By Eric Thomas, 97.1 The Ticket

The general election has begun, and it seems like only President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are happy about it. The president seems to be hitting the campaign trail enthusiastically, encouraged by a protracted and damaging GOP nomination fight. The president almost looked a little too confident when making fun of Romney’s use of the word “marvelous” to describe Paul ‘Hair’  Ryan’s latest budget strategy.

Why shouldn’t Obama be happy? He is running against Mitt Romney, who is easily the worst GOP nominee I have seen in my lifetime. The only person he even comes close to is John Kerry, whose ‘reporting for duty’ salute at the convention actually made my skin crawl. The GOP faithful know it too. The smart guys like George Will are already throwing their hands up, saying the party should commit their money to preserving the house of representatives. The rest of the party is getting behind Romney with a level of enthusiasm usually reserved for bread lines.

Obama has his problems. For all his political capital and his democratic super majority, his list of accomplishments are thin. The only concrete things that the president can point to is a suprising good record on foreighn policy. I don’t know if any of his 2008 supporters thought he would be this hawkish, but I personally will take it. The Arab Spring being largely launched out of his speech in Cairo to the death of OBL, the incumbent has something to point to. However, he was elected to fix the economy. The recession was slowed down and reversed like turning around a barge in an ice shelf. Many Americans expected him to do this faster, which is of course ridiculous, and Presidents have been one termers for less.

The GOP absolutely had a chance to unseat the president. Then they anointed Mitt Romney.

Romney’s problems are many. For the life of me I can’t figure out his strengths. When he ran in 2008, he seemed like an awful candidate then. How there were people that wanted to see a repeat of that performance is completely beyond me. He often came off like a space alien trying to learn the ways of a mysterious culture. He was susceptible to gaffes almost every day, and his team always seemed unorganized at best and feckless at worst.

But chief among Romney’s problems is his propensity for lying. Americans have gotten to the point where the words ‘lying’ and ‘politician’ are one in the same, but Romney takes it to an entirely new level. When Americans think of a lying politician its usually due to the fact that they made promises on the campaign trail only to be faced with other evidence when in office. This has happened to every single person ever elected. Politicians also obfuscate the truth, giving you statistics that favor them and hiding the ones that contradict them.

Romney’s bald-faced lies are the kind of thing that need to be marveled at. He kicked off his campaign characterizing the President’s handling of the economy as inheriting a recession, “but he made it worse.” A couple of weeks later when a reporter asked him about the statement, considering the economy was actually getting better, Romney shot back “I never said that.”

That’s how he kicked off the campaign. Since then he has lied about his jobs record in Massachusetts, his jobs record at Bain Capital, the president’s dealings with Iran, and he made up that the president was cutting the military budget when it was being actively increased. Mitt even lied about his own name in a CNN debate when he said “I’m Mitt Romney, and yes, Wolf, that’s also my first name.” It isn’t. His real first name is Willard.

If you are a conservative, you just have to hope that you are not the side that Romney is lying to. Romney ran as a liberal conservative when he was Governor of Massachusetts. He governed as moderate liberal when he sat in the chair. When he decided it was time to fire up the presidential jalopy, he started governing to the right. He then did a Madonna like reinvention as a hard core conservative christian.

So that’s the nominee. You literally have to hope that he is telling the truth now, and was lying before. Maybe you’re a moderate, and hope that he is sort of telling the truth now, but will really tell the truth when he gets into office. This is why the etch-a-sketch line caused heart palpitations for everyone in the GOP. Thats what they are afraid of, that as it turns out, Mitt was lying to THEM.

This is only part of a narrative that we have known for some time now. The GOP field was laughably weak this year. Tim Pawlenty needs to have his head examined for dropping out as soon as he did. Romney is such a weak candidate that he almost lost to Newt Gingrich, who resigned the position of Speaker of the House in disgrace. He also has had trouble beating Rick Santorum, whose political career was pushing up daisies two years ago. When both Santorum and Gingrich announced their candidacies, they were met with uprorious laughter. Romney actually had to spend a small fortune to beat both of them.

So begins a nauseating campaign where you already know the outcome. I guess that’s why there is no one happy about it. Other than Barack Obama, of course.

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