Closing Arguments Reveal That Both Presidential Candidates Are Full of It

As voting day draws near, President Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney are both rolling out their closing arguments, which turn out to be more or less the same arguments they’ve both been making since the presidential campaign began. Both candidates aim to highlight their core messages in their final appeal to potential voters, but end up highlighting how empty their campaigns have been.

Romney remains unabashedly willing to stake out contradictory, vague, or simply ludicrous positions. According to CNN, for example, he wants to remind potential voters about “his plan to put the country back on track to a balanced budget,” and also that he wants to reverse President Obama’s cuts to military spending and cuts to Medicare. He wants to talk up the virtues of free trade while taking a tougher line on China that could spark a trade war. He wants to stress the need for “fundamental tax reform” but doesn’t want to provide the necessary details to show it might work. And his campaign says he’ll reiterate his promise to achieve North American energy independence by 2020, an old gimmick of a promise that won’t happen.

The broader theme of Romney’s final push? Painting a picture of a Romney presidency on day one. Which is fittingly ironic for a candidate who has run a campaign determined to evade most questions about how he would govern on any day he’s in office, from first to last. What Romney’s closing argument tells us is what the rest of his campaign told us: that he’s a political shape-shifter who wants to be president, and will say whatever he thinks is most likely to get him the gig.

Speaking of gigs, President Obama is dropping some old hits into his final-week set list. Not only is the president playing hope and change again, telling his less-fired-up supporters that “I know what change looks like because I fought for it,” he’s also making sure that everyone knows his GOP rival won’t be able to play a convincing cover version. Romney’s “saying he’s the candidate of change,” Obama said at a rally this morning. “Well let me tell you, Wisconsin, we know what change looks like, and what the governor’s offering sure ain’t change.”

“Giving power back to the biggest banks isn’t change,” Obama said, according to TPM. “Leaving millions without health insurance isn’t change.” But apparently keeping a sitting president in power is. “The protectors of the status quo are a powerful force in Washington,” Obama warned. “And over the last four years, every time we’ve tried to make a change, they’ve fought back with everything they’ve got.” Which is exactly what Obama, fighting to keep his job after four years in which his approval ratings sank, is doing now.

So as the election closes, here’s where we’re at: The incumbent president is positioning himself as a challenger to the status quo and an agent of change that his opponent is not, while the policy-details-averse alleged budget cutter is reminding people of the spending he wants to restore and inviting people to imagine the particulars of the way he would govern. It’s a choice between bad policies versus no policies, between two candidates with little to offer but reasons why the other guy stinks. Neither has a real vision for the future, except to either protect or do over the past. So while both candidates are selling change to a dissatisfied public, their closing arguments serve as a reminder that whoever wins, the dismal reality of politics-as-usual is bound to stay the same.

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  • ||

    In short, both Romney and Obama are state-adoring douchebags.

    Wow. This is one encouraging election we have coming up. There's none of that awful, freedom-loving Americanism evil racists like Ron Paul were leaning towards -- only purest of intentions and authoritarianism deepening before us.

    ELECTION 2012 YEEHAW HOPE AND CHANGE WE CAN YES

  • Libertarian||

    Finally!!! A reason to vote FOR Obama!

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney on Thursday, saying the incumbent Democrat will bring critically needed leadership to fight climate change after the East Coast devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy.

    Both candidates had eagerly sought the nod from Bloomberg, who didn't endorse a presidential candidate in 2008 and has publicly grumbled about both Obama and Romney. But Bloomberg said the possibility that Sandy resulted from climate change had made the stakes of the election that much clearer.

    http://news.yahoo.com/york-may.....ction.html

  • RBS||

    The stupid, it burns.

  • Killazontherun||

    Romney dodged a bullet there. His people should have a whisper campaign that Bloomberg's only real concern is an investigation of Bloomberg's administration that has been stalled out for years at the Obama Justice Department (I just assume they keep tabs on everyone in politics shit. How else is Eric not a resident of the iron bar hotel?).

  • Killazontherun||

    But Bloomberg said the possibility that Sandy resulted from climate change had made the stakes of the election that much clearer.

