Romney Had No Votes in Many Urban Precincts
“The Phildadelphia Inquirer reported today that, in 59 precincts in inner-city Philadelphia, the GOP nominee received not a single vote. And according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, nine precincts in Cleveland returned zero Romney votes.”
The political prize that eluded him in 2008, and his father four decades before, had seemed tantalisingly close. It was all the more remarkable give that his roller-coaster campaign threatened to come off the rails early on, before roaring back to life following his first energetic television debate.
But within hours of arriving in Boston to watch the results pour in with his family and advisors, the television networks had called the election for his rival.
What may rankle most with Romney is that the obstacles which prevented him from beating an incumbent saddled with high unemployment and a disappointing first election term were largely of his own making.
But there was no one else to blame for the verbal gaffes, his comments about the 47 per cent of people on welfare, his failure to produce tax returns or his constant shape-shifting on fundamental policy issues.
Ultimately, voters never warmed or trusted him in sufficient numbers – and Romney never effectively made the case for himself.
47 per cent
The voice on the secretly recorded video was steady, and the message was severe. “There are 47 per cent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what,” he said at a private fundraiser.
“All right, there are 47 per cent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it,” Romney said. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
It took Romney days to express regret at his comments.
Coming after a slew of ads that accused his investment company, Bain Capital, of vulture capitalism and outsourcing jobs, the damage was devastating, particularly among the blue-collar vote he so badly needed to secure.
Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of his tax returns gave Democrats even more ammunition. What he did release showed that he had paid a meagre 14 per cent, significantly less than average workers.
“What else is he hiding?” a narrator in an Obama ad asked viewers over the summer.
It was Romney’s decision not to release any earlier tax returns, on the basis that it would play into the hands of the Democrats’ campaign.
But it all hinted at a bigger problem.
Romney, the affluent son of a former car industry chief and state governor, was deeply uncomfortable discussing his wealth.
He did a good job of completing the caricature of a one per center by boasted that his wife had “a couple of Cadillacs” and making a $10,000 bet with his Republican primary rival, governor Rick Perry, over health care policy.
Democrats spent millions of dollars during the summer portraying him as a vulture capitalist, happy to ship jobs overseas in order to maxmise his financial returns.
Yet, these were the same ads – and in some cases, the same individuals – that had been used eight years earlier in his unsuccessful Senate campaign bid against Ted Kennedy.
Neither Romney, nor his campaign, insisted they were vastly exaggerated, but they never did enough to rebut them. The mud stuck. It hardly matters when he went on to tell voters at a rally in New Hampshire that he “liked to fire people”.
It was no surprise that Romney would seek to make a play for the middle ground after securing a nomination.
But the sheer number of about-turns gave the impression of a candidate with no real conviction.
He largely disowned the health insurance policy introduced in Massachusetts as governor (which became the model for Obamacare) and embraced the coal industry he had denounced a few years earlier.
In order to appeal to the his Republican base, he renounced more liberal position he held in the past on abortion. It all allowed the Obama campaign to characterise these many changes as “Romnesia.” But voters – both Democrats and Republicans – didn’t forget these about-turns.
Lack of personality
Ironically, it was only during the final weeks of the campaign that some of Romney’s personality began to come through.
For most of the campaign, he had avoided revealing anything to do with Mormon faith besides clipped overall generalisations. Yet, there was aspects of it which reflected well on him. His personal engagement with charities were considerable. He have millions to voluntary groups and spent significant period of time with ordinary church members, often allowing poorer visitors from abroad visiting Boston for medical attention to stay in his home.
All in all, Romney never gave the public a good enough reason to vote for him as a person. He never effectively made the case for Romney himself, instead allowing others to define him.
The investor, who had previously expressed major reservations over Obama’s eligibility of the Presidency by questioning his 1961 birth in Hawaii, took to Twitter shortly after the main TV networks in the United States called the election in Obama’s favour.
