Obama/Romney respond regarding poverty.
September 13, 2012 7:04 PM   Subscribe

There's been little discussion about the problem of poverty in the current Presidential election, the conventions pretty much ignored it. "The Circle of Protection, composed of Christian leaders from across the religious spectrum, released President Barack Obama's and GOP nominee Mitt Romney's video responses today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C." Both candidates responded.
posted by HuronBob (52 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Did the candidate's campaigns coordinate the responses? Did one get wind of the other's intent to respond and join in?
posted by michaelh at 7:20 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I want to start by thanking all who have already answered the call to care for those in need both here at home and around the world...SUCKAZ!!!!!"
posted by threeants at 7:36 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really liked one of the comments at the bottom where a woman balked at Romney's use of the phrase "Entitlement Reforms". SS and Medicaire is something we pay into. We earned that. This isnt ant entitlement.

Me thinks some trust fund baby is projecting...
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 7:38 PM on September 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


Mitt Romney just comes across as hugely insincere and out of touch. He parrots numbers and spouts voodoo economics, but he has no idea what it is to be jobless or on food stamps and it is all too apparent when he talks about it. It's not real to him.
posted by notashroom at 7:40 PM on September 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Mitt sounds like kids in 8th grade english when they are asked to read a passage from a book they are not familiar with. He just pauses at all the wrong places. It's a dead giveaway that he hasn't looked at this speech for one second prior to reciting it.
posted by sendai sleep master at 7:47 PM on September 13, 2012 [16 favorites]


Thank you for posting this. Oddly, I just ran across it too. I found the candidates' responses interesting, if pat and somewhat predictable each to each, but what interested me more was that all these different Christian communities could get together and agree on an unequivocal message that's actually in line with their stated shared values, and which definitely suggests a political leaning, an argument for public responsibility in at least this one area.
posted by Miko at 7:49 PM on September 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


It might help to have the link here to the Circle of Protection itself, with its principles, some mention of the programs they most want to protect, and a full list of its signatories.
posted by Miko at 7:51 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Miko, thanks for that link....

/ I love this community!
posted by HuronBob at 7:54 PM on September 13, 2012


Bathtub: SSI is an entitlement. Entitlements are just different ways to organize spending. Instead of appropriating a fixed sum, the gov't creates a definition and says that anyone who meets that definition is entitled to be paid, even though we don't know exactly how much that will be.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:55 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh man I couldn't even listen to Mittens.Just the way he said "hello", like he was talking to an old person or someone mitt doesn't think have the mental capacity to understand what he is saying. He is smarmy as fuck.

I don't like Obama bible thumping, like we should be kind cuz the bible tells us to, without the bible we would be completely amoral. At least he seems To be taking it seriously.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:56 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


OBAMA: We all need to work harder to fix this.
ROMNEY: Don't worry, I'll take care of it with my magic plan that lacks any details.
posted by mightygodking at 7:57 PM on September 13, 2012 [23 favorites]


Romney sounded as if he parroting his wife's "you people" statement
posted by robbyrobs at 7:58 PM on September 13, 2012


I don't know if you can really portray this as "Christian leaders from across the religious spectrum". Southern Baptists and any Evangelicals seem notably absent.
posted by the jam at 7:59 PM on September 13, 2012


ROU_Xenophobe's right.
What is an entitlement program? It is a program that establishes certain eligibility criteria and anyone fitting that criteria may receive its benefits. Medicare and Social Security are the two largest entitlement programs. Anyone meeting the eligibility requirements may receive benefits from these two programs.
posted by Miko at 7:59 PM on September 13, 2012


Without denigrating Circle of Protection's overall message, I find this disingenuous. It's the same "bipartisan" equivalence bullshit we're exposed to over and over. The fact is, if Romney is elected president, many, many, many more poor people will suffer than the many poor people currently suffering under President Obama. I say this not as a partisan-- I'm not voting for either candidate-- but as a noticer of facts.
posted by threeants at 8:00 PM on September 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


I don't understand your objection, threeants. Where's the disingenuousness? Each candidate is answering a question posed.
posted by Miko at 8:02 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sorry, I guess I did get ahead of myself and didn't read Circle of Protection's language carefully enough. I will say, though, that letting the candidates "respond" in a sound bite is politically and anthropologically interesting, but not half so useful for electoral purposes as comparing the platforms that they are campaigning on to implement once elected. I'm all for cuing up the facts without commentary and letting the voter decide-- but the relevant facts here are the policies each candidate has evinced, not a pair of campaign videos.
posted by threeants at 8:10 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Miko: "ROU_Xenophobe's right.
What is an entitlement program? It is a program that establishes certain eligibility criteria and anyone fitting that criteria may receive its benefits. Medicare and Social Security are the two largest entitlement programs. Anyone meeting the eligibility requirements may receive benefits from these two programs."
Well, all I know is that my mid 80's year old mother has to write a healthy check (twice a year, IIRC) to retain her Medicare benefits. If she misses a payment, POOF! No more Medicare (and, therefore, no more health insurance)!

