The sole vice presidendial debate of this election cycle will be held October 11 between Vice President Joe Biden and  Congressman Paul Ryan.  Most observers expect this debate to be lively and entertaining, but how much will it it really matter?

Historically, how much have VP debates or, the VPs themselves for that matter, affected the election?  The answer, is not much. Keep in mind, that the conventional wisdom is that voters overwhelmingly decide their vote based on the top of the ticket.  Thus, unpopular VP choices, such as Nixon, Agnew, Quayle, and others did not cause their running mates, Eisenhower, Nixon and Bush, respectively, to lose.  Even after  probably the most famous “gotcha,” (when Lloyd  Bentsen told Dan Quayle “I knew John Kennedy.  John Kennedy was a friend of mine.  Senator, you’re no John Kennedy.”) Bush-Quayle won the election.

On the other hand, this particular VP debate carries some added intrigue for the following reasons:

1.  Mr. Biden will be under pressure to reverse the momentum that Mr. Romney built up last week in the first Presidential debate.  Mr. Romney’s victory in the debate was followed up by the expected “bounce” in the polls.

2.  His supporters are counting on him to “expose” Mr. Ryan as a right wing conservative on social and economic issues.

3.  They are hoping and expecting “scrappy Scranton Joe” to show up, not the “Gentlemen Joe” of 2008 vs. Sarah Palin.  For example, I will be very surprised if he does not criticize Ryan on his foreign affairs inexperience, his budget plan, opposition to the auto bailout that “saved” GM and thousands of jobs in Ohio (“GM is alive and bin Laden is dead.”), privatization of social security and Mr. Romney’s 47% comment.

4.  For his part, Mr. Ryan’s objective will be to maintain the momentum that Mr. Romney created last week.

5.  His supporters are counting on him to display his knowledge and energy before a national audience, which is not that familiar with him.

6.  I expect him to bring up a few of Mr. Biden’s gaffes, such as “the middle class has been ‘buried’ under President Obama.”

As we all know, the race is extremely close.  The latest Pew Poll shows Mr. Romney up 49% – 45%.  The latest Gallup poll shows President Obama up 50% – 45%.  Both are within the margin of error.  Moreover, as I have written in other blogs, most states are locked in for one candidate or the other.  Only nine appear to be in play, and they will decide the election. Furthermore, many of each candidates’ supporters, perhaps as much as 30%, are “soft,” that is, open to being persuaded to switch.  Many of them are domiciled in these nine states.  In an election this close, with that many undecided and “soft” supporters everthing becomes significant, and anything can swing the election, even the VP debate.  Stay tuned.



In the aftermath of the first Presidential debate Mr. Romney has received the expected bounce in the polls.  Last night, Rasmussen, who I believe has been the most accurate of all the pollsters in recent election cycles, published the following results in his latest poll:  Florida – Romney up 49% – 47%; Ohio – Obama up 50% – 49%; Virginia – Romney up 49% – 48%.  If you’re a Romney supporter that’s good news as he was trailing or statistically even in each of those states before the debate.  If you’re an Obama supporter you can say “well, after my guy’s poor showing Romney’s only even, and he has to win all three states to have a realistic chance.”  Plus, Obama figures to come back strong and determined in the next debate. So, there’s something for each side to hang their hat on.  Historically, a bounce was to be expected.  The questions is, is it temporary, or the start of a momentum switch to Mr. Romney?  No one knows for sure. Time will tell.  Stay tuned.

Voter viewing was surprisingly high, around 80 million not counting those who followed it by computer.   Pretty good for a populace that is supposedly turned off and distracted.  I have said all along that I don’t mind so much which candidate people vote for as long as it is an informed vote, not one cast out of predisposition, ignorance or indifference.

As I said a couple of days ago, most observers and analysts on both sides thought that Mr. Romney won the debate.  Some Dems, however, felt compelled to make excuses for Mr. Obama. Some of them strained credulity and insulted voters’ intelligence.  For example, Al Gore stated that Mr. Obama’s performance was adversely affected by Denver’s thin air.  (He stated that Mr. Obama had only arrived in Denver at 2:00 pm that afternoon, which, according to Mr. Gore, did not afford him enough time to acclimate himself to the altitude.  Mr. Romney, on the other hand, had been in Denver for three days prior to the debate.) Another Dem commentator, Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University Sociology Professor, theorized that Mr. Obama could not speak vigorously and frankly lest he “come off as an angry black man.”  I don’t think either statement will have much credence with mainstream voters.  Gore sounded foolish and Dyson is known to be a far left activist who was just using the “race card” as an excuse. In any event, these excuses and others like them made the Dems seem petty and sore losers.  They would be better served to accept defeat and try to do better next time.