“We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty,” Trump insisted. “Our nation is totally divided!
“Let’s fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us.
This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy! Our country is now in serious and unprecedented trouble… like never before.
Our nation is a once great nation divided! The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.
The billionaire – who had toyed with running for the Republican nomination, but ultimately ruled himself out and endorsed Mitt Romney’s candidacy before leaving the Republican party altogether- said the Republican-controlled House of Representatives “shouldn’t give anything to Obama unless he terminates Obamacare”.
Trump’s complaints appeared to be related to the running totals in the popular vote count, which had showed Romney has holding a clear lead over Obama despite having lost the election based on the electoral college system.
The running totals carried by TV networks, however, did not include the substantial tallies of votes cast in western states such as California, which had leaned heavily towards Obama and whose 55 electoral college votes could immediately be awarded to the incumbent.
US Election day live:Its on Twitter, so it’s official? @BarackObama Four more years – Latest updates
|OFFICIAL: FOUR MORE YEARS
• Obama wins New Hampshire and leads in swing states
• Both campaigns watch as Florida goes to the wire
• Exit polls put Obama ahead in Ohio and Wisconsin
• ‘Firewall’ holding as Obama wins Michigan, Pennsylvania
• GOP to hold House, Democrats on course for Senate
• Live video from campaigns’ headquarters
04.06 (23.06) CNN is now calling Wisconsin for Obama. The entire Midwest is now blue except for the state of Ohio.
04.05 (23.05) Polls close on the West Coast and with that California’s 55 votes have marched into Obama’s column. There are huge cheers at Obama’s rally in Chicago as they his electoral vote tally surges forward.
04.00 (23.00) Al Gore, a man has who spent more time thinking about the importance of Florida than anyone else, predicts it will go for the President. If you were a Democrat would you welcome a prophecy like that? Not sure.
03.55 (22.55) Obama has left his home and driven to the Fairmont hotel, where and the First Family will wait in one of the suites and continue to watch the results flow in. There’s only one more stop after this – the convention centre where his increasingly hopeful supporters are waiting.
03.50 (22.50) Will it all end in Florida? 88 per cent of the vote has been counted and Obama is up by 16,000 votes. There are still ballots to be counted but right now they look to be in Miami-Dade, a Democrat county.
03.45 (22.45) The Democrats have won the Senate’s marquee race in Massachusetts and Elizabeth Warren will replace Scott Brown as the Bay State’s junior senator. Brown, who upended the political world by winning Ted Kennedy’s old seat, is conceding in Boston now. Not far away Romney’s staff must be watching him concede defeat and wondering how their own night is going to end.
03.40 (22.40) For months and months and months we have been told Ohio was the centre of the political universe and would crown the next President of the United States. That may still prove true but there is a distinct possibility that Florida may steal the show. If Obama wins there then suddenly the Midwest may not matter.
03.10 (22.10) Two new battleground exit polls and both spell more gloom for Boston.
So far, Romney has only taken one of the states that Obama won in 2008 – Indiana, which the Democrats didn’t contest this year. Romney needs some good new – any good news – soon.
03.05 (22.05) We are at 86 per cent of votes counted in Florida and Obama is still ahead. As I said in my list of things to watch – if the Republicans are defeated in Florida then they fall at the first hurdle.
02.57 (21.57) Multiple networks are now calling New Hampshire for Obama, meaning Romney has lost the state where he launched his campaign and where he owns a summer home. The walls are beginning to close in on Romney and very soon he is going to have no path left to 270.
02.55 (21.55) Mark Hughes reports on the chaos in Florida.
With more than 80 per cent of the vote counted in Florida, the lead is continually changing with neither candidate leading by more than a few hundred votes at a time.
At times the margin has been fewer than 200 votes. It’s worth remembering that The Gore v Bush 2000 debacle was a 537 vote margin. Under Florida law a recount will be triggered if the margin of victory is less than a half of one percent which, going by the numbers at the last election, means one candidate needs to win by a margin of at least 40,000.
