Friday, October 12, 2012

Biden Eats Ryan’s Lunch: Now Obama Must Deliver

titleJoe Biden expresses astonishment after catching "Young Gun" Paul Ryan in his 22nd whopper.

It was a relief to finally have a debate with a Democrat displaying energy, passion and intellect and effectively humbling the Repuke pretender in the process. Such was the case last night, when Joe Biden demolished Paul Ryan on the national stage, and left nothing but some bleached out bones in the wake. Joe hit Ryan on so many fronts, exposing the false ideology underlying the Romney-Ryan ticket that it wasn’t even a contest. (Yes, in the wake of the event a CNN “flash poll” among the uncommitted (i.e. stupid, low information) voters gave Ryan a 48%-44% edge, basically because they disliked Biden’s smiling, facial contortions etc., but give me a fuckin’ break. As Howard Dean pointed out, anyone who paid the least bit of attention (and wasn’t distracted by Ryan’s baby blues) would have rightfully given the contest to Biden. Thus, the only poll I take seriously is the CBS poll which showed Biden won by 50% to 31% with 19% saying they “tied”.

Let’s get to some particulars: Moderator Martha Radditz, an ABC News Middle East reporter, went first to the area she knows best, the Libyan episode. Biden’s most telling point was that the Repuke House congress responsible for funding of embassies cut that budget by $300m. Hence, those embassies – including in Barbados and Libya- have had to cut back, live on less, much as seniors and the middle class will if Romney-Ryan are elected. In Barbados, the embassy staff is now so hamstrung by Repuke budget austerity they’re forced to mostly live on local  takeout pizzas, chicken wings. It’s a damned disgrace. This ought to be hammered to the nth degree.

On the issues of Medicare and Social Security Biden finally gave the full throated defense of those programs which Obama basically punted on. (Obama appeared at numerous points to simply agree with Romney’s take). This was critical because at least nine battleground states show these programs are election flash points, with voters hyper aware they don’t want any party that destroys them.

More importantly, Biden defended the much hyped $716 billion in “cuts” Romney raved about and Ryan did this time, noting these were basically cutting WASTE, not benefits. Also that the AMA and the AARP had signed on to these, as well as the health insurers. Thus, $200b was dedicated to remove overpayments for unnecessary procedures (of which Medicare has MANY!) as well as to providers who do multiple charges for a central procedure. For example, in the case of an HDR prostate cancer treatment such as I received, charging separately for the use of Treatment room, CT-scan, ultrasound probe imaging, use of afterloader, prep of indexers in afterloader, template suturing, catheter insertion in template, check of catheters, anesthesia, actual delivery of source dose, and use of acute surgery (hospital)  room for 2.2  hrs. In which case the total bill if itemized could come to $200,000 as opposed to about $15,000 for ONE single medical treatment!

The “15-person” panel Ryan tried to make so much of and which the brainless Teeps excoriated in 2010 (as "death panels") is simply a panel of top flight medical experts assigned to spot such multiple medical costing. As for the Medicare Advantage plans, they ought to have been sunset long ago - since THEY are also what's bleeding the standard Medicare into insolvency! These private plans were hatched with the ill-conceived "Medicare Modernization Act" of 2003. They have since been sucking up nearly $12b a year more than standard Medicare and also forced higher premiums in the latter to pay for them! (The total Medicare premiums have increased nearly 133% since the 2003 Act was implemented).

Biden then exposed the Ryan-Romney voucher plan for the claptrap it is noting the elderly person, say of 82 yrs. of age, is basically handed this $10,000 voucher (more likely MUCH less if Romney wants $2.3 trillion additional  for defense) and told to go off into the wilderness and find an insurance company that will take care of you. No mention at all that they won’t if there’s one pre-existing condition! Oh….but then… the Romney-Ryan jackals respond, 'you can still remain in standard Medicare'! Oh, wow-a-palooza!

A program that will then be headed for extinction because only the poorest, sickest seniors will be locked in there!(Since these are the very seniors the insurance companies won’t touch). But the costs for the sickest risk pool will rise precipitously over time, since it will cost more to care for their ailments,  until the program is totally insolvent and the sick seniors are tossed out totally - to fend for themselves by begging for medical charity. (Ayn Rand's solution in her "Virtue of Selfishness")

The most devastating hit by Biden was on Ryan’s hypocrisy concerning the $831b stimulus which Romney –Ryan have been bitching about the past few months. Biden noted the letters Ryan actually sent him begging for some of that stimulus money for Janesville, Wis. and his home district. (Rachel Maddow, in a show two months ago, displayed the Photostats of the two letters and long enough so any interested viewer could read them.) With his hypocrisy exposed, the most Ryan could do was obfuscate using babble about “state grants” to try to confuse the minds of the stupid segment.

Biden also merits kudos for shooting down Ryan’s claim that 20 percent spending cuts have been historically proven to create growth. He actually had the nerve to cite John F. Kennedy’s tax cuts! Of course, I blasted this meme to smithereens a few months ago:

The truth is that JFK wrought growth (and lowered the unemployment rate to near 4%) by the largest deficit spending since World War II! This is exactly the thing Ryan and Romney want to STOP! As Prof. Donald Gibson noted ('Battling Wall Street: The Kennedy Presidency', Sheridan Square Books, 1994), the federal policy was one of deficits. To quote Prof. Gibson (p. 84):

"The War was paid for primarily through borrowing and deficit spending on an unheard of scale."

