Friday, October 05, 2012

Whither the despondency?

We are wallowing in despair because our champion, Barack Obama, did not step and quash Mitt Romney's fallacies and airy attitude, during the first and most recent debate on Wednesday October 4th.

Patently the President was unprepared for a sudden lurch to the center by the aspiring candidate, who had described himself very recently as "seriously conservative". The Romney campaign is counting that after so many changes of position, opinion, coloratura, nobody would be able to remember whether Romney said or did not say his tax plan included a 5 trillion cut for the wealthy. Those words may never have crossed his lips, but neither had we heard previously his assertion that he did not intend to lower taxes on the upper 0.1%. He also did not say that he would increase them. Is that what he means by his crusade against loopholes in the tax system.?

David Brooks, today, celebrates the rebirth of Massachusetts Mitt. And he rejoices that Romney "....broke with Tea Party orthodoxy and began to redefine Republican identity." What I find surprising is that anybody can claim any residual identity for Republicans and/or Romney after all the chameleonic show stoppers that we have witnessed. To me, Romney is so desperate to be President, that he will shed any clothing and adopt any guise in order to get there.

So, what does this say about the voting public? Will the Tea Party's thunder and brimstone prove to have been populist hot air? Their fearsome "grass-roots" dyspepsia will swallow, maybe even digest, this latest Romney iteration? Mitt seems to think so; he has ostentatiously walked away from "No, No, No"'s fearsome altar.

For the rest of us there is a whiff of calculation in the air. Behind all this "look-at-me-now" posture, all the budget and deficit flimflammery, the "etch-a-sketch" accommodation, there is a cynical pragmatism of just getting elected and then restore the predictable policies of asserting the will and preponderance of the upper 10%, the country-club fantasists, the old and new gilded age oligarchy.

I will remember that pious Spanish lady, consulting her confessor about the leveling Vatican Council II conclusions, who received the reply: "do not worry, Madam; as usual heaven is meant for the likes of us."

Obama may have come across as lackluster during the debate, but he was consistent. Nothing he said he has not said before. His positions have been thoughtful, tested and strongly held. In other words, statesmanlike. His words lacked novelty, and he might have used some fireworks to put them across one more time. But overall I find him intelligent and reassuring, if not quite the socialist I would like him to be.

As a sidebar, why did Mitt pick on Spain's economy during his presentation? Couldn't he have picked Greece, Italy or Afghanistan, to make his point?

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