Obama and Romney

November 5th, 2012 at 2:52 pm by David Farrar

Not that I get a vote, but for the record if I was in the US, I would be voting Romney. Before I explain why, I want to touch on the record of both men.

As President Barack Obama has performed pretty much as well as I expected – he had a total of two years experience as a junior senator before he started campaigning for President. It is no surprise at all with such a lack of experience, that he has failed to meet expectations of so many of his supporters.

That lack of experience is one of the reasons I said I preferred Hillary Clinton over Obama in 2008, and I note polls show she would win easily against Romney.

Now this isn’t to say that Obama has been a bad President, more somewhat lackluster.

On foreign policy, I think Obama has been fine. He saw the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq successfully (albeit on the timetable agreed to by Bush).  The surge in Afghanistan was the right strategy, and while (like Iraq) the country they will leave behind is imperfect – it will be a lot better than it was.

Obama’s intervention in Libya to protect civilians with a no fly zone, basically worked. Of course the later death of his Ambassador is a potential scandal that may claim some scalps.

And of course one has to give him credit for Osama bin Laden’s death. It was a high risk mission that could have destroyed his presidency if it ended up a shambles.  He trusted his military commanders and the special forces and his confidence was rewarded.

His decision to use a drone to kill to Anwar al-Aulaqi, a US citizen in Yemen, was controversial. It is the first ever extrajudicial execution of a US citizen ordered by a President.

With domestic policy the silly don’t ask, don’t tell policy ended and the world didn’t end. But he had done almost nothing sensible on immigration reform, and the health reform was in fact little more than requiring poor people to have private health insurance. he doesn’t have a very strong domestic legacy.  One many issues he has lets the polls decide for him. In 1996 he was for same-sex marriage. In 1998 he was undecided. In 2004 he was against same-sex marriage. In 2012 he was back to being for same-sex marriage.

On the economy, this is where he has failed, and in fact his policies are a danger to the US and world economy. The US deficit and debt must be reined in, and Obama’s policies of massively increasing spending are reckless. The Budget Control Act merely slows the rate of growth of debt, not reverses it. Federal spending is projected to continue to grow faster than the economy grows, and this is impossible to maintain. The US public debt grew by $1.9 trillion (think $6,300 per capita) in 2009 and $1.7 trillion in 2010.

So overall I think Obama has done pretty well on foreign policy, been average at best on domestic policy and bad on economic policy.

I thought Mitt Romney was a good Governor of Massachusetts, and he has a successful private sector career.

As Governor he passed health care legislation (not that different to Obama care), eliminated the state budget deficit and was pro-choice. Worth noting Romney got elected Governor by a 5% margin, despite every poll showing him behind the Democrat candidate.

As Governor he made many non-partisan appointments, and he also reduced the size of the state bureaucracy. He closed tax loopholes also. On the education side he funded the top 25% of high school students with tuition-free scholarships to public universities or colleges.

So I liked Governor Romney. Candidate Romney was a different case. He flip-flopped on so many issues.

He want from getting rid of ethanol subsidies, to supporting them in 2008 and then in 2012 against them. He went from supporting a cap and trade on carbon emissions to opposing them. he introduced individual health mandates, and then attacked Obama for them.

He did not support the Bush tax cuts, but now campaigns to keep them. His position on abortion has changed radically, as it has on stem cells.

For these reasons Romney was not my preferred candidate for the Republicans in 2008 or 2012. All politicians modify their positions to some degree. Obama certainly has. But Romney’s changes have been so many and dramatic you wonder what he really believes.

Obama v Romney

As I said I don’t think Obama has been a terrible President. For someone with just two years in the Senate (before near full-time campaigning) he has performed as about the level you’d expect. He’s made some good calls in quite a few areas. He’s failed to show leadership in quite a few also.

However his fiscal policy is dangerous and wrong. It is vital the US gets onto a path out of deficit. The deficit is massive. To break things down the US spends $121,000 a second. Of that $121,000 it borrows $52,000. This is so far living beyond the means, it is not funny.

Romney is a flip-flopper, and has said some silly things. but he does have a good proven record on financial management – both in government and the private sector. For that reason I would vote Romney. I seriously worry about the US economy with another four years of massive and growing deficits.

If Obama does get re-elected, his second-term performance on the economy will I believe form a large part of how history judges him.

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90 Responses to “Obama and Romney”

  1. dime (8,746 comments) says:

    Cant say im a fan of Obamas foreign policy. Just flies around apologizing. his comment to putin was a doozy too.

    then there are the poor bastards who were killed a few weeks ago.

    he wont label anything terrorism.

    he has been a soft cock with iran.

    he didnt help during the brief uprising there.

    weak as piss comes to mind.

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  2. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Romney – how predictable.

    It’s like you commenting on whether you prefer Paula Bennett or Jacinda Ardern.

    [DPF: For what - welfare minister, or to have a drinking session with?

    As it happens, I supported Clinton over Dole in 1996]

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  3. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    “he does have a good proven record on financial management – both in government and the private sector. For that reason I would vote Romney.”

    Whilst I agree Romney is lacking so much of what is needed to fix America, the actual thought that a self professed center right voter might consider voting for Obama if he only fixed his economic policies is astonishing.

    I think the socialist Obama and his Chicago thug backers are the worst threat the American Republic has ever faced, given that they are the enemy within, and are covertly working at shackling the country for delivery to its global enemies.

    They want to cripple America’s economy so as to weaken its defence forces. Nobody with any sense could believe that the utterly destructive debt levels Obama has foisted upon the country could have any other true purpose.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/trevor-loudon-warns-americans-if-obama-is-reelected

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  4. Fairfacts Media (370 comments) says:

    Good to see some sound sense there david.
    In the meantime, Conservatism is Calling.
    A great video which highlights a few things about the Fallen Messiah.

