Ohio is bull’s eye for candidates

COLUMBUS: Hurricane Sandy is raising havoc along our east coast. As I write this on Sunday night, folks from North Carolina to Maine and as far west as Ohio are expected to get clobbered. Damage could add up to way over a Billion dollars.

President Obama canceled some campaign trips to stay in Washington and take charge of the  hurricane response. Unlike September 11, he took quick action. He ordered federal employees in Washington to stay home Monday.

If this storm causes as much damage and long term interruption to civilization as predicted, some folks are saying that the election could be affected, maybe even postpone it. If they delayed the election a couple of weeks, we might even know the details of the storm that hit Benghazi before voting.

Here in Ohio, pollsters say the election is dead even. Romney and Ryan have set up a base camp for the rest of the campaign. They may sneak out to Wisconsin or Iowa for a quick visit, but you can bet they’ll zip back here before they are missed.

Our Columbus Dispatch newspaper says the battle for Ohio boils down to coal miners vs. car makers. The coal miners think Obama wants to eliminate their jobs, and the united auto workers say Romney wanted GM and Chrysler to go bankrupt. The President has an advantage because unemployment is lower here, and gasoline dropped fifty cents this month. The gas and oil drillers have tapped into untold millions of dollars worth of energy.

I’m heading to Oklahoma this Thursday, just to get away from all the campaigning. Voters there made up their minds early and therefore avoided the annoyance of all the ads.  I’ll fill ‘em in on what they have been missing. Shucks, half of ‘em may have forgot who’s running.

The World Series is over. Even though the Detroit Tigers finally learned how to hit and score a couple of runs, they were swept in four straight by the San Francisco Giants.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“Well, it won’t be long now… If the boys haven’t corralled the votes by now, why they just as well figure that the ones that are out yet are out for the money. The (voters) that haven’t decided by now are waiting for the best offer. From now on till Tuesday is where dough counts. You don’t win these late deciders by arguments. You got to lay it on the line for them. They have all, perhaps, collected from one side already and are laying for the other one… I guess it’s been what they call a clean campaign. A clean campaign is one where each side cleans the other of every possible vestige of respectability.” 
WA #515, Nov. 6, 1932
 “Neither one of ’em is going to save us. Neither one is going to ruin us. Should Mr. Hoover [Obama ?] lose, I don’t think there is a person that wouldn’t feel downright sorry for him, for he certainly has meant well and did all he could, and I expect it won’t be long till we will be feeling just as sorry for Roosevelt [Romney ?]. This President business is a pretty thankless job.”  DT #1951, Nov. 4, 1932

Republicans catch Will’s slings and arrows

COLUMBUS: It’s a lot easier to criticize the record of a President who has been in there for four years than it is to complain about the plans proposed by a new candidate. Mr. Obama did it in 2008, and, for you old-timers, so did Roosevelt in 1932.

We have Obamacare, and the President says he likes that word.  Then he invented a new word: Romnesia. In case you haven’t figured it out, it means Mr. Romney has forgotten the conservative stands he took a few months ago during the primaries. Don’t be surprised if  “Romnesia” becomes a common word for any forgotten or ignored political stand or promise.

The only problem for Obama is that Romney may remind him of a few things he said in the past that he conveniently ignored.

Gov. Romney has talked endlessly about tax cuts. He says they will be offset with the loss of some deductions but he’s kinda sketchy on which ones. If he said he wants to eliminate the mortgage deduction he will lose support of construction workers and bankers. State taxes? That would lose voters in high-tax states. Charitable donations? Solar and wind tax credits? Actually the only deduction a voter would gladly give up is one they don’t use.

Most people doubt he can cut spending enough to balance the budget, even with a binder full of women working on it, and even if he pays each of these women as much as a man.
Threatening to cut public TV funding could cause Big Bird to build a nest in Romney’s hair. (Would that be a Romnest?)

Mr. Romney is losing the votes of young single women because he does not understand them. What could he know about young women, he’s got 5 sons.

He wants to cut down on the 47 million surviving on food stamps, but he does not point out the ones he wants to eat on their own.

Well, I read today that some people in other states are tired of Ohio getting all the attention in this election. If you are one of those people, on behalf of all Ohioans I apologize. We will gladly trade you the endless commercial interruptions, phone calls, junk mail, doorbell ringing, and blocked traffic for motorcades. Fortunately, this long Ohio nightmare will end November 6. Next up: Lame duck Congress. That will hit all 50 states.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“No country ever had more, and no country ever had less. Ten men in our country could buy the world, and ten million can’t buy enough to eat.” WA #451, Aug. 16, 1931
“(Both candidates) would like to live in the White House. And in order to get in there they will promise the voters anything from perpetual motion to eternal salvation.”  DT#709, Nov. 4, 1928
“It don’t take near as good a man to be a candidate as it does to hold the office. That’s why we wisely defeat more than we elect.” Life magazine,  May 31, 1928
“The Senate passed a bill appropriating 15 million for food, but the House of Representatives has not approved it. They said no. They seem to think that’s a bad precedent, to appropriate money for food… They think it would encourage hunger.” DT#1391,  Jan. 7, 1931
 “I know what voters do in regard to their stomachs. They go to the polls and if it’s full, they keep the guy in that’s already in. And if the old stomach is empty, they vote to chuck him out.” Saturday Evening Post,  March 30, 1929

Democrats catch brunt of Will’s jabs

Once in a while even a comedian gets it right. Last week I said, “Lord knows what you’ll hear from Biden.”  I meant it as a joke, not a prediction. But in the debate the Vice-President kept laughing, smirking, smiling, interrupting, and laughing some more.

