Monday, August 13, 2012

And Now the Ugly Olympics...

After so many hours of seeing young people compete with grace, beauty and strength in an atmosphere of human amity, Americans are back in the mean season of politicians scoring points by playing to the crowds.

The President welcomes Paul Ryan to the race telling Iowans the new VP nominee symbolizes “a vision I fundamentally disagree with” as his Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack goes for the jugular: “Take a look at the Ryan budget. Take a look at what it does to farm families. It destroys the safety net.”

The sudden shift from Greek esthetics to Roman circuses will no doubt be taken in stride by voters, although some may regret losing sight of races in which runners are going all out toward the finish line without elbowing and throwing gobs of mud at one another.

Even in the first lap of the marathon, Mitt Romney cancels an Orlando campaign stop, pleading that he is "too exhausted to make the trip," suggesting that his choice of a younger, energetic running mate may pay off in staying power, if not popularity.

Is it too “old” to be remembering the time only decades ago when voters expected national leaders to offer something approximating truth, no matter how ideologically skewed? Is it too “out of touch” to lament the time when SuperPACs weren’t spreading lies that candidates themselves would be ashamed to utter?

Those who vividly remember such times will welcome Ryan’s entry into the Big Race. He won’t be half as nimble as Romney in evading his own history and vision for the future, he will drag the Tea Party Congress into the spotlight, and he will give ideologically impaired independents a good, long look at where the country has been heading in the past two years.

They may have second thoughts about where that finish line is taking them.

There will be another benefit as well. In 1960 JFK confided he felt sorry for Nixon having to get up every morning and decide who he is going to be that day. Romney, of course, has the same problem, but Ryan does not. It will be good to have someone on the ticket who knows who he is so voters can see exactly what they would be getting.  

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