Press Talk: Political bets? No, no, no!

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 

To be continued

• Press Talk continues its discussion on politics Sunday by setting the odds on the two Clark County Commission races.

See Page C1 or the Press Talk page.

What are the odds … ?

I suspect you've heard the above question more than a few times.

Like:

• What are the odds some Web commenters won't sound like they're always screaming?

• What are the odds politicians will actually begin to protect taxpayers?

• What are the odds the Cougars will win five games this year?

All good questions.

And today, for your reading pleasure, I bring you another one:

• What are the odds in the presidential race? (On Sunday, I lay the odds out on our two county commission races.)

It should be noted this is not endorsement, but rather whom I see as the favorite. And, kids, don't try this at home. Do not -- I repeat, do not -- use these odds to gamble. Gambling is an evil habit that will drag you into the abyss and lead to occasional cavities.

OK, let's get started.

Obama-Romney

My odds opened at 3-1 in favor of Barack Obama, but today I put it at 4-1. Two years ago, absolutely everything pointed to a Republican victory. No president should be able to survive the economic collapse we've had.

And the deficit we keep piling up? Someone needs to pay for this colossal mess, and it's almost always the sitting president.

But Mitt Romney just doesn't get it. He gave up the moral high ground to Obama when he refused to support taxing the wealthy more.

To be sure, taxing the wealthy more will not -- I repeat, will not -- fix the crushing debt we currently live under.

But we're talking about talking points and Obama wins this one.

Yes, many Democrats continue to live in the Twilight Zone, thinking we can still give away the farm to anyone who asks, even though we don't have the cash to do it.

Sure, some giveaways are not only necessary but the right thing to do. But the sheer mass of the handouts -- things like tax breaks to big business and government bus rides for bingo players -- are not sustainable. Regardless, it's like crack cocaine. And once you're hooked, it ain't easy getting off the stuff.

Many politicians are also hooked on the giveaways because they know they bring votes.

Hey, raise your hand if you don't like free stuff? Point proved.

Now, Romney wants to cut some of this special-interest spending back. So, philosophically, he's likely correct, but politically, he's wrong. And that's because we've reached the tipping point on free stuff. Those who get it -- and their friends and family -- outnumber those who don't.

Another talking point to Obama.

Essentially, a politician has to say what people want to hear.

That's Politics 101.

Does Romney have any hope? Somehow he needs to take back some of the moral high ground. I suggest he says he's had an epiphany and now is willing to tax the wealthy more.

Again, this won't help much of anything, but it would get him a talking point. But don't count on it.

Now remember, no wagering, but let the discussion begin!

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, http://twitter.com/lounews or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.