Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Bird Had It

Every weekday for the last couple months, every since I moved to the city where the night lights hide the stars, I've had to walk past an Obama campaign office.  I've mused over the little figures of the man and the woman, spray painted onto ye olde style sidewalk in blue and pink, and stylized in that oh-so-familiar way; and I've wondered whether they came with the campaign or were inherited from an earlier occupant of the office.  I've side-stepped to avoid the chalked arrows (also pink and blue, if less highly stylized—an arrow is to begin with that much less complex than a human being to begin with) and chuckled inwardly when the fall rains washed them out every evening after dark.  The arrows lead from the street back into the alley where the office door is located and, along with their obvious ephemorality and with the presence of the little man and the little woman, called to mind the story of Hansel and Gretel.  It was hard not just to taste the windows of the office; I suspected them of being sweet, and I was quite sure that the copy machine made gingerbread men.

That was last week.  This week I found a dead chickadee on the sidewalk.  It was lying on its side, pitifully small and damp, washed up in the same diluvian rain that had wiped out the chalked arrow signs.  I thought it was an omen—of what, I wasn't sure.

Well, now I know.

How did this happen?  In ten reasons or less:

1. Red Striped Tie was clearly going to dominate the Blue Spotted Tie.  They lied to you in school: in political terms blue is a girl's color, a liberal color (and recently reported psychological research has identified the liberal personality as more feminine [and the libertarian as more masculine {which should suprise no one (and makes conservativsm the happy medium [and we all know what Aristotle would say about that])}]).  Red is just more forceful, more type A; red stripes are supremely so.  The only thing Obama could have done worse would have been to pull out the Earth Tones.

2. Romney began with a plan.  Obama began with—remind me again?  Oh yes, with a shoutout to the First Lady, of which more later.

3. Romney likes Big Bird; Obama likes Obamacare.

4. Romney smiled; Obama smirked; Romney gazed; Obama shied.

5. Romney corrected Obama, while Obama attacked Romney.  Each was critical of the other, but the way they criticized each other was different.  Underdogs attack; professors correct.  Which leads me to the next point, namely ...

6. Obama got schooled on economics.  It doesn't matter much for the analysis of the debate whose version of the Wall Street debacle was correct: Romney had a coherent narrative about what happened, while Obama had negative comments.  In fact, Romney's narrative overall was more encompassing, as was especially evident in the way ...

7. Romney reached out to the other side.  Both men claim to be good at the bipartisan thing; and again, one can agree or disagree about the wisdom, prudence, and nobility of professing that attitude.  But Obama simply makes the claim that he is, has been, or will be bipartisan.  Romney spoke in a bipartisan way, admitting the necessity of regulations, educational systems, health care, etc.  You the Liberal might not have liked his policies of federalism, but you felt at least that he understood and cared about the things that concerned you.  He embraced your issues.

8. Romney won the Best Description of how to be bipartisan as well.  Obama: "A fight we needed to have."  Romney: "Not because we're going to compromise our principles, but because we have common ground. ... Both love America."

9. At the same time, Romney kept the conservative rhetoric.  "Too Big to Fail" was a great, damning line to use.  The China critereon ("Is the program so critical that it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?") was even better.

10. But the real reason Obama lost was that he was unhappy.  You didn't have to look hard to see it—it was just there, written all over him.

Why?  Thursday morning the Office Receptionist and I mused over the coffee pot.  Specifically, we mused over Obama's appropriately uxorious reference to his wedding anniversary, and his promise to his wife: "Next year we won't be celebrating it in front of forty million people."  We mused, and we imagined.  We imagined the conversation that went on in the White House Sunday night.
"You mean to tell me you are the leader of the Free World, and you can't move the debate to Tuesday night?"

No offense to the lady: I probably would have said the same. 

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