Did you watch the presidential debate last night? Wow! Talk about fireworks! I’ve never seen such an exciting war of words. In fact, I half expected the President and Mitt Romney to throw down their microphones and wrap their hands around each others throats, like they do sometimes in various European Parliaments. There is no love lost between these two, and it felt like they both threatened to cross over from bold debater to inconsiderate jerk. The debate was focused toward the undecided voter. Did it help you make up your mind?
Too bad your vote doesn’t count.
Your vote in the poll inside this story carries more weight then your actual vote at the poll. That is, if you live in Kansas or Missouri. If you’re an Obama supporter, why even go to the polls on election day? Romney is expected to carry both Kansas and Missouri, which is why you aren’t seeing the candidates here. They are focusing on the “undecided” states like Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and Florida. With the way our electoral system is set up, those voters votes mean more than yours. It’s a shame the popular vote can’t elect the president. If it did, then you’d probably see a lot more people across the country actually vote on November 6th.
Back to last night’s debate, by the end of it, I felt like I could answer the questions for the candidates. I knew exactly what they were going to say before they said it.
President Obama likes to go on offense right away. Regardless of the question, he always says something like, “Here’s what I would do. My opponent, on the other hand, wants to give more money to the rich. I think the rich have enough money and we need to give more to the middle class. As for the economy, that’s President George W. Bush’s fault and I need four more years to fix it.”
Romney likes to play defense and then go to offense. He likes to say, “The president is just wrong when he says this and that. This is actually what I’m going to do. Compare that to what the President has done over the past four years. Do we really want four more years of that?”
As they debated, I finally understood the major differences in their tax plans and how they plan to spark the economy. The President wants to take money from the rich to give to the poor, kind of like Robin Hood, and he trusts the middle class will spend the extra money to increase demand and profits for companies so they will create new jobs. Romney wants to give tax cuts to everyone, including the rich, so they will use that extra money to create jobs and get the unemployment rate down. The President wants to create more jobs through government spending on roads and energy. Romney has a five point plan. Obama wants four more years to finish what he started. Both want to balance the budget but how to get there is the tricky part.
It’s confusing trying to understand exactly how each candidate plans to better our lives, and we wonder which plan will work better. You almost wish you could combine the best of both plans. Oh wait. That’s called bi-partisanship, something we’ve seen very little of in Washington D.C. lately.
Can the candidates just answer the questions? When the President was asked if his energy policies were responsible for high gas prices, he went on a diatribe about clean energy and investing in wind and solar power. That led to a tense confrontation between Obama and Romney on why there’s been less drilling on federal lands over the past four years. The BP oil spill coupled with the government telling companies to either drill on federal land right away or lose their permits have led to that lower number. But instead of explaining that right away, the President kept going into his clean energy speech until Romney forced him to explain. Then when a voter asked Romney what deductions he planned to cut if he became president, he went into how he wants to cut taxes for the middle class. He eventually got into his plan to cap the amount of deductions a person can have every year, but the President had to explain how Romney plans to get rid of the estate deduction among others.
It’s also frustrating hearing all these half truths. Yes, it’s true Romney’s tax cuts would cost $5 trillion over ten years, but it wouldn’t add to the deficit if he made cuts to spending to offset it. Yes, it’s true Obama has had trillion dollar deficits each year over the past four but look at the economy he inherited. He did the best he could to keep us from going into a Depression. Romney thinks the government shouldn’t of bailed out Detroit. Obama says if the government hadn’t, our economy would’ve been worse off. The President says unemployment is dropping. Romney says that’s because millions of people who’ve been unemployed for so long have dropped out of the work force. Who do you believe?
It’s confusing, and I think ultimately, voters have to follow their gut instinct. Who do you think will get our country back on track over the next four years? Both candidates have their strengths and their weaknesses. It’ll be fun to see if Romney rallies for a victory or if Obama holds strong in the swing states to get four more years. And it’ll be fun watching their final debate Monday night. If they continue on this course, barking at each other and verbally jousting every chance they get, don’t be surprised if they do drop the mics and go after each others throats!
You can reach Matt Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.