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Oct 02nd
Home Columns JGL Eye A Look Back at the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debates: A Mix of Playoff and “American Idol” Formats
A Look Back at the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debates: A Mix of Playoff and “American Idol” Formats PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - JGL Eye
Monday, 15 October 2012 15:47



JGL Eye Column


(© 2012 Journal Group Link International)


C HICAGO (jGLi) – Following a series of presidential and vice presidential debates in the United States at the run-up of a presidential election is like following a playoff format of a team sport like baseball or basketball and a voting format of “American Idol” rolled into one.


It is one of the essential features that define a mature Democratic nation. Unlike superpower China and other autocratic countries, the presidential debates in the U.S. are mechanisms that shine on the personal characteristics and the ideological philosophies of candidates that will determine their likability as leaders of the free world.


When President Barack Obama opened the 2012 Presidential Debate last October 3rd at University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, everybody expected him to perform aggressively as he did when he debated then incumbent second President George Bush and won the debates and later the 2008 presidential elections. The 2012 Presidential Debates are sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. It was moderated by Jim Lehrer, host of NewsHour on PBS.


But with his role now reversed, people were still expecting Mr. Obama to come out swinging and hoping to drive a homerun, if not a grand slam. But he appeared flat and had struck out in some, if not most, of the innings.


Suddenly, the defending champion in Mr. Obama became defensive as he absorbed the constant attacks from his challenger, former Gov. Mitt Romney.


President Obama, whom I supported in 2008, plans to lower taxes of 98 percent of families that make up the middle class and continue the tax rates, including the tax cuts that his government has put in place for small business and families.


But for those with incomes over $250,000 annually, Mr. Obama said, their taxes “should be raised as when Bill Clinton was president, which created 23-million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus and created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.”




B ut Mr. Romney countered, “We've got 23-million people out of work or stopped looking for work in this country. … When the president took office, 32-million people (were) on food stamps; 47-million on food stamps today; economic growth this year slower than last year, and last year slower than the year before.”


Saying that “You raise taxes and you kill jobs,” Mr. Romney said he is not going to raise taxes because doing so, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses would “kill 700,000 jobs.” He insisted that he would not raise taxes either on those earning $250,000 because ultimately, small businesses would be ones to suffer – to pay more taxes that would kill jobs.


For me, if raising taxes for those earning $250,000 worked under the Clinton administration, why not give Mr. Obama another chance to make it work on his second term?


But on the claim of Mr. Romney that when Mr. Obama took office, the 32-million people on food stamps rose to 47-million today, for me, it appears to be valid observation. I believe such program should be reviewed so that only those qualified should receive this benefit.


There are some recipients, including Filipino Americans, who are receiving food stamps, by collecting can goods and shipping them in Balikbayan (homecoming) boxes as gifts to their relatives in the Philippines. This has got to stop.


Although the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) or food stamps, helps low-income people to buy food, it should not be sent to members of extended family members overseas.


One other program that is draining the federal coffers is the extension of the unemployment compensation that has been extended by Congress for 13 to 20 weeks that should be costing hundreds of billion dollars.




E conomists feel that while unemployed who rose to 17.6-millions in December 2011 need a safety net, the unemployment program should not go on indefinitely because it does dissuade people from taking jobs. They should be given firm cut-off date and their payments diminish over that period.


Mr. Obama said his Affordable Health Care program also known as Obamacare will be able to save $716-billion from the Medicare program by recipients, who would no longer overpay insurance providers. This savings will be used to lower prescription drug costs for seniors by an average of $600 and a pre-existing condition will be covered without the insurance company imposing arbitrary limit.


But Mr. Romney cited the Congressional Budget Office as reporting that the Obamacare will cost $2,500 a year more than traditional insurance and hurt families that is why he does not want it. He said CBO estimates that up to 20 million people will lose their insurance as Obamacare goes into effect next year. Another study says 30 percent of those insured will be dropping from their coverage due to Obamacare.


On the other hand, Mr. Obama said if Obamacare were repealed, 50-million would lose health-insurance coverage.


If it is true that Obamacare will cost families $2,500 more, then, I favor its repeal. But the federal government should spend money to conduct health-prevention workshops in the community like those sponsored in Chicago, Illinois by Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights & Empowerment (AFIRE), the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and the Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois  (CAAAELI) on Healthy Heart, Healthy Family (HHHF) Training Workshops to address leading causes of death in America, like, heart disease.


I scored the first of the three debates between Messrs. Obama and Romney a draw as neither of them landed knockout blows.


In the vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan last Oct. 11 at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, on the failure of the Obama Administration to provide security to the Libyan consulate despite repeated pleas for security, I give Rep. Ryan the edge for failure of Mr. Biden to acknowledge the mistake of the administration to provide security. The debate on foreign and domestic policies had Martha Raddatz, ABC News Chief Foreign Correspondent, as moderator


The attack in the Benghazi (Libya) consulate resulted in the death of four people, including U. S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.


But I applaud Mr. Biden for crediting President Obama for ending the unjustified Iraq War, pulling out the troops from Iraq, for setting the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and for the killing Osama bin Laden.


Rep. Ryan did not gain any point when he criticized Mr. Obama for not agreeing to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while Obama  was in New York City for the United Nations meeting. Obama, instead, appeared on the same day on ABC’s “The View.” Mr. Biden disclosed that Mr. Obama had been on an hour-long call with Netanyahu before the Israel Prime Minister went to U.N. Any face time meeting would have been unnecessary.


Mr. Biden gained some applause when he told Mr. Ryan that Ryan wrote letters to Energy Secretary Steven Chu for $20-Million funding for a pair organizations in his Wisconsin home state after Ryan lambasted the White House stimulus law’s energy program.


“I love that. I love that. He writes ... the Department of Energy a letter saying the reason we need this stimulus [is] it will create growth and jobs,” Biden said at the debate.

In this debate, I give Mr. Biden an edge over Mr. Ryan.


After the second and third presidential debates, American voters would know who will have their votes. # # #


Watch out for the upcoming media-outlet oriented, subscription-based website of Journal Group Link International that guarantees originally sourced stories, features, photos, audios and videos and multi-media contents.)


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