By Matthew Rothschild on October 04, 2012

Obama must have had too much to eat for dinner, or he made a bad choice by choosing the decaf instead of the regular.

Because he was sluggish and dull and let Romney box him all over the ring.

Obama was on the ropes almost the whole night, and he was so detached I thought his arms were going to snap off.

He failed to mention the 47% video.

He failed to mention Bain capital.

He failed to mention Romney’s paltry job record in Massachusetts.

He failed to mention a woman’s right to choose.

He failed to stress the moral argument for the Affordable Care Act (and for some reason embraced the term “Obamacare”), and he got lost in the thicket of controlling health care costs.

He failed to rebut Romney’s repeated claim that Obama was hurting seniors by cutting $716 billion from Medicare. (Romney used the $716 billion figure 716 times!)

He failed to mention that Paul Ryan himself also called for that cut and that all the Republicans in the House endorsed it.

He failed to stress how bad the economy was when he inherited it and that he prevented a depression—he made this point in only one sentence.

He was content to utter clichés like, “The genius of America is the free enterprise system.” What about the Bill of Rights? Or the separation of powers? We don’t need a Democrat to curtsy to capitalism.

And his closing statement was meandering.

He didn’t give voters a coherent case for voting for him.

Romney came out with a flurry of punches and he kept punching—and filibustering!—the whole way through.

He came out with some whoppers, though.

Here are a couple:

Whopper #1: He said none of his tax cuts would increase the deficit. But how would that work? Tax cuts automatically increase the deficit.

Whopper #2: He said he wouldn’t reduce taxes on the wealthy. But he wants to abolish the estate tax, which will be an enormous boon to the wealthy (and, more specifically, to their wealthy children).

Whopper #3: He said he wanted to lower spending and encourage growth. But lowering spending suppresses growth.

Whopper #4: He said we, as consumers, can choose which health insurance company to go to. Maybe CEOs can do that, but most consumers who are insured through their employers have limited choices, if any, of carriers.

But Obama let him get away with all of this—and more.

Pathetic.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Romney on 60 Minutes: Kiss the Safety Net Goodbye."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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