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Politics completely personal

Published 12:42pm Saturday, October 27, 2012

It’s hard to imagine what it would have actually taken for Ronald Reagan to lose to Jimmy Carter in 1980.

The economy was a mess. People were out of work. Our foreign policy was in such disarray that terrorists thought nothing of storming one of our embassies in the Middle East and brutalizing our fellow Americans.

Sound familiar?

Substitute Mitt Romney for Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama for Jimmy Carter, and suddenly the year becomes 2012 instead of 1980.

In 1980, people realized that the policies of the Carter administration had failed to produce the type of results that America had hoped for, and Carter himself failed to provide the type of leadership America desperately needed.

And so on Election Day, Reagan won 90 percent of the Electoral College and over 50 percent of the popular vote in a three-man race. The American people fired the guy who didn’t get the job done and hired someone they felt could.

It wasn’t personal, it was just business.

Although the conditions we find ourselves in 32 years later bear a striking similarity to those we faced in 1980, one thing that has drastically changed is America’s unwillingness to hold a failed leader accountable and make a change.

And that’s because for many folks, politics is no longer about how we do business, it’s about how we personally identify and see ourselves.

In other words, politics is completely personal and no longer has much to do with the business of running the country.

Consider these facts. When the president was elected, he vowed to cut the deficit in half. Instead, it’s grown by an additional 50 percent.

He promised to reduce unemployment below 6 percent. Until last month it had remained over 8. He promised to change the way business is done in Washington.

It’s more divisive than at any point in our history.

Yet rather than admit they had made a mistake, his supporters point to the fact that the president had inherited problems too large for anyone to solve in one term.

What is conveniently forgotten is that President Obama’s first campaign was based almost solely on the fact that he knew exactly how bad things were, and that he had a plan to solve them in one term.

He wasn’t an innocent bystander who unwittingly took on a job and had a mess dumped into his lap, he went around the country for two years begging for the job claiming to know how big the mess was and that he was the guy to fix it.

In hindsight, he either didn’t understand the problems or didn’t really have any solutions to solve them. Either way, he sold his supporters a bill of goods.

If it were just business, many who voted for him in 2008 would be standing in line at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. waiting to help him pack for the big move.

But because it’s become so personal, because it would require admitting they were wrong, they happily scream for four more years.

Here are some more facts to consider. Before beginning his first campaign for the presidency, Mr. Obama had served only two years as the junior senator from Illinois. Yet he and his supporters gleefully make the case that his opponent in 2012 has no foreign policy experience.

Apparently, making the argument that his years as a community organizer and a state senator from Illinois better prepared him to deal with the foreign policy intricacies of the presidency than, say, being the governor of Massachusetts, President of the U.S. Olympic Committee or head of a corporation with 25 years of international business experience is easier than admitting your guy might not have been ready for the job.

If it were just business, we’d admit our mistake and move on. But we don’t treat political decisions as business anymore; we’ve made politics more personal. Were it less personal, rather than cheering on the president while he attacks his opponent for supporting tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas, the president’s supporters would be troubled enough to look into why such a tax break even exists.

Yet what they would find would surprise them; such a tax break does not exist. There is nothing in the tax code, anywhere, which gives companies a tax break for moving jobs out of the country.

Companies can write off the expense of closing, opening or relocating a factory across the street if they want to, let alone across the ocean. But specific tax incentives for moving jobs out of the country, on the other hand, quite simply don’t exist.

So if it means getting our guy re-elected in 2012, and, more importantly, not having to admit we were wrong, we’ll keep cheering the lie rather than demanding the truth.

It’s hard to imagine what it would have taken for Jimmy Carter to defeat Ronald Reagan in 1980.

If they had competed in 2012, however, I’m not so sure Reagan could win.

  • mmtwinsmom

    If Romney loses, the country will lose. Obama and Romney are the only viable candidates. Obama has had his chance to turn the country around and has failed. It is as simple as that.

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  • Makalani

    RE: “Could you or any conservative commentator in this forum who has whined about “free phones — free-this-and-that for the poor please explain the logic here?”

    “Chirp! Chirp! Chirp!” (The sound of crickets!)
    “Dead silence!” (The sound of the proverbial mouse tossing water on cotton!)

    NO TAKERS! No logical rebuttals because 99.99% of the silly whining about the “poor/takers/govt moochers” — including Gov Romney’s fatuous — insensitive remarks about the 47% — are based on ignorant — inane stereotypes that have no LOGICAL basis!

    But people are certainly entitled to cling to their silly stereotypes if that is what floats their boat!

