BY Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law
In one week I and millions of other American will vote to elect the president of the only nation on earth that still has the capacity to rescue a sick and dying civilization from its own demons. And, no, I am not suggesting a doctrine of American perfectionism here. We have our own demons. But we retain an essential measure of optimism, a sufficient dedication to the great freedom-traditions and still represent the only nation on earth with the capacity to project military power across the globe that is capable of unseating tyrants.
This is the core of American exceptionalism.
Like many of us, I live in one of those intensely colored states (deep blue, in California’s case), in which one’s presidential vote is already deeply buried by the winner-take-all Electoral College allocation, as it would be in my other state (deep red, in Idaho’s case, were I voting near my birthplace).
So those who have the privilege and duty to vote in the less partisan states where the outcome is still open, will effectively be choosing the man who will be sworn in as POTUS on January 20th 2013.
I personally believe that all of the undecideds are breaking sharply towards Governor Romney because the Obama campaign’s strategy of trying to vilify a good man failed, and the objective factors (if the US were a business, the owners would simply fire the CEO at this point) have cut in.
But I am not persuaded yet that the peculiar operation of the winner-take-all Electoral College will line up with the popular vote. A 51% to 49% Romney victory could still be a 270 Electoral College win for President Obama. If that outcome would result in a more conciliatory, less polarizing, more bipartisan, more problem-solving Obama, I would be far less worried. But those terms more aptly describe the challenger than the incumbent.
Columnist Michael Gerson, writing in The Washington Post, has put it perfectly:
“The problem is that large issues – avoiding the fiscal cliff, reforming the tax code, making entitlement commitments more sustainable – are coming. Either Obama will have to become an entirely different type of leader – or America needs a new one.”
[SEE a more extended quote and the links below.]
The irony of Mr. Obama’s Hope and Change 2008 campaign is palpable. I can detect no rational basis for any hope that Mr. Obama will change in 2013 as, for example, Mr. Clinton did in his second term. To paraphrase Gerson, Obama is extremely unlikely to “become an entirely different type of leader”.
This could well be a Romney landslide. However that plays out, I hope and pray that the Electoral College vote lines up with the popular vote. If it does not, there will be hell to pay.
Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law (except for the quoted Gerson material where the copyright is retained by Mr. Gerson and the Washington Post)
Forwards, links and quotations with attribution are welcome and encouraged. For everything else, please contact the author via email email@example.com .
LINKS TO THE GERSON PIECE
Cost of Obama’s health care bullying
Published 6:35 p.m., Monday, October 29, 2012
As published in The Washington Post
And in the San Francisco Chronicle
Obama tends to overestimate his negotiating skills with Congress, which are poor – also displayed in his failed attempt to achieve a grand budget compromise in 2011. When the ideological stakes are highest, Obama jettisons bipartisanship with little thought or regret. He was perfectly willing to reorganize one-sixth of the economy on a party-line vote. He has employed tactics that ensure future partisan bitterness. His persuasive powers on the issue of health care turned out to be limited. The more he spoke, the less public support he found. But he proved incapable of creative ideological readjustment.
Obama’s largest achievement turned out to be a self-indictment. He has not shown the leadership skills or the inclination to create consensus around large issues. The problem is that large issues – avoiding the fiscal cliff, reforming the tax code, making entitlement commitments more sustainable – are coming. Either Obama will have to become an entirely different type of leader – or America needs a new one.