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I suspect that Ohioans, who are legitimately grateful to the President for saving the auto industry, will see past the arrant cynicism of Romney's ad. But perhaps they won't. The Romney campaign's assumption from the start--from its very first television ad, a sleazy attempt to pin John McCain's 2008 reluctance to "talk about the economic crisis" as something Obama said more recently--was that it could get away with practically anything, including the full-body transformation of its candidate in the debates from severe conservative to warmhearted moderate. Given the closeness of the election, who can say Romney's gamble hasn't paid off?
Republicans will say Obama has been every bit as cynical as Romney, and there have been moments when the Obama campaign has been less than heroic. But we need to be clear about this: there is nothing close to moral equivalency here. The Romney campaign has indulged in many of the worst fantasies promulgated by the GOP's wingnuts, from the Obama "apology tour," which never happened, to blatant misrepresentations of Obamacare and the President's Middle East policy, to the constant undertow of implication that the President is not quite American enough.
There are some things I can just about guarantee, no matter who wins this election. The fiscal cliff will prove a mirage. There will be a budget deal. Taxes won't be lowered on individuals, but revenues will be raised as deductions and entitlements are severely curtailed for the wealthy. There will be a deal on immigration reform, as the Republican Party will have to embrace our glorious demographics sooner rather than later. We will not become Greece, as Romney suggests. We will struggle along, secure in our freedom, and eventually prosper. That is the American way: we make fools of pessimists.
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