On economic issues, the race between Obama and Romney presents a stark choice. Romney wants to cut taxes, spending and regulations in the hope that the mix of stimulus and austerity will spark growth and reduce the federal deficit. Obama wants to trim spending but raise taxes on high-income Americans, shrinking the deficit without sacrificing investments in the country’s productive capacity or curtailing Washington’s role in protecting the vulnerable. [...]
Voters face a momentous choice in November between two candidates offering sharply different prescriptions for what ails the country. Obama’s recalls the successful formula of the 1990s, when the government raised taxes and slowed spending to close the deficit. The alternative offered by Romney would neglect the country’s infrastructure and human resources for the sake of yet another tax cut and a larger defense budget than even the Pentagon is seeking. The Times urges voters to reelect Obama.
Chris Hedges writes that George McGovern never sold his soul.
Paul Krugman must get writer’s cramp from having to type the same keys so often to scorch the pitiful stance of the backers of Romnomics:
Over the past few months advisers to the Romney campaign have mounted a furious assault on the notion that financial-crisis recessions are different. For example, in July former Senator Phil Gramm and Columbia’s R. Glenn Hubbard published an op-ed article claiming that we should be having a recovery comparable to the bounceback from the 1981-2 recession, while a white paper from Romney advisers argues that the only thing preventing a rip-roaring boom is the uncertainty created by President Obama.
Obviously, Republicans like claiming that it’s all Mr. Obama’s fault, and that electing Mr. Romney would magically make everything better. But nobody should believe them.
For one thing, these people have a track record: back in 2008, when serious students of history were already predicting a prolonged slump, Mr. Gramm was dismissing America as a “nation of whiners” experiencing a mere “mental recession.” For another, if Mr. Obama is the problem, why is the United States actually doing better than most other advanced countries?
Bill Keller gives the GOP candidate far too much credit on foreign policy:
Some see the current rendering as the authentic Mitt. Others see a soulless opportunist. My own suspicion is that Romney has the instincts of a center-right pragmatist, but that if elected he will be hostage to the same far-right forces he kowtowed to in the primaries. [...]
On foreign policy Romney has sometimes displayed the worst aspects of neocon and neophyte. On the particulars his policy playbook is hard to distinguish from President Obama’s, but on the stump we often get the swagger of a freedom-agenda cowboy combined with a gift for gaffe.
Peggy Noonan‘s excruciatingly disjointed column condensed: The president looked unpresidential in the debate.
Eugene Robinson wonders what a lot of us keep wondering—Why the chill on climate change?
Why does it matter that nobody is talking about climate change? Because if you accept that climate scientists are right about the warming of the atmosphere—as Obama does, and Romney basically seems to as well—then you understand that some big decisions will have to be made. [...]
A presidential campaign offers an opportunity to educate and engage the American people in the decisions that climate change will force us to make. Unfortunately, Obama and Romney have chosen to see this more as an opportunity to pretend that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an approaching train.
Brian Katulis thinks Mitt Romney’s foreign policy ideas are pretty much phantoms:
Rhetorically, Romney presents himself as the reincarnation of Theodore Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan — as a strong, proud, principled leader in a turbulent world. He contrasts this with a ridiculous caricature of President Obama as a shrinking Jimmy Carter clone with muddled ideas and a shaky belief in America.
This cartoon script is little more than a ploy to divert voters’ attention from the reality that Romney’s foreign policy is an empty shell lacking a solid inner core. The closer you look beneath the rhetoric, the less you see.
Jonathan Turley sees laws against blasphemy and hate speech as problematic no matter who is asking for them in his column Shut up and play nice: How the West is curtailing free speech:
Free speech is dying in the Western world. While most people still enjoy considerable freedom of expression, this right, once a near-absolute, has become less defined and less dependable for those espousing controversial social, political or religious views. The decline of free speech has come not from any single blow but rather from thousands of paper cuts of well-intentioned exceptions designed to maintain social harmony.
After decades of supporting modest race-based affirmative action policies, I know when it’s time to throw in the towel.[...]
Highly selective colleges—that top tier of institutions that accept only a small percentage of applicants—should start offering preferences to promising students from poor and working-class backgrounds, let’s say family incomes under $ 50,000 a year [...]
Since educational attainment and family incomes are linked, it’s no surprise that black and brown students don’t do as well on standardized tests as white students do. And history provides a reminder about the racism that tamped down black earning power.
Income-based affirmative action would reach some of those students, but it would also reach many white students. An educational system that increasingly rewards the children of the affluent must make some room for those who don’t have wealthy parents.
H. Brandt Ayers wonders whether we will have Plutocracy or democracy:
Since Romney’s latest zig-zag, a smart left turn in the first debate from a “severe conservative” governor of Massachusetts to a sunny, middle-class moderate, the choice seems more between twiddledum and twiddledee.
Unless something drastic happens in the next three weeks, there won’t be a triumphal leader chosen with a broad mandate—left or right—and a fresh new Congress ready to work with the new president.
Polls show Congress will remain pretty much intact; that is, frozen, which is just what the wealthy group Romney addressed wanted.
Ruth Marcus does a lot of head-shaking in Truly Good Mothers and a Fifties Dad:
Listening to Romney, I imagine that he’d be willing to pick me from those binders full of women and even make it easy for me to get home at a reasonable hour. But I worry that he’d be thinking, secretly, that if I were a Truly Good Mother, I wouldn’t be there in the first place.
Kathleen Parker says Twitter may be turning us into ninnies:
Oh, to be 12 again, the better to enjoy the presidential debates.
Or rather, the better to appreciate the Twitterverse, where America’s obsessive-compulsive, attention-deficit population holds the zeitgeist hostage with tweets and memes that infantilize political discourse and reduce the few remaining adults to impolitic fantasy.
In this, the first social-media presidential election, the debates have come to resemble reality shows during which virtual audiences cast ballots (and aspersions), hiccoughing their impulse-reactions to every word and movement into the intellectual vacuum we charitably call the body politic.
Doyle McManus digs into the “ground game” of the presidential candidates in the battlebround states:
The story of this new science of electioneering is told in an absorbing new book, “The Victory Lab,” by journalist Sasha Issenberg. He recounts a 2006 experiment in Michigan by Yale political scientists who sent voters letters that listed all of their neighbors by name — and threatened to send another letter after election day revealing who had voted and who had not.
The “shaming” letter caused an astonishing 27% jump in turnout among voters who received it. But it also provoked angry protests from voters who felt that their privacy was being invaded. [...]
“There’s lots of research … that talking to people face to face makes them more likely to vote,” an Obama campaign official told me. “It helps to have their own neighbors talk with them. It helps to ask them when they plan to vote, and how they plan to get there; that way, they visualize themselves doing it. It helps to ask them to make a commitment.”
Does that sound a little Orwellian? Maybe. But it’s being done by both sides. And it’s encouraging, in an odd way, that it works best face to face, by volunteers from your own neighborhood. There’s something refreshingly low-tech about that.
Larry Kudlow gets wackier by the minute. But at least he doesn’t go at it for the length that Noonan does.
Source: Daily Kos