Thursday, May 31, 2012

End of the Month News

As we watch Gov. Scott purge the Florida voting lists of actual voters and the Koch Brothers vow to spend $440 million to buy America and as we wait for another awful jobs report and the Supreme Court ruling on healthcare,where are we? has the race 294 EV votes for Obama and 235 for Romney with 9 tied. They project a Republican pick-up of Florida, North Carolina, and Indiana. They have Colorado tied. I throw the Colorado 9 in with Obama making him at 303. 

Huffington Post has 294 EV for Obama and 181 for Romney. Huffington Post's undecided are Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina and Florida. Again, I throw Colorado in with Obama. So both accounts basically agree on Obama's strength as we enter June.

More interesting is electoral votes projections of 50 Senate seats for Democrats and 48 for Republicans and 2 tied.

PPP surprised by its poll showing Obama one up in Missouri.

Marquette's poll which shows Scott Walker in the lead in Wisconsin shows that Obama is ahead there by eight. He won the state by double digits in 2008.

Next week's election in recall election in Wisconsin is expected to draw a turnout of around 65%. Yesterday, Scott Walker slipped and admitted he was the John Doe in the John Doe investigation. Whether this will be picked up by the media in Wisconsin is iffy. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blogger Bums Out High Anxiety Crowd

++Ken in Tex2, a blogger at Dailykos,rained on all our parades today. He writes that unless President Obama starts a ground war in Iran, China, North Korea or Syria, gas rises to $7 per gallon or is found strangling white children who are in wheelchairs, the election is his. He chides progressives for thinking Obama might lose New Mexico, Wisconsin, Nevada, Pennsylvania or Minnesota. He claims that Obama is certain of winning 263 electoral votes right now and needs only one of the following states:
1. Ohio
2. Colorado
3. Virginia
4. Florida
5. North Carolina
6. Missouri
7. Indiana
8. Arizona

On the other hand, Willard Romney needs to win all eight and not lose one if he has a chance. The odds of Obama getting one are 99.61. And Romney of running the streak is .039%.

That takes a lot of the drama out of it. 

Meanwhile PPP has a new poll on Michigan, which shows that President Obama has a 54 to 38 lead over Romney. I guess you really can't go home again.

Also, Rasmussen has Romney's lead in Indiana only 6. 

So before you get wrapped up in the talking heads and the Beltway pundits remember Ken in Tex2 before you panic.

Storm Clouds Up Ahead

++You notice I haven't written anything about Mariano Rivera and his horrible career ending injury or that my Lakers got wiped out. Likewise, I don't want to even consider the impending Supreme Court decision on Affordable Care. A reverse would hurt millions of Americans instantly and bring eternal disgrace on the Roberts Court who brought us Citizens United. Nor do I want to contemplate a new meltdown of the European economies. Nor a bad jobs report.

++But we are going into Obama's funky season where strange things happen like the BP oil spill, the cancellation of his trip to Indonesia because of the debt ceiling showdown, the first in my lifetime.

++Now the crisis in Syria is almost past the point of no return and we are still in the midst of talks with Iran over their nuclear program.

++So all weekend long I received endless e-mails about how Mitt Romney is a leader. Really? And that why veterans back Romney by large margins--not because they traditionally are Republicans but they sense real leadership--like, say George W. Bush.

++I would like a period of calm. Every day is on the knife's edge--something is supposed to happen horribly. Luckily for the past few years, these horrible things haven't happened.

++So I leave you with the latest poll from Colorado, a must state for Romney, President Obama leads 48 to 44 but his lead is 57 to 30 among the unaffiliated. The Los Angeles Times has President Obama leading 56 to 37 in California. In California, Obama has 6 out of ten women and moderates and 75% of Hispanics.

++The Obama campaign has expressed concern about the spending of the SuperPacs. Just think of it this way--all the old white male billionaires will be dead very soon and their children will hate them and became something different.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Party Like It is 2008

++Birtherism is back in force. Even though the Arizona Secretary of State backed down, Sheriff Arapio has sent deputies from his Dead Case Posse out to Hawaii to investigate and Donald Trump has also sent a private investigator out to Hawaii to prove the President wasn't born in the United States. This is all beginning to feel like a replay of the last election.

++Cubs' owner Joe Ricketts, who wanted to run attack ads against President Obama on Jeremiah Wright, has now found a new vehicle--making Dinesh D'Souza's book attacking President Obama into a movie. The chief attack on President Obama is that he has a "de-colonial mentality". 

++I have also been sent several right-wing viral e-mails suggesting that the Solicitor General has been told that the Supreme Court verdict is 5 to 4 against healthcare and that the Obama White House is now going to pressure the Supreme Court to change their ways. I don't know how to read this. If true, the decision would be truly horrible for Americans and for the legacy of the Supreme Court. Or should we take the myth of pressure as a way to rationalize to conservatives the Supreme Court upholding the health care law. The problem with these e-mails is they are often so incoherent you don't know what the ultimate political point. We know the basics--they hate President Obama but I can not fathom the rest.

++Also received a viral of how wonderful Willard Romney is and how he built so many businesses and volunteered for his "church" for free. This was about the time last campaign that we would received viral e-mails about John McCain's record, his wonderful marriage and family and how he was an American hero as opposed to that black guy. The problem with this e-mail was that the writer said that Willard's name was Willard Mitt. Please get these details right. Milton. Mitt is the nickname he got after a relative that used to play football--not him.

++Another e-mail suggested that Barack Obama can't practice law. Who cares?

++The big story spread by Huffington Post but circulated this weekend was that Obama smoked dope. Where were the MSM when this happened? Gee, I remember a New York Times piece about this during the last campaign. The real question here is how does that impact on his enforcement of crackdowns on medical marijuana. That is a real issue.

