Mitt Romney was never a viable candidate to become president of these United States.
It never made any sense. Here was a man willing to basically declare war on the people. The middle class and the poor, blacks, women, gays, college students and undocumented immigrants would’ve all been fair game under a Romney administration.
His only strategy was to woo the wealthy, white male vote — with hopes that the rest of white America would fall in line. In order to garner their support, he promised a cash-strapped middle class that he would revitalize the private sector in order to add jobs and boost the economy.
This, despite the fact that he had raked in untold millions off companies going belly up. He literally rose from underneath the ashes of the corporate crash and burn. And in the process, he ignored opportunities to show the electorate a face other than that of the ruthless rich guy with the outdated political ideology.
He also shunned diplomacy by frowning on president Obama’s attempts at improving America’s image internationally. He represented the “old guard.” He was rude, dishonest, disrespectful and condescending — the boss of all horrible bosses.
And although he lost the election, he was still able to gain a large measure of success.
He successfully popularized the idea that racism, sexism and classism could be viewed as sound political ideology. He went beyond the fair ground called “conservatism.” He breathed new life into the coded slurs commonly associated with Republicans and it emboldened their already loaded rhetoric.
He became a symbol of validation for millions of racists across America and he forced the limits of political discourse to even lower lows than what we saw during Obama’s first term.
He advanced his agenda by refusing to condemn the wild rumors about Obama being a Muslim Socialist not born on American soil. He managed his supporters’ fears and animosity like a skilled puppet master — pulling strings and showing off his signature trick: making his puppets continually put their feet in their mouths.
And as the country began to fracture sharply along race and class lines, his supporters started to bark like rabid dogs. They needed something to bite and infect, and they snapped at anyone who dared pledge allegiance to the Obama administration.
It’s not that people stereotyped white Romney supporters unfairly. It’s just that with so many emotionally charged, hate-filled rants having been lobbed at Obama before the election, it was almost impossible to decipher between genuine support for Romney’s politics and vicious racism coming from the same side.
For many of us, racism and support for Romney was one in the same, and if we wrongly confused the two then we have Romney and his supporters to blame. They’re the ones who failed to adequately distance themselves from the extremists and crackpots.
These next four years will test America severely. Of all the lofty goals president Obama had during his first term, many of them have not been reached and his legacy will depend largely on whether he is able to carry out most of those goals.
But Mitt Romney’s legacy is already cemented. He will forever be known as the man who tried to set America back 50 years by stirring up hatred and insecurity among the people he wanted so desperately to lead.
And only time will tell how successful he was.
With just hours remaining until the 2012 presidential election, it seems that president Obama has carved out a slim lead over Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, in what has been an airtight race thus far.
But now the big question is, “How many Obama supporters will actually make it to the polls?”
One week after Hurricane Sandy ripped through the tri-state area, millions of people stay without electricity, or worse. Flooding and fallen trees have caused significant damage to homes and businesses, and many forms of public transportation are not yet fully operable. People that escaped property damage and never lost power are dealing with the crippling gas dilemma that has caused ridiculously long lines at the pump and has limited their ability to get gas because of government-mandated gas rationing.
Those obstacles aren’t exclusive to Obama supporters, but they are much more likely to interfere with their ability to make it to the polls. Poorer areas affected by the storm, almost all which are Obama strongholds, lack the resources to overcome natural disasters like wealthier areas (Romney strongholds). The poorer areas are not a top priority for governmental disaster agencies. As a result, wealthier areas are practically assured a full turnout at the polls, regardless of the damage to their communities.
With so many people without power, the likelihood is that lower-income areas are having difficulty getting accurate information about where, when and how they can vote. Damage to voting booths and to the locations that house them have changed where and how people are voting. So for those who still don’t have electricity and aren’t in contact with people who can keep them abreast of breaking developments to the voting process, they could miss the opportunity to vote.
These aren’t residents of the Jersey Shore or the glitzy part of Manhattan we’re talking about. They live in the poorer areas of northern New Jersey and New York City, in communities like Irvington, Paterson, Morningside Heights, Red Hook and the Lower East Side.
So voting could present significant challenges to people strapped for gas, cash, electricity, and who can’t just take off work because of Sandy’s devastation. Many of these people earn their livings in the service industry, which requires them to work more days and longer hours to meet the needs of wealthy communities ravaged by the storm.
Even more disheartening is evidence of voter fraud and voter suppression carried out by Romney supporters throughout the race. Make no mistake, allegations have flown both ways and politics in general is a dirty business. But the only cases of voter fraud, ballot tampering and suppression found to this point have been those implicating GOP operatives.
We’ve heard some of the stories — the ballot tampering in Oregon, the absentee ballots being thrown out in Florida and an actual arrest for the same offense in Virginia. There have been attempts made to keep people from voting early in Ohio and we’re aware of the purging of voter rolls in Texas.
