The Truth of Honesty

Former President Jimmy Carter is at it again! Of course I’m talking about his comments yesterday about Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. WARNING: Don’t take a sip of any beverage, particularly sticky ones, before reading the next sentence, as you are liable to spit it all over everything in utter shock! If you’ll believe this, and I understand completely if you don’t, President Carter said he thought Romney would be an acceptable President!

CRAZY! Carter is a Democrat and Romney is a Republican! Carter says that even though Romney took some extreme positions during the primary, it isn’t clear that those positions will reflect his stances during the general election or in the Oval Office.

Jim, Jimbo, Jimmer, look here for a minute. This next bit is just for you. I know you’ve had a pretty admirable post-presidential life, Nobel Peace Prize or whatever, but we’ve talked about saying what everyone is thinking. Keep that stuff on the down-low man! Democrats are trying to win an election here. Yeah, I get it, you don’t quite “get” reelection campaigns or whatever, but this one is obvious. The Republican is the one who will destroy America if he sets even one perfectly pedicured toesie into the West Wing. Those guys are going to privatize Social Security, insult seniors’ grandchildren and sell off the Grand Canyon to a billboard company.

It’s not that hard, buddy. I know what you’re going to say. It was honest. Well listen here peanut boy, this is an election year and  honesty is just about the LAST thing we need. I’m not saying you need to lie to anyone. Of course not! Just keep some things to yourself.

Everyone else who definitely did NOT read those last two paragraphs because you respect the private bond between amateur bloggers and former Presidents, please ignore President Carter. He’s getting up there in age and he’s started to think that just about everything is a peace negotiation. But this is an election. Which means it’s war, but meaner, uglier and a whole lot more petty. And that’s the way it has to be. Because it’s the way we’ve always done things here in the world’s first democracy. God Bless America and God Bless Division.

The Meaninglessness of Most Politics

Ezra Klein is out today with an article on the factors that actually predict the outcome of presidential elections. And surprise, surprise the answer isn’t “who loves America the most” or “who looks best with his sleeves rolled up.” In other words, the things that pundits love to talk about.

No, Klein claims that there are three factors that affect who wins the Oval Office: growth in the economy, the sitting President’s approval rating and whether or not one of the candidates happens to be the President. Lets break this down one-by-one using science, or as I call it, intuition and sarcasm.

The economy. It’s retaken center stage as the most important issue in politics. For a while there in the 00’s (the aughts? the zeros? the oh-ohs?) national security was top dog, but no longer. People care about their job and their finances more than anything. To paraphrase esteemed political thinkers the Wu-Tang Clan, cash rules everything around them. Folks vote with their wallet. Now, whether or not a President can do all that much to affect the economy is not all that clear, but that’s a discussion for another post.

On to approval rating. This one is kind of a no-brainer. Oh, so you’re saying if people approve of the President, they are more likely to vote for him? Thanks for the insight guys, never would have thought of that. I guess if we are talking about two non-incumbents, that one becomes a little less obvious. Anyway, the President’s approval indicates voters’ happiness with the party in charge. Low approval for the head of a party means worse chances for his party mates in the election. This is especially true given the  parties’ monolithic (I’m not going to baby you guys anymore. If you don’t know a word, look it up. You’re already on the Internet, it isn’t that hard) platforms and emphasis on conformity.

Finally, incumbency. People don’t like change. Unless there is a problem that is so glaring that ignoring it would be more effort than fixing it, people tend to let things be. Plus, who is more presidential than the President. I already know he loves America and looks good in a flannel shirt, because a bunch of people already voted for him.

Scandals though, like leaving your dog up on your car roof or a few security agents getting weird down in Colombia, don’t matter too much in the grand scheme of things. And you know what? I’m ok with that.

The Potential for Backfire of Mr. Romney’s Campaign Strategy

Now that you’ve finished reading that incredibly long title, I think it’s time we begin discussing the general election. The general Presidential election. The one that comes after the primary.

Now that Mitt Romney has wrapped up the Republican nomination, he is concentrating on attacking President Obama. He’s recently criticized President for being out of touch and spending too much time at Harvard (oh snap!).

HOLD UP. Lets run this back one minute. Romney is calling out Obama for being out of touch. Even though he’s the guy who has an elevator for his cars. And the Harvard thing? Mittens Romulus has not one, not three, but TWO degrees from Harvard. Here’s a video of Al Sharpton exposing this hypocrisy. The reason he keeps referring to Romney as Willard is because that’s Mitt’s real first name and the  name Willard is way less cool than Mitt.

It seems like a risky move to attack someone in areas that you yourself are weak. The smart play here for el Presidente is probably to say something along the lines of, “Is he serious? He’s joking right? It’s the same… We both went… Car elevator.” And here’s a tip to anyone thinking about getting into politics: whenever your strategy can be effectively countered with two questions and three incomplete sentences, you need to rethink your strategy.