Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cliff Notes for the Fiscal Cliff?

I have a confession. I haven't been paying as much attention as maybe I should to this latest soap opera from the no drama Obama administation, so I'm wondering if
anyone knows if there are cliff notes that might explain what exactly is at stake.

There are fellows like Grover Norquist, whose name alone qualifies him for a wax museum, and whose ideology, a pledge not to raise taxes, has clearly reached its expiration date.

There are terms bandied about like "entitlements," and "small businesses" that are code for a social safety net, and taking one's business overseas.

A deadline looms large which is only weeks away, and has deja vu written all over it. In fact, this entire episode in our history can best be summed up as "been there, done that." The only ones who seems to take these negotiations seriously are the president, and his enemy twin, House speaker John Boehner, but as the song goes, "it's his Party, and he'll cry if he wants to." Everyone else in Congress acts as if they know how the story ends, or has taken Christmas vacation early.

Or, blame it on the punch.

But, you know the drill. If Congress does nothing, the Bush tax cuts will automatically expire at the end of the year, and taxes will go up on everyone. Those who will be most directly impacted will be 98% of taxpayers who will experience, on average, a $2,000 increase in their income taxes.

To prevent taxes from being raised on 98% of us, or so he contends, President Obama agreed to sign off on allowing for tax cuts on 2% of us who need to have their taxes cut about as much as a dog needs another tail.

This much is transparent. What is less clear is how much the president is willing to "negotiate" in order to preserve tax cuts on the vast majority of the electorate. Will he countenance cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, Education? Will he deal with senators like Rand Paul who are willing to accept cuts to Defense as long as cuts to welfare, and food stamps are on the table, or will he just say no.

Will the president blink, or will he come to the table the same way he did four years ago giving the dog that extra tail, and when some historian a hundred years from now decides to write Cliff Notes for these fecund times will he, as Keith Olbermann once famous asked, distinguish between "compromise," and "being compromised?"

The only ones now waiting for the other shoe to drop are those sporting Manolo Blahniks.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Coming soon...

My new play, "Waiting to Download"...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Rumor has it that Mitt Romney will soon be moonlighting as Elvis at a strip club in Vegas.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Public Nudity Ban

San Francisco has just passed a measure that will ban public nudity.

This means that many single women in the city will no longer be able to see naked men.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Jimi Hendrix would have been 70 years old next week. He was born on November 27, 1942. But, his was a face that would never be battered by

As a youngster, I'd run away from high school and hang out in a club called The Elephant in Woodstock, New York, which is where I saw Jimi late one night. It had to be somewhere around 1967. He was magical like lightning, sparks flying from him this way and that. He had an aura all his own. It was beyond color.

I was at a table with a group of idiots who instantly recognized him, pointed, and called out his name. I turned my chair so that my back was facing them and, in that exact instant, Jimi moved away from the two suits who escorted him into the club. I folded my arms on my chest. He folded his arms on his chest, looked at me and we both started laughing. He could no more relate to the clowns with him than I could to the clowns at my table.

And, so it was that the spirit of Jimi Hendrix came through to me as it does today as one filled with laughter, and infinite light.

Rock on, Jimi. Death is just a spineless chickenshit next to you.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


The Bay Area is what happens when Walmart merges with Liberace.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The War on Men

If some people could get their hands on it, the Book of Genesis would be written in such a way that Adam came across as a sexual predator. That's right. Eve would not have had anything to do with man's fall from grace which would instead be blamed on a man and a snake. But, of course, Sigmund Freud didn't write the Bible.

You remember the story about a garden and the first man God created, Adam. Well, seeing as there was no Internet or Facebook back then, the Almighty opted to invent Eve to be Adam's companion. The garden was called Eden, and it had a tree in the middle of it.

Remember, too, how God told Eve not to eat from the tree, and Adam and Eve not to touch the tree or harm would befall them. The snake came along and pushed Eve into the tree. Playing devil's advocate, he persuaded her that nothing happened when she touched the tree, and she wasn't punished,. Eve went along and disobeyed the Almighty. Had she obeyed, we might not be here.

It wasn't a bona fide fall from grace until Eve handed the fruit over to Adam who promptly ate it whereupon their eyes were opened to good and evil. It was all downhill from there.

The fall from grace story resonates now, more than ever, in light of the Petraeus affair, and others like it; men who have chosen to eat fruit handed to them, however innocuously, by women.

