The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):


  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”


Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Who is the liar?

In last week's debate, Mitt Romney called Barack Obama on his lies. He made the pointed remark: “Mr. President, you're entitled as the president to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts.” But the President keeps maning the same pathetic charges that Romney called him on in that debate. And his people are charging Romney with lying!

A detailed treatment of a couple of those issues was made by Rich Lowry on the New York Post site:

Credit President Obama’s aides with discernment. Even before the first presidential debate was over, they knew they needed to come up with an excuse, and fast. They settled on one they haven’t stopped repeating: Mitt Romney lied his way to victory.

The president would’ve rebutted Romney’s gross deceptions, except he was too focused on answering questions about the country’s future and too taken aback by Romney’s brazenness to answer in real time. Although once he had a day or two and his witty rejoinders were cued up in a teleprompter, he was absolute hell on Romney.

The case that Romney lied so brazenly that it undid the president rests, first, on the idea that the Republican misrepresented his own tax-reform plan. Obama said that Romney proposes to cut taxes by $5 trillion over 10 years. Romney denied it. The president’s team responded, with its customary civility and nuance: “Liar!”

But this isn’t even a close call. Romney wants to cut income-tax rates 20 percent across the board and make up the revenue by closing loopholes and deductions. This isn’t a tax cut; it’s a wash. It’s been Romney’s plan ever since he proposed it during the primaries. It’s such a simple concept that only willful obtuseness keeps the president or his team from understanding it.

If Romney proposed a 1 percent across-the-board cut on rates and the elimination of all loopholes and deductions, surely Obama would accuse him of wanting to raise taxes, because people would be paying more in taxes despite lower rates.

In fact, this is the approach of the president’s own Simpson-Bowles debt commission: It suggested lower rates and fewer deductions such that the federal government would garner more revenue.

True, Romney hasn’t specified which deductions he’d cut, leaving that for a future negotiation with Congress. The Obama team takes this as license to accuse Romney of proposing to raise taxes on the middle class, a pure fabrication. When Obama made this charge in Denver, Romney proved — pace David Axelrod — that it’s possible to reply to falsehoods one-on-one during a live debate. Romney firmly said he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class and patiently explained why not.

Romney’s other whopping deception allegedly was his contention that his health-care plan covers people with pre-existing conditions. On this, too, he was on solid ground. To simplify, he wants to extend the current legal protection that exists in the employer-based insurance market to the individual market, and make it easier for people to buy insurance in that individual market. Again, this is nothing new, but has been an element in his health-care policy from the start.

When Obama aides say that the real Romney didn’t show up in Denver, what they really mean is that he failed to live down to their rank caricature of him, broadcast far and wide by the Obama campaign.

As he showed during an hour and a half of high-pressure TV, Romney is a capable and intelligent man who is ready to be president and has a substantial reform agenda. The Obama campaign’s response to his debate victory basically was, “Don’t believe your lying eyes — believe our super PAC ads.”

Democrats have convinced themselves that all the president needs to do to come roaring back in the next debate is rebut Romney’s dishonesties, which will expose his indefensible agenda and shallow reinvention. The president’s team evidently underestimated Romney once already. If it believes this “lying liar” interpretation of the debate — rather than pushing it in the media for lack of anything else to say — it will underestimate him yet again.

Mitt Romney bested President Obama on the merits in Denver. Anyone insisting otherwise simply can’t handle the truth.


In fact, there are a few points that I think Lowry should have expanded, though I will stay with one. As Lowry said, “Romney hasn’t specified which deductions he’d cut, leaving that for a future negotiation with Congress.” In fact, this kind of leaving things open to negotiation with Congress is something a President should consider important. A President does not always get his own way in total, nor should he. President Obama had the luxury in most of his first two years of a Congress that was willing to “roll over and play dead.” Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were willing to be his accomplices in ramming through a health care bill that most Americans opposed, as well as other bills that were contrary to the nation's best interests. After the 2010 elections, with a Republican House and a more balanced Senate, the President found himself facing a Congress that was more eager to exercise its Constitutional prerogatives, and Obama wailed about “Republican obstructionism.” It is the President's duty to work with the Congress. Mitt Romney somehow found it possible, as Governor of Massachusetts, to work with an 87% Democratic legislature. Even in the Democrats' most favorable scenario, Congress will not be so dominated by their party. But I am sure that if Mitt Romney is President, he'll find a way to work with them and produce a tax code that Democrats and Republicans both — at least some of them — in Congress will vote for.

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