Election 2012: Well – That’s What Happens to a Bunch of White Guys in Blue Suits

“As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.” ~ 1st Samuel 17:48-50

What in the world does that familiar story have to do with the presidential election? I’ll tell you in just a minute.

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POTUS

Here’s what happened.

Ever been to a football game where the quarterback predictably handed the ball to a running back time after time after time? Slowly, methodically the team trudges down the field and makes its way to the goal line. It’s boring, not real glitzy, and the crowd hates it. It’s almost silent, but oftentimes, damn effective.

While all the white guys in XXL blue suits were standing ’round the country club bar knocking back Long Island Teas and comparing portfolios, a silent, but deadly ground game was going forward. And the white guys in blue suits never heard them coming.

They were Latino, Hispanic, Black and poor white – minorities we call them. And they were standing in early voting lines, getting on buses, carpooling to the polls and calling their friends. In the political world, it’s called GOTV – get out the vote – and it’s a political science that wins most elections and goes very mistakenly unnoticed because it’s quiet.

WHY A SOLID MINORITY BEATS A FRAGMENTED MAJORITY EVERY SINGLE TIME.

It’s actually slap-you-in-the-face-obvious if you just look at the map.

This election happened in California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida. What do these states have in common? For one, they hold true to one of our country’s founding principles. They welcome “foreigners” as their own. They embrace diversity. “Give me your tired, your poor,” they say.

And though they may be “minorities” in this country, they are rock-solid together, as one, because they have no other choice.

Oh, how we talk about power of the evangelical Christian right. They’re going to determine this election’s outcome, right? They can’t even agree on the color of the choir robes, much less come together as a body that creates a movement. They haven’t done it since the first century, so why would it happen now? They’re so busy spitting in the eye of freedom of choice, the self-righteousness loses sight of the greater good.

Barack Obama was the most beatable president in recent history. It was Mitt’s to lose, and lose, he did.

Never in the history of social media has a man been so disrespected as the present and future president of the United States. He’s your president today, and is your Commander-in-Chief for the next four years. Suck it up and give your respect. If not, just be quiet, okay?

What does the story of David and Goliath have to do with it all? Only everything.

This country’s solid minority, just beat the fragmented majority like a dog.

From now on, maybe we all should just try to get along.

The majority no longer rules. Get used to it, or do something about it.

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Now the only question that remains is this: Will Chris Christie face Biden or Clinton (Hillary, that is,) in 2016? That race starts now.

stevenwwatkinsAnd by the way, I am a white guy who occasionally wears blue suits.

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Who Won the Debate? Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and 11.5 Million Buckeyes. That’s Who.

Obama Romney debate who won

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mitt romney in debate

I’m not a political commentator, but I sometimes play one on the blog.

If I were, however, that’s the post-debate analysis I’d give my audience this morning following a lively 90-minute mono e mono between President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

It’s true. The debate winners weren’t even in the room.

CNN’s Candy Crowley moderated a sometimes lively debate Tuesday night that allowed Obama and Romney to trade some effective jabs. Romney actually had fair momentum during the debate’s first 40 minutes as the topics remained mostly domestic in nature. But as the discussion went abroad, Romney lost his talking points, and the two candidates ultimately finished in a draw.

Best case scenario for either … Obama likely recaptured the tiny percentage of wavering Democrats who were dismayed by his first dismal debate performance. And Romney didn’t lose.

From Romney’s perspective, a November victory is “all about the economy, stupid.” He should have never let his message go outside the 50 states.

Today, partisan political followers will predictably declare victory for their man. MSNBC will make Obama the clear winner. FOX will say Romney hammered effectively on all points.

Objectively, however, the debate was a draw, and here’s what that means.

ohio electoral votesThe election’s a foregone conclusion in at least 45 of 50 states. Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Colorado all still carry weight, but the big chips are in Ohio.

More than 11 million Buckeyes will determine the next president of the United States.

Make a conscious effort over the next two weeks to see how many times “Ohio” is mentioned in the stump speeches. You’ll see. The political promises now being made to Ohio’s political leadership are pork barrel politics at their best, or worst, however you may choose to view it. But Ohio carries all the chips. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow lies somewhere between Akron and Toledo.