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    • 1stAmendment

      True dat! Sure hope noone asking for FEMA help after Sandy’s rampage is a Republican! Ask your dad for the money!!

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    • mmtwinsmom

      Dear Makalani…It is hard to take your comments seriously.. after admitting to voting for Cynthia McKenney, a 9/11 truther. Also, what do you think about our current 9/11 situation in Libya. 4 people are dead…. because of inaction by this administration. Shameful at best.

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  • Makalani

    RE: “Which was more important, setting the economy on-track or getting healthcare passed?”

    Prez Obama has conceded in hindsight that he should have paid more attention to the economy! Unlike Dubya Bush who never admitted to making a mistake — he did!

    RE: “Are they afraid of the repercussion of the bill will do to the economy?”

    If the “they” you are referring to are the (Ds) — I agree with you 10,000%. There may have been political considerations at play by both the Prez and his (D) allies in implementing Obamacare with one eye on the 2012 elections!

    This may surprise you — but politicians in D.C. often do things for political expediency and do not always act in the best of the country/taxpayers. Prez Obama is not the first president to do so and certainly won’t be the last.

    Of course — Gov Romney and (Rs) would NEVER make decisions based on political considerations/expediency! Whatever they say should be carved in stone and preserved for future generations! LOL

    PS: You are a lot better at asking questions than answering them.

    Gary Johnson for Prez on Nov 6!

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    • employee2

      Did not realize or notice that I had been asked a question.

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  • Makalani

    @movingrightalong– Thanks for your reasonable/fair and cogent explanation!

    RE: “… protect us from one of the most radical countries in the world, Iran, who is on the verge of having nuclear weapons?”

    Iran became “one of the most radical countries in the world” in 1979 when its leaders kicked out our puppet — the Shah of Iran — nationalized the oil-companies that were paying pennies per barrel in oil royalties. The USA has been mad/demonizing Iran since!

    Iran has no history of invading other countries or having started any wars in modern times! Why would Iran’s leaders suddenly become wild-eyed warmongers bent on self-destruction if they get nuke? Besides — Israel would LITERALLY jump at the chance to nuke Iran and kill millions of Arabs.

    Sure Iran’s politicians talk tough about taking out Israel! Saddam Hussein also talked tough to Dubya Bush — promising him the “mother of all battles” if he invaded Iraq — all bluster and bluff! His army crumpled in a matter of weeks! Iran’s politicians do the same thing ours do — tell people what they want to hear! LOL

    Relax! President Obama is handling this situation correctly. Even if Iran gets a nuke — it will merely put Israel in check bullying the Arabs. Since Nagasaki and Hiroshima — nukes have deterred leaders “more radical” than Iran’s from doing something stupid!

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  • Makalani

    RE: “Don’t forget about Benghazi!”
    “Seal Team 6 did that job while Obama was safe in the USA.”

    How fair is it to hang the Benghazi failure of security around the Commander-In-Chief’s neck and not give him credit for green-lighting the successful “*merking” of bin Laden?

    Par for the course! Fairness has never been a (R) strong suit!

    *merking — urban slang for “taking out – killing”

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    • movingrightalong

      I was responding to another poster’s comments about his/her allegation of Romney chest thumping when I made that comment. Point being that Obama’s chest has to be sore as heck, battered and bruised for all the chest thumping he has self inflicted on himself by taking credit for the “merking” of Osama bin Laden.
      I will and do give Obama credit for making the decision to take out bin Osama bin laden. Seal Team 6 did the work though.
      I will also give him and his administration blame for not protecting our people in Benghazi, especially when it appears they pleaded for help before the attacks. Somebody screwed up. Of course, if you listened to their various explanations of what happened following the attack, apparently it was due to a Youtube video, as least for the 1st 2 weeks.

      Bottom line, if Obama is going to take all the glory for one success, then man up and take the blame for the screw ups too. However, he let Hillary say “the bucks stops here”.

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  • Makalani

    RE” … why did he spend his first two years pushing the healthcare bill through?

    “I will take employee2’s question for $1000 Alex!”

    1. He had a (D) Senate and House.
    2. He saw a chance to keep a campaign promise.
    3. He wants America to be equal with its NATO/Coalition partners Gr. Britain — France — Canada — Germany who all have forms of national health care. These are the same countries we call on when we waste $billions$ to invade Third World countries — bomb/strafe/“shock and awe”/murder their inhabitants.
    4. Had the Prez known that the (Rs) would take back the House in the mid-term elections — he might have focused on jobs instead of health care. He had no way of knowing that Mitch McConnell‘s and the (Rs‘) #1 priority was making him a one-term President — not UNEMPLOYMENT!
    5. The Affordable Health Care Act has a birth control provision. Prez Obama wants to ensure that millions of poor whites in Appalachia/ghetto blacks don’t reproduce like jackrabbits increasing the costs of social safety net/“govt-give-away-programs” as described by conservatives.

