Rachel Maddow got it right about a "tale of two presidents.” We speak, of course, of Bill Clinton, the former president who spearheaded the great economic surge in America and is barnstorming for Barack Obama, and George W. Bush, who destroyed the Clinton budget surplus and the Clinton job surge; who is singing for his supper and barnstorming for his bucks by giving a major (well-compensated) speech at the homepage for why Mitt Romney keeps his tax returns secret, otherwise known as the Cayman Islands. Nothing better dramatizes the differences between the candidates, the parties and the stakes of the election!
The left and the right agree on something this morning. Their guy is going to win the presidency on Nov. 6.
The left is buoyed by publicly released media polls that show Obama clinging to a lead in swing states, even though the national polls are a toss-up. They have believed the narrative that voter turnout will closely approximate 2008, and if they are correct, Obama wins a second term.
The right knows that the 2008 turnout model is not going to happen, if for no other reason than conservative intensity in this election far exceeds what was seen in that low-water-mark year. Even if intensity on the left remained the same, the turnout numbers will shift due to greater participation on the right.
Looking around the Washington media this morning, there are few who think that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of President Obama is going to make any difference on Tuesday, particularly in the swing states.
The Washington Post’s The Fix quotes a witty tweet from Alec MacGillis of the New Republic: “Obama gets The Economist AND Mike Bloomberg in the same day? How many Electoral College votes does the Acela quiet car carry?”
In my last column “Hillary Women Will Save Obama,” I explained three reasons I believe President Obama will win a narrow Electoral College victory. If you want to know what many of the smartest Republican strategists really think, take Dick Morris's column predicting a gigantic Republican landslide, and turn it inside out and upside down. A majority of Republican strategists privately agree with me and believe Barack Obama is most likely to be inaugurated in January and Harry Reid is most likely to return as majority leader of the United States Senate.
The Bloomberg endorsement is powerful for Obama. He talks of climate change in ways that would make Al Gore proud, and talks of the historic magnitude of shape-shifting and position changing and weathervaning by Mitt Romney. Good for Bloomberg. I will confess, I was wrong about him. I privately believed he would endorse Romney, and even though I never made this view public, I feel obliged to admit I was wrong.
Democrats win elections primarily by carving up the American people into interest groups. Republicans usually fall for this trick, and often play by Democratic rules. They have never won this way, and have only hurt their own credibility by doing so, giving Democrats ammunition for the next election.
The October surprise has arrived. Let’s give Chris Christie and Barack Obama credit. They lead. They collaborate. They act. They do what Americans want political leaders to do: work together at a time of crisis. Meanwhile, the ubiquitous and disastrous Bush appointee and Romney supporter Michael Brown, known as "Brownie,” attacks the president for his excellent leadership during the hurricane crisis. And again Mitt Romney acts in character. He pandered to the right during the primaries by calling for the privatization of FEMA. He named as his running mate Paul Ryan, who favors decimating FEMA with devastating cutbacks. Romney spent Tuesday looking like a defendant on a perp walk refusing to answer at least 11 questions about his now-secret views on disaster relief.
Hurricane Sandy may be gone. But she left behind more than a path of death and destruction. She also left behind a powerful message: Beware of Mitt Romney!
Indeed, more than anything else, the impact of Hurricane Sandy illustrates the central issue of this presidential campaign and the fundamental difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
It boils down to this: Obama believes there’s an important role for the federal government. Romney hates the federal government and believes everything is better handled by the states or private business.
The proof is clear and it is time for the television attack ads: Mitt Romney caused Hurricane Sandy!
Actually, this notion is nonsense and it is not time for the attack ads, but I seek to make a point. It is no secret that since the Democratic convention I have disagreed with the tactics of the Obama campaign to be so overwhelmingly negative. I have written columns with titles such as “The great USA comeback” and “Reagan 1984, Obama 2012” and most recently “Morning in Ohio” offering reams of facts and data points about how the economic crash under Bush has become an economic comeback under Obama.
When Bill Clinton was elected and before he was inaugurated, he convened a group of experts to meet in Arkansas and plan how to deal with the "stupid economy" he'd campaigned against. He wanted to hit the floor running, and the meeting, televised to the public, projected his intention to act on his promises made during the campaign. He was a working president before he was actually the president; the opposite of a lame duck, he was a charged-up horse out of the gate.
Why is it that tens of millions of Americans abstain from voting, or that the majority of Americans think elected officials are not true public servants, and that barely 15 percent of the population think Congress is honest and ethical?
Why is it that so many people feel alienated and apathetic about politics?
Well, if you get out and talk to people, and if you do legitimate polling, you find that these people feel betrayed by their elected officials at the expense of big donors, lobbyists, the media, big business and special interests. And as journalist Bill Moyers says, "When so many people drop out of a system they no longer respect and which they think no longer represents them, democracy loses its legitimacy."