Obama, Romney & "Binders Full of Women": Our Take on the Debate

debate2.jpg
New York Daily News
"His mama!" "No, his mama!"
Is it hackneyed to whine about presidential debates' failure to make candidates actually answer questions and to be held to the truth? Probably, but we'll do it anyway, if only for a moment. For most of Tuesday night's dick-measuring contest, we dreamed of a world where Hair Balls moderated debates, and enforced time limits and direct answers with a Taser.

Instead, we'll have to settle for what actually transpired, which was replete with heated exchanges and an incumbent who was actually awake. It seems that, for not repeating his Denver suck-fest, Obama got the pundits' gold medal. Both men were ready to rumble from the start, and at points it looked like things might devolve into yo-mama jokes, which would probably be as informative as allowing candidates to regurgitate canned responses that rarely had anything to do with the questions asked of them.

If anything, this debate will be remembered for Romney's awesome "binders full of women" reference, in which he said that as governor of Massachusetts, he actively sought out qualified female cabinet members. Yes, a Republican challenger boasting his affirmative action bona-fides.

Poor phrasing aside, we'd have to disagree with the pundits and give the edge to Romney. For all Obama's bluster, he didn't really score any points until the very end, when he bitch-slapped Romney with the infamous "47 percent" remark, which Romney will probably never be able to explain away. But Obama's other supposed victory -- when moderator Candy Crowley supported Obama's claim that he immediatelly called the assassination of Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi a terrorist act -- turned out to be hollow: Crowley subsequently told Anderson Cooper that Romney was "right in the main" when he said the administration hemmed and hawed for nearly two weeks before blaming the attack on terrorists.

But debates don't really seem to be about who's right or wrong -- in the absence of our Mighty Taser of Truth, real-time fact-checking is difficult. So basically, candidates get 90 minutes of carte-blanche spinning. And people like 20-year-old Jeremy Epstein, who asked the first question of the night, don't get answers. Epstein, a first-time voter set to graduate college in 2014, asked the candidates what they could say to assure him that he'll have a job then.


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7 comments
big.red.guy
big.red.guy

They both blew Epstein's question. The first one to answer with

"sure you can get a job when you graduate. Just don't get a degree in psychology." would have won. Hands down.

H_e_x
H_e_x

I have a binder full of women, it's on my hard drive.

evan.mintz
evan.mintz

I'd argue Obama won based on his discussion of women and the economy. Romney appeared to think that the breadwinner-homemaker model is still dominant, talking about women working part time to go home and make dinner and such. But as Obama pointed out, in many parts of the country women are the breadwinners and are working full time - yet still aren't getting equal pay for equal work. After all, the male-dominated jobs that allowed them to be breadwinners (factories, etc) are gone and, as Obama correctly noted, aren't coming back. But while men labored in those jobs, women worked in offices or got educations, community colleges or four year colleges, and now find themselves at the top of their local economic ladders while men wait futilely for the jobs to come back. So when Romney talks about women getting married before having kids, he shows that he has outdated notions of the economy and family structure. After all, why should a woman tie herself to someone to is going to be an economic drag rather than a contributor? 

The economy is different than it used to be. The work force is changing. Obama knows this. Romney doesn't. At least going by what we saw in the debate.

Jim Costello
Jim Costello

Did anyone actually here an answer as to whether the $4 gallon of gas is "expected to be the new normal?" I sure didn't, not from either of these guys. We are being gouged and bled on the floor of our own homes.

montblanc
montblanc

Obama's response about the $1.86/gallon was very simple: when the world and the United States are in major recession, demand for oil/gas drops. And so does the price. Therefore, the return of that price is not something we should aspire towards.

craig.malisow
craig.malisow

 @montblanc I'm not sure how that makes sense, though. Does that mean in times of economic prosperity that gas would be expensive? Were we in a recession (or on the brink of one) in the mid- to late-1980s, when a gallon was around a buck?

montblanc
montblanc

 @craig.malisow Oil's traded on the world market and in the mid 80's the world demand was nowhere close to what it is now with China, India, Brazil and the rest growing dramatically and requiring oil for everything from construction, industry, transportation etc

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