A funny thing happened to Mitt Romney on the way to formally launching his campaign for President in the state with the nation's first presidential primaries. The handsome, well groomed, tanned, and relaxed former Governor of Massachusetts made his much-anticipated announcement at the Bittersweet Farm of lifelong Republican activists Doug and Stella Scamman in the New Hampshire seacoast community of Stratham and all, apparently, went according to plan. Except for one thing. Further south on the seacoast, the Sarah Palin magical mystery tour turned up in the shoreline community of Seabrook.

 

The trickle of bad news about the economy has turned into a torrent, and is now threatening President Obama’s chances at reelection. On Wednesday the Institute for Supply Management issued its manufacturing index, which was expected to rise. Instead, it fell, to 53.5, perilously close to the edge of recession in manufacturing. John Silva, an economist at Wells Fargo, was blunt: “We had an economy that was in recovery mode. But now we’ve downshifted.”

Nowhere on the planet is common sense a scarcer commodity than in Washington, D.C. The $14 trillion in federal debt — much of it held by foreign, and frequently unfriendly, countries — would seem to be sufficient evidence of that. As if that weren’t bad enough, it now emerges that many of those same creditor nations are also the recipients of U.S. foreign aid.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, while many were getting their first taste of summer — ergo, not reading the news — it was reported that U.S. hospitals were experiencing shortages of both common and specialized drugs, so much so that they are looking for substitutes and combing the globe for overseas suppliers. An Associated Press story announced that some “89 drug shortages occurred in the first three months of this year, according to the University of Utah’s Drug Information Service (UUDIC)…which tracks shortages for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacies.”

Rep. Rick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, told the Washington Business Journal last week that “instead of rewarding those small businesses that choose to compete and win contracts, the government essentially pre-accuses them of cheating on their taxes and withholds 3 percent of all payments. This is flat-out wrong and this burdensome requirement should be repealed.”