++A flap that I have overlooked because it is nuts is the kerfluffle over Elizabeth Warren. It seems--like me--Elizabeth Warren is 1/32nd Cherokee Indian and apparently listed her Native American roots on a Harvard list. The Brown campaign has tried to make it out like she was hired as an affirmative action candidate at Harvard on an erroneous basis. First, Ronald Reagan's Solicitor General Fried was the one who recommended her to Harvard Law School and he said in a letter printed a few days ago that he never knew she was native american. For the record, if you are 1/32nd Cherokee, according to the nation, you are a Cherokee. Apparently, none of this has moved the voters in Massachusetts.

++So the Romney campaign is still sputtering about the Obama Bain ads. As every Democratic pollster has noted, they struck home. Romney tried to change the subject by talking about education policy, where he thinks President Obama is in trouble. This doesn't register on voter concerns but maybe it will emerge as an issue.

++Newt Gingrich said Romney will get 40% of the Hispanic vote. George W. did but he spoke Spanish, had a Spanish-speaking brother who was Governor of Florida who had a Latino son. He also did not advocate the Arizona immigration laws as a model for the country as has Romney and did not advocate "self-deportation". The problem is that Romney has no Latino surrogates, no African American surrogates or LBGT surrogates. Only this past week Republican women are trying to cobble together a woman's caucus because the gender gap has morphed into a giant chasm. 

++So where are we? Steve Singisier of the Dailykos, their polling guru, says that the next ten days in the 2012 election cycle will be the most watchable days until the election day itself. We have been flooded with polls. I have 25 polls listed today and apparently a ton are expected this week. By and large Singisier says that Obama incrementally has a better week this week. He basically is on his 2008 numbers or exceeding them. He is polling above last election in Ohio,Tennessee, and Arizona.  While I have written off Indiana Obama only trails by 46 to 40 there. With Dick Lugar losing to a tea party candidate, Democrats have a renewed life in the state. Nationally, Obama leads in all the polls, except Rasmussen where he is 1pt behind. Bottom line--take Huffington Post's  electoral  vote count at 284-181.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Petraeus Rumor

Washington Whispers suggest that Romney has sent people to find out whether General Petraeus is willing to run as Vice President. 

On the face of it, General Petraeus would provide the GOP with some difficulty since he is a self-proclaimed Rockefeller Republican. But clearly the party has swallowed a lot with Mitt Romney and the conservatives would forgive him his ideological foibles.

Why I think there is truth to this is that Romney is surrounded by the Kagans who are big fans of General Petraeus and in fact got him to be the general in charge of the surge. And Romney is pulling nearly 20 points behind Obama on foreign affairs. Unlike almost every pundit in town, I believe by the summer foreign affairs will rear its ugly head and become a central concern for the campaign.

The fact of the matter is that Romney was wounded by President Obama's ad on bin Laden and he is a person who bears a grudge. By selecting Petraeus, he in essence will try to claim the lion's share of Obama's foreign policy achievements and sanitize the record of the George W. Bush administration. The selection would satisfy the neo-conservatives who haven't figured out yet how to play again.

On choosing Vice Presidents, we know that all the known personalities have not polled enough to alter the race within their own states. It's clear by his body language Romney has written off the Latino vote and hence Marco Rubio. But none of the others really improve his situation. The only one was Tom Ridge in Pennsylvania and he would give Romney a type of gravitas he still lacks after all these years. The bump in polling there should send a message to the Romney camp.

When Romney visited Dick Cheney, he said the former vice president was his ideal vice president. While everyone gasped about this because of Cheney's support of torture and the invasion of Iraq, this makes sense politically when you remember that Dick Cheney's selection was greeted with relief and welcomed by the Washington Post. His self-selection we should say lent George W. a certain "gravitas". Petraeus would do that for Romney and put an articulate younger men at number two.

Romney wants to focus on re-organizing government. He knows that the economy will bustle in 2014 and he wants to get credit for that. He also has said he would defer to the generals on all matters of military affairs and would do whatever Bibi Netanyahu wants done in the Middle East. In short, he doesn't want to have anything to do with foreign policy. And we have seen how he has been criticized by General Colin Powell for his goofy statements. 

By choosing Petraeus he would upset the notion he doesn't take any risks and was simply going to take the safe choice--Senator Portman. He would then get a second, serious look and would win over certain of the prestige press. After all Petraeus has been selected as one of the most influential people in the world by Time and others for years and is seen as a soldier-intellectual. The choice would pacify the military-intelligence-terrorist complex who would have their guy within the White House, usually a requirement for Republican Administrations.

Remember Republicans bank on having the edge on two issues--taxes and foreign affairs. Being down on foreign affairs to President Obama hurts them. Petraeus would be their answer.

The Crumbling Conservative Infrastructure

Over the past three years we have seen people like Bruce Bartlett, David Frum and now Michael Fumento abandon the conservative movement because of its increasing anti-science, anti-intellectual and anti-rational approach to political affairs.

Ryan Cooper writes today in Talking Points Memo of the crumbling conservative infrastructure--its institutions have taken a hit these days.

He points to the abandonment of Rush Limbaugh by dozens and dozens of sponsors over the Sandra Fluke affair. El Rushbo is not likely to go under but his program has been downgraded in certain key markets like the Philadelphia and New York area. He has been put on a station in Camden, New Jersey after losing his Philly affiliation out right. And he has been wounded by the exodus of listeners on WABC New York. The ditto heads now are a demographic of white males over 60. Rush is not attracting the desired demographic. 

We have the Ari Fleischer failed coup at the Komen Foundation and its attempt to de-fund Planned Parenthood. This almost put Komen under.

ALEC, the Koch-founded legislative group responsible for conservative state legislation including the Stand Your Ground Law, has been shedding sponsors like crazy after an activist campaign started targeting companies who back them. Just today Wendy Gramm has come out of hiding to defend ALEC.

Heartland Institute, who paid for the billboard using the UNABOMBER as an advocate of global warming, is being gutted as its corporate sponsors are abandoning ship in the wake of the controversy. Heartland had to close down its DC operation and let its staff go. Its president posted a notice on their webpage announcing no symposia until further notice.

