Archive for Saturday, October 13, 2012

Simons’ Saturday Column: VP debate sets stage for 2nd Obama-Romney duel

October 13, 2012


The buildup and hype for Thursday’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Rep. Paul Ryan placed enormous pressures on the two men to carry out and execute specific goals for each of their parties.

Biden was given the task of re-energizing stalwart Democrats who were terribly disappointed and surprised by President Obama’s listless, inept and poor performance in his debate with Mitt Romney.

Various polls following last week’s debate shocked many, with Romney pulling ahead of the president. Obviously Biden was sent into Thursday’s debate to present a fighting, combative and passionate defense of the Obama administration.

Ryan, a relative newcomer to the national scene compared with the 69-year-old Biden, had the goal of showing he was knowledgeable about domestic as well as foreign policy issues, that he was thoughtful and that voters who call themselves “independent” or “undecided” could have confidence in his ability to serve as a sound, thoughtful vice president to strengthen the GOP ticket. He needed to introduce himself to millions of Americans and demonstrate he is on top of issues, articulate, and a sound thinker.

Each man did a creditable job and it is likely those who turned on their TVs to watch the show, those who were staunch, longtime Democrats as well as those who were loyal Republicans, probably turned off their TV sets thinking their man won the debate.

It would be interesting to know if the debate actually resulted in any significant changes among those who favored either candidate before the debate.

The unknown number of genuine “undecided” potential voters and how they reacted to the debate remains up in the air.

In one way, Thursday’s debate was good, entertaining television, but what it really did was set the stage and anticipation for the upcoming duel between Obama and Romney.

Unfortunately Biden’s behavior during the debate overshadowed any serious, sustained discussion of very important matters. His laughing, mocking, smirking, mugging and between 70 and 80 interruptions was effective in diverting a viewer’s attention away from what Ryan was saying.

It’s very likely this was part of his plan to try to rattle Ryan with the hope the congressman would show he cannot stand up to pressure and/or would lose control during the debate.

Following the debate, numerous seasoned political reporters said they had never seen in any previous presidential or vice presidential debates such a display of openly disrespectful, rude manners as Biden used in his tactics.

Throughout the current presidential campaign, various polls have tried to judge the “likability” factor of each candidate and how this might play in determining how a person decides whom to support. Will Biden’s conduct play a role, favorable or unfavorable, in the likability category?

As was the case with the presidential debate, the Obama-Biden administration does not enjoy a sparkling track record over the past three and a half years. Unemployment numbers, national debt, record numbers of people relying on food stamps, greater government involvement in the lives of all Americans, the housing situation, other economic factors, along with a deteriorating situation for Uncle Sam in foreign affairs, all combine to make it difficult for Obama and Biden to garner much support and confidence that the Demo team could perform any better with another four years in office.

Also, in believability factors, which should be critical in judging the character of a president and vice president, the Obama-Biden team should have taken a big hit with the manner in which the White House has dealt with the Benghazi situation. Obama’s pledge of being transparent has been shattered during the past three years, and today he is facing serious questions about how he and his surrogates have leveled with the public.

Given this record, both Romney and Ryan should have had a leg up in debating Obama and Biden because the incumbents must defend their performances.

It appears the Demo strategists decided the best way for Biden to deal with this difficult-to-defend situation was to try to disrupt and divert attention during the debate.

The stakes for this country are enormous. One party favors greater government control, and the other favors more individual freedom. When Obama was seeking election in the 2008 campaign he told his audiences that with their support he was only days away from being able to make fundamental changes in our government and in America.

Thus far, have these changes benefited the country? What changes would Obama call for if he were elected for another four-year term and didn’t have to worry about being re-elected?

There was no clear winner in Thursday’s debate and election day is drawing closer, putting increasing pressure on Romney and Obama in how they perform next week.

Will Romney come up with another winning performance, and how will Obama prepare to rebound with a strong, forceful presentation?

Consider the stakes in how Americans vote on Nov. 6.


