President Barack Obama Wins Reelection

So America has spoken and Barack Obama has been re-elected as president of the United States of America. With President Obama being re-elected, there is still no mandate for Congress with the House in the Republicans’ hands and the Senate in the Democrats’ hands. After all is said and done, and for this post-election analysis this week, we are going to talk about what we believe each campaign has learned along the trail and what this win means going forward, no special nod to Democrats intended, for this country. Also, what does it mean for a Congress once again as divided as it was the past two years?

By Emily Cox

Today we are victorious.

Well, sort of. As Obama made his election-night remarks, I found myself filled with a type of patriotism and pride that is greater than any I have experienced during the last few campaign months. The entire world watched this election. What a great feeling must have overwhelmed Obama as he appeared onstage to the tremendous shouts and cries of his thousands of loyal supporters at his Chicago headquarters. As his speech ended, I turned to my roommate, opened my arms in exclamation, and gleefully proclaimed, “I’m so inspired right now!” Perhaps this was just the result of fervor from success and the President’s speechmaking prowess. For whatever reason, the Democrats are rightly celebrating. But it’s imperative that we remember: We cannot get caught up in the success of the election and forget about the great work ahead. We have a lame-duck Congress. Democrats will maintain their Senate majority, while Republicans will control the House for the at least two years and probably longer —the Republicans’ 40-member edge (and, of course, that same deficit for Democrats ) will not likely shift in a single election. What’s more, there is no super-majority in the United States Senate, which requires 60 seats for either party to overcome a filibuster. Unless Obama can work effectively to unite both parties within the House and the Senate, we will not see the improvements and forward movement that the President so greatly desires.

It’s hard to forget all the crises we saw during the last Presidential term due to the partisan gridlock in Congress, and it’s likely not a phenomenon that will go away anytime soon. The debt ceiling issue of 2011 is a perfect example of how everything can very nearly go terribly wrong for America simply because our Congressmen play party politics. Obama has never been great about schmoozing with Republicans, and this is possibly one of his greatest inefficiencies in office. He is straightforward and often doesn’t see the need for the politeness, pleasantries, and socializing that were undertaken by successful former presidents, such as Bill Clinton. Obama said last night, “In the future months, I am looking forward to reaching out to leaders of both parties.” Glaringly, President Obama needs to mend his relationship with Speaker Boehner if he wishes to ever unite with the Republican Party on bipartisan issues. The President has to realize that reaching across party lines must include building true relationships, even friendships, with members of the other party. Likewise, the Republicans have to truly be enactors of compromise. Over the past four years, Republicans in Congress have been set on a selfish agenda to discredit Obama’s administration at the cost of our nation’s success. Hopefully, this agenda will finally be retired and choices based on the needs of the American people will be made.

The election also taught both the Republican and the Democratic parties a good deal about modern politics. Many social barriers were crossed that would have been impossible to overcome in past decades. We saw a Mormon on the Republican ticket, and a President-elect who openly supports gay marriage. From both sides, we saw a greater focus on women’s issues throughout the campaign season. Too, we saw dwindling Republican support in many areas of the country due to changing ethnic identities and subsequent feelings of alienation.  The nationwide Presidential constituency is changing; eight years ago we saw a population that was 77 percent white, while we now see a population that is 72 percent white and shrinking more each year. In states like Nevada, this evolving population found a defining voice in the election and had a positive effect on Obama’s success. Areas of the nation supporting the Democratic Party are expanding and growing in population, while Republican support is stagnant. I believe this election has shown us that if the Republican Party wants to remain a viable competitor in American politics on a national scale, it will be forced to reevaluate its party platforms and campaign tactics in coming years.

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” was playing as President Obama walked on stage to give his victory speech. It was a lighthearted and fun choice of music, but it also reminded me that true victory is far from sealed and delivered. For Obama to truly be victorious, he must act to deliver his promises of growing prosperity, economic stability, and social equality. To do this he is tasked with uniting Congress. Good luck, Mr. President.

By Collier Roberts

Well, I can honestly say that I am appalled with what has happened in the past day. I knew that it could go either way, but knowing what Obama has done for this country, or failed to do,  and how the American people have responded is baffling to me. From the beginning, we have learned a lot about the American people, at least the majority (that voted for Obama). Actually, I did not learn anything new, just had reaffirmed my belief that the average American doesn’t realize what this is going to do/has done for this country: nothing. That’s not to mention that in nationwide exit polls, 53 percent of voters still blame George W. Bush for the current state of the economy. Are you kidding me? If that doesn’t scream ignorant, I don’t know what does, and it goes to show that Obama didn’t win on policy —  he won on popularity, once again.

The Obama administration mastered the art of campaigning throughout this race. Obama and his team were so successful because they somehow managed to pretty much delete his record from his campaign and still have that “celebrity” popularity status. I honestly don’t get it. What happened last night says so much about this country, and I can tell you right now, it is not good. By reelecting President Obama, we have told the world that we want more handouts. We don’t want to work for an honest wage, but rather stay on food stamps and get a welfare check every month. We would be better off just blaming the rich for all of our problems and asking them to give more while we keep complaining until we get what we want. Well, good news, you got it. You get healthcare run by the government, which is going to be incredibly deficient, and you get more and more of your taxpayer dollars spent on investing in things such as green energy and other alternatives.