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  5. Bovver (133 comments) says:

    The problem with Romney as President is that he will have the Tea Party holding him by the balls.

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  6. Zapper (843 comments) says:

    On the other hand, Hamnida supporting Obama is not predictable at all…

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  7. iMP (2,147 comments) says:

    Good assessment David, I agree. Romney wasn’t my preferred Repub nominee either, but he seems to be an achiever when it counts. And frankly, America needs a sleeves-rolled-up-guy, not a celebrity golfer, in the next 4 or it gets financially serious (for everyone, not just the US). The Libya details make me think we might have a Nixon on our hands. Best to cut and run. Mormon’s don’t even drink coffee, so no Clinton-esque glitches to worry about.

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  8. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    @manolo,

    You got your answer.

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  9. Harriet (4,002 comments) says:

    Redbaiter & Dime

    Or as Margret Thatcher said – “I can smell the stench of appeasement in the air.”

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  10. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    Romney is a flip-flopper, and has said some silly things. but he does have a good proven record on financial management – both in government and the private sector. For that reason I would vote Romney.

    So, you support him based on his track record on financial management, but not on what he is planning to do?

    Rather strange, given all the flip-flops and silly things he has said.

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  11. Manolo (12,614 comments) says:

    Yes, bhudson. It took a while but DPF finally sided with Romney, as any loyal National Party follower should.
    I trust you do not favour the Messiah, do you? :-)

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  12. Longknives (4,039 comments) says:

    A fair summation of the two… I am no great fan of Romney but Obama has been absolutely piss-weak as President, after selling himself as ‘The Messiah’ he has achieved sweet fuck all in the big chair.

    “It’s like you commenting on whether you prefer Paula Bennett or Jacinda Ardern.”
    Depends on what you have in mind Hammie?

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  13. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    So I liked Governor Romney. Candidate Romney was a different case. He flip-flopped on so many issues.

    I agree, I wouldn’t have minded a Governor Romney as president.
    But Candidate Romney is really just a joke.

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  14. Richard D (5 comments) says:

    It’s disappointing you couldn’t make a stronger case for supporting Romney, since it makes you simply look like someone who automatically thinks “Right is Right”, rather than pragmatically evaluating the two options from the perspective of a classical liberal (which I understand you to consider yourself to be).

    All the evidence is that Romney would be a terrible President, dragged to the right by his activist base, and lacking any genuine personal principles that could give him the spine to stand up to the Tea Partiers in Congress.

    Merely pointing to his “ability to manage the economy”, is overly vague and simplistic. Most likely his policy will not be materially different to Obamas: they simply disagree on who unsustainable deficit spending should benefit in the short term. The wider economy will be unchanged, particularly since there pretty much no evidence the President can actually do anything to fix the wider economy (since, believe it or not, the President doesn’t actually have much power over the global economy). Compounding this is the fact that there’s no political will to balance the budget (particularly with the senate controlled by the Democrats), and Romney doesn’t strike as the sort to take brave and decisive action. Oh, what we might get, though, is a trade war with China, since Romney has declared he will label them a currency manipulator “on day one” (which is odd, since the Renminbi being overvalued hasn’t really been a huge issue for over 18 months: inflation in China has dealt to much of the problem).

    Remember Phil Goff being asked to “Show us the money?” I am amused you apparently don’t hold Romney to that standard: his economic plan is a farce.

    Instead what a Romney presidency willl achieve is one or two conservative appointments to the SCOTUS, which will stymie the protection and development of LBGT rights, and dangerously jeopardise women’s rights to access things like abortion. Oh, and you might get a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage and a defunding of planned parenthood.

    Foreign policy will be much the same, except substantially less charismatically presented. The US will also lose global standing.

    All in all, I think your endorsement is weak sauce, and seriously compromises your classical liberal credentials. Will you be voting for Colin Craig over John Key next election? That seems to closely hew to your views on the Obama-Romney race.

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  15. Harriet (4,002 comments) says:

    “…..So overall I think Obama has done pretty well on foreign policy…”

    Except if your a Jew, or a Christian in the Middle East or North Africa!

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  16. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Election Fraud Claims Heat Up

    Secretary of State Ross Miller called claims of voter machine irregularities in Nevada by the Republican National Committee “irresponsible and unfortunate” on Thursday.

    Miller, a Democrat, was responding to a letter sent to his office and election officials in five other states on Thursday in which the RNC alleged voting machines cast ballots for President Barack Obama, a Democrat, when the vote was intended for his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

    The RNC did not provide documented proof of its allegation aside from media anecdotes.

    In Washoe County, a man reported a problem with a voting machine in which he tried to vote for Obama but the machine kept registering a vote for Romney. The machine was recalibrated by election officials.
    http://www.infowars.com/republican-national-committee-alleges-voting-machine-

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  17. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Irish bookies paying out on Obama two days before election

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  18. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    I trust you do not favour the Messiah, do you?

    I think that, like NZ, the US needs to focus on economic growth, on jobs, on maintaining low interest rates. Those aren’t achieved by printing money and spending.

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  19. tom hunter (3,998 comments) says:

    I seriously worry about the US economy with another four years of massive and growing deficits.

    Me too. But the main problem with this election is that the President is not emperor. The spending is down to the House and the Senate, and they have been bloody awful since 2001. The GOP was bad enough but once Nancy and Harry took control it just went berserk. Bush was able to stem some of the insanity for the 2008FY budget with veto threats, but it was not enough and they did not even bother dealing with him in 2008 for the 2009FY budget, making it clear that they felt they would have a Democrat president to treat with at the end of the year, which they did.

    You mention the spending and borrowing, but what’s worse is that even a 40% cut to the budget would now only take the US back to 2007/08. This in an age where budget “cuts” amount to the usual smoke and mirrors of reductions in future spending increase rates.

