Obama Wins. But At What Cost?

In a disturbing result bearing ominous portents for the economic, social and military stability of the United States — and, to an extent, the rest of the Western world — President Barack Obama has been re-elected by the narrowest of margins. His new four-year term promises to be a rough ride.

Is this a legitimate win by Obama? Of course it is; he won the popular vote, the votes in most of the so-called “swing states,” and he won the electoral college.

There is a saying in Australia that Australians get the governments they deserve; I’d imagine many Americans would be saying the same thing right about now. But enough of them voted for Obama to re-elect him and so, for the next four years, the rest of them are stuck with him.

Aren’t we all?

The Red And The Blue, whilst heartily disappointed that Obama remains as President, nevertheless wishes to extend congratulations to him on his election win today; at the very minimum, we can at least say it is the last time such pleasantries will be required.

Because whilst Obama is a good and decent man, his ideas leave everything to be desired, and with the mess the United States is in at present it is to be hoped the honourable gentleman deploys a rather different approach to the next four years to the last four.

This election really mattered; the US economy is in the toilet, for starters.

For all the talk of auto industry bailouts in Ohio, the wider economic problem persists: stubbornly high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, negligible domestic consumer confidence, the obscene practice of printing dollars to artificially deflate the US economy, and federal debt running at 107% of GDP.

In turn — to a country like Australia — these measures translate to an overvalued currency that hurts Australian businesses (whilst nonetheless failing to effect the intended correction in the US), softening export markets, sagging inbound tourism numbers, and an increased cost of capital for businesses and banks operating in this country. Just to name a few of the ill-effects of President Obama.

Are there other partners of the US on whom this administration has not adversely impacted? I doubt it.

It is true that Obama inherited an economy from George W. Bush in a disparate state, partly on account of the so-called GFC, which in turn was partly the result of poor prudential regulation in the USA by administrations of both political stripes stretching over decades.

In short, after four years, Obama should have made a difference.

The fact that his administration has failed to do so has nothing to do with George W. Bush, or the Republican Party, or the GFC.

But it has much to do with the fact Obama isn’t a leader’s bootlace: even in the first part of his term, with control of Congress, he enacted nothing which has proven to be of economic benefit in the latter.

Rather, it has been more important to play games, blame Republicans, reject negotiated outcomes and consensus measures, and engage in the rhetoric of utopian left-wing social nirvana.

The rhetoric, mind; aside from the detested so-called Obamacare package, Obama has achieved little in terms of meaningful outcomes.

This is an administration that has failed to pass a budget in almost four years; never mind the fact the US Constitution says it will be done once per year.

This is an administration under whose watch government debt has ballooned to US$16 trillion, or 107% of GDP.

This is an administration which has overlooked its traditional allies in favour of currying sympathy with the regimes of murderous despots in the hope appeasement will simply make them disappear from the radar.

And this is an administration which has actively hacked away at the US defence capability and the budget that underpins it, and this includes the strategic forces — at a time when emerging and resurgent rivals in China and Russia are expanding or modernising their capabilities, and at a time when the US and its allies face unprecedented security threats from a range of malevolent entities across the world.

And the snub of Israel — and, by extension, of the Jewish people generally — is despicable.

Yet this has been the face of government in the US for four years, and so it will be for another four.

We believe that Mitt Romney was a flawed yet worthy candidate; whether he was or not, however, is immaterial, on one consideration: after the past four years, anyone could have done better than Obama has.

And so the buck stops with Obama — again.

We hope that in the coming four years, Obama embraces the spirit of bipartisanship, because if he doesn’t, nothing will get done in Washington.

Unlike other democracies, Obama does not have the option of early elections to fall back on.

And in any case, an insistence on his way or the highway — when the US really isn’t in good shape anyway — simply won’t cut it.

Obama might be President, but he also has a responsibility to uphold his country’s constitution, and to govern for all of its citizens — not simply a select few.

And if that means working with his enemies in Congress, so be it: the buck stops with Obama.

It is to be hoped that the left-wing social agenda is to be put aside in deference to four years of grinding, orthodox, dour government delivering services, policy outcomes and tangible results.

And it needs to be pointed out that the black and Latino and other communities which have voted for Mr Obama — and which experience disproportionately extreme levels of poverty and unemployment compared to the national average — now have Obama and his Democratic Party to blame for their continuing plight, and not the white establishment historically held out as responsible for their misfortune.

For if Obama is their “saviour” then save them he must — and to fail them is to commit a flagrant moral breach of trust with those who have entrusted him with helping them to improve their lot as citizens of the American republic.

