Saturday, September 15, 2012

Let's Be Honest--It is SO OVER!

Full Disclosure:  I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and have known for a long time that I will vote for him again in November.  I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative and have voted, worked for, and donated money to the campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans in the past and in the current election cycle.

I had planned to write this article two months ago and I wish I had because back then it was less clear to most people that the upcoming presidential election has already been decided and that Barack Obama has won.  Actually, it is more accurate to say that Mitt Romney and the Republican party have lost.  But the result is the same.

Even though our president has done a pretty good job under horrible circumstances over the last four years, it is disappointing that his imminent victory has come so easily.  Americans deserve a real choice between candidates with a vision for the future.

Unfortunately, for the last four years Republicans have been so caught up in their proudly announced determination to cause Barack Obama to fail and so anxious to please the extremists in their base that they have presented us with a candidate and a platform that are out of touch with the wants, needs, and values of most Americans.

In Mitt Romney, Republicans nominated a candidate that was the second or third choice of most of their party members.  His only seeming strength is his ability to master the ins and out of the legal and free market system to build a huge personal fortune for himself and a handful of wealthy investors.

During the last few months, his ineptitude in the areas of diplomacy and foreign affairs has been showcased through a serious of unforced statements that make most people cringe.  He has declared Russia to be the number one geopolitical threat to the U.S., has gratuitously insulted the people of our most reliable ally by saying they weren't ready to host the Olympics, has said he would do "everything the opposite of Obama" regarding Israel even though Obama has been called the most pro-Israel U.S. president ever and cited as a true friend by current and former Israeli prime ministers, and has recently used the tragic murders of U.S. diplomats in Libya for political purposes.  Enough said.

Also to blame are Romney's campaign advisers who have led him horribly astray.  His first major downturn came when he responded to calls for him to release his tax returns by mounting a racist offensive against the president stating that Obama "needs to learn how to be an American."

But most damaging was choosing to key his entire campaign around asking Americans if they are better off today than they were four years ago.  The answer for most Americans is a resounding "yes."  The stock market has doubled, millions of new private sectors jobs have been created, the real estate collapse has started to reverse, and polls show that consumer spending and confidence are now at four year highs.

Does it make sense that the Romney campaign is spending millions to encourage Americans to realize that under President Obama our nation and most voters' view of the future have emerged from a death spiral and are headed in the right direction?

But the impending Republican disaster is not all Romney's fault.  The truth is that the Republican Party never really had a chance.

He has been saddled with a party platform that is so extreme and out of touch with most Americans on a broad range of social issues and the role of religion in our government that only those who truly hate Barack Obama could support him.

This sad story for Americans like me who were hoping for a real choice has been unfolding for months but just a few weeks ago the race was still close.  The politics betting site Intrade showed Obama as a 54-45 percent favorite to win in November.

Then came the Republican convention followed by the Democratic convention and that was that.  The focus of each convention was Obama.  All of the energy and passion and both conventions were in speeches about Obama.  The Republicans hate him and the Democrats love him.  But it also became painfully clear that Romney was the second or third choice for most Republicans.  They aren't passionate about HIM.  They are passionate about beating Obama.  The Democrats on the other hand are running the candidate that all of them want.  The difference in energy level, organization, and charisma from one week to the next was palpable.

Then came Romney's unfortunate and unpatriotic comments in the wake of the catastrophic murders of U.S. diplomats in Libya and suddenly it was over.

In an unprecedented three week slide on Intrade, the odds on the election have suddenly exploded to the point where Obama has now become a 67-33 favorite to win.

It has been a Wizard of Oz-like stretch where suddenly voters realized that the man behind the Republican curtain is not a wizard at all and that the party he represents has become so consumed with demonizing the president that they have forgotten to put together a positive plan for the future that makes any sense.

Just look at what has happened in Virginia--a key swing state that had been leaning toward Romney prior to the conventions.  The Republicans became so obsessed with including every Obama-bashing speaker in their shortened convention that not a single speaker--including Romney--made even a mention of the fact that our country is at war in Afghanistan and that tens of thousands of troops are fighting and dying there every day.

The Democrats then seized on the opportunity and made the troops a key part of every day's agenda.  They even had a mother of four servicemen--one currently serving in the Army, Air Force, Marines, and Navy--introduce Michelle Obama.  Both Obama and Biden talked extensively in their speeches about how grateful our country is to our men in uniform.

In Virginia, where one out of every three voters is either a veteran or a current member of the Armed Services, voters were apparently listening.  Senate candidate and former Governor Tim Kaine told me this week that support for both him and the president spiked dramatically during the last 10 days. 

Now Intrade shows Kaine as a 58-30 favorite in his race while Obama is listed as a 58-42 percent favorite.  Both races were neck and neck just two weeks ago.  Romney's numbers have also fallen off a cliff in Wisconsin, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, and Iowa since the conventions. 

You get the picture.

There are thousands of writers and broadcasters who will make their living over the next seven weeks trying to convince us that the race is neck and neck and could easily tilt in either direction.  That the three upcoming debates will swing the race one way or another. That's their job.  But they will be fibbing.

It is over. 

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