Wyoming has passed a resolution to prepare the state for the collapse of the United States of America. To this end, the state is to make preparations for creating their own military and ,according to the law, their own navy. Unfortunately, they are landlocked. How will the state pay for all this. It doesn't have an income tax and, as for recruits for the new military they will have to draft old codgers because the state is progressively getting older. The end times should be great. Maybe they should conscript zygotes.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Several presidents have tried to bring North Korea to the table for a constructive solution to their nuclear program and all have failed. Even with Chinese pressure,North Korea has played a game of stalling and postponing talks, let alone concrete gestures to mollify their neighbors' concerns about their nuclear program.
Today, the State Department announced that North Korea agreed to suspend its uranium-enrichment program and its long-range and nuclear tests if the United States would provide 240,000 metric tons of food to the impoverished country.
In addition, North Korea agreed to suspend all operations at one of their research facilities and agreed to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to return and monitor their uranium-enrichment facilities.
While the story made the Washington Post, don't expect other much celebration from the pundit class. But in the immortal words of Joe Biden, it is a "Big F***king Deal". Congratulations to President Obama and Hilary Clinton.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The conventional wisdom is that Willard Romney is on track to win the nomination. Those who want the race to continue will postpone the inevitable. But when it is over, the general campaign will be one of the vicious in modern times.
Mark the date. Today the DOW ended over 13,000 for the first time since 2008. Polls out today show that President Obama has opened up a huge gender gap--women have come back to him in droves as the Republicans thought one way to screw up the Affordable Care Act was to eliminate the contraceptive mandate on health insurance companies under the pretext that somehow this was against religious freedom. Even Mitt Romney is singing this song. As of today, President Obama would win the general election with roughly the popular vote he got last time and a slightly less in electoral votes.
But this election will be determined by events that lie in the not too distant future. So far the Republicans have thrown everything at the wall to see whether anything would stick. Most of this is to wait for the moment something will become true--whether it is an economic slowdown or a foreign crisis. Democrats are naive to believe that events in the next few months will be rational and that the underlying political patterns that have emerged in the last few months will hold. Republicans are banking on a perfect storm--a combination of crises that will make their critiques of President Obama hold together. All these crises would be a disaster for this country but the economic powers lined up behind the GOP don't care--they escaped the last disaster with impunity and are banking on the next one to reopen the door to greater de-regulation and a roll-back on any reforms put in place.
I believe that foreign policy will begin to take front stage over the next few months. The GOP is banking on amnesia from the electorate on how they blew 9/11 and the Iraq War to try and regain their national security credentials. In the next week, President Obama will address AIPAC on issues having to do with the Iran nuclear project and following that he will be meeting with Bibi Netanyahu on the subject. It would not surprise me that there may be an October Surprise in the Middle East, which will provoke a crisis. Interestingly enough, we may be at a situation in this country where the nation may not back a President in such a crisis.
Even without a foreign crisis, oil speculators have been running up the price of oil. The entire oil industry is waging war against President Obama as they vowed when he didn't approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. Almost all of Wall Street and the hedge funds have lined up with the Republicans. Put on top the overt hostility of the Catholic Bishops to President Obama, the evangelicals and the Mormons and you have a toxic brew waiting to erupt. Meanwhile, we do not have strong enough elements of a new economy to counter these forces. And that is precisely the point. The old economy will put up a massive fight to preserve their privileges.
Remember the first days of the stimulus package when the employment numbers started to improve and Americans felt that the economy was headed in the right direction. Through the manipulation of the so-called Tea Party through astro-turf organizations, corporate interests managed to sabotage an on-going recovery and almost kill it with the 2010 mid-term elections. They can and will do it again.
There has been a theme throughout the 2008 campaign and Obama's presidency of the GOP waiting for the President to make a fatal misstep. One can only believe in his intelligence and craftiness to avoid one. No matter what he achieves he will not receive credit and that makes his re-election harder than the pundits realize. It is not simply to have an improving economy because then the goalposts will be changed again--foreign policy or culture wars. The problem Obama faces is that he is fighting too many entrenched interests at the same time.
For instance, the President's strategy to move more to Asia since it is now the engine of the world economy benefits the country in the long-run but it also threatens those who want us bogged down in the Middle East forever. What is especially true is that President Obama has done more than anyone to get us off our addiction to Middle East oil. But there is a price--alienating precisely those forces both foreign and domestic who make their fortunes of that trade. If you plan on having an oil-based economy for the foreseeable future without alternative energy supplies, then you have to revisit the Middle East as a source of that fuel. By provoking a crisis where the United States must again use force, you create the conditions for our indefinite stay in the region, something the last administration orchestrated with such ease.
Almost all the general campaign will be waged outside the public eye. The only thing that will mark its intensity will be the virtual endless negative ads against President Obama. It will be the most intense hate campaign against any sitting president. We already know the culprits involved--Karl Rove and his CrossRoads America Pac, the Chamber of Commerce, the Koch brothers,the entire panoply of billionaires for Romney. Nothing will be over the top. One goal will be to depress Obama's base and the other through the Voter ID laws will be to suppress those who do want to vote. In this election, Obama doesn't have the set of friendly Democratic Attorney Generals to make sure voters will be able to exercise their votes.
And some of Obama's base are not reliable voters in the first place such as first-time voters of college age, who now will face more difficulties voting and the Hispanic voters, who exhibit a lower turnout than their numbers imply.
Listening to Romney's victory speech tonight reminded me of his technique of papering over the past. He has always edited when the Great Recession began. In past ads, he simply lumped the collapse of the economy together with the first few months of President Obama's term. The message is that the Great Recession was all President Obama's fault. Tonight he was still at it with lines like we have to "recover from the recovery". As for the Keystone XL Pipeline, we are now back to Drill, Baby, Drill, with Romney promising to get that Canadian oil we "deserve". Romney is good at his own dog-whistle politics saying that he is running against a "society of entitlement" for a "society of opportunity".
If you don't think this will be a nasty campaign, you should check out the comments on the President by the Republican governors. At the national governors meeting, every Republican governor made it a point to meet with the press to list all the faults of the President--real or imagined. You can be sure in 2012 they will not enforce the Voting Rights Act because they believe a higher patriotism requires them to seize power for the Republican nominee. The 2000 election was just a trial balloon to what they plan.
