Regardless of who wins the 2012 presidential election between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, the one fact that is becoming increasingly clear with each passing day is that the American people have already suffered a certain defeat.
While this election makes for good entertainment, we see now more than ever that American voters are viewed by both parties as nothing more than pawns in a political game of chess.
Both candidates have made strategically calculated political moves in order to drum up voter support and energize their bases. While both parties would like to point the finger at the opposing side accusing the other of doing and saying what is politically convenient in order to drum up support, it is apparent that both candidates are making promises that they know they will not be able to keep.
President Obama’s political maneuvering started in September 2011 with the proposal of the Americans Jobs Act, which he had to know would not stand a chance of making it through Congress. While I credit the president and his staff for a brilliant political move, it is unfortunate that there was not more of an effort to reach compromise in order to achieve the best outcome possible. Of course, compromise is not so easy when one considers the fact that the Tea Party is not very susceptible to the need for it.
Romney has done his own share of political maneuvering ever since his term as governor of Massachusetts expired in 2007. The very decision not to run for re-election as governor was likely a political maneuver as Romney had to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would suffer a crushing defeat given his low approval ratings. With Romney, we now have a candidate who has switched from being pro-choice to pro-life, who was for the stimulus but now claims he never supported it, who was initially glad President Obama copied his health care plan but now vows to repeal Obamacare.
What’s sad is that the above two paragraphs simply describe the political maneuvering made prior to the election being narrowed down to a two-man race. Since it became safe to assume Romney as the presumptive GOP nominee in May, we have seen even more political maneuvering all before either party has even held a their national convention.
In May, President Obama made a very calculated political move by expressing his support for marriage equality. In June, the president issued an executive order designed to attract the votes of Latinos by allowing for undocumented youth to be granted a temporary two-year visa. After three and a half years of losing the trust of African-Americans who have suffered more under Obama’s leadership than under any other president in recent memory, in late July the president announced a new education program which clearly caters to the African-American community. Whereas in past summers the president was taking time to kick back and enjoy himself a little more, this year he clearly was quite busy trying to earn political capital in anticipation of the November election.
Romney’s summer has not been much different. In May, the former moderate Massachusetts Governor and avowed Mormon gave the commencement speech at the staunchly conservative and evangelical Liberty University. While throughout the summer Romney seemed more busy making unpopular gaffes at events like the NAACP convention and his trip to the Olympics in London, in August he has made up for his lost time by making a carefully calculated political maneuver, selecting conservative Tea Party favorite Paul Ryan as his running mate.
If there is one thing that we can learn from this election, it is that the American voters really are just pawns in a political game of chess. As soon as a winner is declared in November, the pawns and the chess board will be placed back in the box and put on the shelf of the closet where they will collect dust and will not be used again until the next presidential election cycle- four long years from now.