October 18, 2012

Hofstra Debate: Willard Mitt Romney Was Hoisted By His Own Petard

Hofstra Debate October 16, 2012 Romney and Obama
Willard Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama greet each prior to the 2nd Presidential Debate hosted by Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on October 16th, 2012.

Translation: Romney Was Blown Up By His Own Bomb And “Women In Binders”

By Roy Steele

To vote or not to vote - is that the question?


Hempstead. New York -- You’ve probably seen a few headlines about Tuesday’s presidential debate at Hofstra University by now, or maybe you watched the verbal sparring match between President Barack Obama and his GOP challenger, Willard Mitt Romney. While the consensus is that President Obama “won the debate,” I still think the biggest beneficiary of a political theatrical event, is the American people.

Let’s be real, one’s ability to answer a question and cite mundane statistics, DOES NOT require a Harvard degree. The candidates are locked in a room for hours and days prior to these skirmishes, where they hone their message and try out different lines and answers. They rehearse like an actor prepares to play Hamlet - and nothing is left to chance. Most of what you heard was not impromptu or off the cuff.

I had to remind myself while watching the Hofstra debate, and the other two as well (including Biden vs. Ryan), to remember that the ability to answer a question and cite mundane statistics IS NOT an indication of whether a candidate will be a good or effective president. Republicans have already pointed to Romney and said “see I told you he’s a good candidate,” and Democrats have pointed to Obama and said “the man is a proven leader who knows his stuff.” So what?

This election is incredibly important, and there are two men running for office, with very different points of view. The ability to answer a question and cite mundane statistics in a debate SHOULD NOT be the vehicle for deciding who to vote for. Various media outlets poll undecided voters before a debate, during a debate, and after a debate, to gauge what “the undecideds” are thinking. I think it’s asinine and irresponsible to do this, because it ignores the substantive issues, and promotes the superficial and visceral reactions of an undecided voter who hasn’t done any homework.

Ultimately, each of us has to make this decision for ourselves. We have to consider which candidate embodies the values we think are important for a leader to have. We should assess the candidate’s ideas, and evaluate where we think each candidate will take us in the future. Some people find this democratic exercise we call ‘voting’ easy, while others have a hard time making up their mind. Regardless, be smart about your decision and consider the issues, so you can make an informed vote on election day. 


Romney meme - master of business - binder of wom

Et tu Hofstra! The Town-hall Debate


The Commission on Presidential Debates stages these theatrical events every four years, and people tune in to watch for various reasons. The Hofstra University debate was more entertaining than any “debates” I’ve watched in the past, that’s for sure. I hope voters can forget the theatrics - to concentrate on the issues in this election, including the character of the candidates and how they plan to govern.  Both candidates talked about where they think we are now, and where they want to take us.

Candy Crowley was pretty good as the moderator, in spite of being steamrolled by Romney more than once.

Willard Mitt Romney behaved like a jackass at the Hofstra debate. At times he was cocky, rude, condescending, obstreperous, and a bully. He didn’t act like a President, he didn’t look like a President, and he behaved like an obnoxious teenager. Whether Romney likes it or not, he was engaged in a debate with our sitting President. The office, and the individual, should be respected whether you like the person holding the office or not, or whether you agree with the policies of the administration or not.

When Romney sneered at the President early in the proceeding and said “that wasn’t a question - that was a statement,” I was offended. Romney’s comment sounded like a bitchy haughty queen, and it pissed me off.

When Romney challenged the President’s characterization of the attack on our embassy in Libya, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. Romney’s rant about Obama not telling the country that the attack was an “act of terror”, as he turned to face the President, to call him a liar, was like a bad scene from Mean Girls. As the President said “continue Governor” and remained quiet, Romney imploded. He had no clue what Obama said in the Rose garden, and was completely off the mark with his assertion. Romney revealed himself to be the “liar” and his ruse failed.

Romney was trying to invent conflict in order to appear morally superior, and therefore a better choice for President. The rehearsed moment completely backfired, and poor pitiful Romney looked like he was playing the fool in a Jacobean tragedy (not exactly how Romney’s debate prep team imagined the moment).

Whenever Romney was the first candidate answering a question from the audience, could he be more condescending? The tone of his voice and his posture would change, as if he was talking to a stupid uninformed person. “Jeremy - your future is bright and if I’m elected President you’ll have a job.” To the woman asking about equal pay for women he said “Thank you. Important topic” and then never answered the question. He did make the “women in binders” remark during his response, which spawned countless jokes and has spread across the internet like wildfire.


candidates for president take the Hofstra stage

Romney is.....Moderate? Conservative? Liberal?


Romney seems to reinvent himself at each debate, and on every television interview. He is the flip-flopper extraordinaire! At the first debate he appeared to be “moderate Mitt.” At this debate he was conservative Mitt, and then moderate Mitt, and he was even liberal Mitt for a brief second. When he said he didn’t think “bureaucrats in Washington should decide who gets access to contraception,” inferring that anyone and everyone should have equal access to contraceptives, he went liberal and rogue. He flip-flopped again and contradicted his own past statements, he made his evangelical base throw things at the TV with his subversive  comment, and right-wing extremists are scared that he could abandon them. But never fear, he says he mis-speaks all the time. There is always a campaign spokesman around to clean up and clarify his view when he says the wrong thing.

When Romney repeated the very conservative “I like coal” mantra, and said “in coal country people come up to me and say save my job,” Obama’s response was pitch perfect. Reminding Romney that he closed a coal mine, and was critical of the pollution created by coal, the coal hating liberal Romney had no choice but to be speechless.

There was an immigration question, that he largely dodged. He did reveal that “illegals should be sanctioned,” to satisfy right wingers, while he said some kids and members of the military “might get a pathway to permanent residency.” He qualified it with “might,” and never mentioned a pathway to citizenship. So he’ll deport the parents, but provide a “pathway to permanent residency” for their kids, after he has sanctioned their parents. The sanction part is very conservative, while anything less than
permanent residence is a calculated stunt.
 

David Horsey political cartoon romney obama LA Times

Win Lose or Draw?


Obama had a double/double and scored several 3-pointers while keeping Romney on defense all night.

Near the end of the debate, Romney cried that “some campaigns attack a person.” Romney has been attacking President Obama, a person, with falsehoods and lies that are fabricated by Republicans all the time. He mischaracterizes statistics and makes up facts constantly, and the President doesn’t whine.

President Obama stole any momentum or thunder right from under Romney at the Hofstra debate. He was very articulate, and in command of the debate stage. He responded to the questions directly, and drew a clear line in the sand illustrating the differences with Romney.


In contrast, Romney tried one line zingers, and interrupted the President and moderator on a constant basis, while Obama was unflappable. We expect our president to be calm and unflappable in the face of adversity, while Romney failed the polite and unflappable tests completely.

Romney closed with his “I believe we are children of the same God” line again. We know he doesn’t really think that way, but he continues to use the line. He also mentioned that he “sat across a table from people out of work” so he knows what that’s like. Excuse me? He didn’t sit with the unemployed people, he “sat across a table” from them.

I’ve been quite open about the fact that I’m voting for President Obama. While I considered other candidates for a millisecond, I decided long ago that as a gay man, there is only one major party candidate that I could support, and that’s our incumbent President.

As we get closer to election day, I'll write about how and why I came to make my decision. I really thought that most people would have made up their minds by now, about how they would vote, and yet pollsters and pundits say the race is still very close.

In my mind - there’s only one candidate for President worthy of our vote. And you don’t need a degree from Harvard to figure that one out - now do ya!




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