There is, of course, a big difference between the public reaction to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, and that of Petraeus-Broadwell. As you recall, the spotlight was on then-President Clinton, and the radical right led a campaign which led to Clinton's appearance before a Grand Jury to testify about his relations with the White House intern. Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury, at least that was the pretext, and his extra-marital dalliance was roundly condemned whereas Gen. Petraeus is viewed as a fellow who simply exercised bad judgment, and succumbed to temptation.

That innuendo of seduction is nothing new, of course, and can be found in the opening pages of the Old Testament. It's fascinating to see how one can take that same edenic scene of man, woman, and serpent, and interpret it in so many ways. But, nowadays, all too often, in that garden, the man becomes indistinguishable from the serpent.

A year ago, in a college writing class, I gave my students a photograph called "Elizabeth and I" taken by renowned Hungarian photographer Andre Kertesz of himself and his wife which Kertesz took in the early 1930's, and which appeared in a family album. I asked students to come up with a narrative about what they thought happened in that photograph which shows a woman in an easy chair, casually dressed with a hand placed on her left shoulder which, as the title indicates, was the photographer's hand. Judging by the position of the hand, and how relaxed it is, it's difficult to conceive of its purpose as being anything other than to comfort.

In the photo, Elizabeth had dark circles under her eyes as if she hadn't slept which would not be surprising as it was taken in France during the Depression, but even a casual glance will reveal her to be not only smiling, but smiling seductively.

When I collected student essays, to my astonishment, more than 80% of the class, both males and females, wrote that Elizabeth had just been beaten, and physically abused by her husband which is why she looked so upset. Many didn't connect the hand with that of the photographer despite the fact that the picture is called "Elizabeth and I," and were adamant in their insistence, husband or not, that the "I" figure had, in fact, been violent with the woman in the chair.

Why, I asked, would the photographer take a picture of his wife after he beat her, and place it in a family album? It defies logic. Logic appeared to have nothing to do with anything. There was no persuading students that this was the photo of a photographer and his wife that was meant to preserve a special moment in their lives, and not a volatile one.

There was something deeper going on than not picking up visual and verbal clues. These youngsters had been exposed to a barrage of news stories about domestic abuse, rape, sexual predators so often that their default position was to see the hand of a husband, the photographer's, which was clearly meant to comfort the woman, his wife, as instead the hand of a wife beater.

This was, as you might imagine, hugely disconcerting. Is this our legacy? Are we raising children to see a couple in a photograph as a woman posing for a family album after being beaten by her husband?

How, I wondered, had we gotten to a place as a society where a class of young people from all walks of life, political, and religious persuasions could convince themselves that the hand of a man on a woman's shoulder was a hand that had just struck her? Was this some kind of anomaly, or indicative of a societal shift in perception of men?

If it's an anomaly, then why is it that when a young man of 24 who has sex with a 16 year old girl is no longer accused of statutory rape, but is now also designated a sexual predator?

On the evening news, one routinely sees stories about young men, middle aged men, older men routinely being labelled predators, and branded for life. There are communities throughout this country who deny housing to men who have served time for statutory rape, and/or other sex crimes for life. The whole notion of rehabilitation is denied them.

Look, this isn't true of men only. But, women teachers who have been charged with having sex with a minor rarely find themselves labelled "sexual predators." More often than not, women are viewed as victims of unwanted sexual encounters not initiators.

In this last presidential campaign season, women, mainly Democrats, were right to talk about the Republican war on women, and the GOP's ultimate objective of overturning Roe v. Wade, and de-funding Planned Parenthood, and steamrolling all the advances women have made over the past 50 years, but there is another war going on that has gone largely unnoticed, and which also needs to be addressed: the war on men.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending men who use their physical or mental power to intimidate, and harm women. All I'm saying is we've gone to the other extreme in recent years. We've gone from denying credibility to women who are victims of sex crimes to unilaterally vilifying men, and labeling them predators. If we're talking about human rights here, and this is the larger issue not women's rights or men's rights, we don't want to victimize either gender.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"On Election Day, Money and Magical Thinking"

By Michael Winship

Forty years ago, as a young, aspiring political operative, I was a staff member on Senator George McGovern’s presidential campaign. We thought we could beat Richard Nixon but famously lost every state in the union except Massachusetts (with the District of Columbia thrown in as a forlorn consolation prize).

