Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

 

Mike Lee of utah - one of a number of tea Party representatives facing an uncertain future

Mike Lee of utah – one of a number of tea Party representatives facing an uncertain future

 

Fascinating article on Bloomberg making the same case that we have been making for some time that the grassroots Republican Party, and its central establishment, faced with increasing irrelevance, will turn on its recently-minted hard-right, Tea Party-supported Senators and Congresspeople.

The article is fair and reasonable as it nevertheless draws a bead on the Tea Party reps. As with this paragraph:

The meltdown on Capitol Hill doesn’t mean the end of the Tea Party. In fact, most of those lawmakers accurately point out that they are doing what the constituents in their painfully drawn, one-sided, overwhelmingly white, aging, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, science-denying districts want. Still, there are emerging signs — from declining poll numbers to the breach with the Republican Party’s traditional business allies — that the act is getting old. Mess with Democratic totems such as Social Security and nutritional programs for pregnant mothers, send Sarah Palin to Washington periodically to pour salt on open wounds, but don’t mess with Treasury bills and the markets.

We believe the article captures a key issue: the alarm felt in the business community, locally in the US and worldwide, at the prospect of an American default. In simple terms, those who recognise the scale of the looming disaster seem to be saying ‘this far and no further”.

What is interesting now is what will happen to Tea Party lawmakers in 2014 and in pre-selections/primaries.

One case the article singles out is:

Senator Mike Lee of Utah, a Tea Party darling since his surprising defeat in 2010 of Robert Bennett, a beloved conservative senator. He’s become sidekick to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, chiming in during the recent filibuster about a childhood accident and his dream of being a pirate.

Lee is one of the new lawmakers who have been dubbed “wacko birds” by Senator John McCain of Arizona. Karl Rove said Lee’s scorched-earth strategy was “the one tactic that might be able to guarantee that the Democrats pick up seats in the Congress in 2014.” Even Lee’s friend and Capitol Hill roommate, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, refused to back his plan to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Lee’s favorable rating has dropped 10 percentage points since a June Brigham Young University poll, which – important note – doesn’t skew liberal. More than half of Utah voters see him unfavorably; 57 percent said he should be more willing to compromise. In a separate survey, a majority of Utah voters now disapprove of the Tea Party’s influence.”

Josh Romney

Josh Romney

What makes this particular seat really interesting is that Lee will be challenged from his left. And fascinatingly, Josh Romney is one of the options waiting in the wings. Back in June the telegenic son of former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said in an interview with KSL that he wouldn’t rule out a potential run for office in the future.

“I’m not ruling anything in or out,” Romney told the Salt Lake City station. “But obviously, having spent the last couple of years on the political trail, it’s hard to give all that up.”

He continued, “I haven’t made any decisions on anything like that … I’m just really focused on my family and work right now and not looking at any particular office.”

Even if Lee survives a primary contest, there’s an excellent chance that Democratic Representative Jim Matheson — who’s been gerrymandered into unwinnable districts twice but still wins — could win a statewide race in the reddest state in the country.

Utah Republicans have been heading toward buyer’s remorse for some time. At last year’s convention in Salt Lake City, a robust 125,000 Republicans turned out. This was a reaction to the 2010 convention, when 50,000 Tea Party activists took over and eliminated Bennett in favor of Lee. By 2012, the establishment was back in charge, and Bennett got a long and loud standing ovation. At that same convention, Senator Orrin Hatch easily won the nomination and re-election.”

94bMeanwhile, the political ambitions of Mitt Romney’s son have long been an open secret.

One of the funniest moments of the 2012 election was when he became the unwitting star of a short-lived by amusing satirical meme that sprang from his intense look of concentration – well, that’s the polite way of describing it – while watching President Obama make mincemeat of his Dad in the second Presidential debate.

If Romney the Younger gets up in Utah, no doubt the meme will be revivified. Which is slightly unfair, as the man himself seems like a perfectly respectable, mainstream GOP type, and not at all like the menacing lunatic of one unfortunate photo. Still, such are the joys of public life, especially in America. No doubt he’ll laugh it off.

 

Michael Moore

Rowdy, unashamed, unabashed, curmudgeonly, grumpy, trouble-making, not to mention resolutely overweight and ugly. My type of guy in other words.

 

It has long been my opinion, born of both commonsense and practical experience, that elections are actually won away from the flashing lights and razzamattaz of national media coverage and TV ads by legions of worker bees toiling away patiently on doorsteps, on the telephone, in cars giving lifts to voters, and with their neighbours and friends.

I arrive at this opinion from many years slogging round the streets for the Liberal Party in the UK – then a tiny outpost of insanity or sanity depending on your point of view – where we had no money but endless enthusiasm, no press support but brilliant organisation, and a ruthless obsession with getting our vote out.

Simon Hughes

My good friend Simon Hughes, first elected to Parliament in the Bermondsey by-election of 24 February 1983. Hughes won the seat with 57.7% of the vote.

That obsession was, more than anything else, the genesis of so many of those “unexpected” Liberal or Liberal-SDP victories in by-elections that no one saw coming – except, of course, those of us in the eye of the hurricane, who knew full well that our “ground game”  was infinitely superior and we were going to win. Seasoned campaigners like Trevor “Jones the Vote” from Liverpool and Peter Chegwyn – from seemingly everywhere – and many other unsung luminaries – rigidly marshalled their ranks of duffle-coated apparatchiks to deliver “shock” victory after shock victory, built on the back of superbly targeted local issues. In seats as diverse as Sutton and Cheam, Liverpool Edge Hill, Ripon, Isle of Ely, Croydon NE, Glasgow Hillhead, Bermondsey and Crosby these victories galvanised public opinion and kept a small party alive.

Years later in Australia, dismayed by the antiquated centralised campaigning I saw around me, I wrote a pamphlet on “Community Politics”  which in one form or another was enthusiastically taken up by the then Australian Democrats, and then later to a lesser extent by the Labor Party and the Greens, and even a few forward-thinking Conservative politicians as well.

Anyhow, opening my in-box this morning, I found an email from documentary film-maker Michael Moore.

He points unerringly to the manner in which President Obama will definitely gain re-election. As that, I firmly believe, will be good for America and for the world, I commend his remarks too you.

Now is the time for action, not words.

