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'Put the White Back in the White House'?

Rocco Pendola

10/25/12 - 07:14 AM EDT
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- That's what it said on a shirt some dude wore to a Romney rally recently.

Don't believe me? Google it. You'll find plenty of eyewitness accounts.

Wednesday morning on Facebook, Sarah Palin used the phrase "shuck and jive" to voice displeasure with President Obama's handling of the terrorist attack in Libya. See the urban dictionary

As I wrote this article Wednesday night, she had not removed the post and 6,640 people "liked" it. Here's one of the inane responses left in the comments section:

PRAY Patriots -- our prayers are working, Obama is losing his voice! The one true God works in mysterious ways!

And a comment that strikes fear in my heart as the father of a young girl and writer: your my hero an everyday inspiration to women and girls every where:)!!!!

Make that 6,716 likes.

Somewhere in between this nonsense, Ann Coulter referred to Obama as a "retard," prompting a rebuke from the Special Olympics. Wasn't it just a couple years ago when somebody from the organization forced an apology from the president for something he said?

Make that 6,989 likes.

Meantime, Donald Trump made an announcement on Wednesday. He'll donate $5 million to Obama's favorite charity if the president releases college applications and records and passport information.

Make that 7,005 likes.

This is what it has come to. It's a circus, this thing we loosely call politics.

I remember when the biggest controversy was Ronald Reagan co-opting Springsteen's Born in the USA in New Jersey, where he misrepresented it as a patriotic anthem.

Reagan was ignorant. That's forgivable.

The cat in the "Put the White Back in the White House" getup, Palin and Coulter express some flavor of willful ignorance. That's not all right.

As investors, we should worry. Because, at the end of the day, these spectacles decide elections. Undecided voters take in this mindless crap and pick a side.

Somebody posted an insightful comment to Palin's rant (make that 7,037 likes). It went something like this: What are you trying to do? Sabotage Mitt.

Palin can sway a few undecideds. Just like the Republican Senate candidate from Indiana who considers pregnancy after rape "something that God intended to happen."

One listen to the things these people say and I wouldn't blame you for running away from the Republican party, even after Romney sounded like a dove in the other night's presidential debate.

On the other hand, this type of stuff might actually sway a few people in the other direction, particularly if they perceive Romney as likeminded (and I don't think he is in the any of the aforementioned cases).

You hear it constantly at this point during an election year. Something to the effect of this headline from Huffington Post:

Richard Mourdock Rape Comments May Be October Surprise To Help Dems, Obama

Right. That's the stuff that "helps" one side or the other. Somebody saying something reprehensible or illogical. A disingenuous or downright false attack ad.

It comes down to foots in mouths, not powerful words from a candidate.

The masterful (genuine and believable) rhetoric from RFK can no longer happen. Because nobody, not even Obama, can pull it off. They're not trained to because passion, conviction and knowledge no longer matter. These things do not tip the scale.

7,102 likes.

When I watch the debates, I view things through an investor's lens. I pay extra attention when I hear a public company get mentioned.

The other night Tesla Motors (TSLA) came up. Romney doesn't think Obama should fund companies such as Tesla. He's all for "research" at the university level, but not for giving money to technology companies.

I can't remember Obama's response because I don't think he had a substantive one. There's no way he would risk the election by going on national television and touting electric vehicles on November eve.

Other automakers' names came up at the town hall debate, I believe. Obama and Romney discussed government intervention at General Motors (GM) in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.

Nobody bothered with core issues; like everything else, it turned into an argument about who said what, when they said it and what they actually meant when they said it. That accomplished a lot.

7,119 likes.

Apple (AAPL) entered one of the debates.

I was embarrassed by the third grade level of the conversation. Obama made the sharpest and gutsiest point -- some of those jobs that are in China, we don't want them here because they stink. But, other than that, the conversation was as lame and basic level as any other the two had in each of their three debates.

As investors, these discussions around companies we own and/or follow should be what moves us.

Given the backgrounds of both candidates, particularly Romney coming from Bain Capital, you would expect some pretty solid insight on a startup such as Tesla or a world-changing technology company like Apple.

But, that's not what you get because these guys are not trained to provide it. They're coached to stay out of trouble, one up the other guy by turning something he said or did against him and stick to the talking points.

Presidential elections, as most clearly seen in the debates, take on the strategy of a boxing match. Stay out of trouble. Take advantage of weakness. Stick to the plan.

And people can't believe it when I tell them I'm not voting.

I'm too good for this crap. And so are you.

7,162 likes.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.


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