Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Second Presidential Debate

There's plenty of commentary out there now that I don't need to repeat. Obama won. Romney looked like death warmed over by the end, and his family Were Not Amused.

So I'll go with a few comments I haven't seen in other places yet. It seems strange to me that some commentators are only now seeing Romney's bullying. It seemed quite clear to me in the first debate. Perhaps it's that he was bullying a female moderator, or maybe it's easier to see through when it doesn't work. 

The big loser so far of the debate series has been Jim Lehrer. Martha Raddatz and Candy Crowley had very different styles, perhaps the result of the different formats, but they both took their jobs seriously. Bob Schieffer has a lot to live up to in the last debate.

It's hard to tell what effect the "binders full of women" meme will have on the election. It's not a good thing to have people laughing at you. The phrase was part of Romney's disarray in a question he didn't answer directly. More here on what he did wrong. The put-downs of women - full employment will force employers to hire the undesirables, and single mothers cause gun violence - may have accounted for part of the realization that he really is a bully. Here's the Binders Full of Women Tumblr.

I didn't say it, but I was worried that there would not be room between responding to Romney's lies and actions that would provoke the media's Angry Black Man reaction. OTOH, I was contemplating the possibility that we, collectively, might be ready for a little Presidential anger from the current occupant of that office. It looks like that was the case, and I haven't seen any commentary that tips over into the ABM category. I don't read rightwing blogs.

Like a number of others, I would like to see more discussion of climate change and anthropogenic global warming. But the politics just won't support it. Republican obstruction has made Obama's job so difficult that I can see why it hasn't made it to the top of the agenda. It will be necessary to prepare the ground for action in that direction, and that hasn't been possible. I like to think that we will see more of it in Obama's second term.

I'm fairly baffled at the indications in polls that women are moving toward Romney, although I haven't taken much time with the polls. We should start seeing reaction to the debate in polls soon.


Enon said...

What baffles me is the lack of commentary on how unrealistic both candidates are on energy (Romney much more outrageously so).

First Obama:

"We continue to make it a priority for us to go after natural gas. We’ve got potentially 600,000 jobs and 100 years worth of energy right beneath our feet with natural gas. And we can do it in an environmentally sound way. But we’ve also got to continue to figure out how we have efficiency energy [sic], because ultimately that’s how we’re going to reduce demand and that’s what’s going to keep gas prices lower."

Lots of questions about fracking and natural gas concerning water, groundwater pollution and rapid decline of the wells. The idea that fracking will bring us 100 years of environmentally sound natural gas is wildly and unrealistically optimistic.

Taking up all the efficiency slack in how the US utilizes energy is going to continue to be very important. But oil prices are highly dependent on global demand, not US demand, and the fact that we are in the middle of a transition from easy, cheap oil to hard, expensive oil will continue to keep gas prices high, no matter how efficient we get.

Grade to Obama: D

Now Romney:

"Let’s take advantage of the energy resources we have, as well as the energy sources for the future. And if we do that, if we do what I’m planning on doing, which is getting us energy independent, North America energy independence within eight years, you’re going to see manufacturing jobs come back. Because our energy is low cost, that are already beginning to come back because of our abundant energy. I’ll get America and North America energy independent. I’ll do it by more drilling, more permits and licenses."

Energy independence in eight years? No way. Our energy is low cost? The number of oil drilling rigs in the US has increased 7-fold in the last 3 years (~200 to ~1400). This has given us a 20% increase in oil production.

Grade to Romney: F

Both candidates are telling people what they want to hear. This implies that the American electorate is completely divorced from reality about energy. This does not bode well for the future.

Cheryl Rofer said...

Good points, Enon. The whole discussion of energy bothered me too.

But that's like the climate change issue. It will take a lot of talk to change the views of the American electorate, and now is not the time to do it for people who want to get elected.