Mitt Romney Isn’t Highlighting Barack Obama’s “Corruption”

Plus: Why Paul Ryan is a Rage Against the Machine fan, and 8 other “issues” everyone’s ignoring.

The 2012 presidential election has been about many things. But there are many other things it hasn’t been about. With a nod to one of my favorite political bloggers, Jonathan Bernstein, and his “Dogs, Not Barking” feature, here are 10 things that I’m surprised haven’t become issues this year:

1. Obama and same-sex marriage. Before President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, it was mostly speculated that he’d held off on doing so because he feared the political repercussions. As recently as 2004, after all, President Bush came out for the Federal Marriage Amendment so he could use marriage as a wedge issue. However, same-sex marriage has been very much off the radar of presidential politics in the general election, and it doesn’t appear taking this position has cost the President many votes.

2. Mitt Romney’s Mormonism. Leading up to the election campaign, numerous news stories speculated that Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith would affect the election in one of two ways: Either conservative evangelical voters would decide they couldn’t trust him, or liberals wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation to regularly crack polygamy and magic underwear jokes. It doesn’t appear that either phenomenon has come to pass in any significant way.

3. The Obama “scandals.” The Obama Administration has been relatively free of major scandals. Unlike either the Clinton or Bush presidency, no cabinet member or top White House adviser has resigned in disgrace in relation to any particular scandal. Darrell Issa, the House committee chairman leading most investigations of the administration, referred to Obama in 2010 as “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times,” which is really only a true statement if you define “corrupt” to mean “supportive of policies with which I don’t agree.”

This hasn’t stopped the President’s opponents from making supposed high crimes out of things like Solyndra and the Joe Sestak job offer (seriously, remember the Joe Sestak job offer?); Jon Stewart had some great fun over the summer pointing out how Republicans have referred to at least five different things as either “Obama’s Watergate” or “worse than Watergate.”

But the Romney campaign has put very little effort into making hay of these issues, and hasn’t especially succeeded when they have tried. That includes the Fast and Furious debacle which, while a huge story in right-wing media, has barely been mentioned by Romney/Ryan.

The one place where Obama was really vulnerable is the Benghazi assault, but the President somehow got the better of that exchange in the second debate, when Romney stumbled into letting the issue suddenly become not “did the White House screw up Benghazi,” but rather “did Obama call it an ‘act of terror’ the day after”?

4. Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. Occupy seems to have had no presence whatsoever in the race; they barely even protested the conventions. And the Tea Party, while still around, seems to have a great deal less influence than they did in 2010. When was the last time you heard anything about whether Romney had won over the Tea Party crowd, or Obama Occupy?

5. TARP and “too big to fail.” The TARP program may have been the primary piece of legislation driving right-wing anger in the early Obama years, but it was actually signed by President Bush, and continued by Obama. What’s Mitt Romney’s position on TARP? What would either candidate do if faced with a situation akin to September 2008 and a bankrupt Lehman Brothers? We haven’t heard a thing about either.

6. The return of Reverend Wright. I kept hearing in the spring and summer that we’d be seeing an onslaught of SuperPAC ads featuring Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, sponsored by GOP operatives convinced that the only reason John McCain lost is because voters didn’t hear enough about “God Damn America.” If they’re going to surface, they haven’t yet.

7. Speaking of Super PACs. What ever happened to that huge financial advantage the Romney-aligned ones were supposed to have? Now I don’t live in Ohio, but if the ad advantage has been overwhelming, I haven’t seen it.

8. North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. The candidates have been talking a lot about Iran and its quest for nuclear weapons, but what about that other member of the Axis of Evil? Reports have differed over the years as to whether the North Koreans have managed to acquire nuclear capability, but whether they have or they’re still trying, shouldn’t we be talking about it? Aside from a one-line mention by Romney in the third debate, the issue has been absent.

9. “Real Americans.” There was a pretty ugly current of rhetoric on the Republican side in the 2008 race, especially after Sarah Palin got in, that certain people—rural, white, conservative, small-town—were “real Americans,” in a way that others weren’t, while the Republican-voting parts of Pennsylvania were “the real Pennsylvania.” Thankfully, we’ve heard much less of that sort of thing this time.

10. Paul Ryan, Rage Against the Machine fan. And you thought Chris Christie being the world’s biggest Springsteen fan was politically incongruous. How in the world is the author of the Path to Prosperity a devotee of the world’s most left-wing band, whose favored political causes include freeing Mumia Abu-Jamal? Has Ryan not ever listened to any of the lyrics? Next time he’s interviewed I’d love to hear that question asked.

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  • Brent E. Sulecki

    14 pts off turnovers. clean it up and the game looks better. not bad for a first week though.

