Saturday, October 13, 2012

Why Biden won

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)

By Robert Reich
Robert Reich's Blog
12 October 12

thought Biden won last night's debate because he came off as genuine, passionate, and brimming with conviction. Ryan, by contrast, seemed like a wooden marionette, a kid out of his depth relative to someone who not only knew the facts but lived them.

On taxes, Ryan couldn't come up with any details about what loopholes he and Romney would close, or how their magic arithmetic (giant tax cut for the wealthy plus $2 trillion more for the military than the Joint Chiefs of Staff want) can possibly be paid for without socking it to the middle class.

By contrast, Biden made the case for average working people whose wages have barely risen in thirty years but who are bearing a higher total tax burden (payroll, sales, property, income) on a higher percent of their income than high rollers like Romney — and why the well off should do more.

On Medicare, Ryan couldn't explain why his plan wasn't a voucher program that "saved" money only by shifting the costs on to seniors who would end up holding the bag as medical costs rose. Biden effectively defended the President's plan to save Medicare by cutting excessive payments to providers.

Biden also pointed out that Ryan and his allies had tried to privatize Social Security. Score another one for Joe.

On abortion, Ryan had to admit he and Romney would work to prevent women from having the right to choose an abortion if they needed and wanted one. Biden made it clear his religious beliefs about when life began should not, in his view, force anyone who didn't share them to follow them.

I thought Biden's closing could have been tougher, drawing a sharper contrast between the Romney-Ryan "you're on your own" worldview, and the "we're in it all together" belief that has built America — and which Obama and Biden represent.

But overall it was Biden's night. He not only trounced Ryan, but also, in the process, trounced Romney. Joe Biden is an average Joe solidly grounded in America's working middle class — nothing pretentious or devious about him — in contrast to the plutocrat who heads the Republican ticket, and the billionaires who are backing him.

Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.
+95 # Kayjay 2012-10-12 13:45
I really don't give a whit as to who "won," the debate. They don't mean much. Remember that in his first debate versus Kerry, "W" looked like a ninny. All I care about today, and what we all desperately need is a victorious President Obama. Like "Barbara" often says, the alternative will be a disaster.
+52 # doneasley 2012-10-12 21:56
... Like "Barbara" often says, the alternative will be a disaster.
Disaster for certain, Kayjay, if these two even get a sniff of the White House. These bible-totin', phoney patriots in their pin-striped suits with American flag lapel pins love to tell us that they are more religious and more patriotic than the rest of us unwashed souls, while day after day they attempt to publicly disparage and humiliate our President with their derogatory remarks. I'm totally mystified by those who will vote against their own self interests because of the blind hatred of President Obama. This is especially true for minorities, seniors, anyone depending on public education, anyone with small children, the poor, the entire middle class, current and veteran military, the disadvantaged, and WOMEN IN PARTICULAR!

How the hell could any self-respecting woman vote for these lying misogynistic hypocrites, who are afraid to divulge their real agenda if they should gain the Oval Office? Women would again truly become second class citizens. After all the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution not only excluded slaves and the savages to the West (Native Americans), it also excluded WOMEN, who - after a long drawn out battle - didn't get the right to vote until 1919, less than 100 years ago!

You're still in their sights ladies, and these two NEANDERTHAL BASTARDS would take you back to square one!!!
+26 # Barbara K 2012-10-13 05:12
dibeaskey and Kayjay: I agree totally and we need to work even harder to get people out to vote for Democrats at all levels. We have much to lose and nothing to gain with an R/R win. We just cannot let that happen. Women, especially, will be relegated to second or third class citizens; and actually so will men. Their pay and Union Rights will be lowered and lost. We need to keep up the good fight and, yes, Congress is extremely important this year. If there were ever a need for many more Dems in Congress, the proof is in the past 4 years. We need to weed out the nasty Tbaggers who hate the government, and proved to hate the people too. The Rs in general have shown now nasty they are and we have no reason to keep these Do-Nothings in Congress, get rid of them.

VOTE STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC as we have States that need cleaning out too.

The alternative is a disaster.
+27 # Ralph Averill 2012-10-13 02:21
Agreed, even more so about Congress.
It's all about Congress in 2012!
-161 # jtatu 2012-10-12 14:04
Your point seems to always be based on appealing to class envy. Too bad.
+91 # brux 2012-10-12 18:53
I'd have to envy a class that always gets what it wants because of undue influence, the ability to keep the playing field un-level and puts the costs on people who cannot afford it ... wait, maybe envy is not the right word!
+25 # 2012-10-12 20:54
Your point seems to always be based on appealing to class envy. Too bad.
In what way does Kayjay's comment even remotely exhibit "class envy"? It was a well taken point based on reality. You seem to have a tendencey to project on to others what you would prefer not to see in yourself.
+31 # Maxwell 2012-10-12 21:25
Your point seems to always be based on appealing to class envy. Too bad.
Anyone who observes what's going on in the American political system today could not help but notice that just about all of our politicians are from rich families. Another inescapable observation: if you call the shots you can get rich, and if you're rich, you can call the shots.

You used the term "class envy." Did you mean "class warfare." There is such a thing as "class warfare." When the moneyed classes use their money, power, and influence to get richer and richer, making the rest of us poorer and poorer, I'd say that yes, one class is waging war on the others.

Suppose there's a king whose realm is running out of money. Suppose he raises taxes on the peasants and lowers the taxes on the nobility.

