Dems Scramble to Explain Obama Debate Defeat
Going into this week's first presidential debate Democrats were confident that the most brilliant man to ever hold the office would easily trounce his challenger. However, 67% of voters who saw the debate judged Romney to have won. Only 25% saw Obama as the winner.
Obama campaign strategist, David Axelrod blamed debate moderator Jim Lehrer for allowing Romney “too much leeway. Time after time the President was left to fend for himself against repeated attacks on his policies. Lehrer failed to come to the President's aid despite numerous opportunities to do so.”
Axelrod expressed the hope that “our other friends in the media will put forth a greater effort outside the context of the stilted debate format to do the job we expect them to do. Our message that Governor Romney is a greedy, lying, cheating bastard that has been working so well in our ads needs the supporting confirmation of these widely respected arbiters of truth.”
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Chair Democratic National Committee, concurred with Axelrod's take, saying that “review of the debate transcript clearly shows an inappropriate handling of the event by the moderator. First, the actual amount of time each was allowed to speak was unacceptably allocated. Romney got almost as much time as the President did even though the President is a much more important figure in our government than a former one-term governor of a single state.”
“Second, Romney was allowed to repeatedly contradict the President,” she observed. “This disrespect went unchallenged by the moderator. Even worse, Lehrer's interruption of the President's closing statement on the pretext that he exceeded the allotted time limit was a shamefully arrogant affront to our nation's ruler.”
Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for Obama complained that “the whole debate thing unfairly exploits the President's weaknesses. The President has said numerous times that prepping for these kinds of events is boring. Having to bone up of the issues and confront a disagreeable adversary is just not his thing.”
Cutter maintained that debates aren't a good measure of a person's abilities to perform in office. “Look, a president doesn't need to be able to think on his feet. He can hire advisers to handle the technical details and speechwriters to craft the words he uses to communicate with the American people,” she pointed out. “An inability to rebut an argument against his policies in a public forum is not a crucial skill.”
MSNBC's Chris Matthews faulted Lehrer for “not being aggressive enough. There were opportunities for him to intervene on behalf of the President that he missed.” Matthews speculated that “Lehrer may have put too much emphasis on maintaining the appearance of neutrality,” and wondered whether “a man of his advanced age should be entrusted with such a weighty task in the future when abler men like myself are available.”
Apparent Gaffes Explained
Statements this past week by both the President and Vice-President that many are persuaded are gaffes were defended by Press Secretary Jay Carney.
“President Obama's assertion that 'we don't believe anyone is entitled to success in this country' is not a defense of a failed economic policy as some are claiming,” Carney said. “It's a reaffirmation of the President's belief in the essential equality of all people. After all, is it really fair for some to succeed while others fail? Shouldn't government strive to level the playing field to prevent the more able or lucky from rising above others?”
“Is a society where a self-made millionaire like Mitt Romney can live like a king while millions of others live in shacks or shabby public housing one we should be proud of?” Carney asked. “Wouldn't a more equal distribution of the wealth of America be fairer?”
Carney had a little more difficulty getting out from under Biden's admission that “the middle class has been buried over the last four years.” “What the Vice-President meant was that Republican obstruction has buried the middle class' hopes,” Carney insisted. “While it's true that there are 45 million on food stamps today compared with 32 million when the current Administration took office, who's fault is that?”
“I mean, it's the Republicans who say this is a bad thing,” Carney reminded. “In an ideal world everyone's need for food would be seen to by the government. But it's Republicans who object to expanding the eligibility of Americans to participate in this program—depriving the government of the opportunity to provide the middle class with a healthy and nutritionally-balanced diet.”
“And as Vice-President Biden pointed out, it's the Republicans who oppose the trillion dollar tax hike the Administration is pushing,” Carney continued. “How can we redistribute income to the middle class if obstructionists in Congress won't let us take it from those who already have more than they need?”
Latest Unemployment Data Said to Prove Obama's Economic Policies Are Working
Though the number of new jobs created during the month of September was a paltry 114,000, the official unemployment rate fell from an August rate of 8.1% to 7.8%. With an estimated 120,000 entering the ranks of new job seekers each month based on population growth, the drop in the official rate of unemployment has been credited to a surge of 800,000 new part-time jobs.
This was hailed by the President's Council of Economic Advisers chairman Alan Krueger as a sign that the President's plan is working. “Most people I know would prefer to work fewer, not more hours each week,” Krueger recounted. “The President's policies are now making this more feasible.”
That fewer hours normally net fewer dollars of take-home pay was brushed aside as “a temporary phenomenon.” “We're still working out the kinks on the President's long-term goals,” Krueger argued. “The lower take-home pay from fewer hours of work has been offset by an increase in the number of Americans receiving food stamps. On top of this, ten million have received free cell phones.”
Krueger says a key subsequent measure awaiting a second term is “the redistribution of income from high-earners to low-earners. Just because there are some people who are determined to be workaholics shouldn't deter us from implementing policies that bring the benefits of leisure to a broader spectrum of our society.”
