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More and More Preposterous




By Ed McManus

Have you heard about the Des Moines Register's endorsement?

For the first time in 40 years, they are supporting a Republican for president. Their reasoning, in a nutshell, is that Republicans in Congress won't work with President Obama, but Democrats, for the good of the country, would cooperate with a President Romney to get things done.

Sound familiar? It is the same twisted logic that Time columnist Joe Klein used a few weeks ago: Let's reward the Republicans for their stubbornness and callousness, and punish the Democrats for caring about the country. I wrote a blog about it at the time, entitled "Preposterous!"

I am writing this one in the final days. Things are looking up for the President at the moment, but this election is much too close to take for granted. And this kind of argument is downright scary--if too many independents take it seriously.

Klein's Sept. 15 column was preceded and followed by many columns by him that were very critical of Romney. Joe is no apologist for the GOP. But he fretted in September that the Bush tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year, along with big budget cuts agreed on by both parties, and a deal must be made to avert a recession. And Romney will be better able to make the deal, Klein wrote, so we won't all fall off the fiscal cliff.

What a lousy reason for handing the White House over to Mitt Romney and his pals for the next four years!

The Des Moines Register says the economy, jobs and a balanced budget are the nation's biggest challenges and they must be dealt with "in a bipartisan manner." They say both candidates are superbly qualified, and they complement Obama for the 2009 stimulus. They give him credit for reaching out to Republicans, but they point out that he has been rebuffed. Romney, on the other hand, gets along with Democrats. "Romney had to tack to the right during the primary season," the Register says. "Since then, he has recalibrated his campaign to focus on his concern for the middle class, and that is believable if the real Mitt Romney is the one on display as governor of Massachusetts who passed a health care reform plan that became the model for the one passed by Congress."

Take a look at that sentence. One, they admit they don't know who the real Romney is, even though they are endorsing him! And two, they point to health care reform as his greatest bipartisan achievement, although Romney is promising to repeal Obamacare!

They predict that he will be far more centrist as president than he has been as a candidate. Don't worry about the fact that he has been lying about his views all along, they seem to say. And they, like Klein, put great importance on negotiating a deal on the budget, although many economists believe we aren't facing any immediate fiscal crisis.

Fortunately, many newspapers have seen the light and shunned Romney. One notable one is the Salt Lake Tribune, the major paper in a very red and Mormon state. (Disclosure: I used to work there.) Their editorial for Obama said: "From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: 'Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?'."

We know who Obama is. He rescued us from the Bush fiscal mess and got universal health care passed. He's a keeper. -0-

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 Ed McManus is a Wilmette, IL, attorney and former Chicago Tribune editor/reporter. Comments (and brickbats) welcome: Please forward this blog to your friends.

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