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Susan Estrich
12 Feb 2016
Why We Do It This Way

Who in the world, one of my friends asked, could ever have come up with such a ridiculous way to nominate a president? … Read More.

10 Feb 2016
Why Women Should Be for Hillary

There is one reason young women should support Hillary Clinton for president. It happens to be, in my … Read More.

5 Feb 2016
Donald Trump: Sore Loser

It was the shortest speech anyone can remember him giving. He was clearly in a state of disbelief. How could … Read More.

World Series Time


Who are these undecided voters?

The one thing that seems clear is that there aren't many of them.

The harder question is how anyone who really does plan to vote could still be struggling with whom to vote for.

I always tell my students that for many people presidential elections are a lot like baseball is to me.

I root for the Red Sox. But if they're not going to be in the World Series (sadly, as a longtime fan, that's most of the time), then I don't pay much attention to which teams will be until the very end. And then, for reasons that are not always entirely logical (for instance, damn Yankees), I pick a team and join in the festivities.

It's time to pick a team.

And unlike some years when I hear a lot of "both parties are the same" or "what difference does it make," it's hard to make that case this year. That fact is revealed by the unusually high numbers of people who have made up their minds and aren't about to change them.

This is not an election in which Romney voters or Obama voters are telling pollsters they are still open to switching. Nor is it one in which people have neutral feelings as to the candidate they're voting for. Most Obama voters really don't like Romney, and vice versa.

And unlike some races in which both candidates have moved convincingly enough to the middle that it really isn't that easy to tell them apart, if you watch the debates, even while hitting the kitchen and the bathroom and texting on a frequent basis, you can't help but notice the differences.

Should the top 1 percent pay more in taxes? Should the Bush tax cuts be extended for everyone, or only for those making less than $250,000 (or maybe even a higher number) per year? If 93 percent of small businesses make less than $250,000 a year, is protecting small business a good enough reason to extend the tax cuts to high earning individuals?

Are you for or against a system in which every American is required to be insured, along with the limits on denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and subsidies for those who can't afford private market prices?

Should folks in their 40s and 50s get a voucher option to Medicare? Will doing so give them more options, or result in the kind of cherry picking that lands the sickest people on Medicare, resulting in cuts to benefits?

What do you think about government support for wind? More drilling on federal lands?

Are you for or against allowing women and their doctors to decide (prior to viability) whether to carry a pregnancy to terms, or should that choice be limited to those who are the victims of rape or incest?

Should government spend more on defense? Romney says no cuts; Obama says the military doesn't want the additional spending Romney is proposing.

Is it possible to offset lower taxes for everyone and higher defense spending with (according to Obama) unstated spending cuts (except for Big Bird and public broadcasting) so that the deficit doesn't grow? Will economic growth be enough to offset those policies? Do you care?

Have the past four years been a step in the right direction on an agenda the president should be given four more years to complete, or are they proof that Obama can't do the job?

Do you blame Obama for failing to reach his goal of lower unemployment, or Bush for leaving him a bigger mess than anyone expected?

Just how disappointed (if at all) are you with the past four years?


If you want to accuse me of stacking the deck in the president's favor, my only response is that I'm trying to be fair.

But the larger point is that it's hard for anyone who is committed to one candidate (as I obviously am) to be truly fair in this election, which is why it's so hard to understand how anyone could still be trying to make up their mind.

Economists will tell you ("Freakonomics" has a chapter on this) that one vote doesn't count. But even a relatively small group of voters can make the difference in a close election.

My mother called me in the middle of Election Day 2000 to tell me that a lot of the women in her condo building were afraid they had made a mistake on their ballot. Call Al Gore, she said. Sure, I'm going to call Gore and tell him what my mother said. My mother, may she rest in peace, lived in Palm Beach County, Fla. Sorry, Al.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



15 Comments | Post Comment
Wrong again Susan. Its still very easy to make the case that both parties are the same. Both parties want more war. Both will sign any piece of legislation stripping our civil liberties. Both plan to leave the fed unchecked while they monitize our debt and destroy the currency. Both want to spend at about the same levels, well above what we take in. The issues that will destroy the country to far deeper than reps vs dems. Our system is built around corruption and subterfuge and there is no candidate willing to make the tough choices and fundamental changes needed.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:51 PM
You're trying to be fair? Well obviously you're not trying hard enough.

The sixteen trillion dollar deficit comes down to "Do you care?"

"Do you blame Obama for failing to reach his goal of lower unemployment, or Bush for leaving him a bigger mess than anyone expected?"

That isn't the choice! The choice is which plan WILL lower unemployment. This whole idea of blaming Bush is just stupid. The issue is not "who is to blame for unemployment" but "how do we lower unemployment." Trying to assign blame as much as says that you are NOT thinking about how to SOLVE the problem.

Obama does not seem to care how much the next administration will blame him. He spends all of his time explaining why the remedies in the past will not work. This is not a search for solutions; this is an attempt to avoid responsibility.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Cowboy Jay
Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:41 AM
The choice is stark and real.

If one wants to see the absolute destruction of America, of the Republic of the Constitution of the free market and of liberty then vote obama because all of the foregoing are guaranteed if there is another four years of obama facism and statism.

If on the other hand one seeks liberty, freedom, a strong constitutional republic, free market principles, opportunity to succeed rather than redistributionism, conservative values, then one has to start and I say start by getting rid of obama and most Democrats in power. That means for now voting Romney and Republican all accross the board.

That is not to say that Chris McCoy is incorrect when he says " the [present] system is built around corruption and subterfuge" and not to say that greater fundamental change is not needed to get back to the vision of the Founding Fathers but a start has to be made.

We are however stuck with a two party syetem for now.

It may take several election cycles but change must come. That change will be to rid ourselves of progressives in power, of so called RINO's in power, of statists power and of the wholly corupt in power and a return to the constituional values espoused by Ron Paul or similar.

Comment: #3
Posted by: joseph wright
Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:14 AM
Voters in Ohio have been voting early in droves. The polling places have plenty of on the spot polling and in the Northern tier of Ohio, it is a huge advantage for the President. Only in Southeastern Ohio is the polling close. Once these voters have voted, no amount of campaigning or campaign ads will change those votes. They are in the bag.
In Ohio one misguided Repubolican official, Mr. Husted, has done everything he can to try to suppress the vote in Black counties and voting areas by cutting off early voting and trying to implement purges of registrations in those areas. The Supreme Court turned him down flat this week in a terse rejection of his voter suppression attempts.That means that Republicans will have to rely on the strength of their positions on issues and how those positions appeal to voters....Gee what a novel thought.
I have no idea how this is going to turn out but Mitt Romney did not help his cause in the last debate when he allowe the president to open the door for him when he made the stupid comment about the Libyan terror attack. I immediately knew that Obama had something up his sleeve when he invited Romney to continue trying to make his point about things that were or were not said by the president. Once the Mittster blundered on, he smacked him with the truth. Romney looked totally stunned and never recovered from his blunder. Romney's handlers and debate prep team did Romney a lousy service by not getting him up to speed. They deserve most of the blame for that blunder. The repubs tried to blame Candy Crowley for what happened, but Romney brought the issue up and had his facts wrong. Candy did not side with the president, she sided with the truth.
People in this area who saw the debate clearly saw this as a blunder. And I am sure that the Libyan issue will come up again and Romney better be ready. I am certain that if it does, the two Republican votes in the HOUSE to REDUCE the spending for Embassy and consulate security funding will come up. Paul Ryan voted twice to DECREASE that security budget in spite of the administrations request for an INCREASE in that budget. I am sure that the president will drive home that point in the National Security debate next Monday. Romney could step in it again.
Comment: #4
Posted by: robert lipka
Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:19 AM
It's very difficult for an old American to even consider no longer being an American. That's the reason I'm voting for a change. I don't think I'm alone!
Comment: #5
Posted by: Oldtimer
Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:38 AM
Ms. Estrich provides us with a laundry list of questions. Most of them come no where near the true issue at the heart of this campaign. The important question is not, 'How disappointed are you with the last 4 years?" (Is anyone really happy about the economy?). Nor is it, "Who do you blame for the present situation?" (How does that matter now?). The proper question is, "Which of the candidates has the highest probability of fixing the economy and getting this country back on the right track?". The rest of these questions (e.g., Tax rates for the rich, Obamacare, abortion rights, same sex marriage,etc...) pale by comparison.

