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King Features Column

      (As usual, the agreement with the syndicator means this column appears here a week after its newspaper release.)

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019  
       CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
       BOB FRANKEN
       FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2012
       CHINESE VS U.S. GUTTERS
       BY BOB FRANKEN
       Those pesky Chinese seem to be besting us in far too many ways. Now they’ve obviously won the prize for killer politics.
       Let’s make that ALLEGED killer politics. The Chinese committee of authoritarian rulers involved in a nasty battle to determine who will be running the country in the years ahead has not only tossed out one of the contenders, Bo Xilai, but announced that his wife is under investigation for murder, suspected of being responsible for the death of a shady British expatriate.
       Face it, Americans: We just can’t compare with viciousness like that. We’re less ruthless than ludicrous, as the Republican primaries demonstrated. The only murder there was the sort where various candidates did themselves in.
       And now they have a winner -- a survivor, actually. Mitt Romney was able to shrug off all his self-inflicted wounds and use superior financial firepower to obliterate his opponents.
       So now he can target Barack Obama and hope that the party rank and file’s apathy for him will be overcome by their passionate hatred of Obama.
       Unlike China’s machinations, this fight will be relatively open. There will be unhealthy doses of religious zealotry, racism, gun nuttiness, homophobia, even Birther babbling -- anything to stir the pot.
       Add to that toxic mix all the churning over so-called women’s issues as Romney desperately tries to close a yawning gender gap. We’ve already witnessed a yawner in the contrived outrage over a Democrat’s clumsy comments about stay-at-home moms. Never mind that she was merely one of us pundit political groupies. Everyone was all a-Twitter. Literally. And of course we’ve heard Mitt’s shameless distortions about the impact of the financial meltdown on women’s jobs.
       It reinforces the point that even with all the diversions, at its core, this year’s election is about the nation’s lifeblood: money. It is a struggle over the nature of our economy: who controls it, who regulates it, who gets how much benefit,


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       Already the adversaries are promoting alternate realities. Romney takes off on Obama for trying to deflect his responsibility for the dismal economy: “His campaign is all about finding Americans to blame and attack, and find someone to tax more, someone who isn’t giving, isn’t paying their fair share.”
       He’s right that President Obama is blaming and attacking: “Lot of the folks are peddling these same trickledown theories, including members of Congress and some people who are running for a certain office right now, who shall not be named, they’re doubling down on those old broken-down theories.” Maybe you don’t want to mention the name, Mr. President, but it rhymes with Twit.
       The Democrats are trying their level best to pin the lack of prosperity on GOP leaders present and past.
       Speaking of George W. Bush, there he was a few days ago, emerging from hiding and popping up at a New York economic forum. He was not only bemoaning the possibility that the Bush tax cut, as it’s called, might be abandoned -- at least for the wealthy -- but saying, “I wish they weren’t called the Bush tax cuts.”
       Fair enough. They are the Romney Tax Cuts, now that he’s the Mittular leader of the GOP. He and his cronies are bowing to the nation’s top 10 percent, who, according to a University of California study, got all of the increased income in 2010. Everyone else was stagnant, or worse. But the top 10 will contribute tons of money to bamboozle the lower 90 with incendiary propaganda. We’ll hear that Barack Obama is a socialist who wants the federal government to control our lives.
       It might work. But the dirty pool in U.S. elections doesn’t compare with the treachery of China’s politics. Even with the gender gap, no one’s accusing anyone’s wife of homicide. So far.
      
       © 2012 Bob Franken
       Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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