Value of debates not debatable

Debates are fundamentally good. The intersection of ideas inevitably reaps positive results. Yet, President Obama appeared irritated with the concept in Denver last week. As if the whole ordeal weren’t for the good of the country.  It was.

I certainly see how he disbelieves anything good comes from exchanging perspectives. He has indeed governed apart from such faith. While his surrogates label opponents extreme, it’s hard to imagine anyone more zealous.

Let’s review. Mr. Obama took office with a congressional super-majority. He used it to pass a gigantic spending bill that, putting it kindly, fell flat.

He then muscled through a gargantuan but single-sided health care entitlement that hasn’t kept my insurance premiums from increasing 10 per cent a year since.

Then he signed an equally hefty financial system law (Dodd-Frank) that garnered precisely 5 Republican votes out of more than 230 Republicans in Congress at the time. Community banks are paying the price: higher compliance costs without the scale to lighten the load.

In late 2010, America voted to take away his congressional majority. But instead of finessing to the center, he forsook Congress and, by executive order, handed out treats to liberal constituencies:

The Defense of Marriage Act signed by President Bill Clinton would no longer be enforced. Neither would some federal immigration laws. Health insurers must provide free contraception.

Working together to solve problems is just not in his playbook. Pushing punishingly his far left agenda – now that’s his modus operandi.

The most telling line of last Wednesday’s debate was one of style, not substance. Moderator Jim Lehrer told Mr. Obama that his two minutes allotted for one response was over.

Obama, smirking:  “No, I think I had five seconds before you interrupted me.”

He proceeded to drone on for forty more seconds about Obamacare’s similarity to Governor Romney’s health care law in Massachusetts.

A little untruth mixed with doing what I want – that’s the story of his presidency.

Mr. Romney used the president’s long-windedness to highlight a distinct difference between the Massachusetts law and Obamacare: bi-partisan support.

Mr. Obama rarely looked Mr. Romney in the eye Wednesday night, even when the latter was speaking. Mr. Romney, however, engaged both verbally and non. Maybe that’s why his rebuttals were so persuasive.

For example, Mr. Obama bemoaned broken record style the tax break for oil and gas companies. Mr. Romney cogently retorted that the break costs taxpayers $2.8 billion a year, a fraction of the $90 billion Mr. Obama has spent on bankrupt green energy companies.

Romney: “I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers.”

And when Mr. Obama lauded the Cleveland Clinic’s health care efficiencies, Mr. Romney reminded him that the institution is a private enterprise.

It got so convincing at one point that Mr. Obama sought cover by aligning with Mr. Romney.

Obama: “…on Social Security, we’ve got a somewhat similar position. Social Security is structurally sound.”

Aside: When’s the last time you heard “Social Security” and “structurally sound” in the same sentence?

The ole cliché states that when all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail.

Likewise, when all you have is a redistributive economic philosophy, every problem is one 5% tax hike – or one government mandate – away from a solution.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. He can be reached at

1 Response to “Value of debates not debatable”

  1. 1 jessestroup October 15, 2012 at 14:02

    Kevin,  I am puzzled by this.  Why did you nor other journalists not pick up on President Obama’s answer to the question, ” What is the primary role of the President?”  Obama said, “the security of the people.”  Gov. Romney said ” to defend the Constitution of the United Sates.”  I believe Romney’s answer is correct, but it hardly caused a ripple or a comment that I heard.  That statement by Romney sounded very much like Ron Paul who wants the President to get back to what they should be doing. Jesse

    Jesse R. Stroup

    Director of Spiritual Care

    Lifeline Chaplaincy

    2777 Stemmons Place, Ste. 1020

    Dallas, TX 75207


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