“I will slap you so super hard” and other post-debate thoughts

Click on the photo to watch the clip

I normally don’t watch the Presidential debates, mostly because I end up yelling at the tv too much, but with two teenagers in the house it’s important to let them see our political process at work. (Remembering, of course, that we’ve become a two party system that has economically excluded any potential third parties.) As we watched the almost a slugfest last night (my money’s on Obama if they start throwing bones), I couldn’t help but laugh at Mitt Romney’s answer regarding China.

I’ll admit that I like Barack Obama. I think he’s intelligent, pragmatic, and he has a vision. I also understand why people don’t like him. He has a definite plan and he works hard to put that plan into practice. Romney, in some ways, is caught in a bind: he wants to both blame Obama for dangerous policies while also arguing the President hasn’t done enough to solve the economic crisis.

But, I’ll also admit that I have no idea why anyone would vote for Romney. He had multiple opportunities last night to explain with specifics how his tax plan adds up. Obama: “The math doesn’t add up.” Romney: “Yes it does. I’ve balanced a budget. Trust me.” Throughout the night, my 15 year old son, a child who admitted he doesn’t understand all the issues, would just smile and note “The guy is going in circles.” (And, as many are pointing out, contradicting himself. I hope everyone noted the moment he pledged his support for planned parenthood and endorsed universal healthcare.)

No exchange captured Romney for me better than the question about China. Foreign policy is a complex blend of toughness, diplomacy, and trickery. It’s a long-game that often plays like chess. File a free trade suit here, pass a sanction there, change an import policy here, and then hope in 10 years things are working. To pretend otherwise is naive. I’ll never pretend to be an expert and don’t expect a president to be an absolute expert. That’s why we appoint a Secretary of State. I do, however, expect a president with a cogent foreign policy philosophy.

Obama tells us he’s filed suits, impacted the currency rate, imposed sanctions. Romney, characteristically, tells us he will get tough. How, one might ask? By getting tough because he knows how to get tough. Like his tax plan, we are just supposed to take it on faith: how do we know he will balance the budget? Because he has balanced budgets before, or course. But what, Mr. Romney, about that pesky opposition party that doesn’t agree with your plan? Or, what about that Chinese government that might not just bow down and respect the fact that you saved the Olympics? I guess he can just raise his hand and slap them so super hard they will respect his authoritah!

By the way, Trey Parker and Matt Stone for president! I’m starting a write in campaign. We just need a SuperPac.

Advertisements

About John Wegner
John Wegner is a Professor of English where he also serves as the Dean of the Freshman College. He and Lana, his wife, have been married over 25 years. They are the parents of two great sons who (so far) haven't ever needed bail money.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Things I Read

And Things I Learned

Washington Monthly

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Joanne Jacobs

Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs

Inside Higher Ed

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

FiveThirtyEight

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Balloon Juice

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Scott Adams' Blog

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

%d bloggers like this: