Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
Americans need to take a deep breath and consider the fact that we live today in a world where the nominees from the two major parties appear likely to be two Catholics, a Mormon, and an African American. Thomas Jefferson, what do you think of this country now?
Obama appears to have a serious problem with business and businesses—not business people. As one of the “heads” on a news program observed today, Obama has shown very little understanding, appreciation, or interest in business and its importance to America. Many business executives were excited by his candidacy and were serious financial supporters in 2008. While they may eventual be there for him again this fall, there is very little enthusiasm because they feel he is so detached from their goals and aspirations. A psychiatrist friend also mentioned that among his patients are very high level business people who were big Obama supporters and now are not sure whether they will support him again. He added that these are execs with genuine social consciences who care about the safety net, but they just do not have a comfort level with Obama.
The Romney-Ryan ticket based on the first few days of campaigning looks like it is becoming the Ryan-Romney team. It is Ryan who is exciting the crowds and interest on the stump. He appears to be dragging along the presumptive presidential nominee along with him. Voters continue to see Romney as detached, stiff, and almost bored, while Ryan is young, excited, charismatic, and fun. So far the issues are so confusing and Romney-Ryan have not gotten themselves sufficiently untracked that the actual nitty-gritty of the debate with Obama is yet to begin. In addition, the very real differences in the GOP team have yet to be addressed in a formal manner. The Romney plan versus the Ryan budget versus the party platform has not been sorted out by the candidates, let alone when confronting Obama himself and his own agenda. It may become clearer when the Republican platform is released.
Paul Ryan’s trip to Las Vegas to meet with Sheldon Adelson was strange, transparent, and tasteless. Strange because Adelson presumably had settled on supporting Romney regardless of whom he chose as his running mate. Sending Ryan almost immediately to Nevada showed that Romney was afraid of some type of negative response from Adelson, were Romney not to show proper homage to the casino billionaire owner. Transparent because Romney realized that the trip would only evoke negative demonstrations against the ticket in a battleground state, which it did. Adelson wanted something that even the Koch brothers have not received. Tasteless because Ryan’s meeting with Adelson was a further obvious play for Jewish votes from a man who can produce little beyond what he has done already except for more money and does not, by virtue of this meeting, now cloak Ryan with foreign policy expertise.
We did not need Howard Kurtz in the Daily Beast, among others, to debunk the rumor that Obama was going to surprise everyone and replace Biden with Hillary. Sure Biden mis-spoke in Virginia and he no doubt will do so again. (That is the liability of Joe Biden and Obama knows it.) Admittedly, his debate with Ryan will be a much more serious challenge than he had four years ago with Sarah Palin, but the only debate that counts is the first one; baring an enormous faux pas. The President and Biden seem to have developed a workable arrangement, especially when it comes to national security policy. Biden gives Obama a sober, realist assessment of foreign policy issues, without disregarding the President’s political needs; which will be less when Obama is running for history and not for votes. Finally, the President may get along better or even fairly well with the Secretary of State, but he is not ready to have Bill hanging around the White House for four years.