Emotional Ties to Obama May Be Central to the Election

The challenge for Mitt Romney may be that even Americans who are unhappy with President Obama remain personally attached to him.

Comments: 241

  1. If you had a choice of voting for someone you wanted for a friend or someone who could never befriend you who would you vote for?

  2. He can be your friend after he leaves the White House in 2012.

  3. Remember when GW Bush was the guy everybody said they'd like to have a beer with?

  4. @NewzNose:

    The Big Lie,which began being told the day that Obama took office, is that he has not been effective. What he has not been effective in doing is creating and selling his narrative. The Republican narrative -- every word a lie -- has been sold so well that people now are skeptical of those who call that story a lie -- which it is.

    29 months of job creation are not enough to end the recession because (1) the recession was the deepest since the Great Depression and (2) since 2010, the Republican Congress has successfully opposed every attempt by the President to pass measures that would have prevented another slowdown. Yet, even with Republican opposition from day one of his administration, the President got enacted a long list of measures that stopped the free fall and put us on the right path.

    Yes, I like him. I don't need him to be my friend, however. I need him to stay in office for four more years so that the country, and my family, do not go off that cliff this time around. Romney and the Republicans believe in fairy tales and serve only the interests of the wealthy. I was in East Hampton last week, and the rich are doing very, very well. The rest of us are struggling, not because of what Obama has not done, but because of what the Republicans have not let him do -- namely, finish the job that he started.

  5. The problem with Romney is that he is not merely rich but an aristocrat! He is a Bourbon!
    He cannot even comfortably eat a cookie given to him by an admirer without making a face. On the other hand, President Obama, being socially normal, can schmooze with just about anybody! He is easier to like. Period!

  6. "Socially normal"? I'd rather have socially effective!

  7. So, how much good is it to be "socially normal" when the economy has never been worse and so many are without a job to go to? Who cares if the man can schmooze with "just about anybody"? Where has that gotton us? I doubt you, RN, will have the chance to find out first hand just what kind of a "schmoozer" either Obama or Romney can be. If you think about it, what does it matter anyway?? Lets all try to look at this situation in an adult manner. We're not talking about casting our vote for class president here; we're long past high school where the best way to win an election was to be Mr. Schmoozer! Grow up.

  8. youknow: 'the economy has never been worse'

    This is what comes of gutting the history curriculum - people can make statements like that with a straight face.

    There is a limit to what a president can directly do, unless you are willing to go for an FDR-style New Deal. (Which gave us the roads and bridges and most of Amerca's infrastructure. Bain Capital didn't build that.) That's how we dealt with it 75 years ago when the economy *was* worse. As opposed to the crashes of 1873, 1893, and 1907, which were also at least as bad as our current situation, when, with no social safety net at all, people just starved.

    My dad, a 'conservative Republican' back when that was a very different animal, used to quote, with outrage, Pres Taft saying that if a man fell into poverty through misfortune and no fault of his own, Taft was sorry but the government could not help him.

    If you like Taft, you'll love Romney.

    Since the Republicans will not create public works, and the 'job creators' basically sit on their profits while creating jobs only in China and India, I am not sure what you think Romney would do to make it better or at least not worse. Except maybe hire an elevator operator to park his wife's caddies or a broom-pusher to clean up after her dancing horse.

  9. Romney proves time and again that he is a cold, cynical politician with no real core convictions other than his desire for power. Many Americans seem to see this.

  10. The sad thing is that I don't find him cold or cynical. I think he's a genuinely good human being. But I also think that he's in the wrong profession. Good human beings can make pretty bad leaders. I think that Romney doesn't truly have a clear idea of where or how to lead. If he did, he would project that. The result is that he stands there reading lines. He was trained as a businessman not an actor. The performance is frustratingly flat.

  11. I think the article makes sense, and the comments reflect it as well. Support for Obama is primarily emotional. However what I don't see is how this is a good thing. What is more important - that you and your kids have jobs have a future, or that you 'like' the president? Boring but consistent and successful people like Romney make the world go round and provide the investment to companies so that you have a job in the first place. It's clear Obama has won people hearts, I just wish they would start thinking with their heads. The economy has never been worse since the depression. The real unemployment rate has never been lower, and minorities, especially blacks have never been hit as hard. A likable guy is not fixing these problems, he is making them worse.

  12. Romney was successful for himself at the expense of the people who want themselves and their kids and their jobs to have a future. Maybe we who reject Romney *are* thinking with our heads.

  13. I just don't understand this line of thinking. NO president has the kind of control over the economy that we would like to think they do, unless one looks at Roosevelt who operated in such a bad time, and was given such a long leash by the public that radical policies were possible. If you look back, Bush the elder had to clean up the mess Reagan left (yes, Reagan never managed to match revenues with spending, in spite of raising taxes 13 times), and Obama has had to spend 4 years trying to clean up some of the mess that W left, and that were also a spill over of Clinton's agreement to the repeal of Glass-Steagull, and the false American notion that everyone should own a home. These things move in much larger cycles than one president's interaction with Congress.

    A return to the discredited supply side, trickle down economics that Romney espouses would be a disaster for everyone but his rich friends.These are the guys who are brilliant enough to figure out how to keep their money offshore and avoid paying taxes. What do these skills have to do with running a diverse country? Romney might be a better manager than Obama, but at managing what? The myth that a business guy has the highest qualifications to run the country should be thoroughly debunked by now. Remember the last business guy with an MBA from Harvard to run the country? I do not want to go through that again.

    My attachment to Obama has nothing to do with sentiments. It has to do with pragmatism.

  14. Hi Manitoban,

    A little reality: Boring and consistent people gave us the financial crisis of 2007/08. And you think Romney is successful? He was born rich and privileged, and now he's still rich and privileged. How is that impressive? And you say these are the people who give us jobs. Okay, so why are so many people unemployed right now? If it were true that these people give us jobs, then there wouldn't be any unemployment right now, would there. Their taxes are too high? Taxes are at historical lows.

    It's true that the economy is the worst it's been since the depression. And that it due to the Bush/ Republican policies you seem to admire.

    It is possible to think and look at the facts.

  15. I have emotional ties to my family; the family that has seen me out of work for three years, exhaust my savings, tell my children college will have to wait and finds itself bankrupt and nearly homeless.

    Having an emotional connection to a politician is sick, especially a phony like Barak Hussein Obama.

  16. Oh please. Some examples of Obama's "phonyism," perhaps? I think there's a lot more phoniness surrounding most of those who've spoken at the convention. They've pretty much admitted that the truth does not matter. Obama would never, ever say that, or act in such a way.

    Obama in 2012!

  17. If you think life has been a struggle....let R/R get in the WH. They could care less about the common man. President Obama has a heart for those less fortunate. He know what it's like to be on the other side.

  18. A very fair analysis and the answer will not be known before November. The GOP convention did show, to an extent, more of what makes Romney tick than we had seen before. The selection of Ryan may prove pivotal and this is notwithstanding all the comments that it is only the head of the ticket that counts. Even those who assert this concede Palin and LBJ made a difference in the outcome. In a close election even 1% may be critical. I still read commenters that call him an aristocrat and a "Bourbon". They seem to have forgotten JFK, FDR, Thresa Heinz etc.

  19. Having wealth is one thing. Having wealth and advocating policies that will increase your wealth and the wealth of your friends at the expense of the rest of the nation is something else entirely. If you think American "aristocrats" were happy with FDR, I recommend reading a bit of history.

    Here's FDR's 1936 famous speech in Madison Square Garden. It rings as true to America in 2012 as to America in 1936:


  20. Poor Romney: Trying to be someone he just isn't.

    Having observed political conventions since the 60s, I frankly find this one to be worthy of a circus contortionist.

    It is fitting that the last thought it left me with was some GOP operative's quite public remark that the GOP isn't going to let fact checkers interfere with their message.

    So be it.

  21. A vote for Obama is just closer to reality. Almost every American is reminded of that charming and intelligent kid next door. It is hard to understand a person like Mitt Romney. Everything about him embodies some sort of pretense.

  22. Pretense? Obama says we're friends with Pakistan and then drones bombs them daily. Obama says he'll close Gitmo, signs the order and then abandons it. Obama flip flops on the Keystone pipeline. Obama is charming and intelligent, but please, after 4 years, it is quite clear that he won't take a position on an issue until his people have polled on it. That's not leadership.

  23. Romney reminds me of Jack Nicholson as Daryl van Horne in the movie version of 'The Witches of Eastwick'. After the enormously wealthy parvenu has seduced the witches (Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer), they are disporting themselves in his mansion. 'Who 'are' you, really?" Pfeiffer asks. Nicholson smiles: 'I'm anyone you want me to be'.

    It's easy to understand Romney - he will say almost anything he needs to say to get what he wants. As gov of MA, he was a moderate. To get the nomination he lurched to the right of Attila the Hun. Now he is trying to remake himself as Andy Hardy. But he's still Daryl van Horne, just without the sex appeal.

  24. This country has never experienced a President of such pretense as the current occupant of the White House. From lack of collegial colleague recollection to mysterious identification documentation no President has imagined to match, it is difficult to understand how his election could have occurred. Mr Romney has a clear identification path, a clear education record, a clear religious past, a clear employment and activity list, and yet you claim he is a pretender? Perhaps you have confused Mr Romney with the current president!

  25. I am not disappointed with Obama. I am disgusted with the Republican members of Congress who opposed everything Obama tried to accomplish and fearful of their backers: banks, wall street and big oil who took America to the cleaners in the first place. They have no shame and don't have loyalty to the American people. Look out!

  26. The Dems were in charge for the first years of Obama's presidency. Until the mid-term elections, they had run of the place. But it's still all the Repbulicans' fault? Blame. Easy to do. Hard to justify. Doesn't Obama just draft a new executive order anytime they won't give him what he wants?

  27. It doesn't matter whose fault it is. This country is a mess. And Obama was not able to take care of it to an adequate degree.Among other qualities which he has, he is allergic to working with people one on one, preferring to stand in freont of crowds.He has no real allies in congress: hangers on, yes, but no real allies who respect him.
    I'm not "for " Romney, but a vote for Obama is a vote for what we elected in 2008: inexperience, incompetence.

  28. @ck NY - Apparently you're uninformed about the way government works. Executive order is very limited. Legislation is the responsibility of the Congress, and the Republicans haven't been inclined to pass anything, refusing to even discuss the Jobs Bill, or come up with a version of their own.

  29. I want an effective President, not a pal.

  30. We have an effective President right now.

    I want an effective Congress, not a Republican roadblock.

  31. This article assumes that the choice is almost all about personalities and emotion. Maybe these swing voters actually care about policy differences. Maybe they're disappointed that the economy hasn't recovered faster and they believe we'd be in much the same place regardless of who was president. Or maybe they recall that Republicans have spent the last four years obstructing, insulting and demonizing this very decent, honorable man and they don't want to reward or validate that behavior.

  32. Character is destiny. It is possible to fall short in one area and excel in another - Bill Clinton, policy wonk and rat with women, was a good president but a lousy husband. However, I voted for him twice because I wanted a president, not a husband. It's caled 'comparmentalisation'.

    Romney isn't comparmentalising. He may have been a 'good' businessman, if you define 'business' as simply making as much money for yourself as you can regardless of the consequences to others; but his 'business' wasn't good for the American worker.

    Government is not a business.To run the government like Bain Capital would be disastrous. (Perhaps by 2016, Pres Romney will have just fired the American people and outsourced the election to China, where he can buy as many votes as he needs, lower quality perhaps but much cheaper!)

  33. RTB, please recall that Mr. Obama had majorities in both the House and the Senate for the first two years of his Administration. Unfortunately, he clearly had no idea what to do with them. During those two years the Republicans couldn't obstruct a thing. Decent and honorable Mr. Obama may be but he is a failed leader and there is just no getting around that fact.

  34. An honorable president committed in every way to leading this country and its citizens towards recovery despite the obstructions, the insults and demonizing from the vast majority of the Republican party and the non-stop hostility of the conservative media.

  35. Clint Eastwood's delusional performance encapsulates the Republican's bizarre take on the President. They hated him from day one, and people have not forgotten it. They never rallied with the rest of America to work together as a nation. Why should they e rewarded for that?

  36. Half the country dislikes Obama's policies. In a democracy, that has just as much merit as the half that approves of his policies. Why do Democrats refuse to accept this and instead turn to bashing anyone who criticizes him?

  37. SW - Which policies did you have a problem with? Slowly but steadily improving the economy? Providing affordable health care? Repealing DADT?