When you don't have food on the table or they are taking your home away you just can't worry about same sex marriage or the Libyan Embassy. Introducing these side issues is an attempt to distract from what is really important. In this light, I have no idea why anyone would vote for Obama. Did I miss something in the last 4 years? What is this guys plan to restore the economy and why should I expect it to work? He may have saved the automobile industry (i.e., The UAW), but he doesn't seem to have done much for anyone else. Worse, I have yet to hear him articulate a serious plan to fix anything. He is however a master of blame shifting and issue diversion. Don't expect him to develop Churchillian leadership abilities in a second term.

This is what it comes down to:

If you like the last four years and want more of it, vote Obama. There is no evidence anything will change if he gets reelected. You can feel comfortable knowing what is in store for you.

If you feel things need to change, vote Romney. He isn't a proven failure yet, and we can at least hope things will improve. At least he has shown some leadership skills in the past and seems to have taken an Econ 101 course while in school.

Choose wisely.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Old Navy
Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:59 AM
Re: robert lipka
I immediately knew that Obama had something up his sleeve when he invited Romney to continue trying to make his point about things that were or were not said by the president" Up his sleeve being the operative phrase.

Lipka so did everyone else with a brain,who heard it and who was outwith the pressure cooker of the debate arena. The planned utter deception of the terminally stupid, to wit, Lipka and his ilk was patent.

It was especially patent when the lying sack of sh*t obama asked his Candy girl to get the transcript that he already must have known she had. Known, because it was a dishonest deception planned between them or planned between Jabba the Hut and the Whitehouse. It was a pre planned ruse, a trick, a sleight of hand, a deceit. Something up the sleeve.

That "Jabba the hut" Crowley had to admit later that Romney was actually correct in order to salvage what reputation she had left was evidence of the foregoing.

obama and his Candy girl knew that the phrase "acts ot terror" and the phrase "terrorist attack" have very different meanings in diplomatic and Whitehouse speak and in the context of the Rose Garden speech.

Obama and Jabba conspired to deceive on that point.

It is fact that Obama did not call the attack in Libya a terrorist attack for weeks, and for weeks continued to blame a video.]

Romney, did not have the advantage of the transcript at the debate as did obama in cahoots with Jabba the Hut but Romey was nevertheless entirely correct. Romney, in the understandable moment of shock and surprise at a moderator lying for his oponent in a presidential debate and cutting off discussion so as to preserve the lie did no more than miss an opportunity then to demonstrate clearly to the watching millions just what a liar obama is.

It is clear that the lying liar obama when using the phrase acts of terror, which he did, in the Rose Garden was referring to the same in the generic sense and about the first 9 11 events and was not referring to the attack in Libya. Indeed in the Rose Garden he made reference to the video. Romney has his patent knowing lie and deception in the debate on record now, and the watching millions heard it.

All it bought obama was a week of repreive. Obama's lie was a gaffe of epic proportions and it has and will continue to haunt the lying Sob.

All will be corrected on Monday and obama will be shown for the deceiver and America hater he is. The truth is emerging that obama was conducting another "Fast and Furious" in Libya giving weapons to affiliates or alllies of Al quaeda. This is what the lies and cover up are all about.

