So the sleepyhead woke up. Whassup, Barack?

Obama bothered to show up this time

Lefties in the US were about to jump a fortnight ago, when the president lamely waffled his way through the first debate. Obama had his large cappuccino this time around. With his back against the wall today at the second “town hall debate”, the prez was the clear winner of a duel that featured questions from undecided Americans.

That’s not to say Romney didn’t sell himself well. He always sells himself well. He certainly has one flash haircare regimen to keep it grey only at the temples. He was especially convincing, and perhaps befuddling, when reeling off a string of stats about how Obama’s economy is down in the dumps.

The two candidates were at their best answering the two-meta questions of the US election voters threw out there.

Is Barack Obama a failure?

And is Mitt Romney just a ghost of this man?

Hey, remember me!

On the first question, Romney’s indictment Obama’s record and the state of the economy was searing, undercutting Obama’s impressive list of achievements.

But the question about whether Romney was really just George Bush (with better hair and an equally earnest demeanour) caught him off guard.

Obama said to it: Sure, Romney’s not Bush.

And then he pointed to a series of examples of how Romney’s policies were even more extreme.

The shadow of the former, much-maligned president hung over the debates, even if he was rarely named.

Obama spent plenty of time dwelling on the fact that Romney’s economic policies had already been tried by the unnamed Texan. And he seemed to have the better end of those clashes.

There was a lot of talk of Libya. For those interested though, there were few signs what either candidate’s election would mean for us.

Both candidates rattled on about how tough they’d be on our (distant) neighbour, China. Something we’ll be caught in the middle of.

And, curiously, there was little mention of the ticking timebomb of the US economy.

At the end of the year, whoever’s about to take office is going to have to confront a massive financial mess that US politicians kicked down the road during the last financial mess.

If the US economy blows up again, that’ll hurt us. One of these men is going to have to deal with it. And it won’t be Bush.

Most commented

47 comments

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    • Kurisu Sonsaku says:

      01:46pm | 17/10/12

      It’s not like Obama can run on his record.

    • Hiro Miyagi says:

      02:10pm | 17/10/12

      Here’s another one that thinks the GFC didn’t happen and the conservatives didn’t cause it.

    • Lindsay says:

      02:46pm | 17/10/12

      @Hiro Miyagi, well said I say. happens too often, like people who seem to think Labor got into debt for absolutely no reason.

    • Deep Throat says:

      03:15pm | 17/10/12

      It’s amazing how many people forget that the GFC happened on the Conservatives watch.

    • Huonian says:

      03:45pm | 17/10/12

      Steady on, folks! 

      The GFC was not caused by what happened the day before.  Its causes built up over many years.  And they did so under both right and left leaning governments around the world. 

      And, anyway, governments (of either persuasion) weren’t the main drivers of the GFC.  Sure, some played a significant role, but banks and other financial players were the main drivers.  And, of course, the housing bubble couldn’t have happened without the willing involvement of a lot of us ordinary folk fuelling it.

      Simply blaming the right or left is just tribalism.  It’s a lot more complicated than that.

    • John says:

      03:57pm | 17/10/12

      In fairness, most of them are senile, as we saw when Clint Eastwood forgot that it was the Republicans who took them into Afghanistan, not the Democrats.

    • Austin 3:16 says:

      04:04pm | 17/10/12

      —but banks and other financial players were the main drivers.  —

      Hmmm and who makes the regulations that govern banks and financial players ?

    • dovif says:

      04:12pm | 17/10/12

      The GFC was caused by loans that were too risky, loans that should not have been made, loans that were syndicated to reduce its risk, and stupid fund managers who throught they were good investments..

      The fact that an ALP PM was in government at the time did not caused it to happen, just because a republican was in the Whitehouse with a Democrat controlled senate and house (so much for the clueless saying it was under conservative watch)

      Every american president from the 1970s were to blame

    • PeterD says:

      04:14pm | 17/10/12

      The GFC was triggered by the sub-prime loan issue, where sub-prime borrowers (aka welfare dependent Democrat voters) took out loans that they could not afford to pay back.