I suppose one could argue that it's like a regular health insurance plan where my mother has to pay premiums to receive her benefits.

However, it sure as hell isn't free (at least in my mother's case) like Mittens, his club, and practically everyone else discussing Medicare makes it sound.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 8:10 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Agreed - it would be much better to see the platforms compared, but there are sites that will do that - at least for Obama, who's got one. Romney still seems to be hemming and hawing about "growing the economy" as the solution without saying specifically how. He mentioned his "five point plan," which is this, outlined at the RNC:
“First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.

Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.

Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.

Fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.

And fifth, we will champion small businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
I find it really hard to extrapolate from these general statements how exactly he expects jobs and financial growth to come from them, especially without changing current tax distribution policy and, in fact, proposing further cuts.
posted by Miko at 8:13 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know if you can really portray this as "Christian leaders from across the religious spectrum". Southern Baptists and any Evangelicals seem notably absent.

Is the President of the National Association of Evangelicals not actually...evangelical? (Maybe not? I'm not familiar with every denominations major/minor associations and organizations.)
posted by rtha at 8:45 PM on September 13, 2012


I wonder how many "entitlements" ShitMittens collects with his business plans.

The man has not a fuckin' clue.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:50 PM on September 13, 2012


It's taken some arduous, old-timey-style scholarship, but I've finally finished translating this document into English from the original Old Church Republican.

First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.

We're going to use, like, ALL DIFFERENT types of energy!! Pretty much all the kinds there are! In proportions that are good, everywhere like such as, the Iraq and the Asian countries.

Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.

Who wants to "have" a "good" "school" in their "neighborhood" when you can join a number of exciting professions for people of color just like you, all making AT LEAST minimum wage!!! Americhoice!!!!!! Choozapalooza!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.

Fewer Mexican people, more Mexican things!!! Pity about the maquiladora-induced cancer, but we can't be footing the bill for your health expenses up here! Just kidding, we wouldn't anyway. But seriously. Stay over there.

Fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.

Other aspects of our platform to be released at a later date are an end to sadness, and the establishment of world peace. Psyyyyyyyche, kidding again, you think these Blackwater checks write themselves?

And fifth, we will champion small businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Romamamom roma obama rom ROBAMACARE OBAMACARE OBAMACARE OBAMACARE ROMNEYC ROMCA ROMNEYCA OBAMACARRRRRRRRRRRE GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
posted by threeants at 8:51 PM on September 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


The problem with proposing things is that people can use your proposals against you. The best bet in politics is to propose nothing and attack all your opponent's proposals, even if you agree with them.

It is best to stick to generalites about how you intend to increase good things,and decrease bad things.

It is also best to nominate someone with as little experience as possible, you don't want a candidate who may have actually done something.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:05 PM on September 13, 2012


So to summarize,

Obama: "I met with you guys last year and let me reiterate -- we're all in this together. In deeply divisive budget negotiations last year, I refused to cut funding for the exact programs you listed. I've done more than any president in modern history to make health care available to those that can't afford it. We still need to do much, much more."

Romney: "Statisticians tell me there's a lot of poor people out there. Here's how my vague plan to let big business get more profitable will help those poor people get jobs so I can cut the kind of programs you guys are trying to protect. Religious organizations will pick up the slack. And that's how the Circle of Protection, a concept I only just now heard of, works. Romney/Ryan 2012!"

I can't believe this race is even close.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:42 PM on September 13, 2012 [18 favorites]


I can't believe this race is even close.

"If Obama was white he'd be up by 17 points"

I think Alec Baldwin might be on to something here.
posted by Talez at 10:03 PM on September 13, 2012 [12 favorites]


I Have to imagine even Romney just hangs his head in shame and weeps every night for that little bit of soul he loses every day during this terrible campaign. He should fake an knee injury, leave the field and limp into the locker room and just hide out in there.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:31 PM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I Have to imagine even Romney just hangs his head in shame and weeps every night for that little bit of soul he loses every day during this terrible campaign. He should fake an knee injury, leave the field and limp into the locker room and just hide out in there.