Truth, unfortunately, for lying liars like obama and biden has a nasty habit of being revealed.
Comment: #7
Posted by: joseph wright
Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:05 AM
Still talking about Florida 2000. You lost the election fair & square. Get over it. The entire country would be better served if you would JUST GET OVER IT.
Comment: #8
Posted by: John
Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:07 AM
No better example of the lying liar obama's indifference to the deaths of our ambassador and three other Americans as a direct result of his policies was his callous remark "[w}hen four americans are killed it is not optimal"

That will also come back to haunt this low life posing as POTUS.

Comment: #9
Posted by: joseph wright
Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:20 AM
Lipka wrote:
"I am certain that if it does, the two Republican votes in the HOUSE to REDUCE the spending for Embassy and consulate security funding will come up. Paul Ryan voted twice to DECREASE that security budget in spite of the administrations request for an INCREASE in that budget. I am sure that the president will drive home that point in the National Security debate next Monday."

Perhaps Lipka never saw my response to this absurd charge. He certainly never responded in the week since I posted it, so let me summarize it:

The 'decrease' in security funding amounts to a $ 300 Million dollar reduction ($0.3 Billion) in the State Department budget of ~$ 50 Billion. A 0.6% reduction in an otherwise huge slush fund. If the administration had thought the upgrades in Libya were important, it could easily have reprogrammed some money to cover the needs in Libya (e.g., Did the embassy in Austria really need Chevy Volts?). No, I'm afraid the Obama administration owns this one in its entirety. This is just the typical MO of the Obama administration. Seize the credit (Carpe Creditum!) for any good news, regardless of whether the administration had anything to do with it (e.g., Libya). Shift the blame for bad news to others, regardless of how improbable the explanation is.

It is time for some adults in the Oval Office. Vote wisely!
Comment: #10
Posted by: Old Navy
Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:44 AM
Old Navy,,,, I am sorry but I did not see your post. I usually read all of your posts because they are not filled with stupid hate speech which convinces NO ONE like some of the other posters. But at least you have been truthful by acknowledging that the bidget WAS DECREASED . Perhaps it was a minscule amount by comparison to the overall budget but it was REDUCED Prior to the Assault.
The United States cannot provide security for each and every American citizen travelling abroad and it certainly cannot portect each and every diplomat with more than a handful of security operatives. The small contingent that was travelling with the Lobyan ambassador was certainly inadequate for the event that occurred. There is no disputing that. And it is clear that we still do not know all the facts of what happened. We may never know that. But what we can do is alter some things in the future and once the final report on this incident is written, security porfessionals can evaluate it and make changes in security based on that report.
By the way, I watched the Jon Stewart show with president Obama twice. the remark; about the attack on these four Americans as "....NOT OPTIMAL..." was first made by Jon Stewart and the president was responding to Stewart's comment. FOX news did not play the Jon Stewart comment just before the president responded making it seem like it was the president who originated the remark. Another example of FOX misleading its viewers. And of course, those who only get their news from FOX dont know any better.
Comment: #11
Posted by: robert lipka
Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:51 AM
Re: robert lipka
Whether in response to Stewart (a matter that is entirely irrelevant) or not, obama's choice of reply displayed his real self, to wit, one with a complete callousness and coldness to the deaths of an American Ambassador and three other brave Americans. There is no excaping that fact!

Seems there are some out there who get their views entirely from Stewart or from the obama spin machine and who cannot process the truth.

As to Lipka's lies about Ryans's proposed budget:

Ryan's budget, proposed a 19% reduction in non-defense discretionary spending in the year 2014. This is the year 2012. No mention was made of cuts to defense spending or to spending upon security for embassies or the like.

Further, obama and his thoroughly dishonest clique applied 19% all accross the board to come up with imaginary cuts to security spending not specified anywhere in the proposed Ryan budget, a budget which was never passed, was never put into place, never had effect and therefore is no more than a memory.

However at the hearings that brought Congress out of recess to question State Department officials about the Libya attack, the loathsome ( ok I know that "loathesome" is otious when referring to any Democrat) Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) furthered the entirely irresponsible and politically motivated premise that Republicans were at fault for the death of Stevens and three other Americans:

The facts are that the State Department's budget for embassy security has increased significantly, not decreased, over the past decade.

