MITT ROMNEY … OR ELSE (Part II)

Nobody likes Mitt Romney.  The progressives don’t like him because he’s too conservative; the conservatives don’t like him because he’s too progressive.  The media doesn’t like him because he’s not Barack Obama.  Personally, I don’t much care for the guy either.  He’s way to “Man from Glad” for my liking.  If I had a dog in this fight it would be Jon Huntsman — if for no other reason than while Romney speaks French, Huntsman speaks Mandarin.  Do the math!  Fortunately, I don’t have to like Mitt Romney, and neither does the American public.  They just have to elect him because, if they don’t, the road to hell is paved and right now America is using up all four lanes trying to get there.

To those of us who don’t live between Maine and Malibu, it looks pretty seriously like America is coming apart at the seams.  This isn’t journalistic hyperbole; it’s real time observation.  The litany of problems is exceeded only by the list of stumble-bum ideas currently on the books to solve them.  You can disagree if you want to, but you’d better check your pulse because you may be in a coma.  I realize that over the last two centuries our neighbour has had its share of little ups and downs.  I also understand that America is still dancing at the coolest party on earth.  They still hold all the records for achievement above and beyond any other place in the world, and accounts of their imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, here in 2012, it looks remarkably like the ground is shifting out from underneath its feet.  Open any media website and you’ll find a whole lot of “Ain’t it awful?” and not very much “Wow! That was close.”  This has got to stop.  If it doesn’t, those grandchildren in Nebraska are going to find out what comes after WTF.

The problem is for the last four years, America has been on vacation.  In 2008, after eight years of George Bush, 9/11, colour-coded Home Security, war, terrorists, economic meltdown, disease, pestilence and floods, they needed some time off.  And they took it.  The timeshare condo guy came wheeling through with his “Hope” and “Change” sales pitch, and they bought in — without ever thinking it through.  Now, like all vacationers, they’re back home with no money, a couple of trillion dollar mortgages and a suitcase full of useless crap that’ll probably end up in the yard sale next summer.  Oh, yeah — and most of them are about to lose their jobs.  They’re pissed.  The last time Americans were this mad was 1776, and that ended up with everybody reaching for their muskets.

This election is not going to be about “Hope” and “Change”; even the most ardent Obama supporter has given that one up.  But it is going to be about change.  Americans are fed up with politicians.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Tea Party rally or an Occupy Whatever! campsite, Americans have had it up to their teeth with petty politics.   They are a pragmatic people, and they’re tired of spending the real money they don’t have on political crap they don’t need.  They want something done about it — yesterday.  This is going to result in a seismic shift at the ballot box.  The Populist candidates (Republican or Democrat) are going to win and they’re going to win big.  Congress will be so down home they’ll be installing porch swings and issuing banjos.

This is not necessarily a good thing.  The will of the people is sacrosanct to Americans — even if it means shooting themselves in the foot.  We’ve been witnessing that for the last two years, as a reluctant president skirmishes with a recalcitrant Congress.   It’s only going to get worse after November when a pile of “We the People” politicians start flexing their muscles on what has already become a lame duck president.  As Niall Ferguson said, they’re going to want to start turning back the clock to a time before Franklin and Eleanor were sitting by the fireside, and there won’t be anybody there to stop them.  After all, Obama couldn’t pull off Healthcare properly back when he had Pelosi on his side.  What’s going to happen when he’s counting his friends on one hand?  Government gridlock will look like a reasonable option.

Romney as president solves this.   He’s the centre-right executive that America needs right now.  America doesn’t need any more ideology; the place is oozing with it.  It needs someone pragmatic, someone who can get the government of the people, by the people — and in spite of the people — moving again.  But, most importantly, Romney can beat Obama; Newt, Paul and Perry don’t have a hope.

MITT ROMNEY … OR ELSE! (Part I)

Every four years, whether anybody likes it or not Americans stop whatever they’re doing and turn on each other in a ten-month, bare-knuckle brawl called “Who Wants to be the President.”  It’s sort of an itty bitty Civil War that keeps the most powerful nation on earth from having the real thing.   In the past, nobody outside the fifty states cared very much about it until October, when most of the fighting was over and it was down to the final four.  However, somewhere around the time CBS cancelled The Sonny and Cher Show, the rest of the world started taking an interest in how Americans went about electing their head of state.  In those days, Jimmy Carter was president, and he was such a dolt people all over the world wondered how he’d got there.  This year, 2012, is once again a presidential election year, and as of yesterday, the war’s on.

In general, potential presidential candidates could give drama lessons to Gossip Girl.  They’re always talking about how this particular election is the most important one in history and how the future of our species depends on how the people in Michigan’s fifth congressional district vote.  With a few notable exceptions, like 1860 and 1940, this is crap.  For example, at the time, 1976 was called a pivotal year in American politics.  However, we now know that the difference between “Jimmy” and “Jerry” was minimal.  Usually, somewhere between the election and the inauguration, most presidents get sorted out.  Even though there have been a number of bad ones, none of them has actually ruined the country.  The problem is since every candidate since Washington’s Farewell Address has cried wolf, nobody believes it anymore when the sheep are actually being eaten.

We live in such a time.  If history is any judge (and it will be) 2012 will be a serious date in the continuum of our planet, and the next president is going to have to lead, follow or get the hell out of the way.

To be brutally honest, 2008 was a throwaway election.  America needed a vacation after eight years of George Bush.  On the one hand, you had a young, handsome, intelligent candidate who could talk circles around Daniel Webster and Clarence Darrow combined.  On the other, you had a guy who had actually shot at godless Commies, way back in the Cold War.  Pair the old guy with a Kardashian wannabe, and you had a slamdunk for Prince Charming from Chicago.  With the media leading the voting public in the chorus from “I Need a Hero,” the only bona fides Barack Obama ever had to provide were that he wasn’t George Bush.  Nobody bothered to ask him who he was or what experience he was bringing to the table.  Four years later, America and the world have discovered that on-the-job training doesn’t really work when the job is President of the United States.

Barack Obama is not a bad guy.  He’s not out to ruin the world or the country or even the American middle class.  He just doesn’t know what he’s doing.  He’s demonstrated that beyond redemption right from day one when he had to ask the Secret Service where the bathroom was.  It’s not that he’s stupid; he just doesn’t have any experience.  When he walked into the White House four years ago his resume consisted of Community Organizer (whatever that is) Illinois and U.S. Senator.  That’s it!  And he spent over half his time as a U.S. Senator outside the Senate, campaigning to be President.  That’s like that kid Eddie down at the convenience store (no offence, Eddie) getting promoted to CEO of the 7/11 Corporation.  For the last four years, the country has been without adult supervision — and it shows.  But here’s the kicker: Obama now believes he’s figured it out, and he wants to keep his job.  That’s the problem!  The Democrats can’t dump him now.  If they did, they might just as well hang a vacancy sign on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and get it over with.

And all this brings us back to the first punches thrown yesterday in New Hampshire. (The Iowa Caucus was just a bunch of crybabies saying “Me first!”) As of this moment, it’s the responsibility of the Republican Party to make sure Barack Obama leaves a forwarding address.  Why?  Because this is the most important election since Ronald Reagan put a stop to Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Friday; Why the Republicans have to reclaim the White House.