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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Kent Bush: Difficult election for undecided voters

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  • It’s good to be the challenger.
    The 2012 presidential election is said to revolve solely around the economy. However, President Barack Obama is leading in polls that show people prefer him on foreign policy, so Mitt Romney went to the Virginia Military Institute Monday to deliver a foreign policy speech.
    If James Carville’s “It’s the economy, stupid!” proclamation described 1992’s election between Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush - which Ross Perot stepped in and handed to Clinton - it should describe 2012 even more precisely.
    But with the unemployment numbers dropping - whether by misstatement, overstatement or wizardry - Romney had to change the headlines.
    What is Romney’s policy regarding our allies and enemies?
    He loves Israel more than Big Bird. He will not cancel funding to Israel.
    In his speech, he went after Obama for not standing closely enough with America’s most important ally in the Middle East.
    “The world will never see any daylight between our two nations,” Romney promised if he is elected.
    Romney also promised to impose more and tougher sanctions on Iran to stop them from developing nuclear arms. He didn’t tell us what step two would be if the sanctions failed. Will we engage in a third war in the region?
    He also promised not to move us out of Afghanistan on President Obama’s timetable. He said he would use intelligence on the ground and consult with top advisers to determine what to do.
    His implication is that Obama picked a date out of a hat and he only announced the date for political reasons. If that is true, it is insidious.
    It probably isn’t true. But if it were. …
    Romney also bemoaned the U.S. Navy being at levels lower than have been seen since 1916. He promised to rebuild and expand our military - especially the Navy.
    Of course, he also says he won’t raise taxes and won’t allow any tax cut that expands our nation’s budget deficit.
    It is hard to imagine an explosion in defense spending, an extension of an expensive war in Afghanistan, a greater presence in the Persian Gulf with eyes on Iran and no increase in taxes to pay for all of it.
    If Walmart hired enough checkers to keep every cash register open all day, every day, you better believe the “everyday low prices” would be a lot higher. Increasing spending requires an increase in revenue.
    If you are assuming economic growth under Romney to pay for his expanded spending on national defense, where will the money come from to pay down our national debt?
    This speech sounded just like every political speech. If something good happened the last four years, the people who will still be there after I am elected deserve the credit. (i.e. the Navy SEALs got Osama Bin Laden, not Obama.) If something bad happened, it was Obama’s fault.
    Page 2 of 2 - It has to be difficult for undecided voters. Obama stopped sending a tingle up their legs a long time ago. Romney isn’t likely to restore that excitement.
    Obama is a weak incumbent in a weak economy. Romney is a weak challenger or this election would have been over weeks ago.
    Luckily for each of them, this race is like a football game between two winless teams. Someone has to win.
    A couple of weeks ago, Obama was in position to cruise to victory as long as he didn’t crash the plane. Welcome to life after the plane crash, as Obama’s debate performance rebooted the seemingly frozen Romney campaign machine.
    This one will be close.
    With the vice presidential debate this week and two more presidential debates upcoming, those undecided voters in the 12 swing states will have all eyes on them until the polls close on Nov. 6.
    Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.

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