    And then beyond this are the gigantic entitlement programs that are largely unfunded. To date there has been little appetite to address them and that’s down to the people, not the spineless politicians. However, there may be some daylight there, as shown by the rather surprising GOP strength in Florida, where I thought the Democrat “Mediscare” campaign would have an effect, especially with Paul Ryan on the team.

    Finally there are the numerous State screwups in the same areas – with Democrat strongholds Illinois, California, and New York as the leading candidates. I can’t see how a request for a Federal bailout could succeed but perhaps it would be a repeat of TARP I: agree to this or watch the whole thing unwind.

    As Mark Steyn said the other day:

    I don’t know whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can fix things, but I do know that Barack Obama and Joe Biden won’t even try …

    But maybe the ever-mournful Leonard Cohen has a better take on it:

    Everybody knows that the boat is sinking
    Everybody knows that the captain lied
    Everybody got this broken feeling
    Like their father or their dog just died

    Everybody talking to their pockets
    Everybody wants a box of chocolates
    And a long stem rose
    Everybody knows

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  20. Kleva Kiwi (267 comments) says:

    To be fair Hamnida, DPF has made his case. In his opinion the economy is the number one problem facing the USA (I agree) and is backing the candidate who is most likely to fix it (Romney). You have yet to even make a case as to why you anyone should support Obama.

    Barak Obama is economically inept. Nobody can deny this. 1.7 trillion dollars a year deficit and growing! How anybody, no matter how rose tinted their glasses are, can state with a sound mind that this is a good idea is beyond anyone with any sanity.

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  21. RF (1,126 comments) says:

    I see old Ham bone is a groupie for Obama.

    My preference is Mitt Romney… No Ham bone not because I am white.

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  22. Harriet (4,002 comments) says:

    Richard#

    “…..All the evidence is that Romney would be a terrible President, dragged to the right by his activist base, and lacking any genuine personal principles that could give him the spine to stand up to the Tea Partiers in Congress….”

    You don’t have to hold communist veiws to become POTUS, infact, if you look at Bamby’s spinless effort at turning the US into a commune – it’s best you don’t hold them!

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  23. Reid (15,505 comments) says:

    Election Fraud Claims Heat Up.

    Machines rigged against Romney.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/02/claims-increasing-switched-votes-in-ohio/print

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  24. Urban Redneck (234 comments) says:

    Obama’s last four years have been an unmitigated disaster, or a perfect execution of the Cloward-Piven strategy more like. 23 million people unemployed/underemployed, that’s 15%. He’s added to the foodstamp rolls a value of 4 million people a year, to the point where food stamps are handed out to 48 million recipients. The federal government now gobbles up 25% of GDP (and that doesn’t include state or local government). Almost $6 trillion in debt in the last 4 years with annual deficits exceeding $1 trillion for each of his last 4 years. Median family income is down from $55k to a smidgeon over $50k. Workforce dropout rate is four times the job creation rate. One million construction jobs gone, half a million manufacturing jobs gone. Debt is greater than 100% of GDP whereas it was just over 40% when he came into office. Obamacare, a 2400 page plan to raise taxes and kill off the private insurance industry. The almost $1 trillion stimulus.

    And that’s just the start. Then we have all of the transgressions of executive authority he’s been doing, granting amnesty to illegal aliens, gutting the Clinton/Gingrich welfare reforms, recess appointments when the Senate is still in session, using his EPA & freak czar Cass Sunstein to strangle the energy sector thru regulation, the list goes on and on.

    Oh, and he also let 4 Americans die in Benghazi whilst he and Mrs Clinton looked on.

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  25. Tom Jackson (2,232 comments) says:

    They’re both awful, but a lot of Obama’s mess has been due to congress attempting to stop him at all costs. That’s what you get trying to run a 21st century country by an 18th century system.

    The debt is a sideshow. People are still quite prepared to lend the US money and show no signs of stopping. The US is the ultimate bastion of capitalism, and the bond market is smart enough to know that.

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  26. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    The surge in Afghanistan was the right strategy, and while (like Iraq) the country they will leave behind is imperfect – it will be a lot better than it was.

    Poor David. Clearly he caught some rare tropical brain disease on his travels. The surge in Afghanistan has been a disaster. It is the most absurd war the US has ever been involved with, and that is saying something.

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  27. tom hunter (3,998 comments) says:

    …. dragged to the right by his activist base, and lacking any genuine personal principles that could give him the spine to stand up to the Tea Partiers in Congress.

    Well, that’s what I’ve been counting on this whole time … heh, heh, heh.

    That is as long as the damned Senate goes to the GOP, which is a 50:50 proposition at the moment and the reason I will be watching those races as closely as the big one.

    But I thought the Tea Party was dead and buried? Gone. Dust. Like the GOP in 2009 in the face of all the seriously popular stuff that they were saying no to. You remember The Party of No of course? A bunch of old, white Southern rednecks who were simply being extremist and obstructionist, and who were therefore bound to be tossed on the ash heap of history.

    Funny how that works. And it looks like I’m not the only one seeing it this way; from The Telegraph

    Today, the real revolutionaries are the Tea Party, who have hijacked the Republican Party and turned it into an imperfect (and often reluctant) vehicle for a return to the fundamentals of Americanism: small, constitutional, limited government. To do this, they had to reject the politics of both Obama and Bush – and Mitt has slowly caught up.

    There was a significant moment in the second debate when a citizen asked Romney how he would distinguish himself from George W Bush. Romney said, “President Bush and I are different people, and these are different times.” He cited differences over aid to small business, balancing the budget, energy policy and relations with China. Remarkably, Obama then jumped in to defend Bush. “George Bush didn’t propose turning Medicare into a voucher,” the Prez said. “George Bush embraced comprehensive immigration reform … George Bush never suggested that we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.”

    No he didn’t – and that underscores the fact that Romney offers an alternative not only to Obama but also to Bush. He offers an alternative to whole New Deal, big spending, debt hiking, contraception distributing, sexy state circus. And he’s only so radically different because the Tea Party made him that way. Romney went into the primaries branded a moderate and came out branded a conservative. He’s a better, more important candidate for it.

