The Pasty Little Putz, Dowd, Friedman, Kristof and Bruni

The Pasty Little Putz, in “A Time For Choosing,” babbles that the election is a referendum on whether bigger government will be the new normal.  As usual, he’s got everything bass ackwards.  As of 5:25 AM on Sunday morning comments are not being accepted  so I couldn’t leave the link from The American Conservative (!) titled “Republican Presidents Never Reduce the Size of Government.”  Nice try, Putzy.  Here’s a plate of salted weasel dicks for you to nibble on.  In “The Loin King” MoDo says a community organizer finds his groove in Sandy’s heartless swath.  It’s excruciatingly awful…  The Moustache of Wisdom is beating on his little “third way,” “radical center” tin drum again.  In “The Morning After the Morning After” he has what he thinks is a daring prediction for Tuesday: the center-right/center-left will win.  Mr. Kristof considers “How Romney Would Treat Women,” and says when it comes to women’s health issues, Mitt Romney is no moderate.  No shit, Sherlock…  What gave it away?  Mr. Bruni, in “The Far Side of Acrimony,” says the winner of the presidential election will confront huge challenges. Let’s not add ready-made distrust and reflexive opposition to them.  Oh, PUH-LEEEZE…  Really?  After the last 4 years this is what you come up with?  Go back to reviewing restaurants.  Here’s The Putz:

Over the 40 years preceding Barack Obama’s first term in office, under Republican and Democratic presidents alike, the federal government claimed, on average, about 18 percent of America’s gross domestic product in taxes every year and spent slightly under 21 percent.

This equilibrium was always going to be threatened by the retirement of the baby boomers. But the financial crash and the Great Recession upset it sooner than anyone expected. As the economy cratered, so did tax revenue, dropping below 15 percent of G.D.P. in 2009. Government spending, meanwhile, climbed to 25 percent of G.D.P., as the president’s stimulus bill tried to help fill the gap left by the private sector’s collapse.

This gulf between taxes and spending has closed, somewhat, in the three years since, thanks to the limping recovery and some halting attempts at deficit reduction in Washington. But a new equilibrium will take many more years of growth and many more painful policy decisions to achieve.

The choice voters face on Tuesday will not determine exactly where this new equilibrium ends up. An Obama second term and a Romney first term would both feature a certain amount of can-kicking and a certain amount of compromise. A President Obama would probably accede to further spending cuts; a President Romney would likely accept the need for slightly higher tax revenue. Both men would continue to run large deficits as long as the recovery seemed weak.

But this year’s choice will make a long-term difference nonetheless. A vote for President Obama is a vote for a future where spending stabilizes well above its 40-year average, and where tax revenue gradually rises — thanks to the leverage afforded the president by the expiration of the Bush tax cuts — to pay for Social Security, Medicare, the president’ health care law and more.

A vote for Romney, on the other hand, is a vote for a future in which we at least try to make the fiscal adjustments necessary to keep taxing and spending at roughly the same rate as under Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

As I’ve written before, there are good reasons that a nonideological voter might be undecided between these two futures. The conservative vision requires making structural changes to popular programs, and asking the middle class to accept further creative destruction in an age of insecurity. The last 50 years of Western European life, meanwhile, suggest that the higher-tax, higher-spending equilibrium favored by liberals can be comfortable rather than dystopian.

But there’s a strong rebuttal to the case for accepting a bigger-government new normal.

The European model of social democracy has its virtues, but it has always depended on the wealth created by American laissez-faire. As a recent economic paper entitled “Can’t We All Be More Like Scandinavians?” points out, it’s easier for smaller countries to afford a more “cuddly” form of capitalism if big countries like the United States are driving global economic growth. And the price of a permanently larger government — in growth lost, private-sector jobs left uncreated, breakthroughs forgone — is much higher for a country of our size and influence than it is for a Sweden or a France.

What’s more, we would be paying this increased price at a very different demographic and economic moment than when the European welfare states were built, or for that matter when our own entitlement system was established.

