%. That's just awful.

Then there are Mr. Romney's insults about partisanship on how Obamacare was passed. President Obama graciously pointed to Mr. Romney's health reform in Massachusetts as a model for what is now known as Obamacare. Mr. Romney said that he worked collaboratively with people from each party for his health reform and contrasted that with the bitter partisanship in the national health reform. What Romney didn't say is that the health care reform was not bipartisan because the Republicans were unwilling to work with the Obama Administration and the Democrats. In the early 1990s, the right-wing Heritage Foundation created a model for health care reform which involved a national health insurance mandate and a system of subsidies to create near universal coverage. This is the basis of the plan that Governor Romney enacted in Massachusetts, which is what the Democrats proposed under Obamacare. Obamacare could have gone a lot further. From my understanding, the only thing that kept the Democrats from putting in a public option for health insurance was that Democrats were trying to get a few Republicans to support the Bill, especially Senator Olympia Snowe. Who are the bitter partisans? Republicans decided from the beginning of this administration that they would not work constructively with the Democrats. Mitch McConnell famously said, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

The American people deserve better than a presidential debate "winner" who actively tries to deceive them. I say Romney is disqualified because he broke basic rules of debate by abandoning the truth. The American people lost in this debate.

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