Mitt Romney — accepting his party’s nomination for the Presidency back in September, pointed out that

“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans…and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”

For everybody’s sake, Obama would be well advised to forget about this ridiculous and undeliverable mantra of contemporary socialist posturing, and get on with helping the families of his countrymen.

There are plenty of inherent risks in the continuation of this Presidency. None of us really wants to see them played out. But unless he changes tack now, Obama is doomed to fail. The consequences could be disastrous.

So much for a triumph.

Secretly, perhaps Obama wishes this was the election he might have lost.

Congratulations again, Mr President.

US Election: Mitt Romney For President Of The United States

Counting will shortly commence in the United States to determine whether Barack Obama will be re-elected, or whether Mitt Romney will become the 45th President of the United States. And whilst The Red And The Blue endorses the Republican Romney, we also believe he is likely to be elected.

Had Hillary Clinton edged out Barack Obama in the knife-edged contest for the Democratic nomination to contest the presidency in 2008 — and gone on to preside over the same administration Obama has — this column believes that Clinton would, today, be staring down the barrel of a 50-state landslide defeat at the hands of Romney.

The fact today’s election is competitive at all has everything to do with the “star quality,” or the “magic,” of Barack Obama, and little to do with the record of his administration.

Obama — elected four years ago, in the depths of the worst recession to hit the US since the 1930s — has been a serial underperformer, and a disappointment; overall unemployment figures in the US are only fractionally lower than they were in 2008, and only then because millions of Americans have given up looking for work.

The once-mighty American economy is growing at a snail’s pace; and US prestige abroad, on Obama’s watch, is undergoing its most serious decline since that country’s humiliation in the fiasco of its Vietnam war effort.

US debt has increased by 60% in four years, to US$16 trillion, at the same time as Obama has been preoccupied with “Obamacare” and other grand gestures of the socialist Left, whose bona fides as ideals are beyond reproach, but which lack utterly any meaningful or practical import when implemented as actual measures.

And Obama has been a risk to international relations and to world stability; his persistent snub to Israel — whilst courting the fundamentalist regimes in its backyard — are a good example. His apparent determination to resume the policy of “splendid isolation” practised by the USA prior to the second world war is another.

There is also ample evidence that Obama has refused — or is simply unable — to work with a hostile Congress to achieve meaningful legislative outcomes, or at least since his Democratic Party lost control of the House of Representatives two years ago.

Yet there is little — if any — evidence that Clinton would have done any better; indeed, with what Obama lacks in terms of a slate of real achievement to point to, he at least resonates on a personal level with ordinary Americans.

The abrasive Clinton — whilst highly respected for her abilities, and rightly so — can’t even claim that, and as a standard-bearer the same left-wing agenda as Obama, it is fair to say that a Clinton presidency over the past four years would have been an unmitigated disaster.

That said, Republican challenger Mitt Romney arrives at today’s moment of reckoning as something of an enigma in spite of the campaign, and as something of an unknown despite his record as a former Governor of Massachusetts.

On one level, Romney (or any other Republican challenger) should, by rights, arrive at the 2012 election with little if any entitlement to expect to win, given the mess the USA was in at the conclusion of the Presidency of George W. Bush four years ago.

Then again, the Republican message that the four years Obama has had is long enough to expect to see results is actually absolutely correct.

As I said at the outset, the fact today’s election is competitive at all has everything to do with Barack Obama personally, and were it a simple referendum on the results or otherwise of his administration, the Republicans would be in line to romp home.

Simply stated, the election is more about the two candidates; even many on the Left — in the US, here in Australia and elsewhere in the world — concede, to varying degrees, that Obama’s administration has underperformed.

Readers will know that this column originally backed former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich to contest this election against Obama, and whilst we believe Mitt Romney has fought the best campaign possible by a Republican candidate, his candidacy will be one of many subjects covered in a post-mortem review should Obama be re-elected today, especially if by a narrow margin.

Yet in endorsing Romney in a straight contest with Obama, it is his policy focuses on families, business and reordering US military priorities, backed by his expertise in business and his success as a Republican governor in Democratic-controlled Massachusetts, that we believe deserving of support from the US public.

And in regard to Barack Obama, we would make the simple observation that “social agendas” are well and good, but with the country teetering on the brink of bankruptcy — with government debt running at 107% of GDP, in large part the result of his own Presidency — “social agendas” are simply not the priority the Left, the world over, present them to be.