The latest numbers show Obama up by about 20,00 but you would be crazy to call it now.
02.45 (21.45) Rob Portman, the Republican Senator from Ohio is addressing Romney’s Boston supporters by video link. He says that the campaign’s efforts in the Buckeye State have been beyond anything Republicans have ever done before. But there’s no mistaking the heaviness in his voice – it’s not looking good for Team Romney in Ohio.
01.40 (20.40) We have 60 per cent of the vote counted in Florida and Obama is leading 51-49. That’s a tiny margin and there’s time for Romney to close the gap but it will have to come soon. In Chicago they may be beginning to indulge in the idea that they win Florida and end election night almost before it begins.
01.35 (20.35) Could the deeply-divided US bear a repeat of the Florida 2000 recount?
Romney: ‘I’ve written my victory speech’ 07 Nov 2012
01.30 (20.30) More bad news for Republican Senate hopes: the Democrats have held off a challenge from Linda McMahon, the former wrestling executive who poured $100m into her candidacy, are going to win in Connecticut, the AP reports.
Tomorrow, the bankers and corporate chiefs are planning an historic victory party. With the election of Mitt Romney, their takeover of American democracy would be complete.
They thought they had accomplished that four years ago when they backed Barack Obama (he received more money from Wall Street than McCain; Goldman Sachs was his No. 1 private contributor). And even though he never put a single one of them of any consequence in jail and never signed any bill that would truly stop their out-of-control greed; and even though he placed two of Wall Street’s favorite operatives — Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers — in charge of the Treasury and economic policy; and even though he let them use bailout money — our money — to give themselves lavish bonuses after they wrecked our economy; and even though he didn’t go for a single-payer health care system and made sure that under “Obamacare” no insurance company would be fined more than $100 a day for denying a person with a pre-existing condition (thus removing many of the teeth the new law had); and even though he let them keep their Bush tax cut for another four years — yes, even after doing all of that for the wealthiest 1 percent, it still wasn’t enough for them, so they decided to turn on him in a vicious way. They decided that they could literally buy an election and toss him to the curb. Why? Because he enacted a little “reform.” Because he wants them to pay just a tiny bit more in taxes. Because, deep down, they know what we know deep down — that Barack Obama, if given a second term, is going to put the brakes on them. They know that Barack Obama will appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Citizens United. And they know that next time they crash our economy, some of them will, hopefully, be going to jail.
And they believe they can stop him tomorrow by having bamboozled enough of those “47 percent,” those moochers, to vote for one of their own — Mitt Romney. A man who, like them, believes big business should have no restraints. A man who pays next to nothing in taxes. A man who has destroyed the livings of thousands of working Americans. A man who hides his money in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands and won’t show us what’s on his tax returns for the past decade.
This is who they want elected president tomorrow — and if this happens, their goal of complete corporate control of the three branches of government will be complete.
Trust me, if they succeed, we may never get it back.
There were two things in the news these past couple of weeks that unfortunately got little attention. But these two stories say it all about the America we will have unless these people are stopped.
One was a story in The Nation that exposed how Romney, while publicly opposing the auto company bailout, secretly got in on the action with his Wall Street donors — and made more than $15 million, a 4,000 percent return on his investment (which he hid in a blind trust in his wife’s name) by buying up the Delphi auto parts company, the former Delco/AC Spark Plug division of GM where my dad worked. He then — get this — grabbed billions in bailout cash to “transform” it from bankrupt to a “viable business.” Except what he really did was slash retiree pensions, shut down 24 U.S. factories, and ship all 25,200 union jobs to China. You’d think he’d keep quiet about Delphi — but no, he’s got his supporters running ads in Ohio blaming Barack Obama for terminating the Delphi pensions. I kid you not. (When I opposed the Iraq War, Romneyites and the like called me a “traitor”; when Romney does this traitorous act destroying jobs and sending them to China, his reward, in addition to the millions he pocketed, may be the presidency tomorrow.) The other story was a bill passed by the Pennsylvania legislature that would allow businesses to take the state income taxes they withhold from their employees’ paychecks and keep the money for themselves! That’s right. Your taxes that you pay to the state won’t go to the state anymore — they’ll just go right into the pockets of your bosses. I was stunned to find out that other states are already doing this as an “incentive” to lure or keep businesses in their states. Let’s be clear what this is about: the final merging that’s taking place between the corporate and political power structures, coming together as one, and making the workers (serfs) pay tribute to their employer (the overlord). Welcome to the New Feudalism.
