The Daily Republic’s blogosphere lit up after Wednesday’s debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. I think Fairfield blogger,Danny B. summed it up best: “This was a debate in which the moderator allowed the candidates to change the format. This favored Romney with his anything I say, goes. Obama stayed closer to the facts, while Romney told people what they wanted to hear.”
We all know politicians tell us voters what we want to hear. That’s how they get elected, but Romney stands out as an eerily special case. What troubled me the most during this debate and troubles voters from Fairfield, Calif. to Bangor, Maine is Mitt Romney’s total lack of political conviction. Flip-flopper is a term given to politicians who change their minds on one or two issues; but this is different.
How can anyone argue with someone who actually shifts positions during a debate?
By now, most voters have witnessed the Zelig-like Mitt Romney awkwardly transforming his political “principles” to conform to his audience. We all saw the video of Aristocrat Mitt and his wealthy supporters deriding middle-class Americans. On the Spanish-language network, Univision, Mitt Romney, clearly wearing brown-face makeup and speaking to an audience of bussed-in supporters, said he wants a “Republican version” of the immigration DREAM Act, a truly oxymoronic concept.
“I’m not going to be rounding people up and deporting them out of the country, we’re going to put in place a permanent solution.”
Details, of course, to be announced later. He then bragged about being the grandfather of the Affordable Care Act. That is quite different from his oft-repeated pledge to “repeal Obamacare on Day One” of his presidency.
During Wednesday’s debate, Romney revealed his latest position: He would keep all the good components of the Affordable Care Act, that everybody likes, and just repeal some nonspecific bad bits. Questioning Romney’s many formless plans, Obama said: “At some point, I think the American people have to ask themselves, is the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret because they’re too good?”
Obama pointed-out during the debate that Romney’s budget plan to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, double-down with an additional $5 trillion in tax cuts, increase the military budget by $2 trillion and still balance the federal budget, just didn’t add up. My second-grade math teacher here in Fairfield taught me much the same.
Instead of defending his obviously defective plan, Romney went into shape-shifter mode, insisting he never proposed those cuts, which are on his website, but if he did, he would balance them by eliminating some unidentified tax deductions.
Obama countered that there are not enough deductions available to equal such cuts. Then, Romney actually said this: “What I’ve said is I won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. That’s part one. So there’s no economist that can say Mitt Romney’s tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan.”
So there you have it: Romney’s tax plan won’t add to the deficit because he says so and no economist can possibly refute Mitt’s words.
Romney’s calculations seem good enough for his trusting, faithful supporters, but voters possessing basic math skills remain highly skeptical. I only wish President Obama had uttered a paraphrase of that famous line from the movie, “Billy Madison”: “Mr. Romney, what you just said is the most insanely idiotic thing I have ever heard. At no point in your incoherent rambling response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. We are all now dumber for having listened to it.”
Well, not all of us are dumber.
Mike Kirchubel grew up in Fairfield and learned his basic math skills in the second grade at Fairview Elementary. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go Fairview Black Panthers!