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.



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.


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.


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.


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

Obama Romney debate who won


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.


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.


Mitt Romney’s Quotable Quotes


“I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” – using an unfortunate choice of words while advocating for consumer choice in health insurance plans (January 2012)

ON THE LESS FORTUNATE:quotes by mitt romney

“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.” — (January 2012)


“My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico… and had he been born of, uh, Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.” – in leaked comments from a Florida fundraiser, May 17 2012


“I should tell my story. I’m also unemployed.” — speaking in 2011 to unemployed people in Florida. Romney’s net worth is over $200 million.


“I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.” – (January 2012)


“We use Ann sparingly right now so that people don’t get tired of her.” – referring to his wife while speaking to a room of wealthy donors in Florida, May 17, 2012


“I think the best answer is as little as possible.” – when asked what he wears to bed at night, interview with ABC’s “LIVE! with Kelly and Michael,” Sept. 14, 2012


“No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.” – when questioned by ABC’s  George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America,” as to whether $100,000 is “middle income” on Sept. 14, 2012


“[My wife] drives a couple of Cadillacs.” – campaigning for president in Michigan (February 2012)


“I’ll tell you what, ten-thousand bucks? $10,000 bet?” – attempting to make a wager with Rick Perry during a Republican presidential debate to settle a disagreement about health care (December 2011)


“PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air.” — in 2007, responding to criticism from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals following revelations that he had once put the family dog in a carrier and strapped it to the roof of his car during a 12-hour road trip


“I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners.” — after being asked whether he follows NASCAR racing (February 2012)


“I’m not sure about these cookies. They don’t look like you made them. No, no. They came from the local 7/11 bakery, or whatever.” —Mitt Romney, visiting a local bakery while campaigning in Pittsburgh, PA, April 17, 2012 (The owner of the baker later told MSNBC he was offended by Romney’s remarks.)


“I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks.” — to a group of NASCAR fans wearing plastic ponchos at the Daytona 500 (February 2012)


“We have a president, who I think is a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard, perhaps.” — Romney has two Harvard degrees (April 5, 2012)


“I love this state. The trees are the right height.” — campaigning in Michigan (February 2012)


“I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.” — Romney earned $374,000 in speaking fees in one year according to according to his personal financial disclosure (January 2012)


“I’m not familiar precisely with what I said, but I’ll stand by what I said, whatever it was.” — (May 17, 2012)

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!”


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



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.


I Am So Over Nutella and 14 Other Things

I like to think I’m a caring, sometimes decent and patient man, but I’m SO OVER the following things:

pat sajak and vanna white

1. I’m so over Wheel of Fortune. Oh, the humanity, how long can this go on? The very sound of that wheel spinning sends me into a frenzy.

2. I’m so over the National Basketball association (NBA). London‘s Olympics reminded me of the greatness of the 1996 Dream Team, the greatest basketball team ever to take the court. Twelve Hall of Famers on one team. There’s not a player in theLarry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordon NBA today who can match a single one of them, and they’re mostly all a disrespectful bunch of brats.

3. I’m so over Survivor. Guys, you’re running out of tropical islands and has-been sports pros and sitcom stars from the 80s to keep things interesting. You should have gone out on a high note three years ago. http://wp.me/p2bjEC-j4

4. I’m so over soft drinks. I’m sick of the way they taste. No mas.

nutella5. I’m so over Nutella. Oh, Nutella marketing people … promote it as the world’s most delicious health food if you must, but it’s chocolate candy and you know it.

6. I’m so over The Bachelor/ette. I watched it a few times early on, but now leave the room when it comes on. How many people can sleep with one another in a series of shows?

7. I’m so over thinking my yard has to be the best manicured in the neighborhood. Just in time too. A guy moved in two doors down and his every blade of grass glistens with groomed perfection. Thank goodness I no longer have to compete.

8. I’m so over phone aps. This smart phone thing is a fad. It’s gonna pass.

9. I’m so over the mainstream idea that our kids must follow a prescribed curriculum of 12 years of school, four years of college, and maybe four more years of professional school to be a success in life. Certain college degree programs, I believe, should call for two years of mandatory public service or international travel prior to admission.

10. I’m so over Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift. Are they three different people or all one person? I really can’t tell.