So tomorrow it’s High Noon in the USA, a literal showdown on the Main Streets of America between the rich and everyone else. The 1 percenters truly believe they can defeat the 99 percent. As the conservative commentator Stephen Moore (who sits on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal) said, “Capitalism is a lot more important than democracy. I’m not even a big believer in democracy.” Citigroup, in an internal memo, said that the only thing that stands in the way of the plutocrats is, well, elections: “[T]he rising wealth gap between the rich and poor will probably at some point lead to a political backlash… Whilst the rich are getting a greater share of the wealth, and the poor a lesser share, political enfrachisement remains as was – one person, one vote…[W]e are keeping a close eye on developments.”
We have the chance tomorrow to defeat them. They’re counting on us not even showing up. The line in the sand has been drawn. Please do whatever you can today and tomorrow to get everyone you know to the polls — especially any relatives or friends in swing states. Even if you don’t live in a swing state, you need to make a loud statement that you won’t let this happen. And you need to take the House away from the Republicans so some work in Washington can get done.
To volunteer to walk precincts and get out the vote near where you live, go here. Or make calls to swing state voters. And don’t forget that I need each of you to convince just one nonvoter to vote tomorrow so that we can deliver the million-vote margin that could make all the difference.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Now go act as if your democracy depended on it – because it does.Michael Moore: Tomorrow.
The bookmakers have risked paying out £400,000 (€500,000) if Romney wins but a spokeswoman said because Obama remains ahead in the state polls, Paddy Power was “sticking its neck out”.
Betting has been “one-way traffic” for Obama, according to the bookmakers.
Prior to paying out, Obama’s odds fell to a low 2/9 and over the past months Paddy Power has seen 75pc of money staked go the Democrat‘s way.
– Arj Singh
Is ‘Mr Business’ Romney losing his grip?
With the US election just days away, both Republican candidate Mitt Romney and incumbent Barack Obama are hustling for an edge in the race. Yet in recent weeks, the president has been boosted by those traditionally considered Romney allies.
In what has turned into a razor-close race, US President Barack Obama has relied heavily on endorsements from all the usual suspects – liberal-minded movie stars, musicians and writers, as well as the who’s who of the Democratic party. In the past couple of weeks, however, it looks as though the president has also enjoyed a slight boost in support from a less-likely milieu – figures from the political right and finance.
London-based newspaper The Economist stepped forward in support of Obama in its November 3 issue, albeit in a rather reluctant tone. Although the publication, which also endorsed Obama during his 2008 bid, called the president’s first term “patchy”, it justified its decision by comparing the two candidates’ track records. While an endorsement from an international newspaper may not seem like a big deal at first, the fact that it is a highly-respected business publication matters.
Since campaigning began, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has striven to portray Obama’s handling of the country’s struggling economy as ineffectual and horribly mismanaged. The Economist pleads a different case, applauding the president’s wherewithal for having “helped avert a Depression”, and thereby undermining a pillar of Romney’s campaign. What’s more, the newspaper gashes the Republican candidate’s own approach to the economy, calling him “the great flipflopper” and saying his macroeconomics are off the mark. Regardless, a reported 60 percent of the $1.8 billion in business-related contributions thus far in the election have gone to Republicans.