To commit to the presidential campaign lifestyle – endless hours and damn little charm -- you really have to believe, no matter what, that your candidate will win. So last week I wasn’t surprised by the many stories about how the Romney team was convinced they would emerge victorious, polling evidence to the contrary, to the point where reportedly they had a fireworks display poised for ignition above Boston Harbor when the requisite electoral votes were achieved.

But what I don’t understand is building a castle in the air and even in defeat trying to keep paying rent on it, almost all evidence to the contrary. For years, the right wing has been living in its own version of Tolkien’s Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings, an alternative and fanciful, fierce universe rarely bearing resemblance to real life but for odd, embittered moments like the one at President Obama’s victory celebration in Chicago on Election Night, when Fox News’ Ed Henry dourly announced, "The crowd is near pandemonium now, despite the fact that unemployment is hovering near eight percent."

Talk about a party pooper. This all has been going on since at least 2004, when an unnamed aide to George W. Bush – widely thought to be Karl Rove – told journalist Ron Suskind, “We create our own reality... We're history's actors... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Last week, that so-called reality collided with one huge fact – that a younger, more ethnically diverse and liberal population is increasing in size. Resistance is futile, as they say in those science fiction movies, but as long as the conservative right live in a media cocoon and act like sightless bats, trying to find their way with high frequency shrieking that bounces off the walls and only they can hear, you’ve got trouble, my friends. Even Dick Morris, that unctuous pollster and paragon of propriety, had to admit that his prediction of a Romney landslide was wrong because, “This isn’t your father’s America."

But then there’s the money. On the McGovern campaign, I was paid the munificent sum of forty dollars a week. In those days, it was considered a decent salary for political work, especially as most of us slept on other people’s couches, ate free meals usually prepared by liberal faculty wives (I haven’t been able to look at gazpacho since) and frankly, there never was time to spend it anyway.

So to me, the contrast with today’s paychecks for top campaign staffers and consultants is especially stunning. Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported, “In the presidential race alone, the two main media firms working for President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney earned profits for handling more than half a billion dollars of campaign advertising, according to disclosures and ad tracking data. Neither company is required to report how much it received in compensation for that work, but their combined cut could easily be $25 million or more at standard industry rates."

As for salaries, “Romney paid his top advisers more than Obama paid his, including handing out about $500,000 in bonuses for senior staff in August and September, records show. As of Oct. 17, campaign manager Matt Rhoades had received $292,000 in salary and bonuses, compared with $197,000 for Obama campaign manager Jim Messina."

Not the megamillions paid to Wall Street CEO’s, but nonetheless that’s a lot of gazpacho.

As others have noted, Karl Rove is in deep explaining mode, rationalizing what happened to those hundreds of millions the fat cats spent bankrolling his saturation bombing of attack ads against the president and other Democrats who emerged victorious in spite of the wrath of Rove. And he’s not alone.

"Never before has so much political money been spent to achieve so little,” the Post noted. “Record spending by independent groups, which in many ways defined how campaigns were waged this year, had no discernible effect on the outcome of most races… Indeed, if election investments are like the stock market, a lot of billionaires just lost their shirts."

But as Nicholas Confessore writes in The New York Times, “Though the outcome of the 2012 elections dealt a blow to the wealthy donors who poured several hundred million dollars into groups seeking to defeat Mr. Obama, the president’s re-election does not presage a repudiation of the deregulated campaign financing unleashed by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. Instead, his victory most likely reinforced the practice.

"In virtually every respect, the growth of unlimited fund-raising and the move of outside groups to the mainstream of politics have magnified the already outsize role of money in political campaigns. They have changed how incumbents and challengers alike campaign and raise money, altered how voters experience politics, and expanded the influence of a small group of large donors on the policies and messages espoused by candidates."

What’s more, the non-partisan, investigative journalism group, The Center for Public Integrity notes that outside spending indeed made a “big difference in state-level races.” They report, “Contests for the top executive and judicial spots, in states whose bans on corporate outside spending were invalidated by the [Citizens United] ruling, were newly shaped by unlimited cash from out-of-state corporate and union treasuries."

You may think that such mixed results might dampen enthusiasm for restoring campaign finance reform or even overturning Citizens United with a constitutional amendment. Think again. On Election Day, voters in both Montana and Colorado passed by three-to-one margins orders directing legislators to support an amendment. That makes eleven states in all, according to the group Free Speech for, which is about a quarter of the way toward getting the deed done – if all the proper i’s and t’s were to be dotted and crossed.