Romney suporters should temper their exuberance by remembering that it was only the first of three debates, and Mr. Romney needed a win a lot more to sustain his candidacy.  Mission accomplished.  He now has to withstand an expected vigorous Dem counterattack to maintain his momentum and then continue to press his advantage in the ensuing debates.


Can you see the future?  I can.  I’m not saying that I can tell whether the stock market will go up or down or who will win the World Series.  That would be a neat trick and, of course, very lucrative.

But, what I can do is see the future of the US if Barack Obama gets re-elected.  What’s more, so could you if you have an open mind and use some common sense.  All you have to do is look at the economies of the socialist countries of Western Europe.  Greece would be the best example, but Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, and the UK would also do.  They all have one thing in common – socialist economies of varying degrees abounding with entitlements.  Greece is virtually bankrupt.  It just doesn’t know it yet.  It has had to be bailed out several times by its lenders, the major banks in Europe and the US.  Its economy is in a shambles.  Unemployment is high; productivity is low; people cannot retire and live decently; there is considerable political and social unrest.  Naturally, every group blames others for the problems rather than themselves.  The reality is the problems have been years in the making, are extremely complex and not so easily solved.  The other Western European countries, except for Germany, are following along the same path, but they are just not there yet.

In the past four years Mr. Obama has demonstrated, by both word and deed, that his economic policies are consistent with those of the aforementioned Western Europe nations.  All of his actions have served to discourage business, redistribute wealth, expand entitlements, expand the role of government as opposed to free enterprise and initiative, and increase the national debt.

Americans must look at Greece’s situation and realize that could be us in a short time if we keep on the current economic course.  Some voters say “We don’t know where Mr. Romney stands on certain issues.”  “He’s not specific enough.”  That’s a fair point, however, I say look at Western Europe and you see empirical evidence of where four more years of Obamanomics will take us.  Unless, you are a far left liberal or a Romney hater, the only logical conclusion is to reverse that old expression and take the”devil you don’t know over the devil you do.”


Prior to last night’s debate, virtually all analysts, and even his own supporters, agreed that it was critical that Mr. Romney win or, at least, give a strong performance.  He was losing in most polls, including in the battleground states.  In addition, donors were getting nervous, and some of the other GOP candidates running for election were reportedly having misgivings about his perceived weakness at the top of the ticket impacting their own candidacy.

Following the debate most observers, even many Democrat-leaning analysts, agreed that Mr. Romney had won.  A CNN poll taken right after the debate ended found that 67% of the respondents thought Mr. Romney had won versus 25% for President Obama.  Fox News polled a Focus Group of uncommitted voters who had watched the debate in isolation with a Fox analyst.  Following the debate, over 80% of them said, based on Mr. Romney’s performance they would now vote for him.  His campaign contributions should increase dramatically.  He needs it as he is currently being outspent in the battleground states by 2:1.  Mr. Romney may have saved his candidacy, at least temporarily.

Mr. Romney was forceful without being disrespectful and was on top of the facts.  President Obama seemed distracted and, in general, not at his best.  I expect he will do better next time.  Often, in Presidential debates how something is said is more important than what is said as “facts” cannot be verified on the spot and can later be “spun” more than one way anyhow.  I think Mr. Romney’s presentation was better.

1.  He explained his tax plan in sufficient detail to allay fears among middle class voters, clearly and succinctly explaining that he would not raise taxes on the middle class.  This was a major concern going in.  He explained he would lower tax rates across the board, which are the same rates small business pay.  This would encourage them to hire more workers, thus reducing unemployment.  More people working equals more tax revenue. He would “pay” for this by reducing some deductions and exemptions, wasteful government programs and transferring some Federal programs to the states where he feels they belong anyway. President Obama pushed him hard on this issue, but could not rattle him on this, and ultimately, had no answer.

2.  President Obama and Mr. Romney also discussed Obamacare, which Mr. Romney wants to replace.  They clashed on the relative merits of Obamacare versus Romney’s plan, particularly with respect to pre-existing conditions and Medicare.  Mr. Romney scored points by citing the $716 billion taken from the Medicare Fund to help pay for Obamacare as well Obamacare’s use of a board of unelected bureaucrats without medical training with authority to decide medical issues.