Just two days before The Economist’s tepid endorsement, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stepped into the presidential campaign after publishing a soberly worded statement endorsing Obama’s re-election bid on Thursday. A registered Independent, Bloomberg cited climate change as his principle reason for throwing his weight behind Obama.
While Bloomberg’s position on issues like gay marriage, abortion and gun control make it unlikely that he will sway voters in more conservative states, his status as a shrewd businessman and multi-billionaire may come as a check to Romney, who has attempted to tout his own business experience as a strength when it comes to tackling the country’s economy. Bloomberg’s endorsement carries all the more weight considering that the mayor, who Forbes rated as the 17th most powerful person in the world in 2011, declined to take sides during the last presidential election in 2008.
Most surprisingly, however, is New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie. Known for his free-flying opinions and fierce criticism of the president, the governor has had only good things to say about Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Christie, who has already endorsed Romney and was a speaker at the Republican National Convention, rattled other members of his party after stating that he “doesn’t give a damn about Election Day” and gushing that Obama deserved “great credit” for his deft response to the “superstorm”.
Christie’s compliments came a little more than a week after another prominent Republican and George W. Bush’s former secretary of state, Colin Powell, also endorsed the president’s re-election bid in an interview with CBS television. While Powell’s support came as no real surprise (he backed the Obama/Biden ticket in 2008), he did offer some searing commentary of Romney, saying that although he respected the Republican candidate, he had concerns over his stance on foreign policy.
“The governor… was saying things that were quite different from what he said earlier. I’m not quite sure which Governor Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy,” Powell said in the October 25 interview.
With polls putting the race at neck and neck just days before the vote on November 6, both candidates are scrambling to fine tune their messages and rustle up support in swing states. As Obama and Romney kick their campaigns into overdrive, anything from The Economist’s unenthusiastic endorsement to Christie’s recent adulation could give the president a slight edge in his re-election bid – an advantage neither candidate can afford to ignore at this late stage in the game.
In a move that has caused a firestorm of controversy in both the press and the pews, a number of Catholic bishops are making blunt appeals to mass-goers to vote for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party on Election Day over President Obama.
Illinois Bishop Daniel Jenky has ordered all the priests in his diocese to read a strongly worded letter he wrote accusing the Obama administration of an unprecedented ‘assault upon our religious freedom’ and implying that Catholics who support Democrats who support abortion rights are like those who condemned Jesus to death.
‘Since the foundation of the American Republic and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, I do not think there has ever been a time more threatening to our religious liberty than the present,’ Jenky wrote in the five alarm letter, which he has ordered priests in his Peoria diocese to read at all Masses this Sunday, November 4.
On Thursday, the bishops of Pennsylvania — a key battleground state where most Catholics are currently supporting Obama — released an unmistakably partisan letter to local voters declaring that the White House’s policies on contraception, abortion and gay rights meant the nation was ‘losing its soul by little steps.’
Legal equality for gays, the letter implied, would defy God, and contraception and abortion should not be contemplated under any circumstances.
In Wisconsin, Bishop David Ricken wrote a letter to parishioners saying that the Democratic platform was evil. The party’s support for abortion rights and same-sex marriage and other ‘intrinsic evils’ made it impossible for Catholics to support the party without putting their souls at risk. Vote for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party or burn in hell, Bishop Ricken suggested.
In Alaska, Bishop Edward J. Burns wrote a column in the local newspaper on October 27 comparing Vice President Joe Biden’s support for abortion rights to supporting slave owners in the antebellum South, and he reportedly questioned both Biden’s character and his Catholic faith.
Meanwhile bishops from Newark, New Jersy to Springfield, Illinois to Colorado Springs have made similar party political appeals. Although they stress they are not endorsing any particular party or candidate they usually start with their opposition to abortion and marriage equality and other policies that Republicans support and Democrats generally oppose.
