The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

The Presidential Debate, Comments

The presidential debate last night must still be ringing in Obama’s ears as he awakens to a country where the liberal media has turned against him. Christ Matthews’ crazed reaction to Obama’s performance led him to one conclusion: the president needs to watch MSNBC.  Obama’s emotional lover, Christ Matthews, has now turned against him with a form of political adultery unseen until last night. No, it’s not over! Obama still has a very skillful group of devotees who will advise him differently on the next debate. They will ask him to stop looking down when someone is talking to you, , to stop stuttering, and everything else we should have learned at a college speech course.

Obama’s disastrous evening was infuriating to Democrats: here is the apologist for centralized government offering the stick to Romney and saying to him: “Go ahead, I am your pinata for the evening.” Romney came fully prepared from speech camp and delivered a rhetorically presidential performance.

All this of course is further proof that the nation has become a performance-driven populace. They have forgotten that issues matter, and that after inauguration day all the fancy rhetoric and well-rehearsed lines will mean nothing. Romney’s speech may have provided more ammunition to those who cheer-lead the “Anything but Obama” line, but what about Moral Libertarians and Small-Government Conservatives who are genuinely interested in seeing the titanic national debt dealt with rather than tinkered? Is a rehearsed line about cutting PBS funding really satisfactory in light of a 16 Trillion dollar debt? As one observed: “Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive.”

Beyond the rhetoric, how were Romney’s observations about the regulatory system any different than Obama’s? “Regulation is essential. You can’t have a free-market work if you don’t have regulation,” said Romney. Essential? That without which nothing fruitful would come? No, it’s the excessive regulations that have strangled the small business owners, thus not allowing them to thrive in this economy. Of course, regulations can be excessive, as Romney argued–clarifying his statement–but is the solution to keep things as they are and just remove a few of them, or is the solution a complete re-thinking of the whole regulatory system? As Economist Hernando De Soto argues: “The fact that the government controlled the fate of normal people… with its restrictive laws and regulations makes it impossible for people to prosper and live in decency.”  Why was there no talk of the role of the Federal Reserve and its impassioned affair with the big banks? What about the Federal Reserve manipulation of the money supply which causes these crisis periods? These issues were far away from the candidates’ minds? After all, both Romney and Obama favored the bailouts. “Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both felt that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke deserved to be re-nominated to a second term. Both candidates are on record as saying that U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has done a good job.”

Perhaps, as Judge Andrew Napolitano observes, we should give Romney some credit:

” I believe him when he claims to favor free market approaches to the nation’s economic ills, but I don’t believe him when he rails against big government and central economic planning, because his record belies his words. He is, of course, the father of the individual mandate – a totalitarian giant leap forward for the welfare state. And he has stated that if elected and re-elected, he will borrow money every year he is in office until the last.”

What are the differences?

Time constrains me from detailing the horrendous positions of both candidates on foreign policy. Here again, what do we say?  Both candidates believe that American citizens suspected of being terrorists can be killed by the president without a trial. Barack Obama has not closed Guantanamo Bay like he promised to do, and Mitt Romney actually wants to double the number of prisoners held there. Both candidates support the practice of “extraordinary rendition” (see this video).

Rhetorically, Romney may have the last laugh. It is to be expected that Obama will come more prepared next time. It is possible that last night was just a repetition of the Bush/Kerry debate where Kerry rhetorically massacred the speech-hindered Bush, but it’s possible to quote atheist comedian Bill Maher: “Obama does need a tele-prompter after all.”

The nation is ready for a new president, but apart from rhetoric and a few brief passing mentions of the Tenth Amendment and the Constitution (necessary remarks for those carrying the Republican sticker), what did Romney say substantively that will change the horrendous direction of this nation? If Doug Wilson is correct then Romney is stage one cancer. If he is elected, the whole nation will need chemotherapy.

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