This week’s Economist reported on an unscientific poll of
hundreds of academic and business economists.
There were asked which U.S. Presidential candidate had a better
economic plan. By a very large margin,
the respondents preferred President Obama’s economic plan. Not only that, they credit him with having a
better grasp of economics and think him more likely to appoint a good economic
team. Finally, the respondents do not
support Obama’s disappointing recovery, as over half of them rated his performance
as good or very good. This compares favorably
to the 5% who said the same about George W Bush about 4 years ago when the magazine last conducted this same poll.
So it is against this background that I was thinking about
his performance in the first debate.
Critics say that he may be charming but that he was never a great
debater. It is unfair to compare him to John
McCain was awful, but Hillary Clinton ran rings around him as they both
sought the Democratic nomination 4 – 5 years ago. Some have gone on to say that Alan Keyes was
more lucid than Obama in Illinois senatorial election debates. Therefore, for these critics, it came as no
surprise that Romney dominated this first debate. Just like Dubya was not as clueless as
everyone first thought, could it be that Obama (minus his trusted teleprompter)
is it just not as quick a thinker or as adept as everyone first thought?
I remember back in 2007, as I was following the various
campaigns in Trinidad and Tobago’s election, a veteran explained something to
me. He said that if someone is on a
platform and what they are saying resonates with me intellectually, they are
not doing a good job. My friend went on
to say that the name of the game is resonating with the average member of the listening
audience on an emotional level. As I considered what I was told, I could only conclude that there was some truth in
what he said.
Then I thought to myself – suppose Obama purposefully
allowed Romney to win that debate? I
thought that I was alone in thinking that way until I read an article in the
Huffington Post by author and journalist Brenda Peterson. She’s convinced that Romney lost big time
with women, which I thought especially damaging because I remember that he was
already polling behind with women.
Interestingly blue-collar, white women were already turned off by him. In trying to understand how he was trailing
in the polls, other demographics said that he came across as not being ‘likable.’ Could it be that Obama strategists sought to
play on this weakness and sucker Romney into just being himself?
Peterson believes that the prizefight narrative promoted by MSNBC,
CNN and FOX were framed by political pundits who were “mostly white males.” She goes on to say that the women with whom she spoke “were dismayed by Romney’s rude interruptions, his
high-handed dismissal of the venerable PBS moderator, Jim Lehrer, his turning
away from the audience — who should be his primary focus — to fix his feisty
attention all on President Obama.” This
contrasts with Obama’s preference to calmly address the auditorium audience, the moderator, and the world audience. For Romney, Obama
was the only person in the room, and Romney remained fixed on him in the way a
predator focuses on prey. Peterson concludes that Romney did not display “the
behavior of someone seeking to serve and heal a country divided.” USA Tax Singapore
On Facebook, some others who shared this view mentioned the
traditionally low voter turnout in some demographics that were strong
supporters of the incumbent and the risk of complacency, which may work against
Obama on election day. Then, of course,
there is the theory about everyone having a weak spot for the ‘underdog.’ Regardless, I think Romney got enough rope to
hang himself not just with his anti-PBS comments but by flip-flopping in a way
that may alienate many of his Tea Party supporters as he seemed softer on certain contentious
issues than before.
American Tax Singapore
We will see how the remainder of the debates go but coming
back to Trinidad and Tobago. I firmly believe that part of the reason for the
PP victory in 2010 was the electorate reaching out to a candidate with a softer
edge and a more conciliatory tone. As
was the case with the coalition victory here in the UK in 2010 and Chavez’s
narrowing margin in nearby Venezuela. We should pay close attention to how this
The presidential election unfolds as it would have serious implications for the Caribbean
region…should Romney be elected.
Despite the challenges, I continue to have the audacity of
I hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Read more on derrenjoseph.blogspot.com.
Note: The blog that used to be here is now at https://www.mooresrowland.tax/.