Last night's debate seemed different. Both Obama and Romney spoke calmly, almost conversationally, despite the strict alternation of two, three or one minute speaking slots. Both candidates were polite: as Obama spoke Romney smiled; as Romney spoke Obama often nodded as if in full agreement.
But strangely, for an experienced and polished political performer, Obama perpetrated several remarkable blunders.
During an argument about corporate taxes, Obama charged that American companies receive tax incentives to move jobs offshore, but then remained silent when Romney declared Obama's claim to be entirely fictitious. Does Obama not know what he is talking about? Does he routinely spout nonsense off the top of his head? And if what he said were true, how does the failure of his administration to eliminate such a job-killing provision reflect on his own competence?
In fact, Romney could have made much more of this than he did, for the only tax incentive that American companies have to offshore jobs is the tax that Obama wants to increase on profits of corporations located in the US. Romney did state that the corporation tax is a job killer, but he failed to make the point in the context of Obama's assertion that the corporations received tax incentives to offshore jobs. What corporations face are tax disincentives, which Obama intends to increase, to locating jobs in the United States. Which is why GE, for example, employs over 900 accountants and lawyers to determine where in the world it is most tax-efficient to locate their operations.
Equally bizarre was his claim that the oil industry is subsidized. Technically, the claim is true, but as Romney pointed out, the subsidy of about $2 billion per year is trivial compared with the $90 billion in subsidies given by the Obama Administration to, so-called, green energy companies including the likes of Solyndra, the bankrupt solar cell maker, and the luxury car makers, Tesla and Fisker -- companies that contribute campaign funds to the Democratic Party.
|The $35 Million estate said to be Obama’s next home (Source).|
Obama's performance lacked not only energy but even engagement. He seemed like a man offering a mere pro forma performance, as though the succession had already been decided. It's the economy that matters and for the next four years America needs a corporate restructuring expert at the helm. Romney is the man with the credentials. Which raises the question: has the choice already been made? Is Obama just counting the days until he is free to retire to a luxury family compound in Hawaii?
We entertain no conspiracy theories without evidence. But Obama's debate performance was certainly suggestive, if not of a conspiracy to throw the race, at least of the absence of a serious determination to win it.