We find ourselves in the exact same position as we did back in 2010: gridlocked. There have been no positive changes. The deficit hasn’t changed, the number of people on food stamps hasn’t changed, the unemployment rate hasn’t changed, college tuition isn’t getting cheaper, more students are applying for grants. I repeat, nothing has changed. If we continue the path we are on, which seems to be the case, we will reach over $22 trillion dollars in debt. Just think about that and what it will do to our country. The debt kept rising the last four years and President Obama had no solutions, so what is going to be different this time around? All I know is that if he can’t reach across party lines, which takes Republican cooperation as well, then the majority of Americans will soon realize that they made a huge mistake. We can’t just keep putting off our problems for another four years, and we saw last night that Americans still bought into the cheap Obama high that returned from 2008.

All of that being said, I can enjoy some victories. The House remained in the hands of the Republicans with John Boehner still as the ring leader. The governor of North Carolina (my home state) is finally in the hands of Pat McCrory. He took office after a horrible four years of a lady who was elected purely off the straight-ticket Democratic vote in 2008 because of Obama. Also, my neighbor and longtime family friend was victorious in his race for N.C. Court of Appeals Judge. And last but not least, Dr. Jim Fulghum, to whom I am related, won his race for N.C. House. So, even though we lost the war, we did win some small battles that hit close to home for me.

John Boehner is going to have to emerge as the bigger man over the next four years, because all we have to go on by is what Obama has done in the past, and that has proven to be unsuccessful. In order to get out of this mess, we are going to have to make serious changes and cuts, and that requires Obama and Boehner to do a heck of a lot more than before. I don’t think people realize that in just 54 days when the Bush tax code expires we are in serious trouble. Stay tuned.

The Time Has Come

The day that America has been waiting for is finally approaching, and for this week, we are going to give our final predictions for the outcome of the election come Tuesday, November 6. With all that has happened, each candidate has had their high’s and low’s on the campaign trail, so here are our views on what is going to happen in less than four days.

Make sure to comment with your thoughts and questions!

By Emily Cox

On Thursday night, early voting in Tennessee closed. Now Election Day is looming in the very near future. I’m quite excited to glue myself to the couch Tuesday evening and flip through news channels as the results begin to stream in late that evening. I’m sure that at some point I will call my mom, a poll worker, to get a firsthand account of my hometown election. But there isn’t much else for me to look forward to besides the results. The excitement of Election Day is partially over for me. Earlier in the week, I rounded up a stamp and mailed my absentee ballot so I could vote in my first-ever Presidential election. I’m proud to proclaim I didn’t toe any party line on my ballot, although I’d say it’s overtly obvious who received my vote for President.

For many Americans unlike myself, the voting process is far from over. And because of that, I’m doing my best to keep up with voter polls and early election results. Unexcitingly, the election outcome in many states is already predetermined. The Northeast will turn a magnificent shade of blue, as will the West Coast, giving Obama the gift of a whopping 55 electoral votes from California alone. Tennessee will inevitably go red, as will the entirety of the South, save perhaps North Carolina or Virginia. North Carolina seems to be leaning more Conservative at this late point – 49%/47% in favor of Romney – but there are always Election Day upsets. I’m willing to bet that Virginia goes blue for Obama, and after his excellently witty “Romnesia” speech at George Mason University, I can see why Virginian Democrats are successfully rallying the troops.  Florida is always a key swing state, but my prediction is that it too will follow other Southern states and vote Conservative. Earlier in the election there was essentially a tie in that state, but most of the latest voter polls indicate that Romney is pulling ahead. Last, we must not forget Ohio, which is almost certainly Obama’s state this year.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell who has accurate information about the election. Nationally, Gallup says Obama is up by three points; Pew says Romney is leading by three points. Many predictions indicate a very close race, but I believe the Democratic lead will be comfortable. My prediction map shows the president winning 290-248. There have been worries about elections in the Northeast, where Hurricane Sandy has affected some communities and polling places. There may be a lower voter turnout in these states, but we have to remember that lower turnout does not indicate a different vote-share proportion. Electoral votes from the Northeast will still be going to Obama.

The Obama campaign has had its high and low points. Personally, my favorite speech of the entire season was Obama’s “Romnesia” rally, which took place shortly after the last debate. It was humorous and allowed Obama to showcase his personality in a way that often doesn’t come through in debate and other public appearances. But the speech wasn’t just lighthearted, wasted words. It also allowed the President to point out major boons he has procured for the American public while in office, such as across the board health coverage for individuals with preexisting medical conditions.

