The campaign of dread continues

Can we first stipulate that when President Obama uttered those now famous words “You didn’t build that,” he was referring to infrastructure?

The remark, which is faulty for an entirely different reason than many have asserted, gave Mitt Romney’s commercial craftsmen plenty of fodder to treat the President like a piñata, but then political candidates are having a few problems with context these days.

Perhaps it was fair turnabout, since Obama was trying to transform Romney into papier-mâché with his own distortions about Bain Capital, an association for which Romney need not apologize.

So now the candidates are even when it comes to this little game of fool the bumpkins, except that the bumpkins (1) deserve better and (2) see right through it and (3) are becoming quite chapped about this depressing display.

Not to be outdone, Wisconsin’s Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate are doing a remarkable job elevating the prospects of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, the lone Democratic challenger for the seat being vacated by Herb Kohl. Come Aug. 14, do not be surprised to see Assembly Republican Jeff Fitzgerald, who was Scott Walker’s right-hand man on budget reform and who has yet to chuck a mud ball, chosen to carry the GOP banner this fall.

That will get progressives in Madison stirred up, a native daughter and fellow "prog" against, in their view, a conservative scoundrel who aided and abetted a governor who they view as Lucifer’s kid brother.

The political junkie in me is saying, “Oh, please, please, please, make this happen.” I’ll take a pure ideological battle over an intra-party mud fight between candidates who agree on the issues 99.999% of the time.

Perhaps we’re asking too much to expect an elevated debate, especially since we’re staring down the barrel of a debt crisis that, left unchecked, will lead to austerity that can be avoided. Then again, maybe taking our eye off the ball is exactly what political mud wrestling is designed to accomplish.

Mopey ragey

The President’s contribution to this high school dialogue would indicate that Hope and Change have been replaced with Mope and Rage.

The Obama-nation that upset so many business owners deserves more critical examination than it has received. Yes, he was talking about infrastructure, but he is wrong when he says that businesses don’t build roads and bridges.

Who does he think provides the tax base that makes it possible for government to finance infrastructure improvements? It’s the people who put their capital at risk to start a business that pays taxes to all levels of government, and employ people who also pay taxes to the government.  Without these risk-takers, government has a whole lot of nothing to spend on anything, which is why it’s important for government to treat business as a partner in economic development, not a slush fund to raid whenever the mood strikes.

Government and the business community have a symbiotic relationship, and when government increases the cost of doing business through regulation and new taxes, it runs the risk of suffocating economic growth and job creation.

A president should know that. Even with all his faults as a campaigner, Mitt Romney certainly does.

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