Mitt Romney is fiercely attacking Barack Obama. Yet the election will not be decided by aggressive rhetoric. Instead, the winner will be the one who offers the middle class a new perspective.
One of the most successful TV series of the times is the saga “Mad Men,” set in the New York advertising milieu in the early '60s. The tales of Don Draper present us with an epoch in which excessive smoking was still permitted everywhere and the dollar was an irrevocable factor in the world economy.
The American century stood at its peak; the future lay wide open. The “pursuit of happiness” guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution also appears in the ironic retrospective of the successful series as completely and utterly of this world. The children, one was pretty certain in the '60s, would have it better.
Today Don Draper’s children are grown — and fearful for their not yet paid-off home. The generation of baby boomers will decide if Barack Obama will get a second term of office or if Mitt Romney will move into the White House in his place.
The Pursuit of Happiness in Times of Crisis
As ugly as the primary battle between multimillionaire Romney and the apologist of the Tea Party movement, Rick Santorum, may have been, the duel between Obama and Romney will not be carried out over the hostile political fringes of U.S. politics. The new (or old) president will be the one who succeeds in offering the stricken middle class a new perspective.
Because, not just since the banking crisis, fewer and fewer citizens have the feeling that the “pursuit of happiness” is still worth something in the U.S. Jobs today are also in short supply for well-educated citizens; the economy is stagnating.
Naturally, American firms like Apple are booming, but they are creating their jobs outside the country. In Don Draper’s time, it looked far better regarding the prerequisites for the pursuit of happiness.
Concepts now drop into Obama’s election speeches that are more recognizable from Europe’s political arena: fairness, balance, equality. Romney will use that against the 44th president; count on the propaganda indicating that four more years of Obama would transform the U.S. into a new Soviet Union.
Romney’s Talk is More Rhetoric Than Platform
But behind such talk is more rhetoric than platform. The Mormon Romney nonetheless attained governorship in liberal East Coast Massachusetts; his health reform there is hardly distinguishable from Obama's.
The moderate Republican is now running against a Democratic president who has conducted cautious politics in past years. The people want to know from both how things will proceed for the middle. That’s where this election will be decided, despite shrill tones from the fringe.