Oct 04 2012

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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New York Times Editorial: The Untouchables

In hopes of embarrassing President Obama, several right-wing news organizations took a renewed interest on Tuesday in a well-reported speech Mr. Obama delivered in 2007 to a conference of ministers at Hampton University, a historically black college in Virginia. As always, they tried unsuccessfully to twist the president’s words into those of a racial provocateur; what they inadvertently succeeded in doing was highlighting a speech that was one of Mr. Obama’s best, full of ideals and ideas about poverty and urban despair that have been ignored in this year’s presidential race.

The two candidates said nothing about poverty in Wednesday’s debate. The political reasons for focusing the campaigns on the middle class are obvious, but that doesn’t change the fact that the candidates are ducking responsibility for neglecting those without a powerful voice at the ballot box, with Mitt Romney treating them with particular disdain.

John Nichols: In a Debate Between Romney and Romney, Obama Was the Spectator

It was not Romney versus Obama in the first presidential debate of 2012.

It was Romney versus Romney. And one of them prevailed.

A restrained Barack Obama, who went into the debate with a solid lead in the polls, and an even more solid lead in the battleground states, often seemed to be more of a spectator than a participant.

Obama’s reluctance handed Romney an opening that the Republican took. [..]

The liberal, moderate and conservative Republican who has been on all sides of all issues brought his commitment-free brand of politics to the national stage in the first of three presidential debates. Even by Romney standards, it was a dizzying performance.

Poor Jim Lehrer could not keep up. The moderator lost control of the debate at the start, when he let Romney demand more time to answer President Obama’s opening statement than Obama had used to deliver it, and he never got it back. “Excuse me, excuse me,” Lehrer said early on. Eventually, as Romney began dictated when and how Romney would answer questions, Lehrer simply said: “Alright. Alright.”

Bruce Dixon: Why This Black Man Is Watching the Debates, and Voting Green

I’ll be watching the debates. Not on CNN or ABC, but online at Occupy the Debates or at Democracy Now or Free Speech TV, where the third party candidates and others have a chance to answer questions and comment in real time.

I can’t say I’m not mad at anybody. If being ripped off and lied to, and having murders committed in your name around the world don’t make you mad, there’s something wrong with you, and whatever is wrong with me, it’s not that. I’ll be watching tonight’s presidential debates, but like most people, I already know what I’ll do on November 6. [..]

So yes, I’ll watch. And I’ll vote. But not for a Republican and not for a Democrat, not again. I’ll vote like my voice means something. I won’t be coerced into voting for a 100% evil Democrat just because the Republicans are 120% evil. I’m voting Green this year, and helping build a Green Party, right here in Georgia where I live.

Robert Reich: The First Presidential Debate

In Wednesday night’s debate, Romney won on style while Obama won on substance. Romney sounded as if he had conviction, which means he’s either convinced himself that the lies he tells are true or he’s a fabulous actor. [..]

The question now is whether Team Obama understands that our President must be more aggressive and commanding in the next two debates – and be unafraid to respectfully pin Romney to the floor.

Richard Kim: Jim Lehrer Gets Pwned

I’ll leave it to the horserace pundits to decide who won tonight’s debate and to the voters to decide who will win the election. I know who lost: Jim Lehrer, PBS, old media and the myth of the “sensible center.” Tonight’s moderator, Jim Lehrer, got utterly, totally, savagely pwned. The Lehrer/PBS-school of moderation is fundamentally unequipped to deal with the era of post-truth, asymmetric polarization politics-and it should be retired. The gulf between political reality and mainstream media mores has never seemed so wide and unbridgeable. Frankly, I came away with one new opinion, and that was to agree with Mitt Romney that PBS should go. (Big Bird, I’ll rethink this in the AM.)

But beyond the utter boredom and bewilderment that tonight’s debate format and moderation caused, there are real costs. Not necessarily to the candidates–the media has called the debate for Romney, but I don’t think it will move the needle enough for Romney to win-but to democracy.

George Zornick: There Is No Debate: Mitt Romney Would Raise Taxes

The mainstream media, to their credit, have latched onto the fact that Mitt Romney won’t describe roughly half of his tax plan-something sure to come up in tonight’s debate. Romney pledges to reduce taxes by $5 trillion through well-detailed cuts, but since Republicans are deeply concerned about the deficit (ahem, cough) Romney claims he would also eliminate or reduce tax breaks to make up for the lost revenue and make the plan deficit-neutral. He just won’t say which ones.

There’s a reason for that-independent analyses show Romney would have to cut popular deductions used by the middle class in order to truly offset the lost revenue. He denies this, of course, but it’s hard to believe Romney if he won’t actually explain the details. (This week his campaign floated a plan to cap deductions at $17,000, which still won’t make the math work).