    Gov Romney will overturn Roe v. Wade and Obamacare “on day one” and ramp up the conservative war on Planned Parenthood.

    Given the animosity/animus expressed in this forum about the poor/govt moochers/the 47%/“those who will take as long as taxpayers give“ — I am thoroughly perplexed why ANYONE would want to elect a politician whose policies will probably increase the number of poor!

    Could you or any conservative commentator in this forum who has whined about “free phones — free-this-and-that for the poor please explain the logic here?

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    • employee2

      Which was more important, setting the economy on-track or getting healthcare passed? If the answer is healthcare, then why does most of its provisions kick in post-election 2012? If you need healthcare, you most likely need it before the November 2012 election. Are they afraid of the repercussion of the bill will do to the economy?

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    • southamptonborn@razed

      If you go visit any health dept in our area and see all the 2nd and 3rd generation unwed mothers coming in for free healthcare for themselves and their children, you will see how well planned parenthood and free birth control is working.Their is little or no reason for anyone to have one unplanned pregnancy,let alone 2 or 3 if for no other reason than to collect welfare.Obamacare has really helped me,I work for my low middleclass wages and pay $2000.00 a month for my families health insurance.

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  • Maxdoubt

    The writer seems ready to place the blame for a Romney/Ryan loss on the voters. If Romney/Ryan manage to somehow lose this election in this economy the Republican party must take SOME responsibility don’t you think? The writer complains that politics has become personal and not about business but seems to ignore the people that are largely responsible for that condition. Trump, Gingrich, Rove, Krauthammer et. al. have continually made unpleasant personal attacks against a sitting President (something Ronald Reagan would have despised)and have refused to raise the level of discourse. Surely the Democrats did the same thing to George W. Bush but that time has passed and this is the election that is being paid attention to now. If Mitt loses this one he has no one to blame but his own party. Folks are fed up with the name-calling and idiotic issues like birth certificates and college transcripts. No amount of Republican whining about the ignorance of the electorate will fix the party. If the Republican party was the same party of optimism and dignity that Ronald Reagan led there would be no contest and Mitt would already be packed for the move to the White House. Unfortunately today’s GOP has been taken over by pundits and pollsters who are more comfortable campaigning than governing.

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  • Sinoptik

    The nostalgia the writer feels for 1980 does not equate because the republicans are no longer able to put up a viable candidate. The same things that made me walk away from the republican party years ago have turned them into laughable caricatures who can only be taken seriously by the uninformed masses who still pound the drum for them.

    To be sure I carry little faith in the democrats as well but they are miles ahead in understanding the world around them. The closest candidate’s stance to represent my ideals is Gary Johnson’s stance and, though it pulls my vote away from the likely winner, and my number 2 choice, my integrity requires my vote to go to him. It’s just a shame those two despicable parties and the media have consistently stacked the deck against any other candidate.

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  • movingrightalong

    spider68

    Ok let me make sure I understand your position. You do not respect Romney because he didn’t serve in the military, but you are OK with Obama not serving, so I assume you respect Obama for not serving??

    You wrote “he (Obama) is doing everything he can to get this country out of war instead of chest thumping about going to war with Iran, like Romney is.”
    If you don’t like chest thumping, then please tell Obama to stop saying he was responsible for killing Osama bin Laden. Seal Team 6 did that job while Obama was safe in the USA. Obama still has our troops in Afganistan (a country with no nuclear weapons) but you have an issue with Romney being willing to do what is necessary to protect us from one of the most radical countries in the world, Iran, who is on the verge of having nuclear weapons?

    Don’t forget about Benghazi! The current administration left our ambassador and former Seals over there un-protected, and that was a tragedy that did not need to occur.

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    • spider68

      movingrightalong—Please lets not continue to debate these Republican talking points. This is my last statement on the matter. I said what I meant and I mean what I said.

      President Obama was responsible for killing bin laden because Seal Team 6, nor anyone else could have gone into Pakistan to get him without the Presidents decision to do so. Could the country have gone into an unneccessary war in Iraq without the decision and WMD lies made by Dubya. I think not?

      Also, if you care to keep up with current events. No country can just say we’re done. Lets pack up and go. We are currently on track to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

      In reference to Benghazi. Blame your Republican Congress for the drastic reduction in funds for Embassy security.