“I have a personal favor I’d like to ask each of you. We all know the election next Tuesday is going to be very close. But I’ve got an idea that could help put President Obama over the top.
I want you – yes, YOU, the person reading this right now – to get ONE of your fellow Americans who would not otherwise vote to show up at the polls and support Obama.
Here’s the math: there are upwards of five million of you seeing this, via email, on my website, on the Huffington Post and all over the internet. There are 1.2 million following me on Twitter. I’ve got almost 700,000 Facebook friends.
I want just one million of you to convince just ONE person each – one person who’s planning NOT to vote – to go to the polls and vote for Barack Obama. That’s it. And those million extra votes could make all the difference in what will be a very tight election – and it will save us from a tragic return to the Bush years.
Do you realize that there are 90 million people who are planning to NOT vote next Tuesday? That’s according to a poll conducted by USA Today. 90,000,000!! It’s a shocking number, isn’t it? In the old days we’d just label these people as apathetic or stupid. Not anymore. They don’t need our admonition – they need our empathy.
The non-voter today knows exactly what’s going on, and he or she wants no part of it. They are discouraged, disillusioned, and have almost lost hope that things will change. Many are jobless or working for peanuts. They’re angry, and we should tell them they have every right to be.
But here’s something else about them: despite everything, they haven’t utterly given up on politics. When USA Today asked the non-voters who they’d choose if they HAD to vote for someone in this election, 18% said they would vote for Romney – and 43% said they’d vote for Obama! That means there are nearly 40 million people who prefer Obama – AND THEY ARE NOT GOING TO VOTE.
The other question they were asked was, what would it take to get you to vote? 85% of the pro-Obama non-voters said they would go vote IF they thought the election was going to be really close and that their vote would actually make the difference.
This is, for all its frustrating logic, incredibly good news. So our job for the next six days is clear: We – you and me – have to bring a little over 1% of the 90 million non-voters to the polls. If we do we’ll send Romney packing back to New Hampshire/Massachusetts/California or wherever he’s going to build car elevators next.
The time to convince undecideds to vote for Obama is over. All it’s about now is whose supporters simply show up. The side that does the best job of literally dragging people out of their homes between 6:00 AM and 8:00 PM on Tuesday, November 6th is the side that wins.
Each of us knows Obama-supporting non-voters. They’re your cousin, your coworker, your friend from the choir at church. Identify just one of them (best of all if they’re in a swing state) and pledge to get them to the polls. You can try to convince them with all the good arguments as to why they should vote for the O (click here), but I think the best way to do this is to ask them personally, just this once, to do this for you. Not for the country. For you.
Then, once they’ve committed to vote, make a commitment to them: that you are not going to be silent after Tuesday, that you are going to keep fighting like hell (including, when need be, fighting Obama) every single day after the election for them, for you and for all of us.
So, that is your mission – YOURS, the person reading this right this second. Bring just one non-voter to the polls. Easy! Do it and be known as part of the group that defeated Mitt “Bush #3″ Romney and gave Barack Obama another term – and another chance to do what we sent him there to do. “

Er … Wot he said.

 rape victims

“I can’t say it’s your own fault any more, so we’ll blame it on God.”

The following article, from the excellent Emily Hauser, argues quite correctly that this Republican politician has done the world, and America voters, a great service.

From Todd Aiken to here is a straight line. Because here, for once, unambiguously, is the argument laid out for all to see. And that argument is: if you get raped, and you get pregnant, then it is what God intended, and you are honour-bound to carry that child to term and give birth. (No word yet on whether God intended you to bring the child up as well.)

This is nothing new: the recent kerfuffle in the news about Todd Akin was simply because he said out loud what he and his colleagues think but aren’t supposed to say.  Todd Akin simply said out loud what his voting record and the voting record of his conservative colleagues  showed for years.  Three weeks before he walked straight into a shit-storm 203 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to prohibit abortions even in cases of rape or incest. And earlier this year the Republican party didn’t want to extend funding of $455 million a year for rape crisis centers that already are being funded on the books.  They felt it was excessive use of government spending and an over-reach in the size of the federal government (source); it only passed when the Republican leadership said that this would damage the GOP politically.

And in February of this year – Fox News said the Pentagon was spending too much money to defend women soldiers from rape (source) even though a woman soldier is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire (source).

Well, turning to this story, I have a degree in Theology, I am a democrat (note the small D, despite my feelings about this particular election), and I am a man.

On all three counts, I respect this man’s right to express his point of view.

But I also unalterably and completely reject his nonsense as yet another product of the Neanderthal extremist hyper-religious right in America, typified by lunatic old neo-fascists masquerading as Roman Catholic archbishops, raving “pastors” of mainly Southern extreme Protestant cliques, and all the rest of the literalistic fundamentalist Christians that America delights in nurturing.

Just let’s consider this argument carefully. ” Rape is something God intended to happen.”

Apart from how I feel that insults God, it’s only a very small step from that complete abrogation and abnegation of intellectual responsibility to argue that “Slavery is something God intended to happen.”  Or “the Holocaust is something God intended to happen.”

The inevitable result of blaming everything on God is we don’t NEED to improve the world ourselves. Well, we can try, of course, but if we happen to fail, well, fuck it – it’s God’s will that we fail, and we can all just accept the consequences.

My dear old Mother would have had a response to that. She would have said, in her delightful Welsh brogue, ” Well, Stephen, God helps those who help themselves.” Meaning, not that we are all supposed to become uber-rich by asset stripping companies, but that God does not, in fact, carefully orchestrate every lifetime moment of every human being on the planet, and he looks to us to look after not only the planet, but ourselves, and our societies.

Hell yes there’s a reason to vote for Obama in this election, and it is to keep nut-cases like this guy and his comrades out of power. And out of your bedroom, and out of your bodies.

Women of America: don’t say you weren’t warned …

Romney/Ryan, abortion, and the humanity of women. (And church and state, too).

Yesterday I had the honor of being on a panel with Daniel Ellsberg on HuffPost Live, and the good fortune to be given the opportunity to talk about how, in fact, the little matter of which party sits in the White House is hugely important to American women, because there’s one party that treats 50% of this nation’s citizens as autonomous people, and one party that doesn’t.

Then a little later in the day, this was reported:

Defending his stance that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape, [Indiana Treasurer/candidate for US Senate Richard] Mourdock explained that pregnancy resulting from non-consensual sex is the will of God.

“I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” Mourdock said. “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

And I honestly found it refreshing. Because Richard Mourdock said, out loud and for all to hear, that which so many of these anti-choice culture warriors carry in their hearts: This is God’s will, and if you abort any pregnancy, regardless of its provenance, you are acting to thwart the Almighty Himself.

This isn’t about compassion for the poor witless woman who might not know what she’s missing out on if you don’t force her to undergo state-sanctioned rape in the form of a trans-vaginal ultrasound; this isn’t even, really, about human life. This is about the will of God, and the belief held by a great many people that humans are required to bend to that will — and that for women, there’s a lot more will to go around:

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man…. [A man] the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 1 Corinthians 11:3 & 7

To be clear: There are millions upon millions of Christians who have grappled with verses like those I’ve just quoted and come to an understanding of their faith and Scripture that support women’s equality and our right to bodily autonomy. (And just to be clearer still: I believe that all modern-day monotheism, including my own, requires this kind of grappling, because none of our Scriptures are without ugliness).

