When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Election 2012 -- all bets are off

The election for President of the United States is now only 3 months away (hard to believe--August, September, October).  And what do we have? Two flawed, imperfect candidates, neither of whom is really "up to the job." So Americans are going to be faced with the prospect of choosing "the lesser of two evils." Besides the flaws of each candidate, it is now obvious the campaign staffs of Obama and Romney, respectively, are among each candidate's greatest liabilities. I've already written about the "wannabe Chicago street thugs" culture, language and values of the Obama campaign and National Democratic Party, so I am not going to repeat that here.

On the other hand, while Romney's staff's shortcomings have been noticeable throughout the past year, they have become glaring on Romney's trip abroad:

Romney's disastrous 'European Vacation' - CSMonitor.com: "Mr. Romney’s “European Vacation” hasn’t culminated in the destruction of Stonehenge (yet). But already, the candidate is rivaling actor Chevy Chase in his clueless ability to insult and offend. . . . in an interview with Brian Williams of NBC News, Romney suggested that London wasn’t prepared for the Olympic Games, citing concerns about logistics and security."

Everybody knows Romney is a really "rich guy" (Obama's campaign keeps wasting its money on ads telling us this over and over--get "over it!"). The real problem with Romney being a "rich guy" has nothing to do with his financial advisers, trustees, estate planners, tax accountants, tax lawyers, etc., setting up sophisticated (and completely legal) accounts offshore to take advantage of tax provisions passed by Congress and regulations issued by the IRS. The problem with Romney being a "rich guy" is that "rich guys" often convince themselves they know everything (after all they made "all this money" so that proves they know "everything!"). "Rich guys" rarely have people around them who tell them regularly, and convincingly, they don't know everything--wives are an exception (which is another reason Mitt and Barack--yeah he's now a "rich guy" multimillionaire too, just not as "rich" as Mitt--need their respective wives, Michelle and Ann, more than they need them).

Job #1 of any campaign staff and campaign manager, is first to know their own candidate inside out--his strengths, his weaknesses, his vision, his blindspots, etc. A trip abroad for a presidential candidate is not a hard task. It is essentially an opportunity to get some campaign video footage of the candidate "meeting and greeting" various foreign officials in foreign capitals. It is a worthwhile thing to do to assure both the international community and voters here at home that the candidate can represent the U.S., as its President, in the international arena.

Trip preparation by the campaign staff requires, at a minimum, a serious fifteen-minute conversation with the candidate before he departs, of the "do's and don'ts" while abroad--smile, shake hands, say as little as possible publicly other than general pleasantries, be positive, don't criticize--these people don't want or need advice or opinions from some U.S. Presidential wannabe! Private conversations with foreign officials are fine--but keep them private. See, it really isn't rocket science. This is all part of the art of appearing and being Presidential--and despite his shortfalls in other areas, Barack Obama has demonstrated he knows how to do this, whereas Mitt Romney has utterly failed in his first international test--London.

London--probably the most American-friendly foreign capital city in the world--today is a multi-cultural megalopolis that serves not only as the capital of the United Kingdom but is the world's financial center. Just this year, the U.S. corporate giant, AON, moved its world headquarters from Chicago to London and re-incorporated in England (interesting that the mainstream media reported very little on this change of "citizenship" compared to the hullabaloo over Facebook's Eduardo Saverin decision to leave the U.S. and establish citizenship in Singapore.)

Anyway, Mitt Romney either never had that "do's and don'ts conversation" or promptly forgot it once he arrived in London (campaign staff are supposed to continually remind a candidate of the "do's and don'ts").  Mitt Romney, being a "rich guy" (who knows everything and who once ran the winter olympics) presumed it was his place to pontificate, critique, and opine on matters (such as preparations for the 2012 London Olympics) having nothing to do with issues confronting the U.S.

What happened next is a lesson Mitt Romney will never forget. It was a classic one-two punch that leveled the presumptive Republican nominee straight to the mat. First punch came from the British press who circled, like sharks (ask poor Rupert Murdoch--a newspaperman himself--about the British press), the unknowing prey and publicized all of his inappropriate pontifications and opinions:

"Romneyshambles" quips The Independent. "Who invited party-pooper Romney?" asks the conservative, and generally pro-American, Daily Mail. And The Sun, as always, is the pithiest; "Mitt the Twit" is its headline. (Source: The Economist)

That, of course, set Mitt up for the second, knock-out punch--promptly delivered by British politicians:

Prime Minister (and leader of the Conservative Party) David Cameron: "We are holding an Olympic games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it's easier if you hold an Olympic games in the middle of nowhere(referring of course to Romney's winter Olympics in Salt Lake City).

Boris Johnson, mayor of London, mocked Romney, telling a Hyde Park crowd: "There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we're ready. Are we ready?"

Finally, the Economist reports: "The most biting remarks came from anonymous officials. The Daily Mail quotes one mandarin as saying: "What a car crash. We are speechless." While the unkindest cut of all came from a "diplomatic source" in The Times: "It is worse than Sarah Palin in terms of basic diplomacy.""

So there you have it (and Romney has no one to blame but himself and his campaign staff). So now the election comes down to two choices: Obama--the disappointment; or Romney--the embarassment. Pick your poison.


The Big Picture

Financial Crisis - The Telegraph

JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website

Craig Newmark - craigconnects