Mitt Romney - The Trawler.org
In his August 14 column for the Globe and Mail, Lawrence Martin argues that Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as running mate was a risky one, and situates Ryan within a broad field of lackluster Republican Vice-Presidential nominees from the past half-century. Martin admits that the selection of Ryan may energize the GOP’s base of support, while at the same time alienating moderate Republican and independent voters who fear the candidate’s harsh conservatism.
Lawrence Martin introduces some badly needed historical perspective to the discussion surrounding Paul Ryan. By looking to various Republican presidential campaigns in recent history, we can discover a curious trend of awkward and uninspiring VP candidates who may or may not have “lost” their party various elections. However, the actual impact of VP nominations in American politics has long been a subject for debate. Can anyone seriously argue that Mr. Obama’s relatively “safe” selection of Joe Biden had the decisive impact on his victory in 2008? Similarly, it seems difficult to argue that Sarah Palin “lost” the same election for John McCain.
On the other hand, in providing a laundry list of dishonorable (Nixon) and even macabre (Cheney) GOP Vice-Presidential nominees, Martin does not mention the fact that these candidates — however deplorable in hindsight — played a substantial role in their campaign’s victories. While it is difficult to argue that a VP nominee can “win” an election, one cannot deny that they play an important part. The selection of Mr. Ryan is likely to please social conservative voters (Ryan is a strict Catholic, and vehemently anti-abortion), as well as offset some of the “damage” and curiosity provoked by Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. At the same time, one cannot deny Mr. Ryan’s conservative credentials, and in light of Mr. Romney’s shaky and often ambivalent “conservatism” as governor of Massachusetts, the selection of Ryan makes sense for the Romney campaign, a point Lawrence Martin fails to fully acknowledge. Paul Ryan may end up being the relatively “safe” ingredient needed to secure Mitt Romney’s victory in November, a point being raised by conservative pundits across the US.
Canadian onlookers are wise to follow this and other developments in the US presidential race closely, as they frequently have an impact on our national discussion.
Heather Mallick’s latest column takes aim at US presidential candidate Mitt Romney, arguing that his vast wealth (estimated at $180-250 million) and rich life-style leave him out of touch with average voters. As the candidate continues to avoid releasing his pre-2010 tax returns, Mallick argues that the recent exhibition of his wife’s horse Rafalca in the dressage competition at the Olympics “introduce[ed] Americans to a whole new way of being fantastically rich.”
For Mallick, the Romney’s training of horses for dressage competition is not only an example of their wealth, but also indicates the type of people they are. Making a horse dance is counter to its “natural dignity” and can only occur once “it’s taken from them by the use of whips and who knows what else.” The Romney’s participation in such events, Mallick alludes, is clearly an example of their being bad people who will crush the American working class as they crushed the spirit of this poor horse. Unfortunately for Mallick’s lesson in morality, the ASPCA, and presumably the international Olympic committee, “don’t consider it cruel for horses to do dressage.”
Without the violence she accuses dressage training of, Mallick’s seeming accusation of Romney’s inhumanity sounds hollow. Being rich does not make one a bad person. Getting rich by bankrupting companies and destroying thousands of jobs while hiding much of the profits in offshore tax havens, on the other hand, may, but Mallick does not engage with these criticisms here.
Ultimately, however, she may be right that the stark display of wealth and class inherent in the dressage competition may serve to undermine Romney’s election chances. Many Americans want a president with whom they can see themselves having a beer. It may be difficult to square the image of this dancing horse with that of having a cold one by the barbeque.
In last weekend’s National Post, David Frum lays out what is at stake for Canada in this fall’s US presidential election. With characteristic clarity and economy, Frum takes the occasion of Mitt Romney’s foreign tour to speculate on why a visit to Canada was not essential, and what the Republican candidate stands to gain by attacking the Obama administration’s position on the Keystone XL pipeline. Frum posits that Canada “risks being caught in the American partisan cross-fire” as the presidential race intensifies, and the Canadian economy risks future deterioration as a result.
In this article, David Frum claims that both Democrats and Republicans are transforming what has traditionally been uncontroversial in the US — a close energy relationship with Canada — into a partisan issue in order to score political points ahead of this November’s election. With an insider’s perspective, the former speechwriter for George W. Bush warns that during this election season the Keystone debate may overshadow more pressing issues in which Canada has interests, including a potential slowdown of the global economy. A major economic crisis in Europe, and a subsequent intervention by the US Federal Reserve would provoke tremors in the Canadian economy, and Frum feels that this is where the interest of Canadians should lie. The author argues that the economic crisis in the Eurozone is the “biggest foreign policy issue of the day,” and that Canadians should be concerned about a lack of leadership on this issue from the two main candidates in this fall’s US presidential race. A Romney photo-op in the oil sands of Alberta would have been unnecessary and distracting for Canadian onlookers in light of more serious and pressing concerns this election season.
One of the more sober voices in the modern Republican party, Frum’s dual citizenship — originally from Ontario, the author now makes his home in Washington — and ample experience in American politics makes his a voice that Canadians should take note of as November draws nearer. Canada’s interests in the US presidential race have gone curiously under-discussed in the national media, and thus Frum’s intervention is both timely and, hopefully, an indication of more to come.
E. Burchia writes for Il Corriere della Sera about the debate that was triggered in the United States by President Obama’s recent statements in favor of gay marriage.
Burchia stresses in particular how this mix of idealism and political strategy could have very important consequences for Obama’s campaign and the battle with the conservative Mitt Romney, from a particular point of view: a lot of pro-Obama gadgets (especially designed for supporters of the LGBT community) have appeared in the official digital store on the site of Obama for the next presidential election.
Actually, many political observers underline that all this is not just about fundraising, but also about data that might be more reliable than exit polls. These last implications have perhaps frightened Romney who, during these days, after the release of papers describing a young Romeny as a bully with anti-gay views, has decided to become more open to the acceptance of the LGBT community, but not to gay marriage.
Richard Cohen makes no hints in his aggressive tone throughout this article. He argues, with a touch of his usual humour, that Mitt Romney is a fantastic liar, and that alone makes him a formidable opponent.
With characteristic prose and an unparalleled centrism, Timothy Egan delivers another “Middle-America man’s” critical look at the difference between most Americans and the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney.