Well, that was anticlimactic. We listened to a grueling (for voters) 4-year long campaign during which we witnessed the worst political spectacle of the epoch. If, “liar, liar, pants on fire” meant anything, there wouldn’t be a pair of Levis left on the planet. The country immersed itself in a boiling cauldron of rancor so deep there is no word in English to adequately describe it. And yet, after all that, we have essentially the same balance of power as before.Well played America, well-played.
It’s time for a few observations and maybe a little advice. For the “mandate” crowd, winning an election by the skin of your teeth does not a mandate make. For the “it’s imponderable we lost” crowd, no it isn’t. You acted like a bunch of jackwads. For the “gridlock will finally break” crowd, what makes you think reelecting largely the same people who are already bought and paid for is going to break gridlock?
But since the nation is populated with a large ignorati caucus, let’s break it down real simple like:
For politicians, the only thing worse than a disaster is how to handle a disaster. Hurricane Sandy is a great example.
Candidates, who are just regular citizens with big egos and high Q-Scores can act like you and me. They aren’t under the gun. They don’t have to make decisions except how to spin the fallout. Conversely, sitting politicians have to do things and figure out how to spin leaving them to deal with disasters while simultaneously fending off specious political attacks from opponents. It’s an unenviable position, especially in the waning days of a hotly contested campaign.
Romney responded to Sandy like he responds to most issues. He pivoted 180° from declaring FEMA just another example of government waste to telling New Yorkers living in rowboats that was balderdash – ‘nope, never meant a word’. No, he’s championing the plight of the “little people” by declaring he’d fund FEMA so they can carry out their mission, which is probably just another way to say FEMA will get bupkus since he doesn’t think FEMA should be in the disaster game anyway.
The candidates can go back to falling from their stumps. The moderators will start assertiveness training. And, regular programming can begin after these words from our sponsors. All the candidates are lawyering up for the inevitable challenges. Instant polls about truthiness and burning pants are winding down. That’s it. Comedy show’s over. It’s time to lay awake like a kid anticipating Christmas – except the stakes are higher and people will consider moving to Canada based on the outcome. It is not a season to look forward to. In two weeks, it will be Black Tuesday, with an emphasis on the black.