Little has been made during this campaign of Romney’s religious status as the first Mormon to contest the US presidency, and rightly so; we believe this to be irrelevant.

Similarly, and in spite of the best efforts of the likes of businessman Donald Trump, the so-called birther conspiracy surrounding Barack Obama has been the non-event it should be.

We endorse Mitt Romney to be elected today as the 45th President of the United States, and expect that he will be, although we agree with the conventional wisdom that the contest, as it plays out with actual votes rather than opinion poll results and whichever way resolved, will be exceedingly close.

Polls close progressively during the day, commencing on the east coast and including states such as New York at 7pm ET (10am AEDT), with results coming through over the ensuing hours.

We look forward to following the count as the day unfolds, and will comment again once the overall results become known and the outcome of the contest becomes clear.

Blast From The Past: Old-Fashioned Rhetoric, Or Simple Common Sense?

Late last night, with a little time to myself, I found myself watching clips of Ronald Reagan speeches; I thought that if we were all to take off our partisan and opinionated hats and have a look at these closely, there’s a story there — one which reflects on all of us pretty poorly.

Readers know that I have been following the US election closely; I also think most of you know that articles at The Red And The Blue have been very sparse owing to the disproportionate amount of time I have spent these past few months on a major project I’ve been working on with my media hat on. Often, it’s only after midnight that I get a little (if any) time to post, and whilst that will resolve fairly soon, it’s odd what turns up in the wee small hours.

I found some old clips of Ronald Reagan speaking last night, and have posted one here that I encourage everyone to watch. It’s only a few minutes long, and it will make sense of the comments I wish to make.

Just for a little perspective: the speech was given in 1964, two years before Reagan became Governor of California, and 16 years before he won the US Presidency; Reagan was speaking in support of that year’s Republican candidate for the Presidency, Barry Goldwater, who of course suffered one of the heaviest defeats of a Republican candidate in US history at the hands of Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson.

It was the height of the Cold War, and two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962; and whilst the issues of the day were, in many ways, far more serious than what passes for retail politics today, there was still room for sloganeering.

Reagan makes a reference to “(knowing) in their hearts…” which is a direct lift from Goldwater’s election slogan, “In your heart, you know he’s right,” and which in turn was parodied by the Democrats to deadly effect — motivated by the Democratic position that Goldwater’s policies on the Soviet Union would ignite a nuclear war — as “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”

(But I digress…)

The reason I wanted to post this, having spent my short stipend of time last night looking for clips on YouTube of news digests from the USA covering the past few days of campaigning, is that it occurs to me that Reagan (and some of his contemporaries) exercised professional political communication as an art, not the degraded brawling drudge that the grind of politics has become today.

Reagan — the “Gipper,” the Great Communicator — was a masterful politician, with a skill for mass political communication as simple as it was devastating.

Have a listen again to the clip I’ve posted. These are complex (and to some extent, dangerous) ideas from a complex and enigmatic figure in Reagan, communicated in stark simplicity yet to great effect, and with the brutal import of the full weight of the message he seeks to convey present in every sentence.

It really doesn’t matter whether you stand on the left or right of the political spectrum (a divide broadly between Liberals and Conservatives/Democrats and Republicans in the US, and between Labor and Liberal in Australia); it isn’t even necessary to particularly like Ronald Reagan, or other politicians of his generation across the Western world.

The point is that our own politicians are shameful by comparison. Go back over the speech. Can anyone seriously imagine Julia Gillard droning boringly on, with her nasal twang and that frightful accent, and covering the issues Reagan speaks about with even a modicum of the effectiveness of the Reagan speech? Or Tony Abbott, aaah-ing and halting and smirking his way through a speech on the same terms?

More to the point, would anyone pay much attention to either of them in such a circumstance?

It’s little wonder that politics and politicians are sometimes held in such low regard these days for a range of reasons, but watching this old clip last night, it hit me right between the eyes that the most basic problem — at the most fundamental of levels — is that our politicians don’t speak to people.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? At least it sounds like a silly thing to say until you realise it’s actually true.

Politics is many things; the art of the possible, governed by the numbers, the way to change the world, or whatever other prism through which you care to look at it.

But politicians in Australia — on both sides of politics, at all levels of government, and across the country — are all guilty of transmogrifying into regurgitators of scripted remarks for television airtime opportunities rather than being the communicative link between the people and their governments that they should be.

The most imbecilic and moronic manifestation of this in recent years was that stupid “Moving Forward” line Gillard used during the last election campaign, even in sentences and contexts in which it was totally inappropriate.

