The web gives us disturbance, uproar, commotion, and confusion for synonyms of “turmoil”—words that fit both the weather forecast and political forecast. A storm is not really an outside force since we are in nature, but there’s a sense that something is coming to get us, to make trouble on the East Coast. Nobody knows how damaging the winds and water will be. On the election front the situation is confusing because of the conflicting or unhelpful public opinion polls. Romney ahead. The President ahead. Romney gaining in the last days because of what? There’s a disturbing AP poll about racial attitudes in America. Anyone who thought it was going to be smooth sailing to re-elect an African-American president, the first one, was dreaming. The ad wars are in full assault mode. At this stage the charges are getting harsher and meaner, and there is not much time to respond to wild accusations or plain old lies. The candidates rush from state to state. There’s a new poll showing the President and Gov Romney tied in Ohio, which would be a huge shift if the data holds up. Gov. Patrick recommends that Massachusetts schools close tomorrow because of the mega-storm roaring toward us. Elizabeth Warren has put herself in a position to win next Tuesday. Wouldn’t it be bittersweet if President Obama lost and a Sen.-elect Warren started hiring staff for Washington? How much of a good thing would it be to have a President Romney traveling around calling Massachusetts “my state?” Would the Romney compound in La Jolla, Calif., be the western White House? How will the national Republicans react if President Obama wins narrowly and keeps his team intact?
I’m for the President, and I don’t consider myself naive, but it has been puzzling to me as I try to understand the visceral opposition to Barack Obama around the country. In my view he stands for what is right and good and has made important progress on some enormous problems, from the economy to foreign affairs. I’m not going to recite the laundry list here. A year ago, I was telling friends that I could imagine a scenario in which 51 percent of the voters decided that they wanted a businessman in the White House to kick the national economy in the butt and get more results. I don’t agree with Gov Romney’s approach, but I won’t be surprised if the majority of people vote for change in order to try something, anything, new. I do think it will be a shame that the national Republicans would have won by sitting on their hands and not helping the President—basically, trying to run out the clock until next week. After the Republican primaries, I didn’t think the election would be this close, although, as I mentioned above, I never thought it would be easy to re-elect the first Black president. How bad was that comment by Romney campaign spokesperson former N.H. Gov Sununu, downplaying the value of Gen Colin Powell’s endorsement of the President? Is Sununu for Romney because they share a racial group? I think there are voters who were shocked that Sen Obama defeated Sen McCain four years ago. Those folks have been getting ready to vote against Obama for four years, especially if they didn’t vote or get politically involved in 2008. I’m eager to see the voter turn-out numbers next Tuesday. The early voting has been heavy, I’ve heard and read—and that early voting has favored the President, according to a news report last week. We’re about to get pounded by rain and wind for the next two days. If the storm called Sandy was a soundtrack, its impending chaos would be in line with the political movie we find ourselves in at the moment.
Driving back home from Vermont late yesterday, my family and I saw President Obama’s motorcade heading north on the highway near Nashua. The overpasses were shut down and guarded by police cars, a long section of Route 3 North was shut off, and a phalanx of green State Trooper cruisers escorted the President’s limousine, staying close, front, back, and sides. We were excited to get a glimpse of an historic figure as the vehicles sped by on the other side of the grassy median. We couldn’t see him, but we knew he was in the car. That was good enough for us.