On the other hand, I would be the first to admit that perhaps Obama was too confident in his campaigning abilities and winning personality when going into the first debate. He made the mistake of dismissing his opponent as unthreatening, and he paid the price by giving a mediocre performance and underutilizing a valuable resource for gathering votes. I’ve also been disappointed with factual discrepancies from both campaigns, especially in attack comments against the other candidate. But I suppose this is a product of any election, and I won’t judge the candidates too harshly for it. Americans have the ability to fact check, so informed voters will hopefully see past statements that are not valid.

As a whole, I think the debates have been a great success for Obama because they point out the consistency we see in our president. His performance has varied, but his platform has not. He has unvaryingly expressed his detailed plans for tax reform, health care, job creation, energy independence, and foreign policy. There is no danger in discovering another face of Barrack Obama; who he was in the past, he is today. As a young college graduate, he was a community organizer – an advocate for underserved and overlooked populations on Chicago’s South Side. He was later a civil rights lawyer, a professor, and a Senator. He has spent his life in public service, and he understands and advocates for the side of America that Mitt Romney has never experienced. I think this is his most attractive quality in the eyes of the average American citizen.

I believe that far beyond what principles we claim and words we spout, our choices and actions are the best indicators of where our values lay. And this is exactly why Obama is going to sweep Romney in Tuesday’s election.

By Collier Roberts

So here we go, ladies and gentlemen. There are fewer than four days left in the 2012 United States presidential election between incumbent Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney, and the race is closer than ever before. Next Tuesday, in contrast to that Tuesday back in 2008, will not be anywhere close to an “in-the-bag” victory for President Obama. Throughout this campaign, Romney has had his share of ups and downs, but when it comes down to it, voters have made up their minds and come Tuesday, I think many people are going to be surprised.

What America needs to realize is that next Tuesday, it is going to come down to the independents. Polls will be polls and predictions will be predictions, but since the projected outcome has gone back and forth too often these past weeks, it is impossible to tell what is going to happen Nov. 6. Everyone predicted that Obama was more than likely going to take the lead and run with it, but when the debates rolled around, those who were on the fence about Romney and Ryan were encouraged to see how presidential Romney was already becoming. The debates showed America that Romney wasn’t going to back down in his fight for the White House, and no matter how much Obama redeemed himself — or failed to — people are going to remember how Obama fell hard in that first debate. Emily did a great job in pointing out the predictions by state and region as they relate to the Electoral College representation. As she noted, it is hard to tell who is accurate when it comes to those predictions. All we have is Nov. 6 on the horizon, and at this point anything can happen.

Romney has capitalized in every way that he could have, with the exception of a few times, but the media has unfortunately masked a lot of the issues of the serious mishaps of the Obama administration. With all of the information we have on the consulate attack in Benghazi, America has been lied to and cheated because of the media and their “covering-up” of sorts with the incident. Romney, unfortunately, did not capitalize on this in the debates, and this won’t be a deterring factor for Obama and his team. That is not OK, in my opinion. Obama, as much as Democrats will not admit, has run his campaign on blame. Do we want the leader of the free world to mask his own mistakes with blame? From the beginning, Romney has outlined his plan for America, and Obama has outlined his plan by deferring.

Another highlight of Romney’s campaign was his lighthearted comedic speech at the Al Smith Dinner, a white-tie event that is a fundraiser for Catholic Charities USA and a perennial stop on the campaign trail for the two major party presidential candidates. The two candidates sat on either side of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York. I know Romney nailed his debates, but he seriously nailed this speech. I didn’t know he could joke like that, and all the while taking stabs at President Obama were valid and got the audience engaged. The dinner wasn’t meant to be a serious campaign rally or anything like that, but what Romney did was incredible and had a bigger positive impact than people might think.

When it comes down to it, Mitt Romney has proved himself to be the best candidate for the job of the president of the United States. He is a businessman and knows how to create a strong economy and a prosperous future for America that Obama has fallen short on numerous times. When you can’t get the job done, it is time to hand off the baton and let someone else do it, and that someone else is Gov. Mitt Romney. On Nov. 6, Mitt Romney will get the vote that will allow him to Romney take office and get America back to the great nation that has been lost, but will be found again under the Romney-Ryan administration. So in closing, my final prediction is that we are going to see Mitt Romney win by a much larger margin than the polls are predicting. Independents know they have the upper hand right now, and because of Romney’s past as a politician, businessman and candidate for president, he will take the victory come Tuesday and restore the greatest country in the world. God bless Mitt Romney in these final days, and God bless the United States of America.


