The media’s narrative was unanimous about the debate last night. This was a tense, spirited, feisty debate among two candidates with very different views.
Questions were submitted, we were told, by a group of registered but undecided voters; from those, journalist and moderator, Candy Crowley, selected questions to ask the candidates. We will never know all the questions generated by the voters, but those that were asked shared one juvenile premise: the president is supposed to be an all-knowing sugar-daddy ready to fix things and dispense favors. Given that premise, the game was fixed; it would be difficult for any candidate to explore alternative views.
For sure, President Obama seemed to embrace the sugar-daddy role with vigor and without a sense of humor. He seemed to like the idea that he is an all-knowing deity. His answers were sprinkled with phrases like “What I want to do” and “We fixed it.”
Some may say that Mitt Romney knows better, but if he did he played along. For example, the first question was from a college student asking candidate Romney, “What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?”
Governor Romney stepped right up to the plate like he was lobbed a big fat softball. If he knew the correct answer, he choose not to explain that presidents don’t create good jobs, presidents only destroy good jobs by excessive spending, excessive taxation, excessive regulation, and by appointing Fed chairs who engage in destructive monetary policy.
Instead Governor Romney like President Obama accepted the college student’s premise that it was the President’s job to create good jobs. I heard no differences between the candidates’ responses to the college student’s question. Did you hear a difference?
Nor, was there any hint of personal responsibility on the part of the college student. Neither Obama nor Romney asked the student what he was majoring in. For example, no matter how good the economic environment is, if the student chose art history as his major, he’ll be in a pack of competitors chasing few jobs.
Both candidates promised to continue college loan programs. What neither candidate could explain is that there is a destructive side effect of these loan programs; they are largely responsible for the out-of-control spiral of tuition increases that has gone on for over a generation.
Next topic up was energy policy. The candidates argued vigorously over who would allow more drilling for oil and gas in the United States. Romney promised he was for all types of energy, both green and fossil fuels. We already knew, and he confirmed it by his response, President Obama believes that it is his job to determine which new forms of energy are subsidized and utilized.
If candidate Romney wanted to demonstrate a real difference, he could’ve explained to the American people that the president does not discover new forms of energy and should not be picking winners and losers in the race to discover new forms of energy. A correct answer would’ve begun with an explanation of why that is so. The president cannot reduce our energy prices by subsidizing forms of energy that cannot meet the test of viability in the marketplace.
Again, if Governor Romney knew better than President Obama, he didn’t show it. Perhaps he felt that the type of responses I’m suggesting would’ve been unacceptable to voters. I’m just trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, for I heard in his responses little hint that he knew better. Instead, I was stunned at how readily both candidates were willing to perpetuate the destructive myth that the president is the authority who makes the country run.
No matter which candidate wins, our country will continue to march down the path of ruin if we continue to accept the sugar-daddy premise. If the questions selected for the debate last night are any indication, the American people have not yet begun to question that premise.