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      • movingrightalong

        spider68

        I stand by what I said. You can’t have it both ways. You either disrespect both Obama and Romney for not serving, or you respect them botth. Makes no sense to trash Romney for doing the same thing the Obama did.
        You have your opinion, I have mine. I believe if Obama is re-elected we are truly in a world of trouble.

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    • 1stAmendment

      OMG!!!The difference is that Romney got 4 four draft deferments during the Viet Nam war draft. There is a difference!

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  • Maxdoubt

    I had thought this election was more like 1936. A big government democrat incumbent in his first term of recovery programs running against a wealthy centrist businessman.

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  • employee2

    Time for change. Obama was woefully unprepared for the job he was elected to do. He may not have realized the problems were as bad as first deemed, but if that were so, why did he spend his first two years pushing the healthcare bill through?

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  • Makalani

    RE:” I am one of his so called 47%…”

    Tens of 1000s of the 47% that Gov Romney wrote off and doesn’t waste his time appealing to are wounded vets of Vietnam — Desert Storm — Iraq and A-Stan wars. Many are missing arms and/or legs — many with traumatic brain injuries — many suffering from debilitating PTSD. Tens of 1000s of these vets are permanent wards of the VetAdmin thus the GOVT.

    Many seniors are among the 47% who have worked hard/contributed to our society but are now retired and dependent on the govt in the form of SS and Medicare.

    Using Gov Romney’s logic — these vets and seniors are all govt moochers!

    I guess Republican opposition to abortion/zeal in protecting fetuses makes up for the seeming lack of compassion for the less fortunate PEOPLE among us!

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  • spider68

    And, here we go sir with more red meat, and dog whistles for the areas far right wingnuts.
    Why don’t you expound on the Republican Party’s agenda as stated by that racist Senator Mitch McConell that the Republicans sole purpose was to make President Obama a one term President. If you care to explain, what about how many jobs bills submitted by the President have been voted down by the House of Representatives? How many filibusters have been conduted by McConell in the Senate?
    Why not explain why so many Republicans were elected on the promise of jobs in 2010, but went on a tear against abortion and contraceptive rights for women.

    Yes, it is definitely personal to me for I am sick and tired of the LIES being spouted by Mitt Romney also. I am one of his so called 47%, even though I worked for 44 years, 21 of which were spent in military service. I also have absolutely no respect for an individual who obtained deferments so that he could do so called missionary work in France. Nor do I have any for his five sons that have succeded in avoiding the military.

    Anyone with an open mind can see that with all of the Republican obstruction. The economy is on its way back, although it is slow. This country was hemmorrhaging 800,000 jobs a month when Bush left office. Now, there has been over three years of job growth, although slow.

    I know that you were just throwing out a little red meat, but sir, I will state it plain and clear. The 92% white Republican Party simply want this HALF WHITE man out off office. Thats the bottom line.

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    • movingrightalong

      Spider68: You say you have no respect for Romney or his sons for not serving in the military.

      Did Obama serve in the military?

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      • spider68

        movingrightalong—No, President Obama did not serve in the military, however, he is doing everything he can to get this country out of war instead of chest thumping about going to war with Iran, like Romney is.

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    • handkusp45

      @spider, Thank you for your military service. I noticed you are complaining about racism while using the term far right wingnuts. So it is OK for you to be racist but not for the next guy? Did it ever occur to you or Sharpton or Jackson that some people don’t like Obama simply because he is a liar, a marxist, and simply can’t do the job?

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      • Sinoptik

        Correct me if I’m wrong, though I expect to be corrected if I’m right, but right wingnut is not a racist term.

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      • spider68

        Thank you sinoptik. I would rather someone else explain it to handusp45 than me.

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  • independent

    It appears to me that most of Obama’s campaign has been based on intentional misrepresentation of facts, both about the opposing candidate and about his own record. Just this week when really listening to the ads, I heard the one about “supporting tax breaks for companies moving jobs overseas”. I knew it was false but also know that most voters would not realize the inaccuracy. It is sad to run a campaign from the point of view that we would not know the difference in truth from fiction.

    I believe the reason Romney surged after the debate was because some voters realized there was more to Romney than tax cuts for the rich. They also heard “close loop holes” for the top. Obama is a one trick pony as robin hood.

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    • Sinoptik

      There are frightfully obvious misrepresentations flying from both parties every 4 years, unfortunately 95% of the voters in this country are still eating it up, 4% do not care and here I am, 1% kind of hoping the whole thing blows up in everyone’s face because I’m getting too frustrated and demoralized to think we deserve any better.

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