Barack Obama,left, Mitt Romney
On the election day today, as I prepare to join the Obama election night watch party at McCormick Place in Chicago, I seriously wonder whether “The race is too tight” narrative is genuine or mere media expedient.
I am in no particular mood to dissect the polls here and offer you an educated analysis because a) I am not qualified and b) I am really not qualified. In any event, we will know by late tonight whether “The race is too tight” narrative was justified or mere media expedient. If we have endured 18 months of campaigning, I suppose we can wait another 18 hours of voting and counting.
One reason why the media might have gone on and on about “The race is too tight” narrative is because it creates its own theater of uncertainty which in turn makes it more watchable or readable. It is a purely business decision. It also allows the media to practice professional equivalency where both sides have a fair representation. It shields the media against the charge of ideological bias.
I have had my fair share of people asking me to predict who might win simply because I am a journalist and that too based in Chicago, a combination they think gives me some special insight that ordinary people are denied. Not true. The honest answer is I have no clue. Equally important, I have no stake. My mischievous instincts, however, compel me to say let Mitt Romney win, if only to sober him up after having become drunk on a cocktail of political non-sense he may not necessarily believe in.
We all know that the compulsions of governance are at complete variance with the demands of campaigning. It is important that someone who has been in the campaigning mode for what seems like an eternity to be put into a situation where he is forced to contrast his campaign rhetoric against the rough and tumble of governing not just America but, by implication, many other parts of the world.
At the top my of my must-see list would be Day One of the Romney administration where he, as he has so cavalierly boasted, would declare China a currency manipulator. If he wins, we must hold him to that promise. Another promise we must hold him to is repeal Obamacare. These are staggering commitments to keep and if he does keep them he deserves to be in the White House not because it is good for the world because it is ballsy. Once you get past the underpinning of my reflexive cynicism you would also detect an instinct for gladiatorial entertainment in what I am saying.
The point is if politicians are allowed to make reckless election promises they must also be made to own and act on them. The idea that President Romney would on his first day declare China a currency manipulator is so fraught with consequences that it only makes sense that he discovers the impact of his rhetoric.
Beyond this I could not possibly tell you who might or should win. As for Barack Obama, it would not be such a bad thing to lose. That might free him up from the Washingtonian shackles and allow him to get involved with larger global issues. I am not sure though whether he has the gravitas and passion to emerge as a figure of global consequence.