Not to be outdone, however, Abbott scores a close second with some of his more shrill pronouncements on the carbon tax.

I’d like to hear what people think — if, after another involuntary hiatus in posting articles my readers are still here, that is! Seriously, though — I could have picked a clip from one of a dozen leaders from the 1960s instead of the one from Reagan; even our own Bob Menzies, or Britain’s Harold Wilson, are contemporaries of Reagan who  exemplify the point I’m making.

And in singling Australian politicians out — and some of them must rank among the worst in the democratic world in terms of communication skills — my point is borne out by the contrastingly reasoned, reasonable and authentic campaigns being conducted by Mitt Romney and Barack Obama for the US Presidency at present, weighed against what will almost certainly be a further onslaught of verbal diarrhoea from our own politicians in the run-up to next year’s federal election.

Would you pay more attention to politicians if they actually spoke to their audience — even if you disagreed with their message — instead of spouting slickly packaged spin lines?

Or when it comes to politics and politicians, is it literally a case of a pox upon both their houses for you…and best left at that?


US Election: Picking A President, And Said Better Than I Could

As readers know, The Red And The Blue is keeping an eye on the election campaign underway in America for the Presidency; today I share from a newspaper in Orlando, Florida, that sums up my thoughts beautifully, warts and all — endorsements, reservations, approval and misgivings.

I saw the piece reproduced below early yesterday morning, and simply had to share this; readers are aware that whilst I endorse Mitt Romney to defeat US President Barack Obama, that position comes with extensive qualifications attached to it (in short, Newt Gingrich would have been a better conservative option).

I have been trying to attach this article with a screen shot but am not across the technological know-how (any helpful suggestions from fellow bloggers?) And so I have simply reproduced the text instead in order to share it. (Americanisms, grammar faults etc are left exactly as they appear in the article; I have however removed a number of hyperlinks for the purposes of this blog post).

The one qualification I make on the editorial piece below is that whilst I agree with the Sentinel that Obama is not “a business-hating socialist,” I certainly think he is a socialist, no less.

(For those who wish to do so, the original page from the Orlando Sentinel can be viewed here.)

Our pick for president: Romney

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to supporters during a campaign rally on October 11, 2012 in Asheville, North Carolina.

Two days after his lackluster first debate performance, President Barack Obama’s re-election hopes got a timely boost. The government’s monthly jobless report for September showed the nation’s unemployment rate fell below 8 percent for the first time since he took office.

If that were the only metric that mattered, the president might credibly argue that the U.S. economy was finally on the right track. Unfortunately for him, and for the American people, he can’t.

Economic growth, three years into the recovery, is anemic. Family incomes are down, poverty is up. Obama’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, highlighted these and other hard truths in this week’s second debate.

Even the September jobless numbers deserve an asterisk, because more than 4 million Americans have given up looking for work since January 2009.

And while the nation’s economy is still sputtering nearly four years after Obama took office, the federal government is more than $5 trillion deeper in debt. It just racked up its fourth straight 13-figure shortfall.

We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years. For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race.

Obama’s defenders would argue that he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression, and would have made more progress if not for obstruction from Republicans in Congress. But Democrats held strong majorities in the House and Senate during his first two years.

Other presidents have succeeded even with the other party controlling Capitol Hill. Democrat Bill Clinton presided over an economic boom and balanced the budget working with Republicans. Leaders find a way.

With Obama in charge, the federal government came perilously close to a default last year. Now it’s lurching toward another crisis with the impending arrival of massive tax hikes and spending cuts on Jan. 1.

The next president is likely to be dealing with a Congress where at least one, if not both, chambers are controlled by Republicans. It verges on magical thinking to expect Obama to get different results in the next four years.

Two years ago, a bipartisan panel the president appointed recommended a 10-year, $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan. Rather than embrace it and sell it to the American people, Obama took his own, less ambitious plan to Congress, where it was largely ignored by both parties.

Now the president and his supporters are attacking Romney because his long-term budget blueprint calls for money-saving reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, three of the biggest drivers of deficit spending. Obama would be more credible in critiquing the proposal if he had a serious alternative for bringing entitlement spending under control. He doesn’t.

Romney is not our ideal candidate for president. We’ve been turned off by his appeals to social conservatives and immigration extremists. Like most presidential hopefuls, including Obama four years ago, Romney faces a steep learning curve on foreign policy.

But the core of Romney’s campaign platform, his five-point plan, at least shows he understands that reviving the economy and repairing the government’s balance sheet are imperative — now, not four years in the future.