The flocks standing as Catholics and their eternal salvation are always in peril if they make the wrong choice, the bishops declare.
Although the Catholic hierarchy’s growing support for Republicans has been plainly obvious to church-watchers for years now, their blunt statements in the 2012 campaign still stand out.
‘Yes, the bishops, some of them anyway, are more active this year. The tone — again, of some — is more stark,’ Russell Shaw, a former spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the Washington Post.
There is a fear, Shaw said, that American society is ready to embrace greater rights for gays and lesbians and maintain or expand on current abortion policies.
But James Salt, executive director of the progressive group Catholics United, said Jenky was ‘using the pulpits of his diocese for partisan proclamations’ and he said that was not only wrong but was driving young people away from the church.
‘By brazenly violating IRS and church guidelines against partisan activity, Bishop Jenky has shown that he is more interested in following the paths of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson than the Gospel of Jesus Christ,’ said Salt.
‘As more and more younger Catholics abandon the faith on account of the bishops’ far-right politics, Bishop Jenky should ponder how his antics will affect the relevance of the Catholic bishops for generations to come.’
One of the less convincing critiques of the US presidential election campaign, which winds up on Tuesday, is that there has not been much to choose between the incumbent, President Obama, and his challenger, Mitt Romney.
The reality is very different. Instead, a stark choice exists. One can only judge a candidate on his past record and on what he has pledged to do in the future. Romney has said and done a lot of things, many contradictory, some deliberately so. It has been very hard to know during the campaign which Romney is real: the man who backed the precursor of Obamacare when he was governor or the candidate who suggested to donors that almost half of Americans were welfare beneficiaries beyond his political reach? Is he the centrist Republican of the first presidential debate or the man who insisted during the primaries he was “severely conservative”?
Doubts about Romney have accrued not only from his ever shifting politics but also from a wider sense of flakiness. His economic policies have a touch of the fantastic. Romney would enact large tax cuts, reducing revenue, while increasing defence spending sharply, but also arguing he would eat into the deficit by spending cuts alone.
On foreign policy too, Romney represents a return to the disastrous years of George W Bush – threatening confrontation with China by saying he would list it as a currency manipulator, while making bellicose noises about conflict with Iran.
On the other side of the balance sheet, what is there to say about Obama? Few would disagree that America’s first black president, who was once able to inspire with his oratory, has lost some of his lustre. The messages of hope and change ran aground in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, exacerbated both by the parlous state of the economy he inherited from his predecessor and by the two huge costly wars he was obliged to fight.
If he has not transformed America in the way that many might have hoped, he has at least mitigated some of the pain while moving to bring to an end one of the US’s greatest iniquities, its shocking inequality in affordable healthcare provision. Through the car manufacturers’ bailout, his insistence on stress testing of banks and through carefully targeted stimuli, he ensured that the US now appears to be emerging from financial crisis with modest growth and a rise in employment figures even as those European governments that pursued a strategy of austerity are at very best bumping along the bottom. Obama steered a course between the left of his own party, who were advocating for populist but risky measures, and Republican obstructionism.
On foreign policy, the Obama doctrine has been a mixed bag. He strictly limited US involvement in the most significant military adventure launched under his watch, in Libya, and has resisted Israeli pressure for military strikes against Iran. On the Arab Spring, he has preferred by and large to keep a watching brief and avoided an overt entanglement in Syria. After the war in Iraq, launched on a false pretence, and the mishandling of Afghanistan by Bush, this caution should be seen as positive.
But while Obama may have brought an end to some of the human rights abuses of the Bush era, he has failed either to close Guantánamo Bay, as he promised, or moved to end the immunity of Bush-era officials implicated in abuses.
On climate change too, Obama has been disappointing, not least on the campaign trail. In 2008, speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative, he insisted: “No single issue sits at the crossroads of as many currents as energy. This is a security threat, an economic albatross and a moral challenge of our time.”
