Obama's chance to put Romney away
Wednesday, October 3 2012
There were still some tiny scraps of drywall left to install in the greenhouse, and I installed the last of those today. The smallest and last was a piece about 20 inches long and about an inch and a half wide that fit along the bottom of the south edge of the door.
When Gretchen worked for the Bard Prison Initiative, helping to bring a liberal arts education to New York's prisoners, her employment status and do-gooder inclinations aligned and she could feel okay about spending the rest of her time in more hedonistic pursuits such as teevee watching. But now that she is unemployed, she's actively looking for do-gooder pursuits even if they don't result in income. So this evening she spent hours in Port Ewen attending an orientation for a volunteer literacy education program. (She would later report that it included a series of incredibly-hokey team-building and empathy-building exercises.)
One of the things I did this evening was drive down the Farm Road in the Subaru to gather large rocks. I needed to construct a large planter (or, if you prefer, raised bed) as the home for some seed garlic we'd bought at the Hudson Valley Seed Library. I've gone down the Farm Road with a hand truck to gather rock, but this was the first time I'd ever gone with a vehicle.
Tonight was the occasion of the first Presidential debate between Obama in Romney, and, being a political junky and all-around high-information voter (when I do vote), I was eager to see it. Gretchen had set it up to record on our DVR, so at some point we began watching with Ramona on the little Sony teevee in her makeshift corral. We were soon joined by Liza, our student houseguest, who had been listening on her car radio on the drive back from her evening classes.
The thing that struck me early in the debate is that Romney seemed to be channeling a weirdly youthful energy, which contrasted with a vaguely sallow haggard look coming from Obama (who is at least twelve years younger). Romney seemed to be coming across as the concerned prep-school boyfriend doing his best to keep his girlfriend from breaking up with him, an act punctuated here in there with bursts that seemed a bit manic. It was an act not well matched by Obama, who evidently had made the calculation that the less drama the better. Substantively, mostly all that Romney did was deny all the nutty promises he'd been making to the extremists of the right wing up until today. Suddenly he didn't want a 5 trillion dollar tax cut. Suddenly he didn't want insurance companies to be allowed to deny insurance to those with pre-existing conditions. To those just tuning into this election for the first time, Romney seemed like a even-keeled moderate, and because Obama was doing little to counter this Etch-a-Sketch behavior (except to say that his plan was now was "well never mind"), it made Romney seem persuasive. Gretchen even commented at one point that he was almost being convincing.
Obama was doing such a bad job at carrying his weight that it drove me to drink. I managed to quaff two Uinta Hop Notch IPAs (available at that beer store across from the Kingston bus station) during those 90 minutes, and those fuckers are strong.
Later I checked in at my usual liberal web news sources, and everyone was in agreement that Romney had more or less kicked ass in the debate. It had been Obama's chance to put Romney away, but nothing is easy.
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