  38. Daily Reader: I like SW disagree with Obama's policies. Affordable Care Act is not affordable. It just shifts the cost to tax payers. It's done nothing to curb the high costs. Let's just hand the treasury over to the payers and providers of HC.
    While we're at it, let's start a class warfare and divide the nation. By promising continued handouts to those who cannot or will not work, by opening the doors to any who wish to come in illegally and take up housekeeping (and let's cover their costs too) while vilifying those who have made something, earned something, gained some wealth, Mr. Obama continues to divide us.
    When he was running for office, I too was impressed by his rhetoric. But it's just that: talk.

  39. Obama may have disappointed me, but the Republicans scare me to death.

  40. Amen! This is how I feel and how any rational voter should feel.

  41. “Americans have been patient; Americans have supported this president in good faith,” shouldn't he have added "except Republicans who from get-go worked to make him a one-term president. The way Mitt "manages" the truth, can we infer that Republicans are not Americans? At least not when faced with a black President.

  42. Imagine my surprise at stumbling across the "truth" in the New York Times this morning! Of course Obama's appeal was and is emotional, as any sober analysis of his campaign when he was running, or his record, or his policy prescriptions in his "blueprint" showed that his rhetoric had no relation to his actual attributes, behavior or values.

    But it's worse than that. At a very subtle level, Obama's candidacy was and still is a "loyalty test" for Progressives. They have been so infused with the abject nonsense of "Critical Race Theory" and the narrative of our capitalist system being nothing more than a tool of oppression that they believe backing a class warrior who will strike back at the system, is black himself and a member of the pseudo-intellectual class is a "have-to". In other words, Obama succeeded in using racial guilt and class warfare to get elected, not his policies or ideas.

    Me, I'm a libertarian oriented independent (but no Ron Paul fan), and when Obama came along I was very impressed with his post-partisan, post-racial and 'new kind of politics' rhetoric. So, I started doing some research, like reading his "Blueprint" on the campaign website. Imagine my surprise to find that all his policy prescriptions were standard, radical Progressive fare. That his positions he was willing to put in writing were virtually identical to those of Clinton on every issue. Suddenly my emotions were less strong....

  43. As you have discovered even a perfunctory vetting (not done by the media in 2008) proves him to be at best a phony, at worst dangerous.

  44. This is not about emotions so much for many of us Independent voters.

    Rather it is the realization of what Mr. Obama inherited from George W. Bush and what he has accomplished without any help from the Republican members of Congress.

    Four years is not going to bring us back up to an adequate job level after the deep Recession that almost landed us in a Depression thanks to Mr. Bush.

    We have seen what a Republican Administration can do to the country and we don't want a repeat of it.

  45. As an independent voter, I couldn't agree more. With what was inherited and an obstructionist Congress, it's surprising Mr. Obama was able to accomplish what he did. Problem here is, we live in a fast-food society and for some reason the masses think things should change over night. Well, you know what, they just don't, not problems of the magnitude we faced and many instances still facing.

  46. This has got to be one of the most disappointing analyses of the election that I've read.

    Ryan's VP acceptance speech contained a number of lies. He criticized Obama for closing his hometown plant, knowing the plant closed under Bush. He slammed Obama for not supporting the deficit reduction commission when he himself not only was a member of the commission HE rejected their recommendations. Finally he slammed Obama's stimulus package even though he asked for and received stimulus for his own congressional distrct.

    Ryan had to have KNOWN these statements were false when he said them. But he and Romney have determined their campaign does not have to be "fact based."

    They apply the same "non-fact based" account to their budget. It's going to be close to impossible to gut the domestic policies they'd need to gut in order to even ENACT their budget.

    Yet the writer argues that "emotional ties to OBAMA" may determine the election??

    I could see him arguing that emotional ties to the GOP, or perhaps resentment against Obama may cause people to turn towards Romney. This would easily explain why the two candidates are able to lie without substantial political penalty.

    But I don't understand how in the face of facts the writer could make this claim.

  47. Why is it hard to believe that people are trusting their gut instincts and deciding to not bail on a guy, who while earnest has not been effective to the degree he claimed he would be?

    There are actually some Americans who remember the words of Barack OBama and this particular newspaper that said (and I paraphrase), "This is not going to be a quick fix. It's going to be a long, hard road back." I know that's why I voted for him. I agreed that the Bush Administration's reckless partisan policies had to stop in order for us to make the climb out of the hole.

    I have no illusions it can even be fixed in the next four years, either. But I know this: given the choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to drive the bus, I'll go with the guy who took the wheel four years ago. And the more Republicans make it clear they'll do anything to get their power back, the easier that choice for me is.

  48. I am in complete agreement with you. It is so disappointing to see an institution like the Times be totally suckered by a pathetic speech like that given by Romney.
    The Republicans are hoping that people will fall for this reality TV view of the election. I am sure some voters will fall for it, but I am saddened that the writer of this article fell for it.

  49. We aren't talking about high school here....What is all this nonsense about the friendship of a president. By the way, I don't think George Washington would have been a ball of fun.

  50. "It is Mr. Romney’s job now to convince them that it is beyond repair; that the risks of staying in it are larger than the risks of starting anew with him, that he and Mr. Ryan represent a fresh start akin to a generational change."

    Even to the 'disappointed in Obama,' like myself, the prospect of a Right Wing coup led by Tea Party sycophants and the fanatically religious does not represent a "fresh start" but a terrifying backward leap to generations past.

    Buyer beware, there is much, much more at "risk" here than economics.

  51. Republicans look and sound so normal, and that’s the biggest problem America is facing.

  52. You think? It all seems very very Stepford Wives to me. Ann Romney seems like she's struggling, moment to moment, not to let the weirdness show through. It's not working. And I use the term "Stepford Wives" in a gender-neutral way.

  53. The strategy outlined in the article is a smart one. Until 2008 I had never voted for a Democrat for President but I was fed up with the bickering and contempt for the people's business in Washington. I liked what I heard from then Senator Obama. I was wooed. I fell in love with the thought that the torch could be passed to a new energetic generation and that I could be a part of a proud historic moment. But I was enamored with the thought and looked past the fact that experience does matter. You don't go from the mailroom to the board room in a few short years.

    It's okay. I like the President but I can now see that he and I have very different ideas about our visions for America. I made a mistake.

  54. Romney's never been in the mailroom. This is the problem.

  55. I don't know, MS, before jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, you might want to rethink your views of Obama's policies. How have they hurt you exactly? The Republicans want to repeal "Obamacare" because they claim they will put something better in place. If so, in the past 20 years of Republican presidencies ask yourself why haven't they. The Republicans also want to lower or "flatten" tax rates ("flatten" is code for lower if you look at the details) because they claim doing so will lead to job creation. Bush lowered taxes early in his first term. Ask yourself why that didn't produce jobs well before the economy tanked.

    Don't be fooled, MS, Republican policies will only exacerbate many ills already faced by our economy: loss of good-paying jobs with benefits, rising income inequality, and reduced access to higher education. And, don't forget their war mongering tendencies.

    Support the President and allow him to apply his reasoned approach to rebuilding America.

  56. Millions made the same mistake, including myself. We can correct that in November.

  57. Emotional ties? All someone has to do is look at the ultra-white color of the faces and smiley teeth in the GOP, and hear the ultra-retro message. The appeal of the GOP is also emotional, esp. for racists.

  58. The race card is very, very tired at this point. In fact it's been played so much lately that I'm starting to think that there's more than one in the deck and somebody is cheating.
    White voters put Mr. Obama in to the White House.
    If Democrats keep playing the race card I'm afraid that Republicans are going to start playing the religion card. This is the first presidential election in U.S. history where one party is running a slate where neither candidate is a white Protestant.
    I say this, not because I support the Republicans, which I don't, but because I'm so tired of white people blaming every criticism of the president on "somebody else's" perceived racism.

  59. Tom:
    First, I only said look (even at the convention on TV) at the fact that almost all the GOPs are white. That is not racist per se, although it is demographically disproportionate.
    Second, while it is not the main intent, I do suspect that the GOP doesn't especially mind that racists are more likely to vote for Romney than Obama.
    I don't think it is a race "card" and its not being "played" its just an observation of another aspect of the "emotionalism" in the campaign.
    Third, maybe white voters put Obama in the White House because they want to do so. What point are you making here?
    Fourth, the "race" issue is really a "diversity" issue. As you know, in US we have Asians, Hispanics, etc etc. The Black part is just a subset. But on GOP TV you basically see whites only.
    Fifth, I don't think criticisms of Obama have much to do with race; but I do think emotional appeals in campaigns can have, among other appeals, a racial factor. We know this. "Race" is an emotional, not a logical, factor.
    Sixth, of course race is not, and should not be the "only" issue and should not be a "card." Its just that my eyes can't help be drawn to the "photogenic" homogenous quality in the TV shots. Especially when the policies are so vapid.

  60. Tood, I really think the last thing the GOP wants to do is play the Mormon card. Or the Opus Dei card, come to that.

  61. I think the greater point here is that most Americans cannot relate to Romney at all while they are able to connect with Obama. Like it or not, this is a factor in voting decisions.

  62. Americans had trouble relating to Al Gore yet could imagine enjoying a beer with Bush and that worked out fantastically for our country (insert sarcasm).

    I'm not sure this is the type of argument you want to make in Obama's favor.

  63. Facts matter too - Are you better off today than you were four years ago? For anyone with a functioning memory the answer is yes, and by a very wide margin.

  64. Obama, the narcissist, is all about himself. It's certainly a mystery why people seem to like him in spite of his self-centered approach to every issue. His favorite words are "me" and "I."

    This country needs a real leader and Romney is the only reasonable choice at this point. Four more years of Obama are horrible to contemplate - America will be broke and our enemies will be knocking on our door by the end of his second term. We may even reach the point of no return if he stays in office. Obama supporters can then claim that they set America on the course to irrelevance and ruin.

    Let's get that pretender out of there before he does any more damage.

  65. Mitt Romney would be a very poor choice, unless you're already wealthy, then you'd be OK. Everyone else in the country ("you people") would be in huge trouble. Did you listen to Romney's speech? Any social program, including Social Security and Medicare, Affordable Health Care, are considered a drain on the economy, and he's going to get rid of them. He probably sees those programs the same way he saw employees of companies he bought with Bain -- a needless expense that should be shipped overseas or eliminated, so there's more money for the guys at the top.

  66. You are not very astute in judging the narcissist in the morning arguments. For your information, we were broke and Obama settled the enemies possibly knocking on your door when he raided that compound in Pakistan. End of story.
    You're kind of a Nervous Nellie for a Texan.

  67. Mr. Obama and his followers should stop using congress as an excuse for failure for two reasons.
    #1 the excuse admits failure and # 2 a LEADER is supposed to play with the cards he's dealt not with the hand he wished he had.

  68. No, I plan to hold Congress responsible and vote accordingly. My rep is part of a block of ideologues I would like to see removed for the good our our governing process.

  69. Week in and week out, we witnessed the Republicans and the Tea Cup people do absolutely NOTHING toward compromise as President Obama addressed issues. It appeared to many of us that they just delighted in undermining him for four years so until he could be replaced. Look at the ratings Americans gave their legislative branches. The only idea the Republicans have had to offer is replace the man. Nothing at all specific to address issues, just "dump him". And what have we heard for the last three days? Just more of the same. What has to go is the do-nothing members of congress,that came to Washington not to govern, but rather to stall for two years and more.

  70. Not to mention their pay and their perqs pay very well. Our bodies of government now take for granted their lifestyle of a kind which previously and historically caused the French Revolution. With Romney it is the same kind of stuff that actually caused our American Revolution.

  71. It's all about who controls the purse strings. The GOP under Bush gave our money to the war and financial institutions. The Dems are now giving the money to the healthcare industry, continuing the war (or conflict) overseas, and letting the illegal aliens have our savings. Either way, we're paying the politicians to spend our taxes on their pet programs. Either way, we're continuing to shell out more and more of our money, run up the national debt, continue the war, and watch as things get worse and worse. This can not and should not continue.

  72. When Obama was elected I said that I pitied him. He was not walking into problems that would be fixed in four years. We were in free fall and things looked worse every day. I have seen thing slowly get better while keeping to the important issues like environmental protection that sometimes get swept under the rug in times like this. When politicians like to say look over here not over there. I was scared to leave the job I hate because even if I did get it I did not know how long it would last. Now I a, looking for that better job, confident that a job change will not make me vulnerable to economy related cutbacks. That's why I still hope with Obama and I will vote Obama.