The question is whether this groundswell for transparency and reform continues and builds – or whether the candidates and incumbents so dependent on transfusions of campaign cash smother the effort in its crib. But like that old joke about what you call 500 politicians at the bottom of the ocean, it’s a good start.


Michael Winship, senior writing fellow at the think tank Demos, is senior writer of the weekly public affairs program, Moyers & Company, airing on public television. Check local airtimes or comment at

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reluctant Veterans

Today, I think of my father, the reluctant soldier, and all the soldiers who were to become reluctant veterans of World War II, the wars before it, and the ones to follow.

As a teenager, I remember my father telling me about why, unlike most of his peers, he didn't want to join the military during WWII. He said that, in his view, both sides were corrupt, the Germans and the Allies, and that the war was not about ideals, but simply profits. Years after the war ended, we learned that the U.S. was, in fact, doing business with the Nazi's the whole time.

Another soldier, Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler was to say something quite similar, in "War Is A Racket," when talking about WWI.

It's as important now to remember the words of Stahl, and Butler as this country persists in the longest war in our history, the "war on terror," and especially in light of all the reluctant soldiers of today.

The soldier doesn't make the war. The soldier doesn't choose the battlefield. Yet, the soldier pays the ultimate price.

Those who are not reluctant about combat are those who pose the gravest threat.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Whatever It Takes---If You Can, Vote

By Michael Winship

A week has passed since Hurricane Sandy struck, and the short subway ride uptown this morning almost seemed normal, except for the bigger crowds getting on at Penn Station and Times Square -- commuters from outside Manhattan where wind and storm surge water damage were so much worse and all too often deadly. Overheard conversations were filled with stories of how people had coped.

I live in Greenwich Village and thought I was ready for the worst -- hatches battened down with emergency food, water, batteries, flashlights, transistor radio, etc. I've stayed put through 9/11, blackouts, blizzards, even other hurricanes. Nonetheless, I wasn't prepared for the electricity and heat leaving us for five nights. I thought for sure they would be back the next day. Or the next... or the next...

But we were stuck in that trendy new Manhattan neighborhood -- SoPo, as in "South of Power" -- and when a friend and colleague offered shelter, warmth and electricity on the upper West Side, the invitation was gratefully accepted. From that outpost (for the most part, life went on as usual once you got above 34th Street and Herald Square), we watched unfold the disaster and accompanying tragedies and acts of heroism and community.

We also watched people vote. Or try to vote, in Ohio and Florida, where lines were long and attempts to suppress the right to cast a ballot are ongoing. Or in flood-stricken New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie announced that people can vote via e-mail as if they're casting an absentee ballot from overseas -- but still need to download the ballot, print, fill it out and fax or scan it back to the board of elections; a task not easy to accomplish even under the best of conditions.

Yet whatever it takes, your individual vote is more important than ever, making your voice heard despite the money spent on this election - obscene billions - and no matter the cynicism, falsehood and other heinous behavior displayed in this pursuit of power and influence. The illustrated cover of this week's issue of The New Yorker magazine says it all. Titled "Undeterred," it shows a determined flood survivor in water up to his backpack, shining his flashlight through the darkness onto a sign: "Vote Here Vote Aqui."

Its illustrator, Adrian Tomine, told the magazine's Mina Kaneko:

"For all its really horrible effects, I feel like the storm has made real a lot of issues in the election that were hypothetical... global warming; and Is Obama enough of a leader to handle a natural disaster?; and Do we need FEMA? It's really interesting, and in a way useful, to see a lot of these things become actual issues that are right at hand."

"Right at hand" -- potent reminders of the role of government and politics in a civil society, especially when that society is in distress.

This will be the 11th presidential election in which I've voted. Every four years around Election Day, I look at a certain short piece of writing and read it again, the way some people trot out Dickens' A Christmas Carol on December 25th. In fact, we used part of it in an essay Bill and I wrote just before the 2008 election:

"It will be quiet on Tuesday. No speeches. No motorcades. No paid political announcements. It's a very special day, just for grown-ups. America votes Tuesday... and... on Tuesday, the shouting and the begging and the threatening and the heckling will be silenced. It's very quiet in a voting booth. And nobody's going to help you make up your mind. So -- just for that instant -- you'll know what the man you're voting for will do a thousand times a day for the next four years. Now it's your turn."