But the Christians standing at the head of the American right wing are not that kind of Christian, and they’re the ones we’re facing.

God is above man, and man is above woman. If you were raped, that’s not cool (in no small part because rape is equated with sex, and a woman’s sexuality belongs to the man she married/will marry), but if that rape made you pregnant? Well, that’s what God wanted. And women who attempt to thwart God’s will are not only making God really really mad, they are upsetting the natural order of things, and that cannot be allowed.

I think it’s helpful to be told flat-out that this is what we’re battling. Many anti-choice activists may honestly believe that they’re acting to protect children (though I might argue that if they really want to protect children, they might consider the needs of the fetus after it becomes a baby, but I digress), but leaders of the anti-choice movement are acting to protect what they know to be the Divine order.

But I live in a secular nation. I live in a country where the separation of church and state is written into law. I live in a place where your knowledge of the Divine order should have absolutely no legal bearing on my life.

There is one party that agrees with that notion, and one party — the vice-presidential candidate of which stands behind some of the most extreme anti-choice bills on the American scene – that does not.

One party that is working — however fitfully, however imperfectly — to protect the right of half of this country’s citizens to be legally recognized as humans with autonomy over their own bodies, and one party working to declare zygotes legal people, to require physicians to lie to patients about the established medical facts of abortion, and to allow hospitals to deny abortions to women even when their lives are in immediate danger.

This is not about the medical procedure called “abortion.” This is about the separation of church and state, and it is about allowing women to be human.

Don’t tell me the parties are the same. 

Update: Mitt Romney taped an endorsement for Mourdock on Monday, but his campaign told TPM yesterday that Mourdock’s views do not reflect Romney’s. And yet for all that, the campaign has said today that it has not asked Mourdock to pull the ad. So.

There’s that.

First ever cover of the New Yorker in 1925. Now published 47 times a year, it has a fine literary tradition.

There is a curious tradition in America where journals and newspapers of all kinds “endorse” (or support) one or other of the leading candidates for President.

For example, there was an amused titter the other day, for example, when a leading Utah newspaper (Utah being the “Mormon” state) came out against Romney calling him untrustworthy. Ooops.

This endorsing of candidates is a phenomenon seen around the world, but it is engaged in somewhat desultorily in other democracies, and rarely to any great effect.

Probably the only time of any great note recently in the non-US English-speaking world was when the Sun newspaper under Rupert Murdoch switched from the Tories under John Major and backed Labour’s Tony Blair. But in general, it rarely means anything much except in the USA.

The New Yorker is an august production, with a fine tradition of both political cartooning and political comment, as well as a diverse range of articles on other topics. It is not, however, it must be said, hugely influential any more, although it is highly respected. Although its reviews and events listings often focus on the cultural life of New York City, The New Yorker has a wide audience outside of New York. It is well known for its illustrated and often topical covers, its commentaries on popular culture and eccentric Americana, its attention to modern fiction by the inclusion of short stories and literary reviews, its rigorous fact checking and copy editing, its journalism, and its single-panel cartoons sprinkled throughout each issue.

It is a shame, really, that it is less influential than in the past, because it has just delivered one of the finest pieces of political writing I have come across in a very, very long time. It is well-researched, sparsely written, convincing and relevant. And sure, it endorses Obama, and I have made no secret of my passion for having the President re-elected.

But that is not why I suggest you read it.

In a world bedevilled by sound bites and the dumbing down of politics it stands out as principled, erudite, and yet easy to understand by all and sundry.

What an example it sets for us all. Honestly, if anyone can find a comparable piece of writing endorsing Romney I promise I will republish it. I strongly urge you to read this whatever your political persuasion.

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2012/10/29/121029taco_talk_editors?mbid=nl_Weekly+%2827%29

The final paragraph gives you an insight into its quality.

The re-election of Barack Obama is a matter of great urgency. Not only are we in broad agreement with his policy directions; we also see in him what is absent in Mitt Romney—a first-rate political temperament and a deep sense of fairness and integrity. A two-term Obama Administration will leave an enduringly positive imprint on political life. It will bolster the ideal of good governance and a social vision that tempers individualism with a concern for community. Every Presidential election involves a contest over the idea of America. Obama’s America—one that progresses, however falteringly, toward social justice, tolerance, and equality—represents the future that this country deserves.

Yup. What he said.

Can you spell A-I-R-C-R-A-F-T C-A-R-R-I-E-R?

The funniest (and pithiest) moment in last night’s US Presidential debate was Obama comprehensively making Romney look like a total idiot on the future of the US Navy.

This great article on Think Progress not only shows (in a very useful graphic) that Obama has actually done a great job of protecting the US Navy’s interests, but also replays the relevant segment of the debate for us all to enjoy again.

If you haven’t seen it, this moment may well be considered historic in the future – do yourself a favour and click on the link and watch.

http://thinkprogress.org/lbupdate/1067981/our-ship-production-is-just-fine/

#horsesandbayonets is the leading Twitter item in the US right now, hours after the debate. I reckon this is – just possibly – a gotcha moment.

And I will say again what I have said before – if the Obama of Debate #2 and #3 had turned up in Debate #1, this thing wouldn’t even be a race right now.

And by the middle of this week, it might not be so again.

#horsesandbayonets indeed

Opinion polls

Down the end of this docco – well, a bit more than halfway thru -  are the actual current USA polls, without anyone cherry picking them, and the dates on which they were taken.

It should be noted that the second Presidential debate was on the 16th. The clear controversy is the difference between the Rasmussen and Gallup Polls, (the latter which has been criticised because of its sampling type and as a result of having a track record of being incorrectly inflative to the GOP) and the IBD and HC/UConn and ABC polls. The last four, being entirely pre-second debate can probably be discounted.

If we discount the Gallup poll change by 50% down to +3 (which of course is arguable, but also less of a discount than indicated by its previous performance – it over-estimated McCain by +9% at one point last time) and make it Romney +3, and then average the results for the top four polls, then the result is Romney +2 and Obama +3.

And I am GUESSING this is about right. I predicted about a 1% increase for Obama over his low point int he aftermath of the Debate #1 debacle. I expect to see the trend continue after a win for Obama on Monday night, but that is pure star-gazing.

But in my opinion, something else is happening too. As always happens in tight races, both sides are shoring up support in their stronger areas. Thus a state like NC for example, where Bush won very easily, and in which Obama squeaked home last time, is, in my opinion, not really “leaning” Romney but should be thoroughly placed in his camp. However, that doesn’t really help him win, because he’s piling up votes in a state which he really should win easily anyway. Similarly, Obama is comfortably ahead in Michigan, but so he damn well should be, since he bought into the car industry and also won it by 16% last time.