  73. I could have fixed that problem from four years ago and I doubt I am the only one who could have done so. If Mr. Obama was so unsure of what he needed to do, he shouldn't have run for the Presidency in the first place. At least, he should have been more receptive of other ideas; I know that his staff never answered any of my letters. So much for an "open administration".

    You are concerned about the environment, but Obama's Cash-for-Clunkers program was an environmentally disastrous subsidy of the motorist lifestyle which has fouled and continues to foul our air, while removing 61,000 square miles of vegetation -- in ocean shores, lakes, ponds, swamps, fields, forests and farmland -- which could have cleansed that air and reduced carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. President Obama has been no friend of the environment. As a long-time conservationist, may I suggest that you vote, as I will be voting this November, for Jill Stein and the Green Party.

  74. @CPK: It is ideologically pure to vote your conservation beliefs but in this election a vote for the Green Party is essentially a vote for the Republican.

  75. Mitt Romney's problem is that even though Obama has not been 'all that and a bag of chips', for reasons that are, to put it diplomatically, not entirely his fault, he would have had to do a lot worse than he's done to persuade me that Mitt 'Outsourcer in Chief' Romney would make a better president, and especially that putting Paul Ryan a heartbeat away from the presidency is a good idea.

    It is hard for me to imagine what Obama would have to do to accomplish that -- stomp puppies to death? (Between him and his running mate of the barehanded-catfish-tonsillectomy hobby, they've got the animal abuse vote locked up.)

    Mitt Romney's problem is Mitt Romney. I don't just dislike him; I think he'd be a terrible president. His other problem is Paul Ryan. As far as I'm concerned, these are insuperable problems.

  76. Emotion is what got Obama elected the first time, not intelligence. That segment of the population which votes Democratic because they rely on Welfare or are terminally brainwashed Liberal-leftists will certainly vote for Obama again. The make or break category is those millions of Americans who voted for Obama only because it was an opportunity to validate their sense of moral virtue by voting for a man of color. Hopefully they've realized this country requires a lot more in a President than a nice smile, a smooth rap and the 'cool' factor.

  77. There is no substance to this comment, just invective based on bias and assumptions. I have gotten used, though, to getting this from brainwashed righty-reactionaries (see, we can fling insults, too).

  78. In this analysis Democrats only vote because they're nuts or on welfare (black), while the Republican voter is a deep-thinker like George W. Bush.

  79. Your "prejudice" is showing, projecting all that you perceive as surface appearances into the voters who knew what they were voting for and did so for reasons you are not yet anywhere close to perceiving much less comprehending in your lifetime.

  80. Is this election really a 'toss up'?

    In many of the 'toss up' states I wonder how many white voters have an 'emotional' tie to this black president.

    And how many of them are lying to the pollsters causing this election to appear closer than it really is?

    I don't know if we are still a racist society but I do know that we are not entirely race blind and for now that may well be a game changer on November 6th.

  81. Of course we are a racist society. And, the same players are out there as before. The same voters will vote for the same reasons.

  82. The styles of Romney and Obama matter because they reflect their different values. Romney and Ryan stand for the value of looking out for oneself. Obama places far more value on looking after others as well. Which philosophy is more likable?

  83. Obama doesn't stand for looking out for others as well. He stands for forcing one group of people to look out for another, while that second group just takes and never looks out for anyone but their own needs. If you want actually common purpose, the Obama way of just increasing the number of people who parasitize off others, is not that.

  84. Your comment distills exactly the difference between these two campaigns. I remember the "kinder, gentler" Republicanism of Bush senior. How long ago that seems!

  85. I agree . That certainly explains their different positions about health care.
    I think the one who believes in looking after other will certainly get
    my vote

  86. A lot of us are very emotional about Romney's inability to propose any solid policy other than growing the already bloated Pentagon budget and assuming a belligerent and dangerous stance against Iran, China and Russia.

  87. I agree, Nancy Duggan. Romney is a man unfamiliar with our policy toward China and Russia, for the very reason that he is not prepared to knowledgeably relate because he is a businessman and not a policy maker with any background,insight,experience to apply toward world affairs. He relates to an Iran unknown by him as if it will be his continuance of the Bush Menage mistake in Iraq. He is not prepared for World Politics.

  88. All surface, all glitz, "befriend"...what is the point of this article: a Facebook-fueled popularity contest? The last time I checked into the real world, voters choose a president based on policy and accomplishments.

    Obama took down Bin-laden (something George W. couldn't do), he legislated a health-care-for-most act (backed by the Supreme Court), he's attempting to clean up the mess George W. made of the economy (2 unfunded wars/tax breaks for the 10%/Big Pharma's gift from taxpayers to close the Medicare doughnut hole/ deregulation with a capital D).

    Romney created Bain Capital with Daddy's money, fired a bunch of workers, outsourced and offshored to his heart's content, and made tons of money. He also pretends that, as Governor of Massachusetts, he didn't legislate the very same health insurance program that his VP pick Paul Ryan is trying to destroy on the national level. This "severely conservative" pol was a compassionate Republican until it became inconvenient with the Tea Party crowd. Oh, and unless he shows those tax returns, I'm assuming that he didn't pay any taxes for the missing years.

    Who ya gonna vote for: the man who built an elevator in the garage of one of his many houses so he wouldn't get wet who also will destroy the social safety net OR a man who will save the social safety net and deal with reality?

  89. "The last time I checked into the real world, voters choose a president based on policy and accomplishments."

    You are deluding yourself. There is a mountain of evidence that people vote for Reagan, Clinton, et.al. because they like them, not because of any particular policy positions. The 2 wings of the corporate political party keep us amused like the Romans in the Colosseum.

  90. Great post, Marilyn.... I'd add a total lack of policy specifics regarding where the meat cleaver lands when defense spending is increased to 4% of GDP, and the tax cuts for the wealthy kick in... What happens to repair of roads and bridges? The folks on Medicaid struggling to get by? Hey, what happens to the deficit Romney/Ryan are always yacking about?

  91. US military took out Bin Laden, and even new reports suggest the President was extremely undecided about the operation and was "advised" into it.

    Certainly the US enjoyed 6 good years under GW - and unless you were one on the many, many who didnt buy a house you really couldn't afford, took out out phantom equity, or took out one of the many "balloon" payment/interest only/no money down loans you were part of the problem.

    While I will agree the wars were unfounded, need we be reminded that unlike Obama in Libya GW did follow the War Powers Act and get Senate approval (Joe Biden forgets he voted for the wars).

    And last I saw GW tax cuts helped all tax paying classes. Not just the 10%, who still happen to pay 70% of the total personal income taxes.

    Under Obama spending hits 100% of GDP in 2027.

    Reminder many of the companies Bain shuddered were dying, why else would they be for sale, sometimes the companies turned around and sometimes they didn't - but at worst Bain delayed the inevitable.

    We have hard choices, we have to face facts we have to raise tax revenue ( note I did not say taxes), we have to cut spending and address entitlements. We can't have it all.

  92. In 2008, it was a choice between a person who stood with their principles and one who did not. John McCain, the so called "maverick", had everything going for him. He threw away his principles to do anything to get elected. This was his undoing.

    Barack Obama stayed on his message of "hope and chnage". And, through the past four years, attempted to accomplish his goals and stood with his principles. Certainly not a stealler presidency by any strectch of the imagination, but he managed to get things done despite a hostile legislature; this includes Democrats and Republicans.

    In 2012, we have a similar situation. This time Mitt Romney decided to go away from his principles. Unlike John McCain, however, Mitt Romney comes off as cold and calculating, more selfish, more pandering. And, unlike John McCain, he offers nothing in substance, just GOP talking points. This will be his undoing.

    President Obama, is now more harden due to the past four years. However, slowly but surely the stature of this nation (foreign and domestics) has improved. It would be better, if there were compromise. His failure is that he could not force the hand of the GOP. One can only use obstructionism so many times as an excuse.

    I have not emotional ties to any politician, as they are usually the cause of the problems, not the solution. However, from a practical standpoint, the better choice is President Obama this year. Again, it is staying with one's priciples despite the consequences this may bring.

  93. I for one have gotten over my attachment to President Obama, although I voted for him enthusiastically last time. He never seemed to focus on the economy and budget the way i would have liked him to, instead pushing through a huge health care entitlement package that puts more Americans on subsidies and includes tax hikes that were only revealed at the last moment before voting. I've concluded that a career as a community organizer, law professor and state legislator is not the background we need to lead us out of this mess.

  94. It would be foolish to believe that Obama has not learned anything from the first term that would not enhance performance in a second term. Or would Mitt on the low end of a learning curve be preferable?
    There is also the issue of the baggage that would be brought like the GOP platform which really is a statement of agenda.
    So, repeal of Obamacare would yield exactly what benefit? And Dodd-Frank? How about a personhood amendment? Intervention in Syria anyone?

  95. Stock market was 7000 for Bush and is now 13,000. Bush loses 8 million jobs, Obama (despite great opposition from Congress) creates 3 million jobs so far. Men disproportionately targeted for lay offs during Bush Recession are currently getting the new jobs at a rate of 75-77%. 100,000 new jobs in Ohio last year alone. Housing market is now repaired, housing this week up 20% in 5 major cities and the foreclosure crisis is now mainly behind us. US retail, exports, and production are all up. Personal incomes: turned around and now on the rise. Cost of college: in 2012, 1.6 million kids have college loan repayments capped at 10% of income so that they can go out and get lower paying jobs and start businesses--entrepreneurship is up under Obama.

    These are the fact off the top of my head. Please explain what part of this isn't "getting us out of this mess"?

  96. But a career as a private equity investor is? What jobs exactly did Mitt Romney create? And his stellar accomplishment as governor was a healthcare initiative that he has distanced himself from because it is not popular within his party. Romney is not a better choice than Obama. He is just the other choice. The man in charge now is a better man.

  97. What I don't see happening in this election is any real substance to help get the economy moving from either party. Both are sending up so much smoke that important topics such as unemployment are being set aside for philosophical discussions on abortion and other social issues.
    Winning the hearts and minds of the voters in important but it is much easier if their pocket books are full.

  98. Frankly, other than increasing gocvernment spending on infrastructure and hiring more government workers (boarder guards, IRS auditors, et alia), there isn't much a president can do as we are not a centrally planned command economy. Jobs are little effected by raising or lowering taxes but if government increases hiring especially for revenue generators like auditors, SEC enforcement agents, and the like, there would be a positive effect. Johnny might even learn to read.

  99. What the election should really come down to for undecided and likely switch-side voters is as follows: how could they possibly vote for a multimillionaire who pays substantially less taxes than them? What are they--doormats?

  100. Perhaps a large percentage of voters recognize that the country isn't a dictatorship and understand that there's only so much a President can do, especially with the kind of GOP opposition that President Obama has faced.

    Practical issues aside, President Obama isn't just likeable, he's trustworthy. He really does care about all of the country, not just 1% of it and it shows.

    You never hear him making hateful comments about Americans of different ethnicities, religions or sexual orientations.

  101. Emotional Ties? Give me a break! How about the Elections real tie to whether or not I get to keep my newly expanded health benefits at my place of employment? That's what's at stake for me in this election!

  102. It is not in Romney's nature to show his humanity just for a convention, the eager media and the general electorate watching on national TV. No superman could.

    In Obama, I've found a leader easy to trust because of his steadiness of mind and his compassionate heart. His authenticity or coolness was what brought me to support him.This man is not easily distracted from his focus and his intellect shows a passion for doing the right thing.

    Obama is my President in both good and bad times and I intend to work for his re-election.

  103. Romney and Ryan think the American people won't notice or don't care that they are lying. Unfortunately, many voters feel strongly that lying disqualifies a presidential candidate. We are not the mindless pawns the think we are.

  104. The problem hasn't been this president, for four years he has been stalled by a congress that has been influenced by the Tea Cup set that has a single aim of replacing him. Do nothing, permit the economy to fail to recover more quickly, until they can get him out of office. No we don't need this new pair who don't even believe in each other's approach, except to replace the man who has been hamstrung by a do-nothing congress.

  105. If the GOP wanted to obtain my vote this fall, it would have had to do something besides obstruct government during the last four years. If Romney and Paul wanted my vote, they would have to run on honest criticisms and real solutions rather than lies (e.g., Mr. Ryan's blaming Obama for failing to act on a Budget Commission report that never got out of committee in part due to Ryan's no vote) and fantasy (David Stockman excoriates the GOP's deficit reduction proposals).

