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Monday, October 23, 2017

Don’t Mess with Mr In-Between

Credit: Steve Jurvetson
Lost for ideas

Barack Obama is becoming something of an expert on the politics of negativity. His campaign slogan is no longer yes, we can. It’s nobody else can either.

Never mind the issues, never mind the incumbent’s lamentable record, never mind a trillion dollar stimulus package that stimulated nothing, aside for the national debt; let’s just bash Mitt. And for what, I ask? For being a successful businessman, that’s what, for making money. So far as Obama is concerned the business of America is no longer business, though what it is, beyond debt mounting on debt, I can’t be quite sure.

Obama insisted last week that it was “extremely appropriate” to target Romney for his wealth. It would seem to be ‘extremely appropriate’ to tackle anybody for their wealth or business acumen, no matter how modest. Will the politics of envy carry Obama back to the White House? I have no idea how well this sort of thing plays in the States but it may very well be the only ace left in the President’s shabby and dog-eared pack.

I read in the Spectator that the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) expressed irritation with Obama recently after he told an audience that “If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Really, who; the Tooth Fairy, perhaps? “What a disappointment to hear President Obama’s revealing comments challenging the significance of America’s entrepreneurs”, said the group president. Not really; for the American free spirit is something Obama knows little or nothing about.

The Obama team are trying to brush Romney with the tar of elitism. But there is elitism and elitism, is there not? There is the elitism of those who have managed to accumulate some understanding of exactly how business works, and there is the elitism of the detached Ivy League intellectual, who seems to understand how nothing works. Detachment may be an admirable in a university common room; in the White House it’s disastrous. Obama, America’s captain, has still to realise that the ship is going down.

After a brief flicker of life earlier this year the American economy has sunk deeper into the doldrums. Reuters reported recently that retail sales fell in June for the third month running. The thing is the man in the Oval Office does not have a clue what to do. There he is, with a reverse Midas-touch, turning all to brass. He is, as Jacob Heilbrunn of the bi-monthly National Interest wrote, a classic man of the left – well-intentioned but incompetent.

I could say something about the present administration’s abysmal failures in foreign policy, failures which may allow al-Qaeda to get hold of chemical weapons in Syria, but I do not believe that American elections are won or lost on these wider issues, as George Bush found out to his cost. No, it’s still the economy, stupid.

That’s Romney’s strongest card, the economy, a game in which he can play with skill and assurance, a game in which, if properly focused, he can trump Obama time and again. And it should not be thought that he is the unreflective voice of the big battalions. Heilbrunn puts the point very well;

Romney has also attacked Obama’s perceived support for ‘crony capitalism’, saying that the President has a dodgy habit of channelling government money back towards the people and businesses who have supported him politically. If Romney can carry on presenting himself as a self-made man who wants to stand up for business big and small, and Obama as an agent of more powerful forces in Washington, this will hinder the President’s attempts to rekindle his popularity. It will also appeal to independent voters and the Tea Party types who embrace free enterprises but view corporate power, particularly Wall Street, with suspicion.

So, negativity shall not prevail. I seem to hear an old crooner here. Yes, here he goes,

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between.

I can only hope that, come November, America will show it has had quite enough of Mister In-Between, Mister I Really Do Not Know Which Way to Turn. That would seem to be an ‘extremely appropriate’ outcome.



About the Writer

Anastasia is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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12 comments on Don’t Mess with Mr In-Between

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By Inmyredhead on July 27, 2012 at 04:22 am

A lot of the time, Republicans don't fight hard enough. They don't get dirty or negative enough. I don't necessarilly support negative politics, but when they are faced with the negative and dirty opposition and you don't stand up against it and fight fire with fire, it's most often a loosing battle unfortunately. Most of us try to take the higher road, but the low and dirty road attracts the most attention. As far as how they are trying to make Romney out to be a horrible person for being so rich... what is 'Rich'? Is Obama, who's worth $10 Million himself, not rich? Yes, Romney is millions richer... but rich is rich. There is a point where it just doesn't matter anymore how many zeros you put in front of the number. Obama is a hypocrite.

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By John Nelson on July 27, 2012 at 10:51 am

The demonizing of Obama by the Republican Party here in the U.S. has been a non-stop assault since his victory in 2008.

