My take on the debate
For the record, I have voted Republican in every election since I came to voting age 19 years ago. I had been considering moving in a different direction due to uncertainty about the qualifications and plans of the current Republican candidate. I went into last night's debate wanting to hear Governor Romney explain his tax proposal, because I had heard so many different takes on it that I really didn't understand what he was trying to accomplish. I also wanted to see how Romney presented himself on a national stage. Was he "Presidential"?
I've heard quite a few people say that they didn't learn anything new. Well, I did. I went in extremely skeptical on Romney's tax plan and what he is trying to accomplish and came out with a pretty clear understanding of what he is proposing and why.
He proposes lower base rates coinciding with decreased allowable deductions in an attempt to keep tax rates neutral for the middle but effectively decrease tax rates for small businesses that are tax-identified as individuals to stimulate small business growth. I find it to be a particularly unique approach to revenue creation. Will it be effective? I'm not sure. Is it feasible and implementable? I'm not sure. How will this affect me personally? I'm not sure. At an aggregate, people like me will be kept whole....but could I personally pay slightly more and someone like me pays slightly less, depending on their typical deductions....yeah, I could see that. However, I understand the construct, and I also understand that Romney is purposely not creating the detail required to create a bill. He is creating a construct for an overhaul that can be fine-tuned as a part of legislative creation.
It is not unlike what Obama did with ObamaCare.
However, when push came to shove, Obama essentially let Pelosi craft the legislative details of Obamacare, resulting in a non-compromise partisan bill that passed despite a strong unified partisan resistance. Romney promises more deal-making and compromise. Obama promised the same thing 4 years ago and took a hard veer left upon election, essentially allowing Pelosi to take the reigns. Is Romney more trustworthy? Can he help to roll back the extreme partisan politics that have marked the past four years of Obama's presidency? Will he be more involved in legislative creation than Obama was? Can he lead better than Obama did? Could he be worse?
It was pretty clear to me that Obama didn't understand Romney's proposals. His counter-points consistently showed a misunderstanding of even the basic construct of Romney's plan. I think it would be fair of Obama to hammer Romney in future debates about the implementability of such a plan, but his tired lines of "this is just the same old trickle-down plan" and "$5 trillion tax cut" underscore the fact that Obama doesn't understand Romney's plan at all. There are built-in risks and unknowns with Romney's plan that can and should be attacked by Obama, but he did not do that. Why? He seemed unprepared. I'm hoping that Obama does those things in the next debate, because I want to know that Obama is literate enough on the economy to understand his opponent's proposals, and I'm interested in how Romney responds.
I thought the negativity in this particular debate was kept to a minimum....the focus on ideas and records, and Obama had a very difficult time defending his record or articulating the value of his new ideas.
I thought that Romney looked quite a bit more "Presidential" than the President.