In the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney won by a landslide, bringing an unexpected energy and vitality while Barack Obama, who clearly underestimated Romney, appeared listless and exhausted.
The First Presidential Debate: Obama Fooled
I experienced the debate from two perspectives: the first part I heard on the radio in the car and, by the second half, I had arrived home and watched the rest of it on TV.
While in the car, listening on NPR, I thought I may be missing some of Barack’s nuances because I could not see him. I assumed, and hoped, that he was actually doing better in front of the TV because, on the radio, he had the effect of a sedative.
Once in front of the TV, he appeared in person just as his voice portrayed on the radio: listless and exhausted.
In reading about the debate pre-debate, many people thought Obama would drive home the final nail in the Romney campaign coffin. However, those really in the know, suggested that Obama, while a very moving speaker, is not a great debater because he often comes across as arrogant and someone who does not suffer fools easily. And, clearly, he would place Mitt in that category.
The fool in the room, though, was Barack, who entered this debate unprepared, unpleasantly edgy, subdued, and presumptuous of a victory in November that now will be more difficult to attain.
The First Presidential Debate: Romney Ready
Many people who have seen Mitt Romney in his element–the boardroom–have until now been flummoxed by Romney the candidate, a person they haven’t been able to recognize as one in the same, until last night.
They have said that boardroom Mitt is energetic, persuasive, detailed, and positive. And, last night they say, we saw boardroom Mitt.
It could not have gone better for the Romney campaign.
How do we know this? The news media, who the Republicans think are a bunch of liberally commies, even acknowledged Romney as the winner.
Romney won by bringing a positive, optimistic, and ready attitude. If people tuned into find the kind of hope Barack offered in 2008, they got it from Romney last night in 2012.
And the issues? What about issues? How did Romney the Ready handle the issues?
Romney the Ready handled the issues just fine, with facts at the ready, which made the issues a non-issue. Today, nobody is talking about the issues, which are the same as they were before the debate.
It’s all about how the candidates came across.
And, in this first presidential debate, Romney came across as knowledgeable, energetic, and hopeful while Barack just came across as, well, cross.
Richard CummingsRomney Crushes Obama In First Debate: A Ready Romney Had Obama Fooled!
A large portion of Mitt Romney’s financial success stems from his role as the former leader of Bain Capital. The Obama campaign is using this against him and Mitt is once again back-pedaling, saying that his involvement with the firm ended long ago. As we hear more about Bain Capital, will this be the issue that brings down Mitt Romney’s presidential bid?
What Does Bain Capital Do That Makes It a Target?
To understand why the Obama campaign is latching on to this issue, we need to take a deeper look at Bain Capital and find out exactly what they do that may discourage voters.
Let’s begin with the source. As we look at their website, Bain Capital describes themselves as follows:
Bain Capital is one of the world’s leading private, alternative asset management firms whose affiliates manage approximately $65 billion. Our principals are the largest single investor in each of Bain Capital’s funds, which aligns the interests of the firm with our investors and the long-term objectives of the management teams.
One thing clearly stands out: Bain Capital is about money, money for investors and money for Bain Capital.
We see not even a pretense of job creation, corporate responsibility, civic duty, product creation, and many more corporate do-gooder adjectives which many companies at least pretend to incorporate.
The one personage who comes to mind when thinking of Bain Capital is Gordon Gekko, the legendary character from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. Even the man known for “Greed is Good” at least pretended to have altruistic interests.
The Similarities Between Bain Capital and Gordon Gekko
Reasonable people ask reasonable questions and one of them is this: How can these private equity firms make money while laying off thousands of people and bankrupting companies?
To start, let’s just recall the movie Wall Street and what happened. Do you remember how Gordon Gekko was initially going to save Blue Star airlines? He was going to improve the management team and upgrade the fleet with the idea of profits in the future.
But “greed was good” and Gordon concluded that the treasure of the company was not the solid, hard working employees, but, instead, the fleet of salable planes and parts. So, he fires all the people, sells all the parts, pays himself, and declares bankruptcy, removing any necessity to pay pensions and the like.
Result? Gordon makes millions and the employees not only lose their jobs but their pensions.
In some cases, Bain Capital is no different than Gordon Gekko.
“After they bought GST Steel, ‘Mitt Romney and his partners loaded it with debt, closed the Kansas City plant and walked away with a healthy profit, leaving hundreds of employees out of work with their pensions in jeopardy.'”
The Obama Campagin GST Commerical
The Real Truth About Bain Capital
The GST Steel Obama campaign will hit home with Americans, but it does not tell the whole story.
