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(The usual blah blah which is that the deal with the syndicator requires this column appears here a week after its newspaper release.)

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Ever wonder how politicians get away with their impossible promises? Wonder no more; there is a one-word answer: MEGO. It means “My Eyes Glaze Over,” as in “so boring that the audience of news consumers tunes out” or worse -- tunes elsewhere. So, to most of us little symbiotic media fishes swimming around the political sharks nibbling at scum, it is poison. We avoid all those tedious bites of complexity. And the sharks know full well that we do.
That’s why Mitt Romney will brazenly claim that he can cut taxes and the debt at the same time, with little fear of the experts. Or why his hucksters persist with their lying ads about Barack Obama killing the welfare work requirements. Detailed truth analysis brings about certain MEGO. Count on the normal person having the attention span of a gnat.
Only rarely does a candidate clumsily step into doo-doo so foul that even us lazy reporters must point out that something smells. When that happens, the aforementioned hucksters go into their reflexive media bash, blaming the liberal journalist fact checkers for misrepresenting their client and piling on.
We just witnessed one of those embarrassments when Mitt shot off his mouth about the Obama administration’s “apology” after the first Egyptian embassy attacks. He obviously had so little grasp of the facts and no knowledge of the deaths in Libya of U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans that his foolishness was impossible to gloss over. True to form, his spinners and apologists came roaring out of the bunkers, firing away at anyone who had the audacity to question Romney’s timing or motives.
From early on, his grifters have tried to portray Barack Obama as a weak president who is constantly apologizing for America. It is a con -- they are trying to leave an impression about Obama that has nothing to do with reality. They know that laboriously setting the record straight guarantees a MEGO reaction. That’s why they were so quick to condemn the administration in the case of the embassy violence. But this time they were slick but not smart; they got caught for a change. They’re not as clever as they thought.


It helps explain why a vulnerable incumbent defending a dismal economy is starting to slightly pull away from his challenger. Even among Republicans, some of those who fervently want to oust the Democrats are grumbling more and more publicly that Romney is an inadequate candidate, running a subpar campaign.
They complain they’re losing momentum, that their best efforts to cover up facts can’t cover up a clumsy nominee. Unless they have an October Surprise scheme to raise some killer disclosures that will embarrass Obama or manipulate world events, they are running on a right wing and a prayer.
More and more, they can only hope that Messrs. Romney and Ryan will so dominate the debates that they turn things around. If that doesn’t materialize, they must long for some totally unexpected event, one that so humiliates the White House, their nominees can ride to victory.
That’s exactly what happened to them in 2008, when the economic collapse put the final nail into the GOP coffin. The same economy is sputtering four years later, and now the new challengers are the ones trying to use it to nail things down for their side. They relentlessly blame Obama and the Democrats for dismal unemployment in the expectation they can get away with ignoring the slow recovery from a calamity that happened when George W. Bush was president. That kind of clarification inevitably fits into the eye-glaze category, but as we get closer to the day of reckoning, angry voters are starting to focus. Tired of being treated like fools, they are exhibiting signs of a new MEGO, as in “My Exasperation Gushes Over.”

© 2012 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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