Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Will Hurricane Sandy put Romney under water?

Every presidential election  those involved in politics wait for what is known as the "October Surprise", the incident, or piece of information, something that no one saw coming that comes out right before the election and sways voters in one direction or another and decides the election. This year that surprise for Romney may have been Hurricane Sandy and his own words from a year ago which may now come back to haunt him.

In a Republican presidential debate in 2011  Romney said, using the usual anti-big government mantra which is the staple of Republican thinking,  that he would get rid of FEMA and not just take the responsibility away from the federal goverment and have the states handle it themselves, but even better, take it away from the states and let "the private sector" handle it.

Forget the fact that this is just one more shortsighted Republican idea which if implemented would make a bad thing worse. The timing given the devastation caused by the storm and it's proximity to the election and with FEMA about to take an active role in the recovery in states affected by the storm, both Romney's words as well as the storm may be enough to sink Romney.

New Jersey which was hit extremely hard has a Republican governor, Chris Christie. Christie has made a point of saying, in almost every news conference, that he has been on the phone with Obama 3 times a day since the storm made landfall in New Jersey,  trying to coordinate the federal disaster response to the storm. Christie has given assurances to people in New Jersey that Obama will cut through the red tape and that assistance  from FEMA will be provided as fast as possible. Obama in fact is visiting New Jersey today.

 If Democratic political strategists and those responsible for getting Democrats elected in terms of strategy and money spent have even half a political brain, which in the past they have shown they do not, they would spend every last dime on TV commercials showing that Romney answer in 2011 where he said he'd get rid of FEMA  under footage of the disaster and its aftermath.

Commercials showing that Romney's views on disaster relief from 2011 over footage of the devastation in in the northeast could cost Romney every state from Maine to West Virginia, and could turn voters in many other states sympathetic to the plight of those affected by Sandy in the northeast against Romney and Republican ideology especially if the commercials are executed correctly on both an emotional level as well as how Republican policies, which tend to put money and budgets ahead of people, are bad for the country.

 If Democrats are smart, while the storm may be over for residents hit by Sandy in the northeast and the recover begins, they can create another storm, this one just for Romney and the Republicans, a storm from which Romney might not recover, and a storm from which FEMA will not save him but might actually sink him.

NOTE: Unfortunately, many Democratic support groups and sites like Daily Kos, are resorting to the ugly Republican trick of taking a statement out of context and twisting the meaning for their own purposes. Republican strategists have made that a staple of their political campaign strategy which given the results of Republican polices is all they have.  Unfortunately, many Democrats think imitating that is the way to win. Daily Kos is saying in their fund raising emails that Romney called funding FEMA "immoral". That is simply not what Romney said. He was referring to the deficit and that borrowing to add to the deficit was immoral, Yes, he thought  FEMA was an unncessary goverment agency whose funding was adding to the "immoral" deficit but did not specifically call FEMA funding "immoral".  What Romney said is damaging enough. Distorting what he said is no way to win at anything, even if Democrats think it is.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Do Republicans think battleships are food stamps?

In 1996, when Trent Lott was the Republican senate majority leader he forced through an earmark attached to a defense spending bill that allocated $1.6 billion for battleships to be built in the shipyards of Mississippi that the Navy said emphatically it didn't want and didn't need.  Lott did it again in 2004 and this time was attacked for it by John McCain after Lott earmarked $370 million for a helicopter carrier to be built at the Mississippi shipyards that the Navy again said it didn't want and didn't need.

 Lott pushed through these earmarks on a regular basis. At one time he tried to get the Navy to buy a cruise ship that was built in Mississippi and refurbish it into a command and control ship. None of this ever had anything to do with national security. It had nothing to do with military readiness. What it had to do with was how Lott himself described the appropriations to build these battleships and other vessels the Navy said they didn't want, in the shipyards of Mississippi. He called it "bringing home the bacon".

 And it was.And he did.  That $1.6 billion in 1996 and $370 million in 2004 put a lot of bacon on the tables of people who worked in the shipyards of Mississippi. But since the Navy made it clear it didn't want or need any of these ships, "bringing home the bacon" in Lott's words, could easily be characterized for what it actually was --  a Republican version of food stamps disguised as military readiness.