At this point, the two might as well go to Ohio, fight it out in a duel, and let the last man standing take the White House.

And there’s also this.

No doubt Romney gained momentum immediately after the first presidential debate. There was a certain pressure last night on both candidates. Romney needed to show his first performance wasn’t a one-time fluke. The president needed to show he still had some fire in his belly.

Whatever the talking heads say today, the debate was a draw. A draw last night, or any future draws for that matter, equate to four more years for Obama. Without a knockout that leaves Obama down for the count, Romney loses. It could happen, but time’s running out.

And there’s this.Chris Christie for president

If you accept the notions I’ve proposed above, here’s the future significance. Throughout last night’s debate, you could almost hear he squeaky wheels of two new presidential campaigns beginning to turn.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are the Republican party’s next big sticks. Publicly, they’ll support the party guy for the next two weeks, but never doubt for a moment they’re waiting in the wings for an Obama victory that immediately propels them both to front-runner status in 2016.

will jeb bush run for presidentThink you’ll get a break from presidential politics when all this is put to bed in a few more days?

Think again.

The party’s just getting started.

Agree? Disagree? Drop a comment. Your opinion’s welcome here.

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The Debate: Romney, Rules and Ego Beat Obama

I’m on the record as a critic of Mitt Romney‘s campaign, and until last night, it was, in fact, a disaster. Less than two weeks ago, I said the 2012 presidential race was over.

romney vs. obama

I was wrong.

It doesn’t require a lot of in-depth analysis to see exactly why Romney was the hands-down winner in last night’s debate. It wasn’t a necessarily stellar performance from Romney, but it was good. I give him a “B.”

Romney’s win was more about President Obama being totally off his game by way of the environment.

Two simple reasons.

1. The moment Jim Lehrer announced the debate crowd would be silent, well, it was a game changer. Obama’s a great speech maker. One of the best. No one feeds off a crowd like Barack Obama. For the POTUS, the required silence was deafening.

2. For the first time in four years, Obama stood on stage with another man as an equal. Obama’s always played the role of the smartest guy in the room. In his mind, he has no equals. Last night was mono e mono. It’s been a long time since Obama was put in a defensive position. Romney blew by him like Michael Jordan.

On the grading scale:

Romney – “B”

Obama “D”

Things just got interesting, and a LOT more money just got poured into a negative TV campaign.

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Who is John Boozman? Veterans Need to Know.

FACT: In the United States, a veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes.

U.S. Sen. Fay Boozman votes against veterans.

Arkansas Sen. John Boozman

FACT: Today, one in four veterans is unemployed.

FACT: The total number of employable, but unemployed veterans now stands in excess of 700,000.

FACT: On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked the vote on the Veterans Jobs Corps bill that would have infused $1 billion over the next five years to help veterans find jobs in their communities.

FACT: Arkansas Republican Senator John Boozman was one of the leading authors of the Veterans bill.

FACT: Boozman serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

FACT: Yesterday, Boozman voted against allowing that bill to come to a vote on the Senate floor. He did so along with three other Republican senators who authored the bill.

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The question is why.

The answer is clear.

It’s called partisan politics and the Romney Effect.

senators who voted against veterans

These four Republican senators authored the Veterans Jobs Corps bill, yet voted against allowing it to come to a vote.

There were no downsides to the Veterans Jobs Corps bill. As a primary author of the legislation, Boozman and others knew that. So why in the world would they vote against a bill that would put veterans, whose 10.2 percent unemployment rate stands well above that of the general civilian population?

This generally bi-partisan bill was a cornerstone of President Obama’s 2012 budget and a highlight of his 2012 State of the Union  Address.

At this late stage in the game with Republican’s likelihood of capturing the White House diminishing daily, the GOP will have nothing to do with anything that might be deemed a presidential success.

It’s like sending our veterans to war all over again.

Veterans Jobs Corps billAnd there is no “Plan B.” This measure won’t come up again for at least another year.

