Debate night

Tonight is the second of the presidential candidate debates, this one in a “town hall” format, with undecided voters posing the questions.  We now see that the debates do matter, as Mitt Romney’s good performance and Barack Obama’s bad performance put the Republican back into contention.   Do you think this town hall format will be to Obama’s advantage, since Romney is often awkward among the masses?  Obama said he was “too polite” in the first round, so do you think his being impolite will play well this time?

You will notice that when we live-blogged the debates–not just me, but also you readers and commenters–we picked up on the same themes that the pundits later made a big deal of.  I think we owe it to the country to do it again.

This time I’ll let you come up with the catch-phrases for our not-necessarily-alcoholic drinking game.  What lines from each candidate can we expect to hear over and over?

Be back here at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time  (that’s 8:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Mountain, and 6:00 p.m. Pacific) to help with the live-blogging.

Those lazy, shiftless, non-productive rich people

When countries (and, as we have seen, states) raise taxes on “the rich,” the rich have been escaping to jurisdictions with lower taxes.  Thus, ever since Maryland has increased taxes on its wealthiest citizens, those citizens have been moving to lower-tax Virginia.  The co-founder of Facebook has renounced his American citizenship and is now a citizen of Singapore.  This is happening in other countries as well.

So our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling on all countries to raise taxes on the rich so as to give them no place to hide.  From The Motley Fool‘s Rich Smith:

A rich guy can always decide to “pull a Facebook” — follow in the footsteps of Facebook (FB) co-founder Eduardo Saverin, renounce U.S. citizenship, and fly away to someplace with a more lenient tax code. (It’s not just U.S. citizens going this route, either. Last month, Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man and the CEO of luxury-goods maker LVMH, responded to French plans to hike taxes on the rich by emigrating and seeking Belgian citizenship.)

Enter Secretary Clinton, with a novel solution to the problem: Tax everyone, everywhere, and especially the rich.

Clinton first floated her proposal at the Clinton Global Initiative conclave in New York last month: “It is a fact that the elites in every country are making money. There are rich people everywhere, and yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own countries.”

So far, mainstream commentary on the speech has painted it as a simple expression of the American-centric worldview: We think raising taxes on our richest 1% is a pretty keen idea, and you other countries should, too.

But there may be something more subtle afoot. The real purpose behind Clinton’s salvo could be to send a shot across the bow of would-be Saverin and Arnault imitators: If you think you can avoid higher taxes by simply switching citizenship, think again.

via Hillary Clinton Wants to Tax the Rich — Here, There and Everywhere – DailyFinance.

I don’t understand this part:  “There are rich people everywhere, and yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own countries.”  Really, Hillary?  Rich people do not contribute to the growth of their countries?  You think the only way countries can grow is for the government to rake in more taxes?  You don’t think economic growth has anything to do with people having money?  But if you do believe the rich are such shiftless, lazy freeloaders why should any country want them to stay around?  (Notice how some liberals look at the rich the same way some conservatives look at the poor!)

"Like most Catholics, I do whatever I want"

You’ve got to see Saturday Night Live‘s take on the Vice Presidential debate.  Go to the link for the video.  Here are some excerpts:

“I’m from Janesville, Wisconsin, and he’s from Scranton, Pennsylvania,” Ryan says in the skit. “Do you know what the unemployment rate is in Scranton right now? It’s 10 percent. And I just wonder what the vice president would say to hardworking people of towns like Janesville and Scranton.”

“I guarantee you, [Janesville] is a paradise next to the burning coal heap that is Scranton, Pennsylvania,” Sudeikis’ Biden retorts. “Do you know that show, ‘The Walking Dead?’ It’d make a good tourism ad for Scranton. If you went to the lowest circle of hell, you’d still be 45 minutes outside of Scranton. I grew up there. I love it. It’s the single worst place on earth.” . . .

“Moving on, the baseball playoffs are in full swing, with four teams remaining,” McKinnon’s Raddatz says. “So, if you can, could you please speak personally about abortion?”

“I accept the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Sudeikis’ Biden responds. “But then, like most Catholics, I ignore them and do what I want.”

Go here: http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/14/snl-does-last-weeks-vice-presidential-debate/#ixzz29KUWgmds

 

Is Romney going soft on abortion?

Mitt Romney, as expected, seems to be tacking towards the center in an effort to woo Independents and to counter the “war against women” allegations.  This is what he told the Des Moines Register:

“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

via Romney: Abortion not on my agenda – CBS News.

Among his long history of different opinions on life issues, Romney’s stated position today is that he is pro-life with exceptions (for rape, incest, and the life of the mother).  Does this sound like he is saying, yes, I’m mostly pro-life, but if I’m elected, don’t worry, I’m not going to do anything about it?

How should pro-life voters take this?  A Romney administration, however unenthusiastic about the issue,  would surely be better for the  pro-life cause than Obama’s.  He says he’ll end the Obamacare abortifacient mandate, cut funding for Planned Parenthood, and stop tax money from going to international abortion providers.  He also says he will appoint conservative judges.  After all, given Roe vs. Wade, abortion law is in the hands of the courts rather than  legislators.