The Koch Brothers are in a shareholder suit over the CATO Institute, one of the few remaining credible right-wing leaning organizations in Washington.

And then everyone has commented on Norm Ornstein at AEI blasting the Republican Congress for its obstructionism. Norm has been a respectable Republican scholar of government for years.

This all may be a cyclical thing but a lot of the problem was the so-called conservative movement "marketing" itself and simply becoming propaganda organs for corporations and the very wealthy. Once this was done in such large numbers they were subject to the reverse pressures brought by consumers who disagreed or were offended by their positions and statements.

Memorial Day Poll Wrap-up

So The Donald said again that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and has sent investigators to Hawaii to pester those poor souls. Donald said the early reference by Obama's agent that he was born in Kenya was reasonable because Barack Obama wasn't planning on running for President. 

Conservatives are all up and arms because President Obama misspoke today and referred to his sons, just showing he can't read a teleprompter. I'll bet he was referring to servicemen and women. A later e-mail said it showed he believed he was the father of our country.

Obviously people have a lot of time on their hands. 

Meanwhile the tale of the tape:

I applaud Reason for their Wisconsin poll because it is one of the few to include Gary Johnson. Obama 46-Romney 36 and 6 for Johnson.

I repeat Massachusetts. Obama 59 to 34 for Romney. 

California: Obama 50 to Romney 34.
North Carolina: Romney 47 to Obama 45. Note: Charlie Cook put North Carolina back as a toss-up after having it "lean Republican".
YouGov. (national) Obama 46 to Romney 42.
Rasmussen: Obama 45 to Romney 44
Gallup Tracking: Obama 47 to Romney 46.

Willard is Still Weird

Steve Benen at Maddowblog weighs in on why the Obama attacks on Bain are relevant. Romney could simply dispel the attacks by publicizing the jobs gained and jobs lost by his days at Bain but the problem is that the numbers are far below the 100,000 he claims this time around. Hence, the sole rationale for his candidacy gets trashed. He is running on the simple premise is that he is a genius businessman and can turn the economy around. But his days as Governor and the real record at Bain undercut that claim. Instead, he is another man who made millions through leveraged buy outs.

The cost to the Obama campaign of the Bain roll-outs was $100,000--well worth it.

Romney appeared in Philadelphia at a for-profit charter school which he extols as a his model for educational reform even though its test schools are at one-third of Pennsylvania's requirements. To win the hearts and minds of teachers there he advocated large class room sizes and quoted a McKensey study of foreign classrooms to prove his point. No one asked him his his parents advocated larger classrooms at Cranford Prep. His interaction with school kids was priceless. He should have reverted to his "Who Let the Dogs Out" chant to the mostly minority students.

But earlier in the day, Willard the Weird trying to copy Barack Obama's dinner with George Clooney advertised supporters could dine with him and Donald Trump. You would fly to New York and be picked up by the Trump Vehicle and then driven to Trump Towers where you would get a private tour before dinner. While this was being advertised, the Donald told the "Hill" that he would be the ideal vice presidential candidate. 

If Romney was so great as Governor of Massachusetts, don't you think he would have a decent showing in the state. Obama leads Romney 59 to 34 in the commonwealth. 

Am beginning to get the right-wing viral e-mails praising Romney as a "self-made" man, married for decades and living his Mormon beliefs like life was in the 1950s. 

David Axelrod was either a genius by banning the "Romney is weird" motif from the Obama campaign or making a huge mistake. I guess he thought it would be obvious to everyone who watches the guy that he has less personality than Richard Nixon.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Things I Don't Worry About

1. Death--there are far worse fates.
2. Illegal Immigration--Mexico owes us workers now and the whole thing was a wash economically.
3. Social Security--We could make it last as long as we want and it won't get into trouble until after I'm gone.
4. Inflation--So far non-existent. Maybe some day it will occur again. No use losing sleep about it.
5. Tax Hikes--How pathetic is it that the whole debate is over 2%? Now talk about 50% and I may think about it.
6. Nuclear War--Not even rogue states want to give nuclear weapons to terrorists and you have to be suicidal to use them.
7. The younger generation--the Digital Generation has enough talent to make things happen. I only worry about where the writers will come from.
8. Global warming--Use a lot of sunscreen. It's all over anyway and don't live next to the ocean.
9. Energy Resources--Just breath long enough and the country will have more than enough for a century.
10. National Debt--Chimpanzees could solve our problem--admittedly our Congress hasn't evolved to that stage. Could have cut $5 trillion with a deal last year. 

Morning Musings

++Still obsessed by Bishop Willard's boast to get unemployment down to 6% by the end of his first term. If President Obama loses this November, remember this--the loss of public workers, including teachers, at the state level means 1% in the unemployment rate; the failure of Congress to pass the Jobs Bill, which would have led to infrastructure projects,according to policy wonks at the time, meant 1.3% in employment.  So combined, the unemployment rate would be 5.8% or the modern equivalent of full employment. And those two things would cinch re-election. So Bishop Willard's boast is pure flatulence.

++This morning's NBC/Marist poll shows President Obama with leads over Romney in Ohio, Virginia and Florida. In Virginia and Florida, 4 points. But Ohio is 6 points, which is outside the margin of error and Willard can not win without Ohio. 

++By my feeble calculations, Willard must win Michigan, Ohio,Virginia, North Carolina and Florida without a loss. Right now, three are moving into Obama's direction.

++As we move into Memorial Day, what crimes will Obama commit to desecrate the name of veterans? So far, every Memorial Day we have some fake outrage.

++In case you missed it President Obama is waging a war against capitalism or so say Romney's ads. 

++Today marks my 40th anniversary in my war against one woman, my wife, and she seems to have the advantage. Maybe I need the Catholic Bishops to weigh in to even things out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last Thoughts

++We left Bishop Romney promising that at the end of his first term the unemployment rate would be 6%. The CBO, just by chance, believes if nothing more is done to help the economy it will be 6.1%. But I doubt whether our ace media will call Romney out of it. Instead, they point to his statements that anything above 4% is horrible. 