And it's happening again. We're hearing the same kind of nonsense from Republicans over Obama's retort to Romney's accusation that the Navy now has fewer ships than it did in 1916 -- that we also have fewer horses and bayonets. The meaning was clear. We dont have as many ships because we don't need them. We didn't need the ships Trent Lott forced tax payers to build either.

 Predictably, the lower end of the Republican party,this time led by Republican governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell, showed, like Lott,  his main interest was not national security or the military but "bringing home the bacon", in his case to Virginia.

 McDonnell said, " his (Obama's) flippant comment about horses and bayonets is an insult to every sailor whoever put his or her life on the line for our country".

 Actually it wasn't. It was McDonnell's comment that was an insult to the intelligence of every sailor and every human being for that matter, not to mention tax payer, in the United States since this isnt about the Navy or the country's security or military readiness,  its about the same thing it was for Trent Lott --  the Republican version of food stamps using national security as the cover for "bringing home the bacon".

 Building battleships the Navy doesn't want especially in times of economic distress just to bring in money and put people to work whether it's Mississippi, Virginia or Florida,  is using the U.S military and the country's  national security for what it really is --  Republican food stamps and hand outs by another name. Yet these are the same people who opposed the stimulus and government spending on infrastructure projects like roads and bridges which the country does need and which would also have put people to work. These are also same people who denigrate food stamps and the people who need and use them.

 This is not a defense of Obama and his duplicity, political dishonesty, policy failures, capitulation, and spectacular betrayals of Democratic ideas and principles or his chronic lack of conviction and broken promises in his first four years. But it is one more example of gross Republican hypocrisy and dishonesty and more proof that they have no real solutions for righting the ship no matter what kind of ship it is. And one more reason to reject them at the polls. Especially in congress.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Biden's political error inadvertantly strikes out both Obama and Romney on foreign policy.

Reminiscent of Casey Stengel's lament over the 1962 New York Mets, "can't anybody here play this game", vice president Biden, in making the rounds of the morning talk shows to defend Obama's positions on foreign policy following Monday night's debate managed to do the opposite. At the same time, being the truly honorable man that he is, Biden might have been telling the truth.

On the Today Show following Monday night's debate Biden said that Romney "proved he was not ready to be commander-in-chief" because Romney demonstrated a shallow understanding of foreign affairs and the military.

 "He ( Romney) demonstrated an overwhelming lack of understanding of the international community, he demonstrated a lack of understanding of the military".

 Unfortunately, Biden's criticism of Romney for not having any understanding of foreign affairs and the military was based on Biden  accusing Romney of  " rushing to agree with everything the president has done already".

 Biden said on the Today Show that he was hard pressed to see where Romney would act differently than Obama.

 "He agreed with everything we've done in Iran ( actually not true), he agreed with everything we've done in Syria, he's agreed with everything we've done in Libya".

 He went on to say that Romney "didn't demonstrate any breadth of understanding" when it came to foreign policy. Which may very well be true. But according to Biden, if Romney's lack of understanding and his shallowness is that he agreed with everything Obama has done on foreign policy, well, you get the idea.

 Unfortunately almost everything Biden said was probably true. About both candidates, though Obama did have the line of the night in terms of pointing out how antiquated and backward Republican thinking can be when Obama said in response to Romney's criticism of having a smaller navy than we did in 1916, "yes we have less ships than we did in 1916. We also have fewer horses and bayonettes".
But in terms of playing politics, Democrats, who have facts, history and principle on their side, are still playing like the 1962 New York Mets.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What Democrats need isn't more money, it's a message.

 The emails I've been getting from Democrats and Democratic support groups continues to highlight the sheer ineptitude and incompetence that passes for Democratic political strategists and strategy and as a result, they are starting to sound desperate. Which is bad news because with Obama, admittedly a disaster as president for Democratic policies and beliefs, and with Romney's Republican policies a clear and present danger to the health of the country, it is who wins congress that will matter more than who is president.

 But in spite of the clear message that Democrats need to send which so far, they have been inadequate in sending, ( for a variety of reasons) the content of the emails I've been getting highlight only one thing -- how much Republican PAC's are spending in this race and that Democratic candidates are being outspent and can you send more money because the polls show they are losing or losing their lead.