Mitt Romney with his anti-immigrant adviser handily won the Arizona primary.
At this hour 10:00 pm EST, Willard looks like he will win a very small victory in Michigan. The end results will probably change in a week when the caravan has moved on. Willard barely won Oakland County where his family lived and he grew up by 1%. Santorum lost the Catholic vote because of his comment that he vomited at JFK's speech on the separation of church and state. Some of the voters used to be Kennedy Democrats in their youth.
Fox News exit poll claimed that the Michigan voters' priorities was electability at 33%, Strong moral character at 23%, Experience at 21% and 15% a true conservative.
Romney has won voters earning more than $250,000 and is inching toward winning those earning $100,000 or more. Santorum is winning the vote of the middle-class and lower middle class. Union households are voting for him by 45% to Romney's 27%.
Since Michigan is an open primary,over 41% of the primary voters said in exit polls they were independents or Democrats. The New York Times found that 10% were Democrats, which is the highest since 2000 when Democrats crossed the line to vote for John McCain against George W. Bush. 50% of the Democrats voted for Santorum and 15% for Romney.
Tonight's advantage to Romney, according to Nate Silver, was the early voting had Romney at 42% over 39% for Santorum. They were cast before Santorum picked up momentum in the last 48 hours.
While the Washington Post claimed the voters this year were more moderate than in 2008, the New York Times found the opposite. 6 in 10 claimed they were conservatives and 3 in 10 claimed to be very conservative. Tonight, Romney was winning the "somewhat conservatives" at a higher rate than Santorum winning the "very conservative".
A thing to remember--the delegates are allocated in Michigan according to congressional district. So if the slight Romney lead holds tonight, he will essentially split the delegates evenly.
Talking Points Memo had the best line today that Romney invokes the Popeye Defense when he talks about his artificial persona and wealth--"I am what I am".
Markos Malitos at the Daily Kos tweeted, "Romney loves Michigan so much, he offered to buy it."
At best, Romney can be glad the night's nearly over. He didn't show anything except that he can spend enormous amounts of money for negligible results.
Ron Paul regaled his followers with the prospects of eliminating the Patriot Act and denying that he was in a conspiracy with Romney because reports show his ads never attack Willard only other candidates. And it is true he hates Rick Santorum.
Newt Gingrich ate up early evening air time by talking about trees--yes, trees. I guess Newt thought that was a Romney strong point.
So the clown car moves on to super Tuesday. Now everyone is focusing on Ohio as the test for Romney and whether Romney can win anything in the South. Newt is gearing up for another comeback with his new infusion of Adelson money.
This will not be over soon enough. John McCain thinks that Romney may end up too wounded to be a strong candidate in November. On this John may be right.
Olympia Snowe, Maine's senior senator, announced today she was retiring. Attacked constantly by conservative Republicans of being a RINO, Olympia Snowe in more recent days came out against the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed employers to discriminate against women in health care coverage. Olympia Snowe told the Washington Post that she did not anticipate a change in the make-up of the Senate and could not envision running for her fourth term. Previously, she had served in the House and served on the intelligence committee.
Earlier in the Obama Administration she provided one of the few key Republican votes to break filibusters.
John McCain wants to stop the "Greek tragedy" of the Republican primaries.The damage they are doing shows up in the Politico-GWU poll which shows Obama's approval rating hitting 53% and him taking 10 pt leads in the swing states.
I'm not going to reproduce the avalanche of polls taking in the last week on the Michigan and Arizona primaries. But the most interesting one for today was the PPP poll that was concluded yesterday, which showed that Santorum had momentum for the past 48 hours and barely topped Romney in Michigan. But PPP did say that Romney held huge leads in those voters who had already cast their votes and that might provide him the margin of victory.
Ed Rollins, former Reagan operative and Michelle Bachmann's former adviser, opined that the Republicans started this race believing they would defeat Obama in the general election and now the "establishment" is saying "What a fling mess".
Consider the case of Willard Romney. He won Michigan in the GOP primary last time by a huge margin. His father George was a two-term governor, whom people in Michigan rank as one of their best. His mother served as a Senator, even though for a short time. His brother George is a lawyer in the Detroit area and has a good reputation. This is a state where the Romney name is gold. Willard has poured millions into the state in attack ads against Santorum so what could go wrong?
Romney has been awesome in his clumsiness. The Detroit Economic Club hosted Romney's major economic speech at Ford Stadium. The optics for the campaign were totally wrong. Barack Obama filled that stadium. Here, Romney could only get about 600 people and making the stadium look cavernous with its empty seats. It might have worked for him since his economic plan was even worse than his original one, promising himself a greater tax break than before. But the media only emphasized that his campaign could not get anyone to come.
Romney has become immortal with his famous "I like trees speech" where he listed the attributes of Michigan he liked best. Trees and "Oh my, the lakes,especially the little lakes" and "Cars. I love cars."
Not knowing when to stop, Romney made an appearance at the Daytona 500 and admitted he didn't follow NASCAR racing much but he knew a lot of "the NASCAR owners."
Last week, he repeated in a more awful form his assertion--first about the economy and now about success, vote for the other guy. This time he sounded like "If you don't like success, vote for the other guy."--referring to Barack Obama. The message was that because Romney is wealthy that's better than someone born poor who worked his way up to become President of the United States.
Romney has inspired scads of lampoons. The best was one blogger's photo of Romney's Nascar entry to compete with Santorum's car. A white racing car with the Romney logo and a dog carrier strapped to the top with a dog in it.
Romney will spin any win tonight as a victory. Polls show him way ahead in Arizona because of his endorsement of their immigration bill as a"model for the country". But if he only wins marginally in Michigan, he will be wounded--perhaps beyond repair.
Democrats are rooting for Rick Santorum, even encouraging Democrats to cross the line and vote for him in Operation Hilarity. The idea is to set up a general election with a clear debate between Obama's vision of America and Santorum's angry religious conservatism.
There is a logic to this. The Republican establishment claims that Romney is doing the right thing in pandering to the Right to win the primaries. When he wins , they claim he will pivot to the center. The issue becomes one where when and if Romney loses, the Republican base will claim he wasn't conservative enough. This has played out since the 2008 election where the Right claimed that John McCain wasn't Republican enough and therefore he lost. A Romney loss in the general election would send the party further to the Right--if such a place could be found.