The fact that a state like Virginia is a dead heat at the moment should be very concerning for the GOP. I think it will go to Romney, but given it’s importance, and given Bush won it by 8.1 and 8.2%, and Obama by 6.3% (which is around his current fall in the polls) it should surely be comfortably trending towards Romney now. But it isn’t.

The fight in the battleground states is much tighter than it is in the homebase states. One word of wisdom – back in the Democratic primaries before 2008, Obama beat Clinton by concentrating his support in the key battleground states, and conceding states that didn’t matter. Democrat investment in Ohio – which should, by national polling, be long gone from the Obama camp – shows they are doing it again.

Rasmussen Tracking         10/17 – 10/19                  Romney +1
Gallup Tracking                 10/13 – 10/19                  Romney +6
IBD/TIPP Tracking         10/14 – 10/19                   Obama  +3
Hartford Courant/UConn   10/11 – 10/16             Obama  +3

ABC News/Wash Post 1    0/10 – 10/13                    Obama +3
Politico/GWU/Battleground    10/7 – 10/11         Obama +1
Monmouth/SurveyUSA/Braun 10/8 – 10/10      Romney +1
FOX News    10/7 – 10/9                                                Romney +1

In short, I believe Obama is just one good debate away from being home again. Whereas I believe Romney is one GREAT debate – plus some problems for Obama plus a better organisation on the ground (which he doesn’t have) plus getting lucky in every battleground state in the country … from being home.

The odds, whatever GOP operatives and supporters would have us believe, are still very pro-Obama. Tonight. Tomorrow? Who knows.

I’ll say this too. I think the GOP will be delighted to have hurt Obama, to have defended many seats around the country, to be “back in the game”, and in the process to have got rid of the uncomfortable and disliked Romney. A few more years to knock the edges of Ryan (or someone similar) and they think they’ll be back in for a generation. And they well may be right.

Stephen "Yolly" Yolland:

 

OK. Now tell me again, Romney plans to beat this guy how, exactly? Pfffft.

Romnesia. Bwahahahahahahaha …

Roll on Monday.

Originally posted on Emily L. Hauser - In My Head:

My friend Angry Black Lady has this up at her place, but I feel a veryvery powerful need to have it up at my own, too.

FOR IT IS SO MANY KINDS OF AWESOME THAT I CANNAE COUNT THAT HIGH.

(Heh! He is so getting into it at the end there!)

View original

Obama and Romney

“I hate your tie.” “Well, I hate your tie more.”

That the race for the White House has tightened is undoubted. That it is still likely Obama will get back seems probable.

This article explains the current situation well, taking the likely feelings over the second deabte and translating them into likely results. Polls released in the next few days will be helpful too, and, of course, the last debate on Monday is shaping up to be very significant.

It is also going to be significant, I think, that it is on Foreign Policy.

Romney is not as strong here as Obama, it is widely acknowledged, and Obama’s anger at Romney going after him on the Benghazi incident was one of his strongest moments in Debate 2. “I find that offensive” he snarled, eyes flashing, and suddenly the man looked every inch a President and Commander-in-Chief. Looking every inch a President and Commander-in-Chief is exactly what he needs to do to get re-elected, so Monday will be interesting to say the least. Anyway, for someone’s views other than mine you would do worse than to read this excellent summary:

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/17/instant-reaction-polls-show-narrow-obama-advantage-in-second-debate/

What does interest me in this article and much recent analysis is that Romney appears to be doing better in Florida than I expected, (where I have been regularly predicting a Democrat scare campaign on Medicare – although maybe the on the ground campaign is yet to begin in earnest, and volunteers – who make up the bulk of party workers – really get energised in the last couple of weeks), not as well in Virginia as he needs to be at this stage, and definitely not as well in Ohio (where he is being massively outspent on TV by Obama).

As he has to win all three states to win, I stick with my prediction that he can’t. Win. But heigh ho, forecasting elections is a tricky business, and I may yet have egg on my face.

What is also clear is that one major implosion by either candidate now will not leave time for a recovery.

One side note: the Fox News panel of undecided voters was actually made up of of EX Obama supporters – not drawn from the ranks of the genuine undecideds or independents. Not surprisingly, despite everyone else calling it for Obama by one margin or another, these actively disillusioned voters felt Romney did well and looked “Presidential”. What next, if Romney falters? A panel of tea party supporters?

What a bizarre pretence of journalism that network really is. Rupert Murdoch – busy tweeting his support of Romney, no less – take yet another bow for what you have done to our body politic.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney – Mr Nice Guy’s mask slips, possibly terminally

Whilst no one with any commonsense would argue that the size of the American Government needs to be trimmed to match more closely the productivity of the country, an interesting attitude from the man who would be President for all Americans – and not just those worth millions and billions of dollars – is now on public display for all to see.

As AFP report from Washington, Mitt Romney’s campaign was rocked Monday by a secretly filmed video in which the Republican tells rich Republican Party donors that nearly half of Americans are government-dependent ‘victims’ who dodge taxes.

President Barack Obama’s team quickly seized on the film, released by the liberal Mother Jones magazine, as proof that the multi-millionaire Romney had written off half the nation, and was not fit to serve as president.

The video was the latest blow to the Romney team as it fought off reports that the Republican’s White House bid is in disarray, as he struggles to close a small but growing and consistent gap to Obama in national polls and battleground states.

In excerpts from the video, which has emerged 50 days before the November 6 election, Romney is seen to say in a closed-door, private fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans will vote for the president “no matter what.”

“There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

“These are people who pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

I find this attitude astonishing, but it is great to see the bullsh*t stripped from the carefully-posed performances that have characterised the uber-rich billionaire’s campaign so far. Here, laid bare for all to see (except those who don’t wish to) is the reality of the new ultra-right Republican party’s attitude to the American people.

Of course, if Americans are in receipt of Government care, it doesn’t mean that they are entirely dependent on the Government. It can be anything from medical support, education and retraining, to the more desperate needs of unemployment benefit, to food staples delivered (via food stamps) to people who would otherwise, literally, be in danger of starving, starving. In the richest country in the world.

Wellthisiswhatithink asks: Is it beyond the wit and ability of the right to understand many millions of people receiving some sort of welfare support are EX tax payers who are now GETTING THEIR TAXES BACK AGAIN – loaned to the Government to do with whatever it wishes – to survive in a tough period? Frankly, I would have thought that small government right wingers would approve of that concept?

“President Romney” is, thank goodness, looking increasingly unlikely. Because increasingly he looks like a buffoon, and not a very nice one at that. As one Bloomberg correspondent put it today:

You can mark my prediction now: A secret recording from a closed-door Mitt Romney fundraiser, released today by Mother Jones, has killed Mitt Romney’s campaign for President.

