Big Bird, Binders and Bad Manners
Is There Anything Positive About 2012 Presidential Campaign?
By Robert J. Guttman
When I asked my students last night at the graduate course I am teaching on the 2012 presidential election at Johns Hopkins University if they could say anything positive about the campaign not one of the more than twenty students could think of something uplifting in the race for the White House.
Where is the Barack Obama of 2008 who spoke of a united America?
Where is the Mitt Romney who cares about 100% of Americans?
Where is the serious Vice-President of the United States?
Where is the VP challenger who has a vision rather than a numbers cruncher?
Having covered presidential campaigns for the past thirty years this is one of the most disappointing. There really is little to be positive about as we watch the candidates spend millions of dollars criticizing their opponents on issues that are usually really not all that important to most voters.
Where is the president’s blueprint for a second term in domestic and foreign policy?
Where is Romney’s actual plan to create twelve million new jobs?
The debates have been disappointing. The president of the United States campaign actually put out an ad about a mythical character-Big Bird. How ridiculous.
The supposed “war on women” is an insult to all women and is not true. Look around the world and see real wars on women where women are being killed and attacked for their beliefs.
The half-truths and misrepresentations about the attack in Libya are insults to the average Americans’ intelligence. Blaming the terrorist attacks on a bizarre supposed video is nonsense.
Where is the vision for the future in this presidential campaign?
I have not seen it yet and neither have my Johns Hopkins students or I would imagine most Americans.
The last debate had each candidate attacking the other on topics about whether they had investments in China. How does Romney know where the president has investments?
Now the Democrats are complaining about another non-issue discussing how bad it was that Romney as governor of Massachusetts had people give him a binder with potential women candidates for jobs. I have no idea why this has been made an issue for discussion.
Think about it. Big Bird and binders and in the VP debate bad manners of the VP are the main issues of discussion.
Certainly with a terrible economy, slow growth, huge debt and deficits, high gas prices, unemployment, a war on terror and health care and social security concerns we have many important topics that really are more important than binders and Big Bird.
The president should be defending his record for the last four years but he is not doing that and hardly ever mentions his main achievement-Obamacare.
Romney criticizes how bad the economy is but it takes more than him saying he was a successful businessman and he knows how the economy works to create jobs to convince of his qualifications for the White House.
Spending nearly a billion dollars on ads which are mostly negative has done nothing to enlighten voters on who to go vote for in several weeks.
It really is a depressing campaign. Both sides are to blame. Ryan is really the only one of the four with a printed out plan for the budget and the future and he is routinely criticized for actually having done something whether one approves or not of his budget—it does exist for us to look at.
Once again everyone is obsessed with who won or lost a debate. We have watched the president speak for nearly four years so why do we need debates to see what he believes or what he has done?
The debates are visual affairs. We look for who seems aggressive or scores a point on his opponent. Rarely do we hear voters or analysts discuss an actual policy or program they are presenting to the American voter to make our lives better in the future.
It has become a presidential campaign of smoke and mirrors and Alice in Wonderland illusion.
It has become a campaign of tearing down your opponent rather than providing ideas and plans for a better America.
Look at the recent VP debate. People were discussing how white Biden’s teeth were and how bad it was to interrupt his opponent so many times.
Do you remember any of the issues discussed? Probably not.
And the second presidential debate we remember that the president was more aggressive than his lackluster performance in the first debate. But do we remember issues discussed? Probably not.
We do have an African-American president and a Mormon challenger and two Catholics vying for vice –president. So, if we are looking for some positive signs in the 2012 presidential race these would stand out.
Very few people are discussing religion or race and this is something good for 2012.
Now, if we could spend the final weeks laying off binders, Big Bird and bad manners maybe we could end on the presidential campaign on a positive note!