I'm not a Democrat or a huge Obama fan, but the propaganda attacks by the Republicans has been nasty and relentless. The Republican Party has also set aside the good of the nation to block everything our president has tried to do to stimulate the economy. As an independent I always look for reasonable and moderate candidates, but the direction the Republican Party has moved lately makes me oppose them at every turn. I feel the winds of reason are blowing the moderate voter toward the Dems.

We're going to see lots of negative ads this election cycle for two reasons. 1. They seem to work. 2. Now we have unlimited funds pouring in by special interests and corporations.

Our democratic system is gonna get ugly! Money doesn't talk...it swears.

On a side note.... negative ads aside, Mr. Romney goes to London on his first foreign visit as a presidential candidate and he insults our greatest ally. He went on a soft-ball tour and screwed it up. He showed he's not even qualified to be a foreign service officer never mind the president of the U.S.

Sometime a politician can shoot himself in the foot without negative ads.

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By Randy Mitchell on July 27, 2012 at 11:11 am

Anastasia, terrific article. Obama has no clue what to do. His tax-and-spend pro big government strategy hasn't worked, and will never work. His administration has nothing to run on and they know it.

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By Angie Alaniz on July 29, 2012 at 12:17 am

@Randy You took the words right out of my mouth. :D

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By Anastasia on July 29, 2012 at 05:26 pm

IMRH, he certainly is.

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By Anastasia on July 29, 2012 at 05:28 pm

John, I do not think there is anything the least bit extreme about Mitt Romney, as unobjectionable a candidate as it is possible to find, really quite far removed from the Tea Party ‘ideal.’ In a sense I’m an ‘independent’ too, in that I look at American politics from the perspective of an informed outsider. Yes, I am conservative but I’m also objective in my approach. Objectively I can see nothing positive at all in Obama’s presidency, marked by drift and uncertainty. This is a point I’ve made in numerous articles, here, on my blog and on other media outlets.

I can assure you I did not feel in the least bit offended by Romney’s London gaff, evidence of inexperience in international diplomacy rather than incompetence. Obama has done far more to offend in little things and in big. In little things his removal of the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office was held to be a measure of his insensitivity. In big things his constant reference to British Petroleum during the Gulf oil crisis was a crass attempt at scapegoating. I give you this from an article I had published on the Daily Telegraph readers’ blog site in the summer of 2010. I called it Plugging Obama’s Mouth;

Unlike the wretched Obama, a man I have always believed to be totally unfit to hold the most important elected office in the world, I do not think that there is much point in looking for scapegoats. But for this man, this ‘ally’ of ours, to cast Britain in the role in an attempt to disguise his own lamentable performance really is a step too far…

But in Obama’s mind we are back in 1776. Once again the British are coming. There he is draped in the uniform of a tawdry modern George Washington, resorting to xenophobia and misinformation to blacken the ‘enemy’, to try to stem the continuing leak in his own popularity. He has turned his back on Israel; he has now turned his back on Britain, despite the role this country has played, the abject role, in supporting America’s recent foreign adventures. My only wish is that someone would plug Obama’s mouth. That would have to be an American solution for an American problem.

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By Anastasia on July 29, 2012 at 05:30 pm

Randy, thanks. Running on nothing but hot air. :-)

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By Anastasia on July 29, 2012 at 05:30 pm

Thanks, too, Angie.

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By Uttam Gill on July 30, 2012 at 12:46 am

While treading through the tough times surely America needs to gear up to take right course...And in the given scenario I observe the mediocrity of leadership in almost all the major countries of the world and that’s certainly not a good sign......And USA too is affected by that...The politics have its own rules and that’s how politician draft each and every utterance to capture votes only...No knee jerk action would fetch any concrete results...The one who would lead this country out of this chaotic situation...would go into the history as a great leader...Let’s hope that America gets an effective leadership...We are keeping our finger crossed...My best wishes are always there for this great country...

Anastasia I always enjoy reading your article...This one too a great article...I can see the clarity of thoughts...Wonderful...Keep it up...

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By TonyBerkman on July 30, 2012 at 05:08 pm

how true: "His campaign slogan is no longer yes, we can. It’s nobody else can either."

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By Anastasia on July 31, 2012 at 05:15 pm

Uttam, you are right - mediocrity is the political flavour of the times.

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By Anastasia on July 31, 2012 at 05:15 pm

Yes, Tony. :-)

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