On the tape, Romney explains that his electoral strategy involves writing off nearly half the country as unmoveable Obama voters. As Romney explains, 47 percent of Americans “believe that they are victims.” He laments:  “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

So what’s the upshot? “My job is not to worry about those people,” he says. He also notes, describing President Obama’s base, “These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax.”

This is an utter disaster for Romney.

Romney already has trouble relating to the public and convincing people he cares about them. Now, he’s been caught on video saying that nearly half the country consists of hopeless losers.

Romney has been vigorously denying President Obama’s claims that his tax plan would raise taxes on the middle class. But now, he’s been caught on video suggesting that low- and middle-income Americans are undertaxed.

(That one is especially problematic given the speculation about what’s on Mitt’s unreleased pre-2010 tax returns.)

Corn tells us there are more embarrassing moments on segments of the video he hasn’t released yet. For example, Romney jokes that he’d be more likely to win the election if he were Hispanic. And he makes some awkward comments about whether he was born with a “silver spoon” in his mouth.

But those are survivable. The really disastrous thing is the clip about “victims,” and the combination of contempt and pity that Romney shows for anyone who isn’t going to vote for him.

Romney is the most opaque presidential nominee since Nixon, and people have been reduced to guessing what his true feelings are.

This video provides an answer: He feels that you’re a loser. It’s not an answer that wins elections.

Poll: Obama widens lead over Romney despite weaker jobs data – see the end of this article for 17 Sept update confirming trend is in Obama’s favour.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today. I think Ryan looks too young to run. Oh, sorry, my bad. (Photo credit: tvnewsbadge)

As predicted in the pages of Wellthisiswhatithink a few days ago, Obama has done better out of the conference season than Romney. The scheduling of the Democrat convention immediately after the Republican one may come to be seen as a strategic masterstroke when the experts parse the result of a Democrat win in November.

The President widened his narrow lead over Republican U.S. presidential challenger Mitt Romney in a new Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Saturday.

The latest daily tracking poll showed Obama with a lead of 4 percentage points over Romney. Forty-seven percent of 1,457 likely voters surveyed online over the previous four days said they would vote for Obama if the November 6 elections were held today, compared with 43 percent for Romney.

“The bump is actually happening. I know there was some debate whether it would happen, but it’s here,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark, referring to the “bounce” in support that many presidential candidates enjoy after nominating conventions.

Obama had leapfrogged Romney in the daily tracking poll on Friday with a lead of 46 percent to 44 percent.

The president’s lead comes despite a somewhat mixed reaction to his convention speech on Thursday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Friday’s government data showing that jobs growth slowed sharply last month.

Obama’s lead over Romney is comparable to Romney’s former lead over the president after the Republican National Convention finished last week, Clark said.

“We don’t have another convention now to turn our attention to, so (Obama’s bounce) may maintain,” Clark said. “How big it’ll be and how long it will last remains to be seen.”

I am frankly surprised that the candidates aren’t closer this week, and in my opinion, as I explained the other day, the bounce will become slightly more pronounced next week, as this week’s averaged polls drop off polls from when Obama was in a comfortable lead.

From that point on, it is Obama’s election to lose. The difficulty for the Republicans is that the next major opportunity for them to draw blood is the debates, and these will almost certainly favour Obama, as, regardless of one’s political bias, he is clearly a stronger candidate than Romney – more charismatic, more likeable, and despite the mixed scorecard for the first term of his Presidency, appearing more capable. This is born out when one analyses the poll’s investigation of specific qualities of the two candidates.

Obama increased his lead over Romney in certain favorable characteristics. Asked who was more “eloquent,” 50 percent of the 1,720 registered voters questioned in the poll favored Obama, compared to 25 percent for Romney. Asked about being “smart enough for the job,” 46 percent sided with Obama compared to 37 percent for Romney.

In fact, Obama led Romney in a dozen such favorable characteristics, such as “represents America” or “has the right values.”

The only such category in which Romney had an advantage was being “a man of faith,” as 44 percent picked Romney, who is Mormon, compared to 31 percent for Obama, who is Christian, but who is dogged by rumours spread by his opponents, completely unfounded, that he secretly a Muslim.

The Democratic National Convention itself received a rather muted response in the poll. Of those registered voters who had heard, seen or read at least something about it, 41 percent rated it as “average” and 29 percent as “good.”

The Republican National Convention that wrapped up August 30 in Tampa, Florida similarly was rated slightly worse: “average” by 38 percent and “good” by 27 percent in Saturday’s polling results. Although these two results seem “nip and tuck”, this is actually further evidence of a setback for the republicans, who needed to attract a couple of percentage points from the very small group of “undecideds” in order to be competitive.

This election is close, but barring a disaster, should be won by Obama with a reasonable margin. As Harold Wilson said, however, “a week is a long time in politics”. That makes nearly two months a veritable aeon, in a world where the effect of banana skins are amplified tenfold by the voracity of the media.

In any two horse race, either can win, because one can falter or fall. But as we speak, Obama looks like he is a few furlongs from home with a handy lead.

Material sourced from Reuters. The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

UPDATE 17 SEPTEMBER 2012 10.50PM AEST

As predicted – almost to the day – by this column, Obama’s bounce has solidified in key battleground states this week. Here is the data:

As the Monitor’s Liz Marlantes reported last Friday, Obama’s post-convention bounce apparently endures, most significantly in key battleground states.

According to a new set of NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls, Obama is now leading Romney by 7 points in Ohio and 5 points in Florida and Virginia, and the RealClearPolitics polling average right now has Obama up by 4.2 percentage points in Ohio, 1.3 points in Florida, and 0.4 points in Virginia.

(Note, if Romney does not win Florida then he needs a clean sweep of all the other battleground states to beat Obama – highly unlikely.)

A Philadelphia Inquirer poll released Saturday has Obama leading Romney in Pennsylvania, 50 percent to 39 percent, reports Politico.

“Pennsylvania Democrats are more consolidated behind Obama, with 77 percent in favor of Obama and 13 percent in favor of Romney, while Republicans are 18 percent in favor of Obama and 71 percent in favor of Romney,” according to the poll press release.

“Following the conventions, Obama’s favorability rating has increased by 3 points, while his unfavorable rating has decreased by 6 points. Opinions of Romney have improved slightly following the conventions, but he still has a net negative personal popularity rating among voters in state, with 46 percent favorable/48 percent unfavorable rating.”

Politico also reports on an internal Republican poll that has Romney behind by 4 points in Ohio, not as bad as his 7-point deficit in the NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls but behind in the key battleground state nonetheless.

“The numbers underline Romney’s longstanding problems in Ohio, where he’s taken a beating from Obama’s campaign and liberal groups,” writes Politico’s Jonathan Martin.

“But it’s actually a sign of the depth of Romney’s hole in the state that the results were greeted favorably by Republicans. Polling in Ohio before the conventions last month showed Romney with an even larger deficit, closer to double-digits.”