++Ezra Klein in the Post does some nodding around with various scenarios that show that in certain cases if nothing is done we can expect a growth rate of 4% in 2013 and that whoever wins in November will benefit by this even though they did nothing to achieve it. I still say 2014 the economy takes off. After all,just letting natural processes continue, we will be energy sufficient in that year.

++kos wrote a piece today "Remember the Gender Gap? It's Still There." 

Here's his takedown on the recent polls:
NBC/ WSJ  --difference of women for Obama +24
dKos                                                             +19
Washington Post                                            +9
IBD                                                                +10
Fox                                                                +27
PPP --Pennsylvania                                         +25
SUSA--North Carolina                                     +23

Those numbers have held up for a month.

++Latest polls.
Gallup Tracking 46-46
Rasmussen Obama 46-45 Romney
PPP Arizona  Romney 50-43 Obama
Wisconsin    Obama 49- Romney 43
Pennsylvania (Rasmussen) Obama 47 to Romney 41
Vermont       Obama 59 to Romney 28

My view is that Pennsylvania is done put a fork in it. The polling has followed 2008. The Wisconsin poll was a relief because Walker leads in the recall election so you don't know what the blow back would be. Arizona is closer than Republicans believed but it has one more cycle to be a Swing State. 

++"O" is the number of times Mitt Romney talked about immigration to a bunch of Latino businessmen today. I guess he has written that vote off.

++In case you wonder why the Obama ad campaign seems disjointed, it is because they are using this time to experiment and measure what is most effective. They promise fine-tuning when the main event really begins.

++ What never gets covered is the extent of the field offices by the DNC and the Obama campaign. Apparently they are more extensive than I even believed. I actually pay attention to these things because of my interest in political organizations. 

++My wife left me with a question I don't know how to answer, "If Obama is winning all these groups by large margins, including women, how can the polls be so close?" Good question.

Afternoon Coffee at the Last Manatee

++Bloomberg reports that the upswing in the economy in the swing states will benefit  Obama. Moody's predicts that Obama will beat Romney in the electoral vote 303 to Romney's 235. Of the swing states, Moody's predicts that Obama will win New Mexico, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and Ohio. Romney will pick up Florida and North Carolina. If Obama won Florida, that would put him at 332. Moody says that Romney to have a chance would have to do a clean sweep of the swing states, which is improbable.

++So this means the range of poll-based electoral projects runs from 284 to 303. Not a bad place to start.

++President Obama has a 61 to 27 lead over Romney among Hispanic voters. Less than his amount in 2008 but Romney's is much lower than John McCain's vote. There is room for Obama to move here.

++David Stockman appeared on the Neil Cavuto show to opine that Bain did destroy jobs to maximize profit. This is not turning out to be a great story line for Willard Milton Romney.

++Romney said today that by the end of his first term he would have unemployment down to 6%. Since Obama has done the heavy lifting, elect me and I'll do the same and I would never strap a dog on top of a car. FYI--most economists believe that unemployment will be there then. The issue is whether it can get lower unless serious changes are made in our economy.

++Mitt Romney also told Congress not to do anything about the economy until he takes office. So we would have to wait about 10 months for anything to get done. That's the patriotic spirit!

++General Colin Powell said that Romney has to think about his foreign policy team. Powell laughed off the idea that Russia is our major geopolitical threat. He warned that many of Romney's advisers are on the extreme right and need watching. Powell slapped down Sean Hannity's statement that President Obama is the most divisive President in modern history. Powell said that none of the President's proposals are divisive and that Republicans should remember when they wished the President would fail and put as their number 1 goal to make President Obama a one-term President. Powell has been reticent to endorse Obama for a second-term. Stay tuned.

++Mitch McConnell said that Obama is waging a war against capitalism, which I guess goes parallel with his war against the Catholic Church. 

++Mitt Romney came out today for school vouchers because American students receive a third world education.

++The Housing market has finally turned upward, being the best in years.

++President Obama's great expenditure of government funs didn't really happen according to the Wall Street Journal. He only averages a 1.9 percent rise in government spending, the lowest of recent modern Presidents.

++Willard the liar cut a video ad of President Obama's answer to the questions about his Bain ads and manage to seriously distort the President's words through editing. So what else is new?


**"The Escape of Sigmund Freud: Freud's Final Years in Vienna and His Flight from the Nazi Rise" by David Cohen, Overlook Press, New York, 272 pages. A truly great read, covering undocumented moments of Freud's life, the fight of pro-Nazis in the psychiatric movement in Germany,his protection from persecution by a renegade Nazi officer, and his settling into England.

**"David Hockney: A Rake's Progress: The Biography, 1937-1975" by Christopher Simon Sykes, Doubleday,363 pages. The real disappointment is that it ended before the later stages of his career. At least, he gets to California and paints his pool canvases. Gossipy in a fun way but sometimes you real don't care how a marriage that is not central to the main character is dissolving. Critics say the author fails to put Hockney into an historical context. I didn't find this disturbing at all.

**"Man Hunt:The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad" by Peter Bergen, Crown,358 pages. A frequent author about bin Laden and Al Qaeda,Bergen picks up the trail where he left off and examines the training of the Seal Team Six and the decisions about getting bin Laden. A nice summing up.

** "Railsea", China Mieville,Ballatine Books,424p. Moby Dick meets Dune. The captains with amputated limbs speak about their quests as philosophies. Here they hunt down the Giant Mole. Ahab is a a woman. Mieville is one of my favorite young writers exploring alternative worlds. 

**"Prague Fatale: A Bernie Gunther Novel" by Philip Kerr,Putnam,401 pages. The series is getting somewhat convoluted but the Nazi milieu provides the active atmo. Heydrich is concerned that he is the objects of assassination plots. So he hires Bernie Gunther to find out the truth of the matter. 

