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The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World of Campaign 2012

Updated on January 14, 2013

Campaign 2012 has been on a crash course towards infamy for a very long time. It all started when Michele Bachmann announced her intent to run for the Republican Presidential nomination, and then surged ahead of Mitt Romney in the polls. Then Donald Trump got involved, and for a very scary couple of weeks, it seemed as if he might actually run for President. Not long after that, Rick Perry came along, then Hermann Cain, and all of my hopes for a normal election year flew out the window. Of all of the eight candidates who were running for the Republican nomination, only three were actually qualified; Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul. And yet, all of the people who should not have been running for President, were, at some point, leading in the polls.

The 2012 madness started even before 2012 did, but it did not go away with the primaries. I have been working on a theory that might explain why the campaign is the way it is, but first, I have to point out what both sides have been throwing at each other. The Obama Team has accused Mitt Romney of being a tax avoiding, out of touch rich dude, who just doesn't get it. (This has a certain ring of truth to it, as long as Romney refuses to release his tax returns.) They have also said of Mitt "he hasn't paid any taxes in the last ten years" (Harry Reid, probably a complete lie), and "their gonna put y'all in chains" (Joe Biden, definitely false). And then, the Obama Team ran an add accusing Romney for the death of a man's wife (not only a complete lie, but a very low blow).

For its part, Romney's campaign has said some pretty crazy things as well. When Eric Fehrnstrom compared Romney, unhelpfully, to an etch a sketch, the gaffe served as the perfect analogy for Romney's strategy. Romney doesn't flip flop on issues, he etches and he sketches. But leading up to the conventions, things really got wild. First, the Romney Team accused Obama of gutting welfare reform, which is patently false. Then, Romney cracked an infantile joke comparing his birth certificate to the President's, no doubt to pander to a part of his base that believes that Obama was born somewhere else. And all throughout this campaign, accusations, insinuations and threats have been made against the President and his family.

Now, about that theory. I believe that the two campaigns have become so negative because reality forces them to do so. After all, in a normal election year, neither one of the two candidates would be winning. Obama has the economy to haunt him, with that ever inescapable 8.3 percent unemployment rate. No President has ever been reelected with an unemployment rate above 7.2 percent. By any normal measure, Obama should be trailing Romney by about ten points, but national polls remain solidly tied.

Romney should be leading in those polls. The problem is, people just don't like him all that much. He has been trailing Obama on likability for a while, now. He looks and acts just like John Kerry. But Romney has an additional problem; he spent the entire summer allowing Obama and the Democrats to define him as a candidate. He spent his summer mostly on the defensive, and that is not a winning strategy. The Republican Convention in Tampa may have helped him a little bit, because he came out of Tampa looking like a human being, instead of a robot.

The Democratic Convention looked and felt like a more enthusiastic crowd, and the President's accomplishments were proudly highlighted. But reality hit the very next day, with a depressing jobs report. What is clear, at this point, is that no candidate has much to run on, except for this line; "vote for me, I'm not the other guy." And here we enter the final stretch. What more will 2012 bring?

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    • peanutroaster profile image

      peanutroaster 4 years ago from New England

      A sensible recap of the campaign season. I'm sure some more moderate Republican's are seriously trying to figure out just went wrong with their party. How did it become such a fringe, extremist party?

      Well when you lay down with dogs, you are going to get fleas. To correct you a bit, the term Etch a Sketch was introduced prematurely to describe what Romney was planning to do after he secured the nomination. To secure the nomination, the moderate and sometimes liberal (once tried to out liberal Senator Edward Kennedy) Romney had to play to the base of far right conservatives. Then as we've seen in recent days, the idea was to move more to the center to have a chance of getting elected.

      As we crawl our way out of the deep recession left by the previous administration, it baffles the mind that a poster child of the 1% would be the GOPs leader. The debates will be fun especially on foreign policy where Romney is battling zero so far.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Obama and his democrats FAILED,next

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago from Virginia

      peanutroaster,

      Thank you for the comment. At this point, I find myself dearly wishing Jon Huntsman had been nominated. I would still have voted for Obama, but I would at least have been ready and eager to hear the other side out.

      Thank you for the correction about the etch a sketch. It is too true that Mitt Romney has no solid position on anything.

      And I can not wait for the debates. I am interested to hear what both candidates have to say for themselves.

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