Saturday, September 22, 2012

hooray for our side

I read this morning that a plane that Ann Romney was on yesterday had to make an emergency landing when the cabin began to fill with smoke.  Fortunately she is safe and unhurt.

Regular readers may be able to detect my political leanings, but I don't like to campaign in these blogs for any candidate.  I have found some of the political postings on Facebook a little offputting regardless of whose side is being endorsed.  Sure, I am amused more when my guy is not the brunt of some cartoon, but in general the back and forth reminds me of the stanza from the old Steven Stills/Buffalo Springfield Song,"For What It's Worth"

What a field day for the heat
a thousand people in the street
singing songs and carrying signs
mostly say "hooray for our side."**

It's not just the social media, of course.  Fox News and MSNBC are neither, despite the name, news programs. They're both there to yell Hooray for Our Side.

I heard yesterday that Ann Romney shot back at some of the GOP supporters who were critical of her husband's campaign.  She said something like, "cut it out, it is tough out there.  You try getting in the ring."

I bet it is.  One might be inclined to respond to that with the Truman quip, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."  I have got to think that both the Romneys and the Obamas often want to flee the kitchen.

The problem this week with the Romney campaign is that it seems as if he has turned up the heat in the kitchen himself.  And the emergency plane landing with the smoke in the cabin has got to seem to them and their supporters as something of a metaphor.  The cabin must seem as if it is filling up with smoke.

I am not a dispassionate observer of the election.  I know who I want and I am following the election carefully.  But I do have what I hope will be a dispassionate observation about an event that took place just yesterday, probably around the time that Ms. Romney's plane filled up with smoke.

Mitt Romney, after being hounded by both Republicans and Democrats released his 2011 tax return and a summary of his last twenty years of returns.  I think the former is a long time coming. The latter I believe is a big mistake.

During the 1973 Watergate Hearings a man named Alexander Butterfield revealed that President Nixon recorded his oval office conversations.  These conversations, special prosecutor Leon Jaworski, and before him, Archibald Cox, suspected would reveal if the President indeed had conspired to obstruct justice in the aftermath of the Watergate burglary.  The President did not want to give up the tapes and claimed Executive Privilege.  The prosecutors were persistent, but Nixon after significant pressure only agreed to provide summaries of the tapes.  The prosecutors would not accept this, eventually went to the Supreme Court, and Nixon was forced to release the tapes.  When that happened, the so called Smoking Gun was revealed which led to the President's resignation.

There are those who claim that if President Nixon had come forward with the evidence right away and had apologized for his activity, he might have been spared the ignominy that is and will be at least a part of the history of his presidency.

Romney's tax return for 2011 might not force his plane to go down, but there are some questions there.  I think he will be able to endure the criticism related to it.

The twenty year summary is another thing. Big mistake. He is going to be pressured to release the actual returns and not the summary.  Already, in today's paper there is speculation about why the summary was released and not the actual returns.  In one article it was conjectured that the summaries might be an attempt to camouflage returns in which the Republican candidate paid no tax.

If Mr. Romney does eventually release his returns, and if there are smoking guns therein, his plane is going to go down.

And the plane might have been able to stay aloft if right from the start he released his returns and explained why he did what he did.

Hot in the kitchen.  Next week it may be the Obamas who need to adjust the thermostat.

**(To make sure I had the lyrics right for the song, For What It's Worth" I went to Wikipedia. There I read that the song was recorded in December, 1966.  Only nine plus months later, in early September 1967, I bought, for the grand sum of about four dollars, two tickets to hear both Janis Ian and the Buffalo Springfield, at a concert in Albany.   The campus center room where they played probably held no more than a hundred people and it was not packed.  Janis Ian was well known. But the Buffalo Springfield, not so much at that time.  Now of course the 1966 song is viewed, accurately, as a remarkable predictor of what would transpire on campuses in the last years of the 1960s and early 70s.  I really can remember hearing Buffalo Springfield play "For What It's Worth" live on that night.  Not sure I quite got it when I heard the song.  I was not then much of a politico.  My largesse "splurging" for the tickets was done largely to try to impress a date).

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