OTHER VIEW: Reason the election is so close“State of the race: Advantage, Obama,” the headline at Politico.com states. Why is this so?
“State of the race: Advantage, Obama,” the headline at Politico.com states.
Why is this so?
The Minnesota bloggers at the conservative PowerLineBlog.com asked the same question this way: “Why is this election close?
“On paper, given Obama’s record, this election should be a cakewalk for the Republicans,” blogger John Hinderaker wrote. “Why isn’t it?”
Hinderaker thinks it’s because society has reached a tipping point of too many takers and not enough makers — that is, too many people who now depend on or look forward to Social Security and other entitlements, coupled with too few in the private-sector creating wealth.
To the extent that Americans are glad that their country no longer ships old people to “poor farms” or young people away on orphan trains, he’s got a point.
But like many hardline conservatives, Hinderaker’s ideology has left him wearing a set of blinders. They hide the real reason why voters aren’t warming to the Republican ticket: Because of talk like his about takers and makers, which now is echoed in the Republican Party from bottom to top.
Who wants to support a worldview that labels Social Security recipients — almost all of whom now are “entitled” to their small pensions only because of a lifetime of work — as part of the “dependency state”?
Why can’t the GOP accept that huge majorities of voters like the broad outlines of post-World War II America, are proud of the growth and shared prosperity it delivered and simply want prudent leaders who’ll capture that dynamic again?
For evidence, consider the Republican and Democratic conventions. After two weeks of speechifying, there was one key address that won bipartisan — if grudging — praise: Former President Bill Clinton’s.
That’s because Clinton hit the rhetorical sweet spot — the place in American politics that appeals to open-minded people in both parties. A speaker at the GOP convention could have done the same thing; but these days, the party’s ideological strictures prevent it, partly because the style demands nods of respect toward and a willingness to work with the other side.
Why is this election close? Here’s the answer to that question, phrased as a question itself by Politico.com:
“Why would you choose a style of angry, line-drawing politics that is exactly the opposite of the line-blurring style that has made Bill Clinton the politician with the highest approval ratings in the land?”
No need to take our word for this. Arne Carlson, the Republican former governor of Minnesota, has talked about it many times, most recently in a blog post last week.
“From my vantage point, this new Republican Party now controlled by the tea party lacks the historical heritage to fully appreciate the role of community,” Carlson wrote.
“All too often, they are like the ego-laden athlete who pounds his chest in a moment of self-glorification when he scores a touchdown. Yes, he may be the hero of the moment, but how dare he be unmindful of the contributions of his teammates, the coaching staff and the entire support system that allowed him to score.
“When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, he declared: ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ Why did he not instead shout ‘look at me, I did it’ ”?
As Carlson noted, all of the post-World War II Republican presidents “avoided extremes, sought balance and were protective of both individual rights and societal responsibility.” That’s the proven formula, and the sooner Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan theatrically embrace it, the sooner undecided voters will give them the benefit of the doubt.More from around the web