Some thoughts on various things:
Anger and Humor
The Republicans keep reacting to every Democratic hyperbole with anger. That is the wrong approach. Humor is more effective than anger. I suggest the Republican side produce a commercial with the tag line, “Really?”
Harry Reid said Romney has paid no taxes for the last ten years. Really? Joe Biden said Romney wants to put (Black) Americans in chains. Really??? Making women pay for their own contraceptives ($9.00 a month) instead of making Catholic organizations pay for it is a war on women. Really?????
Rather than get angry, produce an ad showing these statements with an increasing amount of laughter accompanying the “Really?” at each step. If the Republicans can get the public laughing at these claims it will backfire on the Democrats.
The assumption of many Democrats that they are obviously smarter than Republicans constantly amazes me. One of the most breath-taking things I kept hearing after the Ryan announcement was Democrats looking forward to the Biden-Ryan debate.
Biden has been in office for many years which apparently some people think is a sign of intelligence. In reality it seems like every time Biden opens his mouth, he makes a gaffe. In fact, Sarah Palin did far better against Joe Biden than she did “against” Katie Couric. By many measures, Palin-Biden was a draw.
Paul Ryan is a disciplined knowledgeable Washington insider. I don’t think the debate will be close. But the Republicans should let the media and the Democrats run with this idea. Since we all play the expectations game let them keep lowering the expectations for Ryan.
Israel and the U.S. Election
Israel is very concerned about the Iranian nuclear program. I think they are right to be concerned. The animosity between President Obama and Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu is well known. I think it is more than personal.
Netanyahu does not believe that Obama would lift a finger to protect Israel unless there is a political necessity for it. Israel’s government may well believe that if Obama is reelected and never has to face another election, Obama would either not help Israel in a life-and-death conflict or would actively work against Israel.
If it starts to look likely that Obama will win the election, the Israelis may well strike Iran in October. They would do so in the belief that Obama will not walk away from the Jewish vote. If it starts to look like Romney will clearly win, the Israelis will feel safer about the future and be more willing to delay action.
In a close, uncertain, election, I would guess the Israelis will hold off less they be charged with trying to affect the election. But a continuing close election puts them at greater risk of spending the next four years with the possibility of no U.S. support. If you really believe your country faces that risk, what would you do?
I offer the following exercise to anyone who wants to determine if the media is being fair during the election.
Look at the visuals (Newspaper photos, TV shots). If a candidate is shown smiling or surrounded by supporters, count that as a positive. If the candidate is standing alone, count that as a negative (If he can’t draw people to him, how popular can he be?) A really good way to make someone look bad is to catch them in a still shot with their mouth open. If their finger is pointing, it adds to the negative impression.
Count “flag” words. These are supposed to make you doubt what is being said. The favorite flag word is “controversial.” This word means that some people, probably those “whose opinions should count,” think the view is wrong. Also look for quotation marks. You can see them in print and hear them in the speaker’s tone. Quotation marks declare a phrase or idea “controversial.”
Do this for a while and see whether the positives and negatives for the candidates are nearly balanced. If so, you are watching a reasonably fair presentation. If not … well … I leave the conclusion as an exercise for the reader.