The Bain Of His Existence

Joe Scarborough was wailing this morning on Morning Joe about the Obama campaign ads against Bain Capitol. This ad was particularly effective--it just had the best clips from Romney's Republican primary opponents blasting  Willard as a vulture capitalist. In one of Newt Gingrich's lucid  moments of the campaign he articulated the difference between entrepreneurs and vulture capitalists. This has set the Romney backers ablaze.

They thought they had something when Cory Booker, Newark's mayor, criticized the Bain ads. But then it was soon discovered Cory received buckets of money from Bain in his electoral campaigns. Then we had Harold Ford and then Ed Rendell.  But this only fueled the discussion and debate.

Democrats had polled these ads when Republicans ran them against Romney during the primaries and found that they had an impact on middle class voters. So why not go with a good thing.

The Obama campaign ran the Loris and Ampad ad, which showed a women gyped out of her pension and health care by Romney. 

When equity fund managers start showing up on television saying that the whole point of their business is to make a profit and not to create jobs, you have a problem. Jim Cramer, not a fan of President Obama, said that Romney destroyed jobs as part of his career so his clients would make huge profits.

The Romney campaign should have expected this to become an issue. In the primaries, Romney dismissed his short term as Governor and pointedly ran as a business man. So it is logical that his record as a businessman should be examined. The Romney people probably thought that this was tried when Romney ran against Ted Kennedy for Senator and so it would probably be old news. But the Obama campaign is attacking the very reason Romney claims he should be president. 

At the NATO meeting, President Obama defended the ads and said that the decisions of a president are different than those of a manager of a hedge fund. Smack down.

Romney's campaign spokesman tried to steer the conversation back to his days as Governor. The problem here is that Romney was 47th of Governors in terms of job creation. The lower governors endured Hurricane Katrina.

If two legs of your rationale are being destroyed, then you are left with the organization of the Olympics. There watch for ads how he "saved" the Olympics with tax payer money.

The point from a campaign is that you have become the issue and not your opponent. This has sucked the air out of the room and Romney will have to plan on getting back.

Poll Update: Quinnipiac has Romney with a 47 to 41 lead over Obama in Florida. In March, Obama had a 49 to 42 lead. So who knows what is happening.

Poll Mania

There is a lot of blather about this being an election that will be as close as Bush versus Gore. Maybe with voter suppression and the Citizens United money. But I still doubt it.

So far there is no real concern about the electoral college. On Diane Rheim's show yesterday panelists discuss the Swing States, those lucky few Americans that decide this election. One panelist said there was a real chance of a 269 to 269 tie. For election junkies this might be a thrilling prospect but for fans of democracy this would seal the country's doom, especially after the 2000 fiasco.

So what do the polls tell us at this stage. Kos has Obama with 293 electoral votes without giving him Colorado--yet. Huffington Post has downgraded Obama to 280 electoral votes and Romney at 170. The ways for Obama to reach 270 remain much more varied than Romney. But this could just focus Romney's attention. 

While future money might give Romney the edge, Diane Rheim's guests suggest that Obama's get out the vote organization is far superior and that Romney has nothing yet on the ground.

So the Washington Post/ABC poll is trumpeted as Obama and Romney tied on the economy. You would have to dig down in the story to find Obama leading Romney 49 to 46. On almost every issue, Obama has huge leads over Romney. And, yes, people still blame George W. Bush for the economic situation. One whopper is that Romney is perceived by over double digits to be able to deal with the deficit. Clearly, there is more work for the Obama administration to do on this score. Romney's own economic plan automatically triggers gigantic deficits and still cuts social programs. 

PPP has Obama 47 to Romney's 46.
Rasmussen Tracking has Obama 46 to Romney's 44.
NBC/Wall Street Journal has Obama 47 to Romney's 43.

Survey has Romney at 45 to Obama at 44 in North Carolina.
PPP has Obama at 50 to Romney's 42 in Pennsylvania.

People have pointed out that the economies of Swing States have begun to improve better than the national economy. Republican governors point to their policies and the Obama administration point to their own. How this will break is anyone's guess. 

One interesting number from Swing State polls is that in all the Swing States according to multiple polls Democrats are increasing their lead in the generic poll, which determines congressional races.

Meanwhile Ron Paul and his Love Revolution keep stealing Romney's delegates at the state levels. He is just cleaning up and Paul people know the RNC rule, which does not tie the delegate to the winner of the primary. Expect some real hassles on this.

The Washington Post is worried that the sizable anti-Obama vote in the Kentucky and Arkansas spells trouble for the Democratic parties,suggesting Obama will have problems in Appalachia. I guess Obama will lose Kentucky and Arkansas in the fall. But this is a fuss all about nothing.

With Romney getting smashed among African-Americans, Latinos, other minorities and women, he has to force Obama's turnout to only 37% of the white vote. Hmmm, good luck trying.

PPP has determined that President Obama's endorsement of same sex marriage will cost him 1% in the general election.

Breakfast at the Last Manatee

++Since the last post I've been in the Swing state of Ohio.  I watched the Obama ad against Bain Capital concerning the Steel mill. Sitting in Lorain County, the poorest county in the state, it was devastating. The best thing Romney should have done was change the subject. Instead, he cried "character assassination" and started a full-blown national debate on his days as a businessman. Reminding all of us that the last president with a Harvard MBA was George W. Bush.

++Ohio's Sherrod Brown ran an effective ad against the Republican attorney general Mandel. The state issue has been why is the attorney general jetting around the world on taxpayer's money when he has no business abroad. Brown has been attacked by millions upon millions of attack ads by weird SuperPacs. So far he still leads in all the polls.

++Mandel responded with what I think is a fading issue. He said elect him and he would repeal Obamacare. Watching the ad I wondered,"Why?" The ad doesn't say or explain so it is a dog whistle to the anti-Obama voter, who still can not explain why Obamacare should be repealed. 

