Sunday, October 21, 2012

Obama, Romney and the Shards of Politics

Obama and Romney are neck and neck in the polls and there is a final Presidential debate is schedule for Monday, 22nd October 2012. While the debate is ostensibly focused on foreign policy, it is very likely that the combatants will introduce the need for the US to be economically strong if it is to occupy its “rightful” (sic) place in the world.

All of this is tragic. Romney has no credible idea for the future of the US economy. His “five point plan” is actually a single point: if he is elected, confidence will return to the markets and this in turn will lead to job creation. He actually said this at one time.  Romney believes in the confidence fairy.

Obama has offered no serious vision for his second and final term and is not helped by Joe Biden’s rhetoric, flamboyance and arrogance are getting in the way of a serious campaign based on policies, issues and evidence based thinking.

What we are seeing is a lowest common denominator election in which less than half of those eligible to vote will do so, making getting the vote out a real key challenges for all parties. In swing states, it’s the base that will make the difference, not the swing voters.

(As a side issue, what is it that a swing voter is now waiting for? Some flash of inspiration from Romney – like a policy that is based on a serious working out of the numbers and impacts? A new strategy from Obama for working effectively with both side of the house? A new agreement on health care? I cant imagine what it is that is keeping them from deciding or what either candidate can do to “bring them onside”).

With just fifteen days to go and the “fiscal cliff” looming at the end of the year – the automatic ending of tax cuts and automatic cuts to budgets – neither party  is engaged in a serious, meaningful analysis and policy proposals with respect to the economy.  The Romney-Paul rhetoric is just that – rhetoric, based on skillful deception and downright lies. Obama is simply suggesting more of the same. The US is in trouble. Neither of these candidates is offering a strategy for its future that is credible, and this should be of concern to all.

The next two weeks will be frenetic. The candidates will dash hither and thither trying to look convincing, trying to appear resolute and clear and trying to persuade the voters to first go to the poll and then select their “dancing with their future” star. This is more of a Hello magazine campaign – about style – rather than about substance.

There is a lot of talk in the US about American exceptionalism. What is exceptional about this election is its lack of substance and its pursuit of ignorance.

American politics is broken. We are watching the shards of politics fracture in front of the electorate.  It will get worse before it gets better. 

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