It’s one thing for a young, fast-growing nation — like the America of the 1960s — to embrace a permanently larger public sector. It’s quite another for a graying society with a stagnant economy and a sinking birthrate to do the same. There’s a risk of a vicious cycle, in which a shrinking working-age population bears the burden of growing old-age entitlements, which in turn discourages precisely the kind of risk-taking and family formation required to keep the system solvent.

Already our government redistributes too much from the young to the old, from working families to retirees, from productive entrepreneurs to protected clients. To accede to this government’s permanent expansion is to walk, with eyes wide open, into the kind of economic and demographic trap that has ensnared the weaker economies of Europe today.

President Obama did not single-handedly put us on this path. But he has kept us on it, accelerated our progress down it, and campaigned for re-election as though taking this course had no downsides whatsoever. He’s the candidate of the Medicare status quo in a country facing an entitlement crunch, of government bailouts in an economy with a crony capitalism problem, and of contraceptive mandates in a society with a birth dearth.

For an incumbent president facing a mistrusted opposition party, this may prove a formula for a narrow electoral victory. But for the country that might vote to re-elect him, it risks four more years of drift, stagnation and decline.

The 18 comments that were allowed by the Times take him out behind the wood shed and whale on him, so that’s good.  Here’s MoDo’s inexcusably dreadful drivel:

Not since Lydia Bennet eloped with Mr. Wickham, not since Anna Karenina ran off with Count Vronsky, has such a hue and cry been heard about purloined affections.

The triangle that flared at the climax, with Chris Christie scampering away from Mitt Romney in the wuthering storm to cling to Barack Obama, the New Jersey governor’s brown eyes looking up trustingly into the president’s brown eyes, added a frisson to a jaundiced, spendthrift race.

In novels and movies, it’s a powerful narrative: the problems of three little people, playing out against a charged backdrop. “Casablanca.” “Gone With the Wind.” “The Year of Living Dangerously.” “Broadcast News.” “L.A. Confidential.”

Christie was unrepentantly swept away by his new pal, the commander in chief, who also likes to wear a jacket with his name and title sewn onto the lapel.

“So, I do pinch myself every day,” Christie said at a news conference in Trenton on Wednesday. “You know, like when I got on Marine One, I’m pinching myself, believe me. Sandy and Bill Christie’s son on Marine One was not exactly what I thought was going to be happening with my life.”

A president who has taken a lot of abuse from Republicans — one refusing to take his urgent calls on the debt deal, one yelling “You lie!” during a State of the Union address, many libeling his religion, race and nationality, all plotting to upend his plans — was finally getting a little G.O.P. love.

It was a jarring sign to Republicans that, despite Romney’s humanlike performance in recent weeks, there is no deep tie, nor real respect, among many of those helping with his campaign, even men considered as running mates. Romney is idolized by his wife and sons, and in his close Mormon circle of friends, but beyond that, there is an intensity vacuum.

In the final days, with Christie cheating on him, Mitt was left with Jeb Bush, who offered the faint praise to CBS News that Romney had been slow to respond to the president’s attack but had finally “found his rhythm.”

Pity poor Jeb Bush, trying to drag another entitled, second-rate scion over the finish line in Florida while stifling his own dreams. He told a crowd that Obama’s “entire strategy is to blame others, starting with my brother, of course.” But his brother is to blame for creating the chaos that swallowed much of Obama’s first term. And for derailing Jeb’s career and blighting the family name. While Jeb was hawking Romney, W. was giving a speech at a confidential Cayman Islands investment conference. He should go check on Mitt’s cash still sunning itself in the Caribbean.

Even some of Romney’s own campaign advisers confess they don’t really know who he is. Is he the pragmatist who would curb Grover Norquist, John Bolton and Dan Senor, or the severe conservative who would let them run wild? It’s sad when you are hoping someone is an opportunist and a liar.

Some of Romney’s staffers seemed taken aback by his commanding performance in the first debate, musing about whether, had there been 47 percent fewer gaffes, the rich stiff actually could have had a chance of easily sending Obama packing.