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All potential good aside, Boozman joins dozens of other Republican candidates this week doing everything they can to be anything but Republicans.

The Romney Effect has Republican candidates scrambling to hide from their identity, at least for the next several weeks.

Republican candidates in key swing states such as Wisconsin, Massachussetts, Ohio, Virgina and Nevada now claim no association with Romney after he willingly acknowledged his dismissal of 47 percent of the American population.

“I think there is a broad and growing feeling now that this thing is slipping out of Romney’s hands.” ~ conservative columnist Peggy Noonan

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That’s not the way I view the world. As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot anybody wants to be in.” ~ Massachussetts Sen. Scott Brown, who now trails his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren.

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“I just don’t view the world the way he (Romney) does.” ~ Nevada Sen. Dean Heller.

Who is Sen. John Boozman? All veterans should remember.

He’s the politician who solicited your vote, then turned his back on you.

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Romney Axes Ryan: New VP Contenders Surface

This just in:

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan got off to a great start three weeks ago when he lied about his marathon finishing time, but Ryan, in the succeeding weeks has not been cold-hearted enough to justify his continued position on the ballot with Mitt Romney, officials close to the campaign said today.

Romney’s new list of candidates and their qualifications:

The Queen of Mean’s intentions to leave $4 million to her dog is a perfect offset to that nasty story about the Romneys strapping their pet to the top of the station wagon during family vacation … but the new campaign slogan she brings is perfect: “ONLY THE LITTLE PEOPLE PAY TAXES!”

scrooge

EBENEEZER SCROOGE: (On his provision for the poor:) “Are there no prisons, no workhouses?”

pontius pilate sentencing jesus

PONTIUS PILATE: His willingness to sacrifice the savior of the world brings him in as a top contender.

grinch who stole christmas

THE GRINCH: With a heart 2 sizes too small, anyone who is willing to steal from the children of WhoVille makes the cut.

john edwards reilly hunter

JOHN EDWARDS: Willing to become a Republican for the promise of getting back into politics, Edwards is ready for service.

seinfeld soup nazi

THE SOUP NAZI: Brings the perfect disposition for the campaign’s theme moving forward.

bernie madoff ponzi scheme

BERNIE MADOFF: Protecting the wealth of the rich at any cost and crushing the dreams of middle America Madoff sees a new future as Romney’s sidekick.

benedict arnold

BENEDICT ARNOLD: Romney loves that he will say anything to anybody. Tell me who the crowd is and I’ll say what they want to hear, Arnold says. Great fundraising possibilities here.

lindsay lohan smoking

LINDSAY LOHAN: Proved her worth just yesterday running down a pedestrian and fleeing the scene.

tightwad usa

EVERYONE WHO LIVES IN THIS TOWN

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Obama vs. Romney: What Would Jesus Do?

signing of declaration of independence

My personal struggle with the issue between separation of church and state dates to a real experience in 1998.

I was campaign press secretary for Democratic congressional candidate Marion Berry, and at the time, a member of a Southern Baptist Church. Interestingly, my counterpart, the communications director for our Republican opponent, attended the same church. We were even in the same Sunday school class.

Throughout the campaign, my counterpart, who was also a personal friend, proudly wore a button to church each Sunday in support of his candidate. It’s no particular criticism of him. It was just something I couldn’t do. Personally, I felt more at peace leaving politics at home than bringing attention to them at church.

Fast forward 12 years to the upcoming presidential election and it seems we’re all struggling with the separation of church and state issue more than ever. It’s creating a huge divide that causes me to wonder where it all may go.

Perhaps the biggest news to come out of the Democratic National Convention this week was whether the party would make the slightest mention of the word “God” in its platform. At the outset, the Democrat’s original platform made no mention of God. On Wednesday, they slipped in a mention of the divine creator.

I can imagine God sitting on his throne in Heaven wiping his brow. “Whew,” he must have exclaimed. “That was a close one!”

Within the last couple of years, I’ve actually found myself in the midst of “Christian” gatherings where in one breath leaders would pray for the safety of our troops abroad, only in the next breath to label our Commander-in-Chief as the anti-Christ.

