Beyond the Cusp

September 29, 2012

Romney Calls This a Campaign?

Pick up any newspaper and you will likely see reporting on polls of the Presidential race calling it too close to call or President Obama with a slight lead in his reelection bid. Almost none of the polls of recent vintage show Mitt Romney with better than a slight chance at gaining the Presidency this November. There likely will be articles expressing bewilderment and complete disbelief that Romney is not ahead of President Obama when one considers the President’s record concerning the economy, foreign policies, jobs and virtually every area that voters claim to care most about. Many pundits claim that if Romney expects to win the election, he is going to need to step up his campaign and better explain how Obama has failed as President and what he would do differently. The problem is that is exactly what Romney has been doing, he has just done it in his own quiet and polite manner, and that is the problem. Campaigns for the Presidency of the United States are anything but polite contests. Americans expect a President to be bold, brash, vigorous, exciting and energetic. They also expect to at times he also be calm, calculating and keeping everything in perspective. The challenge is being able to be two diametrically opposite things at the same time.

 

Mitt Romney has mastered the cool, calm and collective and reflective side of the equation. What he has not shown is the excitement of a man of action that is also demanded of American Presidential candidates. Romney needs to be more assertive and make more noise and attention grabbing. Should he continue to be comparatively unexciting, reserved and in the background while President Obama continues to play up his campaign of personality over substance, Romney may find that personality outscores substance almost every time. Sure many Americans realize that the country needs a leader with substance, but they still will gravitate towards glitter and glamour while substance continues to warn them in vain. Mitt Romney, by apparent nature, is a reserved, serious, soft spoken man who while on the stage manages to avoid the spotlight while President Obama could be hiding in the top balcony but would manage to catch the spotlight away from center stage. This is the mountain that Romney needs to climb and climb it quickly. Romney has to find that set of items and gather them into an attention grabbing formula and display it all with great flair and grand gestures. Should Romney continue to be the reasonable candidate who says I know the challenges and here are the answers and then give a dry long explanation full of numbers, formulas, figures and legalese which would win in the board room, he will lose the attention of even the most reasonable of voters.

 

As an old Steppenwolf song “Hippo Stomp” refrain says, “If you should go astray and say ‘I lost my way’ Nobody will know you. But if you don’t believe you can and still say ‘I’m your man’ Somebody will follow just because it’s free.” Right now the majority of the American electorate realizes that we have lost our way and they are not looking for somebody to clarify this fact, they are looking for the one who says, “I’m your man” and as the song say, they will follow just because they perceive it to be free. Mitt Romney is in the position of telling the electorate that it will not be free but he can lead to a better future, and do so while being excited, interesting and fascinating all at the same time. President Obama has already laid claim and owns the position of being perceived as “I’m your man” which means Romney has to be the man “With the Plan” and make the plan more enticing than Obama’s persona. If Romney can find a core set of principles and make them enticingly attractive with an easy to remember, sound bite catch phrase and just beat that drum loud and proud, then we will have the one race where he might win. Then Romney can concede Obama’s claim to be the personality as long as Romney can make Obama the man without a plan and Romney as simply a man with a plan. That will make for a race between the Man and the Plan. Romney needs a sound- bite or catch phrase that relates something such as “I’m not just The Man but The Man With a Plan.”

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 7, 2012

Hollande Wins Extremely Close French Election

Despite early predictions that Hollande would defeat Sarkozy by a comfortable margin, I had said that Sarkozy would probably win. I quickly realized I might be in trouble when later that day Marine Le Pen announced to her supporters her intent to cast a blank ballot and encouraged they do follow her lead. It was a classic case of “If I cannot have it then I refuse to play and I will take my ball and go home.” Well, that just may have been the turning point costing Sarkozy the election as the Nationalist Le Pen voters would likely have split strongly against Hollande and, by default, for Sarkozy.

The difference was much closer than anybody had predicted with 16.56 million votes for Hollande, 15.56 million votes for Sarkozy and two million casting blank ballots following the Le Pen instructions and easily changing the result in the process. All that remains now is to wait for Hollande to make all his appointments and then we will have a better idea as to whether his promises of scrapping the austerity program for a stimulus and growth program was bluster or an honest threat. Should a Hollande government actually take the route of using government spending in order to stimulate the economy then the European Union may be heading back into the deep waters of insolvency and doing so very rapidly. This election may prove very costly to far more than the European Union and the stability of the Euro, it could have ramifications well beyond Europe, especially if it leads to the crash of the Euro and each country in Europe retreating back to their native currencies. Such a necessity could also force a strain on the entire European fabric from which the European Union is cut and place the entire structure to stresses beyond its tolerance. We may have to address a world with no European Union and an immediate struggle for preeminence between France, Germany, and Britain. Europe could return to its historic and turbulent ways with each country wresting as much for itself at the expense of the rest. Will international trade suffer seriously should the trade agreements and other alliances forged by the European Union fall shattered? We may have to experience the answer to that very question.

The next election to come will be the Israeli elections which are expected to be held on September 4, 2012. This election is unlikely to produce any surprises as to the ultimate winner as Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Likud Party are predicted to breeze into victory garnering at least thirty seats. The real test in the Israeli election will be the contest for second, third, and fourth. Should Nationalist Parties gain sufficient seats that Likud can make a viable coalition clearing the sixty-one seats necessary, then the Israeli government will have a unified coalition free of obligations to some of the lesser parties for the first time in memory. What will be more likely is that Netanyahu and Likud Party and the other Nationalist Parties will fall short and need to include the Religious-Nationalists and likely the Religious Parties which will leave the coalition open to a wide set of demands any one of which could be utilized as a wedge to force early elections.

Then, come early November, the biggest election of the year, the American Presidency along with one-third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives. This will be a contentious election with many distractions and a likelihood of violent Occupy demonstrations at either or both Party Conventions. The coming summer promises to be anything but boring between the continued Arab uprisings which may aim for Jordan first after Syria and then the countries of the GCC including Saudi Arabia, and more if the Occupy demonstrations end up breaking into violent riots. So, I guess all that is left to do is buckle-up and get ready for a wild summer roller-coaster of excitement in the public realm to rival those summer teen-movies released to your neighborhood theaters. I am not sure if I am looking forward to a summer of lots of choices for blog articles or simply scared of a summer of lots of choices for blog articles.

Beyond the Cusp

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