    I'm willing to bet New Yorker's who are currently dumpster diving and learning to live without electricity are not exactly in the mood for this silly shit.

  • Jerry on the road||

    And now Obama sends him recovery aid money, or how does that work?

  • CE||

    A vote for me means a chicken in every pot, free healthcare for everyone, and no more hurricanes. I will also crack down on loud TV commercials, heat waves, and hotel pillows that are not sufficiently fluffy.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    They're both running against the incumbent, so obviously they agree that the sitting President sucks.

  • ||

  • SIV||

    They're both just telling people what they want to hear. That retarded "energy independence" shit sells with voters.

  • Paleo-ConAvenger||

    It sells with me a bit. More so than Johnson's pandering to Paultards and potheads

  • The Hammer||

    How is Johnson pandering to Paultards and potheads? By saying that we should end prohibition?

  • Whahappan?||

    You're an idiot then.

  • Tman||

    Hey you know what?

    We should have presidential elections every year! Isn't this so much fun?

    Put that bat down, I was just joking.

  • CE||

    Now go apologize to that little girl in Colorado, like NPR did.

  • Tman||

    That was gold wasn't it?

    Poor little kid. She'll grow up to be a good little anarchist someday.

  • Paleo-ConAvenger||

    It sells with me a bit. More so than Johnson's pandering to Paultards and potheads.

  • CE||

    "Both" presidential candidates?

    Quit buying into the 2-candidate narrative. It is false and misleading.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Nitpickers can insert "viable" in there to quiet their bowels.

  • SIV||

    Where did the butthurt Jill Stein supporter come from?

  • Julio Cesar Samper Uribe||

    Thank God polls here in my state indicate we've moved from swing state to safe TEAM BE RULED, so I can safely vote Gary Johnson without any regret.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "Obama said at a rally this morning. “Well let me tell you, Wisconsin, we know what change looks like, and what the governor’s offering sure ain’t change.”"

    "Change" = using government authority to fight union reforms tooth and nail, even long after voters TWICE show an overwhelming desire to do so.

    CHANGE!, won't you?

  • Paul Geddes||

    Everything you say about Romney is correct. We know that he is lying to get elected and yet we can't tell which side he is lying to. Is he the super-successful business mind who knows that certain good economic ideas are unpopular (cutting subsidies, social payments, freer trade and looser immigration etc.,) but knows he will have to act on them once he is elected? (This is the hopeful position).... or he he just another power-mad Sarkozy who wants to be in charge and doesn't really have any beliefs in which case we are in trouble. Can't we hope that he is just being a smart liar? But then what does this say about voters in a supposedly advanced democracy?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Either way he's way better the douchimus maximus BHO.

  • triclops||

    Thankfully Obama did not lie about his positions to get elected, or speak out of both sides of his mouth on issues.

  • Alien Invader||

    Everything you say about Romney is correct.

    And no comment on what he said about Obama. What does that say about you?

    what does this say about voters in a supposedly advanced democracy?

    You're blaming the voters? For the shit that "democracy" imposes on them? What does that say about you?

    And what triclops and VG said.

  • tagtann||

    Some times dude, you jsut have to roll with it.

    www.u-anon.tk

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  • quaul||

    There is a lesson from the past. Sixty-six years ago, Franklin Roosevelt ran for re-election during a flagging economy. There was ideological resistance both in the courts and in the public against the scarcely evolved New Deal. FDR won that election by assembling a collection of special interests, demonizing his opponents, and using his populist charm. Thus, the welfare state found its footing in America. Tragically, the liberty-loving constitutional arguments against governmental collectivism were marginalized for a generation.

  • quaul||

    There is a lesson from the past. Sixty-six years ago, Franklin Roosevelt ran for re-election during a flagging economy. There was ideological resistance both in the courts and in the public against the scarcely evolved New Deal. FDR won that election by assembling a collection of special interests, demonizing his opponents, and using his populist charm. Thus, the welfare state found its footing in America. Tragically, the liberty-loving constitutional arguments against governmental collectivism were marginalized for a generation.

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