Eloquent and to the point. Written in 1968 by an advertising man working for Richard Nixon, five years before the Watergate scandal revealed that any trace of the belief in democracy so beautifully expressed in the words above had been erased by corruption, avarice and hubris. And yet, as Bill noted, "When I say our votes matter, I speak not out of some mystical belief in 'the will of the people' but because elections -- imperfect as they are, twisted and smattered by smears and lies and counter-lies galore, subject to distortion and manipulation -- elections offer an alternative to violence, they keep us from coming apart altogether...

"Democracy -- this is still the most radical idea ever let loose in the world -- that masses of people, so feared and loathed by monarchs of old, so distrusted by moneyed and political elites, should be charged with self-government, and get on with it, imperfectly, crudely, but with the idea of creating a prosperous society that leaves no one out. That's not mystical, either. It's been at the heart of the American experience, the hope that sustains one generation to the next. Every election is an effort to retrieve that radical idea and breathe new life into it."

So please vote! Find out where to vote here. If you're having a problem voting or need assistance, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (Spanish: 1-888-839-8682). And visit "The Fight to Vote" section of this website to read and respond to the latest on voter suppression tactics nationwide.


Michael Winship is senior writer of Moyers & Company on public television, senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos, and president of the Writers Guild of America, East.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

This Year, Election Day is Veterans Day, too.

When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, they will be voting not just for a chief executive, but for the commander-in-chief, and given that the U.S. has been involved in the longest war in our history, the stakes have never been higher for service members, veterans, and their families.

A quick peek at Mitt Romney's Web site reveals a man who has latched on to one or two talking points almost effortlessly, and held steady.

On Romney's official site, one will also see a photograph of Romney in a business suit addressing service men and women in uniform. He looks like he could be addressing a board of directors, perhaps, or the Chamber of Commerce, maybe even the authors of his private trust, but not men and women who will find themselves doing active combat should he realize his objective of becoming the next president of the United States.

And, as Election Day is only a week away from Veterans Day, it might be a useful exercise to take a look at some of the legislation the Obama administration has enacted, over that pass three plus years, that directly benefits service members and veterans:

Last year, according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Web site, President Obama appeared before the Washington Navy Yard, and instructed the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs to initiate "a task force to develop the first major redesign of the military's Transition Assistance Program, (TAP), in over 20 years."

As VFW asserts, the president has been working steadfastly with Congress to pass the Veterans Job Corps to help returning veterans get jobs in law enforcement, and as fire fighters.

The Obama administration has also insured that the Veterans Administration receive record funding, according to VFW, "with the FY13 budget calling for $64 billion in discretionary spending, and $76 billion in mandatory funding. In addition, the Administration has made it clear that veterans benefits are exempt from sequestration."

As a senator from Illinois, Barack Obama proposed a Post-9/11 GI bill, legislation he passed as president in which the Veterans Administration was awarded close to $20 billion in post 9/11 GI benefits affecting nearly a million veterans and their families, benefits which expand access to education.

Last year, according to the White House Web site, the president signed the Returning Heroes Tax Credit which gives businesses that hire veterans a tax credit of up to $5600 per veteran.

Another $4 billion has been added to the 2013 federal budget to hire more first responders, with an additional $1 billion slated to spur firefighter hiring.

As the president's first term draws to a close, and thanks to his efforts, nearly ten percent of all small businesses in the U.S. are owned by veterans, and more than 2 million of these businesses employ nearly 6 million people. "Between 2009 and 2011, over $3 billion through over 12,000 Small Business Administration loans went to small businesses owned by veterans and service disabled veterans."

This administration has worked tirelessly to provide housing relief to service members, and veterans facing foreclosure. The VA and Housing and Urban Development have successfully housed nearly 40,000 homeless veterans. The Obama administration has created a National Registry for Homeless Veterans, and a National Homeless Hotline.

Most importantly, President Obama signed into law a measure that funds the VA health care budget a year in advance, thereby improving care for veterans and service members suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and mental health disorders. The VA has added close to 4,000 mental health professionals since 2009. Health care programs for women veterans have also been expanded to include full-time mental health professionals.

With the number of suicides in the military, and among returning veterans reaching epidemic proportions, as VFW also reports, the VA has increased the number of mental health professionals by nearly 50 percent in the past six years, and announced last spring that it will hire nearly 2,000 more mental health professionals. Since Mr. Obama assumed the office of the presidency in 2009, the Veterans Administration has increased the mental health care budget by nearly 40%, but to look at Mitt Romney's Web site would make you think that the Obama administration has all but de-funded the VA. Mendacity in the first degree.

