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Oct-15-2012 10:56TweetFollow @OregonNews
Romney Could Win This Thing
Bill Annett Salem-News.com
(DAYTONA BEACH, FL) - It's not because of the debates. The experts, the messengers, have already ruled on that one. According to an overwhelming sampling of journalistic wisdom, in the first debate, the used car salesman prevailed over the taciturn incumbent, while in the second, the vice-president, who overwhelmed his sophomoric opponent with humor and hubris, was ruled out of order because he outdid what the challenger had done in the first round.
No, I've moved beyond the simple observation that, as in the case of Nixon and Kennedy, the TV camera and screen have a way of starkly revealing both a phoney and the real article. That basic fact doesn't matter at this stage of the game. Nor do character, policies or issues, offensive facts and truth and the established position of the incumbent matter. What does count is a central fact - 538 electoral votes which, rightly or perhaps mostly wrongly, reflect the collective will of more than 300 million people. That bare calculus is as starkly determinant as the swinging bats of the Tigers from Detroit the other night.
One of the pre-existing conditions in this almost medical malaise, this conflict that has been gripping (and griping) the nation for 18 months, is that in the 2010 mid-term elections, the national temperament (and temper), first turned against all of the incumbents, but later focused on the administration, so that opinion and often approval segue'd to the right, not only in the Congressional count but with state governments and Governors. There was a net gain of 12 Republican Senators, a net gain of 63 GOP House seats, an increase of 10 governorships (now 29 GOP, 20 Democratic and a single independent in "poor little Rhode Island"), and a gain of control in 13 State Houses. That was a cosmic shift.
Despite that shifting, it's been assumed throughout this election season that the Republicans have been the underdog, as is usually the case with the party opposing the incumbent. But in the course of doing the background math in the above paragraph, we find that following the 2010 vote, the assumption - that the opposition is the underdog - may be as misleading and potentially fatal as the pre-game marveling at the Yankees' batting line-up the other night.
The argument is in the demographics. The Democrats have assumed a slam-dunk will occur because of their performance in 2008, and the fact that younger voters tend to like Obama and that there are even more of them now available. The Conservative argument depends upon the large territory colored red in the North, the Midwest and the South, while the Democrats own the West, New York and New England.
As for the likely Electoral College count, it's generally conceded that, with 270 votes necessary to win, each party is assured of between 200 and 250 electoral votes, while the balance is divided among the "leaning States," such as Pennsylvania leaning left and Michigan leaning right. The Swing States are even fewer, commanding about 70 electoral votes.
John Morgan, a Detroit Tiger if there ever was one, and a Republican demographer with an unusually good batting average, worked for both Reagan and Daddy Bush. To the foregoing catechism, he adds the observation that since 2008, those designated Republican states have been adding population more rapidly than the blue-tinted ones, which augurs well for the right-wing vote this time around. (The voter suppression tactics devised by most Republican State Governors, which have targeted poor, no-count Democrats, doesn't hurt that point of view, either.)
Morgan also maintains that Obamacare and the mandating of birth control is a no-no for the Catholic vote (if indeed most of the voting Catholics practice what they are preached to about, which is visibly unlikely, since few of them have 15 kids, as is the case in more rigorous Catholic areas such as rural Quebec). But even if Morgan is right, this Republican Catholic surge could be offset by the anti-women policies that Ryan has scarcely submerged, although Romney has not, he who is rarely up front about anything for two days in a row.
Regional economic factors could figure as well, such as the auto bailout in Michigan and a burst of sudden employment by natural gas fracking in southern Ohio, but these shifts are difficult to estimate. Even in Pennsylvania, generally ceded as a Blue State, Morgan indicates that there has been population growth in Republican counties.
The Republican demographic argument favoring a Romney victory in 2012 is based primarily on the momentum theory, continuing what happened nationwide in 2010, which concludes that this surge more than cancels out what Obama accomplished in 2008. With the indications - partly because of overconfidence - that the Obama sweep last time is not materializing as conclusively this time around, a replay of the numbers in 2004 could be the more likely outcome.
Faced with all this, after Mummy had fetched me a further elixir, I proceeded to summarize what a Romney coup might bring about in my young life. At 84 (in December) I'm hardly in danger of being drafted, although the cut-off for what we used to call "selective service," might be about 75, should it become necessary to justify Romney's $200 billion increase in defense spending by invading China, Pakistan and Iran, in order to preserve the freedoms we all hold dear.
Trashing Social Security along the lines Ryan suggests is okay with me, provided I get to call the shot on how the $2.6 trillion surplus at the moment should be invested. Certainly not in the Dow Index, which has shaved about 6% in the five years or so since Bush first came up with the idea that Ryan thinks is a given, in order to avoid big government.
I'm not too vulnerable or exposed in a post-election Romney-Ryan world. As an ex-G.I., I have VA coverage, which I'm sure won't be challenged by a Republican administration, especially now that the VA is run by a four-star general (appointed by Obama).
By the way, it's not fair the way a certain faction has accused Mitt, along with his forebears and descendants, of failing to show up for military service while advocating that everybody else should - minorities, women and the like.
In fact, the Romneys have a distinguished military record. (I'm entitled to talk about this, since my maternal great grandfather, Robert Golding, trekked west with Brigham Young in 1849. The fact that he fell out of favor as a piker with only two wives, is beside the point.) Mitt's grandfather (along with his eight wives) led a task force into deepest Mexico to support Emiliano Zapata's peasant revolt. Later - or was it earlier - "San Juan" Romney was right there helping Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders in their assault on the famous Hill - that is, his private equity company, Brain Capital, owned the franchise for the PX at the bottom of the Hill, staffed by Cuban employees at 10 cents an hour.
And how about Honorary General George Romney who, as Governor and Commander -in-Chief of the Michigan Home Guard, arranged the appointment of Mitt and a special task force to open a second front in Paris during the Viet Nam conflict, under the guise of a Mormon missionary group? Hey, the Paris Treaty, remember? That was Mitt's work. Bain Capital bankrolled the delegates, at a mark-up of 37%.
As for the anti-abortion business, I'm not too concerned. I repeat that I'm four-score-years-and-four (in December) and, as Jonathan Swift declared in his "Modest Proposal:" my wife is past child-bearing.
Bill Annett grew up a writing brat; his father, Ross Annett, at a time when Scott Fitzgerald and P.G. Wodehouse were regular contributors, wrote the longest series of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post's history, with the sole exception of the unsinkable Tugboat Annie.
At 18, Bill's first short story was included in the anthology “Canadian Short Stories.” Alarmed, his father enrolled Bill in law school in Manitoba to ensure his going straight. For a time, it worked, although Bill did an arabesque into an English major, followed, logically, by corporation finance, investment banking and business administration at NYU and the Wharton School. He added G.I. education in the Army's CID at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Korean altercation.
He also contributed to The American Banker and Venture in New York, INC. in Boston, the International Mining Journal in London, Hong Kong Business, Financial Times and Financial Post in Toronto.
Bill has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.
You can write to Bill Annett at this address: email@example.com