 The problem is, this is not about money or a product of Republicans spending more than Democrats. It isn't more money Democrats need. It's a message, a strategy a clear point that resonates with voters by using something Democrats other than Obama have on their side that is worth more than money -- facts. What Democrats needs is to start using them in a forceful and convincing way and start using the part of the male anatomy that James Carville pointed out was missing from Obama. It's doesn't take big money, it takes big ideas. And knowing how to communicate them.

 When I was Executive Director of the Denver Group during the 2008 presidential primaries, I created ads and TV commercials attacking the DNC for their backdoor plan to try and push Hillary Clinton off the ballot at the Democratic National Convention and not even allow her an honest roll call vote as part of a strategy (which has since backfired) to present a false picture of party unity by pretending that everyone supported Obama, which was clearly not true.

 With a very low six figure budget from individual donations, a budget miniscule by political advertising standards, I created ads and TV commercials that demanded enough attention and had a big enough impact to generate a lot of media coverage which resulted in media articles about our work, the advertising and the political goals they were designed to achieve. These ads and commercials resulted in interviews in mainstream media outlets with myself and co-founder Heidi Feldman, like the New York Times ( twice) Huffington Post ( twice) the Hill, Congressional Quarterly, ABC News, Fox News multiple times, the BBC, the Toronto Star, various radio outlets, local Washington DC TV news stations, news outlets as far away as Japan, and we were the Question of the Day on the Cafferty File on CNN. Howard Dean was besieged with reporters questions during his bus tour about Clinton and if she was going to be on the ballot at the convention and all this as a result of well timed, well placed, high impact ads and TV commercials on a budget so small by political standards, it wouldn't pay for the Koch Brothers cell phone bills for a month. So its never about money. Its about message and how to get it across.

 The latest plea for more money in my mailbox from Democrats came on behalf of Missouri senator Claire McCaskill. The email, from NY senator Kristin Gillbebrand, pointed out the latest poll numbers between McCaskill and her Tea Party right wing opponent, Todd Akin showed McCaskill now behind 49-45. And according to the email, "this after Akin's offensive comments about 'legitimate rape' and whether Claire is 'ladylike enough' to be a senator. We have to absolutely do something about this".

 Yes you do have to do something about it, but whose fault is all of this? Not having enough money? Akin having more? Or McCaskill's decision which was roundly and severely criticized here at the time, to not go after Akin over his ignorant and offensive remarks about rape and a woman's body "shutting down" to prevent pregnancy and make that a focal point of McCaskill's campaign.

 Within 24 hours of his remark Republicans were calling for him to quit the race and the Republican senate campaign committee said they were going to cut off money for his campaign. Akin was on the ropes. But Akin stuck to his guns ( as offensive as his guns are), stood up to the media as well as the Republican establishment, stood by his comments and McCaskill did little or nothing about it instead of using it in every way possible against him.

 McCaskill and her "strategists" let Akin off the hook, never went in for the kill, never used a weapon that was handed to them on a silver platter and now they are complaining that Akin is ahead because they don't have enough money.

 The truth is Republicans know how to go in for the kill and Democrats don't. In fact Democrats seem to know very little about how to go after Republicans with a tough message and win a campaign. Instead my mailbox is filled every day with the same old song from MoveOn, the PCCC, Democracy for America and pleas for money from various candidates around the country who feel they are victims of Republicans outspending them, as if that and that alone has anything to do with anything.

 There are a lot of ways Democrats can win and most Democratic candidates except for Obama should be far ahead of their Republican opponents. If they aren't, its not because they don't have enough money. Its not knowing what to do with the money they have. It's not knowing how to formulate a strong and honest message, get it across forcefully and convincingly, and attack their opponent with the facts,while being honest .

 It would also help to be honest and straightforward with disappointed and disaffected Democrats about Obama's presidency and his failures in selling out of the Democratic and progressive agenda with promises to do something about it if they regain control of congress, and just as importantly, point out the dangers in the policies of the opposition in an honest, factual and forceful way. Instead we see dull, ineffective, predicatable and easily ignored TV commericals by MoveOn and others with a plea to send $5 to help air them.

 What Democrats need is not more money. Its strategy, ideas, and knowing what to do with the money they have. So far, a lot of them don't.

