Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Two Prisms (Tuesday LINKS)

Over the next month or so, the two competing narratives of the 2012 Presidential Race will come into form.  Oftentimes these themes are formed more by current events than the crack teams candidates hire to frame issues. 

Both parties will probably agree that the election will be about the economy.  Although President Obama had the convenience of some very unfortunate economic reports lining up with Osama Bin Laden's death, there's only so much dirt that can be brushed under the rug.  The presumption by many Republicans is that Mitt Romney could be a dog in people clothes and still get 30% of the "referendum on the economy" vote. 

The prism of each campaign reside on either side of the same beam of light.  With Romney, the slogan "Better Tomorrow, Today" suggests that even if the economy is getting better, it isn't getting better fast enough.  "We're so excited about improving the economy, we're going to bend the space time continuum."  Obama, with "Forward", essentially is saying "Things are bad, they could have been worse, we need to press on with our current methods and objectives."  The brevity of this slogan communicates its "Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle, do not feed the dinosaurs" sub-theme. 

But then behind these blunt instruments are the more nuanced rhetorical themes.  Romney will have the interesting objective of being a challenger who argues to have more experience than the incumbent in matters having to do with the economy.  I think I've heard him say these exact words "President Obama is a nice man, he just doesn't know what he's doing."  And even the most confident supporter of our President can't tell you exactly what experience Barack Obama had prior to 2010 that would have made him a good President.  All they can do is point to his time in office and provide their own evaluation of how he has "learned on the job."

But the blue team is essentially running against an archetype.  Should the American mainstream ever start to care about income inequality and wealth stratification, future generations will be shocked that Willard Mitt Romney was ever a legitimate candidate for President of the United States.  "Did rich people get 100 times more votes than poor people in 2012?" "So this guy had a car elevator?  And he was telling the unemployed that he sympathizes...with the inevitability of their circumstances?"

So this year will be about the economy, but only how it makes people feel.  I'm not sure voters read economic reports as report cards on the performance of our President.  Rather, I think they consider: a) Am I unemployed?; b) Are my friends or family unemployed?; c) Have I seen any appreciable improvement in that condition over the last four years?

Everything else is optics...and stuff for the more fortunate to squabble over for the next five months.


"I saw you're the rep from Dorsey." -- Prominent Local Howard County Dem.  As soon as I heard it, I knew they were referring to this article about CA's Minority-business purchasing goal.  I was one of two votes against a CA policy that very clearly has the interest (and advocacy) of some powerful folks.  This was a tough vote, but I don't think we can reach equality by way of discrimination.  Such policies breed resentment and divisiveness.  I understand and appreciate the merits of such a policy, but do not believe they are worth targeted purchasing, evaluating people by their demographics instead of the merit of their proposal.

The Howard County Council passed a smart bill that will deny or revoke a rental license for any property owner who is over 30 days delinquent on their HOA fees.  Previously, these delinquencies would prevent prospective owners from qualifying for FHA loans, thereby injuring property values of neighboring units.  Nice job, fab five.

The "Sun Investigates" column today is focused on a provision in recently hired Superintendent Foose's contract that would allow for "up to $25,000 in relocation costs."  School Board Member Frank Aquino notes that all expenses must be submitted to the Board for approval, but this just looks bad.  Unless I see a house on a trailer coming down Route 32, I think this is a little excessive.

Rick Santorum endorses Mitt Romney in an e-mail sent to his supporters late last night.  Politics is weird.  And creepy.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: 53 Beers anticipates the end of Allen Dyer's term on the Board of Education, preferring that his termination be via impeachment...and exile.  I, too, am disappointed that the proceedings will extend into next week.  That is a hefty dose of legal bills...only to precede many many more.

That's all for today.  Have a great Tuesday doing what you love!