Nancy is a member of the Junior State of America (JSA), a student-run political awareness organization for high school students.
When loyal followers of the campaign trail tuned in to watch the presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney unfold, we were in for a big surprise. Obama arrived as promised, but the whereabouts of our dear Republican candidate were unknown. Obama was prepared to debate with Romney's right-wing campaign but was instead confronted by a win-at-all-costs centrist Romney, who reversed many of his positions to garner support for his campaign.
Worst of all, Romney blatantly contradicted himself throughout the debate. Romney repeatedly promised that he would construct 'bipartisan policies' if elected, to bridge the gap in a hyper partisan congress. Meanwhile, he relentlessly pushed for non-Democratic tax breaks that will only exacerbate the debt crisis and cause increased tensions between the two parties. Both Romney's contradictions and his policy reversals are cheap tricks being employed by the Romney campaign to win the election, their his last chance and dirtiest maneuver.
This is something that Obama needs to emphasize. Romney's magical spells won't be enchanting to Americans when they realize that it misses one key ingredient: feasibility.
At a time when our nation is $15 trillion in debt -- a number that will grow by $1 trillion each year if government spending is maintained -- Romney persistently told Obama and the audience that tax breaks were a feasible option, with little to no reliable evidence backing up his claims.
Individual taxes are arguably the most significant source of the government's revenue, yet Romney proposed cutting all income tax rates by one-fifth while keeping middle-income tax burdens minimal. When asked where he would save money in order to compensate for this loss, Romney immediately turned to "closing loopholes" and crossing his fingers for "economic growth." But the Tax Policy Center reported on August 16, 2012 that even if Romney's plan faces the most favorable circumstances possible (all loopholes closed, economic growth present), it would still engender higher tax cuts from the rich that undeniably burdens lower income households. But these are facts Romney conveniently leaves out of his misleading speeches to the American public.
I can almost sympathize with Obama's weary expression during the debate. Romney is trying to sell ideas that separately seem very appealing -- eliminating estate tax, eliminating alternative minimum tax, cutting income tax rates, and maintaining revenue neutrality -- but together attempt to achieve too much. I take Calculus BC and I still can't resolve the discrepancies.
Yet at the conclusion of the debate, a CNN poll revealed that 67 percent of pollers deemed Romney victorious. In an attempt to look presidential, Obama came off as distant and professorial, whereas Romney seemed more energetic, more articulate, and less engrossed by the podium. Centrist Romney was able to distract from the very real consequences of Right Wing Romney's tax plans.
In 2008, when Obama defended what would become the Affordable Care Act against John McCain, he was also vague about the finances of the plan. Yet Americans bought into Obamacare because its cause was morally sound and noble: to make healthcare available to everyone. So in order for Obama to win this time around, he has to aggressively remove any moral appeal of Romney's abstract plan. Luckily, it is rather easy to melt Romney's centrist mask off: The Tax Policy Center's "best case scenario" data decisively confirms that Romney's plan doesn't favor Americans so much as it favors rich and privileged Americans.
Lastly, Obama should hope that Paul Ryan is caught off guard by this new Romney. Paul Ryan, chosen as vice president to appeal to strong right-wings, is in an awkward place when his captain has gone centrist on him. In the vice presidential debate, it would be wise of Joe Biden to emphasize this sudden change of attitude.
Romney's tax plan may be the key to his victory if Obama continues to allow the public to be deceived. In the next debates, Obama needs to aggressively confront Romney's tax plan if he wants to save Big Bird and serious government programs from Romney's wizardry. Obama's professorial calmness won't rile up voters any more. Americans have heard his content repeatedly. Now Obama needs to give us more to hang on to and attack the Republican party with. We've seen Smart Obama. Now it's time for Daring Obama, the Obama that faces his people--not his podium.