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The Sunday Political Brunch – Oct. 28, 2012

My weekly look at politics!!!

[Posting of this was delayed due to Sandy storm coverage...]

(Providence, Rhode Island) – We are now in the home stretch, with the final full week of campaigning. I am ready to vote; and, to have all the final votes counted. With that in mind, here are some of my weekly observations.

Where’s Mitt?– If Mitt Romney loses the election, it may come down to one unanswered question in the final debate on Libya. The moderator, Bob Schieffer of CBS News said, “The first question, and it concerns Libya. The controversy over what happened there continues. Four Americans are dead, including an American ambassador. Questions remain. What happened? What caused it? Was it spontaneous? Was it an intelligence failure? Was it a policy failure? Was there an attempt to mislead people about what really happened?” Romney gave a generic, polite, businesslike answer. He never attacked and never pushed or probed. Libya remains President Obama’s Achilles heel, and Romney’s greatest opportunity. I have been in this business a long time, and a week later I am still stunned at Romney’s tepid response.

What Were They Thinking? – I have heard various theories all week on why Romney failed to take the gloves off on Libya. One theory is that they were sitting down at the table, and that naturally makes the debate less confrontational. Another hypothesis was that polls indicate women don’t like confrontation and personal attacks in debates, and that in his efforts to close the gender gap we saw a “kinder, gentler” Romney. Theory number three suggests the public already “gets it” and knows the Obama White House really messed up in Libya. And finally, there is the theory Romney needed to look more “presidential” on foreign policy and that an angry, thrashing Mitt might send the wrong message to our allies, as well as voters at home. My own guess is that a combination of all four theories was at play. Had I been a Romney advisor, I would have been more aggressive on Libya.

The Obama Doctrine – On the other hand, President Obama needed to look more “presidential,” too. And at times, he didn’t. Obama got some digs in at Romney saying things such as, “I know you haven't been in a position to actually execute foreign policy – but every time you've offered an opinion, you've been wrong.” But at other times the President was also condescending and didn’t need to be. For example he said, "Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed." And he added, "We also have things called aircraft carriers that planes land on and submarines that go under water." Those comments were roundly criticized, particularly in the military community. Still, this debate had a slight edge to President Obama. But he didn’t win the debate; so much as Romney lost it by passing on Libya.

Bringing It Back Home! – One place Romney did score points was on the economy. I said in last week’s column that the candidates needed to talk about the economy and how it is affected by foreign policy. Things such as gas prices and jobs are all affected by what happens overseas. The fact that 60 million people watched the debate means people were engaged on the number one issue – the economy – and that helped Romney. He was strong here, and the President wasn’t. Again, overall, I’d give the debate to Obama, but I would score it close – 53 Obama, 47 Romney, on a 100 point scale.

Ohio, Here They Come! – The candidates will spend a disproportionate amount of time in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Hampshire in the next week. Most important now is Ohio. If Romney wins Ohio, he’s the next President. If he loses Ohio, he can still win by picking up Wisconsin, Iowa and New Hampshire, but that’s a tougher road. If the election were today, I still say Obama wins the Electoral College, but Romney wins the popular vote.

'Weather' Your Vote Matters! – Odd, unexpected things happen in campaigns, and severe weather can be one of them. Hurricane Sandy – and its aftermath – could disrupt or ever suppress voting in a key swing state such as Virginia. Right now, the storm is forecast to have the greatest impact on northeast Virginia (the Washington, DC) suburbs, which are a Democratic stronghold. But the storm could have far less impact in central, southern and western Virginia where the GOP is king. This could affect not only the presidential race, but the razor thin U.S. Senate race between Republican George Allen and Democrat Tom Kaine. Mother Nature could cast some crucial votes!

All Politics Is Local – The late House Speaker Tip O’Neill used to say, “All politics is local!” One of the things he meant by that is that voters are most affected by the politicians closest to them – their local and state officials. Voters also have the most access to these folks. With that in mind, . These names are well known locally, but head scratchers for my national readers. I mention them, because to my readers in DC, California, Wisconsin, Florida and elsewhere, I urge you to pay attention to your state and local candidates. Yes, the presidential race and Congressional races garner all the headlines, but who represents you in your local city hall or statehouse is just as crucial. So, do your homework on races that are lower on the ballot!

As always, I welcome your thoughts and questions. Click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Cranston Voter November 05, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Cranston Voter @ Naome Not trolling for a fight, just expressing my opinion on the situation. Of course I know National Guard can only be activated by the Governor of the state. However the everyday person realizes Obama's photo op empty promises visit pledging support and whatever it takes to get Ny and NJ back on their feet was merely a campaign stunt (that may back fire) because he left so quickly to continue campaigning. All the back slapping, and hand shaking isn't going to help those poor people. It's ACTION that counts! The Fed Gov has once again failed to deliver in a timely fasion! Lastly please refrain from name calling (pinhead).
J. Lane McMahon November 05, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I guess Fox news didn't tell you about the fuel supplied by our military, or the MRE's being handed out, or the NG vehicles being used as polling places. How about the Army helicopters being used to transport wounded and sick? Wait, did Fox news commit a lie of ommission? Hard to believe.
Naome Lixes November 05, 2012 at 02:56 PM
So Sunday you said: "The National Guard should have invaded NY and NJ as soon as the storm was over, bringing food, water, medical supplies, and other essentials necessary to help these unfortunate victims of the storm survive. But what do we get, more broken promises. This administration is unprerared for any kind of emergency." Today, the problem is that the response was too fast? "All the back slapping, and hand shaking isn't going to help those poor people. It's ACTION that counts! " You mean, like mobilizing the Air National Guard, declaring a disaster area and sending FEMA into high gear? How can you see the same things as the rest of us and come to your conclusions? I'll refrain from name calling when you no longer insist that stupidity is wisdom. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/30/christie-praises-obama-doesnt-give-a-damn-about-romney-photo-op/
Scott Clark November 05, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Reading this thread you'd think we'd be one of the swing states :) I don't care who anyone votes for. Just please be sure you know what you're getting. The glamor contest they try to make the Presidential Election about is far less important than the upper and lower houses of Congress. Further, both candidates are going to be surrounded by their party's premiere advisors. Whoever wins will bring people who have been pushing party agenda through predecessors dating back to Reagan. The sensationalist hyperbole used to talk about issues is wonderful for the media and their advertisement business model; however, as we've seen in the last few elections, the country is getting tired of the partisan gridlock. We're being stretched by the wingnut edges on both sides and not getting any serious work done. That drives the impression that one party or the other "needs" to win a filibuster proof majority just so they can roughshod over any dissension. But if that's your chief wish, you might as well extend it to its logical conclusion that we need to coronate our next king just so we can get something done. We all know how well THAT has gone in the past few millennia :) Democratic republics don't work that way.
J. Lane McMahon November 05, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Don't forget about that House of Reps blocking the Jobs bill....Oh wait...that would be the REPUBLICAN controlled House....

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