The Sunday Political Brunch – Oct.14, 2012

This week's Political review!

(Providence, Rhode Island) – It’s back on the campaign trail this week as I head to Hofstra University on Long Island in New York for the second presidential debate between President Obama and Governor Romney. This on the heels of the vice presidential debate. There is so much going on. Here are this week’s observations:

Tie Goes to the Challenger – Who won this week’s vice presidential debate? I call it a tie on substance, but a slight edge to Paul Ryan on style. Each man had an objective. Biden had to go on the attack and get the Obama ticket back in the game. He succeeded. Paul Ryan had to show he had the knowledge, competence and demeanor to be president, if something happened to his boss. He succeeded. So the debate was a tie. But, Joe Biden’s unusual smiling, laughter, eye rolling and other odd behavior gives a slight overall edge to Ryan. In high school debate class they teach you that part of the score is on substance; and part of the score is on style. The same goes in the high-stakes presidential campaign! It’s Debate 101.

Does It Matter? – In the end, probably not. Look, people vote the top of the ticket, so this race is really between Obama and Romney. When was the last time you heard someone say, “Well, it’s a tough choice, but I’ve got to vote for Bob, because he has the better running mate?” It just doesn’t happen to any significant degree. A CNN post-debate poll of undecided voters said 28 percent were going to vote Republican based on Ryan’s performance, and 21 percent were going to vote Democratic based on Biden’s debate performance. Again, it’s an insignificant toss-up!

That’s Entertainment! – For the past three decades the vice presidential debate has been more entertaining political theater than it has been a deal breaker. Just ask Dan Quayle, Admiral Stockdale, and Sarah Palin. This one had its moments, too. Biden’s best lines were about Ryan applying for federal stimulus funds for firms in Wisconsin, even though Ryan opposed the Obama stimulus program. Ryan’s best moments were when he talked about Romney’s misspeaks, and nailed Biden for the many times he has had verbal miscues over the years. Again, cute and amusing moments from both sides, but not something that will decide the election by any stretch.

The Biggest Loser – Poor Big Bird, no one mentioned him in the VP debate. His 15 minutes of fame faded fast. I will miss him in this year’s remaining political discourse.

Curtain Call – Big Bird’s last official act was to appear in an Obama ad which mentioned Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, and other Wall Street pirates, and suggested Mitt Romney was more interested in policing Sesame Street than Wall Street. It was cute, but the people who produce Sesame Street quickly asked that it be withdrawn. With a four dead Americans in Libya headlining the news, the cartoonish ad was in danger of trivializing a serious election and could have posed a major embarrassment to the White House. The ad vaporized.

Debate, Round 2 – Tuesday night should be interesting, with the “Town Hall” debate format. If I was coaching Mitt Romney, I would say he needs to hit hard on the Libya issue. This – and not the economy – in now the White House’s Achilles heal. People want answers; not a story line that changes daily. If I was I was coaching President Obama, I would say hit hard on the “47% speech” from Mitt Romney, especially since he’ll be talking to regular folks in the Town Hall format. President Obama made a major tactical error in the first debate by not hitting on Romney’s biggest weakness – that speech about not appealing to, or being interested in, those 47 percent of disaffected voters. It ought to be a great debate!

Who’s On First? – Well, for the first time in weeks, Mitt Romney is ahead in the national polls. In the latest Real Clear Politics composite poll, he has a lead of 1.3 percent. Last Thursday – before the debate – President Obama was ahead by 0.5 percent. It’s just that close. In the nine battleground states, Romney is only ahead in three; North Carolina, Colorado and Florida, although he is now tied in a couple of others. If the election was today, Romney would win the popular vote, but Obama would win the Electoral College. Can you say 2000, here we go again?

As always I welcome comments, opinions, disagreements and questions. Just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.






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Lorraine F October 16, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Ted, You and I are together on this. Accumulation of debt only goes on for so long and then it catches up. Both Dems and Reps share blame for where we are today.
Rags 1 October 16, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Economics 101 Wealth is not money, wealth is the movement of goods and services and the ability to export and import. Our federal politicians did a great job in allowing (with tax credits) our jobs to go overseas like China and allowing us to import more than we export. Hence--an imbalance of payments and debt caused by borrowing and spending. Anybody for Romney and Bain??
Naome Lixes October 16, 2012 at 10:50 PM
"Being in debt is not where the US should be, especially with China being such a large holder of our debt. Look at what is happening with the Senkaku islands and Japan. China is their largest debt holder and they are using that as a potential weapon against Japan. Being in debt to China puts us at risk." How so? Buying our debt means that they're suppressing their own currency value to keep their factories open. They've hitched their wagon to ours. The Chinese hold $1.69T in US Debt, which sounds immense, but isn't. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/business/china-largest-holder-of-us-debt-remains-tied-to-treasuries.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 It's something of a manufactured outrage, given that Japan (once beneficiary of a similar weak currency/strong manufacturing base) holds $1.083T in US Debt. Of genuine concern should be how much debt the US banking system holds, including the Fed (which we all know isn't part of the US Government - right?) at $4.74T in US Debt. This means the banks hold tremendous sway over US regulation of their activities - dumping Treasuries would raise the cost of borrowing. My real concern is in the amount of US Debt held by Government institutions, including social security - $3.44T that's money the US Government effectively owes to itself. This cheat allowed the Congress to skate on raising taxes by shifting the cost of unfunded wars and tax cuts. http://www.cnbc.com/id/29880401/The_Biggest_Holders_of_US_Government_Debt
William F Horan October 16, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Measures of wealth must be factored by the velocity of exchange in the market place. What the government does to retard or advance this clearly has unintended consequences that unfortunately are most often negative.e.g. case in point the FRS banking cartel of which the US Federal government is a member. This group is responsible for a majority of the economic terrorism and seizure & redistribution of citizens wealth by several means (fiat debt bases currency monopoly) . OBTW in parallel having bought and paid for members in both major political parties and corrupted the rule of law. The Federal congress has been corrupted and the solutions must come from the towns and cities in each and every individual state. The beast must be starved before it can be once again managed by the people and their legacy constitution.
Naome Lixes October 17, 2012 at 10:37 AM
"What the government does to retard or advance this clearly has unintended consequences that unfortunately are most often negative.e.g. case in point the FRS banking cartel of which the US Federal government is a member." It's a fair point, with parallels to chemotherapy drugs. Left untreated, the banks suffered deposit runs that frequently lead to economic paralysis and real fear among the saving public. There's no longer enough precious metal available to keep in reserve as a standard - given the sheer volume of commerce. That said, I feel that oversight of these institutions has been lax since 1984. In particular, each asset bubble has a concurrent increase in the money supply. This makes sense if value is in fact created. It also makes sense to rapidly decrease the supply when assets crash. The problem? Banks have added to their ledgers in the run-up and won't return these invented funds easily. I don't know which is worse, as I never lived through a bank panic. Being able to buy bread, even when Lehman brothers collapsed was good. Realizing that large portions of the financial sector are subsidized by us, is bad. How to unravel this? That's above my pay grade.


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