As voters, you need to sift through the propaganda. You can tell one side of the story, without fabrication but with fact elimination, and it presents a devilish portrait of Bain Capital.
But a question needs to be asked about the GST Steel campaign. Was it the original intention of Bain Capital to gut the company?
After doing my due diligence, I think that the answer is no. However, it was an idea from the outset. Gutting the company was “the out” and it was known from the start that this was the fallback plan.
Private equity is basically a racket. It may be a productive racket, although there is controversy about that. Some studies show that firms and plants taken over by firms like Bain Capital see bigger increases in output per worker than comparable companies that remain independent. But those productivity boosts are largely one-off situations produced by downsizing the labor force, firing people, and outsourcing some of the jobs they do. Sustained increases in productivity and innovation are much harder to find, as so is evidence that the rise of private equity has improved the performance of the economy as a whole, rather than just making a few people like Romney very rich.
In this quote, we find the true nature of private equity: it makes a few people very rich but there is little evidence “that the rise of private equity has improved the performance of the economy as a whole”.
Will and Should Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital Experience Factor in the Election?
Mitt Romney has endlessly mentioned his business experience as one of the primary reasons that he should be elected.
Certainly then, his time at Bain Capital, which essentially is the business experience to which he refers, is fair game.
A reasonable person can conclude that Bain Capital is about making money, not about creating jobs. In fact, that is their boast: we’re here to make money. If job creation is a by-product of making money, Bain Capital will gladly do it, but it is not what drives them.
And what of Mitt Romney’s continued involvement after he claims to have left? Well, we all know that he tended to his Bain Capital financial garden after his supposed official departure. HE couldn’t not. Undoubtedly, Mitt manages his money, and recent dis-closings tell us that he manages much of it as it goes overseas into offshore banks.
Gordon Gekko was about greed and making money for himself. If others made money, fine, but that was not the objective. There is nothing with Bain Capital or Mitt Romney that suggests anything other than greed.
I am not saying that this is wrong. Making money is not a crime.
However, do I want someone as my president who has consistently put his well-being ahead of those he serves?
Richard CummingsA Bain in the Arse: Will Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital Position Bring Him Down?
On this page, you can view Barack Obama’s State of the Union Speech and see the overall reaction to the speech.
State of the Union Speech Video
In case you missed the State of the Union Speech last night, here is the State of the Union Speech video in its entirety from last night, January 25th, 2011.
Reaction to the State of the Union Speech
By all accounts, this State of the Union Speech was well received. Let’s take a look at the reaction to the State of the Union Speech via two polls from the Washington Post.
Poll #1 asked the question, “How would you grade President Obama’s State of the Union address?” As you see in the graphic below, more than 83% of the people gave this speech an A or a B.
Poll #2 asked the same question in a slightly different way. As you can see below, over 82% of the people graded the speech an A or a B.
My Reaction to the State of the Union Speech
Over time, I have come to believe that the most important job of any president is to be presidential, inspiring confidence in the citizens that things are good or that things will be good.
It’s based on a simple concept: sometimes a smile precedes happiness.
After Barack Obama was soundly defeated in the November elections, he gave a speech announcing the end of a bad war and this interview to 60 minutes in which he looked like a defeated man…unpresidential and uninspiring. In fact, in the 60 minutes interview, he basically admitted as much–that he had handled some matters in an unpresidential way and vowed to change this.
I think we saw this change last night in the State of the Union Speech.
Richard CummingsState of the Union Speech Video & Reaction | January 2011
The war in Iraq officially ended last week in a dreary speech by President Obama, a speech that hailed the war heroes, tepidly reviewed the results of the war campaign, and ended with a somber reflection on our economy.
If the speech left a taste in your mouth, it was not one to leave you salivating for more.
How do you triumphantly speak about a war with which you disagreed?
Last night, John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at the Alfred E Smith Memorial Foundation dinner. They poked fun at each other, and themselves, in a night filled with political celebrities raising money for charity.
Their speeches highlight a great tradition of competitive friendliness as they laugh at, and with, each other. It is hard to believe that the previous evening they were going at each other so intensely. Read More
Richard CummingsJohn McCain and Barack Obama At Alfred E Smith Memorial Dinner
I usually never discuss who I vote for. There is a reason for that: As a Republican-leaning independent, I would normally vote Republican. Having lived in San Francisco for many years, you could not have a rational discussion with anyone if you voted Republican-they are all Democrats or Green Party. And San Franciscans, though open-minded about a lot of things, are not politically open-minded.
I am only talking about how I voted this year because this election is so important. In the beginning, I liked both candidates. In the end, I voted for Read More