Barack Obama – the current U.S. President: hero to some, villain to most yet still favored to win the 2012 presidential election by a slight margin.
Mitt Romney – the Republican hopeful for Obama’s throne: not much of a hero to anyone, not really liked by most in his own party yet still the primary weapon of the very large “Anybody but Obama” crowd.
Which of these two men will walk into the fire and emerge the victor? It’s hard to say but it is almost certain that neither will walk away without severe burns and singed hair.
So where do we stand – right now, as we are less than a week away from the first of a few powerful head-to-head cage fights between these two men?
Well, Obama looks to be slightly ahead of Romney in most of the national polls. At the same time, polls aren’t necessarily the most accurate method of determining who will be the victor come November but then again, nothing is really an accurate method at predicting such things. They give you a feel of the nation’s consensus but should never be taken too seriously – unless of course one of the candidates has an overwhelming lead in most of them. In 1980, we were in a similar situation when then president Jimmy Carter was a few points ahead of Republican champion Ronald Reagan. We all know how that turned out though, as Reagan took the Oval Office away from the peanut farmer. However, Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan.
While Romney’s “47 percent” comments almost seem to be brushed under the rug in just two weeks and Obama’s “I support redistribution” statement from a dozen years ago has been ignored, the focus is shifting towards the debates themselves. These two quasi-gaffes will probably come up in the debates but I don’t see them doing much damage to either candidate in a long-term sense. They were distractions and nothing more. The people most pissed off by them are the people whose minds are already made up. Of course, there is the independent sector of the voting public, where I find myself, and while some are irritated and leaning one way or another, most of us are disgusted with both options.
With the debates less than a week away, it is time for these two to really start swinging. Romney has revealed his strategy and said that he his going to blast Obama with “fact checks”. While that is interesting, as I’ve stated before, Romney has to be careful what skeletons he drags out of the closet, as he has plenty of them himself and a lot of the gripes he will have with Obama, he should also have with his own reflection. While there is no perfect candidate, as the old adage goes, these two are the furthest things from perfect since.. well, since the 2008 presidential election. I actually can’t think of anytime during the span of my own life that there has been two guys running against each other that didn’t have a laundry list of bullshit. That’s politics at its highest level for ya!
Now I feel that it will be these debates that determines who walks away with the big win on Election Day. With the race being this close, it could still go either way. Obama has the edge, in my opinion and really, it’s his election to lose. Romney will have to walk into the den of snakes and start bringing the motherfucking ruckus if he wants to walk away the winner. However, being a snake himself, he had better hope that he doesn’t get confused in the melee and end up chopping off his own serpent head. As much work as Mitt’n Kaboodle needs to do to combat Obama, he has to make just as solid of an effort at not putting his stupid foot in his stupid mouth. Then again, a foot in his mouth would save him from making any further idiotic statements.
Oddly, considering we haven’t even reached the debates yet, some states have already begun early voting for the presidential election. Essentially, Election Day has been expanded to Election Month (plus a few weeks). At this time, more than half of the states are casting votes! It’s still September! Jesus, it’s like when Wal-Mart starts putting out their Christmas shit in March!
Anyway, looking at the stats as they stand right now, comparing the states that Obama is ahead in by a “safe” margin against the states Romney looks to be leading, we have Obama with 237 Electoral College votes over Romney’s 191 (according to CNN). The winner of the election in November will be the man that cracks 270: taking the majority of Electoral votes. If polling closed right now, Obama would maintain his position of royalty for four more years. It doesn’t take an expert to know that Obama is dominating the Pacific states and the Northeast. Romney has the Bible Belt and Texas. Florida and Ohio, both of which are key states, look to be a toss up right now. It is worth noting however, that Obama is slightly in the lead in both.
Getting back to the debates and away from Obama and Romney for a second, I am pretty damn sure that Gary Johnson will not be participating in them, which is unfortunate. I feel that he should be there as well as Jill Stein of the Green Party and Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party. Stein and Goode will not see their names on anywhere near as many ballots as Libertarian Party candidate Johnson but they both would offer up even more contrast than the same two choices Americans are always given. While Stein and Goode not being invited is understandable, Johnson, who is on nearly ever single state ballot, shouldn’t be shut out just because of the incredibly biased rules of the Republican and Democratic controlled Commission on Presidential Debates. Johnson is fighting this bias however.
For those unaware, Gov. Gary Johnson has filed a lawsuit against the CPD claiming that their policy violates anti-trust laws and therefore allows collusion between the Commission and the two major political parties, thus eliminating competition from anyone not running as a Democrat or a Republican. The lawsuit points to a conspiracy between the Commission and the two major parties over the the formation of the rules for presidential debates. The lawsuit proclaims that the CPD’s policy promotes a “restraint on trade” and therefore violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Similarly in 2000, then Green Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader sued the CPD, as he felt that they violated the Federal Election Campaign Act. Nader said that the CPD was in violation of the law due to its stipulation stating that it not “endorse, support or oppose political candidates or political parties.” That lawsuit was wiped away in 2005 by a D.C. Circuit Court.
Now whether Johnson has a case or not, I do not know. I am not going to pretend that I am a law expert. However, all things considered, looking at the CPD’s rules, Gary Johnson is still short in the polling numbers required by the CPD to consider a candidate eligible. Now whether or not that rule is fair or not, I say that it isn’t, Johnson will most likely fade away in a few weeks and come November, fail to get a significant amount of the votes. I hope that this doesn’t happen but without Johnson being in the firefight with the Obomney Twins, his chances at making a major impact are slim to none. Now I hope he can walk away with just five percent, as this would generate millions that the Libertarian Party could then use to combat this biased tyrannical process but I am getting weary that even five percent will be unlikely on Election Day.
What Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party need to do, the morning after Election Day, is to immediately start working on the 2016 campaign. Spend the next four years building your case, changing minds and educating people in a similar way that Ron Paul has done the last several election cycles. The sheer numbers to support a third party are out there but one can’t just sit around and expect the disenfranchised Ron Paul supporters, libertarians, constitutionalists, anarcho-capitalists, minarchists, anarchists, voluntarists and other free thinking individuals to just jump on the train. It’s going to take work and if Gary Johnson is serious about sticking around, he said that he was to me personally, and the Libertarian Party wants to truly grow into something exceptional, they need to take 2016 seriously and make the right moves. One thing that they have to work on is their approach. To many outside of the LP, they can come across as angry dissatisfied brats from time to time and they need to not necessarily change their platform but change their way of presenting it in an effort to not come off as the cross-armed punk kid in the corner that thinks everything his parents makes him do is lame and sucky.
So we are now on the final leg of the 2012 presidential election. The next few weeks should be entertaining and full of eye-rolling moments as well as a few awesome ones. Obama and Romney will face-off three times in October and Joe Biden will go head-to-head with Paul Ryan once. I look for all men to be on their A game and to pull no punches. I guess I’ll have to have my notepad and a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle at my side. A couple “brownies” may be necessary as well.