With the Republican primary season essentially concluded, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is preparing to face-off with incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama on November 6, 2012 for a shot at the White House.
Everyone with any sense of the American political spectrum expected this eventual outcome as early as 2007 and 2008. The ultra rich Romney finished second to Senator John McCain in 2008 and would be rewarded with the front of the ticket in 2012. The meteoric, and terrifying, early successes of Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum died down. The Ron Paul dream campaign failed to get any momentum (despite spending almost as much as Romney in its first several months). The Newt Gingrich book tour finally lost steam before falling off a cliff and crashing in flames.
So here we have it. One Republican. One Democrat. All of America at stake. Who will win?
If one judges merely by the two candidates’ words the clear winner is Obama.
The loquacious and charismatic president has let down most of his progressive base with his political gamesmanship, but his only real worry is driving left-of-center voters away from the polls in 2012 – a progressive voting Republican in today’s America is simply impossible, save for in a fit of insanity.
Meanwhile, the Republican frontrunner continually manages to shoot himself in one foot while firmly inserting the other into his mouth. His most recent gaffe occurred on April 29 at a thinly populated rally in Columbus, Ohio where he told a group of students to borrow money from their parents to finance their education rather than taking out loans. His suggestion? Business entrepreneur Jimmy John – of Jimmy John’s fame – took $20,000 from his father to start a business years ago and now is a nationwide success. Jimmy John’s is engrained in the culture of most college towns: “subs so fast you’ll freak”.
There is just one problem with this narrative. The bit about the $20,000.
Who has $20,000? What world does Mitt Romney live in? Tuition for Otterbein University (where the comment was uttered) for the 2011-12 academic year was $29,000; for one year. If all of America were to follow the Jimmy John’s Model of Success trumpeted by Mr. Romney students at all private colleges and universities would find themselves able to afford one or two semesters of one year of undergraduate education before resorting to a life on the streets threatening passersby with a bottle in hopes of stealing their pocket change.
Obviously, Mr. Romney has no chance to win in 2012 so the United States need not worry about being run by someone who is, at best, so elite and aloof that he has no comprehension of the day-to-day struggle of most Americans.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Mitt Romney is polling in a near tie with President Obama by most national estimates, and the Republican noise machine from Fox News and the conservative media wing will only grow louder in the coming months.
All of us need to take this moment to stop and think. What will we do to help save this country?
Is President Obama a perfect solution? Absolutely not. Not by a long shot. But he has cut taxes for the vast majority of Americans (+95%… yes that includes you Dear Reader, unless you’re reading my blog again Donald Trump). He has helped college students consolidate debt and avoid increased loan rates. Yes, he expanded the war in Afghanistan, but the result was the killing of Osama bin Laden – a man for whom President George W. Bush literally expressed zero concern shortly after beginning his half-hearted “war on terror”.
President Obama is not perfect, but General Motors is the world’s leading auto manufacturer again – Mitt Romney said he would have let Detroit die, a misstep he had to retreat from during the Michigan primary.
President Obama gave too much money to the banks; but did not both parties agree that Wall Street was sacrosanct? If the Democrats refuse to touch bankster fraud what evidence will convince us that Republicans will do any different?
President Obama is at least dragging his feet on eventual cuts to Social Security and Medicare that most Washington insiders have already accepted on the horizon. The budget proposal from Representative Paul Ryan, which is officially part of the Romney 2012 platform, accelerates cuts to as soon as the next fiscal year and contains in it a poison pill regarding raising the retirement age for Americans – robbing them of thousands of dollars of employment and retirement insurance that they already paid for.
America needs leadership in 2012. One option is clearly adrift at the moment but, as always, at least offers a flicker of hope.
The other option is a pompous financier who wants to lower his own taxes while increasing yours and cutting funding for your children’s after school programs and for the inspectors who make sure your tires don’t explode on the highway. A man who thinks that simply asking a parent for TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS is not only a possible solution for individual financial troubles, but a preferable solution to encourage our latent entrepreneurial spirit.
If I were a betting man, I would wager $10,000 that Mitt Romney doesn’t care about you at all… The obvious choice, begrudgingly, is OBVIOUS (obviously).
Are you really so concerned about gay marriage that you would sacrifice America’s future to a man who made his fortune – at least the part he didn’t inherit – cutting up American companies and selling them for scraps? You aren’t one of his buddies oh person out there, you are a scrap. Remember that.