Donald Trump’s “MAJOR” Announcement

This past Wednesday, the ever-so popular or controversial (whichever way you look at it) Donald Trump made a $5 million offer to President Obama to release all of his college applications, transcripts and passport history. In return, if done by Obama to Trump’s satisfaction (of course), he will donate $5 million to the charity of Obama’s choice. Let’s not forget this is the same man that was at the center of the whole “birther” controversy, questioning whether the president was born in the United States. On Monday, Trump made an announcement to announce that he would make another announcement Wednesday.   Not many people knew or seemed to care,  but Trump insisted that it was major and people should listen up. I don’t think anyone was really surprised either way. You might be asking what effect this has on the election. I can tell you right now, it doesn’t. You might also be asking why Trump is still stuck on this notion that Obama is withholding information from the public. Even if this is true, it’s irrelevant. Every party has its radicals, and this promised October “bombshell” announcement stopped at that. I mean, come on, Trump. We are less than two weeks away from the election, and I can just about guarantee you that Obama’s college and passport records are the furthest thing from any voters mind. But leave it up to Mr. Trump to bring it to light. The problem is that no one really considers this an issue except Trump. Give it up. I am all about the candidates being honest, but if this was supposed to help Romney’s chance of winning, Trump fell short. The same thing happened with Romney and the Democrats wanting him to release his tax records. Even though neither of them have come forward with information yet, is anyone THAT worried? I don’t think so. At the end of the day, Republicans don’t really care and Democrats definitely don’t care, so the campaigns can just go on about their business in my opinion. If Obama feels so inclined to release them, then various charities will greatly benefit. If not, then they won’t. That might sound ill-willed on the part of the president, but at the end of the day it will not make or break the president’s chances for re-election. Both candidates have bigger fish to fry in the closing days of the campaign.

The Third & Final Presidential Debate (October 22, 2012)

Last night we saw Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama go head-to-head one last time before the final two weeks on this campaign trail. Based on all that was debated last night, we decided to discuss how each candidate approached his views on foreign policy and how they portrayed that to the American people. What separated these two last night?

Leave a comment or question!

By Emily Cox

As an International Politics major, I generally love studying foreign policy. I find the intricacies fascinating, especially the focus on personal relationship building between heads of state. I have often argued that the president has little real power without the support of Congress, but foreign policy is the one area that deviates from this reality. The president is the face of America, and often his words and actions are the only standard that foreign states have upon which to base their opinions of the United States. America must have a head of state who is not only strong in his or her intellectual understanding of foreign policy, but who is also likeable and works to create rapport with other nations.
There were many important areas of discussion in last night’s debate, and the two candidates presented nearly identical stances on many foreign issues. Both President Obama and Governor Romney agreed serious sanctions must be continued against Iran, and both vocally favored the continued use of drones in our present conflicts abroad. However, one conversation did stand out to me as determinedly telling. Romney’s dismissal of Obama’s 2009 tour in the Middle East as an “Apology Tour” revealed more about the governor’s outlook on foreign relations than it did about Obama’s supposed critique of the United States. Romney has been consistently dismissive of relationship
building with the Middle East, and certain other areas of the world. Who can forget his statement about the impossibility of peace between Palestine and Israel? In last night’s debate, he argued that America’s enemies saw weakness in the Obama administration because the president “sat down with all the world’s worst actors in his first year.” Yes, Obama met with Chavez, Castro, and Kim Jong-Il. Should he have ignored these world actors and left them to their own vices? Surely Romney has heard the expression, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”
Creating diplomatic relationships with other countries is the president’s job. Romney’s condemnation of Obama’s Middle East tour shows the limited value he places on building relationships across the globe. Notably, President Obama makes no apologies for the foreign relations he pursues. He made it clear in last night’s debate that his goal in foreign policy is to promote peace and democracy throughout the world. America simply cannot do this if we do not maintain a working and amiable relationship with all other countries – not just those easiest to get along with. The issue of foreign policy is a complex matter, but it is also one in which President Obama displays consistency and

By Collier Roberts

The third and final debate last night ended a great run by Governor Mitt Romney as he heads into the final days of the election. It didn’t really matter who won the debate last night, because I do believe Romney did what he needed to do in the first two debates to solidify the plan he has laid out for America to take, and not leave to President Obama. Last night’s debate proved to be a little taxing for Romney, because when you are debating the commander in chief and haven’t had the opportunity to influence foreign policy, the incumbent usually takes control. While this may have been the case last night, Obama’s arguments didn’t line up.

Numerous times Romney pointed out that having a weak economy directly correlates with how our foreign policy is carried out. Obama criticized Romney for being “all over the board” when it comes to foreign policy, not to mention interrupting him, exclaiming that various points Romney made were simply “not true.” Here is the issue: Obama agreed that a weak economy is threatening our security around the world. He also believes that we should start focusing a little more on our own front and let other countries essentially do it by themselves. But when our economy is $16 trillion in the tank, how can you argue that we are keeping America safe and diplomatically sound when you also argue that a bad economy threatens our security? It doesn’t line up, and the president has put us in that situation.

One question that I think Bob Schieffer missed the mark on, thus doing  a disservice to voters, was on Libya. That was the first question of the debate, but somehow it went to a discussion on 9/11 and Al-Qaeda very quickly.  How can you ignore the FACT that the president and his administration withheld information from the American people about the devastating incident in Benghazi and Ambassador Stevens? They knew it had nothing to do with that YouTube video and was a terrorist attack from the beginning. Additionally, it is clear that the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his staff sent requests weeks before his death for more security because of the rising uproar there. Romney had a perfect chance to show America that we are weaker aboard because of President Obama. Radicals across the Middle East are burning our flag and it’s all over the news. That is one of many examples showing Obama’s unraveling foreign policy.

