THE FINAL DEBATE: The dream of Lynn University namesake Christine Lynn comes true tonight. It is costing the school $5 million to host the third debate, and over 3000 journalists will be in attendance. The university is across the street from where IBM invented the first personal computer.
The topics are: America’s role in the world, Our longest war – Afghanistan and Pakistan, Red Lines – Israel and Iran, The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism [30 minutes] and The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World.
Unfortunately foreign policy debates have typically mattered less than discussions of domestic issues. Survey data indicates the swing voters both candidates are trying to woo care little about foreign affairs right now.
You can expect considerable discussion of the Benghazi attack and China’s monetary policy. The debate is important because while Romney has a clear lead on economic issues, the President has a 10 point advantage in foreign policy according to the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll. Tonight is Romney’s best chance to close that gap.
Last night Obama insisted that oil production has been up and that the oil companies have been granted permits to drill but refuse to do so. Governor Romney pointed out that the government is not granting many permits to oil companies, particularly on federal land.
Romney said: “Oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.”
Obama’s Interior Department has banned drilling on 11.5 million acres of petroleum reserve.
The granting of oil drilling permits under Obama is down 36 percent compared to the Bush administration and Clinton administrations.
The GM bailout was a topic in last night’s debate. What was not said was that Obama allowed very generous terms for his UAW supporters. He did not help GM trim costs, and he reversed the strict conditions imposed by Bush.
Taxpayers are expected to lose a minimum of $23 billion on the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. According to the Heritage Foundation, “The administration violated basic principles of bankruptcy law and transferred money to the UAW at taxpayer expense. The government could have executed the bailout with no net cost to taxpayers” if it had followed standard Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules.
Instead, the Obama administration granted of preferential creditor status to the UAW which cost an extra $26.5 billion. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says “the deal eschewed the typical wage corrections associated with reorganizational bankruptcy and there were no union pay cuts at GM. ”
Had the car companies just gone bankrupt without government interference, they would have had the protection of the courts, and union contracts would have been renegotiated or just torn up. Barack Obama rescued the UAW, not GM and Chrysler. Romney’s December 2008 op-ed article in opposition to the bailout is being criticized. He advocated a structured bankruptcy with no special treatment for the UAW.
A formal bailout failed in the Senate in 2008 because conservatives did not believe the conditions were stringent. Bush deserves credit for setting tough targets for the two companies — a two-thirds cut in debt, a 50% reduction in payments to health care funds for UAW retirees, and proof of net positive value by March 31, 2009. The money Bush lent was repaid in April 2010.
Obama increased the loans to $80 billion and the government still owns GM stock in connection with the company’s June 2009 out-of-court prepackaged bankruptcy. Once again, it was orchestrated by the Obama administration to protect the UAW. Bond holder rights were subordinated to UAW rights.
The bond holders were essentially wiped out. The United Auto Workers, as an unsecured creditor, received a 17.5% ownership interest in General Motors and 55% of Chrysler, while the companies’ bondholders got hosed.
Finally, the government caused part of GM’s problem. For three decades fuel-economy rules ensured that Detroit couldn’t specialize in its most profitable models—pickups, minivans, SUVs—and had to continue making smaller sedans at high-cost UAW-organized factories that it sold at a loss.
In the first debate, Obama repeatedly said Romney was proposing a $5 trillion tax cut, and Romney repeatedly said he wasn’t. Obama said Romney couldn’t cut taxes as much as he wants to without increasing the budget deficit. Romney said he could, and demonstrated how it would be done.
The Romney plan will promote a stronger middle class. By making trade work for America, balancing our budget, and championing small business, we’ll create 12 million new jobs.
This election presents a clear choice, and an important one: Will America once again be the best place in the world to start a business, hire a worker, or find a job? Or will it continue down the path that President Obama’s borrowing and taxing and spending has led? America is still waiting for its economic recovery and, as president, Mitt Romney will deliver it.
“Tax The Rich” is a major theme for Democrats and it was certainly apparent last night in the vice presidential debate. The Obama/Biden team is wrong and there is no $5 trillion Romney tax cut for the rich. Even the Brookings Institution has pulled back from that charge.
We are coping with the worst economic and jobs recovery in modern times, and the Romney/Ryan plan is to reward success, and create opportunity, growth and jobs. This will be done by increasing take-home pay for the middle class, and incentives for investment and risk-taking.
When liberals shout tax the rich, conservatives must remind them that the Romney/Ryan plan includes a strict dollar cap on special tax deductions. It will most likely be $20,000 limit that will be even lower for top earners who get a marginal tax-rate cut. It’s a huge revenue-raiser, at lower tax rates.
Many pundits are calling the debate a draw, but the polls demonstrate a clear Ryan victory. This is largely due to Biden’s demeanor.
Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post: “Nasty edges characterized Biden’s performance. . . He went overboard and bordered on bullying Ryan. Biden’s derisive smiles and laughs while Ryan tried to answer questions weren’t great optics for the vice president and his repeated interruptions won’t make those who think politics should be more civil happy.”
Jennifer Jacobs, Des Moines Register: Biden’s “smirking will turn off voters in Iowa, where polling has shown he has a likability gap.”
Ron Fournier, National Journal: Biden was “sarcastic and condescending – a stylistic blemish against his workmanlike rival.”
Betsy Martin, Meet The Press: “Biden constant smiling reminded me of Gore’s constant sighing in 2000.”
Tom Brokaw NBC: Biden “can’t contain himself” . . . He shouldn’t smirk or laugh while discussing serious issues like Iran and Libya.”
James Hohmann, Politico: “It is hard to imagine Saturday Night Live not building a funny skit around Biden. ‘What about your laughs?’ will be the new ‘What about your gaffes?’ One reaction among the CNN’s undecided voters group was that Biden came across like a ‘buffoon.’ It will be problematic for the Democrats if this impression takes hold.”
We learned “my friend” is Biden’s code word for “someone I can’t stand”. Netanyahu and Ryan were his “friends.” Biden must have a lot of friends.
Ryan 48% vs. Biden 44% (CNN), Ryan 56% vs. Biden 36% (CNBC) and Ryan 51% vs. Biden 43% (AP). The heavy sighing by Joe Biden was as obnoxious as his phony grin. He was laughing and sneering as he cut Ryan off 82 times. We thought he was a real embarrassment. With his cavalier and condescending demeanor, Biden demonstrated why little gets done in Washington. Why didn’t the moderator rein in Biden?
Ryan was courteous and sincere, and looked far more presidential. He was the only one talking about the future, and his closing statement was outstanding. His grasp of foreign policy was impressive.
The best lines of the night: “If you tax the wealthiest at 100%, it won’t be enough to pay 10% of government spending. . . We are getting speeches in this administration; We’re not getting leadership!”