FLOTSAM & JETSAM: Morning Line: The story so far

Monday, August 20, 2012

Morning Line: The story so far

Sam Smith

This is a strange campaign. Neither candidate has much of a record. Neither has much of a platform. Neither knows how to present their case. Neither has much enthusiasm from their constituency. It’s the kind of campaign that only CSPAN can enjoy.

So it’s not surprising that our moving poll average has stayed in a statistical tie for the past two and half months.

It didn’t have to be that way. After all, Democrats used to love being up against a lying, two faced, incompetent, verbally challenged, predatory investment banker who’s been screwing, firing and taking jobs away from ordinary citizens for decades. But these days, all you have to say is that you’re helping the economy and you can get away with almost anything.

A national media thoroughly embedded in corporate and conservative economic values has helped a lot. And the sad thing is that the reporters don’t even know where their words came from.

And these days, words mean a lot more to the media than action. When the biggest news from the campaigns is their TV ads, you know doing something no longer counts for much.

Ironically, the best words in the campaign are coming from Joe Biden, the one candidate who knows how politicians are meant to talk. To be sure, he’s the kind of guy who says, “God damn” in front of his sweet grandmother but that mainly interests a media that can’t find anything substantive to write about and campaign managers who don’t have any policies to push.

In fact, if you listen to Biden’s speech in Danville Va, you’d find he said a lot more than that Romney was going to put chains back on blacks. Wrote the Richmond Times Dispatch:

They "called their plan bold and gutsy," Biden told the crowd. "But I don’t get what's gutsy about giving millionaires tax cuts. I don’t know what's gutsy about cutting Medicare and education."
Biden said it can be hard to get a campaign's message on a bumper sticker. But he had an idea for the crowd.

"I got a bumper sticker for you “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," said Biden.

In a jab at Romney, he jokingly asked how many people in the crowd have Swiss bank accounts. Biden charged that he and President Barack Obama are on the side of the middle class and fair tax breaks and that Romeny is on the side of the wealthy and their interests.

Unlike Romney, Obama, and the media, Biden still speaks United States. Which is a major reason some GOP figures are openly urging the president to replace him. Instead, Obama ought to take speech lessons from him.

The real sleepers in the campaign include:

What’s inside Romney’s tax returns that he doesn’t want us to know? Good suspicions would include details on his offshore banking habits and problems in how he reported his residency.

A possible war with Iran. This could change all bets

What if the public cuts through the media and campaign crap and sees the candidates for what they are: a strong case for not allowing Harvard Law School graduates to run for president. For the time being, however, the question is: which will do the least harm?

Which is least likely to cut Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, and funds for public education, police and fire departments. 

Which is least likely to leave you, your parents and your children in worse shape than they are now. 

Which will listen to you provided there are enough of you. 

Which leave us with the best battlefield on which to fight for a better future. 

It isn’t about hope and change. It’s about survival.