2012 is shaping up as an election in which the winner may earn victory not by virtue of winning the most votes, but on account of the Electoral College. If one candidate enjoys a popular vote edge of 2 percentage points or more, there’s virtually no chance that the other candidate will achieve a majority of the electoral votes.
Rethinking the Other in AntiquityBy Erich S. Gruen (Princeton University Press, 415 pp., $39.50) MITT ROMNEY, along with other Republicans, has worked hard over the last few months to present Barack Obama as something other than a genuine native-born American. He has stopped short of the absurdities of the “birther movement,” but he has insisted that the president, in all the ways that really matter, is somehow less American, and more foreign, than he and the members of his party.
THE BARNES FOUNDATION, that grand old curmudgeonly lion of a museum, has been turned into what may be the world’s most elegant petting zoo. I am not surprised that the members of the press, after touring the Foundation’s new home on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, have by and large been pleased. We live in a period when everything is supposed to be easy, whether preparing dinner, accessing the news, or looking at art. And the old Barnes, for three quarters of a century a splendidly ornery landmark in Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia, was not easy.
Don’t waste any time wondering why Pennsylvania passed a voter ID law. The state’s House Republican majority leader, Mike Turzai, blurted it out in June: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania? Done.” Every Democrat voted against the bill for the perfectly obvious reason that its intent was to suppress Democratic turnout (principally by minimizing participation by low-income blacks). Whether it can succeed in doing so I couldn’t tell you.