While admitting that the transformation underway has not been entirely painless, Krueger maintained that “history will regard this as a critical turning point for humankind—when the delusions of the Judeo-Christian work-ethic were finally overthrown and a new era of government-funded hedonism was born.”
State Department Says “Other Priorities” Precluded Funding Libya Embassy Security
Despite requests for upgraded security from Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens dating back several months before his murder, the US State Department couldn't comply. Resources that could have funded more guards for both the Embassy and Consulate were “unavailable.”
Among the items deemed to be a higher priority: the purchase of 1500 Chevy Volts. The outlay for these costly, yet poorly performing vehicles was part of the Defense Department's “green initiative.”
“In our judgment, providing a few Marines for one embassy or consulate was less important than making this broader commitment to preserving the environment,” said Secretary Hillary Clinton. “Of course, if we had known that the consequence would lead to the death of Ambassador Stevens we may have made a different decision. Unfortunately, there's no 'reset button' we can push to undo what has happened. Regret is an unavoidable cost of having to make choices without the benefit of hindsight.”
Clinton rebuffed Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Darrell Issa's demand for more information about Stevens' murder. “Now is not the proper time for us to be poking around on such a sensitive topic,” Clinton responded. “Any information we might disclose at this time could have repercussions beyond the pursuit of justice for this crime. There's a hotly contested election currently underway in our country. There will be more time to dispassionately contemplate what happened in Libya after November 6th.”
First Lady Lauds Obama's Imperial Presidency
First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged voters to reelect her husband “so he can continue to bypass congressional obstruction and keep America on the path to true social justice.”
Michelle described her husband's frustrations with “a Congress that has never been willing to help move the country forward,” but praised his willingness “to go outside the traditional limits on presidential power to plow new ground on how this nation will be ruled in the future.”
“So far, I think that Barack has done a phenomenal job working around Congress,” Michelle boasted. “He's issued, I think, about 900 Executive Orders in less than four years. Bush issued fewer than a hundred in his eight years in office. I think this shows that Barack will not be constrained from doing what he sees as right.”
As proof of her husband's strength and “nerves of steel,” Michelle pointed to his foreign policy successes. “He killed bin-Laden—an accomplishment that eluded Bush for eight years,” she bragged. “And he hasn't rested on his laurels. After assassins killed our ambassador to Libya he didn't hesitate to make a speech at the UN condemning the instigators of anti-Islamic hate responsible for this atrocity.”
The First Lady described her husband as “the one man who can be trusted to steer America on the right course,” and urged voters to “pull out all the stops to ensure he is reelected.”
Lawmaker Refuses Pledge of Allegiance
Pennsylvania state Representative Babette Josephs (D-Philadelphia) declined to lead attendees of a House State Government Committee meeting in a pledge of allegiance. Although the pledge has normally been considered a non-controversial ritual for such meetings, Josephs found it to be highly objectionable.
“Where do I begin to enumerate the improprieties of injecting these words into our process,” Josephs said. “Well, first off, this is a state legislature, not a federal legislature. Why should my allegiance, or lack thereof, to the nation be an issue? What relevance does it have to the State of Pennsylvania?”
“Second, the pledge mentions God,” Josephs continued. “I don't believe in God. Why should I lead others is a recitation that offends my beliefs?”
“Finally, the pledge's assertion that ours is a republic with liberty and justice for all doesn't stand up to scrutiny,” Josephs concluded. “A republic is a representative form of government. Yet, many are barred from voting because they can't prove they're citizens or they've been incarcerated for committing crimes. The fact that so many Americans are incarcerated shows that liberty nor justice is not for all. So, why should I perpetuate a lie?”
Judge Rejects Religious Objection to Obamacare Mandate
Missouri federal district Judge Carol Jackson ruled that forcing Catholics to pay for contraception and abortion services mandated under Obamacare does not violate their right to freely practice their religion.
“The plaintiffs argue that their religious freedom is infringed by a government law requiring them to finance health services they view as repugnant to their beliefs,” Jackson wrote in her decision. “However, none of these plaintiffs is required to undergo an abortion or to make use of the covered contraception benefits. Consequently, they remain totally free to adhere to their religious beliefs insofar as the effects are confined to themselves.”
“That the religious beliefs of the plaintiffs regard abortion as murder and that compelling them to contribute financial resources to support this procedure is irrelevant. The law states that women are entitled to this health service. The plaintiffs' religious preferences cannot override this legal requirement.”
To help clarify her ruling, Jackson offered a hypothetical case. “Suppose that the government enacted a law permitting human sacrifice,” she wrote. “Would we allow a person's individual belief that this is wrong to totally overwhelm society's decision that it is right—as would be evidenced by the fact that a law was passed endorsing the practice? No. As long as the individual is not the person being sacrificed he cannot justifiably raise his own religious objection to the implementation of this law for the benefit of someone else.”
