Thursday, September 27, 2012

Recommended Reading

By any objective measure, Mitt Romney is and has been an astonishingly poor presidential candidate, with the only thing really working in his favor being the fact that he outshone the other subpars also vying for the Republican nod. So, given the nearly-unbroken string of gaffes, errors, and stumbles that have dogged Romney, especially in the last week, why is it that the final disposition of the race remains a question mark (even as Obama begins to pull away in the polling)? Matt Taibbi asks this question and emerges with some uncomfortable truths about our flawed system:
Romney is an almost perfect amalgam of all the great out-of-touch douchebags of our national cinema: he's Gregg Marmalaard from Animal House mixed with Billy Zane's sneering, tux-wearing "Cal' character in Titanic to pussy-ass Prince Humperdink to Roy Stalin to Gordon Gekko (he's literally Gordon Gekko). He's everything we've been trained to despise, the guy who had everything handed to him, doesn't fight his own battles and insists there's only room in the lifeboat for himself – and yet the Democrats, for some reason, have had terrible trouble beating him in a popularity contest. 
The fact that Barack Obama needed a Himalayan mountain range of cash and some rather extreme last-minute incompetence on Romney's part to pull safely ahead in this race is what speaks to the extraordinary brokenness of the system. Bruni of the Times is right that the process scares away qualified candidates who could have given Obama a better run for all that money. But what he misses is that the brutal campaign process, with its two years of nearly constant media abuse and "gotcha" watch-dogging, serves mainly to select out any candidate who is considered anything like a threat to the corrupt political establishment – and that selection process is the only thing that has kept this race close.
There's oh, so very much more at the link, and you'd be well advised to read it all.

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