For regular readers, it likely goes without saying that my hope is that Obama is done and he’ll be ready for the fork on Nov. 6; but I wanted to provide my disclosure up front. Obama isn’t to blame for all the bad things over the last 4 years, certainly. But that’s the problem; he doesn’t accept blame for anything that goes wrong, even if it is his fault. He looks for scapegoats, sacrifices the pawns and doesn’t care who he has to throw under the bus (or in jail), all while wishing his outer exterior were Teflon. His entire administration is based on who is better qualified in BS’ing and playing CYA rather competency in a given post; and it shows in the results it gets. I would vote against him even if the economy were booming like the Roaring ‘20s just for the principle of the matter. So, I am biased; not necessarily partisan, but biased.
What I saw in the debate was Obama on defense in the area of foreign policy, trying to simply dismiss Romney as out of touch and not in need of rebuttal. The strategy of painting Romney as a novice, nothing to see here so move along, would be a grand strategy if Romney weren’t tugging at grains of profound truth as illustrated by the reality of the Libyan debacle that resulted in the deaths of our ambassador and three other public servants. But like just about everything else in Obama’s term, his first attempts at grand strategies fail spectacularly. It’s my opinion that Obama lost that debate simply because he had no coherent explanation or rebuttal to Romney’s attacks. It was a repeat of the “empty chair” debate. He didn’t gain anything from it.
The tone of the debate bothered me, particularly because of the economic protectionism being pushed by both sides. I don’t see anything wrong with cheap tires imported from China. If that kills jobs, it’s because we aren’t competitive (with only a small portion of that having to do with near slave labor) and the remedy for that is not to levy tariffs so that the consumer has no choice but to pay more while becoming a captive customer at the same time. It’s amazing to me that complaints about inflation come from top economic advisers in the Romney camp, but from the other side of the mouth comes tough talk about goods from China. Everyone who buys Chinese goods will have to pay more because it starts with tires and ends with everything else especially when both sides agree with such stupidity and want to pile it on top of constrained nominal income growth. In addition, Chinese enterprise is cosmopolitan. It isn’t just Chinese businessmen making cheap goods that undercut Americans. It’s American businessmen making goods in China and bringing them here to sell – so we are just cutting off our nose to spite our face with the supposed solution of tariffs. Perhaps it would be much better to investigate the reasons they do business in China and provide real solutions to real problems instead.