Democrats want to head this off at the pass and have that showdown now.
Democrats see that 25% of the voters in the 2016 election will be minorities and in 2020 whites will only the plurality of the voters. Republicans this year have done more to alienate these groups and generations of women voters than they ever have. The ever-shrinking Republican base has to concern thoughtful GOP leaders.
We are being subjected to the last hurrah of a lot of regressive and repressive forces. Some political scientists view the Tea Party phenomenon and the 2010 elections as the "premature reaction" to these demographic changes. In other words, the tea baggers were reacting to what they see coming down the pike.
But back to now, Romney has informed his organization and donors that the GOP contest will last through May--heaven help us all. But as E.J. Dionne wrote yesterday in the Washington Post Obama hasn't won yet. As E.J. pointed out, Obama stands roughly where he was in the 2008 election but events can push that either way so we may be seeing the high tide of the Obama re-election campaign. Bill Maher, who donated $1 million to the Obama SuperPac,suggests 2012 will be very close. I don't disbelieve him.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I left them at Iran. I have no idea who the audience was supposed to be for this debate. We know Mitt bussed in the audience and acted like the arrogant guy he is. Newt basically chilled out but on occasion threw out a line like Obama is a baby-killer. The three tried to make Santorum the leftist on birth control. Mitt lied like hell about birth control in Massachusetts. He tried to transcend the extended and bizarre discussion on contraception by invoking Barack Obama's attack on religion.
If you think you can become leader of the free world by engaging in an extended debate on ear-marking--think again.
You know these are a bunch of baby boomers when Romney says he was off "fighting for the Olympics" while Santorum was voting for the Bridge to Nowhere. So fighting for the Olympics is equivalent to being at war.
Romney bragged about balancing the budget four times in Massachusetts without reminding anyone that he had to--by law.
The two Catholics did not have ash on their foreheads. And I thought Santorum was fighting Satan.
Romney doubled down on his anti-immigration language, hailing Arizona for its inane law and he defended Sheriff Araio(?)--I always think he is Sheriff Arapaho. Even Santorum picked up that the nativist sheriff has some big league legal problems and is not just being picked on by the DOJ.
All the candidates dodged the question on women in combat because they alienated almost every woman by the time they got done discussing contraception, abortion and family values.
Romney tried to make like Santorum was a lefty for supporting Arlen Specter and for a variety of bills he supported in the Senate. Ron Paul, who is acting strangely as a Romney surrogate these days,called Santorum a fake. It might be that Rand Paul has been mentioned as Willard's running mate.
Basically, Santorum was the subject of all the attacks and weathered it better than Mitt. Any time Romney got challenged his back went up and he exuded his condescending attitude.
Virtually none of them made any sense.We will have to see the polls in the next few days. The last breaking poll had Santorum sneaking up on Romney in Arizona.
Hopefully this will be the last debate for awhile. They are not even fun anymore. Romney still is a great liar.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
A state senator from Indiana by the name of Morris believes the Girl Scouts, now celebrating its 100th anniversary,are a radicalized organization, "the tactical wing of Planned Parenthood", and encourages "homosexual lifestyles" and abortions. The state senator refused to sign on to a proclamation honoring the organization because the honorary chairwoman this year is Michelle Obama. Nobody should tell him the head of the organization this year is an Hispanic.
Not to be outdone was Rick Santorum who proclaimed that "The Democrats are all about homosexuality" and Republicans are the "anti-homosexual party". Roy Cohn would be rolling over in his grave.
Rick also said there are no "liberal Christians". Franklin Graham on the Morning Joe show backed up Santorum and also said that despite his multiple marriages that Newt was a Christian, too. He had his doubts about President Obama, whom he claims would be considered a Muslim because of his father. (Point of fact--that isn't true. The child is not automatically considered a Muslim because of the father. What many of these wing nuts never say is that President Obama's father died a Catholic and may have been a Catholic longer than Newt.) Franklin also said that many Christians do not consider a Mormon as part of the faith.
Meanwhile, Dr. Fea from Messiah College weighed in on the president's faith, claiming he was the most overt Christian in the modern presidency, even considering George W.
I'll bore you tomorrow with an array of polls on the primaries. But the Dow did hit 13,000 today for the first time since 2008 and Forbes predicts a 15,000 Dow by year's end. I don't believe it.
Willard released a new tax reform proposal, which is almost pure supply-side and he gave himself another whopping tax cut and eliminates the estate tax.
Willard seems to have the Meg Whitman syndrome. He is spending money hand over fist in attack ads but is having trouble raising funds. He has spent in the past month 18.7 million but only took in 6.4 million.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Rick Santorum claims President Obama has a "phony theology" and his agenda is not dictated by the "Bible". President Obama--like environmentalists--place the Earth before Man. President Obama favors pre-natal monitoring --like normal people--so he can "cull fetuses" through abortions. Rick Santorum says he will criminally prosecute all abortion providers. And if you are of the Protestant persuasion, you are the spawn of the Devil. But that's not as bad as President Obama--who is protestant--because he follows "radical Islamic policies." That's all I can cope with today.But it is interesting to note that Santorum looks like he sewed up fundamentalist Christian vote even though he is a pre-Vatican II Catholic. Not only is Santorum against gay--Man on Dog sex--, he is against using birth control at all because sex should not be for pleasure.
Meanwhile, Santorum leads in today's Gallup tracking poll by 10 its over Romney. In the average of national polls, he leads by 8.
Today's PPP has Romney slipping to just a 36-33 lead over Santorum in Arizona. In Michigan, Santorum still maintains a 37-33 lead, while the New Detroit News poll has him at 34 to 30.
According to the University of Texas poll for the Texas primary, Santorum leads with 45%, Gingrich at 18%, Romney at 16% and Paul at 14%.
Romney spokesperson downplayed Michigan even though his SuperPac has opened up a blitzkrieg of ads against Santorum. "Delegates are more important."