Suppose also that the new taxes are spent is such a way as to benefit the king and the nobility.

Then suppose the peasants object, feeling that if the kingdom needs more tax money, maybe at least the king could raise taxes on the nobility (who after all became rich off the peasants' labor) before raising taxes on the peasants.

But when the peasants object, the king and the nobility accuse the peasants of Class Warfare.
+20 # doneasley 2012-10-12 22:36
Your point seems to always be based on appealing to class envy. Too bad.
Jtatu, you and yours continue to use the Regressive talking points - "class envy", "class warfare", "wealth distribution", etc., etc. Starting with your God Reagan, wealth has quietly been distributed UPWARD over the years. It really accelerated under "W" Bush, and if MENDACIOUS MITT AND LYIN' RYAN get control of our economy, legislation will be put in place to funnel more of our wealth UPWARD - Bush on steroids. While we were getting the $300 checks and the 3% tax cut, did you know the rich were getting 4.5% - 1.5% MORE than we got? In real dollars that's a $45,000 tax cut per million of income. Of course Mendacious Mitt makes all of his money from capital gains (taxed at 15%), but anyone who had income of $21 Million - like Mitt - got a TAX CUT OF $945,000. OBSCENE!!! In addition the capital gains tax was reduced to 15% along with a reduction in taxes on dividend and interest income AND - not to be forgotten - the reduction in estate taxes for the wealthy ones. Truly a "LEGITIMATE RAPE"!

I just wanna know, Jtatu, did you get any of that? If not, you were raped too and didn't know it. As the Regressives like to say, "Just lay back and enjoy it"!
+11 # Billy Bob 2012-10-12 23:04
Your fear of the lower and middle class seems to always be based on a sense of class privledge. Too bad.
+7 # Billy Bob 2012-10-12 23:14
Way to go jtatu! Stick it to the majority!

Twit/Twerp 2012
+30 # ghostperson 2012-10-13 00:34
Show us some class and maybe we'll consider envying it.

"Class envy" is one of those myths that wingnuts tell themselves is true because it makes them feel good about being jerks.

Its companion myth, everyone is jealous of plutocrats' wealth is another self-stroking concept. Who would want to be Lush Rimbaugh?

America is the place where ordinary people admire success and advancement. What Americans don't admire are self-absorbed, arrogant, mean-spirited empty suits who confuse wealth with merit no matter how the wealth was attained.

If acquisition of wealth were the only criteria for exalted status then Sadaam Hussein met the right wing standard.

You guys need to come up with some new material instead of playing Judge Bork chewing on a dessicated bone.

Main stream people look at comments like yours as the delusional rants of anti-education, anti-science wanna be totalitarians, who can't persuade, so they cheat. Seriously, voter suppression? A clever tactic? No, the sign of a sick mind.

Normal people think the GOP has gone nuts. Who in their right mind would think that voter suppression is an act in furtherance of democracy?

No one. All the GOP cares about is winning and control for their own sake.

Ordinary people want everyone to have a chance and for all to play by the same rules. Just like your Mom told you to behave when you were a kid.
+5 # Ralph Averill 2012-10-13 02:27
"Your point seems to always be based on appealing to class envy."
America is based on class envy; the desire to raise one's status is the core of the American ethos. American history is the the history of class warfare, some times bloody. The most recent class war started with the judicial coup d'etat that gave us President George W. Bush. At first it all seemed to go one way. Recently the other side has started firing back.
-51 # Robt Eagle 2012-10-13 04:31
When ever Democrats, and their biased backers like Reich, lose anything, they resort to lying and shouting it. Just like Biden did in the debate, and his sardonic theatrics were so badly received.
+11 # colpow 2012-10-13 06:45
Don't you read the news? Biden won that debate and it was well received, as mentioned in this article. As they say, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.
+10 # kyzipster 2012-10-13 04:45
..the vast majority of conservative voters are in the bottom 99% like the rest of us. It ain't your class we're talking about.
+4 # reiverpacific 2012-10-13 08:01
Your point seems to always be based on appealing to class envy. Too bad.
This is even more vapid and pointless than usual. Define your version of "Class envy" if you can see beyond the blinkers of reaction.
Riches exist in many forms and having been relatively (but not by plutocratic standards) materially well-off, now not, I wouldn't swap one cent's worth of my family love and trust, true friends, creativity, our struggles, our humor and my love of life and the planet for a tithe of the material worth of these slick, phony and ruthless power-seekers or their, shadowy and totalitarianism -obsessed bloated backers -nor the cuckolded fools at the lower levels who vote for them in the hope of trickle-down emulation of their masters, in their fear and ignorance of the world.
No envy at all, just a desire to be free of the results of relentless, accumulative greed on the welfare of my fellow planet dwellers to have the basics of a decent existence.
In fact I'd feel a bit sorry for them in their self-imposed isolation from all but their own kind, if they were not so transparently ruthless and unworthy of our trust.
I've know but one billionaire, once from the middle classes like Biden, and he was a true philanthropist who shunned acclaim. That, I admire but don't envy: he had his issues too.
 heard recently on a KBOO radio Portland, that the Koch Bro's actually hate each other's guts; envy that do you?
Too bad indeed.
+82 # brux 2012-10-12 18:51
> But overall it was Biden's night. He not only trounced Ryan, but also, in the process, trounced Romney.

Well said, I totally agree!

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