The Debate: A Masterful Liar Defeats a Man Without Conviction (video)
Sr. Editor of The Real News Network Paul Jay invited York University professor Leo Panitch onto his show to discuss the first Presidential Election Debate, and why President Obama was virtually incapable of countering any of Romney’s gross misrepresentations:
JAY: So my headline take on the debate was Masterful Liar Beats Man without Conviction. What was your take?
PANITCH: Well, I thought Romney said one thing that was absolutely true, and President Obama agreed with it. And that was when Romney said, high-income people will do well whether I’m president or you are. I think that was the truest thing he said all night.
That said, he was full of cant and hypocrisy, although he pulled it off well because Obama was unable to present any vision of his own. The hypocrisy was astonishing when he said that Dodd–Frank protects banks ‘too big to fail’—these are known as systemically important financial institutions—and then in the next breath said this is going to harm middle-size banks. And, of course, would those banks fail, the whole point is they would bring down the middle-size banks with them. That’s why they’re systemically important.
It was astonishing that Obama was unable to respond to that. And he was unable to respond to it, because indeed he is so much in the pockets of the big banks and the banking system and is responsible for reproducing that system through this crisis. [...]
JAY: The reason I say, man without conviction, and obviously I mean President Obama, is on the campaign hustings, at least when he is amongst working people, he sounds like this kind of rallying, rabble-rousing, Left-winger, and he’s railing against the rich and all of this. In this debate he seemed to have no conviction about anything he said, except that he was trying to become more of a Republican than Romney, and then he got caught, because Romney was actually more a Democrat than Obama.
PANITCH: Yeah. It was such a weak defense of any alternative program, even the one that he stands for. It was an amazingly weak defense. And it was a constant attempt to stand on both sides of every issue. So when he said Clinton created 20 million jobs, in the same breath he said: and he created lots of millionaires in the process. So all along he was making this appeal to the middle class, hardly at all to those below the middle class.
And, of course, objectively what’s happening is that more and more people are being thrown out of it and have no prospect whatever of climbing into it. And it was just amazing that he should be presenting himself in a way that is—not only doesn’t offer a vision beyond the limited kind of Clintonomics, but a vision that is even defending what he has done. [...]