Scott Feschuk on the U.S. campaign

It’s been a weird campaign, and it’s about to get weirder

They just love America so much


Here in Canada, national political campaigns are brief: We begin by pretty much ignoring the whole thing for a few weeks—then there’s a debate, a little yelling, maybe some pointing, every leader buys a bunch of Timbits and, boom, suddenly it’s election day.

But in the United States, presidential campaigns last longer than all pregnancies and most wars. Even before the 2008 campaign had ended, candidates were laying the groundwork for 2012, engaging in such unsavory practices as raising money and visiting Iowa.

Perhaps you’ve been following the presidential race closely for the past many months. Good for you. You probably have vague memories of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and that weird pizza guy who kept screaming the number “nine” at everyone. You may even have succeeded in banishing all mental images related to Newt Gingrich’s yearning for an open marriage. If that’s true, I feel kind of badly for just having mentioned it. The open marriage, I mean. The one through which Gingrich would have been freed to have intimate relations with various ladies while not wearing any—ah, I see now that I’m only making matters worse.

Anyway, with Republicans preparing to gather for their national convention beginning Aug. 27, this is a good time for the rest of us to get caught up on where things stand in American politics.

As you may recall, the current President is a Democrat by the name of Barack Obama. He killed Osama bin Laden—not personally, but (the way he tells it) pretty much. When not killing bin Laden, which he totally did, by the way, President Obama passed a law that ensures a modicum of health coverage to everyone except Osama bin Laden, who is dead because Barack Obama killed him.

The Republicans have responded by selecting as their nominee one Willard Mitt Romney, who, had he been in office, would have killed Osama bin Laden even deader.

Romney looks like America’s idea of a president. But he often sounds like America’s idea of an eccentric uncle. Travelling in Michigan, Romney repeatedly made reference to his belief that trees in the state are “the right height.” It’s possible Romney was trying to evoke a timeless image from nature to symbolize American exceptionalism in an age of global volatility. He may also have been high.

Or maybe that’s just Mitt Romney. Even when he says normal things they can come out sounding a little unusual. This week, he hailed the success of NASA’s rover by boasting to a rally: “We just landed on Mars and took a good look at what’s going on there!” He made it sound as though Curiosity was scoping out the chicks down at Applebee’s.

Romney has also been prone to the political gaffe. This past weekend, he introduced his running mate—Paul Ryan, a young congressman with the hairline of Count Chocula and the ideological flexibility of Count Dooku—by describing him as “the next president of the United States.” Wolf Blitzer almost wet himself over that one.

History suggests it should be fairly easy to defeat a sitting President who has presided over a country that has endured economic malaise, high unemployment and two new Maroon 5 albums. But Romney is behind in the polls. According to surveys, two-thirds of Americans think he cares more about the rich than the middle class. Which is weird because Romney relates to the middle class: there’s no class he’s fired more of.

There’s still time for Romney-Ryan, of course. The debates are yet to come. The Republican ticket is backed by several super PACs that will raise and spend massive amounts of money. And Romney will likely get a boost from his party’s convention, assuming they find room for him to give a speech amid all the references to Ronald Reagan.

But there are only 11 weeks until Election Day. In America, they call that the home stretch. Emotions are high. At a rally this week in Wisconsin, his home state, Paul Ryan reacted to the enthusiastic welcome by openly crying onstage. At the sight of Ryan weeping, Romney himself began crying. This made his wife, Ann Romney, burst into tears. ALL THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

What is it with Republicans? House Speaker John Boehner: crier. Pundit Glenn Beck: crier. Romney and Ryan: criers. Your country is glad you love her, boys, but come on—you’re soaking America’s freedom blouse.


Scott Feschuk on the U.S. campaign

  1. Crazy fanatics. The best thing that could happen for America right now would be for these two idiots to win the presidency, House and Senate. That would push the teetering American economy right over the edge.

    It would be a repeat of the early 1930s. 2008 was a repeat of 1929, but bailouts and stimulus spending prevented another Great Depression. It seems people can only learn the hard way and are therefore doomed to repeat history. So it would be better to just get it all over with now than drag on for the next 17 years, which is how long Japan has been stuck in the same economic quagmire (liquidity trap.)

    If Obama wins he will bring in a number of half-measures that will only prolong the agony.