David Holroyd 4 years ago

Dolph, you of all folks and as a journalist know these are not debates. Why give them credence as such?

paulveer 4 years ago

Ha Ha! I saw that: You called Dolph a journalist!

Kate Rogge 4 years ago

Everything I've read about Joe Biden and alcohol has said he's a teetotaler. Where have you found information otherwise?

Kate Rogge 4 years ago

It was a serious question, CM. Where have you found information that Biden is an alcoholic?

frankwiles 4 years ago

Might wanna read the footer of that site, the whole site is satire.

paulveer 4 years ago

A peak of what this idiot thinks are facts!

Paul R Getto 4 years ago

"Unfortunately Biden’s behavior during the debate overshadowed any serious, sustained discussion of very important matters. His laughing, mocking, smirking, mugging and between 70 and 80 interruptions was effective in diverting a viewer’s attention away from what Ryan was saying."

He only smirked when Mr. Ryan lied or used their funny Republican math. Relax.

Katara 4 years ago

Syria's population is 20,820,311 while Libya's population is 6,422,722. This makes Syria a bigger country than Libya.

When the population is denser, you have many more risks not only to your own folks there but also to many innocent civilians.

Armstrong 4 years ago

Biden had a pretty good strategy going in to the debate by trying to distract / discredit Ryan with the smirks and snickers. Unfortunately for Joe he didn't recognize the "too much of a good thing" concept and about 20 minutes in became more of an annoyance then a tool to throw Ryan off. By the end of the "debate" Joe looked more like a 3rd grader trying to make fun of a teacher then a VP or politicain. OR Joe overdosed on the happy juice- again . At debates end Ryan came off looking like the candidate that wanted to have a conversation with the other adult in the room.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

The Vice Presidential Debate: Joe Biden Was Right to Laugh 'You should laugh, because this stuff is a joke, and we shouldn't take it seriously.' by Matt Taibbi

"I've never been a Joe Biden fan. After four years, I'm not the biggest Barack Obama fan, either (and I'll get into why on that score later). But they're at least credible as big-league politicians. So much of the Romney/Ryan plan (to cut taxes by 20%) is so absurdly junior league, it's so far off-Broadway, it's practically in New Jersey.

Paul Ryan, a leader in the most aggressively and mindlessly partisan Congress in history, preaching bipartisanship? A private-equity parasite, Mitt Romney, who wants to enact a massive tax cut and pay for it without touching his own personal fortune-guaranteeing deduction, the carried-interest tax break – which keeps his own taxes below 15 percent despite incomes above $20 million?

The Romney/Ryan platform makes sense, and is not laughable, in only one context: if you're a multi-millionaire and you recognize that this is the only way to sell your agenda to mass audiences. But if you're not one of those rooting gazillionaires, you should laugh, you should roll your eyes, and it doesn't matter if you're the Vice President or an ABC reporter or a toll operator. You should laugh, because this stuff is a joke, and we shouldn't take it seriously."

fiddleback 4 years ago

"The Romney/Ryan platform makes sense, and is not laughable, in only one context: if you're a multi-millionaire and you recognize that this is the only way to sell your agenda to mass audiences."

Which is exactly why Dolph actually cares, but to sell it to those of modest means, he couches it in hyperbole about "government control" vs. "individual freedom" and wrings his hands over the "high stakes"...

The reality is that we're in for 4 years of relative gridlock no matter who wins, and the only thing Dolph really has to fear is his and Mitt's taxes going up by 4%. That, and a few more liberal SCOTUS appointments. Oh, the humanity.

And likewise, all Mitt could really promise is preventing that 4% increase and more conservative SCOTUS appointments. It's very doubtful that either Obama or Romney will have the credibility or negotiating skills to achieve a "grand bargain"... so in 2016, we need top get another consummate dealmaker in the White House. And as in 2004, everybody needs to set their next-term expectations much lower. Maybe Dolph should get a prescription for some valium.

Flap Doodle 4 years ago

"World English Bible If a wise man goes to court with a foolish man, the fool rages or scoffs, and there is no peace." (from a source) You think the current resident of 1600 Penn. Ave will adopt Biden's "rodeo clown on crack" demeanor?

