Obama's lackluster performance in the first debate should, I suppose, come as little surprise. With polls mostly predicting a win, the strategy is undoubtedly to remain guarded and cautious in each and every statement, and unfortunately, such a strategy does not give rise to rousing rhetoric. The debate did produce a few surprises. In the wake of the 47% remark, Romney has apparently undergone a major conversion as of late, suddenly seeing the folly of decreasing taxes on the wealthy:
MR. ROMNEY: Well, sure. I'd like to clear up the record and go through it piece by piece. First of all, I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don't have a tax cut of a scale that you're talking about. My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I'm not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. High-income people are doing just fine in this economy. They'll do fine whether you're president or I am.
I guess that the Libertarian vote and the trickle of votes from the ensconced 1% can be written off in order to get a small slice of that juicy 53%--although one has to wonder how sincere any of this is. Are we to believe that Romney will be vetoing Republican bills to provide or maintain tax-cuts for the wealthy?
Romney's plan on healthcare is to simply toss around the word "Obamacare." Obama's response on this made good sense:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Jim, if I — if I can just respond very quickly, first of all, every study has shown that Medicare has lower administrative cost than private insurance does, which is why seniors are generally pretty happy with it. And private insurers have to make a profit. Nothing wrong with that; that's what they do. And so you've got higher administrative costs, plus profit on top of that, and if you are going to save any money through what Governor Romney's proposing, what has to happen is is that the money has to come from somewhere.
I wish somebody would stand up at these debates and state the obvious: insurance companies don't "provide healthcare." Instead, they manage risk. And if they're forced to insure everybody, they've lost their entire raison d'être. Why can't we fire these people and then send them to work in hospitals where they can make a positive contribution.