    Last time we were in the same predicament Western governments eventually united to bring in a grand stimulus package that was big enough to get the global economy back on its feet: funding the world-war effort. Hopefully we aren’t fool enough to have to repeat that much history… (not that it would be surprising…)

    • “Crazy fanatics. Mitts are for kids.”

    • What makes them idiots, compared to Obama? Obama has proven to be an idiot, whereas Romney and Ryan are proven winners and to be very smart.

  2. Earlier this month, Mitt gave a speech at Acme Industries in Elk Grove, Illinois. Am I the only one who immediately started thinking of Wile E. Coyote? Was anyone in his camp remotely aware of the image this company’s name would conjure up?

  3. Thank you Mr. Feschuk for another great column! Not only is it the most hilarious thing I read in a while, it’s also a lot of fun throwing in the faces of the con cranks in the NP forums. They love Ryan over there. They think he’s the best thing to come down the pike since Reagan. Which just goes to show what Canadian Conservatives really believe and what their real agenda is.

  4. Biased tone for sure. You and your magazine are definitely on the Obama cheerleading squad, evidenced by this, and other articles. I think your magazine needs to look at the reality of the many failures of Barack Hussein Obama. Expose all the broken promises, failures, and lies that Obama has perpetuated.

    • Calling Obama Hussein – biased, bigoted and juvenile.

      • That’s very funny, JanBC. When he was sworn in as President of the United States, he said his name was Barack Hussein Obama.

        • So why aren’t you calling Romney Willard Mitt?

          • That’s because I chose not to. Hussein is Obama’s middle name, so the use of it at anyone’s discretion is perfectly fine. HUSSEIN!

      • Don’t feed the trolls, Jan. It’s not good for your head.

  5. Obama also made a similar gaffe when he introduced Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008. No mention of that. Biased coverage.

  6. Why make ad hominen attacks on Congressman Ryan? What is the point of that? It shows your bias.

    • Feschuk skews everyone… He is an equal-opportunity offender…

      • I have not seen him skew Obama yet, and there are plenty of reasons to do that, based on Obama’s poor record and history of gaffes

  7. Your statement regarding Mr. Romney’s “firing” comments are out of context and show your bias. He said he likes to be able to fire someone if they are not doing their job or providing the services they promised. It was a comment about freedom of choice and free competition in the labour and services market. You are biased.

  8. When Romney was at Bain Capital, he had a record of 78% successes in the companies that he chose to invest with. That is a pretty good record, especially considering the fact that the investments largely involved getting into risky companies that needed assistance to avoid failing.

    • Rob……..Please take some time and read how venture capitalist companies work. If you still think that Bain has a good record, then so be it.

  9. Obama did not kill Bin Laden, the United States military killed him, and did so based on intelligence originally obtained via the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. Thanks to President George W. Bush for allowing the use of the EITs that eventually led to the military in successfully killing this terrorist!

  10. Where is the evidence of the Romney-Ryan “crier” comment? Who cares about Glenn Beck? He is not a spokesperson for the GOP. Biased.

  11. Kudos to Scott Feschuk for a very amusing satirical view of the US Presidential campaigns. What’s interesting is that Romney and his team still need to be officially deemed the opponents at next week’s convention in Tampa before they can let the dogs loose and start spitting venom against Obama in earnest. Let the games begin.

  12. What a partisan headline on your cover. ‘How an gaffe-prone, flip-flopping mega-rich elistist could still beat Obama’. How about Biden with his mega mansion and gaffe after gaffe.

  13. And to think that Ed Muskie, who serve in the US Navy in WWII, lost the Democratic nomination because he supposedly cried while on stage in the snow in New Hampshire in 1972.

  14. Rob is just ticked off because he can personaly install Romney as God and permanent ruler of the known universe!

  15. Can’t wait to see what Scott writes about the “legitimate rape” candidate. Ya can’t make this up folks — the gifts that keep on giving.

  16. A fairly witty article, but no mention of how Obama introduced Biden as the next president of the United States at a rally in Springfield on August 23, 2008. Later, at the same event, Biden referred to Obama as Barrack America. These things happen. Both sides must either agree to just get over it and let these perfectly natural (and human) slips go, or reference one from each side so there is an illusion of fairness. I know that is asking a lot from Feschuk and Macleans but they could give it a try.
    Also, the picture above the article and the cover tag line are very biased.

  17. “I feel kind of badly for just having mentioned it”…’d think a journalist could use better grammer. It’s I feel bad, not badly. You don’t feel sadly, madly, gladly…..look it up.