The 2nd Presidential Debate (October 16th, 2012)

Last night Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama went toe-to-toe for a second time in the presidential town-hall debate held at Hofstra University. Both candidates took questions from the audience on hot-button issues that have plagued America from the attacks in Benghazi to pay equity for women. For this post, we are looking at one particular question that was asked towards the beginning of the debate. The question was: “Your energy secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it’s not policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?” How did the candidates tackle this issue on energy and how were their responses in regards to gas prices/oil production, etc.?

By Emily Cox

Obama’s strength in energy policy lies in his direct focus on the future. The President brings to the table a balanced approach that is forward-looking and moderate, while Romney is content to champion the same energy policies that have been trademarks of the Republican Party for decades. Obama is also not afraid to stand out in his own party.
He reaches across the table and allows that he supports and advocates for the continuation of clean coal production. Many Democrat activists want to see the coal industry die permanently, but by reaching across the aisle and championing moderate policies, Obama can gain wider support for his energy policy as a whole. After all, his focus on efficiency and sustainability in the energy sector is quite reasonable.

Many voters are concerned that Obama has not done enough to address the exorbitant and continually rising cost of oil. However, there is no easy fix for this problem. When Romney compared the price of gasoline at the start of Obama’s administration to the price of gasoline now, he gave the President the perfect opening to explain his
forward-looking policies. Achieving sustainability in energy takes time. Obama is not chiefly concerned with lowering gas prices immediately, because this will not create lasting sustainability and constant affordability. Instead, Obama wants to change the face of
American energy reliance so that we control our own energy.

In part, this has already happened under the Obama administration, as the United States is now seeing some of the highest oil and natural gas production rates in decades. However, the President is concerned with more than just traditional energy sources. During the debate he said, “We’ve got to control our own energy, you know, not only oil and natural gas, which we’ve been investing in, but also we’ve got to make sure we’re building the energy sources of the future . . . that’s why we’ve invested in solar and wind and biofuels, energy-efficient cars.” This is where the most difference can be seen between Obama and Romney, concerning their respective energy policies. While Romney is quick to ensure voters that he is not opposed to alternative energy sources, he is not willing to give them the same backing and support that the President does. Obama does not simply allow solar and wind energy to exist, he invests in these industries. The same is true for the biofuel and automobile sectors. The President is seeking to find energy efficiency in non-traditional industries so that over time our oil dependency and demand will be lowered.

Romney and Obama both agree that we should be importing less oil and becoming more self-sustaining, but Obama’s policies are truly forward-moving, while Romney’s policies are the same ones that we have seen throughout past Republican presidencies. Instead of creating more oil pipelines, the United States must work towards developing alternative energy sources and energy efficiency, which in turn will create continued sustainability. We must always support reliable traditional energy sources, but any real gains we make in the energy
sector can only come from looking towards the future.

By Collier Roberts

Mitt Romney is a businessman and knows exactly what it takes for a successful economy that gives people a chance to invest and creates opportunity for all Americans. We are talking about energy this week, and I firmly believe that Romney knows exactly what we need as a country to become energy-independent, and that is what he is promising. When it comes to this aspect of our economy, Obama’s future-minded approach is what is hurting us. Him and Romney are both for becoming more and more independent so we are not relying so heavily on the middle east and other places for our oil. We have what it takes on our own soil to get us completely independent, but the president refuses to allow that to become a reality. He is about clean and green energy investments. He takes pride in America being a top clean energy investor. Not one word in that statement alludes to prosperity, just more money being spent. Some $90 billion of the stimulus package went to clean energy investments, and the majority of those investments have yielded little to no return and/or bankruptcy.

We need to take initiative in what we have and we know will be able to sustain us. This is one of the few tangible aspects of our nation that everyone knows will create jobs and lower gas prices, it is so simple, but yet the president rejects this notion and wants to spend more tax payer dollars on things for the future. The problem with that is if we keep this future minded approach, we will just keep/and we have kept adding debt to this country with nothing to show for it. We do need to have investments in energy of the future, but $90 billion? Our economy is very close to taking a seriously horrific turn for the worst, so why not do all we can to save it? One of the ways we can do that, a plan that Romney is proposing, is to become completely energy self-sufficient.

Why America doesn’t understand this is beyond me. The sooner people realize that spending more and more money on what we think might happen in the future will be more and more detrimental, the better. That “better” is Mitt Romney’s plan for energy independence by the end of the decade. He has never stated that he wants to completely ignore the future of green energy, but rather focusing on what we can do in the here and now to get this economy back on its feet. Think of an America where going to the pump will put money back into this economy, and helping us rather than adding more burdens to the tab. Mitt Romney believes in sustaining and becoming more and more efficient with the resources America has.

