Media pundits from around the country agree: Mitt Romney crushed President Obama in the first Presidential debate. Romney was poised, robust, and energetic, while the President too often seemed professorial and disengaged. Romney's hair was perfectly swooped to the side, his complexion was absolutely immaculate, and his hand gestures were positively authoritative. Mitt Romney swept the pundit class off their feet. By the standard that perception is reality; the press seems to have forgotten they have a role in reporting on truth beyond perceptions. By the standard that style beats substance, the press seems to have concluded that a Presidential debate should be covered more like a Mr. Universe contest than a discourse between the two possible leaders of this country. Mitt Romney did win Wednesday's debate. Not because he won on the issues, but because he is attempting to steal this election by unleashing a string of complete fabrications and campaign reversals, while the media drives the getaway car.
In his sudden effort to sprint to the center before Election Day, Romney made perhaps his most audacious assertion when he turned to the President and said: “My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. I'm not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. High-income people are doing just fine in this economy. They'll do fine whether you're president or I am.” However, independent analysts assert Romney is being untruthful here, and anyone who has even remotely followed his campaign could perceive this complete reversal. Analysts at the Brookings Institution reported that households with incomes over $1 million would receive average tax cuts of $87,117 under Romney's plan, while those earning $200,000 or less would pay higher taxes. The Brookings Institution explained, “even when we assume that tax breaks — like the charitable deduction, mortgage interest deduction, and the exclusion for health insurance — are completely eliminated for higher-income households first, and only then reduced as necessary for other households to achieve overall revenue-neutrality, the net effect of the plan would be a tax cut for high-income households coupled with a tax increase for middle-income households.” So Mitt Romney is lying about his tax plan, and completing a campaign 180 when he claims he does not want to lower taxes for the wealthy. Still waiting for the conservative cries of “class warfare.”
In explaining why he would seek a repeal of the financial regulation bill “Dodd-Frank”, Romney asserted that the law designated five banks as too big to fail, and gave them “a blank check,” contributing to the collapse of smaller banks. “We need to get rid of that provision because it's killing regional and small banks”, Romney claimed. But Bloomberg News explains that this understanding is inaccurate. They explain “there is no connection between the failure of community banks and the provision in Dodd-Frank designed to contain the harm from the failure of a big bank.” In addition, “FDIC statistics show that 37 banks, not five, have enough assets to come under that provision.” Romney wants to frame Dodd-Frank as another big government regulator inhibiting growth and crushing the little guy, but the facts are not on his side. In fact, the opposite is true. Bloomberg News reports that “The trend (of small banks closing) is down since Dodd-Frank. After peaking in 2010 at 136, the small-bank failures declined last year to 86 and are down to 42 through the first nine months of this year.”
According to FactCheck.Org , Romney “made numerous bogus claims” about the $90 billion in grants, guaranteed loans, and tax breaks for energy companies found in the stimulus package. For example, Romney falsely claimed “about half” of the clean-energy companies that received U.S.-backed loans have filed for bankruptcy. But 26 companies received loan guarantees under a loan program cited by Romney, and only three of those have filed for bankruptcy and the three firms were “approved for about 6 percent of the loan guarantees.” But in Romney's defense, “about half” certainly sounds better. Romney's energy lies would not stop there. FactCheck.Org explains, “He stated at one point that Obama put $90 billion into solar and wind. But only $21 billion went for renewable energy projects, such as the installation of wind turbines and solar panels, according to a White House document cited by the Romney campaign. The spending also included $18 billion for transit projects and $10 billion to upgrade the nation's electrical grid.” So does Governor Romney truly have a problem with investing in an all of the above energy plan and upgrading America's infrastructure? Probably not. But hey, it sure sounds good when you say he spent $90 billion on windmills.
Mitt Romney made a number of dubious, misleading, and hypocritical claims about Obamacare and Medicare. Romney 10 times, including in his closing statement, stated that the President was taking $716 billion from Medicare patients' pockets to pay for Obamacare. Romney and VP candidate Paul Ryan have been spouting this lie for a long time now. CBS News backed up the Obama campaign, reporting that the Congressional Budget Office reports that “it's not the patients who would lose money. It's the providers.” Beyond the inaccuracy is the hypocrisy. CBS News points out that Paul Ryan's plan that Romney has described as “bold and exciting” and “very consistent” with his own plan makes the very same deductions.
These are just a few of the many lies that permeated Romney's entire performance Wednesday night in Denver and indeed his entire campaign. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have lived by the motto set by the Romney pollster who asserted that “Our campaign won't be dictated by fact checkers.” They have lied from the starting gun and the media has decided to let them get away with it. To them, it's about performance. Romney sounded like a candidate should sound, and President Obama did not. He looked like a candidate should look, and President Obama did not. But as mediocre of a rhetorical performance as the President put on and as puzzling as his pacifist strategy was, he won in the most important score: he told the truth. He treated the American people like adults. He laid out a vision of equal opportunity and shared prosperity. As the President put it the next day, “Governor Romney may dance around his positions, but if you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth.” It is due time the media does its job and let the American people hear the facts, not an evaluation of the performance. But hey, Mr. President, you have two more chances to wipe the smirk off that smug, tax dodging two-face and show the media and the American people that you still have some fight left in you. Please?