On a scale of one to weird, this has got to be the strangest American election ever — and I’m including 1912, when Teddy Roosevelt decided to be a Bull Moose in a china shop and handed the White House to Woodrow Wilson. With both National Conventions now over, it’s clear that neither party is all that happy with what they have to work with. Of course, everybody’s saying the right things and putting on those confident smiles, but I’m pretty sure the backroom boys (they’re still mostly boys) are pulling some heavy all nighters. Even the media is starting to whine. The problem is nobody — from the principal candidates on down to the guy fetching the coffee — has a clue what’s going on. Here’s where we stand, and with less than two months until the American people drop the hammer, it isn’t pretty.
Nobody even knows who the candidates are!
Oddly enough, instead of Obama/Biden versus Romney/Ryan the Democrats seem to have decided to run Barack and Clinton against Mitt Romney and George W. Bush. FYI, that’s Bill Clinton. Hillary gave the whole convention thing a miss. She was on an important diplomatic mission to… where? Rarotonga, actually. (Find that on a map!) The media did some heavy speculating that she had contracted 2016 flu, and they made sure everybody saw her in East Timor, a diplomatically hotter spot than the Cook Islands. America’s First Couple may be Barack and Michelle, but like it or not, in 2012, the Clintons have some serious coattails. Husband Bill would like nothing better than to be a bigger part of history on Pennsylvania Avenue, and the only way he can do that is if Obama gets re-elected and Hillary becomes the ranking Democrat — with four years to plan. Meanwhile, the other democratic vice president, Joe Biden, has been locked in a soundproof chamber for the duration. The Democrats don’t want him touching anything until sometime after November 7th. It will be interesting to see who shows up to debate Dubya on October 11th, even though George 43 is actually that black cloud hanging over Romney’s head.
On the other side of the aisle, the Republicans are playing it safe. They’re sending in The Gipper, Ronald Reagan to gang up on Jimmy Carter – again – and if Paul Ryan can get a few kicks in from the sidelines, so be it. Their thinking is, “We’ve got to be here anyway, and Mitt is the closest thing to a moderate we can come up with. Let’s try and convince the American people this is 1980, and we’ve got it made!” The beauty of this strategy is, if Mitt can pull it out of the fire, yippee ki yay; if not, the Republicans have saved their big guns, Christie, Rubio and, yes, Paul Ryan for 2016 when the Obama magic will be safely back in Chicago — where it belongs.
The simple fact is the big boys (yes, they’re mostly boys, also) in both parties don’t want to fight an election with the guys they’ve got. What are the Democrats going to say? In the last four years, we haven’t been able to make a dent in perhaps the biggest crisis in economic history. In fact, we’ve kinda made it worse. However, if you let us have at it for another four years, we’ll fix it — using those same tried and true techniques that got us this far.
On the other hand, the Republicans have got some cojones just pointing fingers. After all, they were in charge when this economic powder keg got lit up. What are they going to say? We made the mess. You guys aren’t cleaning it up fast enough. Give us another kick at the can.
Either way, both parties would be committing suicide if they didn’t have a few tricks up their sleeves — including switching candidates.
Wednesday: How to Win an Unwinnable Election.