The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll of likely voters has Obama widening his advantage to 7 points, a gap that’s been increasing since the Democratic convention. “What that really means is that Obama is in good shape,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.

“Thursday’s online poll also found far more registered voters preferred the incumbent’s policies and approach on taxes (41 percent picked Obama, 30 percent Romney), healthcare (44 percent Obama, 28 percent Romney) and Social Security (39 percent Obama, 27 percent Romney),” Reuters reported.

Obama appears to be winning in foreign affairs, too. “Asked which of the candidates had a better plan, policy or approach to the war on terrorism, more registered voters again favored Obama: 39 percent to Romney’s 25 percent.” (Note that the poll was taken two days after the attack on the US consulate in Libya.)

One sleeper poll that may have particular importance given the tension between the US and Israel over drawing a “red line” regarding Iran’s nuclear facilities: Obama has extended his lead among registered Jewish voters to 70-25 percent, according to unreleased Gallup daily tracking poll data reported by BuzzFeed.

“The data, obtained through a Democratic source, shows Obama up from leading 64-29 in polling this spring – and on par with his 2008 performance at this point when he led 69-25 over John McCain in Gallup polling,” reports BuzzFeed.

Official photographic portrait of US President...

President Barack Obama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

Mitt Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the really interesting things about this US election is that the Democrat convention follows directly on the back of the Republican one, which is unusual in modern times.

That’s because the standing bounce – or increase – expected in a party’s support after a party convention is about 5%.

And in order to be competitive in November, Romney really needs that bounce. Whilst there has been some small movement towards the GOP in recent weeks (which frankly is more reflective of a generalised disinterest in either candidate or party), he is a man badly in need of the “Big Mo”.

To win, he has to look like a winner, or at very least, a real contender.

Why? Simply because it’s a well known fact that, in America as elsewhere, people like to vote on the winning side. Enough people want to be part of the winning tribe that they can tip a close election decisively one way or the other.

That’s why pro-GOP outlets like Fox News constantly talk up Romney’s chances. They need to convince people he has them. Sadly for them and the GOP, they are largely singing to their own choir.

Shoring up votes you already have may feel good, but ultimately it’s largely pointless. What matters is what the relatively few (certainly less than 10%, nearer 4-6%) of uncommitted or undecided voters think.

That’s why the convention bounce is important, especially as the GOP are already predicting that Obama will wipe the floor with Romney in the debates – so that when he does, as is likely, the negative impact of their candidate looking wooden and uninformed is lessened.

Republican convention audience

Not exactly a critical audience, really. White, middle class, committed. Talking to the whole country is more tricky.

A convention gives a candidate a chance to present his case unchallenged by any embarrassing contradiction. So if you can’t get a bounce from the TV viewing audience when everyone in the hall is supposed to love you to bits before you even say “Hello”, you’re in real trouble.

The proximity of the Democrat convention in the key swing state of North Carolina, coming right on the heels of the Republican gabfest, and wielding their biggest vote catcher – which is Obama’s ability as a public orator, and his essential likeability – may well blunt Romney’s much-needed boost in support. The water-cooler attention will swing more rapidly than usually to the Presidential incumbent, reducing the required froth and bubble chatter about the GOP. And in modern politics, invisibility is death.

It also doesn’t help that the most talked about event at the Republican convention became a tired old actor chatting to an empty chair.

It’s not that Romney is unpopular with his own Republican supporters – which he he is – they think he’s not conservative enough, not radical right enough, not Christian enough, not middle class enough, not exciting enough – but that doesn’t really matter because Republicans have reluctantly decided to back him as their best and only hope after an execrable, dragged out selection process. They will hold their nose and vote for him because they detest Obama.

What matters is that without a swing to him of about 5% coming essentially from the political centre then Romney will never get to where he needs to be in key swing states like Ohio, NC, and elsewhere.

It has become popular amongst the chattering commentariat to average opinion polls over a period of time to arrive at a rolling view of where the electorate is at.

This can be helpful in portraying trends, but is less useful as a snapshot, as voter opinion can change rapidly.

Wellthisiswhatithink has been noticing a small move towards the Republicans as Romney’s name recognition and prime time coverage has grown, and as people focus a little more on the imminence of the poll. And as rolling “averaging” polls drop off individual polls taken approximately a month ago (when Obama had just enjoyed a small bump upwards) – and as there must be some sort of bounce during the Republican convention itself last week – then I expect to see a small increase in the GOP’s position in rolling polls released over the next few days.

Two rolling polls released today show the candidates essentially neck and neck, certainly within the margin of error, one going for Romney by three points, one for Obama by a point. I expect to see more of those coming out towards the end of this week and showing Romney with a small lead, and the GOP will frantically do all they can to solidify that impression as a counter to the coverage of the DNC.

However, bounces can be illusory.

There’s a special sort of bounce. It’s usually applied to expectations of economic recovery that look overly optimistic. It’s also applied to political hopefuls.

Falling cat

“I don’t have a good feeling about this. How many lives was that again?”

It’s called a “dead cat bounce”. That’s the extent to which a cat, thrown off a roof, will bounce on hitting the ground head first.

The answer is, of course, even under the most propitious circumstances, not much.

That’s what I expect for Mitt Romney from the GOP convention. A dead cat bounce. The polls we should really keep our eyes on are the polls, especially the rolling polls, released about 7-14 days from today, say anytime from around 14th September onwards. In a world where the electorate has the attention span of a gnat, these will then factor in not only Obama’s expected professional performance in Charlotte – and, critically, Bill Clinton’s performance, still by some distance the most popular politician in America – but also the general froth and bubble that will swell up and about the DNC, which, unlike the RNC, will probably have little hard political news distracting from it.

I expect Obama to move into the lead – consistently – by mid-September, and I expect him to stay there. I expect him to win the election, more narrowly than he did against McCain, but win it nevertheless.

You heard it here first.

(Incidentally, Dear Reader, in researching this article, your humble scribe spent three hours watching Fox News Channel to be sure he had a suitable amount of GOP content in his head so that the article would be balanced and fair. Greater love hath no man.)

Debated an invisible President. And lost.

Comments welcome too.

Does this man now “own” the Republican Party?

Did billionaire David Koch bribe the Romney campaign to put Paul Ryan on the ticket?

If this allegation is true – and if it is, it is presumably illegal – will anyone do anything?

If this is illegal – and the story has been very widely covered – will it be investigated?

Will charges be laid?

And ultimately, what does this do for Romney and the Republican Party’s credibility?

Watch the story here. It is a story ALL Americans, indeed all who believe in freedom and democracy, wherever they may live, should watch and make up their own minds.

If you can’t see the video, here’s the story in essence.

On Friday night’s edition of “The Young Turks,” host Cenk Uygur highlighted a report by controversial Republican political operative Roger Stone. The report alleges that vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) arrived at his place on the ticket through the machinations of David Koch, half of the powerful billionaire Koch brothers.