    • aub32

      To be fair that first TO should have been called back, and we would have gotten at least a FG there, if not a TD. That’s at least a 10 point swiing. The lone turnover was on Avant who just needs to know his role and go down when someone gets a hold of him. He should know by now he’s not going anywhere.

  • Eoin Cunningham

    Can’t wait to see what you guys have to say about Kendricks, thought he looked great, really jumped off the screen.

    Great foundation laid by the Eagles O, definitely some easy to spot improvements that can be made, hopefully we get comfier in the offense this week and get up to 2-0!

  • Dutch

    Exceptional effort from the Offensive Line. As this line goes so goes the Eagles. Johnson performed well against a very tough opponent. I was impressed he held his own against All Pro Kerrigan. One play Redskins ran a picture perfect scrape with the inside linebacker looping around Kerrigan for a sack. A lot of the miscues within the Offensive Line aren’t a catastrophe and can be cleaned up once tapes are reviewed.

    More impressive was the speed and precision of which the Eagles ran that offense first time around the block. There weren’t many if any problems with penalties and procedure calls. It looked like the Eagles had been running this scheme for more than the 90 days they were exposed to this system in training camp.

    • All In Eagles

      That’s the beauty of this, they can only improve. And all the analysts saying SD now has tape and everyone will figure it out and it can’t last, bla bla bla. This was day 1 for all those guys in this scheme.

      • cliff henny

        it’s soooo stupid. haslett had months-and the guy knows what he is doing, watched 2 yrs worth of games, has a better defense and they didnt even come close to stopping offense. vick missed 3 easy passes, ertz was PI and that was a lateral. i hope chargers think redskins defense was reason 2nd half offense slowed. will eagles get off 50 plays in half again, probably not, will kelly take air out of all with 25 mins left in game again, probably not. it’s somewhere in middle, and with a ton of room for improvement.

  • Will

    Loved the sack by Kendricks on RGIII, Spectacular play out of him all game!

    • G_WallyHunter

      Should be a highlight for eagles/skins rivalry for years to come lol
      WWF style body slam

    • Eoin Cunningham

      I loved that play but watching Kelce pancake the sh*t out of the great London Fletcher was incredible. London Bridge is falling down…

  • Andy

    Most important Bryce Brown stat: 0 fumbles.

  • aub32

    Not to try and troll here, but does anyone else still want to say that Avant looks anything like Boldin-light? The one time he tries fighting for extra yards and he fumbles. The guy is good at what he does, but can we please stop giving him more credit than he deserves as a decent possesion receiver.

    • BlindChow

      The second time he fought for extra yards, he got the first down and got layed out (and DIDN’T fumble).

    • therevxxx

      def not boldin-lite. but one of the most consistent 3rd receivers you will find in the league. he deserves plenty of praise.

    • jabostick

      The fumble was disappointing but I think Avant is great at what he does – he blocks well, great leader, and he’s a super dependable guy on 3rd down that (I’d bold this if I knew how) the QBs all seem to really trust. Normally he has fantastic hands as well (which is likely where the trust comes from).

      I get what you’re saying but he’s more than just a possession receiver imo.

    • NickS1

      Definitely not trolling, unlike some others… I may have overstated slightly in the comparison since he’s not beasting people, but I stand by my praise of him as a receiver, overall. Unfortunately, fumbles happen from time to time, so let’s not indict him over it or use it as a basis to knock him down a peg or two below what he is.

  • therevxxx

    no mention of ertz dropped passes? or did I miss that? I am still concerned about his play so far. A lot of dropped passes in preseason and now I think (2) (or was it one) dropped passes in the opener.

    • BlindChow

      I don’t remember any dropped passes. Only over-throws.

      • therevxxx

        i would say that the play chip challenged was a drop, no?

        • BlindChow

          I guess, but he did have EJ Biggers on his back the whole time. It’s not like the wide-open drops he had during the preseason.

        • Adam

          Clear pass interference too, the corner was on his back way before the ball was in the air.

        • Warhound

          Looking for a Chip error? That challenge was one of the few.

  • usmcnole

    Dear Michael Vick,

    You are no Vonta Leach. Please do not try to block people like you are. If you want to help with a “block”, please just merely stand in the defender’s way kinda like a moving screen in basketball. – Eagles fans

    PS work on your baseball slide

    • aub32

      I don’t even think he should be setting picks. They can’t go through you in basketball. Try setting a pick against Clay Matthews and see what happens. Vick was lucky that none of the Washington players have that mean streak you see out of some of the more noteworthy defenders.

      • anon

        They were probably too tired to hit hard.