    If he’s elected we’ll see if President Squish can continue to be squeezed in those directions: selecting Paul Ryan indicates that he is. Bye bye Massachusetts Mitt?

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  28. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    AAAAhhhhhh Bye bye Massachusetts Mitt?

    you just made me realise the whole sad truth

    The sheeple US electorate has confused Mitt with Kennedy. They think he’s a reincarnation!!!

    Mitts in!!!!

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  29. Reid (15,505 comments) says:

    They’re both awful

    Obama goes without saying. His record speaks for itself.

    I thought Mitt Romney was a good Governor of Massachusetts, and he has a successful private sector career.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/mitt-romney-death-squads-bain_n_1710133.html

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  30. Urban Redneck (234 comments) says:

    “but a lot of Obama’s mess has been due to congress attempting to stop him at all costs”

    Que?

    He had both the House Of Representatives and the Senate for two years – and on top of that he had a filibuster proof Senate for 12 months.

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  31. Manolo (12,614 comments) says:

    The sheeple US electorate has confused Mitt with Kennedy. They think he’s a reincarnation!!!

    Is he an incontrolable shagger and fornicator too?

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  32. tom hunter (3,998 comments) says:

    … but a lot of Obama’s mess has been due to congress attempting to stop him at all costs.

    In using the term “congress”, you’re slyly ignoring the fact that the Senate remained in Democrat hands – and those useless pricks have not even bothered to introduce a budget for over three years now. Some leadership. Some solution.

    You continue to hammer away at this as part of the standard them that – “the-US-government-system-is-a-broken-19th-century-structure”. But where’s the argument that having the Democrats retain control of the House would have led to less spending or any of the other components of the Obama’s “mess”? The Senate experience suggests that nothing would have changed – which is why the voters gave them the boot from the House in 2010.

    Sometimes saying “stop” is constructive.

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  33. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    “The problem with Romney as President is that he will have the Tea Party holding him by the balls.”

    That’s right, (what little there are to hold) and the harder they squeeze, the better.

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  34. BigFish (131 comments) says:

    I would keel over sideways if DPF turned out to be an Obama supporter, mostly because Paul Ryan is making all the right noises economically.
    Personally I see the US spiralling further out of relevance if they revert and increase the political will to outsource labour, avoid tax, make war, shun science, ignore poverty, fear foreigners, and elevate religion above reason.
    That’s the problem when you have a voting population that is motivated by fear and prejudice.
    Waiting for the deregulation of banks and the markets to enable the next perfect storm if Mitt does get in.

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  35. somewhatthoughtful (436 comments) says:

    Only a complete moron would think Iraq is better now than before the invasion. Before they invasion they had a shitty but stable govt. and a relatively proserous, well educated middle class. Now they’ve all fled they have an undereducated, poor, disenfranchised population consistently on edge from the results of the civil war the US created. Staying the fuck away is almost certainly, objectively, the “less wrong” answer….

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  36. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    Obama wasn’t born in the US anyway and therefore shouldn’t even be standing for President.

    The only document he has ever produced in an attempt to prove he was born in Hawaii has been discredited by forensic professionals and law enforcement agencies as a computer generated fraud.

    Obama is just an ignorant socialist thug, but worse than that he is a forger and will one day be tried and convicted as a criminal for his arrant and arrogant deceit.

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  37. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    “Only a complete moron would think Iraq is better now than before the invasion.”

    Only a complete moron would want to see Saddam reinstated and democracy abandoned, but when it comes to you and your ignorant utterances, nothing surprises me.

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  38. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Only a complete moron would think Iraq is better now than before the invasion.

    Curious – admittedly I’ve only ever met one Iraqi, but he said he thought George W. going in there and removing Saddam & the Ba’ath lot was the best thing that’s ever happened to that country.

    But maybe he was a complete moron as you say…

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  39. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    BREAKING NEWS – Right wing blogger supports Mitt Romney.

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  40. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Hams –

    We got your message the first time, at 3:05pm.

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  41. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    DPF – Answer to 3:05pm question – Social Development Minister.

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  42. Manolo (12,614 comments) says:

    RRM, read, read and then read again.

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  43. tom hunter (3,998 comments) says:

    Only a complete moron would think Iraq is better now than before the invasion

    How Kissingerian of you.

    Funny, but I remember all of my left-wing friends in 1991 demanding that the US go in and get rid of Saddam – stat! I was totally with them on that.

    It was only 500kms down the Highway of Death, with 500,000 troops to hand with only a badly mauled Iraqi army that was begging to run away.

    I also remember them being very, very angry that did not happen. Many were the conspiracy theories discussed. Dick Cheney’s reasons were dismissed as apologetics and cold-blooded rationale – which made it even funnier when I heard the anti-war movement using them with great gusto – in 2003.

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  44. kiwi in america (2,321 comments) says:

    David

    A reasonably fair assessment. I think Obama’s foreign policy has been far worse than you give him credit. His ‘reset’ with Russia has been a disaster leading to the decision to withdraw defensive missiles from key vulnerable newly emerging former Communist states like Poland and the Czech Republic who have become staunch US allies. His attempts at Middle East peace by trying to put some distance between the US and Israel and pressuring Netanyahu into unrealistic concessions (eg raising going back to pre-1967 borders) have backfired. Obama’s failure to back the Green Revolution in Iran in 2010 preferring to rely on what he thought was his amazing powers of persuasion in negotiating with Ahmajinedad not only saw a nascent democracy movement snuffed out but sees Iran even closer to obtaining nuclear weapons. He has been weak on Syria and has allowed Assad’s atrocities to go on too long without more substantive opposition. He has failed to use US aid to Egypt to nudge the new Muslim Brotherhood leadership into a more moderate stance particularly on the Egyptian Israeli peace accords and we now know that his policy in Libya has descended so much into chaos that he is essentially sitting on a Watergate sized cover up of his administration’s simultaneous deaf ears to the protections needed and the inaction to rescue exposed Consulate staff. Only a media so vested in an Obama 2nd term has prevented the death of Ambassador Stevens from becoming the full blown scandal it surely is.

