In a campaign that lingers far too long, while discussing far too little about major issues, we have hit a new low, though I doubt this will be the lowest point. We have Barack Obama voicing his support for the socialist standard of wealth redistribution back in 1998:
Hard to understand why this is news. There was “Joe the Plumber” during the 2008 campaign:
Redistribution, spread the wealth around, tax the top 2% – no matter what shade of lipstick one puts on this pig, it oinks socialism. For his part, Mitt Romney is on video saying this at a fundraiser earlier this year:
So, one candidate, the incumbent, tacitly admits to being a socialist while the other candidate believes 47% of the electorate will not vote for him because they prefer the “free” benefits provided by an increasingly socialistic government. Each man’s view and vision of America is starkly different from his opponent. The Obama and Romney tapes do nothing more than express those differences in sound bite and video bite form. However, the reaction to the tapes – more emotional than political, and more political than substantive – is much ado about nothing new.
Interestingly, the reaction to the Romney 47% statement is more pronounced than the reaction to Obama’s socialism. One reason, of course, is that very few people are ignorant of the president’s ideology. Another reason is the remarkably poor wording of Gov. Romney’s statements, provided he was not seeking to offend. However, the more important reason for the unequal reaction likely has more to do with how Obama and his supporters want to frame the campaign than it has to do with what is on these tapes.
There is a significant ongoing effort by the Obama campaign, with help from pollsters and some in the press, to keep the focus of the campaign on ANYTHING other than the Obama record on the economy and jobs. Regarding the polls, it is now known that pollsters skew their results in Obama’s favor. They query greater numbers of people who are more likely to support the president than they do of people more likely to support Romney. NBC has admitted as much on air:
Some members of the press actually believed Romney’s quick reaction to the attack on the US Embassy in Libya was bigger news than the attack itself:
Others are quick to seize on any economic headline that trumpets potential recovery, even when the larger picture remains bleak. As major news organizations seized on a small decrease in initial jobless claims prior to the presidents DNC nomination acceptance speech, they did not report that the US economy needs to create 150,000 jobs monthly just to keep pace with the growing labor pool. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy has not done that since February of this year.
So, while the ranks of the un- and underemployed have grown in each of the last 6 months, the press reports instead that things are improving. The number one issue in this presidential campaign, as it was in the last one, is jobs and the economy – and the press will not report accurately on the subject. Instead, the current focus is on what Obama said 14 years ago, and what Romney said in a closed gathering of donors.
There is even less attention paid to the budget deficit, which has topped $1 Trillion again this year, according to the CBO. Medicare could go broke four years from now, but the media presses neither candidate for a plan. Social Security is staring at unfunded liabilities of more than $20 Trillion (as is Medicare), but the press is asking no question about what either campaign believes is the answer for helping these programs continue. Neither are they asking how the administration’s current cuts in the payroll tax, which funds both Social Security and Medicare, are impacting the short and long term outlook for either program.
It’s hard to find either candidate answering questions about these topics, or immigration, or energy policy, or any other topic that affects the future of the country. Instead, the current focus is on what Obama said 14 years ago, and what Romney said in a closed gathering of donors.
And the election is less than 50 days away.
For me, this is simple. The Obama campaign, with help from pollsters and the press, do not want to talk about the issues. They realize that as long as the campaign is a pure popularity contest, Obama should run away with it. However, if Obama has to defend his record: on the economy, on entitlements, on budgets and the deficit, and now – with the torture and death of the US Ambassador to Libya – foreign policy, it is difficult to see how Obama avoids tar and feathers.
Nevertheless, America has pressing problems that demand a serious debate among those who seek to lead her. Unfortunately, it does not seem that the incumbent wants to debate those issues. It does not seem that the press wants to orchestrate such a debate. And we are running out of time.
Funny, but no one can find time to talk about the country’s future. But somehow, we have enough time to talk about what each candidate has said in the past.