We’re also aware of the misinformation being spread about what day the election is on and where people can vote. These shameful tactics are disproportionately for the voters who come from the wrong side of the tracks and the far end of the digital divide. They effect Obama supporters disproportionately.
And at this point, all we can do is hope and pray that Sandy’s wrath has not made it any easier for the GOP to get away with stealing yet another election.
What has been perhaps the most polarizing, emotionally charged presidential race in the history of American politics is sure to produce even more controversy during this, the final stretch run before the 2012 election.
The next nine days will be crucial for president Barack Obama and his opponent, governor Mitt Romney, as they seek to win over undecided voters and secure swing states. And the political attacks are likely to heat up on both sides.
But if the candidates aren’t careful, they risk doing more harm than good to their chances of being elected. Some voters may regard desperate, last-ditch efforts made by either candidate as conduct unbefitting a Commander-in-Chief. This means that not only should the candidates carefully choose every word they speak and every action they take from this point on, but they should also ask the same of the high-profile people and institutions that support them.
Now is not the time for scandal or controversy coming from either camp because anything deemed too outlandish could alter the course of the election. People should watch for these things in the coming week.
The most visible trend this election season has been the non-stop media coverage of both candidates. The media will run with any newsworthy tidbit they can get their hands on from now until election day. The only question is, which direction will the media run with the information they get.
The intense media coverage has fueled a dramatic increase in political discourse through the use of social media. The racial element in the 2012 presidential race has sparked widespread interest in politics among millions of people who may otherwise have felt indifferent toward the candidates or toward politics in general, and with so many self-anointed pundits using social media to spread their opinions, it makes for a classic recipe for explosive, heated debates.
The problem with so much discourse is that it can lead to hard feelings between people, and hard feelings between people can end friendships. Ending a friendship on Facebook or Twitter is one thing, but it’s something else entirely to lose a real friend behind differences in political ideology. This happens more than most of us realize.
Of all the voter suppression tactics uncovered by the media in recent months, voters beware of incarceration (Obama supporters, in particular). The 2000 election came down to just 537 votes separating George Bush from Al Gore, and with more than one million potential voters either behind bars, on parole or on probation (many for minor, non-violent offenses), it is clear that incarceration is a tactic used to keep potential voters away from the polls. And 537 potential voters could be taken off the streets in a few of America’s inner cities in a matter of hours.
Another result of the voter suppression scare has been tens of thousands of people flooding state offices to get proper identification. Although the laws requiring ID to vote have been stricken down in most states, decisions are still pending in some other states, and people are playing it safe so as to not risk being turned away from the polls. The issue has gotten so much attention that one can never be too cautious on the matter.
Three days ago it was the New York Post endorsing Governor Romney — the same day Colin Powell announced that he was endorsing president Obama. About a week ago Bruce Springsteen jumped on the Obama bandwagon and a few months ago rapper Lupe Fiasco implored his fans to not vote at all. In any case, celebrity endorsements will have a powerful influence on this election.
Celebrities have millions of fans, which means celebrity endorsements help sway elections. Other celebrities that have recently pledged their allegiance to one of the candidates include Stacey Dash (Romney), Sarah Jessica Parker (Obama), Lindsay Lohan (Romney) and David Stern (Obama).
It seems no matter where you turn these days you come across a political attack ad, and it has gotten really bad as election day draws near. Don’t be surprised if you happen to see a few of these ads pop up during Saturday morning cartoons, Sunday inspiration, or better yet, during one of those infomercials about the scientifically proven fat burner you’re so excited about.
Racism has been rampant this election season, just as it was four years ago, and the evidence is overwhelming. Most recently Sarah Palin made headlines with her “shuck and jive” comment about president Obama’s response to the Benghazi attacks that killed the American ambassador to Libya (Christopher Stevens) and John Sununu, one of governor Romney’s top advisers, stated outright that Colin Powell was endorsing president Obama because they’re both black. Expect similar statements from the Romney camp over the next 10 days.
And perhaps most disturbing are the Donald Trump-isms that have popped up since he declared his support for Mitt Romney. Trump caused a national uproar when, more than a year ago, he challenged president Obama publicly to produce his birth certificate (for which he got roasted in person by Obama at a White House Correspondents dinner a few months later).
His $5 million offer to anyone who can produce the president’s college transcripts not only encourages crooks to hack into Columbia University’s computer system, but it also puts pressure on administrators there to bypass their legal obligation to keep the president’s college records confidential. Donald Trump is shameful, but like most of the über rich when they embarrass themselves, he’ll likely just run and hide his face in a big pile of money.