    Obama got Bin Laden and yes it was brave to order the mission but any President (including Carter) would’ve ordered the hit and it was the Bush era CIA that did the heavy lifting that tracked the courier, using tactics that Obama roundly opposed (foreign surveillance, tracking the money and black ops sites for interviewing captured al Qaida operatives etc). Obama’s incessant boasting of the Bin Laden hit and his assertion that the drone strikes essentially ended al Qaida as a threat became the primary reason for the inaction over Benghazi and the preposterous assertions that he and key officials made for 2 weeks after that the actions at the consulate were reactions to a hitherto unknown anti Muslim video!

    Then there is the apology tour that sent the opposite signals than the ones Obama intended – it signaled weakness to the US’s enemies and lack of resolve to protect her allies and friends. All this was encompassed in the footage of Obama bowing to the Saudi King and the Emperor of Japan – an unprecedented act of obsequious acquiescence never before seen by a sitting President! So your assessment that his economic policy was a disaster was true but his few foreign policy successes IMO have been overshadowed by various failures.

    Finally on the flip flopping I don’t see Romney’s flip flops being any worse than Obama’s and come more because of what it took to be elected a Republican governor in the most Democratic state in the union. US voters are almost inured to such antics. Romney seems sincere enough in his current convictions however contorted the journey was to get there.

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  45. Reid (15,505 comments) says:

    A serf in the days of King John, Max Keiser argues, was in many ways better off than some US voters in 2012.

    “Because in the age of Robin Hood,” Keiser says, “at least the process of theft was transparent. The barons came to your house. They whacked you over the head then they took all your money.” Even if the poor didn’t exactly empathise with their oppressors, Keiser adds, they could at least comprehend their methods. “And the serfs,” he continues, “did enjoy a modicum of stability. They got something in return for their enslavement. A small plot of land. Shelter. A relationship with the lord of the manor.” In the modern age of “financial tyranny” orchestrated by what Keiser refers to as “the banksters” in charge of the major financial institutions in the US and Europe, he believes, “We have reverted to a more pernicious kind of neo-feudalism. The instruments of larceny have changed; that’s all.”

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  46. Reid (15,505 comments) says:

    Have you guys been noting the growing tide of disquiet in Obama’s non-reaction to the storm? NY has another weather front coming in and they have no power no water and fuel shortages. Tens of thousands of them. 2.5 million are without power and some may have to wait 2 weeks to get it. It’s starting to surface here, this could be bad for him, fatal even. Er. Hooray?

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  47. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    KIA: I have some sympathy with what I read somewhere (can’t recall where – Scott Adams?) that the primary process in the USA is basically a process of lying. And Romney did more of that than many. Doesn’t make him a bad guy, it’s just the process, but it does mean it’s hard to work out what he really stands for.

    Given that, you’re left with his actions. The things we know are:
    – he was quite moderate as governor of MA, and largely implemented pragmatic and bipartisan policies
    – he’s good at balancing budgets, he’s done that in a few places, including private sector, quasi public (Salt Lake Olympics) and govt (MA)
    – he appointed Paul Ryan as his running mate, and Paul Ryan is big on balancing budgets. He’s also quite conservative
    – he is a strongly religious man, and big into the charity end of religion. He cares about people
    – he doesn’t seem to be into pushing his religion onto others, and seems OK with policies that let people make their own choices. He won’t support things that go against his religion though (so he won’t support policies that force Mormons to do things that Mormons shouldn’t – and presumably that goes for other religions too. But he is OK with policies that say that people who aren’t Mormons can do non-Mormon things). I don’t see him attempting to overturn Roe v Wade for example

    Put that together, seems like an OK president to me. And one who has more going for them than Obama did when elected, or does now.

    Still not my favourite candidate – I would have rathered Chris Christie for example.

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  48. Steve (North Shore) (4,314 comments) says:

    Someone is going to lose a chocolate fish, and I don’t think it is going to be me :)

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  49. tom hunter (3,998 comments) says:

    I think Obama’s foreign policy has been far worse than you give him credit.

    I agree, and most Americans rated Obama more highly on this because there were no obvious tactical disasters – until Libya. Since then his advantage over Romney on this front has dwindled to the margin of error. Another example are the drone attacks: another dead terrorist – people don’t care.

    But that’s the irony: people notice the tactical screw-ups but not the strategic ones, and it’s in the strategic area that I think Obama has been bloody awful. About the only thing I approve of there is that he has finally pivoted US foreign policy away from Europe/ME to the Asia-Pacific area.

    The strategic aspect is important also because that is where the wrong-headed policies can be highlighted, rather than any specific decisions that Obama has made, and that’s important because the Left cannot be allowed to pin this on Obama as President. The way he has approached all of these strategic problems has been straight out of the halls of the academic left where Obama spent the last 25 years. Kiwi in America has hit most of them, but there was one early on that told me that Obama was going to be bad news.

    In June 2008, the Honduran Supreme Court issued an order that President Zelaya was to be detained, on orders from the Attorney General. The reason was that Zelaya – by then quite a follower of the likes of Chavez – had decided to try and change the Honduran Constitution via a referendum to remove the two-term constraint on Presidents. The problem was that the Constitution prohibited an acting President pulling such a stunt, for obvious reasons. Despite the opposition of the other branches of government, Zelaya moved forward with the plan until the Supreme Court’s ruling, which was supported by Congress, the country’s attorney general, top electoral body, and even the country’s human rights ombudsman.