      And they got the sub-prime loans because people like then Senator Obama and the Congressional black causes voted for the socialist policy, as a “human rights issue”.

      Then, to make matters worse, bankers demanded and received some more socialism, when they got their losses socialised as part of the ongoing bailouts.

      The GFC happened because conservatives agreed to these leftist demands, and then started applying the same socialist policies to their own constituencies.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      05:05pm | 17/10/12

      PeterD says: 04:14pm | 17/10/12

      Sub prime issue was a minor part. The biggest part was the repeal of the 1930’s banking regulations that prevent the banks from going rogue.


      He fact is Bush and co destroyed the US economy. It is unrealistic to think that the damage he caused could be repaired in just 4 years.

    • andye says:

      05:50pm | 17/10/12

      @dovif: “The GFC was caused by loans that were too risky, loans that should not have been made, loans that were syndicated to reduce its risk, and stupid fund managers who throught they were good investments..”

      Yes. The fact that they were loans is the real red herring here, which is what drives a lot of the alternate interpretations. Like that it was about loans.

      What is important is that these were investments (meaning risk) which were packaged and incorrectly valued. This market and its ensuing bubble were removed from the consumer loan level and exists up somewhere in the imaginations of very smart people who happen to like money. A lot.

      @dovif: “Every american president from the 1970s were to blame”

      True dat. But I don’t think any of those administrations understood that market. I don’t think most of the people involved in that market truly understood that market. The ones that did jumped in time. The rest were suddenly left high and dry going “oooohhhhh, now I get it.”

      “Credit Default Swap” I think that anyone who wants to have a valid opinion on the GFC should know what those are.

    • PeterD says:

      07:03pm | 17/10/12

      @ Mr Jordan,

      “Sub prime issue was a minor part. The biggest part was the repeal of the 1930’s banking regulations that prevent the banks from going rogue. “

      The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act enabled the merger of commercial and investment banks, which facilitated the securitisation of residential mortgages. In other words, it encouraged banks to make risky loans to sub-prime borrowers (as demanded by Congress), because they knew that they could on-sell those loans and pass off the risk in the medium to longer term.

      And guess which US President signed-off on the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act? Bill Clinton. Democratic President Bill Clinton.

      The fact is, even though many past US Presidents have contributed to the GFC, Obama has incurred more federal debt in 4 years than any of his precedessors have in over 200 years.

    • james says:

      09:24am | 18/10/12

      PeterD

      Clinton ran a surplus.

      Reagan/Bush/Bush were a disaster for the US budget.

      That is all.

    • PeterD says:

      12:58pm | 18/10/12

      james

      Clinton did NOT run a surplus. Clinton ran deficits throught all 8 years of his presidency, as can be verified by going to the US Treasury Department website and looking through the history of the total outstanding debt.

      Every year Clinton was in office, the total national debt continued to climb.

      Clinton misleadingly managed to CLAIM a surplus by borrowing from off-budget accounts (social security, public service retirement funds etc) to cover the deficits from the general operating budgets.

      That is all.

    • james says:

      01:45pm | 18/10/12

      Year 2000 PeterD, the federal debt reduced by 2%.

      Clinton was the president then.

      But is was ok for Reagan to increase the debt by 189% or bush by 89%, that was real good.

    • Nikki says:

      01:51pm | 17/10/12

      I wonder if Obama deliberately tanked in the first debate so he would enter the second as an ‘underdog’.

    • John says:

      02:11pm | 17/10/12

      Obama’s teleprompter had technical difficulties.

    • Fake obama says:

      04:13pm | 17/10/12

      It was fake Obama channelling fake Julia

    • PeterD says:

      04:19pm | 17/10/12

      Maybe, but why did he tank in the second debate?

    • Ohcomeon says:

      08:04am | 18/10/12

      John,

      the ‘teleprompter’ comment singles one out as a low information idealogue.

      Obama can speak extremely well unassisted by notes or teleprompter, his performance in the debate where he had facts, figures, anecdotes and stories all produced off the cuff. All of the republicans used teleprompters during the primaries, where was the conservative outrage?