The Nexus-6 AI that this particular andy (internal codename, "Romney Mark IV") uses is remarkably advanced, but that particular model is notorious for lacking empathy. He presumably dreams of electric sheep at night, aware only of the fact that the humans he is emulating believe themselves to have a "soul".
posted by cmonkey at 10:54 PM on September 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I understood Obama was as white as he is black and his wife's popularity rivals that of Jackie Onasis. Looking on from afar the Obamas are the more personally appealing, the most engaging, and the more competent. Maybe that 17% is already factored in.

Now if only he'd declare war on Syria, he'd be a shoe-in.
posted by de at 11:00 PM on September 13, 2012


Obama bible thumping, like we should be kind cuz the bible tells us to

I am not a christian, but I don't mind this.

I think it's important to distinguish between what Obama is doing, when he refers to the moral guidance his his faith as provides him, and the very diferent kind of claim that there there is no moral guidence but the bible - the 'without the bible we would be completely amoral' you fairly object to.

Obama isn't doing that here, he expresses the importance his faith has for him, something he shares with his audience, but he doesn't denigrate other forms of moral authority.
posted by compound eye at 11:39 PM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here is a staggering autocue fail for Romney.

"Faith-based. Community.... Leaders"

He looks, sounds and pretty clearly thinks like a malfunctioning robot. I hear his nickname at Bain was the Tin Man. Don't think he'll ever follow the yellow brick road and find his heart though.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:07 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Both candidates are speaking code. What they really mean is that they're going to cut certain entitlements and possibly tax breaks that impact the poor and middle class. All the sweet talk and syrupy fawning over God is so transparent it almost makes one want to scream "sweet Jesus!" let this campaign end!

"Code" is when Obama says stuff like (paraphrasing) "my Grandmother taught me the value of helping each other out". Romney? we know where he stands. Romney would cut with a sharper knife, but Obama will cut.Get ready for the cuts, after the election - no matter who wins. I don't trust either of these guys.

Add to that that Bernecke announced today that we're going to be giving more free money to the banks (until things "stabilize"), by keeping wholesale interest rates at zero; and, the Fed will be printing more money to buy $40 BILLION per month in mortgage backed securities (until things "stabilize"). How long is that going to take? 2 years? That's another cool $TRILLION$. So, who wins? Drumroll...... The banks and financial institutions, of course!. Who loses? the little guy, as inflation from all those newly minted dollars flood the market. Inflation is that little thief that steals the value of your money, and your work, and your future. But the banks are going to get money every morning at 0%, and maybe bring down the cost of mortgages a few fractions of a point, but you can bet your ass that they'll keep adding on service fees, and taking a hard line when you overdraft, or make a late credit card payment.(Bernecke saved his ass on Thursday - and his job, as the Fed has now fully crossed the line into making economic policy). I'm no Libertarian, but what we saw today is not a good thing.

Bottom line: Both of these candidates are kicking the can down the road. Obama is kicking it further, just out of sight. Romney is just kicking it across the street, where you can see it, and have to deal with it, now.

My advice: Obama is probably a better bet because he won't appoint a Neanderthal to SCOTUS, and he does give a little less phoney lip service (i.e. he's more sincere, in his syrupy sweet way) about human infrastructure and safety nets (but he's still gonna cut!). the odd thing about all this is that Romney seems a good person, with a sincere belief - learned from his Mormon background - that neighborliness, and community, and helping others are all good things (but keeping in mind the other Mormon influences re: women and LGBT rights).

Anyway, prepare yourself, and start to make more friends in your neighborhood; you're going to need them. Maybe not such a bad result, after all?
posted by Vibrissae at 1:43 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's late, but I found both speeches really, really boring. Somnolescent, even.

Sure, Romney was godawful, but I expect that from him.

I *heart* Obama, but had a surprisingly hard time concentrating on Obama's speech, with that cheesy background music on autorepeat. It was a warm, fluffy, obligatory hug that felt like it was being phoned in... and then badly overproduced.

If Obama wants to address the American people on matters of faith, he should sit down by the fireside and quietly, openly chat with them... and fire the ass of anyone who gets anywhere near any of his speeches with musak.
posted by markkraft at 1:58 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


So... hunger's been done to death, so we can agree to scratch that one off the list, right?!

