Didja know that President Obama and Mitt Romney already had their first debate? Yes, it was a science debate, which candidates responded to in writing. The Czar heard the Mitt Romney thumped the President pretty hard, so he went to see for himself.
The debate consisted of fourteen questions. In ten cases, Mitt Romney’s answers were longer (sometimes significantly so) than Barack Obama’s. In all cases, Romney’s were specific and substantive. You should read them: indeed, the Czar particularly enjoyed the disparity between the two men on Global Warming, where Obama rolls out his usual green energy perpetual motion machine; Romney not only gives the answer the Czar happens to second, but also points out in some detail what is wrong with Obama’s solution.
Romney does it again on the subject of federally funded research: Obama touts his $90 billion investment, and Romney explains why that amount was wasted. Romney then explains there are smarter ways to handle research, starting with the FDA. While Obama’s answer is longer than Romney’s, it spends too much time talking about what the President did between 2009 and 2012. Romney talks about the next few years, which is really the point of the question.
A particularly bothersome question involves Pandemics and Biosecurity. Obama provides eight short sentences about how the world is smaller, how the private sector should take this seriously (um, they do), and that some unspecified things could be done to strengthen our defenses. Romney, on the other hand, provides three paragraphs: the first recaps Obama’s approach, the second provides the specific strategies Romney will encourage through the private market, and the final paragraph explains how Obama has undermined his own solution by hampering research through punitive regulations. It is evident, by this point in the debate, that Romney knows Obama’s positions better than the President knows his own.
On Education, both men do pretty well. Obama offers to continue his STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) funding (which the Czar has previously praised) which has had mixed results but not for lack of trying. Romney provides a very long, comprehensive answer that also makes sense.
On Energy, Romney simply mops the floor with Obama. Are you surprised? The President has shown that an undergraduate understanding of how energy is produced and distributed in this country is insufficient to meet practical needs, whereas Romney provides a step-by-step plan to expand energy production and, yes, that definitely involves nuclear. This is basically a college clipboard protester trying to outwit a CEO on the subject of where power comes from. This one isn’t pretty.
On Food, Obama wins on substance. Romney indeed provides a solid answer, but Obama provides a laundry list of things he has done or intends to do. If the other thirteen of Obama’s answers were this good, we would have something else to talk about.
On The Internet, Obama misses by a mile. He provides a single paragraph that describes that the Internet is, to him, pretty important. And that cybersecurity is a good thing. Romney, again, provides a detailed answer that basically underscores the Internet is under attack by the Obama administration’s need to control things, and that the entire success of the Internet to date has been because the government has stayed out of it. A great answer.
Space is a topic the Czar really wanted to review, because the differences between the parties have become striking over the last couple of decades. While Republicans were always criticized for wanting to kill Space, it has indeed been the Democrats who have cut funding for it since the 1980s. Obama’s answer is largely a whitewash, and indeed appears to take considerable credit for some of George W. Bush’s goals; Romney offers a series of bullet points and strategies that reveal his desire to make Space (not just exploration, but research—which the Czar believes is way more critical) an exciting, popular, and profitable industry again.
And so on. Overall, the President phoned this in and clearly had other things to do than to play silly question and answer games. Romney took this very seriously, and once again reinforced the Czar’s notion that the Republicans are better at science than the Democrats, but foolishly let the Democrats claim otherwise without challenge.
Yes, Romney wins this debate.