By Arthur Piccolo
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. April 23, 2012: With all the Republican scrimmaging over, some new major polls are showing Obama and Romney in a dead heat if the election were held today. Sure that will change who knows how many times and a national poll is not how the Presidential election is run.
It is a 50 state contest and most Electoral votes gets the Big Prize.
Still the fact that Romney, who seemed so weak to some in the middle of the world wrestling federation like primary season, may have put that all behind him and is now looking like a better candidate having won the struggle.
I’m here to argue whether Barack Obama wins re-election or if Romney out slugs him and wins the Prize most of us lose either way. That it is a choice of poisons. In this scenario Mitt Romney is the stronger harsher poison with a bitter taste. The Obama poison – more subtle even sweet tasting to some but the results – no less disappointing. Now none of us may physically die from either of these brews but we will all feel the effects in other ways.
Neither of them has any solutions for what really ails us. A society that is becoming less friendly and more troubling for the vast majority of Americans while the rich keep grabbing more and more. Of everything.
Mitt Romney is an unabashed proponent of bashing the middle class and the poor in carefully wrapped phrases. No he would never say that rather he is a True Believer in the marketplace and the power of Capitalism and lower taxes for all to create a better society and stronger economy. Pure poison.
President Barack Obama is selling something that seems quite different. He tells us the rich must pay more taxes. The Buffett Rule. He tells us he wants to control run away military spending.
He tells us he wants health insure and medical care for all. It seems to taste good. Except its not! None of these “changes” Obama is proposing amounts to anything significant. None of them or others are going to change the equation for the rest of us.
The rich have nothing to fear from Obama. The bloated military has nothing to fear either. And the medical industry loves Obama care. How can that be good for the rest of us?
What is more interesting even if it won’t change the results is the dynamics of the two campaigns. How both Romney and Obama will maneuver and try to shape the debate in their favor. And how both will try and put the media to their advantage and spin us all around again and again and again between now and election day.
On the surface Barack Obama’s prospects should look promising indeed. The economy seems to be doing OK and lots of companies are making very good profits and many young entrepreneurs having the time of their lives building meaningless companies that produce stupid games to keep us amused.
Obama can pin the Republicans in general and Romney specifically as only interested in the rich and indifferent to the plight of average Americans. So what is the problem for Obama?
Part of it is built into the very nature of the American presidential election system. Yes, if we had a single national election right now Obama’s prospects would look very bright no matter what some polls say maybe not by a huge margin but a clear majority for Obama and against Romney in a pure national election.
Instead, what we have is the Electoral College for better or worse. It’s no real college at all but it still issues a “diploma” to just one. It is the most sought after in the world. The U.S. Presidency.
So to repeat what we already know but seem to forget so often – when we see national polls is that the Presidential election is a 50 state contest. It is virtually guaranteed the Democratic candidate will win certain states and their Electoral College votes and just as much that the Republican candidate will win others. It is only when we have very strange elections that this balance does not hold. This does not appear to be one of those years. No matter what Obama may think of himself or lead us to believe, he is a very typical Democrat running for President and Mitt Romney on his side a very typical Republican. Or as has been said many times a race to the center.
What that means on the ground is that it is likely to be the battleground states – those that can go either way in any Presidential election – that will decide the issue. Whether Obama or Romney wins more of the battleground Electoral College votes. Yes that means this year we could have one of those elections where lets say Obama wins the national popular vote 51% to 49% but still might lose the Electoral College by 12-24 votes and lose the Presidency. More likely the winner in the Electoral College will also win the popular national vote by a slim margin.
Either way barring the proverbial big meteorite hitting the planet or Israel bombing Iran before the election and moving the vote in all kinds of unexpected ways most likely in Obama’s favor as Commander in Chief, without such a jarring hit to the process this election will be in the classic mold.
Both Obama and Romney as they already are will pivot slightly Left in Obama’s case and Romney toward the Right. What it will be for the most part is rhetoric whose only purpose is to impact the vote in those precious swing states dependent on which campaign does a better job of manipulating the voters in that state.
The policy gyrations will be coupled with Big Bucks spent on the airwaves, on the Internet, on the ground to reach target voters with direct messages that will be tailored to appeal to each, pulling out their troops on election day and having legal teams in place in every state to challenge anything they don’t like about the results.
As for the overriding campaign theme up until some months ago, the Republicans were preparing to run against the economy and blame Obama for it. Make it a blame the incumbent election. A good choice when things truly look bleak for almost everyone except the super-rich the 1%. Well the economy looks pretty good right now to Republicans and their base the better off. So that issue won’t do barring a new deep economic dip very soon.