And for those of us that saw hip-hop’s transition from the dank basements and happening hot spots of New York City to mainstream America, it seems to us that the music today is much closer to its worst than it is to its best.
I’m proud to be able to say that I came up during that golden era of hip-hop, back before anyone realized just how pure and uncorrupted it was. It was the 1980′s, and rap hit the mainstream unlike any other musical genre the country had ever seen. It was absolute euphoria. It was pandemonium.
Back then all it took was someone to press the start button on the nearest boombox to ease the pain and frustration associated with poverty and lack of opportunity in the black and Latino communities. It was a new drug, capable of combating many of the social ills of that time. And it swept through America’s urban centers like wildfire.
Fast forward 30 years later. Most of hip-hop’s earliest fans now have rap-obsessed children of their own. In fact, many of those early fans are (gasp!) grandparents. And they’ve taken authority when discussing the current state of hip-hop because they were there when it all started. They feel a kind of ownership over it.
When it comes to today’s rap music, right or wrong, my generation feels that we have the right to either grant or withhold from emcees the mantle of legitimacy.
But I think that it’s hypocritical for older hip-hop fans to put down today’s rap music and the emcees (partly) responsible for it. Sure, I’ll argue all day that Run-DMC, Public Enemy, EPMD and Kool G Rap in their primes were much more talented than Young Jeezy, Drake, Rick Ross and 2Chains are today. I definitely believe a young LL Cool J would rip Meek Mill to shreds in a battle. And I’d bet my last dollar that Eric B & Rakim made better music than Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Jay Z, Eminem and 50 Cent put together.
Yet, despite my allegiance to the “old school,” I seek to objectively rate today’s rap music rather than compare it across different eras. I long to understand it and not fall under the spell of it. Despite my increasing inability to identify with today’s rap, it’s still just entertainment to me, and on a semi-regular basis I listen to it for my own enjoyment.
But I keep it in its proper context because I’m no longer the kid who used to sneak out of the house to go to the local hip hop club, or the guy that used to save his money from his part-time at McDonalds to buy the latest rap record. I’m not a kid anymore. None of the rap fans that grew up in the 80′s are.
Therefore, I believe my generation should stop attacking today’s hip-hop scene. They should accept, for better or for worse, that times have changed and the music has too. They should know that they’ll never again experience the adrenaline rush they felt when they heard LL belt out “Rock the Bells,” or DJ Run come on stage and remind the crowd whose house they’re at. They should no longer be waiting for the next KRS-1 or Chuck D to come along and educate them about black history and black reality.
And most importantly, they should understand that rap music is no longer the village they want raising their kids. Not today’s rap — not by a long shot.
We still have the memories. We still have those classic rap albums filed away neatly in our iPods. But what we don’t have is the ability to relive the golden era of rap music. Rap had to grow, and the fans that have followed it since its beginnings should be mature enough to realize that. It had to survive beyond its original era and expand to other regions of the country and across cultures.
Many of us today feel strongly that rap music lacks the substance and originality of earlier years, and there is definitely some merit to that notion. But the fact remains that we are not owed anything in regard to our adaptive struggles. Rap music continues to survive and thrive, and some of us have been fortunate enough to survive and thrive along with it.
Hip hop music and the culture that encompasses it has come a long way. And chances are, it will be around long after everyone from my generation is gone.
There were more than just a few testy exchanges between President Barack Obama and his republican challenger, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, during last night’s town hall presidential debate. This should have come as no surprise to anyone that watched the two square off in another intense clash of wills, styles and visions for America.
And while it’s widely considered that the president was much sharper last night than he was during the first debate, what’s even more obvious is how Governor Romney has taken the art of public, presidential discourse to completely new lows.
He repeatedly tried to bait Obama into arguing and crosstalk, which he did in the first debate. He asked questions at a blistering pace, and when the president attempted to discuss the questions he interrupted him by asking the same question repeatedly.
And again, he tried to bully the moderator — this time CNN anchor Candy Crowley — by insisting on addressing topics after both candidates had already spoken on them and moved forward. He literally tried to steal the last word on every topic.
He also tried to set the terms on when the president could speak, and what he could speak about. Several times he bared down on the president, coming within arms reach, and he consistently ended his comments with that menacing smile.
It’s not that Obama supporters have cried foul over the blatant disrespect that Governor Romney showed to the president, the moderators, those in attendance and those following from their living rooms. It’s not just that people have had it up with his persistent lies and it’s certainly not a cop-out due to some notion that governor Romney has outclassed Obama.
For many of us, it’s that sharp gut feeling we’ve been taught to trust after we’ve experienced the wolf in sheep’s clothing. We’ve learned our lessons from the salesmen of faulty equipment, the con artist with the get rich quick scheme, the guy on the phone offering the deal that sounds too good to be true. We’ve all fallen victim to those things — most likely more than once during our lifetimes.