Next up, world peace, followed by the bikini contest.
posted by markkraft at 2:00 AM on September 14, 2012


We earned that. This isnt an entitlement.

"Entitlement" just means "deserving." Earning is one way of deserving. Another way to deserve something is by dint of being a citizen or a human being.

The entitlements aren't deserved because they're earned, though: the average person who lives to collect Social Security and Medicare will receive three times what they pay in. We're entitled to do that because all humans deserve dignity, and it is shameful to live in poverty or without basic medical care while those around us are wealthy, healthy, and comfortable.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:08 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know if I could endure 4 to 8 years of listening to Romney's voice. Or watching that smirk.
posted by octothorpe at 4:14 AM on September 14, 2012


Vibrissae, the consensus among economists that I'm reading is that yesterday's fed action was way overdue and about bloody time. We're still in a liquidity trap, but also, there is virtue in modest inflation because it erodes the value of sticking your money in a savings vehicle and thereby pushes investors to invest and spend, which is pretty much what we need. It's also a less harmful way to effectively reduce wages than the insane austerity being inflicted in places like Greece and Spain. There's a pretty good argument that higher inflation targeting is exactly what we need.
posted by idb at 5:39 AM on September 14, 2012


I sort of agree, I am a strong supporter of Obama, but I thought his speech could have felt a little less canned.

I understood Obama was as white as he is black

I am guessing you're not American [of the US variety].
posted by Miko at 5:40 AM on September 14, 2012


I can't believe this race is even close.

"If Obama was white he'd be up by 17 points"


I honestly disagree. This is looking like a turn out election, and Obama's race is boosting minority turn out. I think a white Democrat with otherwise the same qualities would be is virtually the same race, but probably Virginia out of play but Colorado and Nevada more firmly blue.

The election is close because unemployment is at 8%. Romney is a clown, but the GOP had even lower caliber candidates who could have kept reasonably close this summer given how bad the economy is.
posted by spaltavian at 5:52 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Welp, Mr. Romney thinks "middle income" is between $200,000 and $250,000. So, there's that.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:45 AM on September 14, 2012


> I Have to imagine even Romney just hangs his head in shame and weeps every night for that little bit of soul he loses every day during this terrible campaign.

I remember catching that vibe from McCain, towards the end when it was pretty clear he was going to lose. But Romney acts like he's surprised and angry that people aren't just doing and saying what he tells them to, as they'd have to if they worked for him, which is the dynamic he's used to.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:23 AM on September 14, 2012


Bathtub: SSI is an entitlement. Entitlements are just different ways to organize spending. Instead of appropriating a fixed sum, the gov't creates a definition and says that anyone who meets that definition is entitled to be paid, even though we don't know exactly how much that will be.

I never understood why "entitlement" is a bad word. It just (in the broader sense) means that you're supposed to get something, that you have "title" to it.

I suppose that there is that shade meaning where "entitled" really means "entitled without a good reason" like how aristocrats are literally titled and entitled to great estates only by virtue of their birth.

But most of the time, when someone is "entitled" to something, it means that they earned it and/or paid for it -- you know, like social security.

Mitt Romney is promising to reduce taxes on middle-income Americans.

But how does he define ‘‘middle-income"? The Republican presidential nominee defined it as income of $200,000 to $250,000 a year.

The Census Bureau reported this week that the median household income — the midpoint for the nation — is just over $50,000.


yeah, that's depressing, but not at all surprising.
posted by jb at 8:27 AM on September 14, 2012


The entitlements aren't deserved because they're earned, though: the average person who lives to collect Social Security and Medicare will receive three times what they pay in. We're entitled to do that because all humans deserve dignity, and it is shameful to live in poverty or without basic medical care while those around us are wealthy, healthy, and comfortable.

That's a better way of making my point -- only thing is, I would clarify that the shame of poverty isn't the shame of the poor, but the shame of the rich who think that their paying less tax is more important than someone else having the necessities of life.
posted by jb at 8:30 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I understood Obama was as white as he is black

The One Drop Rule is alive and well in many American psyches. So, no, the advantage he would have if he were white is definitely not factored in, because you cannot have that advantage while being noticeably black (at least not without renouncing black culture and adopting white culture in an overcompensatory way that he doesn't do, and there's a strict quota for Honorary White Minorities each year).
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:36 AM on September 14, 2012


idb: "the consensus among economists that I'm reading is that yesterday's fed action was way overdue and about bloody time. We're still in a liquidity trap, but also, there is virtue in modest inflation because it erodes the value of sticking your money in a savings vehicle and thereby pushes investors to invest and spend, which is pretty much what we need. It's also a less harmful way to effectively reduce wages than the insane austerity being inflicted in places like Greece and Spain. There's a pretty good argument that higher inflation targeting is exactly what we need."