Robert Schehrer 4 years ago

I have read several articles that say that the Romney camp asked the Moderator, Martha Raddatz, to refer to Congressman Ryan as Mister instead of Congressman Ryan. She did not agree. I guess Congressman Ryan is not very proud of his record in Congress.

Flap Doodle 4 years ago

Citation, please? "I have read..." doesn't cut much ice by itself.

Robert Schehrer 4 years ago

Sources: ABC News, Washington Post & New York Magazine. There are many more. You can do your own Google search if you want more sources. I thought I didn't need to give sources, since Mr. Simons always says "my soucres tell me" without ever giving any names.

Bob Forer 4 years ago

The public approval rating for members of Congress is at an all time low. Perhaps Romney's camp didn't want the public reminded of Ryan's membership in such a loathsome group of scaliwags..

Terry Sexton 4 years ago

I like Bulldog Joe's style. I'm pretty sure Congressman Ryan's feelings weren't hurt. It was a vigorous debate that probably changed the opinion of no one who's posting here.

What perplexes me is why many posters are trying to take the veep to the woodshed for his combative methods. Do they not ever look in a mirror? Have they never heard of pot/kettle syndrome?

jafs 4 years ago

I know - it's remarkable.

Aggressive is good if it's Romney against Obama, but bad if it's Biden against Ryan.

The cognitive dissonance is totally amazing.

weeslicket 4 years ago

dolph: Unfortunately Biden’s behavior .... was effective in diverting a viewer’s attention away from what Ryan was saying.

now remind me, how does one go about shaking the etch-a-sketch?? (politely, of course)

voevoda 4 years ago

"One party favors greater government control, and the other favors more individual freedom." Yes, but which party is which? The Republicans want to place a lot of limitations on women's freedoms: to control their own bodies, make their own reproductive choices, even to earn the same salaries as men. The Republicans want to place a lot of limitations on people's rights to marry the person of their choice. The Republicans want to limit the rights of freedom of religion, by depriving non-Christians of the right to build houses of worship and live according to the teachings of their faith. The Republicans want to prevent the teaching of the science of evolution in our schools, to ban certain controversial (but not very) books from our public libraries, to prevent medical professionals from talking with their patients about the full range of treatment options, limiting our Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech. The Republicans want to outlaw labor unions, limiting our Constitutional guarantees on the on freedom of assembly. It was Republicans who decided that the basic rights of habeus corpus and due process could be suspended in the name of "national security."

So it's certainly not true that it's the Democrats "favor greater government control;" instead, it's the Republicans. Democrats are the ones who want truly limited government, with government providing services that people want and need, not just serving as a mechanism to empower the wealthy and transfer more wealth to them and as a mechanism to repress people who think and believe differently.

Armstrong 4 years ago

If your rant tis true why has government grown so much under Barry ?

voevoda 4 years ago

Because actually government hasn't grown under Obama.

voevoda 4 years ago

Obamacare isn't a "huge government program." It's a method of promoting the purchase of health insurance from private providers. For persons already on private insurance or on a government program such as Medicare, the only change is an increase in benefits, and most people appreciate it. For people who don't have insurance but want it, their opportunities to get coverage are improved, and they appreciate it. As for the people who don't have insurance and don't want to get it, they will need to pay a tax that covers the costs of their medical care, should they get critically ill and be unable to pay. Genuine conservatives ought to applaud this method of spurring irresponsible people to become responsible, using the tax system and private enterprise to accomplish this end in the best conservative manner.

jafs 4 years ago

Well, it's sort of a combination of the two.

There's a lot of government involved in promoting that purchase, and many other parts of the ACA.

Katara 4 years ago

Syria's population is 20,820,311 while Libya's population is 6,422,722. This makes Syria a bigger country than Libya.