Whoever is elected will face a new presidential term marked by considerable challenges. While the US is recovering from recession it remains weak and would be vulnerable to a number of factors, including a war in the Gulf over Iran disrupting oil supplies, China falling into recession itself or a further worsening of the eurozone crisis.
He will also have to engage quickly with the “fiscal cliff”, due at the year’s end, when temporary payroll tax cuts are due to come to an end, which promises a tough choice between sharp tax increases for ordinary Americans that would threaten the recovery (but cut the deficit) or an extension of the tax cuts and a consequent increase in the deficit, an issue fraught with political strife.
On the wider stage, the war in Syria is sucking in its neighbours, producing growing instability and, for all Obama’s alleged commitment to negotiated solutions, he appears unable to engage Assad’s main backer, Russia. The proposed draw down of the majority of US troops in Afghanistan by 2014 and the continuing tensions in Pakistan threaten another crisis.
Despite all of these caveats, the candidate best equipped for the challenging period ahead is Barack Obama. While his campaign has hardly been inspiring, he remains a thoughtful figure who has taken his responsibilities with a seriousness absent from the Bush years. He has brought a new dignity to the White House and while there remain many who are still opposed to him simply for the colour of his skin, for many others he has achieved the remarkable by making it seem unremarkable that the president of the United States is a black man.
His response to hurricane Sandy, praised by both the independent mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, and the Republican New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, was a belated reminder that there is a wider middle ground in US politics than the recent period of partisan disputes has often led us to believe.
In the coming months, it will not be solely the new president’s responsibility to confront the challenges facing the US and the world but all of those involved in the US political process. Any chance for healing and consensus after the elections should be grasped by all sides. This election offers an opportunity for a fresh start for US politics itself. It should not be squander
WASHINGTON — The Daily Caller broke the news Friday that a single anonymous source is pretty sure he heard correctly when another guy told him that President Barack Obama probably got a 2.6 grade-point average at Columbia University. While The Daily Caller could not confirm this information, because why would it bother to do something like that, the report did raise a host of questions about this man — Barack Obama — who wants to be our president, and who indeed has been our president, despite the fact that we know almost nothing about him, because no television cameras have been pointed at him ever, in his life.
One of the more obvious questions that The Daily Caller’s exclusive “some stuff someone heard about a grade-point average” story immediately raised was, “Is it true that the honorary degree that Barack Obama received from the University of Michigan was printed on rolling papers?” This is a subject that has been the source of much speculation, for many hours. But we need wonder no longer.
Seven sources who have email accounts and know how to type words have contacted the Huffington Post Friday to independently confirm that that the honorary degree that Obama received from the University of Michigan was totally printed on rolling papers. We have agreed to protect the anonymity of these sources, as each has expressed a certain amount of fear for their livelihoods, should they become known as the sources for this story. We feel, however, that their accounts, which corroborate one another, are reliable enough to go ahead and write a blog post about this.
Naturally, these accounts are contradicted by the evidence — by which I mean, the lack thereof. Obama has thus far refused to release his honorary degree from the University of Michigan to confirm whether it was printed on rolling papers, or if the degree, once obtained, was utilized as an enclosure for — as it’s known on the streets — “dat sticky-icky.” In refusing to release the degree, the White House has fallen back on the excuse, “Well, this is actually the first time we have ever been asked about this.” But, remember, Barack Obama promised to make his administration the “most transparent White House in history.”
In conservative circles, the closing weeks of the election have involved a full-blown scandal: namely, that the Obama White House has covered up what really happened during the lethal September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The Obama administration first failed to adequately protect U.S. personnel in Benghazi, this narrative holds; didn’t respond forcefully enough to save the four Americans who were killed; tried to deny that a coordinated attack occurred at all; and has concealed what the president and his top advisers knew about all this and when. “The Benghazi scandal,” is how Fox News host Bret Baier referred to the story Thursday.