Karl Rove scoffed at the idea of a "contested convention" saying it was as probably as "finding life on Pluto." Young gun Paul Ryan also downplayed the idea that others could enter the race.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Some people may remember the hysteria preceding the 1964 GOP convention that nominated Barry Goldwater. The establishment Republicans tried to recruit William Scranton, the Governor of Pennsylvania, to take Barry on. Rockefeller had mortally wounded himself with the quaint idea of a divorce. The GOP feared exactly what happened--the largest landslide in our history.
Today, there are real nervous people who say that the weaknesses of Mitt Romney have become more obvious as the months go by. Most claim that Romney "will find some way to win Michigan" but even so he will be damaged goods. Santorum or Gingrich would trigger a massive Obama win.
Republican establishment types have recently been running the numbers for the delegate counts and have discovered that under the best scenarios none of the candidates would have enough to win it outright. This fantasy game went on among Democrats in 2008, trying to figure out how Hillary Clinton could beat Obama at the Convention. Here the numbers game is about finding a viable candidate.
As I've written, the deadlines for most of the primaries are long gone and it seems the GOP is stuck with whom they have. But GOP operatives in the Beltway have come up with a plane. They note that the deadlines for some primaries are still out there--California (March23),Montana (March 12), New Jersey (April 2), New Mexico (March 16) and South Dakota (March 27).
The idea would be to recruit a new candidate to force a "contested convention". The thinking is that one can't have a brokered convention because no one is in charge.
The idea probably is another election year fantasies but it is not the smell of napalm in the morning but panic.
Nate Silver claims that the Rick Santorum surge is holding ten days after his victories in Minnesota and Colorado. His Gallup poll is improving slightly and his national poll ratings are holding steady.
Silver still has Santorum winning Michigan by 40.5% to 32.7% over Romney and his odds at 76%. But what I found astonishing is that Silver gives Santorum a 93% chance of winning Ohio on March 6. He projects his total at 45.7%.
What is this astonishing? Because if Romney gets wipes out in the Midwest, he simply is not a viable candidate. Nate has done work on Romney's electability and says that in a general election Romney is worth 3% more than Santorum and his odds right now in a general election are 40%.
Nate says that Romney trails Obama in the Midwest by 11%. This is fatal. The reason is that only 42% of whites earning less than $30,000 would vote for Romney. In 2008, 46% of them voted for John McCain.
There must be something to the story by Jon Karl, who quoted a senior GOP senator saying that if Romney loses Michigan he will call for the party to find a new candidate.
Michigan and Arizona are on February 28.
Ohio and Georgia are on March 6.
The odds only favor Romney for Arizona but his campaign in Arizona is now embroiled in the gay scandal with Paul Babeu. Newt is banking on Georgia to get back in the race.
Losses in two large Midwest states would be a crippling blow to Mr. Inevitable.
A study by Socionomics Institute establishes that there is a solid connection between the stock market's direction over three years leading up o Election Day and the final results.
Believe it or not, this study goes back to 1792 when George Washington beat John Adams for his second term. The study concludes that gains of 20% or more in the stock market guarantee re-election and drops of 10% or worse lead to defeat.
For instance,Ronald Reagan saw a 7.2% unemployment rate but a 41% surge in the stock market leading up to his landslide re-election. Bill Clinton said a 63% gain in the stock market prior to his re-election.
When President Obama started office, the Dow was below 8,000 and stands near 13,000 today--that is a 62% gain since he took office. That should guarantee his re-election.
The study does have two cautionary notes. James Madison won re-election in 1812 despite a 34% drop in the stock market. George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton even though the Dow rose 51% during his term.
++Washington County, Maine--the most eastern point of the state--finally cast their votes in the Republican caucus and their turnout was almost three times the amount that voted in 2008. Leading up to today, the Paul people were organizing like crazy because they felt a big turnout would upset the final caucus results and force the party to reverse its decision to declare Mitt Romney the winner. Paul did win big for the county--by 80 votes. By last count, Romney would have won the caucus by 120 votes overall. Preliminary results are being released after the Maine GOP has been recounting the results. So who knows whether the Love Revolution will still pull this off.
++A Wisconsin judge said enough is enough, ordering Scott Walker there can no longer be any delay on the recall question. The Governor has artfully extended the period after the original petitions were submitted so that he could raise millions for the recall election. He will spend in the recall election more than he did to win the original race.
++Strange but true--51% of all GOP primary voters believe that President Obama was not born in the United States.
++Paul Babeu, the Pinal County ,Arizona, sheriff, who appeared in the Senator McCain ad, saying "You're one of us",has been accused by his former lover of threatening to deport the man if he reveled that Babeu was gay.
++Meanwhile Dick Cheney lobbied the Maryland legislature to pass the gay marriage bill. It passed the House.
++The same day Chris Christie did indeed veto the same sex bill, which had passed both houses in New Jersey.
++President Obama raised $29 million in campaign funds last month, primarily from small donors. This brings him to around $250 million so far.
++Former Senator Mike DeWine, now Attorney-General of Ohio, switched support from Romney to Ricky Santorum because Santorum "is human"--one of the strangest reasons for endorsing anyone. But the point is made.
++Meanwhile Forthy Mix blasted Obama for supporting pre-natal monitoring because he claims the president doesn't like people with disabilities. The surging Santorum criticized Obama's "Christian" beliefs. Not long ago, Santorum also said that protestants were outside Christianity.
++The former McCain adviser Mike Schmidt appeared on Rachel Maddow and explained that Santorum is basically disqualified as a candidate in the general election because he is opposed to all birth control. Schmidt said that Romney can't challenge this is the primaries because he is trying to get support from the same people.
++Glenn Greenwald published an expose of one of Romney's biggest financial supporters--Frank VanderSloot, who is known for his raving homophobia and having bankrolled Proposition 8 in California.
++The head of the largest auto dealers organization, which generally supports Republicans in presidential elections,blasted Romney on the auto industry bailout and accused the former Governor of being irresponsible and reckless, not the message Romney needs heading into Michigan. The latest poll there still has Santorum in the lead, despite Romney unleashing his barrage of negative ads. For trivia fans, Romney's ads are prepared by the same man who did the Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis. You can even see the bit about "letting felons out of jail" at the end of the anti-Santorum ad.
++A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll is out on New Jersey. President Obama has gained 10 its since October and now has a 60% approval rating. Among independents his approval is 55, up 14 points. Even 17% of Republicans now view the President favorably. Also by two-to-one, New Jerseyans support same sex marriage.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
++Darrell Issa decided to hold a House panel on women's health issues without any women.
