Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

October 6, 2012

End of the referendum

If you had to pinpoint the exact moment when Mitt Romney's strategy to make the election largely a referendum on President Barack Obama collapsed, about 10:56 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5, would be as good a guess as any.

That's when, roughly 20 minutes into his sprawling oration at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., former President Bill Clinton said that no president - not even the 42nd - could have done a better job fixing the economy than Obama, given the problems the incumbent inherited.

The riff was typically self-regarding. Yet it memorably - and for some voters, persuasively - stated the case for cutting the president slack for his economic stewardship in trying circumstances.

The Big Dog was pushing on something of an open door. Obama has failed, but for a majority of voters he hasn't failed enough to make it self-evident that he should go. The Romney campaign spent its convention answering the question: Is it OK to fire Obama if he's such a fine fellow? When the real question is: Can Romney do any better?

Indeed, the two conventions - so far, the pivot of the election - were encapsulated in their two signature performances. On one hand, there was Clint Eastwood's rambling, improvised 10-minute routine saying that it's OK to cashier Obama. On the other, there was Clinton's (at times rambling and improvised) 50-minute speech detailing why Romney's program is wrong for the country. Eastwood could have given his speech at amateur night at a comedy club; Clinton could have given his at a policy luncheon at the Brookings Institution.

There's been nothing to match it for the Republicans, which is one reason that Romney is now tied with Obama on the economy in many recent polls. Election Day is nearly six weeks away, and there's still a sense that the Romney campaign has not yet - although it is moving this way - fully begun to make its case on substance.

Text Only
Commentary
  • A hell of a diplomatic foray |If an Israeli high-level official were caught on a hot mic candidly commenting on Secretary of State John Kerry's ill-fated act of Israel-Hamas peacemaking, he might call it "a hell of a diplomatic foray." Kerry was caught sarcastically describing t

    July 30, 2014

  • Adopting Indiana? Or a 'deadbeat parent'? This past week we’ve learned that the State of Indiana has essentially stiffed 1,400 families who have adopted special needs children. The subsidies they were promised to raise kids in the state’s foster child program have been denied, prompting one

    July 12, 2014

  • Chicago's shooting spree |For most of the country, July Fourth weekend means hot dogs, fireworks and relaxing time with family. In certain neighborhoods in Chicago, it means something very different. For the second year running, Chicago saw a spate of violence over the long

    July 10, 2014

  • Financial hardships mount for military families |Days before the July 4th holiday, Holly Petraeus stood on the steps of the imposing Indiana War Memorial, in front of a bank of cameras, and made a plea to military families: Don’t let pride stand in the way of asking for help. It was a striking mes

    July 7, 2014

  • Science is science, but math is math |For people who use the word "science" as a bludgeon and trumpet their strict commitment to fact and reason, the Obama administration and its supporters are strangely incapable of rational analysis of new climate-change regulations. President Barack

    June 19, 2014

  • A throne by any other name … |“It’s time to get serious about what happens in the bathroom.” Have you heard this commercial? It always irritates me. Nobody gets that serious about their toilet paper, do they? I didn’t think so, but we’ve lived in our current house for nearly 20

    June 19, 2014

  • The 'swift-boating' of Bowe Bergdahl |As the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap has curdled from presumed triumph to public-relations nightmare, the White House and its defenders have cast about for excuses why the administration's negotiating brilliance has gone unappreciated. White House sta

    June 11, 2014

  • Letters to the editor |To the Editor: In 1977 as we planned to move here, I listened to and studied Jay Foonberg, a California criminal and tax lawyer, on how to build your own law practice. He said there are 10 things you must know that you do not about the American pub

    June 11, 2014

  • Don't celebrate Bergdahl's release President Barack Obama marked the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with a Rose Garden event with the captive soldier's parents and triumphant assurances that "the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind." When wa

    June 11, 2014

  • The hashtag idiocy It takes a nearly impenetrable obtuseness to conclude that the most salient thing to know about University of California Santa Barbara killer Elliot Rodger is that he was a white male who didn't like women. Yet many liberal commentators have managed

    June 7, 2014

House Ads
Hendricks County Marquee
Email News Sign Up
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

Should the government continue to use military bases to house illegal immigrant children?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Must Read