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-
Advertisement: Please help me reach my goal of raising $2,500 for the President! The campaign has set up some of us little guys with our own fund-raising account through barackobama.com. Check out this link:
I have so far been able to get 29 of my friends and relatives to send in donations ranging from $10 to $500! If you have already given, please consider throwing in a few more bucks. Thanks.
Ed McManus is a Wilmette, IL, attorney and former Chicago Tribune editor/reporter. Comments (and brickbats) welcome: email@example.com. Please forward this blog to your friends.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012 is the BIG night, the face off, the supreme contest, the ultimate battle, the main event.
At 9:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time drums will roll; trumpets will trumpet as PBS CSPAN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, MSNBC and, for all I know, Animal Planet and Nickelodeon broadcast the first 2012 Presidential Debate from the University of Denver . Fifty million Americans will be holding their collective breaths as Mitt and Barack will go at it mano a mano after months of sparing, preparation and coaching. Oh, the thrill of it all! Oh, the anticipation.
Jim Lehrer will do his best to keep the combatants on target and the action going. Hannity, Matthews, Maddow, Blitzer, Cooper, plus a phalanx of commentators, and seemingly anyone with coiffed hair who has mouthed the word "Republican" or "Democrat" will be at the ready to interpret, analyze and unequivocally declare the winner the millisecond the spent debaters break from their obligatory, phony, final handshake.
Networks will electronically monitor focus groups composed of "undecided" voters. Their reactions to each thrust and parry will be compiled and analyzed. It does, however, appear outrageous to me that the opinions of this cohort, arguably the most uninformed, timid, and indecisive group of our citizenry, have great predictive validity and should be of interest to anyone with a functioning brain.
In the days following the big debate the American public will be relentlessly bombarded with video snippets of bruising punches, painful jabs, inglorious misses, below-the-belt hits and maybe, just maybe, a KNOCKOUT blow.
Truth be told, most research indicates that Presidential debates have little or no impact on actual voting. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/29/obama-romney-debates_n_1925690.html ) Most voters at this late stage in the game have their minds made up, and they ain't likely to change.
We the people have seen Obama react to real crises and deal with countless reporters' questions and challenges. Romney has been running for the public office for years, and for the Presidency since 2008. Aware citizens know how these men react; they have seen their skills lauded and their gaffs ridiculed. The most likely effect of a candidate's performance, and I mean performance, is to not change but rather to reinforce opinions already held.
Few past debates have affected outcomes of elections. Perhaps the two most famous of these were the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate and the 1980 Reagan-Carter match-off. The 1960 debate was pivotal neither because of words spoken nor opinions stated, but rather because of sweat and 5 o'clock shadow. Nixon was incredibly non-telegenic and Kennedy glimmered like a cool and collected young rock star. In 1980 when Carter and Reagan were running neck and neck, Reagan used his honed thespian skills to undo the plain-talking peanut-farmer candidate.
Decades later it seems likely that make-up artists, media savvy personnel, and script preparation greatly lower the likelihood of an impactful debate. Thus despite all the hoopla, October 3 will likely make for a pretty uneventful evening and have little effect on November 6th.
Why expect otherwise? Each candidate has his must-include-lines memorized; lines which will be utilized as answers, even if they do not fit the question asked. Mitt and Barack both have clever gotcha's and zingers, and given the slightest opportunity to get a laugh, generate some audience applause, or embarrass the foe; they will be launched.
The upcoming contest is in many ways like a WWE wrestling event: well planned, great build up, unlimited expectations, great announcing, faux anger, a little humor, coupled with much show and bluster. However, occasionally, something goes wrong; reality breaks out, blood is drawn and wrestling history made.
That history will be made next Wednesday - doubtful. Fifty million viewers including me sitting on the edge of their seats watching and waiting for that unlikely history-making knockout - non-debatable. Let's get the popcorn ready.
Question: Who will be the Republican gladiator to do battle with Obama?
Answer: ROMNEY WILL BE THE NOMINEE.
Repeatedly, political pundits said Romney could poll a meager 25 percent of the primary vote; a credible contender would arise to challenge Mr. Flip-Flop.
Question: Who would yank the nomination out of Mr. Bland’s s well-manicured hand? Answer: Nobody. ROMNEY WILL BE THE NOMINEE
The Logic: Republican candidates must fulfill two mandatory qualifications:
A) Be a conservative ideologue.
B) Be acceptable to the non-ideological independents.
A and B are mutually exclusive. It’s impossible. Right? Wrong! (Not if insincerity is your secret weapon.)