    The GOP has to do more than offer smoke, mirrors, and deception. Its taken decades to dig the hole this nation is in. It will take a while to climb out. Meanwhile, both political parties have to stop digging.

  106. Republican obstructionism is obvious to anyone who has paid attention to the past four years. We didn't need prune face Mitch McConnel to overtly state the tactics of the republicans in Congress although we thank him for his frank statement of the truth. Our economic situation would be far better today if, in fact, the republicans would have behaved responsibly instead of being the partisan hacks they so ably demonstrated these past four years.

  107. Oh please. You are quoting Republican strategists. The problem facing Romney is not swing voter's emotional ties to Obama. The fervent base that put Obama into office don't even like him, anymore. They are actually devastated by what he revealed himself to be.
    The problem is Romney, himself, is not likable. The other problem, and this one is even bigger when it comes to swing voters and independants, is that Obama, from a policy standpoint, has governed entirely like a Republican: expanded a pointless war, protected corporate criminals, expanded oil drilling like never before, expanded spying programs, covered up torture, extended tax cuts for the rich, even passed a health care bill that came right off the desk of Republicans less than 20 years ago. I mean, they can lie all they want about him being a scary socialist, but facts are facts and if you are a middle of the road Republican, he's your man.

  108. My decision to give Pres. Obama another four years isn't based on an emotional attachment to him, although I do like him. It's based on my utter disgust with everything in the GOP platform, and contempt for the proven liars, cheats, frauds and hypocrites at the head of the Republican ticket.

    I'll do everything I can to defeat them and their dishonest, dishonorable Congressional partners who've obstructed recovery from the mess they created and made collateral damage of the American people. It's the Republicans who've put Americans at each other's throats with their unashamed racial and social dog whistle rhetoric.

  109. I like President Obama, and he inherited a lousy situation. However he has been fortunate to not deal with any new international political crisis. Despite that he has somehow placed us in a worse situation than we were in four years ago.

    Granted a frequently less than brilliant group of Republicans has been in power in the House the past two years, but Obama had usable majorities his first two years. Despite liking the President I cannot rationalize giving him four more years.

    Who cares if someone else gets rich? I may never be that guy, but I would like to work for someone who is. Romney will at least give the private sector a chance. I do not know if he is the answer, but I will give him a shot.

  110. You would like to work for someone who is, but you will not work for Romney. Some guy in China will work for Romney.

  111. After reading some of the comments I am surprised that what is not visible to some is the incredible obstructionism that was present from the moment President Obama stepped into the oval office. It is no secret that republican congressional leaders had a meeting to resolve and strengthen their pact of 'just say no.' Interesting that Ryan would hold failed jobs creation against the president and yet he voted against every single jobs bill that came his way. Four years ago (however naive I may see this) the president came into office wanting to make America better via bi-partisan leadership - he made this no secret and yet he was faced with an even stronger wall of obstruction in the form of republicans who were committed (and this too is no secret) to the president's failure. These individuals were/are willing to watch America fail in order to lay that failure at the feet of the President. This behavior among elected officials is unconscionable. Yes, facts have taken a holiday during this convention.
    President Obama has not been as left as I would like but he governs from the center like all good presidents. I can accept that - as I accept that it is Barack Obama in the Oval Office working for everyone - not just the monied interests who would continue to line their pockets at the expense of the 99% Suggesting an emotional vote offends & presumes I don't read. Quite wrong. One big undeniable fact is that I and many others will vote for President Obama's second term.

  112. Agreed. It was naive to have believed that the President would govern as a true progressive given that half the country is not.

  113. Right On!!

    I hope voters will remember that there have been more filibusters in the senate than any other congress in history by the Republicans. Don't forget that equal pay for women, the Buffet Rule, the Jobs Creation Act, the various bills to promote the maintenance and building the infrastructure were all voted down by the Republicans.

    And don't forget that we still have not seen Mitt Romney's tax returns; we don't know how much money he has stored off shore.

  114. Obama's greatest thing going for him is the "lesser of two evils" argument, i.e., that Republicans, Romney, Ryan, Tea Partiers, et. al., are properly speaking protofascistic, that he and the Democrats become the necessary choice--holding clothespins on our noses. YET, personal attachment to Obama reveals the ignorance of the American people, too lazy or fearful to examine the Administration's record, and in the throes of a profound false political consciousness that makes them susceptible to mass manipulation.

    On every count, were the Republicans not substantially worse, Obama does NOT deserve re-election. The drones says it all, but civil liberties, the environment, climate change, geopolitical strategy, Obama, the corporatist sophisticate, is taking America down the same path that Romney-Ryan would, only with slicker liberal rhetoric.

  115. "too lazy or fearful to examine the Administration's record"

    Record...after 3 years the stock market has recovered...companies are sitting on trillions in cash and while unemployment (which everyone knows is a lagging indicator) is still stubborn the world hasn't ended like the republicans said it would.

    It continues not to end... and after the damage the republicans did to the economy that caused the recession and their total lack of cooperation with the president its time to make sure they don't get back to finish the destruction they started in 2007.

  116. Read on a French website (from Xavier Grosjean) about Clint Eastwood:
    "It's rare to see an old man given an empty seat and still grouching about it".

  117. I am a middle -aged woman who voted for Mr. Obama in 2008. I made the best decision with the information I had at the time. I owe it to myself, my family, my employees and my country to move on and vote President Obama out of office. As my immigrant ancestors would say..."don't throw good money after bad".

  118. If the President has not met your expectations don't pretend the Romney/Ryan ticket has a true plan. They --just like you-- are just rolling the dice.

  119. I continue to be astonished by the comments that Presodent Obama's did not work. In 2009 the stock market was at 7000 - today it is at13,000. There is a healthcare bill, education policies and there would have been a jobs bill but the Republicans blocked that because it would have worked - and as Paul Ryan admitted would have helped President Obama. Maybe a little fact finding instead of trolling the blogs. As for Clint Eastwood - a great actor and director and a symbol of the Republican Party - old, white and with a foot in the 50s. Interesting that there is no report of the anti- women platform. Ms. Romney's appeal to moms is reminiscent of Ms. Palin except for the grizzly prefix. This is a party without a platform. Many of this administrations policies benefited the financial community - now they want their freedom from regulations preventing the bad old days. An Mr. Romney will be obligated to pay up. Hopefully the American public and media will clue in before the election and roll the pre-Obama election footage.

  120. "even before leaving the nominating convention here, they were beginning a delicate 10-week campaign aimed at those voters who are disappointed in Mr. Obama but just can’t yet bring themselves to quit him." This terminology is a very good example of psychological "projection" on the part of the GOP reading their desires into people they know not of while theorizing that they are disappointed fair weather friends of Obama. Not so. They are the majority of voters whom the GOP assigned the task of getting identity clearance to be allowed to vote in America.

  121. How encouraging to read a large group of comments from unbiased, intelligent people.   I sense that this whole electioneering process is torture for Romney.  He did an admirable job for a man who doubtlessly detests public speaking. But it is the content that made him effective. Much of Obama's efforts, alas, constituted too much guttersnipe, heavy-handed demonizing to appeal to the disenfranchised; the class warriors.
    Alas, there is a bit of that in the majority of people.  It lies dormant with many, but it is there to be mined by the cynical. I will never forget sharing an umbrella in a light rain with a friend on Madison Avenue as we passed St. Patrick's Cathedral.  This was a successful ad man who also owned half a dozen radio stations on the side.  I had to laugh when he said, "If you do a genealogical search on most of these Park Avenue big shots you'll find horse thieves."  Here was a small millionaire looking at bigger millionaires with the envy and bitterness of a peasant viewing estate owners. 
    Romney has chosen a higher class act on the assumption that American voters have a greater intellect than I am convinced they have.  I don't know if he will be able to deliver but I know that Obama won't, so I'm voting Republican this time. Ultimately, it may have been Clint Eastwood's little comedy act that swayed more Americans than all the other speakers.  His talk with the empty chair will go down in showbiz history as classic comedy and we all sure need a good laugh.

  122. If Eastwoods comedy act swayed more people than any other speaker, this country is in much worse shape than I feared.

  123. Yet Clint was backing and promoting the return of Detroit in his series of Superbowl commercials. Do you think Detroit would of been doing is well after Mitt let them fail?

  124. Four years with an obstructionist Congress is *not* enough time. What would Romney do if he were faced with legislators whose one and only agenda was to ensure his failure?

  125. The Romney camp is already making excuses for their upcoming landslide loss to Obama. They clearly see it and are building that cushion to soften the blow. The party of 'NO' is about to receive an apt response in November.

  126. I don't know about that. Romney has a pile of cash he's sitting on. He will clearly deploy this in the last few months.

    This election won't be over until the last hanging chad is inspected.

    Everyone must get out to vote and do it early. Fill your gas tank and take your neighbors to the polls. In San Francisco when I lived there, I helped to get out the vote. In 1992, we did door-to-door knocking to ask if people had voted. People ran vans for people without cars. Because of this, San Francisco had better than 80% voter turn out (way better). And the last couple of hours of voting helped to put two women senators elected from the same state in the same election in U.S. history.

    327 votes determined the Bush vs Gore election of 2000.

    327 votes changed history. Think of how things might have been different with different leadership for 9/11, the Iraq invasion, the economic collapse, global warming.

    327 votes. In this election there are about 10 swing states where 327 votes might be the margin in this election.

    Everyone must help get out the vote. The Parties have lists of people who haven't voted. Now you can phone people who still need to vote from your home using your computer.

  127. It is interesting that you reference a term that was all in the news earlier and that I included in a poem that I wrote on the eve of the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act and so I will share it with you:

    Hypocrisy and Reaction

    The Republicans all wished Obama would fail,

    So they lied to the public with many a tale,

    They argued so much against the stimulus,

    Until it became utterly ridiculous,

    In both houses most rejected it,

    But in home districts they took the credit,

    For this very unpartisan, party of no

    Could not alas, give up the dough!

    Crowds responded in gymnasiums near and afar,

    When they came by truck, train and car,

    Determined and undeterred,

    In loud voices, they could be heard

    Down to every woman, every man,

    As they chanted, yes we can, yes we can!


  128. It's so immature to suggest we should vote for someone because he is 'likable'. I want an adult who is serious, successful who will get the job done! Someone who has proven himself/herself by walking the talk, rather than just talking the talk.

    Jimmy Carter was likable and look what we got. Steve Jobs was not seen as likable but look at the huge success he built. Mitt Romney is closer to Steve Jobs and I respect that.

  129. Steve Jobs was a creative genius who did not care what people thought of him. He did not pander to people giving them what they said they wanted. He invented new technologies that made his company the most successful in history. Those new technologies created many new careers. Mitt Romney is no Steve Jobs.

  130. Intelligent concern versus old-school greed? I'll take Mr. Spock over Simon Legree, thanks.

  131. I think you used the wrong word. "Dependent" would be more appropriate. "Thank you Mr. President for extending our unemployment benefits and we'll just look the other way on your disastrous economic policies that "forced" you to steal from the coffers to those checks coming!"

  132. Emotional ties don't help much when you don't have a job, your house is underwater, and your unemployment checks have run out. Obama himself said that if he did not turn the economy around he would be a one term president. Let's make him keep his word, even though he has broken it.

  133. It is incredibly patronizing and borderline racist to suggest that the only reason people still like Obama is personal attachment and "a testament, perhaps, to the power of that scene four years ago when Mr. Obama and his family crossed the threshold of the White House as its first African-American tenants."

    As though it's impossible to like a president because of his policies. A lot of people like to claim that the ACA is unpopular, but that is because there has been one of the biggest disinformation campaigns in history about it. When you tell people what is actually in it, they overwhelmingly support it.

    And people aren't so stupid as to believe the economy is Obama's fault. They know he inherited the worst financial crisis since the 1930s from Bush. And then he faced unprecedented obstruction on all his attempts to support the economy and create jobs, from one of the most self-destructively obstructionist congresses in American history. A Republican congress which has done nothing NOTHING for jobs and the economy.

    And they also know that Romney is a spineless flip-flopper who will do or say anything to get elected. And they know that Ryan wants to "privatize" (read destroy) medicare and social security. And they know that on the economy neither Romney nor Ryan has anything to offer, except the same Bush era policies which got us into this mess int he first place.

    People know this. THAT's the reason they are going to vote for Obama. Because his policies are better.

  134. The "Do nothing" Congress has earned their name. GOP has been hijacked by the Tea party and will not get my vote as long as they have any influence. Just the debt ceiling hostage was enough for me.

