Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lives of Our Leaders: Obama vs. Romney II

Is a political campaign, a boxing match? Is a debate between candidates a prize fight in which points are scored, with knockdowns and knockouts determining the outcome. The venerable old Mother Jones scored a knockout against other news media, inadvertently providing President Obama with a knockout punch he didn’t even administer before any of the debates actually began. The reporting of the 47% quote which still haunts Romney’s campaign was what might be called a knockout by proxy. It’s something which the challenger is still reeling from. The operant tag lines from last night’s debate were “an act of terror,” “binders full of women,” and “it’s not as big as yours.” Obama scored a knockdown on the “a terrorist attack” fiasco with the ref Candy Crowley starting the equivalent of a ten count as she affirmed the truth of the fact that Obama had used the expression “acts of terror” in a speech in the Rose Garden on the day after the Benghazi attack. Romney shot himself in the foot with his binders remark and Obama sucker punched the challenger with the “it’s not as big a yours” rejoinder after Romney suggested his opponent vet his own pension plan for China investments. Romney worked an effective combination with jobs and domestic energy and Obama counterpunched with healthcare and immigration. Abortion and the threat of a conservative supreme court, which could repeal Roe v. Wade, are the solid right hand that threatens to give the incumbent the fight—depending on the judges (a.k.a the women’s vote). But there's something unsettling in all the posturing and promotion. Besides abortion, both contenders agree on lessening the deficit, on creating jobs, on the need for the wealthiest nation on earth providing health care for its citizens and on the threat of rogue powers like Iran. Which makes one ask why, when candidates share so much common ground, campaigns, and politics in general, must be like a boxing match? Is the answer that, to some extent it’s all a tempest in a teapot, "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" and that with the attention span of the electorate tending to be short,  conflict is more entertaining than a bipartisan resolution of issues?


  1. Another great post. One quibble: Romney does not, as you assert, share with Obama a belief in the need for the wealthiest nation on earth to provide health care for its citizens. Romney believes the states should be responsible for that, but offers no plan whatsoever to hold the states accountable for meeting that responsibility. Under Romney, citizens would get consistent access to healthcare if they lived in the right state. If not ... oh well.

  2. Who are the boxers in the above pic. does anyone know? Thank you


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