Regular readers, all three of you, know I try to keep this commentary pretty even keel. But this week the Democrats are going to catch the brunt of my little jabs. (Next week I’ll concentrate on digging up dirt on Republicans, which should not be difficult.)

I know President Bush was criticized after the 9/11/2001 attack that killed 3000. But within a few hours he knew it was the work of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. So how is it that on 9/11/2012 our ambassador to Libya gets killed, and it took the President a week or two to get an inkling of who did it? Oh, did I tell you a person at the State Dept. watched the attack, live, on security cameras? Did Secretary of State Clinton try to keep it a secret? Where did UN Ambassador Rice get her information?

Diplomacy is dominating the President’s folks. Do you know what diplomacy is? Will Rogers said, “Diplomacy was invented by a man named Webster to use up all the words in his dictionary that didn’t mean anything… A diplomat is a man that tells you what he don’t believe himself, and the man he is telling it to don’t believe it any more than he does… A diplomat has a hundred ways of saying nothing.”

Whenever anybody associated with the President was asked about the killing of our ambassador, you’ve never heard more hemming and hawing. Here’s some examples:
Question: When did President Obama learn that the attack was by Islamic terrorists? “We are investigating a report from the State Department. They think maybe a bunch of devout Muslims were watching a disgusting anti-Mohammad movie at a Benghazi drive-in, and it made ‘em so mad, before it was over they drove over to the American Consulate and started shooting.”  Well, where were the Libyan guards hired to protect the Ambassador? “Those WERE the guards.”
Question: When did Mr. Obama discuss it with Mr. Biden? Isn’t he a Foreign Affairs expert? “Shhh, we still haven’t told Joe. He was too busy practicing for the debate.” How was he preparing? “He mainly watched re-runs of Laugh-In. And some stand-up comics on HBO.”
Question: Why wasn’t our ambassador better protected? “He had as many guards as we could afford. After the House Republicans cut our budget for guards, we had to bring some home for more important duties.” More important duties? “Yes, for example, protecting those of us who the President assigns to answer reporters’ questions. You know, I could get hit by a shoe. With a spike heel.”

The President appointed a new ambassador to Libya. I wonder how many Marines they sent to protect him. Hope it is more than Mr. Stevens had.

Presidential race or numbers game?

The three R’s are all necessary for getting through school, but getting through this presidential campaign takes more ‘rithmetic than readin’ or ritin’. We’re getting hit with so many numbers you’ve got to be a mathematician to keep from getting buried up to your neck, and maybe deeper.

In the first debate, Mr. Romney said he will lower tax rates on our wealthiest taxpayers, but they will still pay as much as they do now, and the deficit will not go up. Mr. Obama said he has studied the Republican plan and concluded the debt would go up by $5 Trillion under Romney. So in this simple addition and subtraction problem the Democrats and Republicans are only $5 Trillion apart in their answer. No one knows who’s right. But Romney is a businessman so he should know his numbers. On the other hand, who knows more about adding $5 Trillion to the debt than Obama.

Then President Obama says he has a plan to raise taxes on the wealthy which will reduce the debt by $4 Trillion. So does this mean the difference between the two candidates is $9 Trillion in debt? Maybe. Oh, I forgot to tell you these economic projections are for ten years, not four. Neither one will be around in ten years to accept the credit, even if they’re right.

It’s ludicrous to think anyone can accurately predict that one tax plan will increase debt by $5 Trillion by 2022, while another plan will reduce it by $4 Trillion. I bet if you asked ‘em, these economists would admit they can’t even predict next month, let alone ten years.

Then along came the jobs report that said unemployment dropped from 8.1% to 7.8% in one month. That’s good news; sure beats going up. Well, exactly how many new jobs were created to give a rosy picture? One report said 115,000. Another from the same department said 873,000. Let’s see… that’s a difference of only 758,000 jobs.

Next up is the Vice-Presidential debate. You’ll hear a lot of numbers from Paul Ryan. Lord knows what you’ll hear from Biden. No, really, Joe Biden has been around Washington a long time and he’ll use that experience to mount a good defense of the last four years and raise questions about Gov. Romney.

The Biden-Ryan debate will be at Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky.   You never know what to expect when you get to Danville. Will Rogers wrote, in 1926, that he saw a sign painted in huge white letters on a brick warehouse near the depot, “Centre College 6, Harvard 0, 1921.” He added, “what a kick I got out of that!.. the wonderful football team called the Praying Colonels. When the football team left for Harvard to play they didn’t have any substitutes. They couldn’t have any. They didn’t have any more students. The team WAS the student body… eleven players and a coach (went) up there and beat a wonderful institution like Harvard who brought a football off the Mayflower with them!”
[Note: In 2006, ESPN named it the third-biggest upset in the 138-year history of college football.]