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So much for focusing on the big issues.

click to enlarge art17863.jpg

Or Maybe Not

Careful readers of Trail Mix may recall last week’s column with a giggle. I opined that “America needs a grown-up conversation about the future; perhaps the Romney/Obama race will give us one.” So full of hope that, you know, this year might be different. All I can say is: “My bad!” Since then, America spent a week talking about the Romneys’ family dog (still fascinating, apparently), Colombian prostitutes (they prefer the term “escorts,” it turns out) and, best of all, Mr. Ted Nugent. (So Willard Mitt Romney and Ted Nugent are BFFs — what’s weird about that?) But seriously, there is a campaign happening, with issues to be aired.

You, dear voter, will just have to do the work on your own, as the mainstream media is simply powerless to focus on real issues whenever a defenseless dog, an exotic hooker, or a crazed rocker enters their field of vision.

Veepstakes Fantasies

The Spokesman-Review has now run two stories about the likelihood that Mitt Romney will choose Cathy McMorris Rodgers as his running mate. It’s fun to think about but so not going to happen. Romney isn’t expected to compete for Washington State, and McMorris Rodgers wouldn’t even help him much in Western Washington, where the state is won or lost. Romney really needs a boost in a state that is in play, like Florida or Ohio, and his running mate will be chosen accordingly.

But here’s another reason — Romney is running against Washington insiders, earmark addicts and career politicians, all of which could be used to label McMorris Rodgers in TV ads. In August Romney told a gathering in Tex- as that “career politicians got us into this mess, and they simply don’t know how to get us out.” McMorris is the personification of a career politician, having never held a professional job outside elected office and with her family’s farm.

When Romney lost to Rick ”DC-Insider” Santorum in Colorado, he told his somber supporters, “Washington will never be reformed by those who have been compromised by the culture of Washington. This is a clear choice. I’m the only person in this race … who has never served a day in Washington. We all know … [the] soul is corrupted by a Washington culture of reckless spending, voting to raise your own pay and saying you support term limits but always running for re-election. It’s that Washington we must change.”

To win independents, Romney has to run against Congress. Republican Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told Politico.com he expects Romney to keep a safe distance as the election plays out. “If that means in some ways running against Congress, then more power to him.”

Still, with just a small number of veep possibilities out there, Romney may have to suck it up and choose a career politician after all.

— TED S. McGREGOR JR., @INLANDERTMX

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