        • cliff henny

          too surprised to. didnt know it was vick was blocking them till play was over. it’s not like he was being asked to seal back edge on lbrs. i could do without it, but cant see how that exposes vick. if that knocks him out, then it really is ‘just a matter of time’ with him

          • anon

            I think CK knows Vick won’t be there 16 games, seemed pretty matter of fact about it in the press conference. I think there’s things you can do to make him play safer, but to an extent you gotta let him do his thing and tell Foles to get his arm strength up.

          • The Toy Goddess


            Kelly is simply we gona ride Vick ’till the whells fall off and hopefully we have 10 wins by the time it does.

            But dude gotta stop blocking for folk. SMH

          • aub32

            I think it did catch some players off guard, and as a result you saw them pull up. That won’t work against more aggressive and physical defenses and players that would salivate at the chance to hit a QB trying to set a pick for the RB.

          • cliff henny

            as long as he only blocks when the play side is reversed, it should be ok. defenders are looking out for blind side kill blocks. think you are giving dfenders too much credit for that quick of thinking and recognition. as long as it’s out in space too, he can just pushoff and get out of the way. it’s not ideal, but really he shouldnt be getting hurt making weak open field blocks. sure kelly had good talk with him, doubt we’ll see it again. chalk it up to 1st game energy.

          • aub32

            Again, I’m not referring to all defenders. As you can see, his blockin was effective Monday night. I’m referrign strictly to the Clay Matthews and DaMarcus Wares of the world. Those players process information and play at another level. You think that if Vick continues to block that they won’t see that on film and make it their primary goal to drill Vick, even if that means letting Shady get an extra couple yards at least once. As you said, Vick surprised the Redskins. Hell, he surprised Chip Kelly. Other defenders won’t be caught of guard.

          • cliff henny

            good thing there’s not that many clay’s and ware’s out there. sure kelly said something. as i said, doubt we’ll see it again…but sure MV will do something new that’ll have us talking and sweating

          • aub32

            No doubt. I was yelling my butt off at him running down field. “Why Vick? Sit your lil butt down before someone sits you down.” Chip Kelly didn’t even see it coming.

          • cliff henny

            as vick’s play goes, thought he did a pretty good job protecting himself. Herrmanns and LJ have to tighten things up some, and then hope for the best.

    • SunShine

      stupid but admirable. but yes, Please stop Vick. You have ALOT to lose

    • Charlie Kelly

      he can block all he wants, if he gets hurt the better QB comes in hehehehe hehehe ehh ehehehe

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    Reason #123,855 I don’t listen to the media for my analysis but get it places like here:
    During the spring and training camp we heard how much Vick stinks and can’t play in this offense. I now hear it being seriously said that without Vick, the team is toast and since he gets hit a lot, the team can’t have a good 16 games.
    if and when Vick goes down, I have every confidence Chip will use a way which will be about as difficult to defend and he uses Vick now.

    • aub32

      I hear the same thing said about DeSean and McCoy. I can’t really blame the national media guys though. They go based off of what they have seen. There’s no way in the world Foles would have been able to run the offense like Vick did the other night. A lot of them were expecting see something like that, and when they got it their opinions were validated. In fairness to them, Vick and McCoy brought out the best in one another. The threat of Vick resulted in huge lanes for McCoy, and the butt whooping McCoy put on resulted in huge lanes for Vick, especially on that TD run. (Which I doubt Foles would have gotten past the one lone defender. I have no doubt Kelly would change the scheme for Foles, but the media guys are always going to form their opinions based on their assumptions and what they have seen.

    • EaglePete

      its also not all gravy depending on circumstances. If every reporter sounded overly optimistic and all in on everything CK and the Eagles that wouldnt be very objective either.

  • B-West

    My guess is the personal groupings were matchup driven. The strength of the Skins is their front 7, and their secondary is a major weakness. So, spread them out, put an extra DB on the field from their weak crop, and go to work.

    Also, I think Chip kept the entire section of the playbook that called for multiple TEs under wraps due to the score. Given his admiration for Belicheat and the signing of Casey, I’m still confident there are some interesting things to come from our TEs.

    • Andy

      Agree. Plus we got a taste of some of those formations in the pre-season.

  • DuckFan

    Although I really wish Vick wouldn’t do half the bonehead things he does; like extend a play, avoid the rush, doesn’t find a receiver and runs out of bounds for a loss instead of throwing it away. I can’t help but love the way he got out and blocked for shady on a couple of those runs. He’s all in for this team and it shows. Diving head first, fighting for extra yards when he’s already ran for the first down, he’s a football player through and through and I love it.

    • cliff henny

      yeah, it’s great, till you see him being helped off field.

  • philliesfan123

    Poor decision by Howie Roseman extending Herremans, good chance he will continue to be weak link on the offensive line. I believe he could be replaced by Barbre at some point.

