I watched all the weekend news shows, which, as you might well expect, talked about whether or not Romney had helped himself substantially with the week of republican national convention, ending with Romney's acceptance speech. The general feeling was that, yes, he had helped himself. But, there also seemed to be a general feeling that it was doubtful that it had been enough to sway the election.
There were several things that came up in about every show that weren't necessarily good news from Romney. One was the Clint Eastwood empty chair routine. I have to say that one of the most interesting comments about that came from Tom Brokaw on MTP who said that as Eastwood was carrying on, he texted SNL guru Lorne Michaels and asked him if he had been responsible for this to which Michaels texted back, no, but you certainly will see it in the future on SNL. Hell yeah! David Gregory played Jon Stewarts reaction to the Eastwood skit -pure elation.
The skit was funny. The problem with it is that it went too far, which is the republicans' general downfall. When Eastwood pretended that Obama said to him "Romney can go ---- himself" (which we know because Eastwood said outloud, "you know he can't do that to himself," that was over the line. It was over the line for a couple reasons. One is that people know that Obama is a nice person. Just recently he waived off a crowd that was jeering about Paul Ryan being named VP nominee for the republicans, telling them not to do that - that Ryan was a decent man, a family man, and that he just disagreed with him on policy. It just isn't in Obama's character to go tell someone to "go *!?# yourself." The fact that the republicans would support that on prime time in their convention does say something about the party, and it's not a good thing.
Another thing that came up in just about every show was that in Paul Ryan's acceptance speech, he (at best) stretched the truth by omission. For example, and I think this example says it all and doesn't require any additional examples although they are there, he criticized Obama for not acting on Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction commission's recommendations, although Ryan himself had been on the commission and had voted against it when it officially came up for a vote. Yet, he forgot to mention that. That is about as close to dishonest as you can get without "officially" lying. It's lowdown by any standard of decency. Why did Romney's people approve that script?
And then there was Bill Moyer's Journal, which featured an expose' on Randall Terry, who is back as an ultra-conservative organizer and vote getter after being disgraced by being tied to hypocricy about supporting gambling as part of the Jack Abramoff scandal while he was preaching that gambling was bad in order to get votes and money from evangelical christians. I am sure that a lot of people that are persuaded by Terry won't bother to watch the Moyer's piece, but the fact is, that Terry can't be trusted when the rubber meets the road. He may or may not really be believing what he is saying, and he may or may not be saying it just to make money. But in such a case, "may or may not" isn't, or at least shouldn't be, enough. When your morals are on the line, you don't want to be caught following false leaders.
Lately I have had a few conversations with friends and/or workers about the elections. There really seems to be a lack of understanding about the process by which our presidents are elected. When I explained that Kentucky and Illinois are already decided - that they have, for the most part, been stipulated to, they look at me with blank stares. But that's the facts. Illinois goes for Obama and Kentucky for Romney. No need to even vote - let's save the money. Let's just say, OK, because that is reality.
And when I explain that who wins will come down to a handful of voters in Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa, and North Carolina, they don't say anything. One of my friends, who is pretty hip and around my age, only nodded his head and said "I never liked that electorale college thing anyway." Who does?
Bonnie Erbe, on "To the Contrary" had to tell one of her panelists to shut up and not interrupt her. I doubt if she will be back. But more interestingly, and to end this column, is McLaughlin himself, who predicted that Obama will win one of the presidential debates, and Romney will lose 2. Ouch if you are Romney. It reminds me of how my dad would always tease me when I was a little boy, betting me on things, pulling out a quarter and saying, "I'll flip you, heads I win, tails you lose." I guess it indicates that my IQ isn't Merit Scholar level because it took me a while to figure out that was a crooked proposition.
But McLaughlin giving Romney's chances at the debates a more or less "heads Obama wins, tails Romney loses" tells me that McLaughlin thinks Obama will be relected. So do I, unless something really big happens.