Groundhog Day 2012

By on February 2, 2012

Where's my oscar?

One of my favorite movies of the past decades is Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray and Punxsutawney Phil.  Harold Ramis’s imaginative fable concerns a man with an attitude required to re-live one day of his life until he gets it right. The film was so inventive, so humorous, so bursting with humanity — and romance — that it has easily eclipsed any other film made that year. Though it won no Academy Award nominations then, it has entered public lore like Sleepy Hollow and Sherlock Holmes.

Watching the aftermath of the Florida primary reminded me of Murray’s dilemma. Gingrich having upset Romney in South Carolina decided to retreat to safety, and let the one-time governor get the upper hand in the endless debates. Gigantic amounts of money were poured into media advertising. Romney scored an impressive victory over Gingrich Tuesday. Having done this, he has again stumbled badly, speaking without thinking. He is back to a new start.

We have seen this before. Romney’s big trouble is these slips all fit a certain pattern. He seems born with a silver foot in his mouth, to quote Ann Richard’s assessment of George W Bush. He looks like a duck out of water campaigning. Pressing the flesh is carried out like an assignment such as chairing the country club golf tournament or hosting the annual office Christmas Party. Why does he want so badly to be president?

This country is again watching another clueless man of privilege stumbling and bumbling around in politics like our last president. Both men came packaged as savior/business-types well primed to shape up government. Romney was Mr. Bain Capital. Bush was a Harvard MBA. Both men have ended up giving the impression that whatever accomplishments happened in their various business ventures must have been in spite of them, not because of them.

Undaunted by this reality, the Republican party regulars seem determined to nominate the robotic Romney in Tampa Bay. He is getting endless Groundhog Days from them to get it right. You have to ask yourself why? Are his supporters are so sure he will do as he is told? Has he made endless private commitments? Questions to be asked.

Given the current course, only a deadlocked convention can save Republicans from self-immolation in November. As Romney’s image heads for the rocks, do his supporters remember that the voters still have a say in November? Do they expect to just buy the election? It is striking to see current GOP office holders line up behind Romney like lemmings. The 6 AM wake up may be coming for them.

But it is also Groundhog Day for voters. Which philosophy should guide our country in the future? Who represents our values? What are our values in 2012? Who will surround themselves with an administration that has the best interests of most of the people at heart? Have we yet exploded the myth of the savvy businessman best-equipped to take the helm of government? Even after exposure to Ross Perot, George W Bush, Herman Cain, Donald Trump, and Mitt Romney?

How much do you care about the very poor?

As in the movie Groundhog Day, there is an alarm clock going off somewhere that voters cannot ignore. They need an intelligent choice in November. Obama is a known entity. They must learn his plans for a second term, if he is to get it. Bashing the GOP candidate should not win re-election. And then we as a people must choose wisely.

American voters have too often made choices reacting to current negatives.  More often than not, we ended up with a new and avoidable headache that is just as problematic. We rejected the economically out-of-touch George H W Bush for the busy-fingered governor of Arkansas. We reacted to the scandals of the Clinton Administration by choosing someone who plunged us into two wars and a terrible recession. In 2010 we registered our unhappiness with the slowness of the economic recovery and ended up with a new set of office holders who gave us gridlock, paralysis and moments of sheer wackiness.

It is time now to get it right. This November the country will have the ability to move itself finally on past Groundhog Day. Will we be alert enough to make the correct choices?


Tom Godfrey

tick, tick, tick

About Tom Godfrey

2 comments on “Groundhog Day 2012

  1. Kate {} on said:

    Stupid groundhog.

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