Unlikely, but if it happens so much better for Mitt Romney.
Instead the new Romney strategy is far more insidious or call it brilliant if you like. Romney seems to be telling voters Obama has not kept his promises even thought they are promises the Republicans opposed and why they are so manic to defeat him.
Remember we are only talking about swing states. California and New York and other states will vote in the majority for Obama no matter what. If it turned out he were a Martian it would not matter.
For Romney the same is true all over the South and in parts of the and Northern Rim. Romney wins those states even if it becomes known he is an avatar and not human at all.
So the point I am making is that the Republicans may have found a way to make Obama and not Romney the issue even thought the economy is not crumbling. It would be very ironic justice if they pull it off.
I keep noting again and again in my Commentaries Obama lied to us to win the Presidency. He convinced us to believe in Change that although he was not all that specific if we elected Barack Obama it would be a new brighter day for all of us. America would be transformed and finally and truly become the mythical place of promise for all of us.
Yes it was a glorious Election Day 2008. It actually happened Obama won. America was euphoric. It was a night of magic Barack Obama standing with his family in Grant Park in Chicago before a packed landscape of giddy joy. The feeling carried right through Inauguration Day on January 20, 2009, and beyond.
Until we all woke and some of us, not all of us, realized Barack Obama was and is a very typical Democratic Party U.S. President.
Yes he had his specific style and found issues that best worked for him plus he told us he saved us from oblivion with his rescue of the banks, the insurance and auto companies and all the rest.
Now 3½ years later everyone almost everyone knows the Truth.
Barack Obama is nothing special – just typical. As is his re-election, he is selling us FEAR of the unknown as incumbents always do. Be afraid of the other guy stay with what you know. Don’t take a chance. The results will not be good.
See what is happening here Obama’s first campaign is coming back to haunt him. This incumbent strategy which should work well for him may have a “fatal” flaw other incumbents have not had to deal with. They did not rely on telling us stories about Change as much or as well as Barack Obama made us believe in Change in his first campaign. Change Obama has not delivered.
He is just a typical ok President only. In reality he chips at the edges of big issues like inequality, taxes, military spending, health care in America, the environment, immigration policy, drug laws, oppression, campaign finance, etc., etc, now promising and in some cases delivering small changes and improvements that have no serious impact on our lives or the nation and leave the Status Quo in place as a much as it has ever been.
Did I mention campaign finance reform? There is one of many examples where Obama not only did not solve the problem he has become the problem made it far worse. Even with his prospects looking very good in the election of 2008 and even after John McCain accepted public financing and even thought Obama had promised he was outraged by all the money in politics he broke his promise and rejected public financing and went on to raise more far more campaign funds than any candidate in human history.
Or how about the war sorry invasion and occupation of Afghanistan? Although Obama during the 2008 campaign contrasted Iraq with Afghanistan to score points there probably weren’t very many Democrats who voted for him who expected him to be as aggressively militarily as any Republican in the White House would have been or that he would have let himself be taken to the cleaners there by the military brass. He was left propping up one of the most corrupt regimes on Earth and costing the U.S. thousands of American and now more than trillion U.S. taxpayer dollars in Afghanistan.
O let’s not forget Obama’s campaign opposition to forcing Americans to buy private medical insurance and his pledge to work tirelessly for a public option. Sorry that too was campaign rhetoric.
So again what about Mitt Romney?
I’m projecting this as a race about Obama not Romney. We’ll see.
Opposed to my analysis the more standard view as noted in one new poll by NBC and the Wall Street Journal it is a battle of competing images Obama projecting himself as the protector of the middle-class and Romney arguing he will improve the economy.
Are you sure you want to play that card in the battle ground states Barack? The economy in general may seem better but it is not generally good for everyone, and lots of American see a bleak future ahead for themselves and their children no matter what the Dow Jones averages say or how high they soar. Or how many low paying jobs without promise are created. Or as we say a job is not a job. Need to know more.
But I’m back to my original point.
Choose your poison.
Might it be better to take the bitter quicker working poison of Mitt Romney now and then look for a cure 4 years from now in someone NOT named Barack Obama after President Romney’s poison combined with a Republican Congress takes us to the Edge with brain dead policies and legislation that makes America more unequal than ever and more hopeless for many more.
Or as Macbeth’s witches would say ….
“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”
About The Writer: Arthur Piccolo is a professional writer and commentator and often writes about Latin America for New Americas.