(Maybe Mitch McConnell and other Republicans would prefer that a Democrat keep the White House, given that the out-of-power party might pick up more Congressional seats in the midterms — not to mention how actually enacting the Romney-Ryan agenda could make the G.O.P. a minority party.)

Having Christie go rogue — and Colin Powell and Michael Bloomberg cross over from wherever they were — was a compelling plot twist in a race that has looked more to the gutter than the stars. Two uninspiring candidates, one Americans had fallen out of love with, one they could not fall in love with, one who had lost his narrative, one who offered a narrative with Janus faces and contradictory and occluded positions.

The only thing about Romney that doesn’t oscillate, besides the exact quota of salt to pepper in his hair, is his weight. He told ABC’s Diane Sawyer that he regularly gets on the scale on the campaign trail to make sure he doesn’t deviate too much. If only his consistency extended to his positions on the auto bailout, abortion, climate change, gun control, health care, etc.

Romney’s closing argument was that he could spark a stagnant economy, but his false claim that Jeep jobs were moving from the United States to China was a huge mistake, allowing the big car companies to call him out as a liar. Obama found his fire in castigating Romney, saying, “You don’t scare hard-working Americans just to scare up some votes.”

Voting for either man seems a shot in the dark. You have to make that vote still confused about who they are, how they’ve evolved, and where they’re leading us. You have to make that vote without knowing if either would have the mettle, as president for the next four years, to face down destructive forces and restore America’s luster.

“After four years as president,” Obama told voters in Hilliard, Ohio, on Friday, “you know me.”

But do we? If we know him, why does he seem so much slighter than the Barack Obama who thrilled the country a mere four years ago?

If we know him, why were we so stunned at his crimped, self-destructive performance in the first debate, when the man usually so in control of his emotions could not contain his contempt that he was expected to justify himself while this superrich, superphony, supercilious Republican dauphin stared at him with a smarmy smile? Barry used a vulgarity about Mitt to Rolling Stone, expressing the way he truly feels, but out campaigning the past few days, he toned it down, noting that his rival tried to “massage the facts” while “I tell the truth.”

After his despondent debate and his disheartened remark that “You can’t change Washington from the inside,” the graying president has to spend his last campaign hours exhorting until he’s hoarse, working to reassure us that he’s still interested in his job. “I am a long ways away from giving up on this fight,” he said in Springfield, Ohio, on Friday. “I got a lot of fight left in me.”

When a skeptical supporter pressed, “You’re not too tired?” the president responded: “I don’t get tired. I don’t grow weary. I hope you aren’t tired either, Ohio.”

David Axelrod, the president’s mustachioed medium, strained to paint the president as filled with vigor, telling reporters in Lima, Ohio, that Obama’s exhilaration “is coming from his loins.” Twitter users quickly dubbed the president the Loin King.

The campaign played Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” at rallies in 2008 too, but in Ohio in 2012, the words have a more wistful ring to them: “Like a fool I went and stayed too long. Now I’m wondering if your love’s still strong.”

CAMPAIGNING in Lake Worth, Fla., on Friday, Bill Clinton, as usual, lavished Obama with support that contained a sting: “I may be the only person in America, but I am far more enthusiastic about President Obama this time than I was four years ago.”

It is clear now that we elected an introvert, which is strange, and a leader who is depleted, rather than recharged, by politics and crowds. As Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a former Obama adviser, told New York magazine: “It’s stunning that he’s in politics, because he really doesn’t like people. My analogy is that it’s like becoming Bill Gates without liking computers.”

Obama denounces Romney as “a very talented salesman,” which he considers an insult. At the same time, he admits that his ineptness at selling his policies left him in need of someone like Bill Clinton, who could be a “secretary of ’splaining stuff.”

As the former community organizer deftly handled the devastation of Sandy — showing all the fleet response and caring reactions that he had lacked during the BP oil spill — and pressed the case that “we’re all in this together,” it seemed as though the president had learned some things about communicating and confidently using the levers of government. And that he understood that Americans will expect more from him if he is re-elected.