++Mitt Romney said he had sympathy for the poor because he had to do without a toilet when he was a missionary in France.
++Pat Buchanan is no more. He has been cashiered from MSNBC for his book on the suicide of white America.
++Sister Sarah Palin is available if the convention is brokered.
++Mitt Romney cancels his appearance at the March 1 debate in Georgia before Super Tuesday. CNN cancels the whole debate as a result. His campaign said he would campaigning intensely and would not have the time.
++Baseball great Gary Carter dies from brain cancer at the age of 57. I even saw him play in Montreal.
++Maine really is recounting the votes of its caucus.
++Mitt Romney was endorsed by Governor Rick Snyder, whom 38.5% believe is a poor governor and 42.1% believe he is a fair government and only 2% believe he is excellent.
++After doubling down on his position on the auto bailout, Mitt Romney was in Michigan and General Motors announced the largest profit in its history and gave its workers a bonus of $7,000 each.
++The New Jersey Assembly passed same sex marriage after the Senate passed it. Governor Christie vows to veto the bill.
Using a model based on past elections, economic indicators, approval ratings,incumbency and measures of state ideology,
the Yahoo staff of social scientists--they really have them--predict that President Obama will win 303 electoral votes and the Republican nominee will 235 votes.
The model assumes that economic trends are more important than the actual state of the economy and that Obama will have roughly the same approval rating through June. You can look this up on The Signal.
While everyone has written off Indiana, I found it interesting that Obama loses North Carolina, Missouri and Florida. He wins Virginia and Ohio. I would guess he wins Florida if Romney is the nominee.
So basically the Yahoo model dovetails with Greenberg's findings that Obama will win with roughly the same amount and same electoral votes--give or take one state.
Today's poll on the basic structural components of our political system was conducted by Greenberg for Democracy Corps and is a devastating glimpse at the collapse of the Republican Party and the rise in the fortunes of President Obama.
The Greenberg group tracks what they call the Rising American electorate, which is composed of unmarried women,young voters and minorities. This nationwide poll surveys the entire electorate but stresses the comeback of these groups to the Democratic fold after staying out in 2010. They have come back in a big way, almost at the levels of the 2008 election to the Democratic Party and President Obama.
The Greenberg group says that congressional elections this year are interwoven with the presidential contest and that the changes they observe in this poll are big and can be fundamental in shifting the direction of the electorate for the future.
Besides the return of the Rising American electorate,seniors, who had given the GOP the benefit of the doubt in 2010, are now leaning back toward the Democrats. The Greenberg group says that the GOP is now in negative territory, almost 52% of the electorate views them negatively and they claim that Romney is on the edge of "political death". As for President Obama, while some view him negatively, he basically is on track to repeating his 2008 performance.
Democratic Party identification is now at 39% of the public, up seven points since last year's survey. Among the Rising Americans, the identification has shot up five points in the last month.
Fifty-four percent of Americans view the GOP negatively and 52% of independents. This is the worst the GOP has ranked since 2008. An amazing 68% disapprove of the Republicans in Congress, which is a twenty-two point increase in less than a year. A year ago seniors gave the GOP a 45-43 approval rating on the Hill but now seniors disapprove of congressional Republicans by two-thirds and only 28% approve of them. Last year, only 45% of independents disapproved and now it is a stunning 71%.
If you remember the polling of Mark Penn during the last election, he made the argument that the future of the Democratic party would be in the affluent suburbs. That's why he attacked Obama on his tax policy. The Greenberg group finds that there has been massive movement toward the Democrats in the suburbs. 60% now identify themselves as Democrats or Democratic leaning, while only 33% are Republicans.
Another stunning conclusion of the poll is that, frankly,the Republicans do not have a viable candidate. Romney has 47% negatives in their poll and they are climbing and 32% very negative. Less than half the Republicans view him positively. Over half independents view him negatively. Romney's standing according to Greenberg is worse than John McCain's was in 2008.
On Santorum, less than one-third of voters view him positively.
Obama stands at 49% approval rating and his support is much deeper and broader than Romney's. Among the American Rising group his support is growing, while among the rest of Americans it remains static. Unmarried women support Obama by 65-30, while married women (before the recent contraceptive debate) support Romney by 9 points. Among younger voters, Obama has a 55 to 43 lead. Among Hispanics he has a 16 point lead.
So how does the debate over reproductive rights come out. First of all, Planned Parenthood has a favorable rating of 52 and a negative of 32. It is more popular than the NRA. By 52 to 26 voters support the Democrat's positions on women's issues. A large 49% plurality support Obama on the contraceptive mandate. Two-thirds of suburban voters do and 61% of single women. Amon seniors, Obama enjoys a 36 point lead of this issue and among unmarried a stunning 47 point edge.
On the issue of taxes, Democrats have turned the corner and now enjoy a 10 pt lead over the Republican position.
Despite temporary setbacks in the economy or other issues, the Greenberg poll suggests that the structural change people anticipated in the last presidential election is really upon us after the regression of the mid-terms.
Josh Marshall basically sums up Mitt Romney's situation:
"...running around the country in a long twilight struggle with Rick Santorum is just..inherently demeaning and diminishing. It's like struggling to land a one pound fish or searching for a way out of a paper bag. People see you doing that and you just look weak and feckless, even pitiful."
Nate Silver says that the odds have gone up to 60% that Obama will beat Romney in the popular vote in the general election. In November, Nate said that Obama had been the underdog at 40% because of his approval ratings and the then-state of the economy.
The Obama campaign envisions that the minority vote (if they can find a way to vote with all the Voter ID laws) will be about 28% this year and they hope to take 80% of it. Democrats now average roughly 38% of the white vote, with John Kerry having done slightly better. A new census number is quite remarkable--15% of all new marriages are interracial, making the President the demographic of the future.
So we come to Willard. Willard is about to nuke Santorum in Michigan with a 29 to 1 money bomb on ads. Willard yesterday to the larger media said he would have bailed out the auto industry but on the stump he tried to win the tea party crowd by swing he would not have. He released an ad of him driving a Chrysler 300 around Detroit. Slight problem--that make was built in Canada.