Romney continued his agressive approach in the debate, except for this time it probably got overshadowed because Obama decided to show up and defend his policies. But I am not convinced that this debate did anything for the Obama camp, but rather showed that he did what a sitting president should do in a debate, and that is to challenge and be agressive as well. In regards to the economy, which proves to be the hot button issue right now, Romney is continuing to take charge for real change and a plan for a more prosperous next four years.


Vice Presidential Debate (October 11th, 2012)

Our apologies for the delayed post, but this week are including both the vice presidential debate from last week, and the presidential debate that will happen tonight (post to come within the next two days).

Our topic for the analysis on the vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan deals with the two most important groups that will more than likely decide the election in November— that is the independents and the women of this country. So looking back on Thursday night’s debate, how did each candidate do as far as communicating the issues to these particular groups in hopes of conveying that their plan was best for this country’s future?

Make sure you leave a comment with thoughts and/or questions and tune in at the end of the week where we will be covering the second of three presidential debates!

By Emily Cox

I couldn’t have had a more entertaining Thursday evening. The vice-presidential debate that took place at Centre College in Kentucky was surprisingly engaging and even amusing at times. Immediately after the debate, reporters likened the dynamic between Biden and Ryan to that of a father and son: quarrelsome but in general good-natured, with each party convinced of the rightness of their own ideas. And unlike the candidates during the presidential debate last week, these vice-presidential hopefuls weren’t afraid to actually debate. By the end of the debate, I was impressed by the fact that either candidate could be a successful vice-president.

Hundreds of thousands of viewers across the nation likely shared this sentiment, and for last night’s candidates, swaying those viewers could mean the difference between success and defeat. It’s the votes of people that have an undecided mindset that Biden and Ryan (and Obama and Romney) want so badly. If you study the political system in America, you know the importance of independent voters. The split between the Democratic and Republican parties is often close to 50/50, so several hundred thousand undecided voters from smaller parties in key swing states could potentially decide the winner of the election.

Another important group that both the Democratic and Republican parties are trying to win the favor of is women. Significantly more women are registered to vote than men in most states. Overall, in 2008, over 10 million more women voted than men. Even more importantly, men tend to make up their minds faster than women during every election cycle, so many of the independent voters are also women. This means that women are valuable because they are more likely than men to vote and they are also more likely than men to be undecided.

I am confident that in last night’s debate, Biden was successful at capturing the attention of both women and independent voters. What will bring Biden the support of these groups is that he was specific about his future goals if reelected. One of the characterizations of both of these groups is that they are often highly informed about political issues and typically more engaged in the election process than other voters. In the debate alone, I felt that both Biden and Ryan were excellent competitors and the performance effectively ended in a draw.

However, based on the issues discussed, Biden defended and accurately elaborated on his positions far more effectively than did Ryan. At one point, Biden declared, “I always say what I mean.” Indeed, he wasn’t afraid of calling out Ryan several times after the opponent made misleading remarks. He also was not afraid to elaborate on issues such as future plans for Medicare, clearing up misconceptions about  $716 billion being “taken” from this program in order to fund Obamacare (The $716 is actually savings that will stem from lower healthcare provider and insurer reimbursements). He was confident in explaining the mechanisms that will make the national healthcare plan successful, and most critically he was transparent about issues such as taxes. He gave a specific plan of action for creating a tax system that will give more relief to the middle class, explaining that he wants to permanently extend the middle class tax cut that was created under the Bush presidency, while he would let the tax cut for people making a minimum of $1 million expire. This was a concrete example of how the Obama/Biden presidency wants to work to reform taxes. On the other hand, Ryan simply talked of closing loopholes and could only present a framework for change and no authentic example of what that change would actually look like.

Voters can see through evasive tactics, especially undecided voters who have a vested interest in finding out who is truthful and straightforward. Biden did a superb job of putting Ryan on the spot so that the candidates’ plans could be compared. At the end of the hour-and-a-half, Biden had presented much more concrete evidence that his administration has a plan for success in office.  This is what those important groups – women and undecided voters – are looking for when they make the final decision of who will gain their vote. Well played, Biden.

By Collier Roberts

After all was said and done Thursday, I think it is safe to say that many of the expectations of this vice-presidential debate, more or less, were met. Vice President Joe Biden did what most people expected him to do. As we saw from the first presidential debate, President Obama really left a lot on the table and just as everyone suspected, Biden cleaned it up and went on the offense. On the contrary, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan had to keep the fire going from Mitt Romney’s performance last week, and I think he performed/reacted to Biden just as many thought he would. Biden, being the charismatic man he is, took advantage of his experience/service and showed his true colors Thursday night, but in my opinion, came down as disrespectful and inconsiderate. He interrupted Ryan some eighty-five times and let’s not forget Biden’s continuous smirks and sometimes right-out laugh opposing Ryan and his explanations. When you are debating your opponent for a position like vice president, I would expect whomever that is, to respect and be cordial, even if your views are polarized opposite.

