Special Debate Edition

2012-10-04 – So Romney did well. How did that happen? To me, it happened because he entirely changed the nature of his major programs. Don’t know if that constitutes a flip-flop or a series of flip-flops, because flip-flopping generally occurs on one point or a minor point. This guy is now entirely different than he was before.

On taxes, he denies the core elements of his plan. He is now proposing a rate cut combined with something that sounds vaguely like the alternative minimum tax, which his “small business” buddies hate. What’s up with that? The numbers still are far from adding up, but more than that: this is a different sort of plan.

On healthcare, he proposes replacing Obamacare with . . . Romneycare? Or nothing? Take your pick. Don’t make him decide. It seems that his big knock on Obamacare is only that it’s federal. But the core of Obamacare actually occurs at the states, exactly like Romney says he wants to happen. That’s why Republican governors went through a period of trying to kill Obamacare by refusing to create health exchanges or implement Medicaid changes in their states. Of course, that’s subsiding, because the time for posturing on Obamacare is passing and even Republican governors don’t want their states to suffer too much.

On Medicare, watch out. But even here the inconsistency is amazing. This idea of having choice between Medicare and private plans is nothing new. It actually exists within current Medicare and is kinda dysfunctional. It was also proposed to be part of Obamacare and the Republicans shot it down. Why is it suddenly a great idea when it was an awful idea a couple years ago?

On education, I didn’t see much of a difference. There’s a lot going on in the education field because of technology, though, that neither of these guys understand.

And so on.

So Obama had two important knocks on this guy:

First is the flip-flop knock.

Second had to do with Romney’s secret plans. Obama tried to make a lawyer’s case that, if they are not showing us the details, the jury (the American people) are entitled to a negative inference: i.e., they’re not telling us because the details are bad. This was one of his best points of the night, but . . .

Did he make these points in a way that will have an impact? I think they were a little weak. But I can imagine that they could be supplemented with some significant TV and web video. I hope they go that route. Because Obama didn’t really deliver on these points.

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