On the Last Word last night, Howard Fineman raised the interesting point that ,with the possible exception of Hubert Humphrey in 1968,no presidential nominee has run in a general election with an unfavorable rating of higher than 50%. Willard is roughly at 55% and Gingrich is at an awesome 60% unfavorable rating.
The question here is whether this is the result of the nasty ad campaigns or the extended primary process among Republicans. Since unfavorable ratings are not the same as job approval ratings can they actually be reversed in time for the general election? For instance, as this blog has always noted that even at low ratings President Obama had huge personal favorable ratings, which has been his hidden political capital. These were maintained as he was being accused of everything from being a socialist to secret Muslim.
The Washington Monthly , first under Steve Benen and now under new editors, have chronicled Mitt Romney's almost Nixonian problem with the truth. Is this hurting him or is the perception that he is too rich to be President? In analyzing the primary results so far, it appears that the non-Mitt wins every income group below $250,000 a year and Mitt wins the wealthier Republicans. Nate Silver did a brief analysis of what this would mean in the general election for President Obama. If President Obama loses 10% of the upper class to Romney, he could gain 10% and more among those earning the average income. In many states, this would improve his situation, not hurt it.
Rachel Maddow last night did a short segment on the type of story that she excels at. This was on the probability that Willard may not have won the Maine caucus. She noted that the reversal of the Iowa Caucus was the first time in modern politics that a state reversed itself. But that Maine might be the second. What is clear from her reporting was that the Maine Republican party leadership did not play straight with the county chairman. The Waldo County chairman phoned in his results for 17 to 18 towns in the county and was told the party already had the results. When the party announced that his county voted for Romney the county chairman protested since those were not the results and the party then put up a big "0" for the results. The same happened in Kennebec, which should have gone for Romney but apparently really didn't. They got a big "0". The Party assured Washington County, which postponed its caucus because of a snowstorm, that its vote would count but they have since backed away from this. As I noted in a previous post, the results would not make a difference to the announced results but the Maine reporter on Rachel Maddow made a good point that with the national attention on the county now the turnout should be substantially higher and could upend the results. Stay tuned.
Why is this obscure story important? It is because the Maine "win" for Romney and his winning his first-ever CPAC poll reversed the media narrative of Romney The Loser. A few days later Romney operatives admitted they stacked the CPAC poll by buying up tickets to the conference. What happens if Main is forced to change its results?
Meanwhile, a local poll has Santorum with a 34-30 lead over Romney in one of his home states--the others are New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Utah and California. I will get to Santorum and some of his antics in the future.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
It's better to review the polls than to write about Virginia and Oklahoma going about the business of passing Personhood Bills. We can expect some roadblocks up ahead since now the meme is that Obama is going to be re-elected. We are so far out from November that no one can be sure. At best Charlie Cook says that Obama's re-election chances now face a yellow-light and his prospects have improved over the past few months.
PPP produced an eye-popping poll today of Michigan, which showed a departure from their past two polls which showed Obama with roughly a 4 to 7 point lead. Today, Obama beats Romney there by 54 to 38. This would effectively retire Michigan as a swing state. Romney's favorable/unfavorable rating in his own home state is a stunning 29/58 split.
My morning started with an e-mail from a Romney stalwart in Michigan, who promised his readers that only a Romney victory in Michigan would enable the Republicans to have a chance to change the Obama Administration. As Romney said, "This is personal". The writer sounded desperate and frantic. Romney is about to dump millions into attacks ads against Santorum to destroy him in Michigan but Santorum continues to surge there. Santorum is out of the box first with his Rombo ad, which accuses Romney of spending $10 million to smear fellow Republicans.
While this internecine fighting is benefiting the Democrats,the Romney people feel they can pivot to the more reasonable Romney by the general election time. But the damage to Romney's credibility may be permanent. Nationwide, Romney now has a favorable rating of 31.2% and an unfavorable rating of 48.6%.
Today's CNN poll has Obama cresting to a 50% approval rating and a 13-pt drop in Republican enthusiasm for the presidential election. However, Republicans still retain a 51 to 49% edge over the Democrats in terms of the enthusiasm factor.
While Romney is the only one left with deep pockets, observers are pointing out that his personal campaign chest may have problems because he is totally dependent on $2,500 donors. Only 9% of his election campaign comes from small donors, compared to the millions supporting Obama. Of course, he can overcome this deficiency through his SuperPac that depends on Wall Street and Hedge Fund Managers for its millions. But the strictly campaign funding remains a problem further down the road.
The Dailykos decided to launch "Operation Hilarity".Since primaries like Michigan are "open", they urge Democrats to cross the line and vote for ole'Frothy Mix,an idea many of the site's bloggers find offensive. It resembles Rush Limbaugh's stunt last election of "Operation Chaos" of urging Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton to prolong the Democratic race.
At this stage, Santorum has pushed into the lead in Ohio,leading Willard by 36 to 29 and Gingrich a distant 20%.
Romney is beginning to resemble Rodney Dangerfield because he can't get no respect. Today, he signed a pledge against pornography, when it was revealed that he has accepted large donations from porn producers. And Politico slips a knife in when it reported a story that two of Romney's sons admit that the famous family pooch Seamus, who had been strapped to the top of the car, actually ran away in Canada, when the trip was finished.
Then Elie Wiesel,The Nobel Prize winning author and survivor of The Holocaust,demanded that Romney denounce the Mormon practice of posthumously baptizing Jews, particularly those who perished in the Holocaust. The Mormons were most recently under attack for baptizing celebrated Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal.
And, meanwhile in Waldo County, Maine, county Republican leaders are crying foul, saying their votes were not counted in the Maine Caucus and their county favored Ron Paul by 12 to 5. The local Republican chair said if Romney was the nominee he would vote for Obama.
Fox News decided to poll ten states in different regions, where Obama won by very small margins in 2008. In all ten, President Obama tops Romney by 8 and Santorum by 9. The reason I don't mention Gingrich is that Obama simply crushes Gingrich in almost all polls in the last couple months.
So I guess it is back to the religious wars. Yes, I am following them with disgust. But I have to hail the courage of Catholic Bishop R. Walker Nickles of Sioux City, who called for "violent" as in the usual meaning of violent,opposition to the so-called birth control mandate. In my world, this was an issue the Supreme Court resolved when I was a teenager. Unbelievably the U.S. Senate will vote on a law to outlaw the Obama mandate. Democrats view this as a way to demonstrate how extreme the Republicans have become.
