President Obama gave such a clear walk over to the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney in the First Presidential debate that it now seems almost a deliberate well thought out plan. I mean just the very thought of not using the infamous 47 remark against Romney shows a well thought out strategy on the part of the President. Can you even imagine the number of aides and campaign strategist’s that had written the 47 remark as the first point in their presentations to President Obama before the debate. What is even more interesting is that even after Mitt Romney lied on various core issues, the President seemed in no mood to take his opponent to the cleaners on those points. Also Romney’s camp must have written at least a dozen escape plans for him to defend his role in Bain Capital and yet not a word on that issue from the President. And most Democrats immediately went into a defensive mode, without even feeling puzzled even once?
But before we analyze the Obama camp’s mysterious response to the debate, let us first set some facts in order. It’s about Romney’s blatant lies or misinformation. The last I checked the complete transcripts of the debate, I could easily count five misrepresentations on his part. And as I point out later in the article, Mitt Romney will soon realize that these five big lies he tried to sell to the American people will come out to haunt his campaign very soon.
First, on the issue of the magnitude of his Tax cuts, Romney denied his tax cuts could range 5 Trillion Dollars. Independent economist have well established that the price tag of his Tax cuts would exceed 360 billion Dollar in the first year itself, ballooning way beyond the 5 trillion dollar mark in a decade itself.
The second is related to his assertion that his tax cuts will be financed by closing a variety of loopholes and deductions in the existing tax system. Great! The only problem is he hasn’t named even one that he can close! Independent tax experts have firmly established that Romney’s plan will only result in a ‘net tax cut for the highest income group’ and a ‘net tax increase’ for lower and middle income households. On top of it Romney plans to have targeted tax cuts like the estate tax cuts, which will only make life easier for the richest, including his own sons’ tax burden.
Third is the number he very emphatically produced during the debate, of 23 million American “who have stopped looking for work”. Well, official figures show 12.5 million unemployed, 2.6 million who have stopped looking for work and does that add to 23 million? Not in normal arithmetic, unless it’s convenient for Governor Romney to include the 8 million part time workers as unemployed! That is indeed imaginative.
Fourth is his charge that in Obamacare, the unelected board will decide what kind of treatment a patient can have or not. True, Obamacare does have a system of Independent Payment Advisory Board, but it is for constraining Medicare on excess spending. The private insurance market remains out of its purview. And also this specific body is explicitly banned from rationing or limiting healthcare facilities to seniors.
The Fifth was on his health care plan having ‘pre-existing conditions’ covered. Under Romney, if you have a pre-existing condition and have been unable to obtain insurance coverage or if you have had to drop coverage for more than 90 days because you lost your job or couldn’t afford the premiums, you are done for. Insurance companies could continue to discriminate and deny you coverage. And Romney’s own Campaign manager concedes that, but only and conveniently once the debate is over.
So coming back to the reason, this post was intended in the first place, why did Obama just let him get away with all that. We have all seen Barack Obama as the fired up debater during his campaign days in 2007-2008. The fiery debater, armed with facts, backed by eloquence, silencing even his greatest opponents. Where was he? Lets pause here for a moment and remember the fact, ’that’ fiery debater is now the also the President of The United States of America. So, do I suggest that becoming the President Nulls one’s debating skills or your wit or affability or command over facts!!! Nopes, but just some nuances do come into play and a hell lot of a sense of statesmanship and responsibility.
To understand this one has to look at it as a well thought out strategy or the limitations Barack Obama – the debater- has, as a President or as a finely balanced mix of both. First and foremost is the limitation or better put, responsibility to not look angry as the President of United States of America. He knew before hand, that even if Romney misrepresents facts, he just cannot be explicitly seen as the guy pointing out in the first debate itself that his opponent is completely wrong. It would portray him as THE President using his authority to denounce a fumbling guy, even if it were on facts. He knew that sooner or later any lies spoken, will be picked up by media and the people (as it has happened), and eventually his silence would be understood and appreciated.
There also seems to be a basic understanding in Obama’s campaign, that attacking or increasing the heat in the hugely anticipated first debate has to be avoided at all cost. The strategy seems to be, ‘let Romney misrepresent, make him seem- oh he is not that bad taking on Obama- for a day or two and then allow the real facts to roll. The Obama campaign knew it would be a double whammy for the Romney camp, for as people realize the truth, they will have a feeling that this guy is so desperate, he lied to us so blatantly and to top it, tried to pass it off as a victory!
In the end this debate could end up haunting Mitt Romney, a scenario very different to the initial sense of jubilation that the Republicans are showing. And if he continues like this, – which seems unlikely- he can be assured of massive political damage. As for the Obama camp, I would say it was a subtle inter mix of knowing that the truth is on their side, character and some great political acumen. They knew Romney has tried to trick America in the past, will come fast and furious again with the wrong facts again and ultimately pay for it.
As the days settle and the Debate is deconstructed everywhere, American’s will realize one of their candidates lied to them blatantly just to look good in a debate, their President letting them knowing what Mitt Romney really is by not interrupting him, and finally the realization that the initial debate outcome perception was a bit skewed. Barack Obama as a candidate and as the President has always taken the initiative to talk things through, but this time he knew his inaction was needed. He knew the old adage of not interrupting when your opponent is making mistakes. This debate was lost by us. Because we needed to. Because we had to. Because we wanted to. Democrats have to realize and understand why the battle was lost, so that the war could be won.
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