    But that apparently was not good enough for Obama who, through his left-wing eyes, saw merely another South American military coup and decided that the US would be on the “correct” side this time, rolling with the EU and the UN. Obama cut off aid and pulled visas from Honduran officials who supported Zelaya’s removal, including the fifteen justices of the Honduran Supreme Court and the president of the Honduran Congress.

    Poor choice as it happened. It took some time but eventually even the State Department lawyers concluded that the Hondurans had acted legally in removing Zelaya from office. Arrangements were made and as the WSJ put it, an “an elegant diplomatic exit” was enabled for Obama’s misguided opposition.

    It was classic Obama, where it was hard to distinguish between incompetence and the decades-long support given by the American Left to El Presidente characters like Zelaya, Ortega, Chavez and the rest. But it was certainly a marker as to how things were going to go.

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  50. Chinarugby (80 comments) says:

    In any reasonably sensible democracy the result would of course be a resounding victory to Obama – it speaks volumes about the quality of American thinking that it is neck and neck – oh well who really gives a rats bottom. Last month 3 mates did the PEW Research quiz that DPF had on this site – they are a mixture of NAT – ACT voters….long story short they all resulted as being Liberal to Moderate Democrats – hahahahaha.

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  51. Longknives (4,039 comments) says:

    “In any reasonably sensible democracy the result would of course be a resounding victory to Obama”

    Spoken like a true Socialist! So Republicans (and people worried about America’s failing economy) shouldn’t be allowed to vote then Chinarugby?
    No one should be allowed to dare question ‘the Messiah’ Obama!

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  52. RightNow (6,336 comments) says:

    “In any reasonably sensible democracy the result would of course be a resounding victory to Obama”

    Why? What makes you think the majority prefer Obama over Romney?

    Please at least try a reasoned argument, I’m looking forward to watching you getting your arse handed to you.

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  53. JS (5 comments) says:

    An interesting analysis David. I agree with much of it, but I’ve got to disagree on one area – and it seems to be the area that tips the balance in favour of Romney for you.

    You call Obama’s fiscal policy “dangerous and wrong”. I think that’s over the top; as you know, deficits explode during a recession as revenues drop off and spending on the likes of unemployment benefits and food stamps increases. These things are called automatic stabilisers for a reason; they happen without anyone touching the levers. Increased spending is not some socialist plot on the part of Obama, and would have happened no matter who was sitting in the White House (OK, maybe not Ron Paul…). In fact, the argument could be made that Obama has restrained the deficit; it’s now the same or slightly smaller than in the year he came into office. The same cannot be said, for instance, for the NZ Government.

    So what about the future? Well, Obama has stated that he wants to reduce the deficit through a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases, which is sensible as revenues are unsustainably low, even assuming large cuts to spending. He even brokered a deal with John Boehner that was heavy on the spending cuts and light on revenue increases, only to have it shot down by the Republican party.

    Then we have Romney’s plan to reduce the deficit. The first and only point of which seems to be a massive tax cut. Yes I’ve heard all the arguments about how it’ll be paid for and, as someone who has worked in tax policy and modelling, the most generous way I can describe it is “fantasy”. As you say, Moderate Mitt might be a decent President, but all signs point to him governing as a Tea Party enabler and nothing more. To quote The Economist, “Mr. Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says.”

    Finally, I think it’s an important point to make that this election may set a dangerous incentive for future behaviour. The strategy of the Republican party over the last four years has been outright obstruction. Opposition for its own sake may work in a Parliamentary system where the minority can’t actually stop anything from happening. But not in the US system where parties NEED to work together. I simply don’t think that the Republican party should be rewarded for labelling a conservative healthcare plan a ‘government takeover’, opposing fiscal stimulus as ‘socialism’ having supported it just months earlier, and deeming a Nobel prize-winning economist ‘unqualified’ to join to board of the Federal Reserve (to name just a few). In short, they have put political expedience above the good of the country during one of the worst economic crises in living memory.

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  54. Azreal (15 comments) says:

    Most of the polls are weighted by predicting that Democrat & Republican turnouts will be similar to ’08. But Romney has been drawing crowds in the 10′s of thousands against Obama in the thousands only in the all important swing states. My gut feeling is that Romney will win, and comfortably.

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  55. Azreal (15 comments) says:

    Just a shame it’s not Chris Christie though – I think he missed his chance

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  56. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Azreal – Care for a bet on that one?

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  57. pq (728 comments) says:

    Farrar brought up the subject of :

    “”the economy, this is where he has failed, and in fact his policies are a danger to the US and world economy. The US deficit and debt must be reined in, and Obama’s policies of massively increasing spending are reckless. The Budget Control Act merely slows the rate of growth of debt, not reverses it. Federal spending is projected to continue to grow faster than the economy grows, and this is impossible to maintain. The US public debt grew by $1.9 trillion (think $6,300 per capita) in 2009 and $1.7 trillion in 2010.”

    The figures above Farrar gives are public debt just for those years of Obama presidency, and if you look at the film
    which Faifax media 3.06pm put up, you will see indeed that Obama has done massive economic damage.

    The total public debt in USA is about 12 trillion dolllars, or more [ there are various estimates], that is $USA 40,000 for every person.
    Compare that to New Zealand we have about 48billion debt, that is about $NZ9000 per person.
    However we New Zealand have massive corporate debt many times the size of public debt

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  58. pq (728 comments) says:

    Hamnida, above 7.01pm,

    I tried to take a bet on right wing blog ‘ No Minister’ who supported Romney, landslide for Romney I think they said hahah. Farrar doesn’t believe for a minute Rpmney will win, after all Farrar is a pollster

    I said you pay me $100 if Obama wins
    I pay you $100 if Romney wins

    Guess what, no takers. Romney will win they say but no money down.

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  59. Reid (15,505 comments) says:

    er pq, it’s customary to explain the point you’re making.

