BAYHAM: The General Election Begins

Summer vacation, Shark Week, Labor Day and the national conventions are over and the field of relevant national candidates is officially set.
And to my utter surprise, the voters will be treated to another vice-presidential debate featuring Joe Biden.
As the general campaign opens, the incumbent White House leadership enters the fray with a bit of a boost in the polls, as should be expected.
The national convention is the Democratic Party’s specialty.  Think about it for a moment- Hollywood’s dominant party knows how to put together a masterful media production without fretting from challenge or fact check until the confetti is swept from the floor late into the evening.
The Democratic National Convention was more about tearing Mitt Romney down than making the case for the president’s re-election.
If Barack Obama could run on his record he would.
I have no doubt that the president would like nothing more than to spend almost a billion dollars of other people’s money celebrating himself across all facets of the media.
But then again, the president would like extend his stay in the Oval Office.
Instead the Democratic convention served up not a shining record of the incumbent’s success but a crass attempt to frame the 2012 presidential election as a battle against a presidential administration once removed while hiding behind the rhetorical skills of a president who was elected twenty years ago.
An Obama Administration that was not that good was explained away by saying that the previous administration was just that bad.
Obama has to go on the attack because he has no defense for the current state of the country.
Hence Obama’s wild-eyed gender demagoguery.
If the president cannot appeal to the nation then he will appeal to its “parts”.  Rather than being president of the country, he will be the gay’s president, the woman’s president, the Latino’s president, etc.
Victims all.
Rather than appealing to our shared hopes, Obama is making a decidedly unstatesmanlike play for our personal selfishness.
With the election a little less than two months away, I would like to make three predictions.
The first, that the popular vote and the electoral totals will be agonizingly close.  Judging by the even split of the country and the principals involved, I cannot fathom any other outcome.
The president’s eloquence combined with his appeal to “America’s parts” assures him of a respectable showing.  Though he has clearly underperformed as a president, Obama will undoubtedly overperform as a candidate.
After all Obama didn’t get to be president because of his resume or experience.
Conversely the Republican nominee is charismatically challenged with his biggest asset being the alternative to a politician who has presided over a steep decline in our quality of life.
If things were really going so great in the country, Romney would not be this competitive.
If Obama were not a silver-tongued celebrity politician, Democrats would be more focused on stanching the bleeding in the House and the Senate instead of having a realistic chance of holding on to the White House.
Secondly, that we will see a level of post-election ugliness, litigation and allegations of ballot box manipulation.  A close contest invites aggressive “counting” and creative “recounting”.
I am hoping the prevailing candidate wins by a decisive margin that will leave no question as to the mood of the nation and the validity of the results.  Ideally, Americans should go to bed on the evening of November 6th knowing who will be taking the oath of office in January.  Realistically, after November 7th I see lawyers.  Lots of them.
Thirdly and finally, the GOP is facing no worse than a split-decision.
 Republicans will retain control of the House, if not expand its holdings due to the retirement of personally popular Blue Dog moderate Democrats in districts that will overwhelmingly vote for Romney.
The Republicans are also poised to take control of the US Senate as some of the political flotsam that entered Congress’ upper chamber as part of the post-Katrina mid-term elections will face the music for voting with their party for the last six years instead of their constituents.
A great deal of the Obama agenda will either be repealed in 2013 or encased in political carbonite for two or four years, assuming the executive branch honors the constitutional separation of powers.
For the sake of America, let’s hope for a Romney landslide.


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