Conservatism as it exists today and the Tea Party in particular, almost all of whom are completely ignorant as to what actually motivated the orginal Boston Tea Party, are and have been, anathema to everything the country stands for and has ever stood for as well as the principles and beliefs of the Founders. None of the founding principles of this country has anything to do with anything the Tea Party conservatives stand for and the same is true for the individual principles of Jefferson, Adams and the other Founders. They are a fat and easy target and if there is any goal for the upcoming election it should be to stamp them out as a political influence with resounding defeats everywhere. And doing it would, under normal circumstances be easy to do. But Democrats and their paid strategists seem to be befuddled over how to do it. Hopefully they will figure it out before it's too late.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Obama or Romney: the waste vs. a wasteland.

 There is a good case to be made that this years choices for president are the worst in American history. George W. Bush is generally regarded as the country's worst president  having caused more catastrophies because of his policies than all U.S. presidents combined. But in both 2000 and 2004 the country had better choices in Gore and Kerry. In two very close elections the country chose poorly and paid the price, but much of the blame for that can be laid at the feet of the gross political incompetence and ineptitude of Democrats and their political  strategists, something that continues to this day.

The problem with Obama, as everyone knows, is that Obama has no principles, no values and no convictions.

The problem with Romney and conservatives is that they do. And those convictions, values and principles if allowed to be implemented would not only result in the same disasters the Republicans visited on the country during the Bush years, given the current state of affairs, it would turn the country into a wasteland in almost every aspect of American life, from economics, to the culture,  unemployment, and the values and liberties upon which the country was founded but which conservatives have always opposed.

 Obama's dismal record speakes for itself and he has been an embarrassment to the Democratic party. Especially to Pelosi who famously said in 2008 that Obama was qualified to be president "from day one". That should forever automatically dismiss anything Pelosi offers in terms of her political judgement borne out by the fact that  even though Obama had the biggest congressional majority of any president in 60 years, Obama did virtually nothing of value and betrayed the agenda on which he was elected. And congressional Democrats led by Pelosi let him get away with it. Compared with what could have been accomplished, his four years have been a waste. And given his 15 year history in which he had accomplished absolutely nothing, there is no reason to think another four years would be any different.

Obama's saving grace is that  what he would fail to accomplish over the next four years would still be  better than what Romney, Ryan and the Republicans would accomplish if they controlled the government. What Obama would fail to do for the country would still be better than what Romney and the Republicans would do to it. Which makes this election about the lesser of two evils - the waste that is Obama and that was on display during the first debate,  versus the wasteland the country would become under a conservative agenda.  The caveat to all this might be who controls congress, which for the first time in history becomes more important than who is president. A good case can be made that a Democratic congress standing up to a Romney presidency could be more effective than a Democratic congress capitulating to Obama who in turns capitulates to anything that moves. But chances are, if Obama does win, it will be on the coattails of a Democrats winning congress and not the other way around.

Had Romney run as the moderate Republican he was as governor of Massachussetts, there is a good chance he could have landslided Obama, winning over disaffected Democrats fed up with Obama and his reneging on promises and then lying about it. Instead Romney went to the right during the primaries and his convention speech, then chose Paul Ryan, a Tea Party darling and himself a well documented ( by Fox News of all places) political liar. So now it will be a close election with many independents still undecided