That economists agree on this or that (I was originally trained in economics, the "false science") doesn't change my mind.

The following excerpt, from one of the forum comments following the krugman piece that you refer to, makes part of my point - i.e. And even if we manage to pull that off, won't the gains from deflating current massive government debts prove too tempting for politicians? I fear that moving to an offical higher inflation target now will be opening pandora's box where politician's will resort to this escape route again, ... and again, ... The hypothetical dynamic equilibrium would therefore not be so stable after all. And this is the very reason why investor confidence would be shattered immediately by a move to a new and higher inflation target. It goes to the heart of why we need independent central banks, of which Prof. Krugman paradoxically is a firm supporter I believe.

Also, what about the middle class investor confidence. Inflation is a thief, and not we're letting that thief in the door. Instead of taking measures that cause short term pain, we have opted to keep the house of cards building, higher.

As a devil's advocate to my own argument, it could be that printing money is one way out, and that debt doesn't matter. Debt is subjective, and thus, so are our feelings about debt. Perhaps a new meme around debt, as applied to situations that are meant to improve human and environmental situations, might prove to be a permanent good thing? Accounting rules are invented rules; those rules can change. We'll have to wait and see. Once everyone is in debt, in a highly interconnected world, what does that lead to? It may lead to a different way to think about debt, but if it does, we're going to have to consider the impact on treating debt this way, and come up with solutions that solve the problems of visiting inflation on the masses.
posted by Vibrissae at 9:12 AM on September 14, 2012


I understood Obama was as white as he is black

Obama identifies as black. But yeah, when it comes to racial perception in the US, biracial=not white.
posted by jb at 9:52 AM on September 14, 2012


Vibrassae, we probably don't disagree. I'm also an erstwhile economist. I'd be the first to say that there are long-term systemic issues and the fed's action only is necessary because of appalling failures of the political class. I'd stand by the notion that higher inflation would help and given the history of central banks, could be brought under control again. In this crisis we have tended to punish borrowers in order to protect lenders. The lender class has been fully protected during this crisis even though they are the other half of the equation.

To some extent it's all about credibility and the Fed has lots of hard-earned credibility with regard to dealing with inflation. It has been unwilling to use that credibility to this point to do more though.
posted by idb at 12:09 PM on September 14, 2012


I understood Obama was as white as he is black

The One Drop Rule is alive and well in many American psyches.


Obama identifies as black; so thinking of him as black is not a mark of racism. (Indeed, most African-Americans have substantial European heritage, so in America "blackness" is about more than race.)
posted by spaltavian at 1:56 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama and Romney Tackle 14 Top Science Questions
posted by homunculus at 2:46 PM on September 14, 2012


The fact is, if Romney is elected president, many, many, many more poor people will suffer than the many poor people currently suffering under President Obama. I say this not as a partisan-- I'm not voting for either candidate-- but as a noticer of facts.

I teach a class for low-income families at the nonprofit where I work. This sentiment is one I have heard echoed by all of them week in and week out. Sadly, quite a few of them won't be able to vote due to those great new voter-ID laws Pennsylvania has in place.
posted by nuclear_soup at 5:14 PM on September 15, 2012


SSI is an entitlement. Entitlements are just different ways to organize spending

Well, sure, and taxes are revenue. But the media consistently call cuts to Medicare and Social Security "changes to entitlement programs" or "entitlement reform", while tax increases are "tax increases", not "changes to revenue-generating programs."
posted by Ralston McTodd at 5:47 PM on September 15, 2012


We’re Winning the War on Poverty: New research shows that poverty is falling if you measure it correctly—government programs deserve most of the credit.
posted by homunculus at 8:22 PM on September 15, 2012


STUDY: Media Campaign Coverage Almost Never Addresses Poverty
posted by homunculus at 12:04 PM on September 16, 2012


« Older Kalamazoo Promise has come up in discussion a coup...  |  The Illustrated Guide to Crimi... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments