Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Obama V Romney US Presidential Debate


Last time, when Barrack was fighting Bush, I was riveted. But all those analyses and polls and the biases that coloured them scrambled my brain. This time round I decided I'd just watch the three debates. and perhaps verify some of their statements on fact checkers like the Huffington Post and the Guardian (reputable ones) but miss out on the rest of the hoopla. I was especially interested in their immigration policies and Obama’s four years in office with respect to his actions in the Middle East.

Barrack was disappointing in the first round. He was much too polite. The second round was impressive. My perception – both tried to be civil and “presidential” with Romney slightly more conscious of his staged moves. Both had their points and both put them across well. Neither let the other get away with pure rhetoric. Both had to have really good memories, bringing up facts, figures and incidences that lent weight to their arguments, without referring to any notes.

But there were one or two things different from last time which made me sad. Where he was once candid about pointing out what America AND other countries could’ve done better in the past, today he is more “seasoned” and circumspect because his rival, Romney, turned his visits to other countries at the beginning of his presidency into something anti-America like, “he kept apologising for America”. Please don’t change, Barrack. Honesty is so refreshing. It heals and strengthens bonds. It doesn't weaken you or your coiuntry. It promotes trust and a belief in your leadership and therefore, in your actions.

The other way in which Obama has changed makes me distinctly uneasy. More on that later but first, a very brief recap of my understanding of their positions on immigration as, to my mind, that impacts drastically on many people.


Both suggested that talent from all around the world wanted to live in the US. I would say that's true   for a huge number of people. Both stated that the US was a nation of immigrants and that they welcomed legal immigrants – the ones who didn’t break laws, were in queue (and kept getting pushed back because illegal immigrants got in before them), were qualified, wanted to invest in bold ventures, took risks with their money, started new businesses, created jobs, made things happen and employed people. It is good that they both acknowledged that.

Obama said he’d streamlined the system – made it easier, simpler and cheaper for people who were waiting in line legally; that it was beneficial to US economical growth. He said that they’d  made their borders more secure so that the number of illegal immigrants trying to escape to the US had been reduced considerably – the lowest on record since the last 40 years.

As for going after folks who were already in the US illegally – this is where Obama and Romney’s policies differed significantly. It is worth a mention because, in a way, it impacts even the legal migrants who are already there.

Obama said that they would prefer to do it smartly and go after criminals and gang members,  not students and people who were trying to figure out how to feed their families. He wanted children already brought in as illegal immigrants to be naturalised provided they had a college education. Romney didn't.

Both said these kids could become citizens if enlisted in the armed forces and both wanted the rest deported.

Romney suggested coming down hard on employers who didn’t verify against a list of criteria, that their employees were citizens.

Here’s what is disturbing. Romney wanted to give the police sweeping powers to check papers of anyone they suspected “looked” illegal. How does a legal migrant look different from an illegal one?

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It leaves things wide open to an individual officer’s interpretation.
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What’s to stop them from harassing legal migrants under the guise that they look illegal?

Very scary.

Just so that this doesn't become a "he said - I didn't" piece I've included one link out of many thousands. Please refer to the second last item titled,"Reduce federal funding to sanctuary cities" in this long article about their immigration policies.


Note: I started writing about their policies in the Middle East but it made me too angry to think coherently so I decided I wouldn't go into too much detail. I will mention, though, that in the debate Obama said he wouldn't stand for anyone "messing" with America. My problem with that - nobody knows what constitues "messing" with the great, muscle flexing US.

I don't know what Syria or Iraq have done to the US. But they are destroyed. I know it wasn't Obama who started the Iraq war. It was Bush. But Syria is bleeding and I honestly don't know how it "messed" with the US.

Just disagreeing with the US could be labelled "messing" as could disagreeing with the callous behaviour of a country they consider their "friend". How long is the world to ignore what Israel has done and keeps doing to Palestine, especially the way it encroaches on Palestinian land, evicting Palestinians out of house and home, building their colonies on that land and then declaring it  "disputed territory" even though the borders are clearly marked in the 1967 treaty? One hears of even Israelis who are against such policies.Surely the US knows this.

All I know is, whether it is Romney or Obama, there is no hope for peace in the Middle East just yet.



As for their National policies, I feel Obama steals a march over Romney. He tries to address both – the concerns of individual US citizens and his concern for the country as honestly as possible. His investments are long term - like Education, Health and newer, cleaner Energy. The benefits of such policies are not immediately visible. But sick people who can't afford medical services and treatments to get better are in no condition to get jobs; unqualified people aren't in a position to get better paying jobs; and breathing cleaner air, drinking cleaner water and growing crops in unpolluted soil is more essential to the health and well being of individuals than having environmentally disastrous but affordable cars available for travel.

As far as I'm concerned, the government who looks after the well being of its poorest, its women and the country’s resources and tries to balance the budget in a sensible, long-term manner is the one to vote for.


14 comments:

  1. Whatever I have read about Romney, something is very unsettling about him. The 'messing' statement is very vague. It is like an empty file which can be filled with any new papers and jargons made legal based on the mood and circumstances.

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  2. And for Obama to have uttered such "open to interpretation" words!

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  3. I'm not crazy about either candidate. Obama's tack record hasn't been that great, but atleast he gives specifics in his debates. Romney never gave specifics, especially when it came to job creation. Plus his personality is rather abrasive.

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    Replies
    1. I still have a lot of respect for Obama but his Middle East policy has totally surprised and saddened me.

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    2. Like Obama pointed out, Romney promises a lot - like an increase in armed forces spending by almost a billion dollars or tax cuts to top business - but doesn't show how he'll get the money lost or overspent from (probably by axing research into clean energy, education opportunities and health insurance schemes for the ones who cannot afford either.) I wish politicians would take the time to explain how not keeping their country's budget balanced hurts individuals.

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  4. A good and deep study.
    Like you said there are many countries "messing" with the USA and they are black listed !!
    Its a pity that many of the middle east countries are now in shambles (for no fault of the common man)

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    Replies
    1. They never clarify what they mean by "messing" and I agree - it is such a pity.

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  5. Found this on the web - http://nidoskidos.blogspot.co.nz/2009/07/nidokidos-holocaust-survivors-not-for.html

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  6. "[T]he government who looks after the well being of its poorest, its women and the country’s resources and tries to balance the budget in a sensible, long-term manner is the one to vote for."
    Then vote for Nobody! Nobody in government will fulfill those responsibilities! Nobody in government is your friend!

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  7. It is all a matter of degree. To what extent would one do more for the above than the other? Who is playing more to the gallery and who means what he says? Who has every intention of irresponsibly increasing the budget deficit? Hopefully, the people recognise that. Let's wait and see. I hope Obama is given a second (and final) term as he wouldn't have the same compulsions dictating his every move.

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  8. Obama it is! In his own words,
    We're all in this together. That's how we campaigned, and that's who we are. Thank you. -bo

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  9. Swapan Seth said it well - Oh!Bama

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  10. The knight in shining armor has returned:)

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    Replies
    1. No doubt, Rahul! Hopefully, we'll see him being fair in the Middle East too.

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