11. I’m SOOOO over Dr. Phil.

12. I’m so over Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. I’m so over Obama’s clear belief that he’s always the smartest person in the room, and I’m so over Mitt Romney’s failure to project the good guy he really is.

13. I’m so over both sugar and salt. The more I age, the more your tiny little granules make me feel bad. You’re banned from my taste buds now.

14. I’m ALMOST so over being overweight. My best friend’s losing a dozen pounds a month. All my work colleagues are on a weight-loss binge, and I still succumb to the Friday donuts. I’ll be glad when I’m so TOTALLY over being overweight. I’m going to run another marathon just to prove I can.

15. I’m so over my hair. It’s grey, course and totally unmanageable, and that’s a tough thing for a fashion diva guy-who-doesn’t-care like me. I’m considering the slick look.

See today’s additional posts @ http://wp.me/p2bjEC-Az and http://wp.me/s2bjEC-2311


Mitt Romney’s Mulligan

First, a few disclaimers:

1. If you want to label me, I’m a 46-year-old-white-Christian-southern-moderate Democrat who’s never voted for a Republican. However, if I’d been the age I am now in the 1980s, I’d probably have been a Reagan Democrat.

2. For the most part, I believe the Obama presidency has failed to live up to its expectations. It’s been particularly harmful in a moralistic sort of way.

3. I think Mitt Romney is a good, smart, decent man who has the qualifications to potentially serve well as president, but his campaign is a disaster.

4. In the 48 hours since I decided to post on this topic, Romney’s apparently decided to name Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. It’s a bad choice that makes his road to the White House all the more difficult. But the Saturday announcement does allow the Romney campaign to dominate tomorrow’s Sunday talk shows, so touche’.

5. I’m pulling for Mitt Romney to turn his campaign around, show who he really is, and there’s a remote chance I may possibly cast my first Republican presidential vote ever. But it’s not looking good so far.



  1. A stew made from odds and ends of food.
  2. (in informal golf) An extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard.
Romney running mate Paul Ryan

Mitt Romney’s apparent VP.

In my world of professional duffer’s golf, we have this thing called a mulligan.

In certain tournaments, you may purchase x number of mulligans. In a gentleman’s round of golf, players agree to mulligans off the first tee or at certain designated moments along the round. The mulligan is a do-over, a second chance. An opportunity to erase the previous hook or slice.

It’s a chance to start fresh and forget the past.

The mulligan is an applicable metaphor for the Romney campaign.Duffer

Though many will disagree, I contend, the Romney campaign has, to date, failed to show its true potential. So far, foreign policy visits have been disastrous, the tax issue looms as a dark cloud of dubious dealings. He runs needlessly from the issue of his Mormon faith and his record as Massachusetts governor. And his selection of Ryan as running mate gives no diversity whatsoever to the GOP ticket. That in itself, is a hugely missed opportunity, but not unexpected.


But Mitt Romney is a good man. Even the most left-wing blue-dog Democrat must admit that. His qualifications for the presidency are as good as any Republican candidate in recent years. He’s a successful capitalist who’s been in the trenches, and that may very well be exactly what the country needs as this moment, as opposed to Obama, who many contend has never had a “real” job.

In a few short days, Mitt Romney gets his last mulligan. His acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa is Romney’s final opportunity to let the world know who he is. He desperately needs to bare his soul. After Tampa, there will be no more defining moments.

As a press secretary to U.S. Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR) from 1996-2000, I wrote hundreds of campaign and political speeches. Were I in the same position with Romney today, I’d shape my acceptance speech around the following 10 points, and I’d bare my soul to its innermost core. These points are not the message, but the points around which the message should be shaped.

  • Married to the same woman for 43 years with five great kids.
  • Stuck beside his wife every step of the way when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996.
  • A product of the public school system.
  • Successful enough to make his way through Stanford, Brigham Young and Harvard.
  • Lived in a basement apartment as an undergrad at BYU.
  • Spent more than two years as a Mormon missionary in France.
  • And while there sustained a broken jaw defending a female missionary who was being harassed by a rugby team.
  • Progressive record as governor of Massachusetts.
  • Understands the world of capitalism and pulled off a successful Winter Olympic Games in 2002 at Salt Lake.
  • His father is his mentor and hero.


Your down to your last mulligan, Mitt. Rich as you are, you won’t be able to buy another. You need a birdie.

Bare your soul in Tampa.

PS Mitt: Consider making this your convention theme song: