Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Static from the Statist

Jim Lehrer is breathing a sigh of relief this morning. Last night, CNN’s Candy Crowley stole from him the crown as World’s Worst Debate moderator. A terrible timekeeper and Obama’s contention to the contrary that Mitt Romney was taking more time, Crowley allowed Obama 4 minutes and 4 seconds more time to speak than Mitt Romney.

She allowed the candidates – mainly Obama – to invade each other’s space, interrupt each other, talk over each other, and even forgot her supposed objective position as moderator to help Obama’s case on the issue of whether he said the word “terror” in his Rose Garden address the morning after U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was assassinated in Benghazi. It wasn’t her job to fact-check assertions.

In regard to the Rose Garden address on Sept. 12, Obama made an ambiguous statement about the attack on the consulate in Benghazi and the murder of the ambassador and three others:

“Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi,” he said, and then continued. “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.

Hearing it at the time, it sounded like a very vague acknowledgement that it was an act of terror. So, okay. But then, for the next two weeks, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice insisted that the attack was the result of an obscure video. Mitt Romney made his own press statement warning Americans that they were being lied to. Obama backed up Rice.

Obama accused Romney of “playing politics” by making the announcement. Puffing up his ruffled presidential feathers, he huffed that he was personally offended by any counter-accusations that anyone in his cabinet or on his team were playing politics themselves. All his theatrics left the voter’s question unanswered.

Obama danced around a lot of questions last night. After all, if you’ve busy attacking our opponent, you keep him from attacking you. However, while Romney had the stage he attacked Obama’s record persistently and factually. Obama could dance around in circles, but he couldn’t run away from his record; all he could do was deny the accusations and call Romney a liar.

As expected, Romney was working against a stacked, statist deck. The debate was held at Hofstra University on Long Island, with university students as the audience and questioners culled from a majority Democrat based. Obama got the softball questions (“Tell us what you would do for women” and “How would create jobs?” – first addressed to Romney, Obama ended with some out-there answer about clean energy) and Romney got the sandbag questions, (“How are you going to be different from Bush, who gave us all these problems, you –you Republican!?”).

One question both candidates failed to answer was the woman’s actual questions about women’s opportunities in the workplace and the inequity in pay. The inequity is statistical in nature. The reason women don’t reach the same level of pay is most women’s first priority is their family, as it should be. They take more time for childcare. Even when they have a childcare provider, they still must take responsibility for their children and deal personal with crises that arise. Some career women do rise past that glass ceiling to make enough money to hire professional nannies with nursing backgrounds. They pay a price for that success, though, a price most women don’t want to pay. While they work, they consciously take jobs that will allow them the flexibility to care for their families.

Obama’s answer is to force employers to allow even more productive time for family and force employers to pay the price. Ultimately, it’s bad for business, and what’s bad for business is ultimately bad for employees, in the long run, and their families.

If women do wish to advance up the income ladder, then they need to take more of an interest while still in high school and college in science and math careers. These two men, advocating education, never bothered to remind this woman of that. Romney just gave a general, ameliorating answer and talked about the women he appointed when he was governor of Massachusetts. Never tell a woman she’s wrong; just say, “Yes, dear.” Obama, in contrast, was eager for the government to hold her hand as she boo-hooed about the inequities of being a woman. He pinned medals on himself for the Lily Ledbetter Bill.

My mother didn’t need the government to help her gain equitable pay back in the 1940s. She was just 21, and learned that a fellow reporter was earning more money than she did in the same job. She just marched herself into the supervisor’s office and demanded that her pay be adjusted. The supervisor tried to argue that he was a man and would support a family someday, but Mom replied that the grocery store wasn’t going to charge her less for a loaf of bread, nor was her landlady going to lower her rent just because she was a woman. If her pay wasn’t adjusted, she’d quit. If women don’t have that kind of courage today to stand up for themselves, without the authority of the government behind them, then they don’t deserve the equal pay. No man would stand for being paid less when he knew he was worth more.

The rest was all about the economy. Romney did a good job of staying on message: it’s about the jobs. Lower corporate tax rates and the businesses will return. Obama insisted that he had, which could account for the return of some jobs. The unemployment rate is now at 7.8 percent, the same rate, according Romney, that it was at when Obama took office. That’s still 23 million people out of work, he reminded Obama.

Actually, the rest was a lot of yelling and finger pointing. The funniest moment was when Obama insisted that the American’s perception of him is wrong, that he’s a champion of free enterprise. His record belies that assertion. His record shows that he’s very bad at free market capitalism – an avowed enemy of it in fact – whereas Romney’s record shows that he’s a successful champion of Capitalism.

Obama got what he wanted last night: an accommodating moderator, a responsive audience, and a big stage where he could strut around like the cock of the roost, instead of being confined behind a podium. The staging of this debate was very awkward and was instrumental in allowing the debate to get out of hand. The stools were too far back from the moderator and the camera, wasting precious time while the candidates came forward to answer questions. Each candidate was supposed to be able deliver a final statement. That never happened thanks to the waste of time and space, the constant interruptions (mostly by Obama, I thought) and the lack of moderation.

This second debate was like the second act in a play; second acts are never conclusive. They serve only as a bridge to the denouement. The final act will come next Monday, and then it’s on to the election.


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