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MANNO: Choosing your captain in a little league election

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I have to be honest, kids: this election has my blood boiling.

Mitt Romney’s campaign has been one of jokes. Real knee slappers. He voiced his most recent excrement Tuesday, when he suggested to NBC’s Brian Williams that teachers’ unions should be banned from making political contributions. A “conflict of interest,” he called it – despite his own capitalization on hundreds of millions in highly interested cash now covered by Citizens United.

That, and the whole comment about rolling down plane windows. Sheesh. Someone get this guy an Easy Button.

But that’s neither here nor there. When it comes down to it, this election won’t be about campaign finance or political jib-jab; it will be about the issues and who is better fit to tackle them. Among these, the economy is the umbrella over all others. Money, money, money.

The whole economy question gets a little dry and convoluted come election season, so I’ll try to break down the basics of how I’ve interpreted it thus far – by imagining our loveable candidates as a couple of neighborhood kids, fighting to be the coveted president of the kickball league. Instead of businesses and voting blocs, it’s lemonade stands and kickball teams. Flashback!

The Big Kickball Match is just weeks away. Little Mitt Romney and Little Barack Obama continue to campaign around the neighborhood, vying for the seat as president of the neighborhood kickball league. Each team has had months to make its case to the other kids.

In addition to his former position as a team governor, Little Mitt Romney co-founded his private-equity lemonade stand in his neighborhood some time ago. Little Barack Obama’s team has criticized this business, saying Romney has his lemonade squeezed in other neighborhoods for pennies on the quarter in labor costs. In addition, after Little Mitt Romney chose Little Paul Ryan as his co-captain, Little Bill Clinton says Little Romney is running on ideology rather than solid plans for lemonade stands and the rest of the neighborhood.

Little Obama made big promises for the kickball league when he was elected president. Some of the players on Little Romney’s team say Little Obama hasn’t met these expectations, while Little Obama’s team defends his record. According to Little Obama’s team, the neighborhood is better off than at the beginning of the season due to grant and loan increases for lemonade school students and landmark injury care reform. Never will a kid be denied a band-aid because of a preexisting scab, they say.

Little Romney still wags his finger, saying more than 8 percent of kids don’t work for any lemonade stand under Little Obama. But his own plans for such matters have been hazy and nonsensical – perhaps he left his notebook on the bus. Little Obama explains that this is a slow process, that the neighborhood kids are surely making a comeback and getting back to squeezing lemons. He reiterates, once again, that the kids are better off than last season.

Little Romney wants to reduce league fees of the lemonade owners and CEOs, while Little Obama says lemonade prosperity starts with the workers. Perhaps Little Romney feels the need to help out the bigwigs on Ball Street.

Who will win the Big Match and run the kickball league this next season? For now, swing team polls have Little Obama ahead by as many as 12 points. But on the field, it’s yet to be determined. Regardless, it’s important for all players on both sides to show up in a few weeks and show their support for either captain.

In the end, let’s just hope the gang can all come together and make some neighborhood decisions – maybe around some of Little Herman Cain’s pizza. Until then, see you at the merry-go-round for the debates.

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