I have a few posts in the works, but don’t feel like using any of them today because they deal with uncovering false issues in the presidential election like the future of Medicare. I’m sick of uncovering false issues, made sicker by knowing we have 70 days left of this.
While I still believe the Republicans didn’t want Medicare to be a battle ground, they seem to have gained traction with a couple attack ads – both misleading but if it works it works. A couple of days ago, the Republicans launched a clever new add portraying Obama as a two-faced flip-flopper when he attacked John McCain’s proposed cuts to Medicare in 2008, and now has made “cuts” himself (a link is at the bottom). Well, Obama’s attack back then was misleading and this new one is even more so. It reminds me of the English nursery rhyme “there was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile…” Who has the time to straighten it all out?
The Republicans are likely buoyed enough by this narrative success to pound out some more largely misleading sound bites. I bet the Obama camp has some effective sound bites of their own in the wings, largely misleading, too. It boils down to who will win the battle of the narrative, on Medicare and whatever else makes a good target for distortion, neither side addressing our real problems in a real way.
Who can distort reality most effectively to win the Presidential game, the honor of becoming captain of our Titanic? In terms of our overall fiscal problems, I doubt it matters much. Unless one side sweeps the Presidency and both houses of Congress, which would amaze me, our ship of state will likely keep creaking along towards the big whirlpool of rapidly increasing debt.
No matter, I want Obama to win for several reasons, the least patriotic being some bets I have on the outcome. As I have indicated in other posts, the election handicapper I have most faith in is Nate Silver, whose fivethirtyeight.blog gives Romney relatively little chance to win, which has been the case for months now. I listen to Nate because he was right about 49 of the 50 states in the last presidential election and in reading his posts I see a very bright mind at work.
An example of that is his latest post examining Michigan and why he sees it favoring Democrats despite some poll evidence that it is a toss up. His analysis is worth skimming, at least, as it illustrates the depth of his thinking and sophistication of his methods.
Since I’ve already read that piece, and it is a sunny day in Del Mar, I’m headed to the beach with my lawn chair and a Racing Form.
P. S. – If you want to check out that ” two-faced” Obama ad, go to the Washington Post’s fact checker Glenn Kessler, who also offers lots of information to help clarify the so-called Medicare debate if you’re interested.
If you want a short, centrist perspective on the demagoguing of the Medicare issue by both parties, see Bill Galston, a fellow at Brookings, the most commonly cited research institute, arguably because it is the most impartial.