But I couldn’t help thinking of a “Star Trek” episode, “The Naked Time,” in which the starship Enterprise sends crew members to a dying planet. The spaceship is contaminated by a strange red liquid that causes everyone to emote like crazy. Even Spock starts crying inconsolably because he can’t tell his mother how much he cares about her.

Spock and Captain Kirk fiddle with the matter and antimatter and get away but fall into a time warp and hurtle back 71 hours, so the emotional outpouring never happened.

Has President Spock, who bounded into action on Sandy and rocked a New Jersey woman in his arms, really grown? Or is he giving us what we want for the moment so we’ll give him what he wants for the next four years?

There really is no excuse for that kind of crap to be in the Times.  Here’s The Moustache of Wisdom, as if MoDo wasn’t awful enough:

There are two things I’ll predict about Tuesday’s election: one is that America’s biggest voting bloc — the center-right/center-left — will win; the other is that there’s going to be a big civil war within the Republican Party and a small civil war within the Democratic Party starting the day after the election, as they’re each forced to accommodate this center-left/center-right victory.

By now, it should be obvious how much America is a center-right/center-left country and how much this center — not the extremes — has dominated this election. If Mitt Romney wins on Tuesday, it would be because he moved from the far-right, Tea Party-dictated nonsense that he used to win the G.O.P. primary to the center-right. Had Romney not “rebranded” himself a centrist Republican in the last month, this election would have been over long ago in President Obama’s favor. Conversely, had Romney run as an authentic center-right former Republican governor of Massachusetts from the start, this election might long ago have been over in his favor. Had Obama, though, embraced the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan and run from the center from the start, Romney would have been locked out on the fringes long ago and never been able to pull off his “born again” move to moderation. Obama may still squeak by, though, by stressing his “balanced” approach to lowering the deficit and pragmatic foreign policy, while downplaying his more leftward initiatives like health care.

The reason the center-left/center-right bloc is dominating this election is because it intuitively knows that the only way our country can progress is with some grand bargains forged at the center. One is a package deal that slows entitlement and defense spending, raises taxes, invests in infrastructure, education and research and institutes tax reforms that unleash more entrepreneurship — all in the right sequence and scale — so the economy is nursed back to health. Another is a deal on immigration reform. And a third is a deal that opens the way to exploit our newfound bounty of natural gas, but with a plan that is environmentally sound and doesn’t divert us from our long-term goal of a clean-energy economy that mitigates climate change.

If Romney wins, it would be because the center-right/center-left concluded that he would approach these grand bargains with the moderate Republican instincts and willingness to compromise that he has been either faking or sincerely projecting in the last month — and would be able to impose that moderation on his party. If Obama wins, it would be because the center-right/center-left concluded that he has been trying to govern from the center, has made progress, but has also been obstructed by G.O.P. hard-liners, and they wanted to give him more time.

A lot has been written lately about how, given these two options, we’d be better off going with Romney, because he supposedly can control the crazies in his party to deliver his side of these grand bargains — but, by sticking with Obama, we’d only get more gridlock. I don’t buy that for two reasons. First, it would be saying that since Republicans on the far-right managed to obstruct Obama on many fronts, and held the economy hostage, we should let them rule because otherwise they’d do it again. That would only invite Democrats to behave the same way, which would leave us nowhere.

I also don’t buy it because I think the G.O.P. has gone so much farther to the right than the Democrats have gone to left. I do not trust that Romney will be able to tame the radical G.O.P. base without making concessions to it on the environment, the Supreme Court and foreign policy that are not in the nation’s long-term interest.

I think the best thing for the country today would be if the Republicans lost the presidency twice in a row, the way the Democrats did under Ronald Reagan, and then had to undergo the same kind of rethinking and reformation that Democrats did under Bill Clinton, which moved their party solidly into the center-left. Parties learn from defeat, not from victory — especially two defeats in a row.

Granted, the morning after an election defeat, angry G.O.P. hard-liners would surely vow to obstruct Obama more than ever. I’m not afraid. Because the morning after the morning after, G.O.P. governors, mayors and business leaders would see where the country really is and finally do what needs to be done: either crush or separate themselves from a radical base that has forced Republican candidates into a war against math, physics, biology, Hispanics and gays and lesbians — all at the same time.

