BOSTON—As most of you know by now, I’m a Midwestern boy still adjusting to life out West in Colorado. My hometown, Kansas City, remains in my thoughts—especially when I travel. No matter where I find myself, my heart returns home.
So finding myself in the Bay State for the first time, where political ghosts creep around every corner, I couldn’t help but think of Kansas City's own specters—and skeletons. So leave it to a Congressman from my home state to stumble into the news—and right out of a critical Senate race—while I’m in Mitt Romney's backyard.
I'll just say this about this about (the not-so-legitimate) Rep. Akin: He had this one in the bag— but the media had its way of "shutting that whole thing down." It’s unfortunate because, despite voters electing the rightest-wing candidate in the primary, Claire McCaskill was beatable. From what I hear back home, voters are tired of her irresponsible representation. While we're on the topic, did anyone else wonder whether that interviewer was awake? How do you keep plodding along after something like that? That's what you get for sticking too close to your script. You see it a lot in rookies, but that guy looked like he’d been around the newsroom a few times.
At any rate, being in Massachusetts this week—and drunk on so much rich political history—has forced me to stagger back and take a broader look at the November election. And it doesn’t look good for those of us laboring under the growing weight of health care reform. I know, we’re still 10 weeks out, but unless something dramatic happens, I don’t see how Obama loses this one.
Without disputing the value of Paul Ryan as a running mate, I think Romney traded Florida for Wisconsin (and maybe Ohio). His pick certainly did nothing to go after the Hispanic vote, which Romney’s apparently conceded altogether. Their best bet is to somehow manage to siphon off some of the female vote, but with undercard candidates throwing the abortion debate back into the spotlight won’t help much there, either. (I really think Marco Rubio would have been a stellar—if not obvious pick—but I'll get over it.)
And I know some would argue that going after Rubio hints the GOP would be catering shamelessly, chasing a few votes while allowing the Democrats to frame the debate. But I'd argue Paul's selection as vice president already does that. Obama’s play, since his record’s so bad—is to run against Romney’s tax returns and a “do-nothing Congress.”
Romney’s puzzling, steadfast refusal to follow tradition feeds Obama’s hype machine every day he sits on those tax returns and shakes his head. And by hand-picking Ryan, Romney’s thrown his lot in with Congress, effectively doubling down on a lot that boasts a 10 percent approval rating.
As a matter of fact, I heard a story a week or so back that reported this Congress had actually passed fewer laws than any in the history of the Union. Remember Truman’s successful run against a do-nothing Congress back in 1948? They actually presided over the Truman doctrine, passed the Taft-Hartley Act and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947. They passed four times as many bills into law than its most recent incarnation. They can’t even get together responsibly to pass a farm bill, extend the Bush era tax cuts or the payroll tax cut.
Granted, an overactive Congress usually turns into more taxation and regulation, but we’re witnessing an historic level of incompetence that borders on job abandonment. Could any of you do so little at work and still take home a paycheck—let alone enjoy so many days off? I know I couldn’t.