And yet Mitt Romney wants nothing to do with it. In the second presidential debate, Romney treated Benghazi as the most important national security of the moment. But Romney sidestepped the issue in the final debate and, as far as I’m aware, hasn’t raised it since. It’s true that the topic blew up in Romney’s face in that second debate. But Romney’s sudden and complete abandonment of the topic has still been something of a mystery.
Now the story has taken a new twist, as Massimo Calabresi explains. It seems as through the most important actor during the attack may not have been the president, but CIA director David Petraeus. That leaves the storyline more confused than ever. Petraeus, the reputed savior of Iraq, is a hero to many of the same conservatives who have been driving the Benghazi story in an effort to burn the president. Now it seems possible that their ire could burn the general more than the president. Although Friday’s reports indicate that the CIA responded fast and aggressively as the attack unfolded, it also appears that the agency could have been more vigilant about security at the site in advance. It also seems possible that Mitt Romney fell silent on this issue because he came to understand that Petraeus is at least as politically exposed as Obama. (Bear in mind that Romney was recently granted classified national security briefings, as is the custom for major-party nominees.)
To be sure, Obama’s role in all this does remain frustratingly opaque. The White House hasn’t said whether the President was presented with any decision options during the attack, like whether to order drone or fighter jet strikes in the area (although it’s far from clear that either would have been practical in a confused situation). It’s still not quite clear why the Administration blamed that infamous anti-Islamic video for the attack as long as it did, even as contradictory reports added up. Hillary Clinton has taken responsibility in a broad sense for inadequate security at the consulate, but we still don’t know just how involved she was in that debate. And finally, if Fox News is right that special forces based in Italy were “told to wait,” rather than deploy to the scene, we still don’t know who gave that order. (Note that former Pentagon big Paul Wolfowitz, who is no Obama defender, claims that a military team in Europe was in fact mobilized immediately but could not have reached Benghazi in time to save lives.)
These are all frustrating questions. And while an official investigation is still ongoing, the White House could be offering more detail without spilling secrets. “The Obama administration needs to level with the country about why it made its decisions,” the Washington Post‘s fair-minded national security columnist–and frequent Obama defender–David Ignatius wrote this week. But it’s far from clear that the full backstory here amounts to the damning indictment of Barack Obama that some Republicans are intimating. Which may be why Mitt Romney doesn’t bother to mention it anymore.
The presidential election on November 6 brings to an end the most expensive and hotly contested race of modern times.
By the end of the campaign both tickets will have spent $2 billion in total trying to win the White House.
Whatever the merits of that, it is clear it will not happen any time soon given the deep pockets of major players on both sides who are doing their best to help influence the election.
Likewise the dissatisfaction with the Electoral College, which can trump the popular vote, is something that has been evidenced since the Bush/Gore race in 2000.
Perhaps if Obama wins in similar fashion both parties will finally have reason to change a system that is not democratic in the true sense of the word.
It is ridiculous that vast areas of this country are not even considered worthy of visits from the contenders, so narrow and narrowing even further are the key states.
Then there is the length of the campaign, which seems to have gone on for two years at least since the first Republican contenders began to limber up to take on the president.
In another way, however, the sheer length is a good thing, helping to quickly unmask the pretenders and allow the most committed and hard-driving candidate to get to the top of the ticket.
Of course the ultimate aim is to get the American people to vote for their favorite contender.
Despite all the negativity, the numbers voting in recent years have been on the increase as the polarization of the electorate has led to more inflamed passion.
This year is likely to be a nail-biter again and will surely rest on a handful of votes across several different states.
It is still a remarkable moment when the greatest democracy in the world passes on power so unremarkably and so free of threats and bluster.
Whoever is elected will take over a country badly in need of strong direction and commitment, and an electorate grown weary of the finger pointing and lack of progress in sorting out the economic mess made after the Great Recession.
We wish the victor well.