  135. I do remember that there was hope, but once the Republicans took over the House, it was all gone. Maybe we learned something. We have to turn out and vote again. This time do it across the board and get the job done. Romney will set us back and the Republicans will bury us. How could anyone trust Romney or Ryan on the details. They do not say anything close to resembling the truth. The Republicans are Gone with the Wind, 18th century, Victorian Age thinkers, who say do as I say and not as I do.

  136. Maria You make many unsubstantiated claims.
    The truth is that the Republicans gained control of Congress in 2010 because people were concerned about the wild spending of Obama and the Dems -- ObamaCare (you'll know what's in it after it's passed), Cash for Clunkers, "shovel-ready projects", the "never let a good crisis go to waste" spending projects, the GM bailout (a company that is moving most of its operations to China), and on and on. Obama was not qualified to be President. He was elected because he was the anti-Bush. Yes, he and the Dems inherited a financial crisis but instead of dealing with the crisis they worked on Obamacare. Their stimulative spending programs have been ineffective because the money was not spent on investment projects but was used as a piggybank for Dem giveaway programs. The fact is that the U.S. debt has increased by $6 trillion over the past 3.5 years and unless something is done, in 2013 we will add another $1 trillion.

    Raising taxes on the wealthy will not solve this problem. Not even close. The big problem areas are social security, medicare, medicaid and unemployment. We need some responsible, trustworthy adults in our government to deal with this problem.

  137. Obama did not have the experience for the job when he was nominated and elected. He got the job by making unrealistic promises and telling everyone what they wanted to hear.
    He has broken most of his promises, and offers nothing but more of the same.
    If this is an emotional decision, when do you break up with the person you want to believe, but deep down know is lying to you?
    For me, that happened early in the Obama administration when he rammed through a Socialist "stimulus plan" that nationalized companies. Then they spent a year ramming through and unworkable and unpopular healthcare plan. I was done with him then.

  138. Obama has kept more of his campaign promises than any president I can remember. And those he failed on (changing the tone in Washington, Guantanamo, etc.) weren't for lack of trying.

    The stimulus plan wasn't socialist and didn't nationalize companies. Where do people get this stuff? The legislation to bail out the banks and to save the auto industry was passed under *Bush.* And while a couple of auto companies were nationalized, it was a temporary, and enormously successful, measure to save them; the remaining stock will be sold back to the public.

    Had we not saved Detroit, things would have been a lot worse.

  139. Mr. Obama tried to keep his promises but was stymied at every turn. Guantanamo Bay was kept open because the military did not want it closed, the prisoners were not allowed to be housed here. Maybe you think we should have just sent them all home so they try again? The economy is improving, housing is up, people are not finding work because companies are sitting on huge profits hoping to cause the fall of President Obama. Socialist? I am really tired of this argument. Look it up.

  140. Mitt Romney seems like a nice guy. But somehow, it is easier to envision him romping on the White House lawn with his grandkids amidst the Easter egg hunt than it is to envision him inside the White House announcing he made the decision to try to take out Osam bin Laden and that it was just accomplished. Unless he would be holding Ann or Paul Ryan's hand while making the announcement - it's just hard to picture. Sorry - he just doesn't seem to have it in many respects and that's one.

  141. I hear you. So often it's the wives of the candidates (of both parties) who seem like they're the ones who would be the better leaders.

  142. I like Obama and voted for him in 2008, but even though I think he's a great guy, my vote will probably go to Romney. When the economy is this bad, personality is not that important.

  143. Perhaps what we need is not a new President but a revised Congress.

  144. Unfortunately, Romney's plan would make things worse. It isn't based on economics, but on Tea Party pressure. Most people don't understand Keynes and think that the best thing to do in a recession is to reduce federal spending. But from an economic perspective, that's like pressing the brake when you want your car to accelerate.

    Businessmen tend to think this way, which is why they make the worst presidents for the economy (Hoover, Bush). But the public doesn't understand the difference between business economic and macroeconomics, so thinks "businessman, must be good for the economy."

  145. Usually a split government is best, like we had under Clinton. That forces the parties to compromise. However, now we are in a different situation. The debt crisis demands action now and the parties are very polarized on this issue. Obama implies that if only the 1% paid more that would solve the problem - that's not even close to the truth. Thinking they have a 2010 mandate from the people, the GOP takes an inflexible position on taxes, which causes the Dems to dig-in on their positions. A one-party government, especially if it were controlled by the Dems, seems to be the worst outcome for taking serious action on the deficit because the big problem areas are SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and Unemployment and these are Dem sacred cows.

  146. SW:

    Which half of the American people dislike Obama's policies? The half that praised Boehner and McConnell when they publicly stated that they will take Obama down and will not cooperate on any Obama proposed program or the half that just did not want to see anyone of color in the White House as president.

    The half who believe the trickle down theory or the half who are just angry at everything and will rally around anyone who is always anti-them?

    But most certainly not the half who will be hurt and devastated by the continuation of the typical war hawk, pro rich and powerful groups who want to make this country just theirs not all of ours.

  147. Well said. My vote is for President Obama. He is at least an honest man who told us all from the start he would need help to accomplish what he wanted to do.

  148. Four years ago I lost my job and was unemployed for 5 months. My 401K took a hit. Today I am employed and making more money now then when I was employed 4 years ago and my 401K is doing well. Because of President Obama's policies I am doing better than I was 4 years ago and my 401K has bounced back. President Obama has also kept us out ANOTHER WAR and gave the order to take down Bin Laden. I am not voting for Obama just because I "like" him. OBAMA 2012!

  149. Susan

    It is completely false that Obama has "kept us out of another war"

    Quite the contrary.
    We are bombing Pakistan and we are bombing Yemen.
    I have every confidence that the people who are being bombed understand that that is a war.

    Further, Obama has sent thousands of troops to the Horn of Africa, where it is only a matter of time before we are in a major engagement there, as well.

    Support who you want but at least have your facts straight.

  150. I was struck by the blanket statement (Romney, I think--or Rubio) that "no one is doing better now than they were four years ago." Immediately, my husband called from the couch, "I am." I also am, and Susan, above, is. Many people are. Maybe the comment was in reference to Wall Street bankers, who (poor things!) are only making $5m bonuses a year now instead of $8m.

    The comment certainly wasn't referring to the teachers, policemen and firemen who have been laid off or had their pensions slashed because of stupid, risky investment decisions made by LOCAL, not federal, governments during the financial bubble. Those folks aren't doing better--but of course, since they aren't "entrepreneurial," they probably deserve it, as that means they aren't truly American.

  151. The biggest question I have of both parties is this: If you can and will solve some of the many problems or difficulties facing this nation, why can you only participate if your party is in power? If you focus is truly on the nation as a whole, regardless of party, faith, race, or other factors, why can't you sit down at a table together, and work together, to offer your solutions towards a better solution. By doing that, perhaps things would move a little faster, and more things would get accomplished. Why change your entire philosophy just to get elected? Why not stay true to your principles, and work together?

  152. Great question. I am sure you already know the answer: politicians are not free to do what's good for the country. They need to worry about re-election, paying back groups that have supported them, paying back favors, and their egos. I think many of them enter public service with good intentions but the incentives and the system are corrupting.

    In times of crisis, like now, strong leadership is required. A wise, benevolent despot would be a better form of government than a representative democracy.

  153. Romney was able to work with the very liberal Ted Kennedy and deliver a health care solution to his relatively liberal state.

    If that isn't evidence that he can work across party lines, I don't know what is.

    Obama has never achieved this kind of success, in any level of government in which he's served.

  154. You're very earnest with your question, but I would say that President Obama and the Democrats have talked and negotiated with the Republicans more than can be expected.

    And the GOP will not participate, or even honor their word when given.

    This "both sides do it" and "neither side will work with the other" stuff will be the death of us. It's false.

    What do you do when one party -- the GOP -- is utterly intransigent and expects to be rewarded for that?

  155. Let's take a look at this from the other direction:

    Emotionally I am not going to vote for Romney because he has none of my interests at heart. He wants to repeal the first law that actually is trying to get almost all Americans health care. He would become the head of a party who will possibly control both houses that will act as if human caused climate change is a hoax. His election to the highest office in the land would be singularly possible only because it was bought and paid for by a tiny group of business-near-facist mega donors. We will probably end up invading Iran. We will end up staying longer in Afghanistan. More US business will outsource. He will still find ways to pay almost nothing in taxes and keep that possible for all his super rich peers. And he will put the finishing touches on a Supreme Court to become a rubber stamp puppet committee for the right wing interests exclusively.

    Those and others not listed are my emotional reasons for not voting for Romney.

  156. Mr. Faires:
    I totally agree with all the points you've made. I'm sure that many Americans feel exactly the same way you do.

  157. The Republicans just slay me ---- in one breath they claim to not be hiring because of the uncertainty, and in the next breath they blame the President for the unemployment rate.

  158. Same logic applies to Republicans mantra to make government smaller, but when government lays off workers and the unemployment rate increases, they complain about the high unemployment rate.

  159. First of all, not all Republicans are employers, and many employers are Democrats. Second, the Republicans are claiming that employers are not hiring BECAUSE of the uncertainty created by Mr. Obama. Their statements are consistent.

  160. You have a similar logical gaps in your statement, bj. Their policy is not a mantra, but the result of economic analysis, and not everyone laid off from work is laid off from a government job.

    The conservative economists, notably Milton Friedman, have long noted that federal government spending displaces private investment and that the federal government spending is less efficient than that private investment, resulting in less growth and fewer jobs, once netted out. The conservative Republicans would respond to your statement with some version of this argument, claiming that a smaller federal government would result in more private sector hiring. This you could not refute on the basis of current data, because the federal government has not gotten smaller.

    I should note that the confusion in the conservative argument is in the way government spends money. They simply assume that government borrows money, i.e. issues Treasuries, in order to fund deficits. That need not be. The President is already authorized to issue United States Notes (the original "Greenbacks") and, if he did so and stopped issuing Treasuries, there would be more spending -- an increase in current, active money supply -- without the simultaneous shifting of the money supply into the future that comes from issuing and selling Treasury debt instruments. In fact, lenders and investors would have more money to direct toward the cash flow and expansion needs of small business.

  161. Why doesn't this article just come out and say it instead of dancing around it?: Americans may feel guilty about voting against Obama because with all the racist rhetoric of the republicans, it's hard to distinguish a repulican vote as an unbiased, non-racist opinion of Obama's performance. That's not an "emotional attachment".

  162. Well, you certainly help Romney's cause by leading with three paragraphs suggesting that my support for President Obama is some kind of inchoate, warm-fuzzy nostalgia that isn't "workin' out for ya".

    No, in fact, he really could *not* have done much better with the economy, though he'd have liked to -- because of Republican lies, intransigence, and, well, treason. Y'know, the people who get elected by that tacky mob of vacant, scary, glassy-eyed freaks who've been on my TV for the last three days. The people to whose blind hate we were held hostage for eight years under Bush, and whose hostage-taking has merely taken a different form since 2008.

    And yet you won't print this comment because of *my* bad manners. Indeed.

  163. As an independant voter I am desperate to see a sane Republican party I can consider voting for. I believe in effective, good Government, but as little of it as possible to support a robust economy that gives everyone a good shot at a working life. Last election I was glad to vote for Obama after the mess G.W. Bush left us. This year I am sad but will vote for anyone with the best chance to defeat a Republican. This GOP needs rescuing. First step is to wrest control from the liars, cheats, and crazies and their total defeat is an imperative. I was unhappy with how Obama worked the Congress his first term, but the Republicans were far worse. They were not interested in the best outcomes for our country, even when a solid conservative option was available. They only cared about defeating their foe at all costs. Now that's how I feel about them.

  164. This is silly. Emotional ties? I think the 20% real unemployed are not too emotionally tied to a failed president. Looks like the NY Times writers still are. They have jobs, at least for a while.

  165. If Obama wins, then the Republicans will become a regional party, with no real hope of ever capturing the White House, for the most part, because their primary voters are mainly reactionary conservatives who trap their nominee on the far right, and thus, he cannot get to the middle by the general election.