A special note to Lipka: a quick read of the transcripts of the hearings instead of listening to the comedians and the stooges of the MSM for news would help your understanding of the issue)

The question was put directly to Charlene Lamb, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for international programs, by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) thus :

"It has been suggested that budget cuts are responsible for a lack of security in Benghazi, and I'd like to ask Miss Lamb.You made this decision personally. Was there any budget consideration and lack of budget which lead you not to increase the number of people in the security force there?"

"No, sir," said Lamb.

Game set match !

But has this prompted an apology from Pelosi and others including the lunatic biden who claimed House Republicans have blood on their hands? Nope.

Your turn Lipka. Time to eat crow ! LOL !
Comment: #12
Posted by: joseph wright
Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:15 PM
Ms. Estrich - I generally enjoy your columns - not because I always agree (ex. I'm a Yankees fan), but because I respect how you develop your thoughts. However, I am going to tweak you just a bit on a grammar issue. About half-way through this column, the clause as written is " can't help but notice the differences." As my eighth grade Eng. teacher said, this is wrong because in this usage, "help=stop". One wouldn't say "...can't stop but notice..." - it would be "... can't stop noticing..." - so, it should be "...can't help noticing...". Any time "...can't help..." is used, the verb should be in the "ing" case. Also, just because many people use "...can't help but..." incorrectly, that doesn't make it acceptable for someone like yourself ( for whom the correct use of English is the main tool of your proffession) to make this mistake. This was one of two pet peeve issues with my teacher, Mrs. Hewitt, all those years ago. Her other one was using "myriad" as a noun, as in "myriads of..." - of course, "myriad=many" - adjective - but that is a whole 'nother kettle of fish!!!
Comment: #13
Posted by: Bruce Eisele
Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:12 AM
Re: Bruce Eisele
Liberal nit-picker! Try to pay more attention to the message. Please ignore my grammer and spelling.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Oldtimer
Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:21 AM
Re: @robert lipka
I believe ur very mistaken Mr. Lipka. Romney had Libya right. U bought obama's LIES once again, despite the idiot moderator admitting AFTER the debate that Romney was correct.
Moreover, you are abnsolutely INCORRECT about security for ambassadors. It is the JOB of the State Dept, to provide security to ALL embassie and personnel. ESPECIALLY, in an area like Libya (that obama invaded with NOOOOOO Constitutional authority and 100% of the blood of Amb Stevens and the others is on his hands!). It is 9/11 and obama has increased the instability and hatred for America in the ME; it is a no-brainer to step up security at that time. EVEN MORE SO, when Amb Stevens begged for it more than 3 times. The State Dept, since u do not appear to be up to speed, was watching the events unfold in real time via video. They knew full well it was a terrorist attack as did obama b/c those cables go directly to the WH and numerous other agencies simultaneously.
Yet, obama LIED to AMerican people day after day as did his puppets, until it was beyond laughable. Blaming the intel does not fly. The audacity of this moron to go off to a LV fundraiser, call the brutal assinations of these Amerians a 'bump in the road" "noise" and his latest "not optimlal" goes to WHO he is as a person and as a leader. I hesitate to say leader b/c obama and leader do not belong in the same sentence.
Blaming some poor schlepp who made a 10 min video no one saw, is mind-boggling. EVEN IF the video was huge, and it was not, that is NO excuse or reason for terrorist attack. The fact obama was apologizing to the terrorists and in the well of UN no less than 6 times, should be clue #1, he's a feckless, arrogant, useless, inept, lawless person; no where near capable of the job title he now holds. I could give you 100 more reasons including but not limited to the econ was coming out of the recession BEFORE the fool lied in taking his oath to be POTUS.
I am certain I will not change ur mind and don't really care to do so either.
But you sir, are sadly mistaken and ill-informed on the FACTS.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Suzanne S
Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:30 PM
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