      PeterD, I dont possibly see how you can say he lost the second debate. Even FOX news is begrudingly calling it a win for Obama, which means he romped it in, in reality.

    • Kika says:

      01:58pm | 17/10/12

      I know - what’s with the hair? It looks like his wife dyes his hair for him. He needs a hairdresser to get the grey highlights done properly.

    • Cercidas says:

      02:49pm | 17/10/12

      It’s there to make him look “wise”. Mormons love it!

    • Kika says:

      04:05pm | 17/10/12

      But you can look ‘wise’ and then you can look like you’ve done your hair with a $10.00 bottle of home dye. Surely he can afford to get his highlights done professionally.

    • PeterD says:

      04:06pm | 17/10/12

      Isn’t it sexist to comment on a political leader’s hair?

      Or is that another rule that only applies to women?

    • 4 MORE YEARS says:

      02:00pm | 17/10/12

      When are Australians going to see our leaders debate. I’m sure Gillard is up for it not so sure about spineless Tony.

    • Ando says:

      02:24pm | 17/10/12

      I’m not a fan of either of them but I think Gillard would beat Abbott in a debate.

    • T-rev says:

      02:27pm | 17/10/12

      Maybe when an election is called…? How about then?

    • Levi says:

      02:37pm | 17/10/12

      Only because she would shout him down with baseless insults and fale accusations like usual. Tony would just do what most men do and look on in bewilderment at her rank hypocrisy and consistent evasion of answering quetions.

    • Ando says:

      03:03pm | 17/10/12

      Levi,
      I agree. In the current climate Abbott would be on a hiding to nothing. That aside, I still think Gillard is pretty quick on her feet when she ditches the talking points. Abbott struggles more when hes off script. We dont see it from either of them too much and we will see less in the future. They will be too afraid to provide a quote that they will be beaten over the head with forever. I thought the Presidential debate today was a good format for at least a level of straight talking.

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      03:50pm | 17/10/12

      Gillard would smash him in a debate even with all the ammunition against her.

      She wipes the floor with him in Parliament and he’s an awful public speaker.

    • PeterD says:

      04:21pm | 17/10/12

      Where could we ever find an impartial moderator? Certainly nobody with the Australian media industry would qualify.

    • the cynic says:

      04:54pm | 17/10/12

      Ando says: ” I still think Gillard is pretty quick on her feet”...  Not if looking at the latest video with her off her feet in India that has just made the news.

    • expat says:

      02:08pm | 17/10/12

      Given the state of their economy I know id prefer a proven businessman at the helm. Much like Australia, the decisions that are going to need to be made over the few years are not going to be popular but need to be made.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      02:20pm | 17/10/12

      Such as tax cuts for the rich? We all know how that worked out under the Bush administration. Meh, if the Americans vote for another George W Bush clone then they deserve everything they get…...

    • Steve says:

      02:26pm | 17/10/12

      Since when are (snake oil) consultants considered businessmen? The local cafe owner who risks his capital to run a successful cafe is more of a businessman than any private equity consultant stooge. He claims he ran the Olympics, so he is an event manager.

      Doesn’t mention that Salt Lake City was plunged into deep recession following the Olympics (as pretty much happens with every Olympics). I can see why people see Obama as a great orator and not much else, but I find it difficult to see how anyone could be fooled by Romney.

    • Jars says:

      04:25pm | 17/10/12

      Maybe his magic underpants will set their economy to rights.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      05:11pm | 17/10/12

      What part of his record as Governor impresses you so much?

      Was it free university education for the top 25% of students? Was it socialist healthcare? Was it that his state came in as the 4th worst state for job creation?

    • expat says:

      05:33pm | 17/10/12

      @ Steve, so I guess that makes me the devil with a real estate business and having personally accommodated venture capital for a fee.. How they are less legitimate than cafe’s I have no idea, they require as much effort and personal capital.

      @ Shane, tax cuts aside, you need a government with fiscal capability. Now is not the time to be rolling out extensive welfare (obamacare) and other social initiatives, it is time to be cutting expenses.