++From the television coverage out in the Cleveland area, it is clear that it is not time yet for the electorate to pay attention to the general election. The airwaves were filled with sports--high school, college and the 1st Place Cleveland Indians. And remember this is a swing state.

++Over in Chicago, President Obama met with the NATO countries. Protestors showed up in force. Police conducted pre-emptive arrests of would-be protestors. Taking their charge from Phillip Dick, they raided houses where there were alleged protestors who hadn't protested yet. Luckily there was no Fred Hampton episode. But they did arrest 3 anarchists who were reportedly planning to bomb Rahm Emmanuel's house and the Obama campaign offices. I saw the news interview with the guy whose house they raided and who wasn't arrested. He said the bottles the cops took were used by him to make beer. In this day and age he's probably right.

++But, missing from this drama was the announcement that President Obama said "The war in Afghanistan is effectively over." So two wars down, Bin Laden dead, GM back, the depression temporarily averted. What more do you want from the guy?

++While away there was a resurgence of birtherism. Isn't it touchy that the Kenyan-born Moslem ended two ways, killed bin Laden, passed a healthcare law and nominated two women to the Supreme Court? Why didn't a white American do that? Anyway, the Arizona Attorney General, a member of the Romney election team, threatened to remove Obama from November's ballot if Obama didn't prove he was born in the United States. The Hawaiian Secretary of State is now fed up with these stunts and challenged his right to make such a judgement. Finally, yesterday they confirmed for the thousandth time Barack Hussein Obama was,indeed, born in Hawaii. The Arizona Attorney General apologized to his state. Meanwhile the Iowa State GOP adopted birtherism as its platform. I guess they ran out of ideas.  But don't worry Chief Arapaho has sent a member of his Posse to Hawaii to investigate fraud.

++Everybody is commenting that Karl Rove's Crosshairs America has produced a subtle ad that deficits and debt created the recession--of course under President Obama. A white housewife looks on as her sons--naturally--played basketball in the backyard and she worries whether they can pay back the debt. A real worry but somehow Karl is trying to persuade you that his former boss, George W. by cutting taxes for the wealthy had the right idea. 

++David Axelrod is blowing it. First, he said he would fire anyone on Team Obama who said Mitt Romney is weird. Then he has ruled Mormonism off-limits when he criticized Bill Maher for saying Mormonism is a cult, which it is. President Obama had previously ruled families off-limits. These guys are no fun.

++Cardinal Nolan told CBS news that President Obama had a stranglehold on the Catholic Church and that's why Catholic institutions are suing the administration for allowing birth control pills to be covered by private health insurance plans. Meanwhile in the 21st century, 90% of Americans believe birth control is moral. But no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition.

++But if you live in Missouri some pharmacists are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control pills. I wrote awhile back using the Guttmacher Institute numbers that there were over 900 laws being debated that limit women's reproductive rights. I was wrong--it is over 2,000.

++Finally along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I heard Romney ads attacking President Obama about dissing coal. Slight problem--there are more jobs in the coal sector today than at any time. 

++But speaking of Pennsylvania, Public Policy Polling (PPP) has their latest poll out with President Obama beating Willard Romney 50 to 42. The interesting tidbit is that if Romney chose Tom Ridge, he would pick up 5 points. No other Vice President choice helps him so much.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Who Has The Big Mo?

++Easy question--No one. Rumors are that both camps are keeping their big guns for later when the electorate pays attention. 

++A few developments which escape the news. The RNC and the Romney people are creating separate organizations to counter the state Republican parties in Nevada and Iowa, which have been taken over by Ron Paul people. Both states are vital for Romney and he is behind in both.

++Officially the RNC laughed off the Obama campaign's suggestions that Arizona would be in play this cycle. But they have since beefed up operations in that state just in case.

++The Obama campaign has revved up their plans against the recent ID voter laws passed by Republican state houses.

Now for polling, Obama still shows strength in his state polling numbers but North Carolina and Wisconsin are reasons for some concern. PPP has Obama 48 to Romney 47 in North Carolina, while Rasmussen has Romney at 51 and Obama at 43. In Wisconsin, the Marquette Law School has the presidential race tied at 46. 

A New Jersey poll has Obama with a 49 to 39 lead over Romney and with Christie as Vice President Obama wins 50 to 42.

Horse race polls are all over the map. Fox News has Obama at 46 over Romney's 39. The plurality of those voting for Romney are because he is not Barack Obama. 

YouGov has Romney winning with 46 and Obama at 42.
IBD/Christian Science Monitor poll has Obama at 43 and Romney at 40.
Gallup Tracking has it even at 45-45.
PPP has it Obama 48 and Romney 46.
Rasmussen Tracking has it Romney 47, Obama 46.
JZ Analytics has it Romney 44 and Obama 43. The real number is 43.6 Romney to 43.2 Obama.

So far Romney's favorables have picked up as a consequence of his winning the GOP nomination. I sense Obama's standing has gotten sluggish. I think he should be concerned about Wisconsin because the GOP is highly motivated to come out in the recall elections and that might spill over in November. Also North Carolina and Oregon (the poll was closer than expected). 

But to date it is like both candidates are just revving their engines.

The Metrosexual Abe Lincoln

++The right always blamed John McCain for not waging the "proper" campaign against President Obama in 2008. They urged more ads about Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers against then Senator Obama. Now they want to run it right. With SuperPacs springing up galore their dream may come true. The owner of the Chicago Cubs, a billionaire, reportedly considered an ad campaign against President Obama calling him a "Metrosexual Abe Lincoln". The 50 page plus memorandum outlining the ad campaign acknowledged that it could stir up some backlash. The thesis is that Rev. Wright was President Obama's mentor and therefore Obama can not make the right decisions for the country because he believes America is evil and wrong. This theme has run through the last three years as Republican candidate after candidate claimed that President Obama always apologized for America's actions and that President Obama did not believe in American exceptionalism. Word of this campaign proposed by a Republican operative who had worked on the McCain campaign today and now the sponsor retracted the idea. Naturally, the Obama campaign fund-raised over the news of a racist campaign and cut a short video outlining the plot.

