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As I wrote previously, most people have their minds made up definitively as to the presidential race. My mind's made up for Romney. Why? Most important, President Obama has failed to lead. He's been divisive and small. He created the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, then ignored their report completely. When Paul Ryan, now the Republican vicepresidential nominee, had the nerve to issue an actual plan to reduce growth in Medicare spending, the president could have built a bridge by treating it and Mr. Ryan with respect. Instead he demagogued. For partisan gain, he depicted Ryan and company as pushing Granny off the bridge. Democrats retort: But the Republicans play that game, too. True, but no excuse. It's like a kid saying, "hut he did it first." The President has to set the example, set the tone. He's got to lead. This president didn't. He never submitted a budget. He didn't introduce the bills that became Obamacare. He left it to others and left himself above it all. With America so polarized, we need leaders who do the painstaking work of reaching out, one-to-one, to establish relationships that consensus can be built upon. The Obama campaign has been nothing but negative — attack Romney, blame the rich, focus on Big Bird, binders, other trivia. No soaring "hope and change" this time. No grand unifying vision —just I'm right, you're wrong, do it my way. He's arrogant, aloof, insulated, limited. So what about Romney? He comes across as a decent guy, which is why I think that first debate changed the dynamic of the entire race. A lot of people — including some skeptics and outright foes — liked him more than they thought they would. He dispelled the caricatures. Does he shift positions? Undoubtedly. When you've gone from governing the nation's perhaps most liberal state to winning the nomination of a party whose base is rockhard right to now appealing to the American public as a whole, you'll do some morphing. President Obama was against gay marriage until he was for it. I think Mitt Romney at heart is a moderate. I think that as President he won't do extreme things. I think he's got his mind in the game, his feet on the ground and his
By Nark Frost
heart in the right place. I believe he'll do a better job overall than President ()barna has done or will do. Do you feel as I do that there is remarkable lack of interest in all the other contests — Congress, Assembly, judgeship — this election cycle? My theory is that the presidential campaign absorbs so much attention that it sucked the air out of the room for the other races. Matt Doheny for Congress. Let me start by saying, I wish I were writing "Chris Gibson for Congress." We were robbed when redistricting cost us this exemplary man and Congressman. I'm rooting for Chris to demolish Julian Schreibman Tuesday, but if Gibson loses, I think he should move north and run next time in this district. But reality is that we have a contest between Plattsburgh incumbent Democrat Bill Owen and Republican Matt Doheny of Watertown. Both have been very accessible to us, which we appreciate and hope would continue. Rep. Owen, though, comes across to me as a doctrinaire Democrat: Tax first, ask questions later. In backing Obamacare, he imposed a new 2.3% tax on medical device sales — not on profits, mind you, but on revenues — a direct shot at one of our core industries. Mr. Owen says that at the time, nobody complained to him about the tax. My hope is that he would realize on his own that as we struggle to retain Jobs, you don't unilaterally make an American industry 2.3% less competitive. I also can't swallow that Mr. Owen wants to effectively eliminate the secret ballot in unionization initiatives. A "card check" system in which people must reveal their position publicly obviously invites intimidation. I see it as the Democrats kowtowing to their party's special interest. Matt Doheny? Despite the attack commercials, I don't blame him for starting from scratch and becoming a millionaire. And I think his alleged Cayman Islands connection is tenuous at best. I appreciate that Mr. Doheny has campaigned hard here and recognizes private enterprise as the engine of growth. Dan Stec for Assemblyman, Is there any other candidate who — as multi-term supervisor of the biggest town in Warren County and as chairman of the county Board of Supervisors — has shown himself more ready to move up to higher office? He's a capable, intelligent, approachable, proven leader. Definitely deserves election. His opponent Dennis Tarantino is someone I've known many years and always gotten along with well, but I think he should be embarrassed and even ashamed at some of what his campaign has done. The mailer that headlined, "While many families are struggling, Dan Stec's been filling his wallet with your money," is a disgrace. It implies Darfs been stealing. We don't need that gutterstyle attack politics here.