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Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney, and the Children's Crusade

By Arthur Joel Katz  Posted by Walter Brasch (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   1 comment
> George W. Bush, appearing on Live with Regis in September 2000, said, "I want each and every American to know for certain that I'm responsible for the decisions I make and each of you are as well." Exactly what Mr. Bush had in mind was mangled in his syntax, but what he said might well apply to Super Tuesday. The truth is that those who vote for a candidate must take the responsibility for his or her decisions. While you might argue about the criteria they used, there seemed to be a general sense among voters in both parties that this time we should get it right.
> On the Republican side, the voters have all but destroyed a really terrible candidate: Mitt Romney. For Romney to claim, as he did in the last week before Super Tuesday, that he is the real conservative candidate is simply outrageous. I have no great love for conservative philosophy but I do value truth. Romney was the liberal governor of Massachusetts. As such he was pro choice, supported gay marriage, and otherwise acted pretty much as Ted Kennedy would have acted had he been the governor. Then, according to Romney, somehow the true faith was revealed to him and he converted to conservatism. The conclusion I draw is that the only political and/or social philosophy that Romney espouses is the one that he thinks will get him elected. Why would a conservative trust him?
> There is a wonderful psychological term that describes the reaction of many people to Romney's loss to Huckabee on Super Tuesday: schadenfreude. The word means to take pleasure in someone else's troubles. For example, you see someone get hit by bird droppings and you laugh.) Romney has earned schadenfreude. He is rich and arrogant. He offered barely any human contact in the course of his campaign.
> There is a commonality between Huckabee and McCain. Although I disagree with many of their ideas, it is easy to see that they are both men of character who communicate well with ordinary people. All politicians require some pretense. These men seem to hold it to a minimum. McCain is likely to win the Republican nomination although surely Governor Huckabee is not to be faulted for trying. The success both these candidates deserve applause considering the odds they ran against.
> Watching Senator Barack Obama's headquarters on TV I was struck by the fact that no one in the crowd looked over thirty five. When Obama spoke, they cheered lines like "Change we can believe in" and "Yes we can" as if Obama had just announced a cure for cancer. In the course of his speech, Obama put out a long list of things he would do as president. Among them were affordable health care, getting the troops out of Iraq within two years (he used to say right away), better schools and higher pay for teachers, etc. etc. If the intentions were honorable, his plans to accomplish them were absolutely lacking.
> Take it from a veteran of more than sixty years of involvement in politics, the young of each generation fell in loves with their own charismatic figure. Their choices are rarely wise. For me, it was John F. Kennedy. I loved JFK almost beyond the bounds of decency. But, as it turned out, he was not a good president. He authorized the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, he increased our involvement in Vietnam and his civil rights record was really made by his successor, Lyndon Johnson. Part of JFK's problem was that he really was outside of the Washington establishment so that he did not have the relationships necessary to obtain the consensus necessary to get worthwhile things done.
> There is a legend that in 1212, a young boy named Stephan of Cloyes had such a mouth on him that he was able to talk the children of Europe into a Crusade to recapture the Holy Land. He genuinely believed that he had been so ordered by God and that God would provide the means of victory. It didn't matter that there had been four previous Crusades, only the first of which had fair success. Those previous crusades were accomplished by powerful lords who worked out alliances between themselves, planned ahead, arranged for shipping and nevertheless did badly. Stephan of Cloyes, on the other hand, made no plans and believed his band would conquer Jerusalem by words, not ships, arms or arrows. According to the legend, he failed miserably and never even got his forces across the Mediterranean. If big guys with armor, shipping and a good deal of experience in fighting wars failed, Stephan was certain more than a little presumptuous.
> This is not to say that Barack Obama is not a good man and well intentioned. He is. So was Stephan of Cloyes. This is not to say that the outpouring of young voters who support Obama aren't enthusiastic. They are. So was Stephan's army of children. But all those mentioned wanted the experience and skill to accomplish their goals. Sadly, Obama's notion that he will accomplish great results without the cooperation of the Washington establishment makes as much sense as Stephan of Cloyes. For political progress to be made in this country, from civil rights to economics, one has to work within the system.
> Obama may be sincere in thinking he can reach across the aisles and co-opt Republicans to his plans. We are, he says, not blue and red states by the U.S.A. All very interesting, yet he stresses the point because of seven years of Bush misrule which has raised partisan politics to an unbelievable level. The partisan bickering is not inherent in the system. It was merely inherent in this administration. Obama has no more a monopoly on reaching across the aisle than Clinton.
> The race between Obama and Hillary Clinton will probably not end until the Democratic convention. I hope that Clinton will prevail. She is not nearly the inspirational speakers than Obama is, nor does she have his charisma. What she does have is long experience in the political process which translates to the ability to get things done. And what she does have is dedication to almost exactly the same causes that Obama is dedicated to. The difference between them is that Hillary is a realist and Obama is a dreamer of the Stephan of Cloyes type.

It is good to dream dreams. Politics, on the other hand, is the art of the possible. The best politician is one who has a dream but also a practical means to get her dream accomplished.

[Arthur Joel Katz is a retired lawyer and film producer who worked several decades with MGM and Universal. He lives in northeastern Pennsylvania.]

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Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of (more...)

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