    However we New Zealand have massive corporate debt many times the size of public debt

    I also doubt that, since I understood most of our debt is in mortgages which correct me if I’m wrong is classified as private not corporate debt. Or is that wrong?

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  60. tom hunter (3,998 comments) says:

    In any reasonably sensible democracy the result would of course be a resounding victory to Obama

    I’d like to think that was just a trolling comment – but given the lefty take on their place in society it’s always possible that it’s made in all seriousness.

    The phrases reasonably sensible and of course are what make it so special.

    No wonder losing elections – especially at the hands of the working class – comes as such a great shock to the Left every time it happens.

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  61. Fletch (5,716 comments) says:

    Look, anyone who looks at Obama’s background seriously should have some problem voting for this guy. I don’t see why people are surprised at the way Obama has led the country.

    I almost wince saying it, because it’s become a cliché, but Obama’s friends, supporters, and confidants – the people who supported him on the way up – are all socialists or hard-out Marxists. Even his parents.
    Let’s look at some names –

    Frank Marshall Davis – not just a Marxist, but a card carrying Communist who was on the FBI watchlist. Obama’s friend and mentor growing up.

    Jeremiah Wright, who was Obama’s preacher for 20 years and who followed some kind of black liberation theology and thought America deserved 9/11

    Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, who belonged to domestic terrorists The Weathermen and in whose apartment Obama’s campaign was kicked off.

    I could go on with Professor Roberto Unger, Edward Said, Valarie Jarrett, etc etc.

    In truth, Obama never had a chance. He has been led down this progressive path by people all his life. Poor kid.

    He is a product of the manipulations of others. Probably never had an original thought his whole life.

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  62. BlairM (2,265 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t have minded a Governor Romney as president.
    But Candidate Romney is really just a joke.

    And for Obama, the opposite is true. Great candidate, terrible President. I think Mitt will govern a lot better than he campaigns. Which, if you look at the tens of thousands of people showing up to his rallies, will make him an awesome President.

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  63. Dexter (265 comments) says:

    “Look, anyone who looks at Obama’s background seriously should have some problem voting for this guy.”

    As opposed to a religious fanatic who wears magical underpants and believes that Jesus Christ will glide down from the heavens and walk the streets of Missouri….

    If he’s prepared to believe that, what else will he overlook reason, logic and reality for?

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  64. Fletch (5,716 comments) says:

    Dexter, the greatest Presidents the USA ever had believed in Jesus Christ, foremost among them Abraham Lincoln.

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  65. Johnboy (13,335 comments) says:

    But they were Quakers not Mormons Fletch. :)

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  66. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Fletch the worst presidents in the history of the USA were Christians as well

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  67. Johnboy (13,335 comments) says:

    And some were peanut farmers as well Griff! :)

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  68. Scott1 (357 comments) says:

    To me it seems a bit naieve to expect romney to balance the budget well because he was able to do well in business. Balancing the budget isnt a matter of skill at all – its a matter of will.. and no party in the US has had that will for a long time, because they both face the same pragmatic incentives.

    In fact – it appears from the campaign that romney plans to increase spending faster than Obama does.. either that or he plans a post election “surprise” for a whole lot of people when he renegs on all his promises to increase spending and then cuts some things he never mentioned cutting. Most likely like those before him he will just never get round to the cuts an the deficit will grow to compensate.

    The skill that romney is most likely to display is in making people think you are managing the money whilst buying them off with some sort of borrow for tax cut or spending/stimulus policy.

    So in answer to

    “I don’t know whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can fix things, but I do know that Barack Obama and Joe Biden won’t even try … ”

    Im pretty sure Romney wont try either… nevermind, just dont hold anything denominated in US dollars…

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  69. Fletch (5,716 comments) says:

    So Griff, feel free to put aside any belief that might sway one either way (a strawman raised by Dexter) and we’re back to looking at his record and history. Which are not good.

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  70. Scott1 (357 comments) says:

    Fletch,
    i think the argument against mormonism is all that stuff about scriptures that only one man can read and mysterious dissapearing civilizations in the americas… It would seem god went to some considerable lengths to make sure only Joeseph found out about all of this unlike his activities in the middle east.

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  71. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    @scott1: Romney did a good job as governor of MA, and had the same incentives. Unlike Obama, he has actual experience leading a state, rather than just giving speeches.

    As for mormonism – most people in US are religious. All religions have some pretty ridiculous things in them. Many adherents of the various religions don’t believe all the crazy stuff. Sorry, if your reason for not liking him is that he’s a mormon, then I’d have to point out that Obama’s religious fellow travellers are pretty crazy as well. And you don’t get to pick a candidate that isn’t standing.

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  72. Dexter (265 comments) says:

    “Dexter, the greatest Presidents the USA ever had believed in Jesus Christ, foremost among them Abraham Lincoln.”

    Might want to do some reading on Lincolns views and actions towards Joseph Smith and mormonism and vice versa before bringing him up, ironic, to say the least.

    “Many adherents of the various religions don’t believe all the crazy stuff. Sorry, if your reason for not liking him is that he’s a mormon”

    He does believe the crazy stuff. And you’re right that only a bigot would chose to dislike someone based solely on their religious beliefs, but only a fool would think people can hold such intrinsic beliefs distinct from their daily critical thinking and impartiality.

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  73. tvb (3,937 comments) says:

    Romney lacks core beliefs and until the Republican Party gets rid of its lunatic fringe I doubt that Romney would make a good President. I would vote for Obama because I think he now gets it regarding the economy rather than relying on deficit spending. You have to stimulate the private sector to create jobs in the US and I think Obama now understands that. But he would be happier as a University Professor and who knows when his presidency ends in 4 years time that is where he will go.

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  74. Azreal (15 comments) says:

    Hamnida above 7:04 pm
    “Azreal – care for a bet on that one?”