Eugene Robinson had an excellent op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday about the conservatives rhetoric about the so-called "war against religion" by Obama. Some take the cake like Rick Santorum saying "Christians will be facing the guillotine in a second Obama administration."
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Readers of this blog know that I have a regular feature called "Things I don't care about". If you listen to the Beltway pundits and the political noise machine, you might have a distorted view of the country's priorities.
According to the new CBS/ New York Times poll, these are the things Americans don't care about:
0% about terrorism
0% about defense
0% about energy
1% about abortion
1% about moral or religious values
1% about housing costs
1% about fuel costs
1% about the environment
1% about Foreign Policy
2% about immigration
3% about Education
3% about taxes
4% about the national budget (down from 11%)
7% about Government and politicians (our dysfunctional government)
9% about Healthcare/Medicare/Medicaid
22% about Jobs
22% about the Economy.
You would never think this if you listened to the war against contraceptives,the constant inveighing of the national debt and the calls for immigrants to "self-deport". In fact, there is little the GOP is discussing that is of any concern to the American citizen. No wonder they look like sheep wandering around without direction. No one cares about a single thing that have said.
What the PEW poll report and the recent Gallup polls report is that the original Obama coalition is coalescing basically in the numbers of 2008. The slight drop in white male support for the President is countered by a slight increase in white female support. But all the rest of the numbers are there. The interesting emphasis on Obama's so-called lack of white male voters neglects to mention that even now he is polling about 1 point above John Kerry's number and that Democrats have not received a majority of white males voters for a generation.
The major potential vulnerability remains the state of the economy around election time. And Mitt Romney's aides today said that once they got rid of Santorum they would stop talking about abortion and contraception. Clearly, the battle lines will be drawn on the economy. But the whole Republican primary has been fought on all the issues Americans rank either 0 or 1 or 2, not on any major concern of the American voter.
This morning Michigan was greeted with an op-ed by Mitt Romney where he opens with "I am a Son of Detroit" and goes on to wax nostalgic about American cars. Then he morphs into his Bain Capital persona and takes about structured bankruptcy and how Obama may have saved the auto industry but he didn't do it the right way. The right way would have been to "stand up to unions."
The reaction from Michigan was spontaneous. In local papers, Mitt was hammered because he promised in 2008 to do everything to save the auto industry but readers were reminded that he essentially said,"Detroit drop dead," when it came time to back the bailouts. Michigan Republicans also remembered Romney promising in the Republican primaries last time the urgency of saving the auto industry and they aren't forgetting it either. That may be why Santorum is polling strong in every county of the states.
The wording of Romney's op-ed is bloodless, which is the problem with his whole candidacy. You can't talk to people who were facing oblivion and argue in abstract terms for structured bankruptcy and explain in Bain Capital speak the benefits of this for an industry. If the auto industry had gone down,it is estimated that it would have cost over 1.5 million jobs throughout the supply chain and would have wiped out the remains of our manufacturing base. And whatever the benefits of the Bain approach to the CEOs of the auto industry it is not clear the industry would ever have come back.
Mitt has been trying to out-Teabag the Tea Party with his pandering. But campaigning against unions, especially in the industrial Midwest, seems to me to ignore the recent rise in union mobilization to counter anti-union measures by Kasich in Ohio, Walker in Wisconsin and Snyder in Michigan.
The Romney campaign has clearly drawn the line on class warfare. From his tinny "Corporations are people too, my friends" to today's op-ed, Romney clearly favors his own class at the expense of almost anyone else.
While the creator of Mexican Mitt, an ad lampooning Romney as the most Mexican candidate, didn't err when he referred to Romney as "Juan Percent".
But the working class hero Rick Santorum muffed his opportunity today by saying that President Obama sided with "the 99% over the 1%", which in normal times is what Presidents are supposed to do.
What emerged in yesterday's Pew Poll was something that I missed but other bloggers picked up. The war against contraceptives has hurt the Republicans badly. President Obama has a 59-38% in support by women over both Romney and Santorum. This is the largest gender gap ever recorded in modern political history. And the more the Republicans pay with the healthcare issue it will widen.
As an amusing sidebar--Reverend Rick Warren of the Saddleback Ministries tweeted that he would go to jail to protest President Obama's ruling on health insurance companies covering contraceptives. So, why doesn't he turn himself in to the California authorities because his state has had the same provision in its laws since 1991. While we're at it, isn't time the USAID funding for his group stop? I mean he should be a profile of courage and not tweeted his bravado.
Michael Gerson writes in the Washington Post an op-ed claiming that Obama's ruling is an epic blunder. Epic blunder for white Catholic males, maybe, but what about the female majority in the country and everyone else? Even the Catholic institutions affected support the Obama compromise, which is in line with almost all state laws.
If the GOP wants to make contraceptives a wedge issue, this one will not play for them but against them in a Big Way. Even Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins supports Obama on this, since Snowe backed a similar bill in 2001.
It escapes me why men should have the final say in this issue but I guess I am not for patriarchy.
Gallup released its Economic Index today. 42% of Americans say the economy is getting better, while 54% say worse. This is--believe it or not--the best figure since September 2010.
About the political battle over the President's budget. The President's budget outlines his priorities and his desire to end tax breaks for the extremely wealthy and those earning above $250,000. It also outlines his domestic priorities and establishes his agenda for the election. The Beltway pundits talking about gimmicks and all the rants about its lack of seriousness miss one important fact--no presidential budget has ever been passed--0--and it is the objective of President budgets to outline where he wants the country to go.
I think the GOP are walking into another trap on this one as Paul Ryan wants to submit another one of his crazed budgets. If you want to run against Medicare, Social Security and contraceptives, be my guest.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Nate "The Great" Silver has an excellent post on Romney's need to get a "base" citing the data now coming in from Michigan. At his FiveThirtyEight blog at the New York Times, Nate also projects the odds for the next Republican primaries. It really isn't looking so good for Willard. Not to say for anyone else, either. But Mr. Inevitable only looks like he is going to win Arizona--probably because he has the architect of their anti-immigration bill as a close adviser.