  166. Since I cannot imagine a circumstance under which I would vote for R&R, I'm not sure my opinion on this subject holds much weight. That being said, one of the main reasons that keeps me committed to "Team Obama" is the destructive and disgusting behavior of the GOP over the last 2 (at least) years. The Republicans in Congress have abdicated their responsibility to their constituents and this country and have, instead, adopted a strategy to ensure that Obama fails at all costs. This is a party that came thisclose to causing our country to default on its debt, because they refused to compromise with Obama on the debt ceiling. And, if memory serves, the House voted to repeal "Obamacare" 33 times, and did not vote on Obama's jobs bill once. I am willing to give Obama another 4 years, not only because I believe that his policies are best for this country, but also because (despite some mistakes and disappointments) I don't think that he really got a chance in the previous 3.5 years.

    However, I think the GOP has a bigger problem. What, exactly, is the plan? The vague details they have given concern me, as there is not enough time to "fill in the gaps" later. I wholeheartedly feel that they are keeping mum on the details, because their plan is nothing but W.'s policies on steroids. And we know how well that worked the first time.

  167. I couldn't have said it better than "manyberries" said it. In my many years of voting for our President, never has the Republican party spent 4 years just blocking President Obama's attempts to turn this country around from the devastation left by the Bush Administration. The Replicans have not been professional, have not worked with our President to reach compromises, and have done nothing to help our economy. They've spent FOUR YEARS just knocking down Obama's suggestions and replacing them with their dictator-type style of change which always steps on the less fortunate and protects the very rich. In Michigan, my home state, a republican won the Governorship, and we are battling for the right to vote on issues which the constitution gave us, and our Governor is another rich republican who is trying to stop us from voting on major issues! This is, again, an example of what the Republican party wants to do to most of our rights.

  168. I love President Obama. Voted for him last time and will do so again this time around.

    He's done a lot of good and I'm sure he'll continue on his successful path from 2013.

    This President will go down in history as one of the greats : he listens, he acts with
    boldness, he has the best interests of the nation at heart. And of course, he terribly likable - and is family simply winning. God, I'd love to have a beer with this pol.

    Mitt Romney ... he will merely become a historical footnote. The Republican party
    is quickly, with this extremist Romney/Ryan ticket, passing through a narrow door to its inevitable extinction.

  169. Considering the condition our economy has been in for the last four years, do we really want a President we like, or a President who will get us out of this mess? Clearly, President Obama's policies have not worked. We are in the worst recovery in 75 years. President Obama's failed policies and spending have added more to our debt (in less than 4 years) than any President in history. Moreover, he has failed to cross the aisle and work in a bi-partisan manner like successful Presidents have (Reagan, Clinton, GW Bush). We need a new direction and competent leadership now.

  170. Rome wasn't built in a day, but Nero took only a day to burn it down.

    GW Bush took eight years to burn down the economy. Obama has had 3.5 years to try to rebuilt it - and the Republicans have been using their hammers on him, not on the nails.

  171. You forget that the House of Representatives has the responsibilty for passing the President's budget. If you do not like the Budget, blame the Speaker and the Republican majority that approved it. And also, since you seem to have slept through government class, the President has no power in Congress. That's called separation of powers.

  172. So, what your really mean is Obama has not done enough to fix the worst recession since the depression that was caused by Bush and the Republicans so we should vote for Romney to do more of exactly what got us into the mess in the first place.

    Sure, makes perfect sense give more tax cuts to Romney and his friends so instead of paying 13% rate with all his loopholes and offshore acounts he will get to pay 0%. Sure instead of regulating the banks that helped cause the mess, lets get rid of all that regulation. Sure instead of saving 700 billion dollars from Medicare and closing the donut hole and extending coverage to more people lets use that savings to give Mitt Romney and his rich friends another tax cuts.

    Yup, you make perfect sense.

  173. I was an Obama supporter/voter in 2008, and I am the same in 2012. Despite the obstructionism of the GOP, he made a lot of valuable accomplishments. People must look at his record. From 2010 on, the Republicans blocked most of his initiatives in Congress. I think that President Obama was a bit naive to believe that he could work with the GOP. Since the Tea Party import, it has been impossible. The GOP does not want to compromise, even on taxes for the $250,000+ incomes. Who is really to blame?

  174. We didn't fall in love with Obama. We feel in love with the vision of unity he presented in his speeches.

  175. I do not like Obama personally. I find him smug. Saying that his view on gay marriage had "evolved" was ridiculous and cowardly. He should not have stood by Geithner. More.

    But truth to power: Mr. Obama was handed a terrible economy when he took office and has done a good job managing a recovery. He nominated and achieved confirmation of two excellent new Supreme Court Justices (Justices Sotomayor and Kagan). "Don't ask, don't tell" is history and his administration refuses to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (both of which took some guts for a black politician). The Affordable Care Act is progress. More.

    It's not any sort of emotional tie I have to Obama. I do not even want his thanks or to one day shake his hand. Mr. Obama has my vote because he has been an effective President.

  176. His saying his view on same sex marriage had evolved is political speak.
    It was incredibly brave of him to declare his support of marriage equality when he did. As a gay man, I was hoping we could hold our breath on this issue and pretend it didn't exist until after he was safely re-elected and would then do the right thing. Judging from the apparent popular disapproval of marriage equality I thought this would be political suicide. I don't believe for a moment that his view had evolved. Since he gains little or no political points for coming out in favor of marriage equality (and perhaps might lose some) I believe he was always favorable but the political climate was not right.
    I am surprised there seemed to be no fallout on the issue, and indeed there probably won't be as the Republicans chose not to bring it up (beats me why not).
    I said it before in a comment that I think Obama is a mentsch. No political figure has ever moved me emotionally as he has done. As I am typing this now I am getting a little fahrklempt.

  177. Ghost,
    I'm not sure what your sexual orientation is but I am gay. When I came out to my parents in 1991 they were NOT happy. But, they loved me and because they would not turn their backs on me( or any of my siblings) they decided to calm down and learn from me what it meant to be gay. They met my friends, talked with me openly and honestly about their expectations and how they had to let go of who they thought I would be (married to a man w children) in order to see who I actually was.
    Long story short, people do "evolve" their feelings/thoughts/positions on GLBT issues. Pres. Obama may have chosen a lame way to say it but I can tell you my parents had to "evolve." And my family, happy and united as ever are glad they did.

  178. I actually find him fairly likeable as a man. As a politician, I can admit that he is, at times, smug. Aren't so many of them, and isn't that something that comes with the territory? It does not bother me.

    I agree with everything else you say. I would add that I felt getting rid of Osama Bin Laden was a great accomplishment of his administration. Nothing the Republicans say can take that away from him.

  179. Oddly enough, I can personally relate more to Paul Ryan than Mitt Romney--he seems like an all-around nice, humble guy and both he and his wife seem down-to-earth. This is in stark contrast to Mitt's cookie cutter image which I think intimidates a lot of people in a way that Bill Clinton, Obama, George Bush do not. I say "oddly enough" though because of course Paul Ryan said a bunch of lies during his RNC speech--more than Mitt himself. So in the end, they're all polticians--just some are better phonies than others. Gotta give Mitt props though--he couldn't even fake being touchy-feely to save his life. At least we know we're seeing the real Mitt!

  180. I remember only too well the republicans last four years of nothing but obstruction to all efforts by this president to turn this country and the atmosphere in DC around. Be no help was their motto.
    Romney is a reflection into the mirror of what ails this country. Greed and a desire to avoid paying taxes.

  181. I feel that the main reason so many of us that voted for President Obama four-years ago, and will do so again, comes down to five, extremely important personal traits:
    1. Trust.
    2. Empathy.
    3. Sincerity.
    4. Humility.
    5. Niceness.

    Despite all the roadblocks that many Republicans threw in his way, he still managed to do some very impressive things over the past four-years: Passed Obama-care. Eliminated many of our enemies, most notably, bin Laden. Signed into law many bills that while he may not of personally agreed with them, did so, because it was the fair, and right thing to do. He didn't pander to the powers of Wall Street, Big Business and Banking. And last, tried very hard to cooperate with Republicans, despite all of the frustration with their non-cooperation.

    In all honesty, After having voted in the past, both times, for President Bush W., I was very disappointed in him, and did not want to vote for another Republican. So, I ended up voting for Mr. Obama, who, at the time I considered a better option, even though I didn't totally believe many of the campaign promises he made. But, over time, my wife and I have grown to greatly trust, and admire, both Mr. Obama, and Mr. Biden, and feel that they really care about helping us, and not just about making themselves, and their friends richer at our expense.

    Those are some of the reasons that we still believe in President Obama, and Vic President Biden. And will vote for them once again.

  182. Democrats put a lot of trust on emotions.

    While we fully know what is right and wrong with our minds, I thank the heart for its ability to love, respect, FEEL . Even if it is -- in reality just a pump -- it represents the poetry of compassion, grace, conscience, which we see in our President.

    I join you,commenter Michael and the writer, Jim Rutenberg, for pointing out the significance of President Obama's big heart and why we continue to love and trust him.

  183. Well, yes, some of us are disillusioned with Obama. But to take advantage of that disillusionment, Republicans would have to be the better option. The problem is, they were the party that made this mess. Not the Democrats. And instead of cleaning up their act they've given us even more Tea Party nuttiness, and an unattractive candidate who, while he governed as a moderate in Massachusetts, has repudiated just about every sensible position he ever held.

    If Obama wins this thing, it won't be because he did enough to show progress in unemployment -- that would have left him invulnerable -- but because the Republicans took the wrong path, towards obstructionism in a crisis and fiscal conservatism in a recession.

  184. I think you nailed it, Josh Hill. The analysis in this article, though interesting, is ultimately off base. It's not the electorate's emotional attachment to Obama that will get him re-elected. His presidency has left a lot to be desired, but overall he's done a reasonably competent job and has made a good-faith effort to clean up the mess he inherited. By contrast, the Repubs have become the party of bad faith, and offer no credible or trustworthy alternative.

  185. Amen to you Josh. My vote for Obama was to penalize the Republican party for the mess created on their watch. I'd vote for Romney's dad in a heart beat. Why Mitt has not followed his dad's foot steps is a question I'd ask if I had a chance. GOP and the he said she said ads without a plan is not going to cut it for me. The Tea party and their approach is absolutely irresponsible not to mention the candidates they back. The GOP and the pants on fire speech didn't help me at all.

    Thanks for the run Mitt but Josh has it right.

  186. An independent woman, I'll vote for the candidate and the party that best recognizes and supports the moral agency of women--and men. That is the truly conservative approach and right now, that person is President Obama and the party for which he will stand as candidate for the presidency.

  187. Through President Obama's first term, I have become occasionally frustrated that he may lack the fight it takes to deal with scurrilous Republicans. They are self-professed saboteurs of his presidency (See Sen. Mitch McConnell, early on). I return to the real world, and understand that the president operates as best he can against Republicans who have all but announced that they put party above country.

  188. When asked by pollsters whether the country is going in the right or the wrong direction, I generally say it is going in the wrong direction. This is not President Obama's doing. I am referring to our unusually obstructive, unaccomplished Congress and our politicized Supreme Court, especially in its ruling in the Citizens United case. The president has achieved much, in spite of fierce opposition from Republicans and some Democrats.

    It's impossible for me to trust Romney with his multiple positions, his repeated distortions and even outright lies, nor can I identify with most of his recently stated values. There is only one thing that became crystal-clear during the campaign process: Romney will be very indebted to a handful of huge businesses and super-wealthy donors, who will likely have a big say in where Romney leads this nation. Romney and his donors want money to be able to buy our government, which would disenfranchise most of us citizens.

    My continued support for President Obama is not because of some mysterious love-effect but rather because his values are closer to mine, and because he has shown intelligent leadership in the US and abroad. I am certain that history will see Obama as a very accomplished president.

  189. The truth of the matter is that the Republicans vowed to take down Mr. Obama - get him out of office - from the moment the President was elected. The Republicans have thwarted or have tried to thwart every move the President has tried to make, economic or otherwise, to better this country these last four years. Although I have been some disappointed in Mr. Obama's lack of boldness, I will not abandon him and in fact strongly and actively support his re-election.

  190. I know I am in the minority here with this but I can't for the life of me understand why people who are well-read and literate like I consider most Times commenters to be don't see Obama as a cynical person who uses high-flown rhetoric for no purpose other than political gain. I voted for him but ever since I read a January New Yorker article that described his cynicism, and saw a Frontline documentary that said the same, I've been stupefied by the fandom that persists. I agree with a previous poster - he is smug. The thought of watching him raise his chin in an emperor's gaze at the DNC and proclaim platitudes revolts me.

    Obviously both sides are full of hot air much of the time, but there are still way too many people who think Obama walks on water still, and he lets them think that.

