There’s a reason why so-called “Gotcha” questions are important in campaigns. It speaks to the dual nature of the office of the president as head of state as well as head of government.
This person, whoever he or she may be, is expected not only to be leader of the free world⎯to possess an omniscient view of the shifting sands of global developments⎯ but to be “one of us,” sprung from the masses and chosen by us to point the way forward. So when a member of the media asks if a candidate for this high office knows the price of a gallon of milk or gas, it’s just as critical to constructing the framework we use for assessing a potential leader as a question about the U.S. trade imbalance with China. Smart pols now verse themselves on the prices of typical consumer goods in case the dreaded question should ever arise.
Those who were around for the presidency of George H.W. Bush remember with a cringe his sense of wonderment the first time he saw a grocery store scanner in action. It was an inadvertent slip, but it was damaging because it added to the already-popular narrative that Bush was out of touch with the American people.
Mitt Romney has tried everything to appear as though he were an average American. He’s lost the tie on occasion, he sometimes wears plaid shirts, he sports khaki Dockers. He even purposefully mis-arranged one cliff of his trademark Brylcreemed hair sculpture.
All it took was one ten-thousand-dollar bet, though, to reinforce his card-carrying membership in the hated one percent. You could almost see the wheels turning in his head: “I know, I’ll bet the S.O.B. ten bucks. No, let’s make it $10,000! That’ll really prove my point.”
That the relative amounts made so little difference to him is exactly his problem. It was a mere throwaway line, but it was a revealing window to his soul. He’ll have a devil of a time neutralizing its effects.
You have to be a little tetched in the head to even want to be president in the first place. Either that, or have an ego the size of Wyoming. Maybe that kind of self-confidence and hubris is inherited; it originates as some minute kink in a man’s double-helix that matches up with a mutant carbon molecule in a woman’s and⎯voila!⎯a person is created who can actually imagine himself not only with his finger on the nuclear button that will end the world, but who even believes he knows when and when not to press it.
When you think of it that way, the characters who have presented themselves as the great Republican hope for 2012 create an even deeper appreciation of the political truth that Candidate Obama has always been blessed in his opponents.
On another matter, a shout out the students and faculty of Pinecrest School in Fort Lauderdale, who received me so graciously yesterday when I delivered a lecture to them about my work. I hope I inspired at least one of them to pursue a career in cartooning. If so, he or she won’t regret it.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Rick Perry is toast. This really isn’t that risky a position, and here’s why:
Both Perry and Mitt Romney have big war chests, but ever since Golden Boy And Possible Vice-Presidential Candidate Chris Christie endorsed Romney, the establishment Republicans have been falling into line.
The logic was clear all along. Presidential elections⎯because there is no way that only two contestants can make three hundred million people happy⎯have always been about holding your nose and voting for the person whose face on the TV is least likely to make you toss your Hamburger Helper for the next four years.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Rick Perry's fading lone star" »
I don’t blame Chris Christie. The white-hot media scrutiny was just beginning to crank up, and it wasn’t going to be pretty. In the end, he still gets to misuse a state helicopter to fly to his son’s sporting events, and that’s almost as good as having Air Force One without the attendant hassles.
It looks like this is the best the Republicans are going to do, so they might as well start getting that lovin’ feeling. How frustrating it must be to have your opponent in the White House with a 42 percent approval rating, the economy in the toilet, and all you can scrape up are these two characters.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Chris Christie bows out" »
That aroma wafting through the air is the sharp odor of desperation mixed with the bitter stench of frustration. The economy is in lousy shape, and with the help of small acts of political sabotage here and there, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better by November 2012. The Chosen One presents a plump target up on his throne: He’s low-hanging fruit ripe for the plucking.
Yet, at this opportune moment, when the stars are in perfect alignment, the only generals the GOP can find to lead the charge are a buffoon whose English syntax follows rules known only to God and a guy who looks and sounds like he escaped from the animatronic Hall of Presidents at Disney World.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Chris Christie...GOP savior?" »
Rick Perry’s descent in Republican popularity polls has been nothing short of breathtaking. It’s as though the far right, in its zeal to embrace anyone who had a chance of unseating the hated Pretender in the White House, woke up the morning after a heavy date with a supermodel and saw her for the first time without any makeup.
Not only has he shown himself to be so remarkably inept on his feet that he makes George W. Bush look like William Jennings Bryan, Perry has committed the unpardonable sin of being morally suspect on some issues that are sacred to his rapidly eroding base.
How can somebody call himself a Christian conservative, as Perry does, if he performs a reasonable and generous act like allowing the children of undocumented aliens (who live in the state through no fault of their own) to attend Texas universities and pay resident tuition fees? Where in the Bible did Jesus say, “Blessed are the illegal immigrants, for they, too, are the children of God?” Don’t bother to look it up. You can’t find it, ’cause it ain’t in there.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Perry receives the Mark of Cain" »
Gov. Rick Perry is taking heat from conservatives over his signing of a law mandating anti-HPV vaccinations for Texas girls, which shows how easy it is to run afoul of principles that can’t even stand alongside each other.
Either you don’t mind a robust role for government in people’s lives, or you do. Perry did a sensible thing--a progressive thing--by requiring the vaccinations, but what those on the right are complaining about is that his law included an opt-out for parents, rather than an opt-in. One would assume that only a minority of parents are so benighted that they would sacrifice their children’s health because of the belief that an HPV shot increases the likelihood of sexual promiscuity. Therefore, an opt-out makes more sense from a public health standpoint.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Rick Perry's HPV problem" »