Stone claims to have heard from sources inside the presidential campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney that the governor was approached at a fundraiser in the Hamptons (the notorious “We are V.I.P.!” bash) by David Koch and his wife.

Koch, who has worked cheek by jowl with the Wisconsin Republican cabal that launched the career of Gov. Scott Walker and famously stalled out that state’s government for months in 2011, reportedly offered Romney an additional $100 million in campaign donations to C-4 and super PAC organizations dedicated to Romney’s election on the condition that Romney take Ryan as his running mate.

“In other words,” said Uygur, “a flat-out bribe. Now, I give you a $100 million for your campaign, and you give me the VP selection that I want. Now this is not a Democrat or a reporter reporting this, it’s a Republican, and that’s fascinating. If it’s true, by the way, 100 percent illegal.”

Uygur specifically points to one key piece of Ryan’s platform as a possible motivation for the billionaire conservative’s investment in his own vice president. Ryan wants to lower the capital gains tax — already low at 15 percent — to zero, which would bring David Koch personally an estimated $187.5 million per year. ($750 million over a four year term.)

“That’s why they bribe the politicians,” Uygur said. “What’s outrageous is that we allow them to do it.”

The sort of nonsense that now passes for politics in America – the polarisation of civil debate in the USA is getting really quite frightening.

I reproduce this article from PoliticsUSA almost without further comment, (I can’t resist one aside further down) except to ask one simple question.

When you see the efforts to secure a conviction against Bradley Manning, and the extradition of Julian Assange, how come the Government in the States never does anything about these idiots? And how come Romney and the GOP leadership don’t condemn it?

But this is my main confusion. How is this not Treason?

The author of the Declaration of Independence is often quoted by opposing groups to support their own agenda, but there are few who accurately apply some of his oft-repeated statements. During the healthcare reform debate, angry teabaggers cited Jefferson’s line that “a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing,” as proof that revolution against government tyranny was advocated by a Founding Father as an option in 2009, and that sentiment has not diminished three years later heading into a general election.

The groups claiming President Obama is a tyrannical leader have never given one example of tyranny, but they, with the GOP’s assistance, have whipped themselves into frenzy and openly called for armed insurrection against the United States government.  One may be inclined to excuse talk of rebellion as angry rhetoric from a fringe element in the tea party, but a Virginia Republican Committee newsletter* has called for armed revolution if President Obama is re-elected in November.

Thomas Jefferson

Dear old ThomJeff must be turning in his grave.

First, it is important to put Jefferson’s statement that “a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing” in its proper context.  Jefferson was showing support for the French who were rebelling against the wealthy elite and church that was keeping the population poor and hungry. In fact, Jefferson hated the wealthy and their banks, and in the same letter to Edward Carrington wrote that “man is the only animal which devours his own kind, and I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”

 In the Virginia Republican Committee newsletter*, there is nothing to imply that protecting Americans from the “prey of the rich on the poor” is the reason for calling for armed rebellion. According to the newsletter*, President Obama, is a “political socialist ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized,” and that the only option is “armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November:” If one is confused as to what Republicans consider is a “political socialist ideologue,”  the newsletter claims President Obama “shuns biblical praise, handicaps economic ability, disrespects the honor of earned military might,” and that under Obama, “the government is out of control, and this opportunity, must not be forsaken for we shall not have any coarse (sic) but armed revolution.

Republicans calling for armed insurrection against the government is nothing new, and few are apt to forget congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) sayingI want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back,” and went on to specifically cite Jefferson’s quote from 1787.  Bachmann continued that, “we the people are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country,” and encouraged Americans “to do everything we can to thwart the Democrats at every turn,” and apparently that included armed rebellion.

Another Republican, Sharon Angle, said in a radio interview that it may come to the point that the public would bring down an out-of-control Congress with “Second Amendment remedies.” Angle repeated her warning when she called for “Second Amendment remedies” to deal with the “ever-growing tyrannical U.S. government,” and to replace her election opponent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Conservative entertainers have spent no small amount of energy demonizing President Obama over the past three years and although their rants may be just publicity stunts, all it takes are a few crazy people with guns to take their tirades to heart and begin shooting. On Friday, country musician Hank Williams Jr. waited until the end of his show to impugn the President for being “a Muslim who hates farming, hates the military, hates the U.S. and we hate him!” Williams incited the audience to cheer his invective not unlike washed-up rocker Ted Nugent who earned a visit from the Secret Service earlier this year for saying, “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year” insinuating he will take matters into his own hands with gun play if the President wins re-election. At a 2008 concert, Nugent said while holding a gun in each hand, “Hey, Obama, you might wanna suck on one of these, you punk” and extended the threat to now-Secretary of State Clinton saying,  ”Hillary, you might wanna ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.”

Throughout all of the violent rhetoric, there has not been any condemnation by leading Republicans, and after the Virginia Republican Committee newsletter, it is easy to see why. Apparently, they are serious about armed rebellion against the United States government with an African American man as President.

In fact, leading Republicans have been complicit in stirring up resentment against President Obama by accusing him of promoting “European-style socialism” and not being an American. Willard Romney and his campaign have used the “not an American” meme to portray the President as “not one of us” and “foreign to American principles.

All of the threats of armed revolution have as their basis one simple fact; the President is not a white man.

Republicans cannot condemn the President’s record of saving the economy, or creating over 4-million jobs despite Republican’s obstruction, or accuse him of being weak on defense, so they portray him as a foreigner who supplanted a “white man” who should be in the White House.

(Romney’s recent deliberate comment that Obama doesn’t quite “get” the special relationship with Britain – because, of course, by implication, he’s a black man – falls into this category in the opinion of Wellthisiswhatithink.)

The truth is that it does not matter which white man should be president, it just cannot be an African American, and if voters elect President Obama to a second term, they are seriously considering an armed rebellion.

Every Republican who has failed to condemn talk of armed revolution is just as guilty as those calling for “second amendment remedies” or imploring their constituents to be “armed and dangerous.” It is likely that Republican leaders are not serious about a civil war or revolution, but their approval is evident in their silence.

The Virginia Republican Committee newsletter* was published in March, and the media or Republican leadership have been silent, and regardless if they support the overthrow of the government if the President wins a second term or not, they are guilty of inciting rebellion by allowing their candidates, spokespersons, and members of Congress to openly call for armed rebellion against the government of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson did, indeed, say that revolution is sometimes necessary, but only against wealthy bankers “who prey on the poor” and religious leaders who have the full support of every Republican in the United States.

If the people were intelligent enough to actually read why Jefferson said rebellion is necessary, they would rise up and send the GOP to the only place they would be secure; counting their dirty money in their offshore tax havens.