Their party has no future if it constantly has to cater to or disguise that narrow base. And America’s future is hampered if we don’t have a responsible center-right conservative party, offering market-based solutions and a spirit of compromise to solve our biggest problems — not a radical right-libertarian-Tea Party coalition that is leading the G.O.P. around by the nose, purging unbelievers and signing loyalty pledges to self-appointed conservative ayatollahs.

A truly center-right G.O.P. would force the Democrats to have their own civil war — the center-left versus the rest — largely over tax/entitlement reform and defense spending. Obama has never fully tested where the Democratic base is on these issues, but that’s coming. The Democratic civil war will encompass fewer issues than the G.O.P.’s, but it will be intense and unavoidable — if we are to forge the Grand Bargains that America’s center-right/center-left majority clearly wants and the country clearly needs.

Tommy, you’re certainly old enough to remember the Democratic “civil war.”  And your “grand bargain” tin drum is getting warped.  Put it away.  Here’s Mr. Kristof:

In this year’s campaign furor over a supposed “war on women,” involving birth control and abortion, the assumption is that the audience worrying about these issues is just women.

Give us a little credit. We men aren’t mercenaries caring only for Y chromosomes. We have wives and daughters, mothers and sisters, and we have a pretty intimate stake in contraception as well.

This isn’t like a tampon commercial on television, leaving men awkwardly examining their fingernails. When it comes to women’s health, men as well as women need to pay attention. Just as civil rights wasn’t just a “black issue,” women’s rights and reproductive health shouldn’t be reduced to a “women’s issue.”

To me, actually, talk about a “war on women” in the United States seems a bit hyperbolic: in Congo or Darfur or Afghanistan, I’ve seen brutal wars on women, involving policies of rape or denial of girls’ education. But whatever we call it, something real is going on here at home that would mark a major setback for American women — and the men who love them.

On these issues, Mitt Romney is no moderate. On the contrary, he is considerably more extreme than President George W. Bush was. He insists, for example, on cutting off money for cancer screenings conducted by Planned Parenthood.

The most toxic issue is abortion, and what matters most for that is Supreme Court appointments. The oldest justice is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a 79-year-old liberal, and if she were replaced by a younger Antonin Scalia, the balance might shift on many issues, including abortion.

One result might be the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which for nearly four decades has guaranteed abortion rights. If it is overturned, abortion will be left to the states — and in Mississippi or Kansas, women might end up being arrested for obtaining abortions.

Frankly, I respect politicians like Paul Ryan who are consistently anti-abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. I disagree with them, but their position is unpopular and will cost them votes, so it’s probably heartfelt as well as courageous. I have less respect for Romney, whose positions seem based only on political calculations.

Romney’s campaign Web site takes a hard line. It says that life begins at conception, and it gives no hint of exceptions in which he would permit abortion. The Republican Party platform likewise offers no exceptions. Romney says now that his policy is to oppose abortion with three exceptions: rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at stake.

If you can figure out Romney’s position on abortion with confidence, tell him: at times it seems he can’t remember it. In August, he abruptly added an exception for the health of the mother as well as her life, and then he backed away again.

Romney has also endorsed a “personhood” initiative treating a fertilized egg as a legal person. That could lead to murder charges for an abortion, even to save the life of a mother.

In effect, Romney seems to have jumped on board a Republican bandwagon to tighten access to abortion across the board. States passed a record number of restrictions on abortion in the last two years. In four states, even a woman who is seeking an abortion after a rape may be legally required to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound.

If politicians want to reduce the number of abortions, they should promote family planning and comprehensive sex education. After all, about half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which conducts research on reproductive health.

Yet Romney seems determined to curb access to contraceptives. His campaign Web site says he would “eliminate Title X family planning funding,” a program created in large part by two Republicans, George H. W. Bush and Richard Nixon.