Iran Set to Agree to Five-Week Postponement in Uranium Enrichment Program
While reaffirming its inherent right to pursue the full benefits of nuclear power for his country, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced a five-week postponement of uranium enrichment activities.
Khamenei was quick to assure that “this in no way yields our right and obligation to obtain the means to annihilate the Jewish pestilence that occupies Muslim lands in Palestine. However, it has been brought to our attention that a slight delay in our timetable could be of inestimable value over the longer term.”
The announcement was perceived as a boost to President Obama's reelection chances. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed the postponement as “a concrete achievement that could not have been accomplished under other circumstances. Much as the President's critics might belittle a 'mere' five-week delay, the fact is that this means five more weeks of life for Israelis who would otherwise be targeted by nuclear-armed Iranian missiles. Meager as this might be, it is more than Governor Romney can offer American voters between now and November 6.”
French Government Floats Plan to Discourage Layoffs
In a bid to stem the rising tide of unemployment, France's Socialist President Francois Hollande has advanced legislation that would impose severe penalties on businesses trying to fend off bankruptcy by trimming labor costs.
Labor Minister Michel Sapin says “the intent is to make layoffs so expensive that keeping unproductive employees on the payroll will be the less costly option.” Sapin admitted that “many in our Party favored simply outlawing layoffs, but others advised against this saying that if no one could be laid off for any reason too many workers would slack off on the job.”
Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg is crafting a companion bill that would prohibit struggling firms from selling their businesses in order to avoid penalties for laying off workers. “Businesses have a social responsibility to provide good-paying jobs,” Montebourg contended. “We cannot allow them to escape this responsibility by selling their assets.”
US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis called the French initiative “an intriguing 'outside-the-box' approach that we may want to take a look at in a second term. The more indirect measures we've been trying here—the Fed's quantitative easing, the various stimulus packages, the green-jobs investments—haven't had the kind of impact we'd hoped. Something more explicitly targeted at employment may be necessary.”
Defense Department Brushes Off Absentee Ballot Issue
Reports that a majority of the nation's overseas soldiers and sailors won't be able to cast votes in this election because the Department of Defense hasn't made the effort to implement an effective absentee ballot process were brushed off by DOD brass.
Secretary Leon Panetta said he “regrets that some of our valiant warriors will be disenfranchised,” but attributed the problem to “the need to set priorities.”
“Among the lengthy enumeration of 'things to do' that are on my plate, ensuring that the troops get to vote is pretty far down the list,” Panetta said. “I have to meet with the President on a weekly basis to decide who we'll be targeting for elimination. I have to argue with Secretary Napolitano over who gets first dibs on ammo. I have to ensure that our troops are trained to respect Muslim religious sensitivities. I have to work out our troop withdrawal schedule. So, you see I have more to do than I have time to do it in.”
Panetta argued that “losing the chance to vote is a sacrifice that I think most of our forces find more tolerable than losing an arm or leg to an IED. Realistically, the chance that anyone's vote will be decisive is infinitesimal. So, I don't think we should get bent out of shape over our inability to muster the resources needed to put a ballot in the hand of every deployed trooper.”
Racist Remarks in 2007 Video Called “Old News”
The emergence of a video from 2007 in which then Senator Barack Obama made some racially incendiary remarks was dismissed as “old news” and “an act of desperation” by Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.
“The appropriate time for anyone to have raised this issue has long passed,” LaBolt insisted. “What the President may have said or done before he was the President is no longer relevant. What matters now is what the President has done while he's held the office. Voters should be focusing on his record as President and not get bogged down in reviewing ancient history.”
Administration Tells Defense Contractors to Flout the Law
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice (WARN) Act is intended to alert workers of firms holding government contracts if their jobs might be in danger due to government budget actions. Right now, unless Congress takes preventative measures a significant reduction in defense outlays will occur on January 1, 2013. According to statute, firms must notify workers 60 days in advance of that date.
The Obama Administration’s Department of Labor (DOL), contrary to this law, has instructed contractors not to comply with this legal requirement. Though failure to comply would expose these firms to potential tort damages, the DOL has assured these contractors that the federal government will cover their losses.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis defended her Department's incitement to commit an illegal act as “the lesser of evils. Governing often presents one with hard choices. The question is whether we have the courage to do the right thing even if it is against the law.”
Solis characterized the WARN requirements as “a technical formality,” and argued that “a more realistic approach should take precedence.” “Look, these firms sending out potential layoff notices on November 2 could have irreversible consequences for the President's reelection chances,” Solis said. “Workers receiving these notices could be stampeded into voting for the President's opponent. Why should the Administration stand by and let this happen?”
The Secretary emphasized that compliance with the DOL's illegal directive is “voluntary. We're not ordering these firms to break the law. We're just letting them know it's okay with the President if they do. The only real risk for them is if the President isn't reelected. A Romney Administration might not be as forgiving.”