It’s difficult to explain what that causes me to feel, so I won’t even try.

Right or wrong, statistics show more than half the American population believes President Obama to be a subscriber of the Muslim faith. He declares himself Christian.

On the other hand, Republican candidate Mitt Romney is Mormon. And many of the Christian evangelicals I know would say under their breath that to be Mormon is not to be Christian. I really don’t know. It’s not for me to decide.

Is God a Democrat or Republican? Romney or Obama? What would Jesus do?

As a nation, it seems we’ve never been more divided along the lines of race, the issue of right to life and the rights, or lack thereof, in the lesbian/gay community.

racial divide in politics

We stand to the extreme left, or the extreme right. Those who stand anywhere in between are labeled as heretics, unbelievers or a hateful people void of love for others.

I confess to find myself in the greyness of uncertainty between the two extremes and don’t believe I’m any of those things. What’s wrong with a simple confession that we just don’t know the mind of God?

Is it wrong to take the life of an unborn child. Yes, I think so. Yet is it wrong to deny a woman her freedom of choice for her own well being as a result of certain circumstances? I simply can’t deny that right. So, I just don’t know. It’s not for me to judge and I don’t believe that makes me a heretic or a coward. I just don’t know.

Evangelicals to the extreme right declare the sanctity of the right to life, yet in his years as governor of Texas, George W. Bush presided over the execution of 153president george w. bush prison inmates who were condemned to death. Many will argue there’s a huge difference. Personally, I don’t see it. Is strapping someone to a gurney and injecting them with medication that stops their heart from beating somehow not a violation of the sanctity of life?

Thou shalt not kill except behind thy prison walls?

It’s a double-edged sword we wield.

Can a gay or lesbian couple live together in the bonds of matrimony and yet declare themselves as members of the Christian faith? My read of the bible says that marriage is between man and woman, and that any such act would be one of sin. Nothing more, nothing less. And yet, I know God also disapproves of the many sinful acts of which I’ve been guilty over my 46 years. Am I unforgiven of those sins? I don’t believe it for a minute. Who am I to judge, or to know the mind of God?

Earlier this week, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan declared the Obama presidency to be the most failed period of governance since Jimmy Carter’s term in office.

president jimmy carterI’m reminded of a 1976 interview Carter did with Playboy magazine in which he confessed his shortcomings. Policy and party politics aside, I think Carter was on to something when he acknowledged this about our society’s moralistic judgment:

“Because I’m just human and I’m tempted and Christ set some almost impossible standards for us. The Bible says, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’ Christ said, I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust has in his heart already committed adultery. I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times…. This is something that God recognizes, that I will do and have done, and God forgives me for it. But that doesn’t mean that I condemn someone who not only looks on a woman with lust but who leaves his wife and shacks up with somebody out of wedlock. Christ says, don’t consider yourself better than someone else because one guy screws a whole bunch of women while the other guy is loyal to his wife. The guy who’s loyal to his wife ought not to be condescending or proud because of the relative degree of sinfulness.”

I think it’s one of the more transparent and honest acknowledgments of any president in modern history. Carter didn’t declare himself to be perfect, without fault or all-knowing of the difference between right or wrong.

Many would point to the notion that the framers of our country intended us to be a nation of Godly people, yet they clearly set some boundaries for our own well being that we somehow fail to grasp.

As the principal author of the United States Declaration of IndependenceThomas Jefferson articulated a statement about human rights that most Americans regard as nearly sacred. Together with James Madison, Jefferson carried on a long and successful campaign against state financial support of churches in Virginia. It is Jefferson who created the phrase “wall of separation between church and state” in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut. During his 1800 campaign for the presidency, Jefferson had to contend with critics who argued that he was unfit to hold office because he did not have orthodox religious beliefs.

Yet with the adoption of the idea of church-state separation, Jefferson authored these words in the Declaration of Independence.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The constitution itself says there shall be no religious standard in the qualification to hold federal office. We should stand for what we believe, but also remember the boundaries to which we say we subscribe.

Obama vs. Romney? What would Jesus Do? I don’t know.

And I’m okay with that for now.

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