++Mitt Romney had gently suggested that this campaign was wrong-headed but reporters asked him about his own remarks about President Obama and Jeremiah Wright on the Sean Hannity Show. He said that he didn't remembered them but he stood by them. In effect, he argued the same thing as the premise of the ads--President Obama is not a real American because he was under the influence of the "black liberation theology" of Jeremiah Wright.

++A side story to the latest Jeremiah Wright flap is that Wright has been organizing black counter-weights to the new black evangelical pastors who are preaching the "Gospel of Prosperity". 

++I thought the Wright ads might provoke a counter ad "Who is the Real Patriot?" This would contrast Wright's service in the Navy and LBJ crediting him with saving his life during one of his heart attacks to one presidential candidate who has no veterans in six generations of his family, whose fortune is in foreign banks, who has been a bishop of a cult that had a vow of vengeance against the United States until the late 1920s and who believes Jews can never get into heaven. With such attacks, you open the whole Mormon issue, which has been swept under the rug during the whole campaign. Naturally the Obama people won't do such a thing--too bad I would enjoy it.

++Karl Rove's America in the Cross-Hairs SuperPac launched a $24 million ad campaign against Obama claiming he broke several campaign promises. The Obama campaign immediately responded with a point by point refutation of the ad. One key element in the ad comes from Rove's concern that Obama has the advantage in the tax debate.The polling data shows that is true. He claims in the ad that Obama broke his pledge to cut middle-class taxes. This has been effective in the 2010 congressional elections. The fact is that President Obama and the Democrats really did cut middle-class taxes. This is one thing the Democrats will have to be on the watch for. There is a general public perception that taxes have actually risen over the past three years. False.

++Willard Romney launched an ad on the unemployed, which he could care less about. The problem was the character in the ad was a felon, who had been arrested 20 times over the years in Iowa. So wags raised the question whether President Obama should be responsible for getting this man a job.

++Romney tried to compare Bain creating 100,000 jobs to Obama losing 100,000 jobs in the auto bailout. Romney has been stuck trying to get out of the Bain attacks and trying to turn Obama's auto bailout plus into some kind of negative. For accuracy sake, Romney's own ads in his Senate race against Ted Kennedy claimed that his years at Bain created only 10,000 jobs. The attack on Obama is an old saw from the early days of the auto bailout when Republicans on the Hill claimed that auto dealerships were going out of business because they were not included in the deal. Always a murky and disputed point, somehow becomes a major talking point of a presidential candidate.

++Romney is really bugged by the Obama campaign's Bain ads. He is rattled. He called them "really off-target" and a "distraction". But he was greeted in Miami yesterday by ads in the local papers asking him why so many jobs were destroyed by Bain in Florida. As a result,his campaign refused to allow reporters to ask him questions during the daily events.

++Meanwhile in Ohio, Joe Biden went all working-class hero in a speech best titled "They don't Understand us" , which was a thumping recital of Romney's economic views and how any positive toward the middle class from any of his actions is accidental because he only cares about the rich. Biden got into thumping Romney's brag of claiming credit for the auto bailout. "That's like me getting credit for the landing on the moon." Note: 11% of Americans actually believe Romney had something to do with it.

++Romney has tried a new trick--he is taking the national debt clock around the country and naturally blaming President Obama for the national debt and saying the President hasn't done anything about it. In fact, much to Paul Krugman's chagrin, President Obama cut $1 trillion in programs and saved another with his healthcare reform and has $5 trillion in savings over the next 10 years. But the Democrats are slow in responding to Romney's charges. All they have to do is point out how the Romney and Ryan plans vastly increase the debt and give more tax breaks ti the super wealthy. This is an area where the Obama campaign needs to go on the offensive in a very specific way.

++A large plurality of Americans actually support Romney's plan for another 20% tax cut. What no one points out is how this distorts the already threatening inequality of wealth in the country and also how this vastly increases the national debt. It is still true that Republicans as a party really, honestly believe that tax cuts do not affect government revenues.

++Meanwhile in Washington,D.C. the Tan Man Boehner is making noises about another debt ceiling debate. Again, he argued for budget cuts but no additional new revenues. Timothy Geitner doesn't know what he's talking about since the debt ceiling issue doesn't come up until January of next year. Of course, it is all election year hijinks. 

++A last sobering thought. If there had not been the government budget cuts, the unemployment rate would be 7.1% today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Election Over:Dubya Backs Romney

++ George W said he was for Romney today. I thought he would do a bin Laden and back Obama.

++The Obama campaign,in my opinion, lost their cool today by protesting the CBS/New York Times poll that shows Romney beating Obama 46 to 43 and getting most of the women. There will be thousands more polls until November. Keep cool. Don't sweat it.

++Both campaigns beat each other up today over the competing Bain ads. Only serves to muddy the waters and cast doubt on Romney as a so-called "job creator".

++Rasmussen tracking has it 47 to 45 Romney; Gallup's tracking has it 46 to 45 Obama. 

++Today in history, John Kerry was up by 6 against George W. in 2004.

++Gallup has 56% Americans believing Obama will be re-elected and 36% Romney. During the last 4 presidential elections, this type of prediction by Americans has been accurate.

++Intratrade still has Obama winning with 59.5%. These are people betting real money.

++The Siena poll has Obama 57 to 37 over Romney.

++PPP has Obama 53 to Romney 41 in new Hampshire. Obama enjoys a huge gender gap. The lead is bigger than Obama's 2008 victory. If it held up, Romney would lose all of his home states except for his religious capital of Utah. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Michigan and California.

++PPP has a worrisome poll showing Obama beating Romney by only one point in Wisconsin 47 to 46.