In the first debate, a debacle for Obama, Romney  was the clear winner and based on polling, in not just staggering numbers, but historic numbers with Romney chosen the winner by the biggest margin of victory since Gallup started polling the question after debates. The number was 77% who said Romney was the winner versus 22% for Obama.  Obama's incompetence and lack of conviction which was his presidency in microcosm, was clearly on display and  the result of that debate is that Romney has closed the gap in presidential preference polls and in the most recent Pew poll, the most reliable and unbiased of polls, Romney now has a 2 point lead.
But the reason for Romney's surge is not just Obama's wet dishrag performance but because Romney became more moderate, more the politician who was the former governor of Massachusetts , not the politician who pandered to the Tea Party and the anti-American beliefs of the extreme right. So which is the real Romney? The answer is it may not be worth the risk to find out, though Obama still faces polls where 54%  rightly say he doesnt deserve to be elected.And he doesnt. The real question is who would be worse?
 Its up to Democratic strategists, the New York Jets of professional politics, to convince people that Romney's apparent move to moderation is a phony. One of the best ways to prove it is with Romney's choice of Ryan as his choice for running mate. No matter how much Romney tries to sound moderate, Democrats can make Ryan the ball and chain shackled to Romney's ankle that he can't shake.
Another way to prove it, is to hit Romney hard on his seemingly innocuous statement during the debate, mentioned almost as an aside,  that he would defund Public Broadcasting and with it Big Bird. It might seem like a small inconsequential thing but it isn't and it reflects the worst of Republican thinking.  First, PBS is the only independent television broadcaster in the country something that frustrates Republicans when they cant use it to disseminate political and policy distortions. But more than that,  America probably gets a bigger return on Big Bird and Sesame Street than any other American export. Sesame Street has not only taught tolerance to American children and the value of accepting people who are different from themselves, it teaches the same thing to children in other countries around the world, since Sesame Street airs all over the world. That can pay big dividends in the future in terms of the world we live in,  which makes Sesame Street  one of America's most valuable exports.  To do away with that based on its infinitesimal budget in the name of austerity and fiscal responsiblity is the most short sighted and misguided example of Republicans knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. If they are ready to put Big Bird out of work, dont think for a minute their policies wont do the same to millions of others.
 The  Democrats greatest asset right now is Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and his past pandering to the  Tea Party and others on the extreme right.
Obama's presidency has surely been a waste, something Democrats need to acknowledge and not insult the intelligence of Democratic voters by trying to say otherwise.  But the wasteland that would be America, from unrealistic tax policy, changes in Medicare, overcrowding of schools,  higher unemployment and government interfering with personal choices that are none of governments business if Romney and the extreme right controlled the government, would be worse than a do nothing Obama if Republicans maintained control of the House. The real issue now is whether or not there are Democrats smart enough to keep it from happening and can find an honest message that can help Democrats gain control of congress. Clearly Obama is not one of them.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Presidential debate as an Obama train wreck.

No matter what side of the political spectrum you are on, after watching the first presidential debate between Romney and Obama, the fact is, to put it inelegantly, Obama got his ass kicked. A 10th grader running for class president could have done better.

 His rhetoric about ankle high, he was unprepared, rambling, at times almost incoherent and never had an answer for any of Romney's assertions, true or not,  even though he had a warehouse full of ammunition he could have used and didn't. Or wasn't aware of.

What was on display was the elected official who voted "present" more than 100 times to avoid having to vote for or against anything when he was in the Illinois state senate. What was on display is what happens when a candidate has no convictions, no principles, nothing he really believes in.

If anything, Obama's performance was his first four years in office in microcasm.

 Romney came across confident, knowledgeable and assertive. Obama came across wishy washy and weak and showed no leadership skills which, as he demonstrated in his first four years in office,and all his previous years of elected office,  he never had in the first place.

 On taxes Obama kept accusing Romney of wanting a $5 trillion tax cut and $2 trillion increase in defense spending and asked a logical question: how do you do that and reduce the deficit without making Draconian cuts in programs people want and need? Romney's answer was that he never proposed a $5 trillion tax cut, essentially calling Obama a liar, and Obama had no answer. All Obama could do was repeat the $5 trillion tax cut assertion. He couldn't say where that $5 trillion figure came from, he couldn't quote Romney or any of his advisors, so in short Obama made the claim but couldn't substantiate it, leaving it up to individuals if they so choose, or the media to look into it and decide who was right. But it shouldn't have come to that. If Obama's figures were right he should have been able to pin them on Romney and didn't. If they weren't, if they were smoke and mirrors, he had no business quoting them in the first place.

 When it came to taxes and the economy, a half way decent Democratic debater could have eviscerated Romney and  would have not just attacked Romney's proposals but the entire Republican party and their ideology. Obama could have gone back to 1992 when Republicans en masse voted against Bill Clinton's budget, the budget that eventually eliminated the deficit and resulted in the greatest economic expansion in history and Clinton did it with a tax increase. And then there was all the ammunition from the Bush years.

 Obama should have and could have attacked not just Republican philosophy but their abysmal economic track record and then forced Romney to either defend the Republican record or disown it. Obama did neither.

 Obama was completely steam rolled by Romney on just about every topic discussed.

 Romney went especially hard after the middle class and presented himself as their protector and defender while Obama still had no answer. On one of the two main issues where Obama had enjoyed a substantial advantage in the minds of the voters, taxes and the middle class, Romney came out the winner.

 Most people expected that at first opportunity Obama would have brought up Romney's "47%" remark to neutralize Romney's claims as the great defender of the middle class. In two hours of debate not a word from Obama about the "47%". Nothing.

