Here in Maryland early voting has ended. My birthday is just a few hours away.
Election day begins on Tuesday, November 6, with the opening of polls as early as 7am, but hundreds of thousands of people have already made their choices in states allowing early voting, or by mail through absentee ballot. This election is still too close to call, despite all the evidence that shows how big money is manipulating our election system.
Based on some reports, we’ve never seen the number of ads, the privately (and hidden) funding, that we’ve seen in this year’s election, the bulk of funding by the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and other “dark” sources who prefer to put their money where their mouths are.
Meanwhile, of our top two presidential candidates, only one has employed questionable tax shelters to hide his money, kept his financing intentionally vague, because there are things he doesn’t want us to know about how he got his money and where it goes. This man, with the power of the Office of President behind him, has the potential for avoiding any sort of criminal investigation simply by virtue of being President.
“Why should we worry about the Romneys’ money?” I hear this all the time from ultraconservative friends who think Governor Romney’s activities are just fine. Trouble is, if he isn’t straight with us about his views, how can we be sure of the things he will do once he is in office. Bloomberg just reported on the most likely reason the Romneys won’t release their tax forms: It’s called a Charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT).
For reasons that I suspect have to do more with a GOP-majority House, we haven’t seen a call for investigations on the CRUT, Bain Capital’s Delphi and Sensata transactions, or other questionable activities that would be all over the news if the same could be said for President Obama or for any other Democratic candidate.
What is a CRUT? Wikipedia has a technical answer. The shelter has been around since 1969, but congress changed the loophole in 1997, just after the Romneys took advantage of the shelter. You’d think the Mormon Church would be concerned that the Romneys might not be tithing to their fullest extent, but that’s where misguided faith in leadership can lead.
See, Governor Romney has said he’s not running as a Mormon candidate. I believe he knows too well the damage he will do to his campaign by being associated with his faith. Don’t believe me, listen to his words as he tries to defend his political views on a woman’s right to choose in Massachusetts.
The original video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFkaCji-UDA&feature=related. You can watch as Romney goes from smooth candidate to angry defender of the faith. He walks out of the interview because he knows he can’t say these things on air. The campaign is so tired of walking back his misstatements, he’s now using a teleprompter.
And in all this, there’s the question of who’s voting for him. While President Obama’s supporters are all over the map, there’s a more narrow majority who favor Governor Romney. On Friday, November 2, Slate Magazine ran a sensational and inflammatory piece by Tom Scocca: Why Do White People Think Mitt Romney Should Be President? Parsing the narrow, tribal appeal of the Republican nominee. His likening this campaign to George Wallace’s disastrous run has led to response articles by NewsBusters, but has generated almost no other buzz since posting. Scocca isn’t the only one to notice the disparity, though, despite the Romney campaign’s strong desire to cast this as applying to 100% of Americans. CBS News ran a piece on October 26, defining Romney supporters as mainly white working class men. That this might insult his other supporters seems irrelevant.
Other aspects, including Hurricane Sandy’s “October Surprise, the real impact of Obamacare and a slow but steady improvement to our economy aren’t putting a dent in the GOP juggernaut. But it all comes down to this, because Romney has run out of options: Elect me or else.
“You know that if the President is re-elected, he will still be unable to work with the people in Congress,” Romney said. “He has ignored them, attacked them, blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up again, and shutdown and default will be threatened, chilling the economy.”
I am guessing that most of my readers don’t make more than $200k per year. Many of them are sharing my underemployment boat, scraping by, not partying on private yachts or taking extensive European vacations. We’re not wealthy but we are generally intelligent and we know (most of the time) when we’ve been fed a lie.
Here’s hoping that the end of this political nightmare will bring not just four more years of potential recovery but a real end to obstruction.