++Romney is trying to get under Obama's skin by suggesting there is bad blood between Obama and the Clintons. A real play of GOP games with the Clintons in 2008 or just another attempt by thin-skinned Romney trying to project the same anger issues on Obama?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Trench Warfare

Since the general campaign opened May 5th, things have been happening fast and furious. First Obama's bin Laden ad with Romney expressing criticism of going into Pakistan infuriated the Republicans. Today, the Obama campaign launched a 2 minute ad in Swing States on Romney's at Bain Capital, showing how he destroyed GST. The key line was uttered by a former worker,"It was like watching an old friend bleed to death."

The Romney people, who have long anticipated this type of attack countered with an ad called "The American Dream" about how Romney saved Steel Dynamics. This was rebutted by the Obama Campaign who pointed out that Bain only had a minority stake in the company and that it received government subsidies and tax breaks to survive. 

By the end of the day Romney's people changed their statement he created 100,000s of jobs to thousands at Bain.

The Obama campaign has read the same polls everyone else have concerning the gender chasm and has exploited it through ads and posting what Obama has done for women on its website. Today, President Obama addressed the women of Barnard College and urged them not only to demand a place at the table but also to be head of the table. If you are Huffington Post, you think the key is his attacking the media,having replaced Jill Abrahamson, editor of the New York Times, as speaker. If you follow the recent debate over marriage equality, you hear his invocations of the key moments in the American civil rights movement--Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall. But if you are me, you hear his remarks on the digital generation and their prowess over us technological troglodytes.

Not without design, President Obama drew the indirect distinction between him and Mitt Romney, who spoke at Liberty University yesterday. Romney tried to bridge the gap between his Mormonism and the evangelical audience and invoked shared values and how these values sustained Western civilization. The culture war was on in earnest.

So far President Obama continues to direct the pace of the campaign. If you are a student of political campaigns, you'll notice how heavily the Obama campaign borrows its focus on Ted Kennedy's successful Senate run against Romney, a Romney then who was pro-choice and vowed to be more liberal on gays than Ted Kennedy. Ted Kennedy came from behind in that race because of the support from women. Apparently, that is an old Romney problem.

So we are treated to dueling Mother's Day ads by both candidates. 

Some things you can not anticipate in a campaign. Who knew about Romney being a bully in prep school? That his victim was probably gay only fed into the narrative set by President Obama with his declaration about same sex marriage. This incident set off a couple days of blather whether a bully would remember the incident, which Romney claims he doesn't. Then his apology by rote only compounded his problem. 

Does it really affect the election--no? But it does keep piling on details about a person of extraordinary privilege, who seems removed from reality. Even Doonesberry hit it off with a cartoon about one of his characters finally getting a job ask an operator of Romney's car elevator. Charles Pierce in Esquire called Romney the trust fund bully. With Seamus still in our memory, this all adds up and not in a good way. Romney has tried to share more "human" dimensions with his audiences but all are off-beat. He spoke about his niece getting help from her neighbors. Why didn't he help out.

Meanwhile on another planet Karl Rove has been airing millions of dollars worth of attack ads against President Obama, the latest on increasing the national debt. It was oh so much better under Karl's boss. But this doesn't seem to matter.

The Obama campaign jokes that the Republicans are hoping the American people will have amnesia by the time they vote. Unfortunately, they just might. Today's Gallup poll has Romney finally hitting a 51% favorability rating and being perceived by wide margins as most able to strengthen the economy. Ironic since JPMorgan just blundered with a gamble which will cost between $2 to 8 billion dollars. Romney has campaigned on repealing all of Dodd-Frank, which if the Volcker rule had been implemented would have prevented this latest error. Rinse Penis, the RNC Chairman, came out for less regulation on the banks. Romney modified his position to say only commonsense regulation. But it is unclear whether this return of the recent past will hurt the Republicans at all.

Reports from the field indicate that the Obama field operation is impressing even the pros. Former Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania has said that the operation is so pervasive Romney shouldn't even bother coming to Pennsylvania. Likewise, the large lead in Virginia has been bolstered by a growing field operation throughout the state. 

Why is this important? Because a key part of the Romney strategy is to force the Obama campaign to defend a state, which they have anticipated an easy victory in order to divert necessary resources. So far, this hasn't happened. The Obama campaign has launched a huge ad campaign in swing states, which have not been equally matched by Romney.

By mid-June, we should hit dry season and attention will evaporate until the conventions in the fall. Romney will capitalize on the 10th anniversary of the Salt Lake City Olympics to mount his largest rally and to create artificial momentum and the press will be obsessed with whom he picks as Vice President. So far insiders claim he wants a "ridiculously boring white male". The choices are Rob Portman from Ohio, TPaw Pawlenty from Minnesota, Mitch Daniel from Indiana and Governor McDonnell from Virginia. Depending on where Romney stands in Ohio, I expect Portman.

Kos' Electoral College Snapshot--May 14,2012

The Daily Kos' electoral snapshot is not their official polling function but a rough cut of the electoral college based on TPM poll tracker using polling composites. So the averages for states include everything from Rasmussen to one-off companies so they might be slightly off.

Today, the snapshot has President Obama beating Willard Romney 303 to 226. Even if you only added states where Obama is up more than 5 points, he sitting on 272 electoral votes. 

Since kos' last analysis, Romney has improved his ratings in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. The surprise is that Romney has picked up 13% in Colorado to tie it. The big caveat is that the state has been infrequently polled and the last poll was by a Republican operative. So Colorado is considered tied. Romney is now considered winning Arizona, which most people thought was probable despite the Obama campaign's latest entry into the state. Romney just barely edges out Obama in Florida, and while he still trails, he has gained in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. 

This could be the evening out of the race as the GOP wrapped up its contest. 

But the interesting opposite is that President Obama gained 3.1 in Pennsylvania and 1.9 in Virginia, where he remains steady and ahead. 

But so far, Romney is struggling in the two must-win states for him--Florida and Ohio. 

As we just got off the starting blocks, President Obama is in decent shape.