  191. Probably people support Obama because he doesn't owe his soul to an alleged casino boss under investigation for bribing our enemy, China, while pouring millions he fleeces from pathetic gamblers into lying campaign ads while trying to cover up his acivities. I'm of the 5%, was a stauch Republican for 30 years, and I will vote for Obama because I reject Mitt Romneys war on the middle class.

  192. I definitely don't think he walks on water. But the thought of electing a Republican, with everything that stands for today, revolts me. I don't want to see women's rights eroded to pre-1950's era, I don't want to see the federal government hollowed out to nothing more than a military and a Medicare voucher that will be insufficient, I don't want to see our environment turn back into what it was during the Industrial Revolution. While none of that may actually come to pass, that is the goal of today's Republican party.

  193. My heart is invested in Barack Obama and I am not a whit disappointed in his first term's accomplishments. And I look forward to cheering him on in his second term. Our President deserves re-election. Willard Mitt Romney (who has sprinted for political office since 1994), and Paul Ryan (whose Tea Party ethos is bedyond draconian )are not worthy of being elected to the Presidency and Vice-Presidency. Clint Eastwood's weird ramble last night right before Romney's acceptance speech was an example of how the Republicans/Gop/Extreme Right Conservatives will lead.

  194. An emotional cathexsis to this President is good. And if that is what it takes to get us through this election, so be it. However, we strive for an understanding in the electorate of the economic processes that allow us to become ever more productive human beings. This understanding will be the mediation point between ourselves and the political leaders we need to continue to develope as a humane and progressive nation.

    The Republican Party is doomed. It has a profoundly limited leadership that is totally dominated by finance capital and a social Darwinist world-view. The Party's propagada machinery in this election is transparent and taking on the stench of the Goebbels machine of the 1930's in Germany. In the not too distant future, the Republican Party will not have a constituency, except for the financial oligarchy and a few embittered right-wing ideologues.

  195. Just goes to show how stupid politicians believe people to be. When the republicans took control of congress, both 'leaders' publicly stated that their objective was to defeat Obama. To me, that in itself is a treasonous statement. The constitution obligates congress to provide for the general welfare. Settling political grudges at the expense of the citizenry is bad enough. But at the federal/national level, it's simply treason.

    This is the same party held the unemployment benefit extensions of millions of Americans hostage so that they could tac on another 800 billion to our debt for the sake of the profit of the wealthy. And then they speak of fiscal responsibility/hard choices/sacrifice. And all of this after campaigning on a platform of job creation and fiscal discipline. And here these same fools think that the reason they're having a hard time of it is because they aren't 'personable' enough. Like I don't remember a single thing they've done to make life for me and my neighbours/family/friends, harder and scarier.

    Peace to you and yours.

  196. Perhaps the Republicans along with most of the pundit class are underestimating the American people's ability to understand that the problems that beset our country in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 didn't lend themselves to easy fixes. They may also be underestimating our ability to realize that this election is not just about the immediate problems with the economy but it's moreso about what sort of country we want to leave for future generations.

  197. And perhaps the GOP underestimate our memory of the train wreck that was occurring in the run up to the '08 election - stock market halved, real estate crashing and unemployment skying. And that, while things ain't a whole lot better, the train wreck stopped and we are recovering.

    For the guys who mostly caused the wreck to say the new guy didn't fix it fast enough is really galling.

    Oh, and we haven t forgotten the the promise to obstruct Obama, to the country's great harm, in an effort to make him a one term president. I don't think the voters have forgotten any of this nor will they reward that performance.

  198. The Republican Party has lost its way.
    While they still present themselves as the party of business and entrepreneurs they have really become the party of the reactionary and selfish.
    If anyone doubts the continuing role of the "Big Lie" in modern politics, I would point out the fact that based on all the fine speeches at the convention, one would think the Republicans would be the champions and defenders of immigrants. Everyone praised their immigrant forebears. But instead, it is the party of xenophobes who want desperately for the government to spend billions of dollars on a bigger and better fence to keep the neighbors out. They seek to make life so miserable for poor immigrants and their families that those families will flee social persecution and "self deport" in the words of the supposedly kind, and humane Mr. Romney. They should be ashamed of themselves for their cruelty and hypocrisy.

  199. I did not see the talk that Clint Eastwood gave at the convention, but apparently at one point he added a gesture to emphasize getting rid of Obama by running a finger across his own neck. Bizarre enough all by itself, this gesture was made in front of the "empty chair" that Obama was (virtually) sitting in. In other words, Clint was adding insult to insult.

    To my mind, this gesture alone symbolizes the whole Republican attitude towards Obama: to wit, it is not so much economics, jobs, or politics...it is about hate.

    (I say this as one who admires the film accomplishments of Cling Eastwood, but that has nothing to do with his politics.)

  200. Actually, this could have been taken many ways. I took it as a reference to Romney's admission that he "likes to fire people". There were several places in Eastwood's routine that he was "off-message". I'm sure the Republicans regret having him there last night. He was embarrassing to them. (The audience loved him, but I doubt Romney's advisers did).

  201. On the subject of Clint Eastwood: I too used to like him. I thought he was cool guy who makes good movies and who loves Jazz music, like I do.

    Now he's just a senior citizen -- one who enjoys total freedom from financial worries -- shilling for they who would steal food out of the mouths of seniors who don't have that luxury...talking to an empty chair, to an audience of zombies.

    Clint, it is what it is, and we are what we do.

  202. I think Clint Eastwood has lost his mind!

  203. It is simple physics, the emotional ties to Obama are not as strong as the emotional repulsion to Romney.

  204. Correction: The emotional ties to Romney are not as strong as the emotional repulsion to Obama.

  205. What the Republicans don't seem to get is many, no doubt the majority, who are disappointed in Obama are this way because he has not been progressive enough. Highly, highly doubtful that most who voted for McCain 4 years ago would vote for Obama now no matter what he would have done.

    So it's not really a choice between Obama and Romney, but rather between staying home and voting for Obama...or perhaps between voting for Obama unenthusiastically and volunteering for his campaign.

  206. President Obama is not just a history president, he has done historic things. He has saved the country from economic collapse, he has reformed health care, he has rescued the auto industry and many more real accomplishments. All while the Republicans have kicked and screamed like bratty 2-year-olds. He deserves our support and respect. I think this GOP campaign about wanting us to "break up" with Obama and come back to the Republicans smacks to me like a man who abuses his wife and then asks for another chance.

  207. Sorry to disappoint, but I have no emotional ties to Barack Obama. My decision to vote for him in the last election had to do with what I perceived to be a governing philosophy, seriousness of purpose, level of competence, policies proposed (and opposed) and consistency in tone, attitude and behavior that better matched my list of "qualifications" for the office than those of his opponent. It didn't even have to do with his mixed race ancestry. My vote this time will be given on the same grounds. While I am hearing much from Mitt Romney about what's wrong with and what went wrong with the last three and a half years (much of which I find not in keeping with the facts and my recollection of recent history), I've yet to hear anything from the challenger that convinces me that the next four years would somehow be better in any of the important respects that I mentioned with him in office. It's a tough job and I have no illusions about that. I also have no illusions that everyone who takes the job has a learning curve to navigate. If the guy who wants to be the next guy isn't able to sufficiently articulate how he would be an improvement, why would I want to start over again with him on that learning curve? Frankly, this "emotional attachment" factor seems insulting to the voter and the Republicans' pursuit of it as a strategy seems to indicate that they have no compelling ideas for the future.

  208. Thank you for stating so well my exact feelings. Plus all the obstructionism the Republicans provided made Obama's job doubly hard.

  209. I wonder if news analysists and pundits aren't making too much of this "likeable" factor. I certainly hope, for all our sakes, that voters will choose their leaders based on policy, that voters have some conviction about what kind of a country they want. I won't be voting for Mr. Romney because I disagree with all 5 of the policy promises he made last night. I like him just fine.

  210. I'm afraid "likeability " has been a determining factor in every Presidential race since 1968 and the election of Richard Nixon. Cordially, Bill

  211. Likeability in this case is closely related to trust. Obama has followed through on the vast majority of his promises - from defense to health care - so he retains my trust. He has also earned my sympathy and affection for having endured what has to be the rawest deal in American politics in the past century. From the moment he took office, the right wing had declared him a failure (Rush Limbaugh was already on the horn and Obama had been president less than hour) and hasn't let up. As for Romney-Ryan, there's nothing either says that can be trusted. Oh, sure, they're nice guys and I don't trust them and I don't like them.

  212. When judging the Presidents work over the last 3+ years I think it's important, and fair, to take into account Mitch McConnells pledge to make President Obama a one term president. How much longer would the Presidents list of accomplishments be had the GOP accepted his offer of bi-partisanship and governed with the good of the nation in mind?

  213. Obama comes across as being different. He is not an old white guy and in a nation as multiracial as the US he reflects many voters who have felt left out of the process. He also seems to not belong to the big money power base.
    Romney has walked away from what made him popular as governor to try and hold the more socially conservative in his party.
    Obama connects with an audience when he speaks. Although this may be rhetoric over substance, never underestimate the power of someone who makes you feel better about yourself and the world around. This is particularly important during stressful times.
    At the end of the day hope is all some may have and Obama is wearing that mantle.

  214. Is ignorance the new American national goal?

    It's amazing why anyone would not see that Obama truly saved the economy of this country from collapse, beginning from the auto industry and despite republican blockage and world-wide economic recession that ours is inexplicably connected to.

    He's had consistent job creation for almost 30 months straight, compared to massive job losses when he took over. In 2011 alone the economy created more jobs than the eight years of George Bush.

    Yet people still make the argument that he has not cleaned up the mess he inherited fast enough, just because of a single number - unemployment percentage.

    It's even more amazing that anyone is considering voting in the same crowd that caused the mess, and all that this crowd is offering are the very same policies that in eight years destroyed the economy.

    Are we witnessing a revolt of the dull-minded against the intellect?


  215. Wow, what an incredibly condescending headline and article! Someone in a high-rise on 5th Avenue in New York seems to think that we're going to vote for Obama solely for emotional reasons.

    Perhaps media elites are as out of touch with the people as are the Republicans, or the Democrats, or the Washington Establishment in general!

    Did it ever occur to you geniuses that Obama may win because multitudes can now access daily information at their fingertips, and can now make an informed and unemotional decision on whom they decide to put into the highest office of the land?

    The New York Times, thankfully, is very much a part of this modern "Instant Information Age"! Perhaps some judge the general level of collective intelligence and knowledge (or lack thereof) by randomly scanning posts from millions of people giving input, but mostly opinion, on scores or hundreds of news sites.

    I would like to point out, however, that while many people, in their pride, may seem obstinate, or even hostile, when faced with another who makes a valid point, or who unwittingly "educates", that that apparently "hostile" person often privately takes into consideration the point of view of that person with whom they just disagreed with in public.

    In other words, don't underestimate the geo-political knowledge of the citizen body-politic.

    I hope I conveyed my thoughts as effectively and as accurately as possible. (Which of course I didn't, as I'm always dissatisfied with my art and my writing!

  216. This "Tale of Two Cities," a Democratic second term, a Republican second run, in the current American politics is one of trust, betrayal, and redemption. The first two elements are highly charged with mixed emotions, but the American public will soon get over that phase, of anger, of denial, and onto redemption. The word redemption is more than just a word of theology, but also an universal honor code that's very human. While there may be talks about deficit reduction and passing the pain onto our children, that's a long term fantasy ignoring the current reality, foreboding of a possible a GOP withdraw. The irony is that despite long term beliefs in ideological superiority, much of the engines of the economy of the past 30 years were created for short-term gains, and there is little left to reap. Despite talks about "our" children, let's not forget that we still have a large middle class, while financially more polarized, still share a common sense and basic emotional needs, a long term view in acknowledgement of this great democracy. Let's not forget the middle class, the 30-60 year-old generations, who still have to work, have many years of good health left, believing in second chances, hope, and self-motivation that exemplifies American values. There is much work left to be done for the middle class, the short-term reality.

  217. Romney is depending on former Obama votets deciding they want to accept Romney and the Republicans right wing vision. Former Obama voters would probably not vote rather than vote for Romney. I think that most people are disappointed in Obama because he was not as progressive as he led the voters to believe he would be. The 2008 election of Obama was a magical event. The only reason it happened though was the complete collapse of the Bush presidency. Romney will not get many takers as he tries to get elected being more to the right than George Bush. That would take a prodigious amount dishonesty and negative political ads.

