Mitt’s Bad Math
In 2008, I thought John McCain deserved to lose. This did not mean I believed Barack Obama deserved to win. What McCain represented was four more years of George W. Bush—a drastic expansion of government spending and size in both our domestic and foreign policies that was largely without precedent in our history. Voters rightly saw McCain as an extension of Bush and rejected that Republican brand accordingly.
In 2012, I believe Obama deserves to lose. Everything I detested about Bush, Obama has expanded—the debt, entitlement state, “national security” state, and an even more powerful executive branch. Despite Obama having an edge in the polls, his actual job performance approval is not high. Many, and perhaps a majority, of Americans would like to reject him.
They are just not so sure Mitt Romney deserves to win.
I share this concern. In their first debate, Romney kicked Obama’s ass. When not only the conservative media are cheering Romney’s performance, but also liberals like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews are angrily frothing at the mouth over Obama’s lackluster showing, the winner becomes clear.
But what does “winning” actually mean? Obviously and inevitably, who gains in the polls thus giving that candidate a better shot at being president. But what aspect of this “winner’s” performance means he actually deserves this electoral edge?
Scoring a debate generally means deciding who sounded better, looked better, talked better—who spoke with more authority, commanded more respect, and conveyed “presidential.” In professional wrestling, the “winner” of a match is usually the one whom promoter or fans deem most charismatic, not necessarily who’s best at actually wrestling. In 2008, candidate Obama could give an interview worthy of Hulk Hogan, with millions of Obama-maniacs chanting his name. In 2012, many Americans see this president as a choreographed fraud whose personality no longer obscures his failure to deliver.
Something Romney promised with his winning personality Wednesday night—deficit reduction—is also something hard numbers indicate he cannot deliver. If Obama said anything true it was this: “When you add up all the loopholes and deductions that upper income individuals are currently taking advantage of, you don’t come close to paying for $5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending.”
He added: “It’s math, arithmetic.”
Read the entire column at The American Conservative