The crisis of leadership in American government is easily explained: thanks to a flawed presidential primary system that rewards strident rhetoric and hyper-partisanship, candidates tailor their messages to fringe elements in small, unrepresentative states. The result? A nasty, shallow and expensive process that rewards sound bites rather than solutions and gamesmanship instead of ideas. This year, however, we have witnessed a rare phenomenon in American politics. A candidate has emerged from the rough and tumble of the primaries with his dignity intact. The system has produced not a demagogue but a manager, a candidate whose experience is rooted in the pragmatism of the business world rather than the ideology of partisan politics.
That candidate is Mitt Romney.
Gov. Romney won the Republican Party’s nomination precisely because he is not an ideologue—and that is no small achievement. He persuaded enough Republican primary voters that the time has come to put aside dogma and inflexibility in favor of real-world solutions to the array of problems America faces at home and abroad.
Over the last few weeks, Mr. Romney has shown that he is a moderate to his core—he is a manager, and a listener, who believes he can restore the balance between the private and public sectors that has been a hallmark of the American economy.
The Observer endorses Mr. Romney’s candidacy and urges readers to support him.
First Lady Style Watch
Word has gotten out from publicists and fashion news authority Women’s Wear Daily that first lady Michelle Obama has endorsed yet another one of Barbara Tfank’s ladylike designs for a heavily monitored public appearance. It is said to be the fifth time that the first lady has donned a Barbara Tfank frock. She wore the ravishing outfit at a meet-and-greet in Gainesville, Fla., for a young girls’ after-school program called Girls’ Place on September 17.
“A friend, who Tfank had shown the unusual fabric to, spotted the dress on C-SPAN and called the designer to tell her the news,” reported WWD.
According to our perhaps inaccurate tally, this means that Ms. Obama has worn Tfank to more public appearances than any other high-end American fashion designer, which leads us to ask: Is Barbara Tfank Ms. Obama’s new designer of choice? Has Ms. Tfank overtaken the feminine and playful aesthetic of Jason Wu?
It’s the kind of mistake that’s irresistible to social media wits: an iPhone app for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign misspells the word America. The app lets users take photos and it currently superimposes the legend “A Better Amercia (sic)” over them. While the Romney campaign is seeking to have the app corrected and replaced in the iTunes store as soon as possible, jokes about the screw-up spread like wildfire across Twitter Tuesday night. It is tempting to run down a catalogue of wisecracks but one tweet represents the general tone pretty well:
In spite of a fusillade of P.R. overkill about what a brave, risk-taking actor he is, and how he spent five hours a day in a makeup chair squirming, Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrait of a balding, sweaty, gristle-chewing, half-mad J. Edgar Hoover is gimmicky play acting. J. Edgar, Clint Eastwood’s exhausting chronicle of power obsession about the enigmatic, self-serving egomaniac who, as director of the F.B.I., kept America trembling with terror for half a century under the phony guise of patriotism, is a long, tedious and hollow disappointment.
How Some Remember
Bao, as his co-workers call him, is Cuban, looks to be in his mid 50s, and for the past month he’s been selling 9/11 souvenirs on the streets of Lower Manhattan. It’s tough work. Constantly hassled by police and shoved aside by irritable office types hurrying to work, he has to hope he can cadge the odd tourist out of the wandering droves that have come to gawk at Ground Zero and at the construction underway on the new World Trade Center.
Bao’s hustle is the same deployed by all his colleagues in the area, the local variant on the old hard sell: push one of his armful of limited-edition tribute booklets under the nose of a passerby, and then point to the rising spire of 1 World Trade just across Church Street.
It is, for many people, one of the iconic images of 9/11: The remnants of a steel beam shaped like a cross, standing amid the smoke and ruins of Ground Zero. It was an eerie and, for some, a faith-affirming presence at the site during the weeks following the attacks
As the city prepares to Read More
The Last Critic
For all the hand-wringing over whether the gut-wrenching massacre in Tucson was the result of America’s virulent political discourse, the hand-wringing itself quickly became another instance of the virulence, and then the inanity, of American political discourse.
First, liberal writers declared that Jared Lee Loughner was the product of right-wing incitement: Sarah Palin shamefully putting Read More