    • B-West

      I know I’m a Howie apologist…. But I always thought the Herremans and Cole extensions had Andy’s fingerprints all over them. Kind of a reward for guys who had been good soldier’s, and never really complained about being underpaid in the previous years.

      Howie has proven to be pretty savvy with contract language, those two contract extensions being the outliers.

      • cliff henny

        after wash game, trent looks like a bargain. Herrmann’s contract isnt that bad. he’s older coming off injury, have to give him little time. watched plenty of pro ball this weekend, plenty of teams would be taking TH as a starting guard.

    • aub32

      Not a poor decision. Herremans was resigned after switching from guard to tackle. Tackles make more than guards, and Herremans performed at a high level in 2011. He could not predict things would go so wrong in 2012 that we would draft a top 5 pick at RT. Also, don’t forget Herremans is still coming off of a season ending injury.

    • KobraKai7474

      Injuries (and comebacks from injuries) are a major part of NFL life. Howie Roseman can’t predict them any more than you or I can. Point being that, yes, Herremans seems to be lacking but it is almost certainly due to his injury (or the cumulative effect of age along with a career full of injuries). The real question here is whether he is just dealing with rust or if this is the start of his decline as a player.

  • morgan c

    Herremans is clearly our worst lineman. He needs to step up. He was a good guard, and played well at tackle for one year, before last year. He has no excuses; moving back to guard should be an easy switch. Come on Todd, pick it the F up!

  • djack10

    Question for the football people on this site: On the onside kick, if the ball is headed out of bounds, shouldn’t Avant have just tried to swat it out of bounds instead of trying to corrale it? It seems like redirecting it out of bounds is a much safer play that close to the boundary, but I don’t really know. Thoughts?

    • Mr. Wu

      Well that would be Redskins ball then I believe, from wherever the Out of bounds spot was….don’t want to do that

    • Dutch

      Rekick after moving the ball back 5 yds

  • anon

    Eagles brought in Chargers ex-center David Molk for a tryout yesterday — coincidence or research?

    • RIP illa

      I like him better than Vandy…sign him!!!

  • SunShine

    Liked – Vick had 0 turnovers (bs call on that so-called lateral), 1st half tempo, Shady McCoy, trying to burn clock in 2nd half

    Disliked- Didn’t do damage when they had great field position sometimes, Poor execution in 2nd half, Brown or Polk needed more carries, Miscommunication on right side of OL

    Great match-up with the Bolts but they will come to Philly PO. Looking to see ST make an even bigger impact in this game

  • Rick H

    I have stated here many times my concerns about Vick as a QB. I have to give credit were it is clearly due. Michael Vick showed me all the great abilities I have seen over the years on Monday night but What I am truly seeing is true dedication, his mission, focus and maturity. I still worry about all the same things though. First and foremost is his exposure to getting injured which would be a huge bummer. He must be excited and I am happy for him.
    Sheil, I generally disagree with you about Bryce Brown’s performance. He started that East to West running and that gets him in trouble and he gets nowhere. I did not think he played well but there appears to be a real focus by him to hold onto the ball which is good.
    The defense played really well so some of the guys that were being torched on here at least deserve credit. Nate Allen, our cornerbacks and the unknown production of our outside linebackers. Special teams were tremendous!

  • Charlie Kelly

    ehhhh what is 11 personnel hehehe isnt there always 11 people on the field?? hehehehehe hehehe hheehe

  • Max Lightfoot

    During the preseason, I wrote that all Lane Johnson had to do was perform at a competent NFL pro level, and that meant that 2013 was a great draft for the Birds.I drew lots of flak for saying that, but given the current health of the line, that’s all he has to do. Everything above and beyond that is gravy. He could become an All Pro, but he’s bound to make some rookie mistakes on pass blocking this year. Now, with the next draft, we just need to fill some defensive holes and give the O-line some depth. And, oh yes, maybe a quarterback!

    • KobraKai7474

      Totally agree. Having a solid NFL tackle, especially one who can migrate to the left side in a few is HUGE. Having such a guy with the potential to be a 10-year pro bowler at one of the three or four most important positions on the field just makes it that much better.

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    Another thing I like about this offense is that the running plays really don’t take much more time than the passing plays when you run back to the line and snap the ball right away. If you’re down a couple of touchdowns in the second half you still have your whole playbook available to you.

  • southy

    as long as herremans holds up physically, I don’t see the down year for him that many are predicting. his first game back at right guard after a season of playing tackle and he was passable. maybe he doesn’t offer the brute athleticism of Peters or Johnson or the mental game of Mathis or Kelce, but he’s been solid his whole career save the time Mudd had everyone doubting themselves.