Thursday, October 25, 2012

Don't be Fooled by Affable Romney

By Tom Kando

We have had  four debates, including the vice-presidential one.  The Republican candidates acquitted themselves quite well. Although President Obama did extremely well in two out of his three debates, the end result of the four debates  is a Republican victory because of  the following reason:

 Before the debates, the media had succeeded in convincing a slight majority of the electorate that the Republican ticket was dangerously radical.  Repeated  faux-pas by Romney such as “the 47%”  were  a godsend for the Obama campaign. The widespread  perception was that Romney  was (1) a buffoon, (2) incompetent and (3) “severely” conservative. The latter perception was justified, as he had expressed many severely conservative views as long as he was courting the Republican base during the primaries.

However, what the debates accomplished was to present to the electorate a totally different Romney, suggesting that the earlier presentation had been a caricature, not reality. Surprise! In all three debates, Romney came across as (1) neither a buffoon, (2) nor incompetent, (3) nor severely conservative.

I say “came across,” because I believe that we are being duped, when it comes to what Romney plans to do as President.

The last debate, the one about foreign policy, was remarkable. Romney appeared to agree with a majority of Obama’s stances. On several issues he out-pacified Obama!  He said that “the US can’t  kill its way out of extremist threats.” We must rely on foreign aid and economic development instead, he said. This is positively McGovernlike!

What’s bad is that millions of people, especially the crucial undecided group, have now seen a man who appears to be reasonable, intelligent, a centrist, a moderate  and a   plausible commander-in-chief, not  the earlier caricature. No wonder that the gender gap among  the electorate has practically vanished.

But when we go to the voting booth in a few days, here is what we should remember: We are not  voting for an image, or just for one individual. We are voting for a team, an administration, a guiding ideology, the next batch of Supreme Court nominees, economic policy for  years to come.

The Republican agenda, which Romney and Ryan and a largely Republican Congress will surely implement, is a catastrophe. From repealing Obamacare to  reducing Medicare to a voucher system, from defunding Planned Parenthood and moving towards the elimination of abortion as well as birth control, from further reducing the taxes of the rich to  increasing those of the middle class (for example by eliminating the mortgage interest deduction), from further undermining trade unions to  continuing cuts in every possible public service, a Republican victory will exacerbate all the reactionary trends already underway. Don’t be fooled by this affable man.
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