On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney never even mentioned veterans in any of his stump speeches. And, on the portion of his Web site that deals with veterans affairs, Romney keeps repeating the same empty phrase about adding 12 million new jobs, speaking in generalities, and intentionally misrepresenting the Obama administration's record on veterans by insisting his administration won't tolerate any cuts to defense.

Gov. Romney counts on voters not knowing, as VFW suggests, that "the President has made it clear that veterans benefits are exempt from sequestration." The truth is, when the Obama administration talks about cutting defense spending, they don't mean cutting veterans benefits. To the contrary, this administration has done everything in its power, from the get-go, to cut through the red tape, and see to it that help goes to soldiers on the front lines whether they be on the battlefield, or in their own backyards. By winding down the war in Afghanistan, and pulling troops from Iraq, this president has shown his commitment to the troops, and his respect for the sanctity of human life.

The GOP talks a good game about being pro-life, but the truth is they have put more men and women in harm's way than any generation in the past. And, if given the chance, they will continue to do so.

So, when you hear the president say, "We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States," these are not empty words. It is now up to you, veterans, service members, first responders, and your families to decide which candidate will best represent your interests, the fellow in the Brooks Brothers suit who has already conceded that he will lose 47% of the vote, who Mr. Romney regards as freeloaders, or the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, who has fought to reduce taxes on 95% of Americans, and who will continue to do so as long as he has our vote.

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Choice: Recovery or Reversal?

Never before have the differences been starker between President Obama and his GOP challenger, Mitt Romney.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, while the nation held its breath and watched entire sections of the New Jersey coast disappear, a popular lifelong Republican governor, Chris Christie, and his neighbor, former Republican and current independent, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have only high praise for the president's response to a super storm whose impact is still being felt.

New York's mayor even went so far as to endorse a Democrat, Barack Obama, for re-election.

But, it's not just in the area of crisis management that Mr. Obama is to be commended. It is for giving the lie to the Romney/Ryan argument that his is failed economic leadership.

In a hundred years, should Mr. Romney prevail, this election will likely be seen as a turning point, and the point at which the United States became the Citizens United states, and the time when corporations officially ruled this country

So, on the eve of what will someday be seen as a landmark election, it might be a useful exercise to take a quick look at some of the signature economic accomplishments of the Obama presidency:

First, Mr. Obama has presided over more than 30 consecutive months of private sector job growth.

While the jobs report just released showed one-tenth of one percent increase in the unemployment rate, from 7.8% to 7.9%, the number of new jobs created actually surpassed expectations.

Chrysler reported its strongest sales since 2005. General Motors' profits inched up, and Ford remains stable.

Consumer confidence is at its highest level in five years. Retail sales are up. Construction of new housing is up. We are seeing a slow, but serious reemergence of the housing market.

As McClatchy also reports, the number of Americans who say they expect unemployment to rise over the next 12 months is at its lowest level in 30 years.

Job growth is up to 2% this quarter from 1.4%.

And, more than the numbers, is the trend. Robust or otherwise, there is no denying it. We are in the midst of a recovery spurred, in part, by a president who lowered taxes on 95% of Americans.

What part of the word "recovery" are Republicans missing?

What more does the American voter want? Do we expect to have a president who can walk on water?

Is Romney the only one who suffers from Romnesia, or do the rest of us suffer from it, too?

On whose watch was $2 trillion added to the deficit in the name of fighting a war on terror? Who passed the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008? Under which president was job creation in the minus column when he left office? On whose watch were taxes lowered on the upper 2% of this country, and what effect did that have on job creation? If you answered George W. Bush, you were right on all counts.

The GOP still says they're the party of smaller government. Well, if that's true, then why did GOP bailout the banks, and Wall Street? The same folks who went to bat for Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac left thousands stranded in New Orleans, perishing in the face of Hurricane Katrina.

And, after Hurricane Sandy, what is Romney's position on FEMA? The candidate now says we should keep the federal agency while at the same time turning it over to the states to privatize it. This is not just doublespeak. It is insolent doublespeak. You can only go so far insulting the intelligence of the average American. Romney has maxed out.

Now, four years after he left office, Gov. Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, are calling for a Bush revival. After four years of Mitt at the wheel, the financial mess Obama inherited will make Hurricane Sandy look like a walk in the park.

Judging by how close this presidential race is, Romney isn't the only one who has Romnesia. Everyone who votes for him does, too.