Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gall - The Word That Characterized the Debate

A word of caution to my Republican friends - I remember how excited I was because I thought Hillary killed Barack Obama in every debate between them. You see how that turned out for her. A caution to my Democratic friends - I remember how excited I was because I thought Hillary killed Barack Obama in every debate between them. You see how that turned out for him.

I think the Republicans may be placing a little too much of their hope in the first debate basket. Not that I don't agree that Obama did poorly. Throughout the debate, I kept thinking, "put me in, Coach!" I know I could have been more passionate in countering Romney's attacks than the president was.

On the other hand, I wasn't as enamored with Romney's style as many others seemed to be. If Obama was on downers, then Romney was on steroids - attacking, charging, bullying the moderator, accusing the president of being a liar, speaking so manically he was almost spitting on himself. It was the difference between a diplomat trying to be an honest broker and a salesman willing to make any false claim to close the deal.

I think the word that most characterized this debate was gall. I think Obama was taken aback by Romney's gall in denying his entire past history in the sweep of a 90-minute debate. I know I was. "I never said that." "I don't believe that." "I'm not going to do that." Huh? But, but  those are all the things you've been saying all along. "No, I haven't."

Some other misstatements: "My plan covers pre-existing conditions." "I've never heard of companies getting rebates for moving jobs overseas." "President Obama is going to take $716 billion out of Medicare but I wouldn't do that." I could go on and on.

How do you counter that kind of breathtaking hubris? Well, the fact checking afterwards might show some of what was going on but how many people will pay attention to that? Romney had his 60-million strong audience on the night that counted.

In any contest, when one person is bound by the rules and the other one hits below the belt, the cheater has the advantage. It will be curious to see what happens in the Vice-Presidential debate because we already know from the Republican convention that Paul Ryan has any more qualms about being under-handed than Romney did.

I think the statement of Romney's that made me the angriest was his supreme chutzpah is telling us how he will go to Washington and work cooperatively with the Democrats to get things accomplished. As if it hasn't been the Republican ploy from Day One...and it was literally Day One, Inauguration Day, when the Republicans met - to plan how to obstruct Obama at every turn. It is the Republicans who have voted no on every program Obama put forth...even policies that were always bipartisan before, even policies that were initially their idea, even policies that were necessary to help the country recover. It is the Republicans that have filibustered more than any other Congress in our history. And Romney has the unmitigated gall to suggest that by his power of sweet persuasion, he will convince the Democrats to side with him.

And since we Democrats are the party that believes it is our duty to try to govern and they are the party that believes it is their duty to consolidate power, it could possibly work. Let's say, theoretically, that Romney is elected and proposes something that is a pet Democratic program - raising the minimum wage, for instance. This is something the Republicans hate but what do you think they'd do? Swallow hard and vote yes? And, of course, the Democrats would vote yes as well because they are convinced a higher minimum wage helps working Americans. It would pass and Romney could then say, "see, that's how you get things done." Having established his "able to work with the other side" creds, he and the Republicans would go on to propose the middle-class killing programs they really believe in.

The American people are the question mark in all of this. Do they recognized gall when they see it?