The Tea Party is the third party, whereas the Libertarian Party is not. The Tea Party has money. The Libertarian Party does not. There are more Tea Party incumbents than Libertarian incumbents. The Tea Party has a single agenda, which is to obstruct the Obama Administration. The Libertarian Party agenda is complicated by comparison because it is intellectual. The Tea Party is anti-intellectual and proud of that. While the Libertarian Party is lofty and sincere, the Tea Party is banal and insincere.
Deep down inside, Tea Party bumper sticker rhetoric is shallow.
The Republican candidate Mitt Romney is shallow. His insincerity compounds his nonsensical argument about his business experience being a political qualification. It might make him a good chairman of the RNC, but not a good President of the United States. Presidents become presidents by succeeding at politics. It has nothing to do with business. Romney’s problem is that he is not a successful politician. His running mate is, but Romney is not. Tea Party-endorsed incumbents like Representatives Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are cunning. President Obama is cunning. Romney is about as cunning as a television anchorman.
The 2012 election is the terminus of Romney’s political career, according to his wife Ann Romney on The View. Even though the Tea Party has arguably made it possible for a Romney election win, it does not mean he will be treated any differently than President Obama after the election. If anything, Romney could expect to be impeached if elected.
Imagine a Ryan Administration with Cantor as Speaker of the House, sooner rather than later. Insincerity begets insincerity, which makes Romney vulnerable to attack by the very people who support him.
The most divisive thing about this election is the emphasis on money. That is where the delusional idea that government can be run like business gets traction. The idea that a President can repeal law, such as Obamacare, is a banal expression of the contempt for civics that has been the result of so much attention on the money. Fueled by the incessant discourse given by media of all streams to the incredible amount of money involved in the 2012 election, campaign fund raising has new relevance, the rise of the Super PACs at its center.
Advertising influences public opinion. It may be that television advertising, especially its negative messaging, could decide the 2012 election. The common wisdom is that this election is too close to call. Television coverage of presidential campaigns began in 1948 when Harry S. Truman won against expectations to the contrary. Television coverage of the presidential debates of 1960 helped elect John F. Kennedy. Television amplified the crookedness of the 2000 election that ended up in the Supreme Court. So in some respects the country is due for another close one.
The reality is that public opinion and the popular vote are only interesting. The Electoral College elects the president and in that respect, of the 15 elections since 1948, only the 2000 election was close. From that standpoint it would appear that Ohio is going to elect the president in 2012.
The real question posed by this Super PAC election is about what is more important to the voters, appearance or substance? If it is appearance, Mitt Romney has an advantage. He looks presidential. He photographs well. For whatever weaknesses as a candidate he brings to party, he has the look. Warren G. Harding had the look, too. It is just that Harding had the substance as a successful politician, as does Barrack Obama.
Romney and the Tea Party need each other. But that might not last should Romney win.