The First Debate

My general reflections on tonight’s debate:

Obama appeared tentative and defensive until he began talking about ObamaCare.

Mitt’s smirk glued on his face all night made him appear plastic.

Romney went on the attack and immediately Etch A Sketched his $5 trillion tax cut for the rich after campaigning on it for two years.

Mitt kept bullying moderator Jim Lehrer until I half expected him to forcibly cut his hair.

The debate opened with the subject of jobs.  The President spoke about creating 5.1 million private sector jobs.  he said we need to invest in education, energy and rebuild America.  He said we can’t “double down on Top Down.”  I think he meant Trickle Down.  Mitt responded by claiming he isn’t in favor of Top Down even though he is.  He said he’d crack down on outsourcing jobs to China although he later denied there’s a law giving tax credits for doing so (there is).  He said he’d use a balanced budget to create jobs but his tax cuts blow another huge hole in the deficit.

Obama mentioned his Race to the Top which focuses on charter schools at the expense of public ones and he’d cut corporate taxes.  He sounded very conservative with these.  Romney proceeded to deny he has a $5 trillion tax cut for the rich.  He suddenly Etch A Sketched the centerpiece of his campaign since the GOP primaries began.  I couldn’t believe he stood there and repeatedly denied he’s been calling for this for 18 months or more.

Romney then challenged Obama’s expansion of domestic oil and gas drilling by saying since most of it is on private land the President cannot accept credit for the policies he adopted which did that.  This was patently absurd.  He then reiterated “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut.”  He also invoked Clean Coal which doesn’t exist and never will.

I bet Obama’s team is already cuing up the video clips of Mitt calling for his tax cuts along with tonight’s denials.  He’s going to look awfully bad when those hit the airwaves.

Obama bragged about all the spending cuts he accepted which hurt people.  He took on the Medicare cuts and explained them well as Mitt went after him unmercilessly on the cuts.  Of course Mitt will destroy Medicare so this was rather silly.  He kept saying he won’t cut Medicare for current retirees while ignoring what he’s going to do to everyone else.  The President countered that if you’re 54 or under you ought to be scared.

Romney also declared the Ryan Budget Plan won’t mean an extra $6000/year for seniors under their voucher system and later even claimed that private business performs better and cheaper.  Every other health care system in the world proves that to be wrong as does Medicare.  On this topic the Governor also claimed that cuts to Medicare Advantage are hurting seniors.  Medicare Advantage isn’t Medicare.  It is a private industry copy cat program which costs more for the same thing.  This undercuts his claim that private industry is more efficient.  Obama’s cuts to Medicare largely went after these privatized programs.  Taxpayers shouldn’t pay for private business profits.

Obama countered that clearly when he said putting seniors at the mercy of private health insurers is wrong.  Everyone has known or heard of the horror stories which health insurers have committed (just watch Sicko) so this point hit hard.

Altogether Romney appeared strong but maybe too strong.  He repeatedly bullied Lehrer and that was very bad.  I’ll have nightmares about that smirk.  They make horror movies based on things like that.

House GOP Flees to Avoid Vote on Corbett Probe

House Dems forced a vote this afternoon on HB 520 which calls on the U.S. Attorney to investigate Tom Corbett’s investigation of Jerry Sandusky.  House Republicans proceeded to flee the floor even though the House remained in session.  Serious questions have arisen about the Attorney General’s probe, why it took so long, why only a single Trooper was assigned until the Gubernatorial election and why a serial sexual predator was allowed three more years on the lam while Corbett buried the case.  Insiders from the AG’s office have said Corbett didn’t want the case and didn’t want it disturbing his run for Governor.

Here’s yet another suspicious item:  Corbett knowingly accepted hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from Board members of The Second Mile during his own investigation of Sandusky.  He then gave the non profit a $3 million grant.  Was this a quid pro quo?  I bet those rabid Republicans on the Board got pissed when the Governor then revoked the grant after the coach’s indictment.  Talk about getting screwed…  Do you think, maybe, some large conservative donors might think twice about funding his re-election campaign after what he did to The Second Mile?

What are House Republicans afraid of?  Why walk out to prevent a vote?