All that being said, I think that the format of this debate allowed for Biden to just run the tables. He, being the sitting vice president, had all he needed and this format was just a catalyst. That being said, both Ryan and Biden, maybe even more so than Obama, made their case for themselves and their candidates, if elected, and I believe did so effectively. But did Biden’s “know-it-all” attitude really help his ticket? Everyone knows that the vice presidential debates usually have little, if any, affect on the outcome of the race, but if anyone is going to change their minds after this debate, it will be independents and women.

If there are two groups that are extremely vital to either party’s road to victory, it is the independents and women, especially in the swing states. So who communicated the issues to those groups better in this debate. It was Paul Ryan. Yeah, Biden was in control and commanded the debate, but was something as trivial as his demeanor towards Ryan detrimental to the Obama-Biden ticket? Absolutely. Ryan was targeting independents throughout the whole night, or at least was doing so when Biden wasn’t condescendingly degrading him. He was cordial and spoke with dignity, and independents and women a like saw that. It is simple math. Everyone, women especially, appreciate men who act with respect.

Demeanors aside, Paul Ryan took what Romney had left him from last week and just extended his explanations of policy, both foreign and domestic. In regards to foreign, Ryan took the offense on Libya and the notions that Obama Administration misled the American people in the attacks in Benghazi, and in short criticized the lack of knowledge on how to move forward in Syria, Israel and Iran. On the middle class and the tax reform fight the two had, Ryan was articulate and unwavering to the American people on the Romney-Ryan plan for a prosperous economy. There was much scrutiny over Ryan’s apparent lack of explanation of middle-class tax relief. The framework is there, but the details are not, at least that is what Biden and the democrats argue. What people don’t realize is that that there is an unending list of loopholes to the tax codes, which if closed up will significantly decrease the deficit, and that the Romney-Ryan ticket IS going to lessen the tax burden on middle-income Americans. Their across the board 20 percent cut will give the middle-class incentive to invest and create more small businesses and jobs, and hire more people which will put more and more money back into the economy, closing the deficit. In short, the tax debate consisted of Biden relaying to the American people that middle class taxes will be lower and those are rich, or making more than $1 million as he put it, would contribute more.  But the White House stands by that those making $250,000 or more will be taxed higher, so why not explain that? Romney and Ryan will provide a $5 trillion tax cut from just using common sense with regulation, closing loopholes, and by letting American’s do what they do best, create and invest.

So in closing, I think Paul Ryan did his job in being very articulate and unwavering in his arguments and positions against Joe Biden. At the end of the day, if you already liked Joe Biden, then this debate just reaffirmed that and got you pumped. But for those who didn’t (most likely independents and most women), you were left thinking how little you learned about what the Obama-Biden ticket is going to do differently about getting us (independents and women) back to work with the most benefits possible. They say that Romney and Ryan can’t do it, but the Obama administration has had four years, two of which they had control of the house and senate, but still didn’t come through for the American people, independents and women being right at the top of those. While we won’t be able to cover the vast amount of issues and differences between the two tickets, both continue to go at each other to win over these key votes in swing states. Thursday’s vice presidential debate re-excited the democratic base from Obama’s flat-footed performance, but Ryan’s gentlemanly and articulate explanation, gave women and independents a reason to go vote red come November 6.

Welcome to VOTE AMERICA!

Join us as we tackle the 2012 Presidential Election. In the coming weeks, Collier Roberts will lead this discussion as the conservative voice, while  Emily Cox will offer the liberal viewpoint.This week we discuss economic plans delivered in first of the three presidential debates between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. We have a student-oriented focus, so we give our perspectives and invite yours: For our generation, is President Obama’s stance on a more federal government involvement focus to higher education and student loans the best way to a stable future? Or is Governor Romney’s stance on leaving it up to states and privatization the better alternative?

Don’t forget to leave us a comment! Enjoy the week and we’ll be back after Thursday’s vice presidential debate between Democratic Sen. Joe Biden and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan.

By Emily Cox

I won’t lie. I wasn’t very impressed with President Obama’s debate performance Wednesday night. He is always a charismatic and powerful speaker, but during the debate with Romney, Obama was detached and hesitated to acknowledge the Republican contender when he was speaking. I wanted to shout through the T.V., “Where’s your fire and momentum? Why aren’t you bringing it?” I really wanted Obama to challenge Romney, to step up to the plate and engage with the conversation that was playing out. His disconnection truly made for a boring debate. And then there was Romney. I’m not one to give the GOP undue praise, but the party leaders obviously knew what was at stake and did a superb job of coaching Romney to be on his best game. He was personable, smiling, and even making some decently humorous jokes. He engaged with Obama’s statements and even offered a few mild attacks. Overall, I was fairly impressed.

But really Mitt? You would take away funding for PBS? I grew up on that program. Living in a house that didn’t have cable television for the greater part of my childhood, I learned to love Sesame Street and Arthur reruns. Then I grew older and loved PBS News Hour and all the random documentaries that came on each week. For me, PBS was the Discovery Channel, CNN, and Nickelodeon combined. The education I received from PBS and that children and adults across the country continue to receive from PBS is well worth the 0.01% of the federal budget that is endowed to the Public Broadcasting Service each year.

