Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Barometers

This weird August brings images of a nation holding its breath.

TV screens show politicians and pundits above barometric crawls tracking Hurricane Isaac and switch over to news people on stormy beaches atop windy political pronouncements.

In this surreal atmosphere, dependable Rush Limbaugh explains it all, blaming the President for both sources of anxiety: “I’m not alleging conspiracies here. The Hurricane Center is the regime; the Hurricane Center is the Commerce Department. It’s Obama.”

This American August is traditional silly season news to the umpteenth degree. The month of guilty best-selling beach reading, backyard barbecues and grumbling about vacationing therapists has morphed into a reality meltdown, reflecting widespread psychic unease.

A New York Times editorial sees it all as “a powerful reminder both of Republican incompetence in handling Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, and the party’s no-less-disastrous plans to further cut emergency-related spending.”

From the other political direction, the Wall Street Journal whistles in the dark that “Tampa Republicans are a party in better shape than they might have expected after 2008, and one with a new reform mission. Mitt Romney is not the most natural standard-bearer for such a movement given his political record, but he adapted to win the nomination and his choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate reinforces the reform message. Their agenda fits the urgent needs of the country, and we'll find out in November if it also meshes with the mood of the American public.”

The President will be rallying voters in Iowa, Colorado and Virginia as Mitt Romney’s coronation battles the Florida headwinds for national attention.

Those who long for a hammock and a trashy novel will have to make their own arrangements.

Update: Republicans hint at a mystery speaker. Sarah Palin is warming up, accusing Democrats of being addicted to “H-opium.” Game Change, anyone?

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