And since experience is the best teacher, it’s obvious to us that Mitt Romney must never, ever be allowed to become president of these United States.
His is a hubris that comes not only from inherited wealth, but from the sense of superiority he feels over a man whose life and career have, for the most part, been much closer to ours than to Romney’s silver spoon upbringing. His is an insincerity covered under layers of glib rhetoric, phony smiles and offensive gestures. His is a sinister confidence, perhaps even more so than that displayed over two terms by George W. Bush, that bubbles just under the surface of his custom-fitted suits and American flag pins.
He has sent a disturbing message to the world with those facial expressions and that supreme confidence. The wild obsession in his eyes during his tirades alleging Obama’s failings is almost frightening. He is misleading us with that phony smile, and he is saying, in so many elaborate words, that the president is a nice guy who just so happens to be incapable of running the country.
And he is using his “whiteness” to gain unconditional support from the racists that are eager to see Obama out of office. This much was evident in his toward Obama and the moderator last night, but even more obvious in his assertion that the president excels at “making speeches” instead of implementing and enforcing policies best suited for the American public.
Some people have longed to eat from Mitt Romney’s silver spoon, and it has caused many of them to pursue things they will likely never be able to obtain in their lifetimes. They are sheep, being lied to on their way to the slaughterhouse. And if Romney ends up winning next month, they will have effectively taken us to the slaughter with them.
In a way, this election has gone a lot better for the Republicans. The ill-timed tea party mischief that hindered Republican efforts last election has largely been nonexistent this time around, as has Rush Limbaugh and anyone nearly as damaging to party credibility as Sarah Palin.
But even in their most serious efforts, the Republican push to the presidency has been more about painting Obama out to be the boogie man than about presenting an attainable solution to fixing some of the country’s problems. And the broken promises made by our president have, in large part, come as a result of Republican obstructionism.
We are not fooled by Mitt Romney. He is an all-too0-real Gordon Gekko and we have a moral obligation to shoot down his “greed is good” speeches. We should not allow ourselves to believe that he is in any way the best man to lead America toward prosperity over the next four years, or beyond. President Obama has not been perfect — no president has ever been. But he is “Presidential,” to say the least. And he has the best interest of American citizens, all of them, in his mind and in his heart.
And for a nation still struggling to move on from its checkered past, we have come too far to allow a wolf in sheep’s clothing to preside over our lives.
With the election less than a month away, and with President Obama clinging to a slim lead in the polls after a lackluster showing in the first presidential debate, vice president Joe Biden came through with a clutch debate performance against opponent and Mitt Romney running mate, Paul Ryan, in what could end up as the deciding momentum swing leading up to next month’s election.
At the very least, Biden’s aggressive tactics laid the groundwork for how the president should handle Governor Romney in the next two debates.
Held in Danville, Kentucky, the debate had that blood feud feel to it, with both men hurling accusations toward one another and trading sharp criticisms of the other’s campaign platforms.
But it was Biden who grabbed and maintained a clear advantage throughout by boldly challenging the young senator’s stances on key issues and firing off rapid responses whenever he found himself under attack from Ryan.
Early in the debate, when senator Ryan hinted that defense cuts were partly responsible for the Libya attacks, Biden responded by calling the accusation “A bunch of malarkey,” and countered that it was Ryan that cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what the president had asked for.
Later, when the topic moved to the economy, Biden hammered Ryan over his recent comment that “30 percent of the American people are takers.”
“These people are my mom and dad — the people I grew up with, my neighbors.” Biden said. He added, “They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax.”
When the vice president wasn’t defending president Obama’s positions on issues like foreign policy, healthcare, abortion and taxes, he was laughing off many of Ryan’s questionable solutions on how to fix problems in those same areas. Even the moderator, Martha Raddatz, pressed Ryan on the specifics of his plan to carry out a 20 percent across the board tax cut, at one point asking him, “Do you know exactly what you’re doing?”
One of the evening’s more entertaining exchanges came when the vice president borrowed a phrase from the 1988 vice-presidential debate between senator Lloyd Bentsen and vice president Dan Quayle (in which Bentsen famously quipped to Quayle, “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy”). When Ryan reminded Biden that Jack Kennedy and Ronald Reagan had lowered taxes and created jobs, Biden countered with, “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?”
But perhaps Biden’s finest moment came when he responded to being asked how his Catholic faith influenced his stance on abortion.
“With regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call a doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life,” Biden said.
“But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the — the congressman. I — I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor.”
The debates resume tomorrow night, with president Obama again facing off with republican challenger, Mitt Romney. The event will be held at Hofstra University and the moderator is Candy Crowley, CNN’s chief political correspondent.