Thursday, October 04, 2012

Again on the Obama-Romney debate

Charlie Pierce isn't one to run with the Pod Pundit herd. And he also thought Obama's performance in the first debate was bad, even disastrous. In The Presidential Debate That Wasn't Very Presidential: How Obama Let the Etch-a-Sketch Take the Controls Esquire Politics Blog 10/04/2012, he writes:

... what happened on Wednesday night — and, more to the point, what the president allowed to happen on Wednesday night — has changed this entire election. It has given the Beltway press the horse race of their dreams, which is going to matter a lot over the next couple of weeks. Moreover, it may have buried progressive government forever by demonstrating how tight the boundaries really are around what is considered acceptable economic solutions to a battered national economy. That will remain the case, clearly, even if this president gets re-elected. If that's this president's final legacy, he has only himself to blame. [my emphasis]
And he's right that the political and intellectual corruption of neoliberalism was all too evident on Wendnesday evening. The Democratic President refuses to make a full-throated defense of Social Security and Medicare. Because he isn't seriously supportive of either program.

Pierce memorably characterizes Obama's performance this way, "The only way that the wonkish, garbled, and distracted performance by the president makes any kind of sense is if the White House has internal polls that indicate that a majority of Americans believe that Willard Romney eats live chickens in praise of Satan."

Sadly, he's right about this:

What you saw, I think, anyway, was the end product of the president's consuming naivete as regards the American political process, as well as the end product of thirty years of a Democratic Party that has slid so far to the center-right that a Democratic president found himself arguing with a "severely conservative" Republican candidate over the issues of how much the Democratic president had cut out of the budget, how many regulations he'd trimmed, how much more devoted to the middle-class-kick-in-the-balls Simpson-Bowles "plan" he is, and how he would "reform" Social Security and Medicare — and, frankly, a Democratic president losing some of those arguments to his left. A Democratic president got through an entire debate and didn't mention unions at all, even though the fact that our teachers are unionized here in Massachusetts is a big part of the reason why Romney got to brag on how good our education system is. [emphasis in original]

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