Nate did say that Ron Paul will probably not win the Maine Caucus because he needs 194 votes. How many votes were cast in the Eastern section in 2008--a total of 113. Close but no cigar to Ron Paul.
Yes, the Romney people admitted they bought up a lot of the CPAC tickets so that their candidate would win the CPAC Straw Poll.
But Nate has his little box of odds for the next primaries. It looks like a long road unless other candidates run out of money.
Arizona--Romney at 89%
Michigan--Santorum at 80%. The polling data is devastating for Romney right now.
Georgia--Newt at 75%
Ohio-- Newt at 39%
Romney at 37%.
Let's just say that Willard doesn't win Michigan or Ohio. That means he has lost throughout the Midwest where the GOP candidate has to be competitive to challenge Obama in electoral votes. With the East Coast heading toward Obama land and the West Coast already there, the options of winning the presidency demand a solid Midwest showing or else the chances soon become none. Last election, the key area was a line from Minnesota to Pennsylvania. This time this might be less problematic for Obama but it still remains critical for the GOP. And that--frankly--was why the establishment lined up behind Romney. Son of the Governor of Michigan, former Governor of Massachusetts and Savior of the Utah Olympics, this would prove to be problematic for Obama to win this arc.
But if Willard doesn't win his home state and his home county where he grew up, then serious questions have to be raised about his viability as a major candidate.
Perhaps Thomas Friedman, writing in the New York Times, is right, the GOP should take a by this presidential year and come back and think about it again. Even with the voter suppression, which might cost Obama millions of votes,if Mitt can't pick up some Midwest action, he is doomed.
I think I've had it with so-called independents and their fickle ways. Today,their whimsy favors President Obama and when things change they will change also. But today's Pew poll is not good news for Willard.
First the general horserace numbers. Santorum leads Romney 30-28%. Romney leads Santorum in the Gallup 32 to 30. In the Pew, Obama beats Santorum 53 to 43 and Romney by 52 to 44.
But it is in the Pew poll about independents that Romney should be very concerned. Today, 51% of independents back President Obama. Last month only 40% did. Romney has gone from 50% last month among independents to 42% today.
But the character questions are the killers. Last month 53% of independents thought Romney was honest and trustworthy, today only 41%. Those who think he is not honest has risen from 32 to 45%.
His single calling card was that he was qualified to be president. In November,58% of independents thought him well-qualified, 31% did not. Now--48% think he is well-qualified; 41% do not.
So we have gone in November--where Romney beat Obama among independents 53 to 41, to today where Obama beats Romney 51-42. That's an amazing turnaround of 19 points.
It's easier to switch the general support for voters than overcome any negatives on character issues as the election nears. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows there has been a 20% spike in negative impressions of Willard.
Storm clouds up ahead. The American Research Group (ARG) has Santorum now beating Romney 33 to 27% in Willard's home state of Michigan. The PPP poll has Santorum leading Romney 39-24% in Michigan. PPP said that Santorum is winning every county--even Oakland County where Mitt Romney grew up.
Apparently, people really don't like Willard. It's not just the fad of the Not-Mitt but people simply don't respond to him. Willard can not connect with the plight of the average American and simply loses support when he tries. The more he panders to the Right, Romney loses the rest of the country. But he will have another chance to re-introduce himself--but then again, he keeps re-creating himself all the time.
Romney tried to erase the dismal showing in the Midwest by defeating Ron Paul in the Maine caucus and winning the CPAC straw poll for the first time in his career.
Only Romney and Paul travelled to Maine. Paul banked on the libertarian-tea party streak in the party to upset Romney, who won the 2008 contest with 50%. Again, the raw votes were smaller and Romney's victory of 39% to Paul 36% was much slimmer. Ron Paul appeared jaunty in explaining to his followers that it was a virtual tie and was confident he would have the bulk of the delegates by the time of the convention.
In fact, it is probable that the results of the Caucus will be reversed within weeks because the Eastern Part of the state had not been counted when the network projections had been made. This area of Maine has hard-core Paul voters.
Rick Santorum has cried foul at the CPAC poll. For the first time they used electronic machines and coincidentally Romney wins for the first time among the hard core right. Santorum asked questions about how the Romney camp manipulated the results. He was joined by Ron Paul, the winner of the pervious polls, who also decried the Maine Caucus.
With all of that, Romney now rests where he has since the beginning--at about 23% of the GOP voters. PPP showed again that Santorum retains the Non-Mitt mantle at 38%, Romney at 23%, Gingrich at 17% and Ron Paul at 13%. Santorum is now borrowing a leaf from the Newt book, proclaiming it is now a two-man race. Most observers know that Ron Paul is not running for the nomination but to get his libertarian ideas anchored in the party and to win a spot at the Convention.
Sister Sarah Palin energized the CPAC crowd and said she was not convinced of Romney's born-again conservatism. She also said that the prolonged nomination fight would strengthen the GOP's chances in 2012.
Well, if anything they have no strengthened Romney. The most recent Fox News poll shows Obama taking a 5% lead against Romney, the largest to date in their records.
Steve Singiser over at the Daily Kos conducted a thought exercise of comparing two polls from the same outfit in key states and found that Romney improved in only two states--Arizona and New York. Romney only gained 1 pt in New York, which is overwhelmingly for Obama. Of the 11 states, six worth 85 electoral votes had either been deadlocked or leaning to Romney, today Obama has nominal leads.
Here is the list:
Arizona--Romney by 43 to 37
California--Obama by 60 to 31
Florida--Obama now at 47 to 44
Michigan--Obama now at 48 to 44.
North Carolina--Obama at 47-46
New Hampshire--Obama at 50 to 40
New Jersey--Obama 48-35
New York--Obama 58-35
Pennsylvania--41 to 30
Virginia--47 to 43.
One of the reasons for Obama's re-emergence is that he has enjoyed his first complete month in a while where his approvals surpass his disapproval ratings.The Obama campaign has started putting the pedal to the metal in creating a Truth Squad for this election , like last time. But this squad will be emphasizing Obama's record and combating disinformation about his policies. Last time, it countered everything from birtherism to Bill Ayres and ACORN.
So the Intratrade odds have now put Obama's re-election at 63%, the first time he has been there since the beginning of his term