Visual Comment of the Week

Borrowing an idea from the FT’s resident cartoonist, Ingram Pinn, I will be submitting a cartoon every Sunday to Slugger giving a visual comment on the week past. So hopefully this will be the first of many to come. I’ve also teamed up with Aaron Callan who’ll be working alongside me on this weekend project providing analysis on the week’s main event. And so over to Aaron:

I would like to welcome you all to my first blog for Slugger O’Toole. This weekly post will be accompanied by some excellent cartoon from a Slugger regular, Brian Spencer. I will be, along with Brian’s pictures, reviewing the past weeks events and giving my thoughts on them. These will range from events at home and abroad.

The weekly news was dominated, by the storm nicknamed Frankenstorm or Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast of the United States. However, the storm cannot match the velocity of the constant bombardment of information from this year’s Presidential Election. Both of which will have serious implications for the American people this week.

It is possible to compare both these issues. One can think of the US Presidential campaign in terms of this storm. An area of cold air meeting the hot air and creating a super storm which has caused damage and mayhem everywhere!

Rebuilding a consensus after such a damaging campaign will be difficult for both sides involved, much like the rebuilding after a storm. This is because the two parties have hardened their views during the race to the White House. A race, may I add, which seems to have lasted as long as a term in the White House! The Republicans, under pressure from the Tea Party, pushes further right forgetting that their great hero Ronald Reagan started life out as a democrat and often worked well with the democratic speaker of the house during his presidency, Tip O’Neill. Richard Nixon once famously said, when running for nomination for the Republican Party, you had to dive to the right in primaries and move to the center in the general election. The politics of America always works best when the left and the right work together. This was best illustrated by the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

With just a matter of days left in this campaign, it is still too close to call. Daily polls give us a different picture each passing day. Unfortunately, for America, it may come down to a dozen swing states deciding the outcome of the election. If Obama wins, hopefully he will have learned some lessons from the last four years. Like Reagan and Clinton before him, Obama will need to build bridges between Democrats and Republicans on the hill. He may also have to face the opposition of both the House and the Senate being dominated by the Republican party. On the other hand, if we have a Romney win, hopefully he will rediscover the Romney who was Governor and the man who headed up the Olympics in Salt Lake City. Regrettably, for Romney, he seems to have gone further and further to the right. He may possibly be haunted by the shadow of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party on Fox Channel. This is an unhealthy development for the Republican Party and does not represent the party which Reagan or Nixon led.

However, to get back to the storm, it was sad to note that 96 people have lost their lives during the storm. With events and meetings being cancelled during a pivotal point in the race, who can say what effect this will have on the outcome of the election. Once the storm subsides, we hope to see American lives can return to normal. Hopefully, we can say the same once the Presidential election ends.

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  • “However, to get back to the storm, it was sad to note that 96 people have lost their lives during the storm.”

    Aaron, Hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc from Canada to the Caribbean, not just in the USA. Your figure looks decidedly on the low side.

  • Kevsterino

    The 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution has created a pattern seldom discussed in media here or abroad. Obstruction during a first presidential term is the tactic of the opposition party. They hope to render the new President ineffective from the start to enhance their chances next time around. If the President wins a second and final term, becoming a lame duck, the opposition party seems to find it easier to compromise with him and actually accomplish something, thus portraying themselves to the electorate as the ones who can “Get things done”.

    Soooo, IMHO, if the President wins Tuesday I expect they will be able to actually vote on things like the “Jobs Bill”. If Romney wins, I expect events to turn for the worse, with filibusters galore as the Republicans try to repeal the health care measures and give more billions in tax credits to those who got so dependent on such things under W.

  • tacapall

    “With just a matter of days left in this campaign, it is still too close to call”


    “A Paddy Power spokesperson said: “Romney gave it a good shot and is doing well in the popular vote, but we suspect he’s had his moment in the sun and is likely to be remembered more for his legendary gaffes than Presidential potential. The overall betting trend has shown one way traffic for Obama and punters seemed to have called it 100% correct. Despite Romney appealing to the large evangelical and senior vote, America‘s sticking with black and cool.”

  • pauluk

    America‘s sticking with black and cool.”

    Actually, tacapall, it’s more like half-black and cold-blooded revenge.

    Of course that’s only if America wants four more years of confusion and incompetence. But things are no looking so good for the first affirmative action president.

  • tacapall

    Pualuk Im just quoting Paddy Power… Swopping one puppet on a string for another puppet on a string is about all the American public will get but at least they will have the illusion of a new future for a week or two.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The politics of America always works best when the left and the right work together.’

    The USA doesn’t have a left – left . Obama if anything could fit easily into the centre or even centre right in any western european country . He would probably be classified as centre right in any of the Scandinavian countries .

    Romney at least the current candidate version of the man would’nt be elected anywhere in Europe, North , South , East, or West and indeed the only ‘foreign ‘ countries which would prefer a Romney presidency are Israel and Pakistan .

    ‘ This was best illustrated by the presidencies of Ronald Reagan ‘

    Ronald Reagan for all the credit he gets was the end product of the drift of the Republicans gradually to the right starting from the Barry Goldwater era. Add in a dash of neo conservative ideology backed by Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand worshipper Alan Greenspan and it’s not surprise that the fiscally conservative socially liberal old Republican party very soon morphed into a two headed monster spitting Tea Party anti government semi racist lunacy from one side of the mouth and neo con ideological bunkum from the other.
    Reagan won with the help of the Dixiecrats and they are now the dominant force in politics across the sunbelt . There are NO blue states south of the Mason Dixon line or east of a line from Texas to Tennessee -South Carolina .

    Bill Clinton was of course the ‘prisoner ‘ of international bond traders as he admitted himself when told by Ron Rubin what he could and could’nt do after his election . Clinton assumed he could implement his political platform . Instead Clinton caved in to Wall St and the financial services sector and repealed the Glass Steagal Act in 1998 which was the final card played which allowed /permitted Wall St and the major banks to run riot and pillage and loot the American middle classes up to the present . Despite Obama’s Franks/Dodd reforms nothing much has changed .The banks which were too big to fail in 2008 are even bigger now and not a Democrat or Republican in Congress has been heard stating what many on both sides were saying in 2008 ? We should all wonder why ?

    Not until the USA undergoes it’s own ‘perestroika’ i.e (economic and political restructuring ) which would require constitutional change will it be able to find a way out of it’s current downward spiral to ever more polarisation and the real danger of class and race conflict . On this note it’s not surprising that the ‘political ‘ division ‘ today is almost right back where it was in 1861 even if the economic and social issues have moved on.

    I’ll prefer an Obama win but only because a Romney win would herald a continuation of the disastrous Bush era policies which finally did in the American and indeed the world economy . Trickle down government may not work efficiently or very well in some cases but trickle down economics along the Reagan /Bush /Romney lines has proven to be a long burning disaster for more than half the American population . Under an Obama presidency that bottom two thirds of American society will believe that they have somebody in the White House who has some empathy with their issues .

    They have no idea what Romney they’ll elect but they can be sure that the people really looking forward to a Romney victory are not just in israel and Pakistan but in the boardrooms of Wall St and corporate America and they are not in the least concerned about that 47% of Americans that Romney considers a waste of breath and presumably life as well !

  • Greenflag

    Some last minute cartoon campaign humour

    How a ‘Romneyised ‘FEMA would help victims of natural disasters ?

    And why Obama at his worst and Romney at his best may be the same people ?