The current election battle for the USA presidency is taking on the normal cycle of smoke and mirrors on the major issues. Both political parties are taking a ¨class warfare¨ approach to this election and neither major party seems to be catering to the independent or centrist voters. It seems to be about catering to extreme positions…and so far I think the incumbent President is being far more effective in tarnishing the message of the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, than vice versa. During this whole political season,
Mr. Romney has had the challenge of winning over the extreme Conservative Republicans and religious right to his cause. In his past Gubernatorial and business roles he has in my opinion tried policies and decisions that were Centrist in theme and application to reasonable success. Overall I think people see him as a competent ¨nice guy¨, but not much of a hardball hitter when up at the plate. This is going to have to improve if he wants any reasonable chance at occupying the White House.
The key realities Romney has to overcome are:
- He only paid at a 14% income tax rate last year. Now, this is more than many other wealthy USA citizens, but far less than us average ¨Joes¨ paid as a percentage. When you have guys like Warren Buffett stumping for the Dems saying the rich should pay higher percentages than the poor…this does not help Romney win the class war battle. Winning the Republican conservative support will win him contributions, but not votes. Let’s face it, a majority of the voters are working and lower class. Romney`s vision for American has to connect with them also, or he is just wasting millions of dollars in this election campaign that could be better spent.
- His religion…while religion in my opinion has no real reason to be discussed in the political arena from a rational viewpoint, it has unfortunately become a major lightening rod of how Americans judge and vote for their candidate. Obama has a huge advantage here. Romney is a Mormon deacon…a religion with only 5.7 million members in the USA and deemed by many mainstream Christian institutions as little more than a cult. Obama has attempted to identify himself with various Christian denominations while also advocating strong support for Muslim immigrants. Lets see…247 million call themselves ¨Christian¨ and VP Joe Biden is the first Catholic VP in the USA. There is thought to be over 3 million Muslims in the USA now. Since some see Obama as a ¨closet¨ Muslim based on his history and ancestry…you can be assured he will get the Islamists behind him as well. From a religious standpoint, Obama has the numbers on his side from all different stripes even as the arguably most Liberal president in the history of the USA. That is quite a feat
Ø The press...Obama has the traditional support of the Liberal press. He has gotten almost a free pass on the lack of economic performance these past almost 4 years…and we are still losing billions per year in losing propositions of wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and many other conflicts we are not able to overcome…but you hear next to nothing from the press on these important issues. Instead they are all focused on Romney´s religion, wealth and every little statement that underlines his lack of identification with the common man. Let’s face it, Romney does not have the Reagan charisma, and while Obama´s performance brings back memories of Jimmy Carter`s lack of powerful leadership and image…he is a much better image and communicator to the masses than Carter was by far.
Ø And finally…the Latinos and other minorities that make up a majority of the USA population. Over 52 million Latinos live in the United States. But despite their large numbers, they face persistent barriers to health care. One-quarter of Latinos live in poverty and nearly one-third lack health insurance. As a result, they suffer disproportionate health problems – and while many or illegal and unable to vote, a growing number of Hispanics are becoming part of the USA democratic process. Most of them for various reasons are turning to Democratic policies for their survival. Romney`s quips about not being worried about the ¨47% of non taxpayers¨ or that those without health insurance can ¨simply go to an emergency room¨ are grossly inadequate viewpoints and shows how out of touch he is with America´s reality.
While many Republican hopefuls around me are cautiously optimistic about Romney´s chances, I just don´t see it presently. I think his only chance of getting elected will be to somehow out debate and outshine President Obama in the 3 debates coming up. Being a betting man…I would not bet on that. And even if he becomes our next President, I don’t see him running on solid issues or plans that will turn my country around. It is about the economy stupid…and ¨trust me¨ is not enough of a plan to win the vote. These are scary times to live in politically speaking…and otherwise.