The Wall Street Journal's assertion last week that Mitt Romney is "squandering an historic opportunity" to defeat Barack Obama is a classic example of why traditional media is failing its audiences and the new generation of bloggers and satirists like Jon Stewart and Bill Maher are dominating the political discussion. In the first place, by no stretch of the imagination would Obama's defeat be historic. If you want to get technical, if Romney wins, Obama will be the first African American president in history to lose an election, and that's more incidental than a major achievement worthy of admiration.
The editorial also encourages Romney to perpetuate the repugnant political practice of attacking rivals on frivolous, pedantic points, rather than addressing genuinely meaningful issues. For example, it suggests that Romney should now attack Obama's health care law because the Supreme Court ruled the mandate to buy insurance is a tax, and people pay enough taxes already. In other words, discard his previous argument that he objected to the law because its mandate was unconstitutional, and use this new spin. And further, that Romney should accuse Obama of reneging on his campaign promise not to raise taxes because, technically, he has, according to the Supreme Court.
Nowhere does the WSJ demand of Romney that, if he genuinely disagrees with the law, he should be ready to put forward a better solution. Yet, the editorial concludes by urging Romney to offer America "a larger economic narrative and vision than (he) has so far provided." This is a contradiction. Does it want Romney to attack Obama on trivial points or does it want him to actually develop a meaningful platform that will show voters how he "is going to improve their future?"
Finally, in offering such questionable suggestions on how Romney can defeat Obama, the publication is so concerned about political correctness, it ignores the elephant in the room, which is that Obama is a black man and Romney is white. And skin color alone may be enough to defeat Obama.
Race to the Finish
The very real, very unfortunate, and very sad truth is that America still remains a stealthily racist nation. This is revealed all too frequently by major public figures -- entertainers and politicians alike -- whose slips of the tongue hint at the racist streak underneath. While huge strides have been made in eradicating racism from our laws and in our daily lives, a sizable amount of the poisonous stuff still simmers below the surface, and often bubbles up at rallies, demonstrations, and town hall meetings across the country.
The fact of the matter is that, despite the WSJ's advice, Mitt Romney doesn't need a game plan to win the election. He doesn't need to develop comprehensive and insightful programs to counter Obama's policies and help bring the country out of its depression. Romney is doing well enough just sauntering along as he is, nit-picking at Obama's speeches, offering no true solutions of his own, but giving voters who resent the presence of a black man in the Oval office enough of a straw to grasp at to rationalize their bigotry.
These are the people the Republican Party cautiously panders to. The ones who doggedly continue to question whether Obama really is an American citizen; the one who portray him as a chimpanzee in posters, and who fling out his middle name, "Hussein," as if this alone is sufficient proof that he is a Muslim bent on destroying the country. They are very vocal and highly motivated, and with Obama unable to inspire voters to back him again at the voting booth with the same enthusiasm and in the same record numbers as in the 2008 election, there may be enough of them out there who can swing the election in Romney's favor.
What is Romney's campaign doing wrong if it raised a record $77 million in May and $106 million in June -- beating Obama's contributions by nearly $50 million for the two months. Not too shabby for a man who is running, according to the WSJ, such an "uninspired campaign."
The fact is that, contrary to the WSJ's assertion, Romney can indeed "play it safe and coast to the White House by saying the economy stinks and it's Mr. Obama's fault." He can flip flop on all the issues and change his position all he wants -- as long as he doesn't change his skin color.
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