 On Medicare Romney made the oft repeated accusation that Obama was cutting $700 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare and that he, Romney would restore it. While Obama had been saying previously that the $700 billion were cuts in payments to providers and not benefits, Romney made a case for how that cuts could result in fewer doctors accepting Medicare. Obama had no answer for that either. He also never pointed out that Romney's own running mate, Paul Ryan had made the same $700 billion Medicare cut in Ryan's proposed budget. Romney's pledge to restore that $700 billion would have given Obama a great opportunity to exploit a rift between Romney and his running mate and put Romney on the defensive and challenge his credibility and to explain why he says one thing and his running mate says another. Obama didn't do that either.

 What made Obama's performance border on the farcical, is that on the two major issues that he and Democrats are supposed to have a decided advantage, Medicare and the economy, Romney came out the big winner, making it sound as if he, Romney,was the one to preserve Medicare and not Obama, and that he, Romney, was going to be the defenders of the middle class, not Obama and that he, Romney, knew how to create jobs and not Obama.

 Obama had no answers for any of it. And no message. He couldnt defend his first four years in office ( though admittedly no one, not even Democrats could) and he couldnt attack Romney and Republican proposals.  Obama rambled, had no command of facts, sounded defensive, and took no advantage of all the opportunities Romney had given him over the last few months which had so worried Republicans. Not a word about the "47"%, not a word about the differences between what Romney was saying now about Medicare and what he and his running mate had said previously -- nothing to attack Romney's credibility. Which left Romney's credibility intact. And Obama's hanging by a thread.

 Romney also repeated the same old Republican bromides on job creation which have already been discredited-- cut taxes on business and they will take the additional revenue and create jobs. That is fantasy. More than 80% of the GDP is consumer spending. Consumer demand for goods and services is what drives the economy and  creates jobs, not tax cuts for businessess. Middle class tax cuts, an increase in tax cuts on upper income earners earmarked for deficit reduction is what would create jobs. So would a government run public healthcare option which would have enabled businesses and individuals to opt out of private insurance which would have put more money into the pockets of both workers and businesses, stimulating the economy and jobs and according to the CBO would have reduced the deficit by $160 billion, but Obama screwed that up too. And when Romney attacked Obama for passing a healthcare bill without a single Republican vote, Obama, behaving like he was in a coma, neglected to point out how Republicans had vowed to obstruct any healthcare law. Instead, Obama defended his own attempts at trying to compromise with Republicans and sounded like Bill Macy in the movie "Fargo" when he said during an interrogation, " I'm cooperatin' here".

 Democrats got more bad news from 500 self described independent voters who said they had not yet made up their minds and who agreed to be part of a CBS News instant poll after the debate. On just about every issue and aspect of the debate including personal traits these voters by a wide margin, gave the advantage to Romney.

 Democrats had better recognize they are in trouble and on the verge of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as they have done so many times in the past because they lack strong political leadership at the top, and lack political strategists who know what they are doing, know how to formulate a message, get it across and go on the attack.

 And one of the best ways for Democratic candidates to handle that is not to lie, not pretend and admit that Obama's performance at the debate, like his first four years in office,  was a lot less than what one would have hoped but still run against Republican ideology that has been a proven disaster in the past and would be in the future.

 One can admit the truth, that Obama's first four years in office was not what it should have been but that Republican policies would be worse. Then make the case for a Democratic congress that would take the reins and do what should have been done in the first place. At least that would have credibility. Trying to defend Obama does not.

 Given Obama's dismal debate performance it should be clear to Democratic candidates they are on their own and not to expect any help from Obama. He was unqualified to be the Democratic candidate from day one, he was a product of news media hype and dishonesty and the emotional agenda of electing a president of color despite character flaws that would have sunk any other presidential candidate and ignored by the media and it all came home to roost during the debate.

After four years of a presidency that cant be defended, highlighted by Obama selling out and reneging on promises on tax policy, betraying the public option and in it's place creating a health care bill that even Howard Dean said he hoped would be over turned by the Supreme Court, if Obama does win another term, it will be on the coattails of Democrats running for congress not the other way around.

As for the debate itself, Chris Matthews, an Obama cheerleader from the beginning asked, "Where was Obama"? The answer is, the same place he's been for 15 years, you just never noticed.