In addition to those pro-abortion measures implemented by the Obama administration, the Democrats in their convention came across as not just pro-choice but as positively pro-abortion.  Bill Clinton’s Democratic party wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare.”  But at this convention, speaker after speaker displayed,  to thunderous applause, an untroubled, fanatical, and outright evil embrace of abortion.

But still. . . .Though Romney is now trying to placate pro-lifers, they should be excused for being cynical, for thinking Republicans once again are trying to use them for their votes and activism, while giving them as little as possible.

Is this too harsh an assessment?  If you are pro-life, do Romney’s words make you reconsider supporting him?  Do pro-lifers have any other options?

 

Obama vs. Clintons

A feud is erupting between President Obama and Bill & Hillary Clinton.  As we saw during the Vice Presidential debate, the Obama administration is trying to blame the debacle in Libya on our intelligence agencies and the State Department.  Bill, having given Obama a big boost with his convention speech, is furious that Obama is trying to throw Hillary under the bus.  An account of the feud and what it might do from Tony Lee:

A nasty rift has opened up between President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the fallout from the terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens. This feud may undermine and threaten Obama’s reelection chances.

Obama and Clinton both do not want to be held responsible for the negligence before and the cover-up after the Libya attacks. Clinton biographer Ed Klein on Friday reported that Bill Clinton, sensing Obama’s political team wants to pin legal and political blame on the State Department and Hillary Clinton, has been working on doomsday and contingency scenarios “to avoid having Benghazi become a stain on her political fortunes should she decide to run for president in 2016.”

“If relations between Obama’s White House and Hillary’s State Department rupture publicly over the growing Benghazi scandal, that could damage the Democratic ticket and dim Obama’s chances for re-election,” Klein writes.

According to Klein’s sources, Bill Clinton has assembled an informal legal team in case there are cables or other evidence that would legally implicate Hillary. Klein also told The Daily Caller that Bill has even considered advising Hillary to resign if the Obama administration tries to make her the “scapegoat.”

On Friday, there were signs the White House was preparing to do to throw Hillary Clinton and the State Department under the bus.

White House press secretary Jay Carney, when asked if Obama and Biden had “never been briefed” about the fact that more security was needed in Libya, essentially blamed the State Department, saying, “matters of security personnel are appropriately discussed and decided upon at the State Department by those responsible for it.”

Carney repeated a variation of this line throughout the press briefing.

Carney’s comments came a day after Vice President Joe Biden not only contradicted State Department officials but himself threw the intelligence community under the bus when he said the Obama administration did not know U.S. interests in Libya needed more security before the attacks and that the intelligence community changed its story after. . . .

Klein writes that the long-simmering feud between Obama and the Clintons has only gotten worse after the Democratic National Convention. The bad blood between Obama and the Clinton family dates back to the 2008 Democratic primary, and Obama’s advisers had to convince Obama to give Clinton a prominent role at the convention.

Klein writes “the latest quarrel began when Clinton heard that Obama was behaving so cocky about his first debate against Mitt Romney that he wasn’t taking his debate prep seriously.”

Clinton offered to give Obama some advice, and Obama brushed him off.

Klein writes “the former president was dumbfounded that Obama had ignored his offer, and his hurt feelings quickly boiled over into anger.”

“Bill thought that he and Obama were on friendly terms after the convention,” a source told Klein. “He couldn’t believe that the White House didn’t even extend him the courtesy of a return phone call. He concluded that Obama’s arrogance knows no bounds.”

There is no love lost between Obama and the Clintons, and they could mutually destroy their political futures in the days ahead. Team Obama could destroy Hillary Clinton’s 2016 prospects by scapegoating her for the Libya attacks. But Hillary Clinton, by potentially resigning or pointing to evidence that implicates Obama and Biden, can just as easily torpedo Obama’s chances at getting reelected.

via Libya Fallout Gives Rise to Obama-Clinton Feud.

Look for this to come out in some way in tomorrow’s presidential debate, which is supposed to focus on foreign policy.

The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

I would like to congratulate the 500 million citizens of the European Union for winning this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.  The same people who awarded one of the world’s greatest honors to Barack Obama upon entering office–before his Afghanistan escalation and his drone assassinations–this time gave the prize to a whole country.  Or, perhaps better, to a whole alliance of different countries.  Even though the union isn’t doing so well right now, what with the economic crisis and the common currency in jeopardy.

If the Norwegian committee that made this decision wanted to honor the European Union as a major achievement in world peace, why wouldn’t it instead honor the people who first had the idea or who implemented the alliance?  I dislike collective entities winning prizes like this, including when Time Magazine gives its “Person of the Year” award to abstractions and non-persons.  But if Norway (which is not even a member of the European Union) wants to award the $1.5 million prize in this way, that’s fine.   But that means the public could offer new kinds of nominees.   For next year, I nominate the following:

(1)  The world’s beaches (for making possible so many peaceful vacations)

(2)  The pharmaceutical industry (for inventing tranquilizers)

(3)  The United States of America (for its role in World Wars I, II, & the Cold War)

Any other nominees?  How about for the other prizes–economics, medicine, literature, etc.–which have arguably gone to individuals for far too long?

 

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to European Union – NYTimes.com.


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