Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Presidential Standard of Care (Tuesday LINKS)

The decision underlying this Election has been cast both as a "Choice" (i.e., Obama or Romney) and as a Referendum (i.e., Does Obama deserve another four years?).  Over the past month, since Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, it has almost seemed to me like a trial.

There are definitely preferences between parties as to how you see this election.  Democrats want you to think of it as a choice, because that let's them work in the question "Who do you like more?" that the President has won quite handily.  The Republicans would like you to view this election as a Referendum, allowing them to stand on the poor circumstances this Country finds itself in and say "Isn't it time to let someone else give this thing a try?"

But the messaging has taking on a life of its own, removed from any strategy set out by either party.  The Republicans are essentially saying that the President has committed Executive Malpractice and will soon have the burden, whether in campaign commercials or the debates, to show what the President should have done to put this Country in a better position than it is now.  On the Dem side, they will have to play defense, which is a horrible place to be with the election two months away, but a comfortable enough spot considering where the polls are in most States.

Similar to a trial, the Republicans will be expected to put on witnesses, like slighted Navy SEALS and disgusted economists, to show that the President has not performed his job in accordance with what should have been expected of him.  This is slightly different from a referendum in that the bad outcome alone is not sufficient to win the day.  The American Public has already indicated that although the status quo is bad, they are not willing to disturb it reflexively without understanding what the alternative may be.

Most important of all, for the Republican side, will be Mitt Romney's ability to sub in as the Republican's key expert witnesses to tell the American public "This is what I would have done."  We already know that he would not have approved the automotive bailout and felt that such an effort would fail.  He was incorrect on the latter part, but let's hear what he thinks our economy would look like if we enabled creative destruction, at the expense of millions of jobs in 2009, as opposed to sticking our hands in the scales.

The reason this is so important is because a significant majority of Americans still blame President Bush for the current state of the economy.  Romney can change that if he can finally communicate what it is that he would have done.  This discussion about the Debt is an important one, but premature.  On the other side, if President Obama can succinctly explain why he did what he did, the extent to which it was successful, and what he plans to do next while he owns the news cycle over the next week, Mitt Romney will be in a very bad position with a little over six weeks to make his case.

Above all things, a Mid-Term Election is about upsetting the status quo.  You can call it a choice, referendum, or President on trial, but the average voter that does not watch Conventions or the Debates is going to the polls to decide two questions: Whether they are better off than they were four years ago AND Whether things could have been worse.


Joe Saunders flirts with a no-no into the 5th Inning (maybe he is good at baseball) and the O's beat the Blue Jays 4-0.  With a Yankees loss, the O's are now 1 game out of First Place in the American League East and, so long as they can win one more against the Jays, this weekend's series against the Yanks will be for the division lead.  If you have not been out to the stadium for this amazing season, it is time to buy tickets.  Heck, buy me one too.

Rolling Stone has its version of a rebuttal to the Niall Ferguson piece in Newsweek last month in an excoriating long form article about what it is that Bain Capital did to companies via leveraged buy-out and why that may undermine Mitt Romney's indignation over the National Debt.  It is written by uber-liberal (so liberal he doesn't like Democrats) Matt Taibbi, but this uber-liberal also happens to have a good mastery of the craft, so I highly recommend reading the piece.

With 90% of Howard County oblivious to the problem, Maryland will be expanding the Howard County truck rest stop to address the dangerous practice of shipping trucks parking along our highways that result when the rest stop is full.  I'm sure the residents will have no problem with that...what's that?  They do?

Former Governor Ehrlich asks whether "Jewish voters" can be sure of President Obama's commitment to Israel.  Wow.  So we're at that point in the election, huh?  Foreign policy is not important...unless we're threatening the end of Israel?

For those that are poll-watching with me, it looks like the immediate post-Convention polls are showing a 2-4 point bump for Romney with the biggest swings happening in North Carolina.  Nevermind. 

Featured Blog Post of the Day: WB looks at some of the structural improvements to Old Ellicott City that are underway and planned for the near future in the wake of flooding and the trail derailment last month.  I think we can expect to see a lot of attention paid to Ellicott City over the next few years as targeted development brings more residential properties to the area.

That's all for today.  Have a fantastic Tuesday doing what you love.  For most of us, this is a four day work week, which for me always feels "just right."