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September 18, 2012

Seven Weeks and Counting

Roy Meachum

By midnight seven weeks from today, the 2012 presidential election figure to be history – except for absentee ballots. Not soon enough for me.


As to the results, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi opined “everybody knows” Republican candidate Mitt Romney will lose on November 6. She has also predicted her Democratic Party will take over the House of Representatives. Of course, she is dismissed by the Republican leadership and many experts. But not all.


Coming out of their two separate party conventions, President Barack Obama received a favorable nudge in the polls. His strength among Independents is racing ahead of his opponent, according to surveys. Diehard GOP members ignore the results; their loyalty remains intact. These are do-or-die Republicans, even those who voted four years ago for change – epitomized by the first African American to live in the White House. I know several who have reverted. In some cases, it’s possible to suspect racism; their color-blind political glasses have been taken off.


The Grand Old Party will not abide defectors this year, above all. Four years out of the Oval Office are more than enough. Bill Clinton’s record as the first two-term elected Democrat since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was too long for the opposition, which is exactly why so many Washington landmarks bear Republicans’ names. They are accustomed to owning the town. The reality that Ms. Pelosi might be correct shivers GOP timbers.


In any event, I have never witnessed a campaign like this one. Instead of issues, the incumbent president has undergone ridicule, insults and questioning of his very right to participate in American elections. After buffoon Donald Trump’s ridiculous parading, I thought that everyone agreed Mr. Obama was born as a citizen. But someone in Kansas formally brought up the issue recently. The all-Republican elections board announced the subject was due serious investigation. The “birther” backed down only last week.


No wonder that anybody but a deep-dyed Republican would be leery of the Romney coalition. The Tea Party is suggested by the regular GOP as extremists. But I simply don’t understand why it has come to this – in remembering Charles “Mac” Mathias (MD) and “Chuck” Percy (IL), both U.S. senators and of Abraham Lincoln’s party. They are both dead, taking their moderation and bipartisan attitudes with them. As a Washington journalist, I came to admire and respect them.


Other than the GOP presidential nominee, Republican candidates across the country openly court this radical segment. Rep. Michele Bachman once rode the Tea Party trail in hopes that it would lead her to the White House. Now the once-Oval Office hopeful is reportedly in trouble holding onto her Minnesota congressional district. Ms. Bachman is the first Republican woman that her state sent to Washington.


Still seven weeks remain for bombastic oratory and tricky manipulations. Unlike the past, as I’ve written before, the very fate of the republic is at stake on November 6, unlike anything we’ve faced since 1860. The problem this time does not figure secession but rule by the upper class.


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