Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Obama or Romney: the waste vs. a wasteland.

 There is a good case to be made that this years choices for president are the worst in American history. George W. Bush is generally regarded as the country's worst president  having caused more catastrophies because of his policies than all U.S. presidents combined. But in both 2000 and 2004 the country had better choices in Gore and Kerry. In two very close elections the country chose poorly and paid the price, but much of the blame for that can be laid at the feet of the gross political incompetence and ineptitude of Democrats and their political  strategists, something that continues to this day.

The problem with Obama, as everyone knows, is that Obama has no principles, no values and no convictions.

The problem with Romney and conservatives is that they do. And those convictions, values and principles if allowed to be implemented would not only result in the same disasters the Republicans visited on the country during the Bush years, given the current state of affairs, it would turn the country into a wasteland in almost every aspect of American life, from economics, to the culture,  unemployment, and the values and liberties upon which the country was founded but which conservatives have always opposed.

 Obama's dismal record speakes for itself and he has been an embarrassment to the Democratic party. Especially to Pelosi who famously said in 2008 that Obama was qualified to be president "from day one". That should forever automatically dismiss anything Pelosi offers in terms of her political judgement borne out by the fact that  even though Obama had the biggest congressional majority of any president in 60 years, Obama did virtually nothing of value and betrayed the agenda on which he was elected. And congressional Democrats led by Pelosi let him get away with it. Compared with what could have been accomplished, his four years have been a waste. And given his 15 year history in which he had accomplished absolutely nothing, there is no reason to think another four years would be any different.

Obama's saving grace is that  what he would fail to accomplish over the next four years would still be  better than what Romney, Ryan and the Republicans would accomplish if they controlled the government. What Obama would fail to do for the country would still be better than what Romney and the Republicans would do to it. Which makes this election about the lesser of two evils - the waste that is Obama and that was on display during the first debate,  versus the wasteland the country would become under a conservative agenda.  The caveat to all this might be who controls congress, which for the first time in history becomes more important than who is president. A good case can be made that a Democratic congress standing up to a Romney presidency could be more effective than a Democratic congress capitulating to Obama who in turns capitulates to anything that moves. But chances are, if Obama does win, it will be on the coattails of a Democrats winning congress and not the other way around.

Had Romney run as the moderate Republican he was as governor of Massachussetts, there is a good chance he could have landslided Obama, winning over disaffected Democrats fed up with Obama and his reneging on promises and then lying about it. Instead Romney went to the right during the primaries and his convention speech, then chose Paul Ryan, a Tea Party darling and himself a well documented ( by Fox News of all places) political liar. So now it will be a close election with many independents still undecided

In the first debate, a debacle for Obama, Romney  was the clear winner and based on polling, in not just staggering numbers, but historic numbers with Romney chosen the winner by the biggest margin of victory since Gallup started polling the question after debates. The number was 77% who said Romney was the winner versus 22% for Obama.  Obama's incompetence and lack of conviction which was his presidency in microcosm, was clearly on display and  the result of that debate is that Romney has closed the gap in presidential preference polls and in the most recent Pew poll, the most reliable and unbiased of polls, Romney now has a 2 point lead.
But the reason for Romney's surge is not just Obama's wet dishrag performance but because Romney became more moderate, more the politician who was the former governor of Massachusetts , not the politician who pandered to the Tea Party and the anti-American beliefs of the extreme right. So which is the real Romney? The answer is it may not be worth the risk to find out, though Obama still faces polls where 54%  rightly say he doesnt deserve to be elected.And he doesnt. The real question is who would be worse?
 Its up to Democratic strategists, the New York Jets of professional politics, to convince people that Romney's apparent move to moderation is a phony. One of the best ways to prove it is with Romney's choice of Ryan as his choice for running mate. No matter how much Romney tries to sound moderate, Democrats can make Ryan the ball and chain shackled to Romney's ankle that he can't shake.
Another way to prove it, is to hit Romney hard on his seemingly innocuous statement during the debate, mentioned almost as an aside,  that he would defund Public Broadcasting and with it Big Bird. It might seem like a small inconsequential thing but it isn't and it reflects the worst of Republican thinking.  First, PBS is the only independent television broadcaster in the country something that frustrates Republicans when they cant use it to disseminate political and policy distortions. But more than that,  America probably gets a bigger return on Big Bird and Sesame Street than any other American export. Sesame Street has not only taught tolerance to American children and the value of accepting people who are different from themselves, it teaches the same thing to children in other countries around the world, since Sesame Street airs all over the world. That can pay big dividends in the future in terms of the world we live in,  which makes Sesame Street  one of America's most valuable exports.  To do away with that based on its infinitesimal budget in the name of austerity and fiscal responsiblity is the most short sighted and misguided example of Republicans knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. If they are ready to put Big Bird out of work, dont think for a minute their policies wont do the same to millions of others.
 The  Democrats greatest asset right now is Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and his past pandering to the  Tea Party and others on the extreme right.
Obama's presidency has surely been a waste, something Democrats need to acknowledge and not insult the intelligence of Democratic voters by trying to say otherwise.  But the wasteland that would be America, from unrealistic tax policy, changes in Medicare, overcrowding of schools,  higher unemployment and government interfering with personal choices that are none of governments business if Romney and the extreme right controlled the government, would be worse than a do nothing Obama if Republicans maintained control of the House. The real issue now is whether or not there are Democrats smart enough to keep it from happening and can find an honest message that can help Democrats gain control of congress. Clearly Obama is not one of them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I'm not at all convinced that Romney will be worse. Take Social Security for example: I suspect it is safer under Romney than Obama, and in any case if a GOP President destroys it, a Democratic president can restore it. But if a Democratic President destroys it-not so much.

I refused to vote for Obama in 2008, and nothing he has done gives me cause to change my mind this time around.