The night after the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2011 my palm was burning from all the high-fives I got during and after the game. State Street was awash in Green and Gold fans celebrating in the temperate winter conditions. I remember watching the Wisconsin vs. Ohio State game where J.J. Watt and company steamrolled the No. 1 ranked Buckeyes. The city erupted, students and visitors crammed the bars and the streets until the early morning.
However, neither of those nights compares to the amount of energy that I experienced the night of November 4, 2008, when Barack Obama beat John McCain by seven percentage points and a whopping 190 electoral votes. People cried, people cheered, cars honked the night away and, like the other nights, Madisonians went out and celebrated hard, as we are prone to do.
Obama's campaign was a beacon after eight years of Bush's mangled, national embarrassment of a presidency. The fact that his first term as president has been widely considered disappointing has to be attributed, in part, to the wild success of his campaign. So if we can establish presidencies generally going worse than campaigns, what would Mitt Romney’s presidency look like?
Denying his supporters any semblance of composure, control or presidential attributes, Romney’s campaign has once again been rocked by controversy this week. A candid video of Romney talking to his supporters at a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser has the candidate excoriating the bottom 47 percent of wage earners in America calling them “entitled” and claiming that they are beyond the scope of his campaign. The video has drawn comparisons to off-the-cuff remarks from Obama when he, also at a ritzy fundraiser, chastised the rural population of Pennsylvania as xenophobes and clinging to guns or religion when times turn tough. Both of the remarks reveal an overly simplified world view. Rural populations, just like the 47 percenters, aren’t homogenous by any means and don't deserve to be lumped into one group. This most recent of Romney’s gaffes has a convenient and accurate analog to Obama's campaign, but there are no comparisons for the vast majority of Romney's other missteps.
It’s hard to pick just one opportunity where Romney turned a ho-hum opportunity into a smudge on his campaign, but one of the best ones came on Feb. 26. Romney was asked whether he followed NASCAR, and he answered with this gem: “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners.” It’s not Romney’s fault that he grew up wealthy. But when you combine this comment with his 47 percenters comments, constant berating of “entitlement,” refusal to turn over more than two years of tax returns and his tax-cuts for the uber-wealthy, Romney seems so out-of-touch with America he should be on the moon.
Romney’s campaign couldn't seem to help themselves after the attack on the American embassy last week. Romney moved quickly to attack the president and start assigning blame. His claim that Obama was apologizing for America was grossly inappropriate given the cultural and social lines the conflict crossed. Using the attack as political fodder should be grossly disconcerting to anyone following the presidential race. Imagine if Romney’s campaign took the high road and issued nonpartisan shows of support for all Americans overseas instead of immediately going on the offensive.
Romney’s campaign moves one step forward and two steps back. I think selecting Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate is the best decision his campaign has made, but even that was tainted after Ryan’s deceitful speech at the Republican National Convention. I can understand liking the policies of Mitt Romney, but how can you trust this man? Romney’s staffers have certainly failed him at critical moments of his campaign. Running a campaign means relying on many, many people around you. So does being President of the United States. If Romney seems to be on the brink of disaster at each step of his campaign, what will four years of having this man as our president look like? His poor decision making might not be as evident on domestic issues, but having Mitt Romney be the spearhead of our foreign relations will be disastrous for the United States
David is a senior majoring in English. Please send all feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.