When the population is denser, you have many more risks not only to your own folks there but also to many innocent civilians.

love2fish_ks 4 years ago

I am embarrassed by my own party. Thermo-Necular war with Iran is no laughing matter, nor is the 5M people out of work. What a chucklehead. Week need to keep Barak healthy lest we end up with Joe. UGH

Armstrong 4 years ago

I'm for keeping both Barry and Joe healthy - and unemployed !

paulveer 4 years ago

Yeah, they do stink it up around here, don't they?

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

--- Romney/Ryan DO want to privatize medicare insurance and social security insurance which of course brings on ADDITIONAL OVERHEAD AND RISKS which nobody should want. Dumb economics!

--- Republicans keep saying that people should be allowed to make more quicker by way of investing in Wall Street which implies playing Wall Street is a sure bet which of course it is not.....absolutely not. RYAN also suggested such on Wednesday night. If an investment-firm broker made this claim to his clients, he would be arrested and charged with stock fraud. Michael Milken went to jail for several years for making just this type of promise about financial investments.

--- With corporations routinely defaulting on their pension promises, more and more workers must rely on their individual wealth to make up the difference. The stock market collapse at the turn of the millennium wiped out much of the financial wealth of middle class Americans, and the collapse of the housing bubble has wiped out much of their remaining wealth.

--- Making any cuts to Social Security now, either by raising the retirement age or cutting benefits, would have a huge impact on their remaining retirement income and are not necessary to “save the system.

--- Social Security does not contribute one dime to the deficit. In fact privatizing Social Security Insurance will add trillions to the debt and put the economy at further risk.

--- Have elected officials which oppose Social Security Insurance lied to the public about Social Security Insurance? Absolutely!

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Big debt and super duper bailouts do not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

--- In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion.

--- This republican ENTITLEMENT - Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

--- This republican ENTITLEMENT - Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

--- This republican ENTITLEMENT - Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Tax cuts cost everybody money except those receiving the tax cuts.

Why support government officials who only want to allow tax cuts for the 1% when in fact it increases taxes on the other 99%?

Why support government officials who only want to allow cuts for the 1% under the guise it will create jobs and new revenue for the USA? If that is in fact true why not hand out tax cuts and loopholes for all taxpayers?

Who's getting duped?

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Flat Tax Fraud


--- Conservatives are pushing the flat tax as a smokescreen. They’d rather not have anyone talk about the unfairness and fiscal absurdity of the current system.

--- Why Flat Tax is a Fraud – Business Insider

--- Flat Tax a Flat Out Fraud

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Romney Receives Tax Rewards for Killing USA Jobs = 170 jobs from one company

Some workers have been employed here for 33 years.

While the workers and the town may suffer, Romney himself has done well as a result of Bain's work with the company. According to his recently released 2011 tax returns, Romney transferred $701,703 worth of Sensata stock to the Tyler Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit controlled by Romney. The gift is listed on page 323 of the pdf, on form 8283 (below).

Moving the stock to his nonprofit brings Romney twin benefits. First, he gets to deduct the full value of the stock. At a 35 percent tax rate, that's nearly a $250,000 benefit. At 15 percent, it's just over $100,000.

Second, Romney is able to avoid paying capital gains taxes on the stock price increase. Romney's returns list no cost for the stock, and indicate he obtained them as part of a partnership interest in Bain. Avoiding capital gains taxes on the full increase would save an additional $100,000. In 2010, Romney gifted $170,000 worth of Sensata stock to his charity, saving $25,000 in capital gains taxes that year.

Cheryl Randecker, a Sensata worker facing an imminent layoff, said, "I could pay off my house with that [$25,000], and he doesn't need it anyway."

Randecker received her 60-day layoff notice shortly after Labor Day. She and other Sensata employees have tried in vain to pressure Romney and Bain to keep their jobs in the U.S., going so far as to create a "Bainport" encampment across the street from their plant in Freeport, Ill. Billed as the "home of the Romney economy," the site highlights what some Sensata workers describe as corporate greed squeezing the middle class.

Armstrong 4 years ago

Gee merrill with sources like the Huffington post and daily Kos. Just sayin

fiddleback 4 years ago

LOL at that last line -- I'll check in with you on Nov. 7. Don't go dyin' on me!

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

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