ON THE 'ON RAMP' AND
ACCELERATING TO SPEED
The General Election phase of the campaign
for the Presidency is now- finally!- underway
Saturday, September 8, 2012
by Richard E. Berg-Andersson
And so the battle for the Presidency in 2012 has now been most fully joined and the core arguments of each side- one arguing that the incumbent President is a miserable failure who should be replaced (are you better off than you were four years ago?), the other that a valiant incumbent President who kept things from falling apart altogether should be allowed to continue the difficult work that, admittedly, still needs to be done (we were once at the very precipice we are still being pulled away from, so why now change horses in the middle of the stream?)- have been most fully made at their respective National Conventions.
Of course, there is ever lurking behind American Elections that old bugaboo: the well-worn adage that "past performance is not a guarantee of future results" and this cuts both ways (positively as well as negatively).
In Governor Romney's case, his own past performance in the private sector is certainly no guarantee of what he might- or might not- be able to do as a President of the United States: for- despite the wishes of many a (more usually, but not always, conservative) politician, pundit or ordinary citizen- Government is not Business!
Yes, Government might well carry on the People's "business" but, in the main, it cannot be run like a business (despite the fact that the very system of American governance is itself based, historically, on one of the earliest forms of the Corporation back in that merry olde England of the late Medieval Period: the English chartered Borough [what we in the United States today would call a Municipal Corporation or, simply, a Municipality] which, in turn, influenced the very form of those Charters granted by the English Crown to its earliest North American colonies which, eventually, would be among the original 13 States of the American Union).
[Indeed, the United States of America itself can be fairly seen as something of a corporate entity: its President is its Chief Executive Officer (and the same can be said of the Governors as regards each respective State of the Union); the Senate was at least originally conceived as something of its Board of Directors (a role that would, soon enough, come to be played by the extraconstitutional Cabinet) and the House of Representatives was- and still is- intended to be representative (hence its very name) of the stockholders (the stockholders being each adult citizen who was- and is- legally entitled to vote at any given time [for we well know- from the pages of American History- that, until fairly recently, all too many within the USofA could not vote- due to property requirements early on and, later, either race or gender), a role the Federal Senate itself came to join in (well before, but especially since, the Senate has been chosen by Popular Vote instead of by the State legislatures, as was the original plan)].
No President can fire- or even outsource [;-)]- Congress, even one made up of majorities of his own Party (for each Major Party is made up of factions within wings which- as was the more apparent in the GOP Convention- do not at all agree in a number of broader areas within a number of political issues [else, there would have been no need for the Republicans to so recently adopt new Party rules to prevent a future "Ron Paul insurgency" and the very term RINO- 'Republican In Name Only'- would not even exist!]) in each of its chambers... or, as a friend of mine once so succinctly put it some years back (when a President of the United States not much to his own political/ideological liking [and it matters not which President to this story] happened to have been elected):
"Hey, at least these guys aren't dictators!"
And, unlike the case in a business, where the company attorney(s) or the Legal Department of a large corporation can only advise the business owner and/or the directors of the company what to do and what not to do, the Legal Department of the United States of America (as well as that in each of its constituent States) is an independent Judiciary the commands of which as to what the Law is (or is not) must- in the end (and like it or not)- be obeyed (pending potential future modification by legislative action approved- or, possibly, re-enacted despite the disapproval- by the chief executive or, where necessary, Constitutional Amendment): else, there is no Rule of Law!
Twenty years ago now, businessman and then-Independent presidential candidate Ross Perot famously said that- when it came to fixing America's problems (in particular, its economic problems)- he would look under the hood, find out what’s wrong, and fix it; at best, he looked like a damned fool and, at worst, like the abject demagogue he mainly was (yet he still was able to garner nearly 19 percent of the Popular Vote back in 1992-- talk about the 'Man on Horseback'!)...
Governor Romney is surely not in Perot's (altogether low) station as a presidential candidate but there still has to be more than "Hey, I ran a business!" behind his own candidacy in this coming election.
On the other hand, President Obama- and rather obviously- has a tougher road to hoe: his own Acceptance Speech (as well as many of the more forward-looking [as opposed to Romney- or more general Republican- bashing] speeches made on the President's behalf at his Party's Convention only just concluded) shows that he well understands this... yet the success of his re-election bid very much depends on his own ability to convince the American electorate that the past (weak) performance of the Economy is- in and of itself- not at all predictive of future conditions should he remain in the White House come next January.
