Category Archives: 2012

Rethinking Romney

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney delivers his concession speech during his election night rally in Boston
Credit: Reuters

After making choices, people are always vulnerable to feelings of regret. This is true of our purchases, among other things, and also of voting. Recent polls have indicated that many Americans are regretting the outcome of the 2012 presidential elections. In a July CNN/ORC survey, 48% of Americans believed that President Obama is a “strong and decisive leader,” and only 42% thought that he “can manage the government effectively.” Compare these poll numbers to those from a similar questionnaire in May 2013, and there is a consistent pattern of decline; at that time, 58% of Americans believed that the president was a strong leader, and 52% thought him to be an effective manager of the government. In little over a year, President Obama’s poll numbers in these two areas dropped by ten percentage points each. It is no surprise, therefore, that Emil Henry could write the following passage in a July article for Politico Magazine:

“Call Mitt Romney what you will, but his core competence is just that: competence. Unlike career politicians who tend to rise and fall on the level of their oratory, Mitt is, at his core, a chief executive. No doubt Mitt is more comfortable tackling complex problems and analyzing data than kissing babies or yucking it up on a rope line. But maybe that’s what America needs in 2016, and given the multitude of today’s challenges, maybe […] it’s what we needed all along.”

Have American voters lost so much confidence in the president that they regret even re-electing him, and not electing Mitt Romney? The previously mentioned poll provides an answer: yes. That survey asked respondents how they would vote if the election were held again. The results: Romney – 53%, Obama – 44%. So, given their regrets about the outcome of the 2012 elections, are American voters rethinking Mitt Romney?

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Why Congress Gets a Lump of Coal This Christmas

No matter who says what on Fox News or MSNBC, the fiscal cliff is a bi-partisan problem, created by two parties that have been unwilling to adopt moderate policies. The Republicans under President Bush cut taxes by far too much, creating a revenue gap. The Democrats under President Obama have spent large amounts of money to get comparatively small economic results, creating a spending gap. Both, when used well, can be of great assistance to the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, the Bush tax cuts and the Obama spending record have been examples of how un-moderate policies can steer the country far off course. And now, Republicans and Democrats are approaching this issue as if they have months to figure things out. The truth is, they don’t. Continue reading Why Congress Gets a Lump of Coal This Christmas

The Paul Ryan Miracle(s)

Mitt Romney has gotten lucky more than a candidate for President ever should. He watched as Rick Perry spectacularly imploded on the debate stage, as Newt Gingrich soiled his own candidacy with gaffe-ish comments about junior janitors, and as Rick Santorum was systematically dissected by pundits and PACs alike. But at the time he selected Paul Ryan to be his running-mate, it appeared that Mitt Romney may have been pressing his luck. What candidate hanging in the race by his fingernails would select someone vulnerable to not only the Dan Quayle Inexperience Syndrome, but also to the political poison ivy of the 112th Congress? Although the selection of Paul Ryan clearly did not revolutionize the race, this article will show that the fallout could have been worse. And for Mitt Romney, “could have been worse” is actually a miracle. Continue reading The Paul Ryan Miracle(s)

Why Presidential Debates Don’t Really Matter

Kennedy and Nixon in 1960Do Presidential debates really matter anymore? Political pundits affix so much significance to the candidates’ respective performances, and few dare to challenge them. Doubters about the importance of these debates are swept away by zealots who point to the iconic Lincoln-Douglas showdowns, or to the game-changing television debates a century later between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. But now, thirteen Presidential elections after two future political legends (whose administrations each ended in unique tragedy) waged a fierce debate in a TV studio in 1960, this question cannot be avoided: have we seen a moment like then since then? Has the course of a campaign been changed by a debate like it was with Kennedy and Nixon? The pundits would like us to think so…every year. This makes me wonder: Has the low-quality political rhetoric of the last 50 years been immune to Walter Reuther’s “Duck Rule?” The excessive analysis of today would have us believe that although it looks like a bad debate, sounds like a bad debates, and reminds us of all other previous bad debates, it still may not be a bad debate. The popular myths about Presidential debates and their impact will be examined in this article. Continue reading Why Presidential Debates Don’t Really Matter