Dark Road to the White House

By Charles Blow, New York Times - August 18, 2012

Shady money, voter suppression, shifting positions, murky details and widespread apathy.

Charles M. Blow

Read more from Charles M. Blow on the 2012 election.

For Op-Ed, follow @nytopinion and to hear from the editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, follow @andyrNYT.

If there is a road map for a Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan win in November, that’s it. Distasteful all.

As The New York Times reported this week, Paul Ryan made the trip on Tuesday to kiss the ring of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner who has pledged to spend as much as $100 million to defeat President Obama. No reporters were allowed in, of course.

As The Times’s editorial page pointed out on Friday:

“Last year, his company, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, announced that it was under investigation by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act — specifically, that it bribed Chinese officials for help in expanding its casino empire in Macau. Later, the F.B.I. became involved, and even Chinese regulators looked askance at the company’s conduct, fining it $1.6 million for violating foreign exchange rules, The Times reported on Monday.”

There was a saying I heard growing up in Louisiana: “Bad money doesn’t spend right.”

On Wednesday, a judge in Pennsylvania who is a Republican refused to block a ridiculously restrictive, Republican-backed voter identification law from going into effect in the state, which is a critical swing state. Surprise, surprise.

And to add insult to injury, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday: “On the same day a judge cleared the way for the state’s new voter identification law to take effect, the Corbett administration abandoned plans to allow voters to apply online for absentee ballots for the November election and to register online to vote.”

Corbett is Tom Corbett, the Republican governor of the state.

In June, State Representative Mike Turzai, a Republican and the Pennsylvania House majority leader, ripped the veneer off the purpose of the voter changes in the state when he declared, “voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: done.”

Angry yet? Well wait, there’s more.

As has been well documented, Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on many of the major positions he once held: abortion, taxes, guns. Now his vice-presidential pick, has traded his wingtips for a pair of toe-splitters.

Thursday, as Think Progress pointed out, Ryan adopted Romney’s position on China’s currency manipulation and stealing of intellectual property, saying: “Mitt Romney and I are going to crack down on China cheating and make sure trade works for Americans.”

However, as Talking Points Memo reported: “Ryan has consistently opposed measures to crack down on China’s currency manipulation practices, which tilt the playing field against American labor.”

Furthermore, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday: “In 2009, as Rep. Paul D. Ryan was railing against President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package as a ‘wasteful spending spree,’ he wrote at least four letters to Obama’s secretary of energy asking that millions of dollars from the program be granted to a pair of Wisconsin conservation groups, according to documents obtained by The Globe.”

Even so, Ryan denied the fact in an interview with a Cincinnati TV station on Thursday, saying, “I never asked for stimulus.”

Ryan later recanted. In a statement, he said of the letters: “They were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled.” It continued: “This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier. But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that.”

Oops! Paint a scarlet “H” on that man’s chest for hypocrisy.

Romney, for his part, has consistently resisted specifying what he would cut to get to the balanced budget that he promises, and he continues to resist calls to release more tax returns.

“Mitt Romney said on Thursday that he had not paid less than 13 percent of his income in taxes during the past decade,” The Times reported. But are we supposed to take his word for the rate being even that high? Absolutely not!

Show, don’t tell, sir.

America, this is the Republican ticket. Although most smart political observers currently have Romney losing the Electoral College, Romney, following this repulsive road map, is virtually tied with Obama in national polls of likely voters.

That is, in part, because of apathy. As USA Today reported, the 90 million people who are unlikely to vote in November prefer Obama over Romney by 2 to 1, and “they could turn a too-close-to-call race into a landslide for President Obama — but by definition they probably won’t.”

If this underhanded dirty dealing by the Republican ticket doesn’t jolt some of these unlikely voters into likely ones, I don’t know what will.



I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at chblow@nytimes.com.

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