  218. Obama was elected by the people...on the day he was sworn into office as the President, the Repubs held a private meeting with the sole purpose of developing a game plan to make him a one term President and to defeat his objectives.

    Paul Ryan was not only at the meeting...he was part of the leadership to destroy the new President.

    To our knowledge this type of a meeting and agenda has never been done before. Ryan's own actions are reason enough for the public to completely reject him as a Vice President and as a member of Congress. Even if he loses his chance to be elected Vice President, since he is also on the ballot in his home district, it is possible that he still could be elected as a member of Congress....a position he should never be allowed to have again.

    Their objective will not be achieved...

  219. I think (and I hope), most voters are aware of this conscious and dastardly intention on the part of the Repubs.

    It is truly "dastardly", as it blatantly puts politics itself above the common interests and good of the republic.

    If the American people really could see it, with their eyes, they may well collectively call for public hangings of public "servants".

  220. The real question is Are we better off than we'd be under Bush, McCain or Romney?

    If "we" are the 1%, probably not--but even that is not clear.. If "we" are the 99% rather obviously yes.

    The 1% may very well buy government; but the cost will be a corrupt demoralized culture, political and otherwise. The degenerate Republican convention tells us it is already here--and has been for so long their lies and delusions seem mainstream.

    Everyone pays for that. And it is only a matter of time before corruption leads to social unrest--which like a virus cannot be blocked by gated communities..

  221. Well said and with wit.

    A modern decaying-from-within Roman Republic! The parallels are very disturbing.

    I realize the "rise", "fall" and "rise", and again the"fall" and "resurgence" here and there of the Roman Republic and Empire is a complex fabric of history, but every time it weakened, and when it finally collapsed, Rome was "For Sale"!

  222. To me the question comes down to negotiating what the meaning of the word "is" is. There are people with whom one can come to an agreement that is testable against objective facts, and there are people whose sole sense of winning in negotiations is to put something over on somebody.

    Mr. Obama has never given me the sense that he is trying to put something over on me. Romney screams that I must accept an unreality to ride the gravy train he rode.

  223. Hopefully, the majority of the electorate is as logical as you are, sir.

  224. The Republicans have framed themselves into a tricky situation. With their convention theme being "We built it" they suggest that they alone - and by extension the American people alone - are responsible for our own success; there is no role for government.

    Romney tried to show he understands the struggles of Americans who find themselves jobless and/or underwater on their mortgages. But by the Republicans' own talking points, aren't those problems the problems of the individuals? The first two days of their convention were spent congratulating themselves on their own success; success they say is due to one's own hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and dedication. By extension then, isn't failure the lack there of? They eschew any contribution of the role of government in their success but blame government, and President Obama for the lack of jobs today.

    Paul Ryan suggesting Obama could or should have done something to save that automobile plant in WI was rich. Forget that it closed before Obama was inaugurated. But the inconsistency in a Republican criticizing the current president for not honoring capitalism and free enterprise...then criticizing him for NOT bringing the government in to intervene.

    They can't have it both ways. You can't blame the government (and the president personally) for all that has gone wrong, but take credit personally for all that has gone right.

  225. I did not vote for Obama in 2008 and I will not vote for him in 2012. I think he lies and is dishonest.

    I think he is destroying the country with his policies. He is trying to rule like a Nero or Caligula by executive decree. He lied and took us to war with Libya by ignoring the constituion and the War Powers Act. If he wins he will take us to war with Syria. He refuses to faithfully execute the laws of this nations and tries to do end runs about the laws.

    He is man without principles who will do and say anything to get elected.He would never have tried his pseuo Dream Act Amnesty had he not been desparate for votes.

    He creates a debt commission - Simpson Bowles - and then ignores them. He has increased our deficit and squanders money and refuses to make the cuts needed in the budget.

    I am 77 and retired and he will never get my vote. He doesn't have enough money in the world to buy my vote like he buying so many votes with false promises and executive orders.

  226. Addressing just one of your misperceptions, consider this from BusinessWeek magazine two weeks ago (August 13, 2012): “Representative Paul Ryan was a pivotal figure in killing the 2010 Bowles-Simpson agreement, which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney now holds out as a model for putting America’s fiscal house in order. The 18-member panel needed 14 votes to send a 10-year plan to trim the debt to Congress for a vote. As his party’s then-ranking member on the House Budget Committee, Ryan led a bloc of three House Republicans who denied the additional votes needed. All three Senate Republicans on the panel backed the plan.”

    Don't blame Obama. Blame Ryan, the GOP's official candidate for Vice President.

  227. Your metaphor does not work because when voters choose a candidate for office they are not marrying him or her. What we are doing is more like hiring a contract worker. If they complete their contract we can choose to hire them again, or we can choose to hire someone else we believe or hope will do a better job than our previous contract worker. Did this contract worker fullfil his promises? Some of his biggest promises were to unite us and to change the climate in Washington by his actions so that the people benefitted, so that our country benefitted. As I see it, our current President divides us. He divides all of us, the rich and the poor and the middle class, the old and the young, men and women, black, white, Latino, Asian and all races and ethnicities from one another, the religious and God-fearing and the non-religious, the pro-life and pro-abortion groups, the anti-gun and the pro-gun groups, the city dwellers and the people who live in the rest of the country, the employees and the unemployed, the insured and the uninsured, the native and the immigrant, legal and illegal, the law respecters and the lawbreakers, the educated and the uneducated, the wise and the unwise. We cannot stand together if we are divided. We need to see we are one nation and we need to have a President that wants to unite us. This President promised to do that. Do you think he kept his promise? Should we hire him again? Did he provide the jobs he said he would? We didn't marry him.

  228. I'm nearly 70 years old. The Republicans want to destroy or drastically reduce Social Security and Medicare on which, no exaggeration, my life depends. The Democrats want to ensure that those systems remain sound.

    I have younger friends who have lost their jobs despite decades of hard work, and the Republicans would do away with most unemployment insurance.

    The Republicans have obstructed every good item that Congress has considered, not out of principal or out of concern about what is good for the country, but out of a desire to not let Obama accomplish anything.

    The Republicans want to engage in activities that destroy the environment. The Democrats are not much better about that, but they are somewhat better.

    Neither party has done much of anything about outsourcing or combating the U.S. market being flooded with cheap subsidized foreign goods, but the Democrats have done more.

    Both are the party of endless trillion dollar useless wars, so no difference there.

    I know a lot of people are fools, otherwise they wouldn't vote for Akins, etc., but not all of us are fools. Voting Republican is voting for the continued destruction of the country.

  229. There is a sense of connectedness, possibly emotional feeling that many of us have for our President based on his personal mention of countless numbers of voter's lives, needs and losses.
    Hopefully, voters in 2012 will have moved past the criterion of whom they would like to 'have a beer with' in exchange for 'who will fight for me and my family." I believe that President Obama will.

  230. Andrew, I wish Obama had accomplished a lot more, although most of what he's failed to do is because of Republican obstructionism. But I see nothing phony about him.

    I see Republicans tell lie after lie, however, repeatedly, like that Obama will cut major money from Medicare, when anyone who's read the changes know they almost entirely represent reduced profits for BigInsurance and BigPharma and not any reduction in services for Seniors.

    I have to wonder how Republican politicians who repeat these lies sleep at night, when they apparently think their only way to win is to lie. My conclusion is that they are hopelessly corrupt.

  231. First, based upon the speeches made during the second, first day of the convention it would appear many of Romney's fellow travelers also see themselves as disconnected from their nominee. Second, many of President Obama's supporters that are disappointed in the president's first term are so because they expected his policy direction to run further left of center; i.e., more confrontation, less compromise. Lastly, only the ignorant are not cognizant of the GOP congressional membership's obstruction, the sole reason the nation's economy is at a relative standstill.

    Of course, if the Romney campaign actually considered it they would not be promoting their candidate as a potential home-wrecker, someone attempting to lure the American public into an adulterous affair with no intention of commitment. If elected, Mitt Romney will run this nation like one of those tax-haven republics for the uber-wealthy, where 99% of the population live in poverty, and as servants to their monied masters.

    George W. Bush, during his time in office, oversaw one of history's greastest mass redistribution of wealth from the lower and middle-classes to the upper classes, a redistribution congressional Republicans have fought tooth and nail to keep President Obama from undoing. Mitt Romney wants to be elected president so he can finish what Bush began. Thus the precise meaning of any votes for Romney to be president is in support of the lower and middle-classes being left without any wealth whatsoever.

  232. Yes, Obama made many promises in 2008. Some he kept. Some he did not keep. Many he tried to keep but was blocked by a recalcitrant congress.

    What assurance do we have that Romney, especially given his record of repudiating now much of what he seemed to stand for as Governor of Massachusetts, will carry out any of the non-specific plans he tells us about? He now seems to be turning away from much that he tried to appear to be during the primary debates, and trying to appear as a different person than the one we saw then.

    Let's give Obama the opportunity to work with a congress that will not block his every move or request. Let's be careful who we elect to that congress. This country can still be saved.

  233. Correction: Obama was blocked by people elected by Americans to do so.

    Given that Obama turned off so many voters in his first 2 years in office that his party took a "shellacking", I'd say you are misguided to blame republicans for his very obvious failure to lead all Americans.

  234. To ACC: Correction: the shellacking of 2010 was largely caused by a misrepresentation of the Affordable Care Act and continued high unemployment. And unemployment continues to stay high to a great extent because of Republican obstruction. The Republicans' austerity measures have caused huge job losses in the public sector (teachers, policemen, firemen etc.). The Republicans have also blocked any and all public works projects and improvements to infrastructure. All of this in the name of deficit reduction (which they really don't care about). They hope that the American people will be fooled and blame President Obama for their suffering.

  235. For me, it is not about personality, it is about policies and actions. I will vote for Obama because of his policies; Romney's and Ryan's policies will bankrupt this country. The news coverage Thursday night was nauseatingly gratuitous, end-to-end coverage of Romney's empty promises and downright lies.

    BTW, I did not see one person of color in the audience at the so-called convention; the only people of color present were singing in the choir.

  236. Anyone who is disappointed in Obama's performance either has unrealistic expectations about what the President can and cannot do, has not been paying attention to the relentless obstructionism of the Republicans, or both. In my opinion, his perfomance, his calm, controlled and determined leadership, has been amazing.

  237. Yes, I am not happy with Obama, but I was under no illusions when I voted for him four years ago.

    But Romney and Co. will never get my vote as long as they're against gun control; against abortion and birth control; against marriage equality; against a sane monetary policy that includes raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires back to 1960s levels when our country was doing just fine, thank you; and against healthcare, as good as congressmen get, for everyone.

    So to the polls, to vote for Obama, I go.

  238. Taxation and spending is fiscal policy, not monetary policy. Monetary policy affects availability of money from banks. Confusion about the nature and effects of these policies is part of our present economic drift.

  239. As a Scientist we could also mention little things, like people who don't believe in evolution, oppose embryonic stem cell research, or think that CO2 and fossil fuels have nothing to do with global warming.

  240. My only disappointment with Obama is that he has been unable (and I can't imagine how it could be otherwise) to counter the determination of the Republicans to prevent any domestic success, and added to that the virulent hatred of some strains of our culture. The hope that was dashed was that he would have partners in a bipartisan effort, but they did not materialize. Had those partners been available and the Republicans been responsible, we would have a different story. I am proud of America for electing him, and I am ashamed of America's treatment of him.

  241. Is this article a news story or an Op-Ed. It seems to take for granted that President Obama has failed, and all the Republicans need to do is interrupt some kind of emotional tie the President's supporters feel with him. Well, here's my feeling:

    Considering the economic disaster he took over at his inauguration and the total obstruction from Republicans since, President Obama has been a stunning success. In his speech last night Mitt Romney asked: Are you better off now than when Obama took office? Ladies and gentlemen, yes we are! Back then this country was on the verge of a second Great Depression, brought on in large part by the policies of Bush II. We were still fighting two wars, one of them that should never have been started. We had endured eight years of "trickle down." By that I mean the rich got richer while the standard of living for the rest of us trickled down.

    Now we are in a recovery, slow but steady. Unemployment is still high, but would be much lower if not for the ill-considered austerity Republicans have pushed on us. We're out of Iraq and on the way out of Afghanistan. And we finally have a law that starts to repair our broken healthcare system. The list of President Obama's accomplishments is much longer, but just these say to me that we are much better off now than we were four years ago.

    This election is not about some emotional tie to Obama. It's about Mitt Romney and the Republicans wanting to take us back to the Bush II policies.