Tag Archives: election 2012

What I Like About Mitt


Mitt Romeny

Official Romney campaign image, from their Flickr photo stream.

Now, now, settle down. I’m not changing political stripes, and no, I am not going to vote for Mitt Romney.

But I can’t quite work myself up into the lather of indignation many of my fellow liberals seem to. Sure, I don’t like what the man stands for in pretty much any policy terms, sure, he’s an out-of-touch rich white man trying to benefit other out-of-touch rich white men. And he’s done nothing but exacerbate the weird viciousness of this year’s campaign—especially since, as a member of the millionaire’s club, he’s attracted some pretty strange supporting PACs.

But, Mitt Romney is not one of the worst buffoons of the GOP, not even close. Compared to any other recent GOP presidential nominee, including the one who “won” in 2000, Mitt’s not that bad. He’s a pretty mild political figure, who had to pretend to go off the deep end to appease the monstrous party that is the modern GOP.

He’s stiff and uncomfortable in the public eye and doesn’t relate well during speeches to the common man, but then again, while Barack can be a great orator, he can be pretty stiff and uncomfortable at times, too.

He’s personally too rich to understand our lives, but so was FDR. Of course, FDR acted in ways that aided those whose lives he didn’t share, and that’s a key difference.

While I don’t get much in the way of warm and fuzzy vibes from Mrs. Romney, she’s not running for anything. Mitt, it seems to me, is a bit more sincere. Yes, I know, he flaps in the wind according to his supporters’ whims, but he is genuinely earnest about wanting to be president, and genuinely convinced he’d be good for us. I think he’s wrong, but I don’t think he’s evil.

Yes, he said that 47 percent of the public will vote against him because they are dependent on the government. Yes, it was a largely invalid point—too many of those he labeled as dependent are either working poor, retired or active military—and it was crudely made. On the other hand, it does reflect a political reality. The nation is widely split, roughly down the middle.

This is going to be one close election, folks. The surprising thing about Mitt is even after Mother Jones grabs the wooden stake and stabs it through his heart, Mitt keeps on ticking. He slips in the polls, but he doesn’t slide.

Too many on the right hate Barack Obama. For them, the struggle will be to be governed by Obama should we win reelection.

In some ways, I agree with a student who in one of my classes last week observed that the worst thing that could happen to Mitt is that he wins. He had to make too many awful promises to gain the GOP nomination, and they all come due. And frankly, almost half his party hates him at least half as much as they hate Barack Obama.

In Obama’s case, the battle lines are already drawn. In Mitt’s case, it just gets more interesting and more complicated if he moves into that tiny white shack on Pennsylvania Avenue. In the end, he may be nobody’s friend.

Yeah, I know, I’m traducing Mitt with that “shack” jibe for being rich. No, I really don’t think it’s that fair. Being a rich business person doesn’t do much to qualify a man to be president, in my book. It just does not disqualify him, either.

And you know? I suspect underneath the Ken doll exterior beats a rather straightforward Ken doll heart. And Ken, while a little fake, was always nice, too.

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Joe’s Face for Radio


Radio microphone

Image "The Little Microphone that Could" by Bjorn Hermans from Fotopedia.

It was a little surreal.

I was interviewed for a morning radio news program today on WMT radio in Cedar Rapids. I’m going to give a public “Faculty Forum” next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Flaherty Hall at MMU, and the radio host was going to ask me some questions.

I’m also suffering what for me is a fairly rare respiratory infection. Many members of my family suffer with all kinds of sinus ailments, allergies, persistent coughs, etc., but, while my digestive tract can be a touchy, my respiration system seems to have been built by Toyota.

Not this week. GM from the early 1970s.

Anyway, due to the uber-cold that won’t end, I’ve been sleeping poorly this week. Got to bed before midnight last night and got up a little past 5, and had far less than 5 hours of sleep in between, since there was a whole lot of coughing and bloviating and other nasty stuff in those restless hours.

So, how did the interview go? My memory, clouded by exhaustion, might not be 100 percent accurate, but it seemed like this:

Radio Host: What about them caucuses?

Me: Blah, blah-blah, blah. Blabbidy blah. Blah blah blah blah blah. Blah; blah! Blah! Blah: blah, blah and blah. Last hurrah.

Radio Host: It all started in 1976 with Jimmy Carter, right?

Me: Blah. Blah. Blah, blah, 1968, blah, blahbitty blah, 1972, blah. Blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah (radio host inadvertently snores) blah, blah blahbitty, blah blah.

Radio Host: So this talk is next week. When is it?

Me: (Stunned silence, not even a blah. I have no idea. Should have known that lamestream media would try to trip me up with their tricky, fact-based questions.)

Anyway, Emily, the media relations person at MMU, e-mailed me that she was listening and that she thought I had done a good job. The host actually asked fairly easy questions and I tried to be chatty, and I didn’t honk or cough or bloviate during the interview.

But I did feel a little blah.

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