Barack Obama, as had Mitt Romney the week before, well made his own case before his Party's Convention and, as a result, the Nation is to be presented with a stark choice, made evident through the stark contrast between the two standard-bearers, come early November: early 21st Century Fiscal Conservatism versus early 21st Century Progressive Liberalism- each of which has its most devoted supporters who are also the other ideology's more vehement detractors.
Yet once more, I have to go back to that which I wrote back on 1 July of this year where I noted that National elections... are not decided by Party bases: rather, they are decided by the 'Bell Curve' of the American electorate, who are neither ideologically "true believing" conservatives nor liberals and who are not at all strongly tied to the "lines" of either Major Party! This 'Bell Curve' itself is a rather motley mix of Independents, Freethinkers, notorious "ticket splitters" and the like-- it also includes many a registered member of either Major Party who, nonetheless, ever reserve their right to vote for candidates not of the Party with which they might be registered come a General Election... and their numbers are almost always woefully underestimated.
This view is not well approved of by many 'hard core' supporters of either Major Party (as the contents within my e-mail Inbox here at The Green Papers [and, indeed, throughout most of the very existence of The Green Papers, going back to the 2000 Elections], from time to time, have so clearly indicated)- it is even pooh-pooh'd by many (but not all!) leading and well-known political pundits in print as well as on television and radio. The more devoted core of each Major Party- not to mention those wings and factions of said Parties not all too far from said Parties' own respective centers (which, nonetheless, are not the Center!)- very much like to think that they are "the real America" and that the other Party is, somehow, at least something of a political aberration (thus: variations on the theme "we want Our Country back!" have, therefore, appeared- from time to time- within the Histories of both Major Parties precisely because those who have managed to "seize the megaphone" in each such Party do not necessarily see the other as reflecting the best and highest aspirations of Our Nation).
Nevertheless, and in the end, both President Obama and Governor Romney will now have to take their respective arguments (Obama declaring that only the long term will, ultimately, well deal with what is being called the Great Recession; Romney, on the other hand, arguing that what we have already seen in the short term has already failed and it is now time for a new strategy) to the Center of the Nation if they each want to maintain their respective abilities to yet win this year's Presidential Election-- for they each have already taken their respective messages to the center of their own respective Parties (and, despite the claims of Democrats that Romney is already to the right of his own Party, the so-called 'Tea Party' doesn't have its hand on the levers of the Grand Old Party's locomotive [sociocultural conservative tidbits sown throughout a Party Platform do not at all indicate who is really in charge any more than a Party Platform declaring Jerusalem to be the undivided capital of Israel brings Peace between Israelis and Palestinians]-- as I myself replied to someone who wrote me an angry response to one of my Commentaries of this past Spring which included the words "WE are the FUTURE of the Republican Party": That's as may be: but you are certainly not the NOW of the Republican Party and it yet remains to be seen whether you might only end up as its 'Never Was' or even 'Never Will Be'. Thank you for your interest in 'The Green Papers', &c).
It, of course, also remains to be seen whether or not that broad Center in which most Americans live- or so Independent Rhode Island Governor (and former Republican Senator) Linc Chafee claimed before this most recently completed Democratic Convention- will, in fact, once again, help elect Barack Obama President of the United States and/or if former Republican Florida Governor (and unsuccessful Independent United States Senate candidate from that State) is correct when he declared, before that same Convention, that- quoting his Republican predecessor Jeb Bush- Reagan himself would have been too moderate and too reasonable for today's GOP (or- instead, as Crist's many detractors within the Florida Republican Party [many still miffed at Crist's recent Senate bid despite the fact that their own candidate actually won] now so opine- Crist himself is merely an "opportunist": the political equivalent of a baseball player- say, a long-time starter at Triple-A who could never stay in the Majors- who now gets himself released so that he can hook on with another Major League organization for one last try at the "Big Show"...
Half of one doubt, they call it Treason.)
In this regard, then, the Presidential Debates throughout this coming October certainly loom very large (while, as for the sole Vice-Presidential Debate, I have generally found it to be rather useless [although it is, more often than not, great fun to watch!-- but, considering that vice-presidential candidates are the ones who have become the "designated Attack Dogs" of their respective running mates' campaigns, should such a debate even be held considering that Dogfighting is illegal? ;-)]).
In any event: bring yer popcorn!