Friday, October 05, 2012

Obama vs. Romney debate pondering.

Yes, I listened to the entire 90 minutes.  Note that this debate was limited to economic issues.

Imagine a debate competition where you are up against a random opponent, the coin is tossed, and you are required to defend the  proposition,  "Arnold Schwarzenegger is a model husband."  If you survive to the end of the debate without being KO'd, have you not done well?

Thus, we must consider the nature of the proposition that is being defended and its defensibility before declaring whether or not we think a debater did a good or bad job.  In this instance, the economy is at high unemployment, we are running trillion dollar deficits, students are loaded with a trillion dollars in unpayable loans, but can't find jobs.  Healthcare threatens even the upper middle class with bankruptcy, while most of the employed are nervous about layoffs.  There is little hope of improvement and demographic changes are making things worse in the long term.  How would YOU do arguing for the policies of this carnage?

Given all this, I really don't think Obama did badly as a debater, nor do I think Romney did especially well.  What would it have been like if they had been compelled to switch roles and argue the opposite positions?  Of course there are many other things at work in this kind of a debate.  One is the belief in the doctrine of the total intellectual and moral superiority of Leftism, which didn't quite shine through like it should have.  The other is the notion that Obama was especially great as an orator.

Other than this, I am pleased that Romney gave some defense of free markets, education vouchers and states rights.  The Dodd-Frank beastie got some well needed criticism.  Many things went unsaid, like giving loans to people who study degrees with no economic utility, or the disaster of public sector unions in education., but not everything needs to be said in a debate.  The real question is whether or not a president Romney can de-fang the ultra-leftwing monster state.


Delirious said...

I have to admit that while we watched it (on youtube) I was distracted by a card game. But I got the gist of it. But my reaction might be different than others. I am quite intuitive, and Obama's body language screamed a lack of confidence. If he wants to do well in the next debate, he is going to have to stop playing defense, and start playing offense.

Rummuser said...

As a non American, I thought that Obama was deliberately being soft as an opening gambit. The election is still some way to go and with this opening, I suspect that the Democrats will start their next moves which would, in my opinion, concentrate on exactly the kind of things that Romney was erudite about.

Looney said...

@Delirious, body language is something that I have considerable difficulty processing, so I usually need to trust someone else for a reading.

Looney said...

@Rummuser, you may be right. Most Republican leaders - unlike their Democrat counterparts - have no clue what their ideology is, so they can't argue it. Thus, Romney may have been a surprise. Certainly he was a surprise to me.

Historically the pattern of leftists is to overwhelm any argument they don't like with rhetoric, so I think your expectation of their next move is what they will do. "They" being the American news media.

Ursula said...

Looney, according to the British Press Romney did well, Obama a bit listless. Which, naturally, leads the broadsheets to concentrate on Mrs Obama, the formidable Michelle, and her dress sense.

Please do pass me a tissue to wipe a tear.


Looney said...

Ursula, does the British Press give any credit to Bo Obama?

Max Coutinho said...

Hi Looney,

I also watched the entire 90 minute debate (and tonight I am going to watch Biden Vs Ryan). I didn't sleep on that day [when the battle ended, it was 4 AM); I had to write an article about it; but my conclusion was one: Obama's performance was deliberate - that is why I called that debate "The Art of War".
Nevertheless, Romney did a good job in a sense of what a debater should do: debate, attack, talk. Because in terms of substance and veracity...well....obsolete politics.

I am looking forward to tonight's debate.


Looney said...

Howdy Max,

We shall see whether Obama was just doing a clever tactic or not. My note is that Sun Tzu's formula includes "know yourself", which is impossible for leftists, since leftism is by definition a denial of human nature. On the other hand, they do tend to study their conservative opponents in detail.

Max Coutinho said...


I will let you know the verdict after next week's debate (on foreign policy): if Pres. Obama keeps it up, he will prove that he premeditated his first debate. You are right about leftists; although I view this administration as centrist (although it does have some leftist elements).

"On the other hand, they do tend to study their conservative opponents in detail."

True and conservatives should step down their pedestal and learn from their opponents too.