Romney has a strong record of leadership to run on. He built a successful business. He rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and mismanagement. As governor of Massachusetts, he worked with a Democrat-dominated legislature to close a $3billion budget deficit without borrowing or raising taxes, and pass the health plan that became a national model.

This is Romney’s time to lead, again. If he doesn’t produce results — even with a hostile Senate — we’ll be ready in 2016 to get behind someone else who will.

We reject the innuendo that some critics have heaped on the president. We don’t think he’s a business-hating socialist. We don’t think he’s intent on weakening the American military. We don’t think he’s unpatriotic. And, no, we don’t think he was born outside the United States.

But after reflecting on his four years in the White House, we also don’t think that he’s the best qualified candidate in this race.

We endorse Mitt Romney for president.

Copyright © 2012, Orlando Sentinel

US Polls And A Note On Misogyny

I’m going to be in Sydney for the day today on business, and won’t be back in Melbourne until very late tonight; as a result, it’s unlikely I’ll get to post again in detail until tomorrow night, AEST.

I just want to note that polling in the USA in the wake of Mitt Romney’s convincing win in the recent US Presidential Election debate has since shown the margin between the candidates narrowing; now, one new poll puts Romney in front of Obama for the first time since accepting his party’s nomination, by four points, with the race also narrowing in a slew of hotly contested swing states.

Additionally, the fallout from Tuesday’s spectacular parliamentary sitting, across Question Time and the resignation of Peter Slipper has been fascinating; the article I have promised readers on the whole women/misogyny theme currently dominating Australian politics will indeed still be forthcoming — most likely at the weekend.

I wish my readers the top of the day, and look forward to being back to this column in the next day or so.

US Presidency: Romney Trounces Obama In Election Debate

In a very impressive — if not quite stellar — performance, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney scored a big win yesterday over President Barack Obama in the first of three debates before elections on 6 November. The win puts Romney back on course for an historic victory.

“90 minutes of Mitt Magic” was how one US news site called the debate, and indeed, it seemed Romney had found a second wind; energised and across his material, the GOP challenger virtually humiliated his more fancied opponent, the incumbent President, and an orator of some repute.

As the year-long presidential race in the US nears its zenith, the traditional election debates often yield the pivotal point in American politics at which one candidate accelerates away from the other and on to victory, as Reagan did in 1980, or at which one candidate simply sinks, as happened to George Bush Sr in 1992.

But yesterday’s debate, at the minimum, represents the point at which Romney’s campaign regained traction, the candidate found his mojo, and at which the easy election win assumed in many quarters to be in the bag for Barack Obama became a struggle to keep up.

Mitt Romney’s campaign has been troubled ever since the highly successful Republican National Congress last month; a litany of gaffes and controversies — such as the emergence of his damning remarks that he didn’t care about 47% of the US public — have seen his overall position erode from a slight lead to a modest but widening deficit across most reputable opinion polls.

Indeed, the key threads of discussion of Romney have been his perceived aloofness, being out of touch, and his inability to connect with or relate to ordinary Americans in their daily lives.

Not now.

Polls and other opinion measurement activities conducted across the USA in the debate’s aftermath unanimously showed Romney the winner; indeed, one poll undertaken by CNN showed that 67% of its viewers thought Romney the better of the two compared to just 25% for Obama.

Significantly, 51% of respondents said Romney’s performance made them more inclined to vote for him — and on a “more likely to vote” question, 51% is a stunning figure to record.

And given some 60 million US viewers (or 20% of the country’s total population) are said to have watched the debate, numbers like those are a potent indicator that whilst voters may not yet be convinced, there is great interest in Romney and a mood for change that will propel him into the White House — if he can harness it.

The message has been the same across the United States.

It was clear from the outset that Romney had come to play; once the opening pleasantries were out of the way it was down to business, and Romney had Obama on the back foot from the outset.

Well-prepared and articulate, Romney began to articulate his vision to restore US prosperity by re-energising the middle class, including universal tax cuts paid for by the closure of tax loopholes and a crackdown on deductions, whilst maintaining an adequate safety net for those “unable to help themselves.”

Interjections and rebuttals from Obama were put down with ease; nobody could call Romney’s performance arrogant or cocky, but such was his command on the encounter between the two men, it was Romney’s assertions that generally prevailed.

Obama, by contrast, barely laid a glove on his challenger, and the President’s body language told the story: often looking into his lap, shaking his head or snickering quietly over his notes, Obama cut, at times, an almost forlorn figure.