Gibson again(ibid.):

"What Kennedy attempted to effect the three years he was in office, was a moderate peacetime version of the federal policy during World War Two."

What was the result? Professor Gibson once more:

"During the years affected immediately by Kennedy's policies , 1962 to 1964-65, the U.S. economy returned to and even exceeded the rapid growth displayed during the pre-stagnation period" (of WWII).”

Thus, again, Ryan LIED! It was DEFICIT SPENDING not tax cuts of a 20 % magnitude, that incepted the growth of the Kennedy era. Hence, Biden was correct that what Romney-Ryan have proposed  has never been done in history. (Reagan’s example, that Ryan also raised,  doesn’t count, since Reagan had to go back and raise taxes to increase revenues after his initial cuts. See:  ‘The Indebted Society’ (1995) by James Medoff and Andrew Harless)

On the abortion issue, Biden showed in no uncertain terms how women’s rights would be compromised under a Romney –Ryan administration, given Ryan accepts the “personhood” bullshit spewed by so many rightist morons, i.e. that the fetus actually has personal and “property” rights. No woman in her right mind, given this, could possibly justify a vote for these assholes, especially when they stand to appoint at least TWO extremist judges to the Supreme court- enough to overturn Roe v. Wade – the Repukes’ wet dream from the year dot.

Lastly, let me address the complaint (e.g. by Reep Groupie Nora O’Donnell) that Biden was “rude” because he “interrupted Ryan 82 times”. One big reason for that is Radditz, a total newbie moderator, dropping the ball in terms of monitoring whose turn it was to initiate an answer to a question, or reply (as well as timing Ryan's over-extended replies!) It was as if a Court Judge at Wimbledon had allowed one player’s continuous service with none by the opponent! Had Biden not interrupted (basically doing Radditz's job for her), especially after Ryan butchered the facts numerous times, he'd have been seen as passive and impotent - much like Obama was last Wednesday when he was unable or unwilling to address Romney's scurrilous claims. Biden did exactly what he needed to in this regard, and the Dem base is once more fired up after a week of despondency and malaise. The latter is not good when the other side is showing more voter enthusiasm.

The deal now is that the onus and pressure is on Obama not to let the "home team" down with any decrement in energy, or repetition of Ambien-nation such as in his debate on Tuesday.Two things I've read or seen the past week have made me cringe in regards to where Obama's head is in this election. The first was a passage in the recent TIME issue on "The FACTS Wars", where he indicated that he felt his campaign had "gone overboard" a number of times. HUH!? Gone overboard? This is an election that's possibly the most critical in American recent history! Don't bawl about "going overboard" for god's sakes! Embrace it! Welcome it!  DO you want to be re-elected, or take a one -way ticket back to Chi-town?

Meanwhile, in the same paragraph Romney was fully committed to his campaign and its full court press, averring that it was "spot on". Obama needs to take 100% ownership for his campaign instead of issuing qualifiers and hand-wringing! Again, this plays into the meme that Obama really lacks the gumption to fight for anything. He wants to be "Mr. Peace and Tranquility". And, as Chris Hayes said after the debate last night, "stay above the fray". That's a fine strategy  - if you want to be a one -termer. A winner, however, will have to be prepared to get down and dirty in the hog pile and wrestle because that is what the other side is prepared to do! If Obama's handlers and advisors like Plouffe and Axelrod tell him any different, then they aren't seeing what the rest of us are, and are merely expediting his exit.

The other thing I cringed at was his response to Diane Sawyer in a recent ABC News interview, when she asked him what he'd do differently next time:

"Well, I'd just explain better the stark differences between their view and ours."

NO! NO! And NO! No "explanation" will work because at this stage 75% of the communication is effected via vocal tone (you need authority Mr. Prez, and reflecting anger when called for) and body language. The verbal content is only 25%. So, if Obama comes out Tuesday with this "explanatory" mode uppermost in mind, he's a loser. You can flush this election down the toilet and hand the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to Mitt Romney.

While Obama need not exactly "channel" Biden's energy and reactivity in this VP debate, he can't drop the baton by downshifting too much, which means employing the same slow (half-sleepy?) speech cadence as he used in the first debate, the same hemming and hawing, and the lack of  vocal- tonal differentiation and emotional nuance (i.e. being emphatic) when called for. The ball is now in his court.  Can he deliver?

Joe, in a new drive,  brought the ball to the opponent's 40 -yard line after a terrible INT, but now Obama - taking over- has to get it over the goal line without fumbling or being intercepted again. Everything depends on this, and how he does. No more excuses will do!

This game is now yours to lose, Mr. Prez!

Footnote: In a Denver Post column today ("The GOP's Security Lapse", p. 19A) WaPo columnist Dana Milbank exposed for the first time how GOOPr Darryl Issa's Committee of Inquiry into the Benghazi tragedy - by its inept questioning - exposed that one of the U.S. Embassy's bldgs. - the Embassy proper or the "annex" - was actually a CIA outpost. Thanks again, Issa! Now you assholes have replicated the traitorous deeds done after Rove and Co. outed Valerie Plame as a CIA agent. Have you fuckheads no shame? Wait! Don't answer that! We already know the answer!

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