      The low tax for the rich point is a waste of time and just trying to incite hate towards the successful. I am always going to be looking for the best deal on taxation, if that means reducing my tax through legal deductions or moving entire businesses offshore to more favorable locations then so be it. It is no different to someone shopping for the best deal on a product or service.

    • John says:

      02:17pm | 17/10/12

      Blah, Blah, Blah, Denzel Washington and Brad Pitt debate the script handed out by their executive producer, as the mainstream, film their fictional performance. Enjoy the theater show lemmings drones! It’s not real! Actors are hired to create fictional performances, and you drones are meant to consume their fictional bullshit soap opera’s. There is no democracy in the west, it’s all facade.

    • Dan says:

      02:45pm | 17/10/12

      Obama was pretty impressive. He really did just seem more on top of it this time around.

      I get the impression he’s got a pretty healthy ego, and thought Romney would just trip over himself in the first debate. He got a helluva fright when Romney came out swinging, that caught him off guard.

      Obama would have been embarrassed, and spent the past few weeks training up to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. And it seemed to work - he looked like the candidate of 2008, but with a little more experience under the belt.

      That’s not to say Romney wasn’t impressive. He was, he seemed just as energetic as last time - but less on top of the conversation. And he made a few more blunders - talk of a “binder full of women”, and blaming single mothers for gun violence, won’t go down to well.

      Obama is still in-front in the swing states that count, and this win will stem the flow of votes away from him. I still think it’s his to lose. If the 3rd debate looks much the same as today’s, he’ll hold on for another 4 years.

    • ARod says:

      03:29pm | 17/10/12

      Nice to read a comment well thought through for a change!

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      03:55pm | 17/10/12

      Pretty much sums it up!

    • Tex Ranger says:

      03:41pm | 17/10/12

      “...the prez was the clear winner”.

      Drinking the Kool Aid?  At best, it was a draw.

    • evelyn says:

      04:21pm | 17/10/12

      Pres. Obama’s falsehoods about Libya may be the sleeper in the next debate. Maybe Jeremiah Wright’s ‘chickens’ will come home to roost in Pres. Obama’s lap! What delicious irony that would be. The truth is that the Rose Garden speech (made on Sept 12) was a general reference to terrorism not the Libya consulate attacks. Read the transcript and the original sources for yourselves. That much is made clear by his reference to acts of terrorism in the plural and the fact that the express statement of Ambassador Rice (made later on Sept 16 and backed up by State Dept. Spokesperson Carney) ‘….the best assessment we have today is that this was not a premeditated attack…it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just happened in Cairo as a consequence of the video… ’ was clearly contradictory. Rice would never have contradicted Pres. Obama’s statement had he already called the Libya attack terrorism.  On ‘The View’ (24 Sept ) with Whoopi Goldberg Obama declined to call it a terrorist attack. If there was no mistake: why Clinton’s mea culpa? It stinks to high heaven. The moderator, a CNN journalist and known democrat supporter should not have intervened. This was a breach of her supposed neutrality.
      This is one of the great cover ups in history. The question put to Obama in the debate was along the lines ‘why were our diplomats not properly protected?’ He dodged the question and no-one has yet made him accountable. Shameful. And if you think Obama is a free speech advocate you are dreaming. He can’t wait to amend the law to introduce hate speech laws. Just look at the article in The International Business Times, ‘The Obama Doctrine: Censuring Free Speech’ by Publius Oct 1 2012. 

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/16/fact-check-did-obama-really-call-consulate-attack-in-libya-act-terror/#ixzz29X5pbxCp

    • drama says:

      05:56pm | 17/10/12

      @ evelyn - “This is one of the great cover ups in history” - c’mon mate, just a tad dramatic, you are a bit to much of a republican to be listened to with any objectivity.

    • Stormland says:

      06:40pm | 17/10/12

      LOL@ using fauxnews as a source. That’s worse than using wikipedia.

    • Waiting says:

      09:47am | 18/10/12

      Can’t wait for tired old codgers and codgerettes that can’t stand the thought of a woman being PM or a Black being president to shuffle off their mortal coils so we can return the focus to policy and governance.

 

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