To become the next president of the United States (POTUS), Mitt Romney's got to win Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Virginia and Arizona.
As it stands, hours before the foreign policy debate this Monday in Boca Raton, Florida, Barack Obama maintains a slight lead, 3 to 2 (Ohio, Colorado and Arizona versus Virginia and Florida where, until recently, he was also leading; now, according to Nate Silver's projections, Romney's chance of winning Florida are at 66%).
Still, Obama is relatively comfy on top in Iowa (66%), New Hampshire (63%), Nevada (73%), Pennsylvania (89%) and Wisconsin (80%).
The Obama slide had been relentless, non-stop, ever since the first debate; it was only barely reversed for the past three days. Even so, Romney must win all these swing states if he can't swing Ohio, which is leaning towards Obama by 70%.
Mitt "Binders Full of Women" will come out all (Libyan) guns blazing at the last debate because he cannot afford to lose anywhere. Ultimately, if he doesn't swing those undecided Ohio ladies, the fat lady herself will sing.
Sing what? It could be anything from The Star Spangled Banner -- the Jimi Hendrix version -- to We Shall Overcome. Well, here in California, it's more like Booker T and the MG's Time Is Tight. That's the Roving Eyemobile's official theme song -- as our made in Detroit noir car, a grey Mustang (supporting US jobs) criss-crosses Southern California in search of what's left of the American dream.
Los Angeles, LA, Hollywood, whatever you wanna call it, this is a town that lies for a living -- not a bad metaphor of both the US government and Mitt "Binders Full of Women." Come up with the appropriate sound stage, set design and a few catchy lines -- plot is just a detail -- and Hollywood will lie till it dies, or rather till it survives endless tequila sunrise shots.
The LA Weekly is running a tournament to elect the best LA novel ever, which has to be a noir masterpiece. (See here.)
The Roving Eye -- a former Hollywood resident and perennial literature fanatic -- takes no sides; I would vote for anything from Thomas Pynchon's psychedelic Inherent Vice to Raymond Chandler's black as hell The Big Sleep, passing through Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon and anything by James Ellroy, especially The Black Dahlia.
Of course, there's always the possibility of interpreting Obama vs Mitt as a noirish saga of love lost, betrayal and crime (financial, military, imperial and otherwise). Leave that to a disaster movie screenplay-to-be.
Back to reality. To paraphrase the late great Ginsberg, I have seen the best and worst minds of past generations starving, silent, practically naked -- or even respectably clothed -- plowing LA's mean streets at night looking not for an angry fix, but for a soup kitchen.
To check out on the bottom end of the 47%, I just had to drive by night to downtown LA, further down Los Angeles street, and then follow the dark clouds coming down all across the Los Angeles river.
That did not prevent me from finding a decently attired 55-year-old Air Force veteran begging near UCLA in upscale Brentwood. I gave him some help, asked "Why?" and he answered, "Check with the US government." The gleaming outposts of the industrial-military complex -- from Boeing to Lockheed Martin -- are not that far away, around LAX.
In the world according to Mitt Romney, this Air Force vet doesn't pay enough taxes, is a victim, and doesn't take personal responsibility for his life. By the way, in Mittworld the vet is joined by US soldiers in combat, firefighters, steelworkers, security guards, police officers and, yes, high school teachers -- who draw an average wage of US$54,000, usually their only source of income to support a family of four or five.
I also followed the surf trail from Laguna Beach to Dana Point and San Clemente -- where small enterprises still deliver sweatshop-free, first class made-in-the-USA manufactured products, which threw me back to my teenage years when every hip kid wanted a Hobie cat, a Gordon & Smith skateboard and a Dewey Weber surfboard.