Romney has boasted that he would cut off all money for Planned Parenthood — even though federal assistance for the organization has nothing to do with abortions. It pays for such things as screenings to reduce breast cancer and cervical cancer.

Romney’s suspicion of contraception goes way back. As governor of Massachusetts, he vetoed a bill that would have given women who were raped access to emergency contraception.

Romney also wants to reinstate the “global gag rule,” which barred family planning money from going to aid organizations that even provided information about abortion. He would cut off money for the United Nations Population Fund, whose work I’ve seen in many countries — supporting contraception, repairing obstetric fistulas, and fighting to save the lives of women dying in childbirth.

So when you hear people scoff that there’s no real difference between Obama and Romney, don’t believe them.

And it’s not just women who should be offended at the prospect of a major step backward. It’s all of us.

Finally.  A voice of reason.  Now here’s Mr. Bruni’s POS:

I’m going to take a pass on predicting who will win the presidential election on Tuesday, because I can make a safer, more confident prediction about what will happen in its aftermath. The embittered troops of the party that loses will claim that their candidate didn’t get a fair shake and will hunker down to fight and foil the victor. It’s what we do, God help us. It’s who we’ve become.

But to that prophecy, I attach a plea: prove me wrong. Prove me spectacularly, mortifyingly wrong. Purge the acrimony of the campaign. Transcend whatever distrust and disappointment linger. And for a while at least, until you have fresh cause to abandon the project, give the winner a real chance to do some good, and give him the benefit of the doubt.

It would be out of character. But it would also be the mature thing to do, and it might be the wise thing, too.

There’s an opportunity here, as we hit the reset button, for Obama to begin a second term by lavishing his attention on areas of general bipartisan agreement or for Romney to begin a first term with a focus on that same territory. It exists. Both parties acknowledge the need for tax reform and agree that we have to figure out a way to keep the spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in check, especially as the population ages. Both parties accept that a competitive America is an educated America, and would like to see the country make strides on that front.

So before we surrender to our worst fears about Tuesday’s winner or re-litigate our complaints — many warranted, some overblown — against him, shouldn’t we first adopt a posture of support and see if he steps forward as a consensus-building problem solver rather than a hostage to special interests and partisan passions? Don’t we owe that to him, and even more to ourselves?

Already I can hear the wailing. I can foresee my in-box: Romney is a soulless opportunist who bought and lied his way into office and will capitulate to the immovable extremists in his party, so let’s eschew rose-colored glasses and hasten to our battle stations. Obama is a socialist in sheep’s clothing, and with no third term to worry about, he’ll ditch the fleecy threads and pounce.

There’s a lot of that all-good, all-bad, Manichaean thinking out there, abetted by the altered news-media landscape, in which the id of Twitter eclipses the superego of traditional journalism; subjective riffs outnumber objective reports; and the blogosphere and cable-news landscape are more heavily forested on the right and the left than in the middle, so sadly denuded.

There’s a corrosive itch to see political opponents not merely as wrongheaded but as evil. And there’s an impulse to question their very legitimacy. It was nourished by the 2000 election, in which Al Gore won the popular vote but George W. Bush nabbed the presidency, with a crucial assist from the Supreme Court. And it flowered in the claims — still audible on the loonier fringes of the right, by which I mean Trump Tower — that Obama’s very birthplace and eligibility for the presidency are in question.

The Obama and Romney campaigns have already signaled that they’ll be sending lawyers, thousands of them, to polling places on Tuesday to gather information for possible legal challenges to the results, should the campaigns feel that there’s some justification for challenges and — perhaps just as important — some way to sway the outcome. They’re poised, in other words, to reject the integrity of the tally.

AND if you look back at this campaign, one clear leitmotif is the painstaking construction, by Democrats and Republicans alike, of the case that the other side contrived unfair advantages, stacked the deck and rendered any true reading of the popular will impossible.

Barack Obama was going to be flattened by “super PACs” that allowed Republican oligarchs to corrupt the process. Mitt Romney was going to be hobbled by left-leaning journalists in thrall to the president and reluctant to investigate the Fast and Furious operation or the prelude to the Benghazi attack.

