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April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Nov. 7, 2012/ 22 Mar-Cheshvan, 5773
Hanging from a poll
Thank heavens the presidential campaign is over, because, for one thing, I will never again have to watch a conservation group's pro-Obama TV ad. In it, a young man bemoans how Mitt Romney cost him his job because, he tells us, the Republican presidential candidate favors cutting tax credits for the wind industry. — The fellow picks up a baby -- now bound to suffer, it's suggested -- as he explains that Mitt Romney is a friend of big oil, leaving watchers with nothing left to do but scratch their heads.
After all, some idea in Romney's head could not conceivably have cost this man his job. President Barack Obama, on the other hand, is no friend of big oil, little oil or any kind of oil, and his moratoriums on drilling have absolutely cost jobs.
That wasn't the worst of this year's ads, of course. The worst one was a fabrication that as much as called Romney a murderer in the death of a woman who died of cancer. It was an independent group that put it out, not the Obama campaign itself, but Obama never denounced it and was gung ho in furthering the inanity that Romney's company, Bain Capital, was some kind of ungodly scourge.
I have been subjected to lots of campaign ads because I happen to live in a hotly contested battleground state: Colorado. The campaign intensity on both sides has been enough to send ordinary folks into hiding. My email ran over with donation requests, political arguments and more. The phone rang with political urgency several times a day, including a couple of calls from Romney himself, speaking not in person, as it turned out, but on a tape recording that did not respond to my questions. I got hung up on twice, not by tape recordings, but by people campaigning for Obama.
Once I was asked if I planned to vote for Obama, and I said "no," and next came a click. That was pretty rude, it seemed to me, because my tone was gentlemanly, or so I thought. There was more excuse for hanging up on me when I responded to a caller asking if I thought the Obama recovery program had been a success. "In fact," I said, "I think it has been a calamity."
I am not suggesting in all of this that I thought the national Romney campaign was without fault -- I did not like the China bashing, for instance -- but I thought that the Obama campaign was much worse. A bigger shock was that some -- not all -- elements of my beloved press were unbelievably partisan.
Among the worst examples was a Washington Post piece that broke journalistic rules about reading minds and more in the way it told us Romney did something reprehensible when he was young. Few others among us have, right?
Another example was a New York Times piece about Ann Romney being "immersed" in the "elite world of riding" horses. Here was a blatant effort to dismay everyone about how the rich Romneys live, even though, as the story managed to note, Ann Romney took up horseback riding as a therapy for multiple sclerosis.
There was talk throughout the campaign about Republicans suppressing votes they didn't want, although the only evidence of anything like that before Election Day was the Obama administration's negligence in failing to assure that all overseas members of the military got their absentee ballots on time.
I am writing this before the year's final polling event -- Election Day. But like others who cared deeply about what might happen, I have regrettably and inexcusably immersed myself these past several months in the non-elitist world of perusing polls, and I have only this to say as my final conclusion: Some of them may by now have been proven to be right.
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Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.
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