3.  Regarding Governance, the difference between the two became obvious.  In summary, the Dems want government to do more, what Mr. Romney labeled “trickle down government.”  The GOP prefers more individual self-reliance and free enterprise.  President Obama and Mr. Romney clashed on the relative advantages and disadvantages of those philosophies. Mr. Obama had no good answer as to how to repay the $16 trillion debt.

The GOP is hopeful that last night was a turning point; the Dems view it a bump in the road.  In any event, it is premature for the Romneys to begin selecting furniture for the White House.  Last night’s “win” should yield a temporary bounce in the polls, but it may not necessarily translate into a permanent one.  Moreover, regardless of what the national polls may say, it will be the nine battleground states that really count and, within that group, Florida and Ohio, in particular. The election could very well be decided in those two states.  They are the largest of the group, and no Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio. In addition, there are three debates left for the Dems to come back.  But, at least Mr. Romney can now begin to build some momentum.


The mainstream media has been exhibiting a pervasive and continuous bias in favor of President Obama throughout the current election cycle.  There have been many examples of this.  The latest example is the terrorist attack on the US embassy in Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including the US ambassador.  Stop for a minute and digest the level of this atrocity.  We are not talking about killing an armed combatant or even a tourist; we are talking about assassinating an ambassador with diplomatic immunity who is supposed to be under the protection of the Libyan government.  When was the last time you heard of a foreign ambassador being assassinated?  How about never?  Can you imagine the furor if the Iranian or Syrian ambassador to the US had been assassinated on US soil?

The mainstream media has been treating this event as an unfortunate accident.  “Oh, it was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-muslim video.”  “Oh you have to excuse Libya.  The government doesn’t really have control over the country.”   To that, I say bull____ !  As we say in NY, if you believe that, I have a bridge I can sell you.

The timeline of this event was as follows:

9/11- Four Americans, including Chris Stevens, the US Ambassador, were assassinated in Benghazi.

9/12 – President Obama released a tepid statement condemning the attack.  Then, rather than deal with matters directly by  meeting face-to-face with world leaders who happened to be in NY for meetings at the UN, flew to Las Vegas for a fundraiser.

9/16 – Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, issued a statement calling the attack spontaneous.  Does anyone think she acted on her own initiative?  Again, there’s that bridge.

9/16 – The same day, a top Libyan official contradicted her calling the attack pre-planned.

9/19 – Matthew Olsen, Director of National Counterterrorism Center, confirmed it was a terrorist attack

As I said, the Obama Admnistration tried to portray the attack as a spontaneous “demonstration” in response to a video that portrayed Mohammed in a negative light.  But, the facts and subsequent events do not support this and, in fact, make that analysis seem naive and ridiculous.  Firstly, the “demonstrators” used AK-47s and other heavy weapons that terrorists would use as opposed to demonstrators, who would have used bottles and rocks.   Secondly, there have been worldwide demonstrations at other US embassies since then indicating some coordination. Thirdly, the attack came on the anniversary of 9/11.  Despite what President Obama would have us believe, it appears that Al Quaeda is enjoying a resurgence.

The mainstream press’ underreporting and mischaracterization of this incident has been outrageous.  Pat Caddell, Democratic Pollster, has opined that any other president would have been crucified.  He drew a comparison to President Bush’s “Katrina moment,” when President Bush was crucified by the press. These incidents should have been touted as examples of Mr. Obama’s failed Middle East policy of appeasement.

Does anyone remember Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s?  How did that turn out?  Did Mr. Obama study history at Harvard?

Also, the press has not reported, in depth, on the US’s lack of preparedness, particularly in view of the anniversary of 9/11.  Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, should bear some culpability here, but she has largely escaped criticism along with Mr. Obama.  It should be noted that the Washington Post, instead of running stories on this, ran a front page story on Mitt Romney’s high school hazing incident.  I guess the powers that be at the Post considered that to be more newsworthy.  So much for their credibility and objectivity.

I always thought that the voters were too smart to be fooled by the bias coverage of the press. Based upon the polls I have seen, however, it seems that they may not be.  Many of them may be too distracted by their personal lives or just don’t care enough.  I hope I am wrong about this, but we will see on November 6.