Debate Prep

The big debate is tonight but will be missing three of the candidates.  Dr. Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and Rocky Anderson won’t be on the stage in Denver because the presidential debates are controlled by the two major Parties.  You’ll see Mitt Romney attempt to be deft, human and funny and I fully expect the robotic, clumsy fool fall flt on his face.  This guy doesn’t do zingers well but that’s all we’ve heard about going in.  I’m not watching to see who gets the best zingers, I’m looking to see who has the best policies.

Mitt Romney refuses to discuss specifics and seems to keep getting even his broad generalities wrong if his campaign’s frequent modifications of his remarks are any indication.  Grover Norquist said all we need is a Republican president who can hold a pen and sign bills.  That seems to be the entire basis of the Romney campaign.  He says he’ll leave everything up to Congress and simply sign whatever the Tea Party House sends him.  Now there’s a scary thought as we head towards Halloween.

Debate preparation should be about gathering facts to use in responding to queries.  The entire structure of these debates is ridiculous:  candidates to lead the country get a few minutes to explain and address highly complex issues.  regardless this is what we have.  Tonight’s debate is about domestic issues so taxes, Medicare, Social Security and all should be discussed.  Mitt can’t seem to do arithmatic and is unable to explain how blowing another $5 trillion hole in the budget winds up being revenue neutral as his VP pick said Sunday.  Prep shouldn’t involve practicing zingers.  The best ones are off the cuff or in response to an attack.  The stiff, robotic Republican is going to come off looking ridiculous if he’s going to go down that path and he desperately needs a strong performance.  I’m mostly looking forward to watching him squirm over the 47% comments and hope to watch the President pull out an Etch A Sketch when it happens.

Voter ID Headed Back to Supreme Court

In a stark rebuke to the six Supreme Court Justices who ordered him to file an injunction against the Voter ID law for next month’s election a Commonwealth Court Judge disobeyed them today.  Judge Robert Simpson handed down an extremely limited injunction which will only result in a new appeal.  His order says voters can vote without photo ID November 6th but only on a provisional ballot if they don’t provide an ID.

Those provisional ballots won’t be counted for six days likely leaving the presidential election in limbo along with the state’s electoral votes.  If the number of provisional ballots exceeds the winner’s tally on election day the election results will remain up in the air.

How will you know if your provisional ballot will be counted?  Unless you write in a unique name for at least one office you won’t know.  This strange order says that although no ID be mandated those people must use a provisional ballot.  They will not have to produce a photo ID within six days (really two because PennDOT ID centers would only be open for two days) so why force them to use provisional ballots?  This is ridiculous.

Six Justices remanded the case back to this insubordinate Judge with orders to issue an injunction if even one voter was deemed to have their fundamental right to vote disenfranchised.  The Commonwealth cannot prove that event cannot be  avoided so the law should have been struck down completely for this election.  Judge Robert Simpson, an obvious idiot sitting on the bench, refused to do so.  We’ll remember this when he is up for retention.

Help Get the Vote Out in Pennsylvania

The Voter ID case remains up in the air and may well go back to the state’s highest court.  Time is running out as election day is little over a month ahead.  This is the final week to register to vote in November so if you aren’t registered, or your registration doesn’t exactly match your photo ID you need to contact your county elections services office.  I wouldn’t relay on any other methods as too many stories are out there of Republican voter registration fraud.

We must assume all voters will need photo ID on election day.  As such is organizing volunteers to aid the National Urban League and Occupy the Vote in recruiting volunteers.  

It is essential to get voters to the polls November 8th.  Turnout in Pennsylvania since 2008 has been abysmal.  As a result we now have U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, Gov. Tom Corbett, an anti-choice Pennsylvania House and a Pennsylvania Senate so empowered they are restricting women’s access to legal health care.  We lost ten pro choice House members in the 2010 bloodbath.  

Volunteers will be asked with tasks such as phone banking, canvassing, tabling, data entry and providing transportation to get people to the polls.  Go here to sign up.

Elections do have consequences.  There is much at risk this year and there are good people running up and down the ballot.  Congressional races, the U.S. Senate seat held by Bob Casey and control of the State House are up for grabs along with three statewide row offices:  Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer.  Everything depends on turnout, especially in Philadelphia.  The City turnout lately hasn’t been good and has provided Republicans with victory after victory.  You can help turn this around with your volunteer time.