Point of View Columns

Introducing President Obama

If all you had listened to is the Teapublican narrative for the past three years, you would not have a very high opinion of President Obama. After the first debate supporters of Barack Obama were wondering what happened to their leader. But President Obama has used the last two debates to introduce himself to the American people all over again. In the most recent and last debate the biggest question was who made Mr. Romney look worse – President Obama or Mitt Romney himself?

Here are just a few examples from the Boca Beat Down –

• President Obama noted that Mr. Romney didn’t know how to assess the strength of the American military, reminding him that it no longer uses “bayonets and horses” and does use aircraft carriers and submarines.

• Mr. Romney’s quote that he would not “move heaven and earth” to find Osama bin Laden was skillfully recalled by President Obama as he recounted the closure and comfort that the death of bin Laden provided for the victims of 9/11.

• After saying that he would not go into Pakistan to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, Mr. Romney clearly stated at the debate that it was “o.k.” to go into Pakistan and the he totally supported the use of drones.

• In contending that the foreign policy of the Obama Administration had not totally settled and solved the problems of the world, Mr. Romney seemed to think that foreign policy worked like a made-for-TV.-movie where the story concludes neatly in a sixty minute package. His seeming to yearn for simple solutions for a complex world was, in a word, pathetic.

• President Obama reminded Mr. Romney several times that he was trying to “airbrush history” by trying to claim positions that were new and different from the ones that he espoused while lurching rightward in his campaign for the Teapublican nomination – replaying Mr. Romney’s support for letting the auto industry go into bankruptcy and then watching him say that he favored government support during that process when he had not was almost painful to watch.

• It was interesting to note that Mr. Romney stated that promoting gender equality around the world should be a hallmark of American foreign policy. It is also interesting to note that Mr. Romney does not favor the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in the United States.
It is interesting to note that Mr. Romney plans to defund Planned Parenthood, an important source of healthcare services for women and girls in the United States. And, it is important to note that Mr. Romney does not support full access to contraception and reproductive choices for women and girls in the United States. Perhaps if American women moved overseas he would treat them better.

As the third and final presidential debate concluded, it would seem that one of Mr. Romney’s strategies had been to try to blur the very clear choice between the candidates.
Certainly if the policies offered by the Teapublican Party platform were presented to most Americans, they would be rejected along with the RomneyRyan ticket. Somehow, Mr. Romney has been trying to convince the American people that he was for the platform until he was against it.

And, for those of you keeping score at home, the Teapublican Tampa Platform included an absolute ban on abortion, an absolute prohibition of gun control and the endorsement of the Ryan budget that would eviscerate American’s social safety net. The Ryan budget, by the way, in addition to privatizing Social Security and turning Medicare into a voucher program, would virtually eliminate so-called discretionary spending in programs ranging from the National Endowment for the Arts to Head Start to the Environmental Protection Administration.

These policies and choices define the RomneyRyan ticket. And these policies and choices are what Mitt Romney only wishes to speak about in small rooms behind closed doors. It now remains to be seen whether Mr. Romney’s “air brush” strategy can work.

Certainly, during the past two debates President Obama has painted a very different picture in describing his own vision as well as the competing vision of Mr. Romney.