Surprisingly, the expected negatives Obama was expected to deploy against Romney — the “47%” gaffe, accusations of costing errors in Romney’s policy plans, and the latter’s use of offshore tax havens, and so forth — were either omitted from the President’s performance altogether, or neutralised by the Romney counterstrokes.

Traditionally, it is the first of the three presidential debates in the US that carries the most weight in campaign terms, and whilst Obama theoretically has two more opportunities to wrong-foot Romney, it is clear that the challenger has drawn first blood.

So where to from here, and what does it all mean?

I’d make the observation that whilst I thought Newt Gingrich was the GOP’s best hope of beating Obama this year, Romney has at least shown he has what it takes to get this far; the first debate has proven that whilst his campaign may have been mired in (largely self-inflicted) trouble until now, when he hits his stride Romney is as impressive as anyone on the campaign circuit.

The rolling basket of US opinion poll averages most recently showed Obama with a slight overall lead, at 49% to Romney’s 46%, on 29 September. It’ll take a few days for any impact from the debate to filter through, but even movement of a few points will be enough to put Romney back into the lead — and running with the wind at his back — with a little over four weeks until polling day.

Obama, for his part, has spent today at Democratic Party rallies, and exuding the energy and attack that singularly and spectacularly eluded him in the debate; preaching to the converted now might be well and good, but the real money opportunity was a day earlier, and Obama blew that badly — and he knows it.

Significantly, the negative issues around Romney he failed to run with in the debate will be harder — if not impossible — for Obama to use now without generating the appearance of panic and an atmosphere of desperation; even if these items were so important and pivotal, their moment has now passed.

And such was Romney’s confidence following his win in the debate that he was able, today, to withdraw and disown his infamous “47%” gaffe with nary a word of remonstration or rebuttal from anyone.

There is a single debate coming up between the Vice-Presidential candidates, Joe “sort of a grin with a smile attached” Biden, for Obama, and Paul Ryan for Romney; given the increasing centrality of economic considerations in this campaign — and given the economic near-brilliance of Ryan — it’s hard to see Romney/Ryan ceding any ground to “That Grin” in the VP debate.

And in a welcome piece of economic news for the Obama camp, a small fall in unemployment in the US announced today of 0.3 percentage points — bringing unemployment to 7.8% — simply adds to the complexity of the jigsaw that is this presidential campaign puzzle.

My call is still that Romney and Ryan are likely to be elected on 6 November, and that Obama will join Jimmy Carter and George Bush Sr in the history of oblivion as the only one-term administrations in the US since 1933.*

Having said that, the political and electoral fortunes of Willard Mitt Romney have risen, and fallen, and risen again, this election season — and whilst I’m reasonably certain he will beat Obama, I wouldn’t be betting any money on it.

*Roosevelt/Truman, Kennedy/Johnson and Nixon/Ford aren’t counted as one-term administrations here, as a change of President occurred mid-term as a result of the death, assassination and resignation respectively of the incumbent President.

Great Laugh: Double Entendre On The Campaign Trail In The USA

Tonight I am very happy to share one of those rare times the political process offers up a great old belly laugh; US Vice-President Joe Biden — or more correctly, his wife — has kicked a massive own goal on the campaign trail, much to the delight of supporters and opponents alike.

I thought I would feature this tonight — let’s be honest, although there have been serious issues to canvass over the past week, we’ve all taken them fairly seriously as well — and something a little lighter, prior to the start of a new week, is welcome.

Imagine the brouhaha, then, when Jill Biden — wife of Joe, Vice-President of the USA and standing for re-election with Barack Obama — introduces her husband at a campaign function, and inadvertently implies ol’ Joe is…well, very well endowed…

Biden — who was described by Clint Eastwood at the recent Republican National Convention as “kind of a grin with a body attached to it” — lived up to the description as he smirked, smiled, and eventually lost it as his wife’s remarks rolled fatefully along their course.

I can’t stand the sight of Biden; the smug smarm and — yes — that grin grate on my senses to the point of virtual intolerability.

Tonight, however, I just have to laugh along, like the rest of them did…

As an aside, this is the sort of thing political campaigns can’t engineer, and they gift something no amount of campaign donations can ever buy: warm, sincere spontaneity, underwritten by the fact that had it been planned, it would never have worked.

So — whilst I sincerely hope Mitt Romney beats Obama and Biden — I’m happy, just this once, to give a little air to their campaign, and invite you to watch this video of Jill Biden “keeping it real.”