Several times during the debate, Romney defended his desire to promote public education in the United States. So why would he boast about wanting to cut federal funding for one of the most successful public education programs in existence? It all comes back to priorities and principles. Romney loves privatizing. And even though he values education, he made it clear that he plans to put in place a very different course for creating a successful education system in America than the course Obama is on. As an example that briefly came up in the debate, Romney believes in private lending for college loans, and Obama would rather cut out the middle man and let the money for student loans flow directly from the federal level. Already in his presidency, Obama has worked to reform the student loan sector so that subsidies previously going to banks offering private student loans have been cut, and the money is instead used to fund Pell Grants and direct federal student loans. Romney said Wednesday that he doesn’t want to cut the commitment to education, but instead work to make it more efficient. Then why doesn’t he back the plan to increase federal student loans? According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cut in subsidies will save the Federal Government $60 billion, and in turn almost $40 billion can be offered to students in need of Pell Grants or federal student loans. It just makes sense.

Romney said he doesn’t want to  “cut our commitment to education,” but he has also stated several times that he is “very supportive” of his running mate Paul Ryan’s budget plan. Under Ryan’s plan, Pell Grants would be reduced or eliminated for millions of students from economically struggling families.  Many of these students could not attend college without these federal grants. I am blessed enough to have the opportunity to attend a private university, but many students struggle to afford public universities’ tuition prices. If the federal government begins taking away aid for higher education, many college students may begin walking into classes with more and more empty seats.

I believe President Obama’s commitment to education is apparent through the programs and reforms he has endorsed over the last four years. Mitt Romney may have earned some respect as a debater, but if he wants to convince the public of his commitment to affordable and efficient education, he needs to reevaluate his love for privatizing.


By Collier Roberts

Wednesday night couldn’t have gone any better for Governor Romney’s first debate against the president. We have been reading and watching all of these negative attack ads against the governor, but this debate finally allowed for the candidates to show their true colors as they stood face-to-face, no teleprompters and no way of knowing what was coming from either side. Of course each party had prepared to combat what the other was more than likely going to say, but once the questions get asked, it’s war. I was very pleased to see how both of them were respectful and neither was too forceful. There are always going to be expectations of who is going to come out hot and who is not. Fortunately for Romney, being the underdog, he came out on top, while Obama defied his usual presence-demanding speaking talent that we are used to. This unfortunately, for the president, left many wondering if he even showed up. Many had said that in order for Romney to take the White House, he would have to come out swinging for the fences to show the American people in these debates who he really was, attacks aside. I believe he did just that, and more

The topic for this week’s discussion is focusing on the two paths towards a more efficient educational system and which path is better. More federal government involvement or more power in the hands of the states with increased privatization? The platform dynamic between the two parties on privatizing and government intervention is one that they essentially base their various other policies off of. Romney made it clear in his statements on Wednesday night that privatization is on the forefront of his role in reform of the education system. His state Massachusetts is ranked at the top of the school systems in the country, so to say his way to a better educational system is not where this country needs to head, is just fundamentally wrong. He talked about cutting federal funding. That’s a novel idea, cutting spending? No way. Yes way. America has to prioritize what is most important and not just keep spending and spending, which has led us to this massive amount of debt. There has to be regulation and efficiency in every way possible. Take the Chicago teacher strike for example. Teachers in Chicago make about twice as much, if not more, than the average income of that city. With such as poor education system, why are teachers refusing to work and asking for more when their results are horrendous? It is because of government involvement. If you want to have effective and lasting regulations, then states need to be in charge because there is no way that the federal government can tell each of the fifty states what is best for them. This blanket regulation, if you will, might help some, but is not making our education system any better. The United States doesn’t even come close to cracking the top 10 education systems in the world, and the president believes that more regulation is going to help that? Try again. Top-down reform equates to no where near the top for America on a global scale.

Lastly, a hot button issue Wednesday night was the debate over cutting federal student loans. Obama wants to increase, while Romney says no. The reason he doesn’t support increasing federal loans is simple. Why did the housing market crash? Simply because loans to buy houses were given out to families that knew they couldn’t afford them, but government insisted that if more people bought houses, the economy would grow. Low and behold, mortgages were not being paid, and houses were being foreclosed on left and right. Student loans work the exact same way, except student loans are the only debt you HAVE to pay off. Bankruptcy is not an option with student loans. I agree that the more students we have in higher education, the more opportunity America has for generational growth. At some point though, you have to say no to people, or else the student loan bubble will be the next to burst. Students are coming out of college with massive amounts of debt and can’t pay it back because there aren’t any jobs to do so with. If we regulate and make good investments with the federal loans, then the economy will reap the benefits of those smart investments. Private lending will lead growth in all areas of the path to education reform, and Obama hasn’t been cutting it with the way he has gone about it. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are businessmen. They know how to make the right investments, and know where to put money. I trust them more than I trust this president who has zero business experience and is too focused on pleasing rather than performing.