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"Hello, and welcome to Capitol Gains, the show you watch when you want REAL analysis.  With us today is our dean of political studies, Peter G.  Peter, welcome back.  It's been too long."

Yeah, I know.  Thankfully, it's been pretty slow in the Presidential race up until now.  After Romney's competition was forced out...."

"Bowed out."

...whatever...it was pretty much just him and Obama talking to reporters until this week with the Presidential debates.  They kept their mouths shut as long as they could, now they have no choice but to play ball, three debates this month.

'You watched the debate this week?"

Yep.

"And what are your conclusions?  Who won the debate?"

Neither of them.

"Neither?  But Romney had a commanding presence!  Obama was looking at notes and seemed cowed."

You are confusing performance for actual results.  The fact of the matter is this -- neither candidate has a plan to rebuild the economy.

"I didn't get that."

Of course not.  You weren't supposed to.  You were supposed to notice the characters, not the plot.  Obama's plan is to stay the course.  Romney is advancing no real plan at all.  He has nothing concrete, just some vague notions.  Both candidates are aware that the government is powerless to fix the economy, and they are turning to faith that things will right themselves.

"The fed did pretty good keeping inflation in check for a while."

The key part of your statement is, "for a while."  If the fed really could control the economy, we'd never have a recession, there'd be no dips and valleys and peaks, just a nice steady pace.  The fed is repeatedly blindsided by things like the tech bubble collapse, the housing market collapse, and will cook the numbers to boost political careers, like how they denied we were in a recession for a long time under Shrub.  No one can control the machine, they can only make it look like they do.  And that is why is so desperate to win this election.

"What do you mean?"

Obama is in the tight spot.  There is an entire subculture of political wonks who base ideas of reform on theory.  There's nothing wrong with that, new ideas are how things happen.  The problem was the people Obama chose came from academia and other places where philosophy is king -- what you think should happen and how to set things up for it.  No real world considerations at all.  So Obama implemented all these policies from people saying, "Trust us, we've studied this stuff, it'll work."

"Well...it seems debatable that it's working."

Debatable, nothing.  All those advisors have returned to academia, proudly pointing to their theories being implemented and coming up with a million excuses why they aren't working the way they should, and they've left Obama holding the bag.   The D's are abandoning Obama to prepare for a Hillary Clinton run for President in 2016.  No one wants to work with the Chicago Way White House anymore.  Obama's only hope to preserve his legacy is to remain President and see the economy straighten out in the next four years.  He does that, he silences the second guessers and armchair economists.  He also puts Biden in a good position to run for President in 2016 and hopefully keep it away from Hillary The Frenemy.

"You think that's why Obama was so quiet during the debate?"

No.  Obama didn't have any avenues.  Neither did Romney.  Both candidates have done so much alike, especially with health care, that undermining the other undermines themselves.  Think about the policies they advanced during the debate.  Not a lot there, just general stuff.  This election has nothing to do with action plans and is literally all about which candidate do you like better.  They aren't presenting anything else as for why people should vote for them.  This is all about personality, not issues.  They are presenting ideas that sound good, doesn't matter whether or not they are even possible.

"Like what?"

Sure.  Both candidates made a special mention and stumped for wind power to end our energy dependency.  And wind power just isn't scientifically possible to meet our energy needs.

"Okay, Peter.  You make a claim like that, you better be able to back it up."

Sure will, thanks to a little Cecil Adams magic.  He found a 2006 paper by Daniel Nocera, an MIT chemistry professor, called "On The Future Of Global Energy."  In 2002, global energy consumption was 13.5 terawatts.  If every available space on Earth that could support a wind farm did, it would only produce 2.1 terawatts.  And remember, you can't just stick windmills next to each other, you need space for the air to flow around them or they'll never produce the energy.  And that doesn't count the environmental impact of birds flying into the blades.

"Well...so much for that."

Indeed.  And yet everyone is continuing to tout a pipe dream that just won't work.  Because it sounds good.  Hey, we are looking at energy sources other than the boogeyman of nuclear power and the pollution of coal (by the way, coal produces more radiation than nuclear).  Once again, the facts aren't important, appealing to voters and hoping they don't learn the truth about what they are saying is.  Witness cutting funding for PBS.

"I think Romney just said that because PBS is seen as a bastion of liberalism."

Close, but not quite.  PBS is just an easy target.  PBS was created to give people television they didn't get on the regular networks which were driven by profits.  But with cable, PBS is having an identity crisis.  There are entire networks showing everything PBS used to sell, and turning a handy profit without government support or membership drives.  PBS funding is only $445 million.  None of the bigger, more wasteful government programs are getting the axe, only the one they can say, "Well, what do you need them for?"

"Did you find Romney's performance impressive?"

Not at all.  Romney HAD to hammer Obama.  He's been soft and dodgy on so much, and Obama is totally vulnerable this election. Hammering Obama should be like shooting fish in a barrel.  For example, we've only just now seen unemployment go down for the first time since 2009, and only by .3%.  Romney had to walk a tightrope, doing his trick without making himself fall over.  Think about this -- who was Obama running against in 2008?

"McCain."

Nope.  He was running against Shrub.  McCain, despite his sharp differences with Republican party leaders, was painted as a continuation of Shrub and his policies, something the R's didn't fight because Obama was more likely to keep their pork barrel projects funded than McCain was.  McCain was a straw man that Obama could project an enemy no one likes onto.  Now?  Obama has his record of four years and Romney is not McCain.  Plus, the R's aren't going to throw Romney under the bus, they miss being President too much.  Obama cannot use his rallying the troops style like he did in 2008 when the Digital Generation first became eligible to vote.  He needs a new strategy, and fast.

"So what do you think he's going to do?"

Romney has momentum on his side now, the poll numbers are going his way.  Obama is going to cool his heels for a week.  This coming week sees the Veeps debate.  Remember, the Veeps are there to fight dirty so the Presidential candidates seem above it all.  Biden is going to be a lab rat, shooting out a bunch of stuff and saying a bunch of stuff to see what the crowd reacts to and rallies around.  Obama will then try to incorporate what works into the next debate.  Just like Romney should have won the first debate, Obama should win the second.

"Because he's had time to adjust?"

Not quite.  The next Presidential debate is the "town hall" style.  Obama is at his best when he's speaking one on one with people instead of to an audience.  He can work the crowd expertly, and has a warmer vibe than Romney.  If Obama can just keep his tendency to go on too long under control, he should pocket the second debate, and we'll see what Romney does for the third.

"You're expecting the Veep debate to get messy?"

It always does.

"So you'll be watching."

I've already got the keg ordered.  This is going to be a very interesting train wreck....

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