Saturday, October 27, 2012

Obama and Romney both provided memorable campaign lowlights

Election Day is now only a little more than one week away, and for some, it cannot come soon enough. Of course, it has already come and gone for people taking advantage of the early voting period.
For those people, they can kick back and turn down the noise associated with the election process. They have a unique opportunity to enjoy some peace and quiet until the votes are counted.
There are many races on the ballot, but the big one is for the presidency. Regardless of who a person votes for, I think it is important to remember that both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney appear to be decent and intelligent men who are trying to offer their services to the country. They both have many positive qualities.
Despite this, both men have made substantial missteps during the campaign, resulting in situations that have left us shaking our heads.
For the president, his primary misstep has been the whole tone of his campaign. It has been vastly different compared to 2008. Back then, he swept up the nation with optimism in a campaign that promised "hope" and "change." Our nation was in a big mess then (as is the case now), but his campaign in 2008 had an idealism that is rare in national politics.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case with his current campaign. This year's effort has been marred by negativity, negativity, and more negativity. When talking about negativity, I am not referring to his criticizing of Romney's political record. That is fair game. I am referring to the unseemly personal attacks that are nothing more than cheap shots.
However, this approach has been effective to a certain degree. For several months, the president had effectively turned Romney into just another rich guy who would not talk about his taxes and did not care about the middle class.
At the first presidential debate, this changed as much of America got a good look at Romney for perhaps the first time. After that, Romney surged in the polls. Many attribute the surge to Obama’s poor performance in that debate, but it was likely that voters saw Romney in a way that did not fit the image projected by the president's campaign.
The president, on the other hand, has come across as just another politician who will do what it takes to get elected. It is always a red flag when an incumbent does not run on his record, and Obama has done a lot of this.
Just like Obama, Romney has made big mistakes. His most unfortunate one was his infamous "47 percent" comment. He was caught at a private function stating that 47 percent of the public were going to vote for President Obama anyway because they were dependent on the government and viewed themselves as victims.
He implied the people in this group were a bunch of slackers who did not want to take personal responsibility for their lives, and it was up to the government to take care of them.
His statements were a textbook example of how over-generalizing complex issues can result in ridiculous statements. Defenders of Romney claimed it was unfair that the statements were recorded undercover at a private event. However, it is important that these comments came to light.
Comments like these are examples of what politicians say behind closed doors when the prying eye of the media is not there. Candidates often change their tune depending on who their audience is, and these comments were mean and condescending.
To his credit, Romney has admitted he was wrong, but children often say the same thing when caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

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