Obama’s entertainment-industry acolytes were going to meddle, with Harvey Weinstein releasing the TV movie “SEAL Team Six” on the eve of voting. Tagg Romney was up to lawless mischief, his oblique (and disputed) connection to a company that supplies voting machines a guarantee that the count would be rigged.

Republican accusations of voter fraud met Democratic accusations — more credible — of voter suppression. And then there was Hurricane Sandy. If Obama squeaks to victory, Republicans will speak forevermore about the hurricane, the way it blew away Mitt-mentum and the heroic pose it allowed the president to strike. They will rue the rains, curse the tides and cast Obama’s second term as a final-hours fluke of the weather. That is, when they’re not using effigies of Chris Christie and Mike Bloomberg as piñatas.

Many of the partisan apprehensions during the campaign don’t square with how things played out. Yes, super PACs are a pox and Citizens United should be revisited, but Obama didn’t suffer any advertising shortfall in the end. Yes, Romney’s disregard for truth when he claimed that Chrysler was shipping jobs overseas was beyond the pale, but he was roundly called out for it and probably did himself more harm than good. As for journalistic bias, it certainly didn’t exist in the wake of the first presidential debate, when we reporters and pundits embraced Romney’s surge, vied to describe it in ever-more emphatic terms and revealed that we’re more invested in suspense than in any ideology.

In the end it’s possible to see whoever prevails in the presidential election not as the less principled, more fortune-kissed candidate but as the one whose message had the most appeal and whose prescriptions voters felt like putting their chips on, at least at this particular juncture.

And granting that person an initial degree and grace period of trust seems to me not only the democratic thing to do, but also the constructive one. Maybe he’ll choose sensible solutions over sharply partisan ones. Wait and see and nudge and hope, because the alternative simply perpetuates the political dysfunction in a country being steadily diminished by it. The alternative doesn’t get us any closer to solving problems that grow bigger and bigger with time. The alternative proves me right, and I don’t want to be.

Christ, what a maroon…


One Response to “The Pasty Little Putz, Dowd, Friedman, Kristof and Bruni”

  1. Bored Again Says:

    The reason I don’t have to take Tom’s ideas seriously is because he is more confused than motivated. He’s trying to squeeze everyone to the center of the room and sell us empty land around us as preserved for reforestation and housing for endangered pundits. S-B was not embraced by Obama for one simple reason. Political motivation and I am not nor anyone who is reasonable and rational going to follow the rabbit down the hole to see why the divorce occurred. It was a mutually exclusive approach to living with Peter Seller’s bombs. We all love it. We all hate it. It was a practical but not pragmatic endeavor to elaborate on the wishful thinking of conservatives who want us each to serve in homemade militias and liberals who want us to entertain the thought of donating half of our earnings to charity. Actually Mitt’s church does in fact tax like medieval Roman churches. The fiefdom charges a tithes of 20% of all monies to belong to the club. If u don’t belong good luck finding work. With respect to the myriad of ideas at the constitutional convention in 1789 this election is anything but polarized except in the eyes of the pollsters. Like Reagan’s pitch and repeated by Bush 1 taxes was the single promise to take u to heaven. Abortion is always a hit. Then there’s defense. Democrats are criticized for their willingness to give away the West Bank and JP Morgan to get the B-1B. The Republicans are willing to trade your children for oil. It’s all the same squash and melons. Oh, did I forget to slap u on the back and shake u down? No it’s not a centrist campaign. It’s insanity vs. rationalism. It’s Rousseau or Hobbes vs some Austrian economist. Does your gut tell u that Krugman is right about Keynes? Who knows if that’s right? We just know the other guy is lying thru his teeth. That’s what this election is about. It’s freedom and rights of the individual against someone who says the opponents idea of wealth is socialism. It’s my religion if I have one observed or not is mine to tolerate and not mine is going to be politicized. Afraid of secularization means I’m going to have my church tell u what u can and can’t do. There is nothing so confusing as a liar who has a sound bite.

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