    No. I work for a living. I have better things to do with my money than gambling. I stated my gut feeling. End of story

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  75. Mark (1,301 comments) says:

    I don’t think it matters much to NZ who is in power in the US. I don’t particularly care much whether Obama or Romney gets into power as they will continue to run protectionist trade policy that works against my interests and those of most NZrs.

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  76. Longknives (4,039 comments) says:

    “I work for a living. I have better things to do with my money than gambling”
    I love to gamble but I wouldn’t bet against Obama. The overwhelming campaign to smear Romney from the adoring left-wing media means ‘The Messiah’ has always been a near certainty.

    I’ll save my cash for Americain tomorrow…..

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  77. Manolo (12,614 comments) says:

    For the Messiah-lovers: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/332481/obama-virtual-challenger-victor-davis-hanson#

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  78. Manolo (12,614 comments) says:

    But is a hero at home: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AF_KENYA_OBAMA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-11-05-07-27-50

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  79. Manolo (12,614 comments) says:

    Check this out: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/11/wow-what-a-freak-show-heckler-totally-hijacks-obama-rally-gets-dragged-out-by-police-video/

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  80. Scott1 (357 comments) says:

    PaulL,
    Well i take it you are saying he will go with the surprise austerity budget approach. ‘woops the budget is even worse than we thought – time to cut 2.2 trillion…”

    maybe that is what the US needs but the military is the obvious thing to cut there and that might distress some and have him backtracking on his own promises.
    Speaking of which – In the governor race did he promise spending increases that he reneged on?
    I hope so.
    better a serial lier president than one that delivers on overspending campaign promises.

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  81. big bruv (12,321 comments) says:

    I don’t know why so many are getting all worked up about a possible Romney victory. The reality is that (sadly) Obama will cruise back into power and the USA will continue to slide into an economic hole so deep that they may never climb back out of it.

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  82. Scott1 (357 comments) says:

    big Bruv is right – Obama has the numbers in the key states – the media is just trying to make it sound exciting when it is Obama’s to loose at the moment. and yeah Obama wont do anything different I presume.

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  83. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Doug Wead: A Mitt Romney Win?

    in

    Election 2012

    “The time will come when the constitution and government will hang by a brittle thread and will be ready to fall into other hands but this people, the latter-day saints will step forth and save it.”

    - Joseph Smith, May, 1843.

    If history is any indicator Mitt Romney will win tomorrow’s election. Yes, the polls show it close and the electoral map actually tilts in President Obama’s favor but never before in history has a president been returned to power with such a dismal economic performance.

    1.) Unemployment has remained high.

    2.) The housing crisis remains untouched, crushing the middle class. Even the smallest tweaks expected by the real estate community within 90 days of the inauguration of Obama have been consistently ignored for the full four years.

    3.) Real inflation is appalling and has robbed the poor and the retired on fixed incomes. I say “real inflation,” as opposed to the new government-media revised fake figures, redesigned to help rescue the failing presidency of George W. Bush, figures that now exclude food and oil prices, the two most basic factors in our economic lives.

    http://dougwead.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/a-mitt-romney-win/

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  84. mpledger (428 comments) says:

    I feel sorry for whoever wins. The American economy is in the toilet and, with the drought, worse is to come.

    The only problem is that Romney has no back bone and, when he people without backbones need to make tough decisions they invariably make the wrong one becasuse they double, triple, quadruple-guess themselves.

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  85. mpledger (428 comments) says:

    I feel sorry for whoever wins. The American economy is in the toilet and, with the drought, worse is to come.

    The only problem is that Romney has no back bone and, when people without backbones need to make tough decisions they invariably make the wrong one becasuse they double, triple, quadruple-guess themselves.

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  86. Camryn (549 comments) says:

    I’d vote Romney because I think that politicians actually impact the economy but simply react on social issues… so it makes sense to completely ignore social policy (which is basically just saying “I’m going to react faster or slower to social change that is happening anyway”) and focus on economic policy. In that light, it’d be hard for me to ever vote Democrat but some big spending Republicans would make it a close call. Luckily, Romney isn’t one of those.

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  87. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Colorado Sets the Stage for a Bogus Election

    Colorado election integrity and transparency is now officially out the window, with a series of corruption protection rules and new laws.

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Colorado-Sets-the-Stage-fo-by-Bev-Harris-121101-545.html

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  88. chiz (1,090 comments) says:

    How things change, or not:

    Romney’s campaign was effective in portraying Kennedy as soft on crime, but had trouble establishing its own consistent positions. By mid-September 1994, polls showed the race to be approximately even. Kennedy responded with a series of ads that focused on Romney’s seemingly shifting political views on issues such as abortion;

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  89. tom hunter (3,998 comments) says:

    And just in the nick of time before the election ….

    KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack?

    OBAMA: Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.

    That Q&A came the same day as the Rose Garden speech that Obama later tried to claim, during the second debate, was where he said that Benghazi was a terrorist attack. If he actually had believed that he would have corrected Kroft in a heartbeat.

    Of course I’m being sarcastic about the “nick of time ….”. I doubt even this going viral on the internet would matter now, with 24 hours to go before the election. CBS had aired some parts of this interview when it happened – but they’ve held this footage until now, even after the controversy blew up from that second debate when they could have set the record straight. But that would have been setting the record straight …. against Obama.

    They released it now to avoid charges of suppressing information, but when it was too late to have an impact on the truth. Pricks.

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  90. leftyliberal (598 comments) says:

    “Obama’s policies of massively increasing spending are reckless”

    Spending was massively up in late ’08 and ’09 where it peaked, but has been dropping as a percentage of GDP since then, though are still above the 30 year average. The main problem is the drop in revenues due to the sluggish economy – not much Obama can do about that.

    Still, it’s all academic and has been basically all year – Romney’s high point came after the first debate, and even then he was only tracking at about a 40% chance of taking the election on the most conservative of the statistical models.

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