It was priceless.
A comedian’s dream.
A pundits paradise.
And quite possilby the single four-word phrase that might torpdeo Mitt Romney’s last chance to win the U.S. Presidency.
In case you missed it, in last night’s presidential debate, Romney was asked in a town hall format about how his presumptive adminstration might provide and protect equal opportuities and pay for women.
For veteran politicians, these are pretty standard run-of-the-mill questions that have been asked numerous times by the public and media alike, which are easy to address. They are political softballs, tailor made to be smacked out to the park by any savvy candidate.
In his rambling two-minute answer, Romney alluded to his first few days as Governor of Massachusetts, when he was eager to staff several key executive vacancies in his new adminstration. No doubt, Romney intended to demonstrate a commitment to equal opportunity and pay for women. Instead, he pulled back a symbolic curtain of sorts, unmasking himself to be anything other than an equal opportunity “Oz” in the increasingly bubble-prone Mitt Fantasyland.
In a proverbial sense, Rome is burning to the ground. And, while much of our national economy lays in ashes and the American Dream smolders in flames, all anyone seems to be talking about is the opera.
That’s the terrible tragedy of tonight’s Presidential Debate, which has been covered and discussed more like the buildup to a Super Bowl game rather than any bona fide exchange of real ideas and actual substance that will solve some very serious problems. At this moment, parading around out in front of the arena where the debate will take place, thousands of “fans” are holding signs cheering for their side. One would think Ohio State is playing Michigan. It’s a contest of who can scream the loudest or who can make the cleverest sign.
Indeed, the gravity of our nation’s problems are very real and quite serious. Yet — while a senseless foreign war continues, while we continue to bleed ourselves dry policing the entire world, while we drown by the trillions in debt, while our inner cities crumble, while affordable health care is more costly and out of reach than ever before, and while millions of Americans remain hopelessly out of work, after tonight’s debate everyone’s going to be asking one utterly baffling question — “who won?”
I’d like to ask my own question — why are we focusing on “who won?” As long as we focus on such trivialities, then we all lose.
Here’s a multiple choice question — Pick the only one of the four candidates on this year’s presidential ticket who is a Protestant:
A. Paul Ryan
B. Mitt Romney
C. Joe Biden
D. Barack Obama
If you guessed “D,” Barack Obama — you got it right.
Yet irony of all ironies, the man often accused of being a Muslim by millions of Protestant fanatics is, in fact, one of their own. He’s the only one of the four candidates in this year’s race who professes to be a Protestant. Romney, of course, is Mormon. Ryan and Biden are both Catholics.
Not that this will matter. This year, Protestants will vote in overwhelming numbers for Romney and Ryan – which are more inclined to be “anti-Obama” votes than a genuine show of enthusiasm for their own ticket. Fortunately, those numbers are continuing to show a steady decline as more and more Americans sever their lives being tethered to a fairy tale.
The most recent poll results of religion and politics in America reveals some encouraging news. For the first time since this nation was founded in 1776, fewer than half of the population identifies themselves as Protestants. Think about that for a moment, and consider the ramifications – which we’ll get to in a minute.
That question was posed to me in an email I received this morning from some conservative political group.
It’s a simple question.
Channeling then-candidate Ronald Reagan’s devastating quip from the 1980 Presidential Debates, 11 simple words which effectively ended Jimmy Carter’s political career, has pretty much become the It’s a Wonderful Life of every election cycle. The cozy campaign chestnut is replayed and parroted so frequently (usually by the challenger) that just as soon as the first couple of words are pronounced, a hundred million listeners can complete the sentence on their own. It’s almost like Name that Tune.
Hey, I can name that tune in three notes. All Mitt Romney has to do is cue up the intro, “Are you better…….?”
We all know the rest.
The question is effective because it’s thought provoking.
So, let me give you an answer.
Writer’s Note: This marks the first time I’ve written about the events of September 11, 2001. I resided at 1201 South Eads Street, located in the Crystal City section of Arlington, Virginia. My ninth-floor residence at The Bennington overlooked the Pentagon. I remember that morning.