Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, August 10, 2012

2012's Missing Issue

For the moment, all goes well on the Obama-Romney front as the President bumps upward in the polls amid the savagery of personal attacks by both sides.

Yet the main 2012 issue is being lost in the hate Olympics: Will the American people take back their government from a Congress that has brought it to a standstill and threatens four more years of deadlock if Barack Obama is reelected?

Despite head-to-head presidential intensity, little will change if Democrats keep the White House and lose the legislative branch to those who hold it hostage with debt-ceiling shootouts and mindless wall-to-wall naysaying. Even now, before he has their nomination, GOP zealots are looking past Romney to hobbling Obama for four more years if he wins.

Plans for the Democratic convention stress the President’s qualities but, in the urgency of swaying “independent” voters, there is no visible effort to break the Tea Party stranglehold in Washington.

As the only elder statesman available, Bill Clinton might take on that role, but will he? There are compelling reasons for him to do so, even beyond love of country. If there is any hope for Hillary in 2016, their party will have to regain political traction between now and then.

With prospects for Obama brightening, results of Republican primary contests and polling for November offer a bleak down-ticket prospect. If the President doesn’t strengthen his coattails, he could be taking the oath next January as the emperor with no clothes.  

The rest of us will still be out in the cold as well. 

Update: Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate would offer Democrats an opening to spotlight Tea Party Congressional resistance by putting their wonk up front, a gift that could keep on giving through the rest of the campaign.

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