*CORRECTION

I thank a correspondent – see comments – who has pointed out that although this story is near the truth it is not entirely accurate. The implication in the original PoliticsUSA story is arguably that it was the Virginia State GOP Committee newsletter that made the remarks. But that is clearly fallacious. The correct story is apparently as follows below.

I do not believe, however, that the correction changes the essential thrust of my article, which is that the polarisation of American politics, and I would say from my observation that this is especially true on the right, although by no means limited to it, is reaching frightening levels. However the story clearly requires the following caveat:

Greene County, Va., Republicans denounced a comment in their newsletter promoting “armed revolution” if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

The Greene County Republican Committee newsletter for March featured an editorial written by Ponch McPhee calling the November election a challenge to “remove an ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed.”

“We shall not have any coarse (sic) but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November,” McPhee wrote. “This Republic cannot survive for 4 more years underneath this political socialist ideologue.”

GCRC Chairman Gary E. Lowe says McPhee is no longer the editor of the newsletter, WJLA-TV, Washington, reported Thursday.

In a statement posted on the committee”s Web site, Lowe said the committee “denounces such language and does not subscribe to that thinking.” He said McPhee”s editorial had been written “before a change in the Greene County Republican Committee leadership.”

Lowe noted the newsletter carried a disclaimer that its content “does not reflect the opinion of the Republican Party whole or in part, all contents offered are individual” and said the editorial comment is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“While we believe this election is critical to the direction of the future of this great nation, we do not believe that if the results end up with the re-election of Barack Obama, that will necessitate what the author suggests,” Lowe wrote.

Brilliant website, and long overdue. Whatever your political point of view, if you value a reasoned debate running up to November, I urge you to have a look. http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

WTF

Wtf? Obama has a great record? Who knew?

I am not uncritical of Obama – by no means – I think his recent signing of a bill to restrict the right to demonstrate was a disgrace, and he has generally shown himself on occasions to have a poor and rather conservative understanding of the concept of liberty.

However, I feel his rapid and targeted response to America’s financial woes has been widely mis-represented and under-praised. I firmly believe his prompt and thorough response to GFC Mark 1 saved America from a complete financial collapse, and thus the rest of the world’s economy, and including since then under-writing much of the nonsense going on in Europe to prevent GFC Mark 2 really getting up a head of steam. And I believe he will whip either Romney or Santorum in the election.

I am on record as being very critical of the left and centre’s inability to present the achievements of the Administration with any verve or impact. This website starts to address that – so if you value the facts getting out there, so the free world can have an intelligent debate about who leads what is still the world’s most important economy, then pass it on!

This interesting website also goes to how much more effective Obama will be when he gets a chance to present his record in debate and on “the stump”.

That’s when you will see genuine popular enthusiasm begin to return to his position.

The other factor that we should focus on is the very poor turnout – again – in tonight’s Republican primaries – whatever else can be said, what is certain is that the GOP grassroots have no real enthusiasm for any of the candidates on offer. This will play very badly for them come November, wheoever they choose.

As Mississippi and Alabama reveal that the GOP is hopelessly split between the evangelical religious right and the more moderate business-focussed centre, those who think Santorum or Romney – or anyone else – can beat Obama have conveniently forgotten just how inspirational Obama can be in front of an audience.

And the fact that in a true sense America is a deeply conservative nation. It tends to vote for incumbents, of both parties. And I confidently expect it to do so again.

republican candidates for president 2012

And then there were four. And four. And four ... Amazed it took them this long to get down to four from that lot of mugs. But even so, it may go on for some time yet.

So it’s Super Tuesday, when Romney would hope to deliver a knockout blow to the other three remaining candidates in the Republican primaries.

Here’s an excellent article by leading Democratic strategist Donna Brazile  on why the Republicans may continue to bloodlet for some time yet after tonight – especially as, as I notice now, the night kicks off with Gingrich having secured a win in Georgia, possibly vindicating his “southern states” focus, and Santorum has won Oklahoma with Gingrich neck and neck with Romney. Ohio seems split down the middle between Santorum and Romney. Santorum seems to have won Tennessee well, which would hurt Romney badly by making him look like just a “northern”candidate. It appears that Romney has also done poorly in Virginia and Vermont, despite winning the states.

So in all likelihood, no one is going to die tonight – except perhaps Ron Paul, and he never expected to win anything anyway – and he is only in the race to force his libetarian philosophy to the centre of the GOP’s deliberations. Or as Wolf Blitzer has just remarked on CNN some hours after I originally posted this article “This race is going to go on, and on, and on.”

Given that Donna is coming from a particular political perspective, and that the article was published on CNN which the right loves to hate – so some degree of bias is present, obviously – nevertheless her nous in these matters is impressive, and I suspect she is spot on in her analysis.

What is most telling, I feel, is the points she makes about grassroots Republicans not warming to any of their very poor group of candidates – the stuff about turnouts which I have been noticing for some time now – and just makes me even more certain Obama will be re-elected in November. It is fearsomely difficult to unseat incumbents at the best of times, and these are definitely not the best of times for Republicans, despite America’s ongoing financial difficulties. The simple fact is, the people are not stupid. Not book-learned, perhaps, but not stupid. They know this bunch of GOP candidates is fearsomely unimpressive, and they will stick with a President who’s first term has been very much a curate’s egg, albeit unenthusiastically.

Although this is a long shot, and I haven’t seen it suggested elsewhere,I am still not sure that yet another Republican candidate may still arise, at an unenthusiastic or deadlocked convention, for example, before this circus is all done … and the thought of Paul, Palin, Perry, Gingrich and Santorum and others trying to agree on who to be kingmaker for is hilarious …

Certainly the American people deserve better than the choice they are being offered at the moment – just as Australians deserve better than the “hold your nose” choice between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.

Article begins:

It’s probably better to be the default candidate than the noncandidate, but it’s a position that usually has too many gaps to fill. That seems to be the position of Mitt Romney, and it says a lot about the current state of the Republican Party.

When the Seattle Times came out for Romney ahead of the Washington caucus, the editors stopped short of a real endorsement, calling him the “practical choice” and “the only option in a weak field.” They wrote that he “does not excite voters and is a suspect choice, except for all the others.”

Several candidates created political earthquakes, only to sink beneath their own aftershocks. One might argue that Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry represented the usual “froth” that appears every four years, and now the Republican Party has gotten down to the serious business of nominating a candidate. But the track records of Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum suggest otherwise.

CNN Contributor Donna Brazile

Of the three remaining candidates, Santorum had the best chance to make a run at Romney. He’s emerged as the strongest anti-Romney choice. But Santorum has problems other than what may be called a narrow appeal. (He does best among the evangelical Christians, the less-educated and rural voters, which do not not even constitute a majority of Republicans.) On Super Tuesday, Santorum may lose more than a quarter of the delegates in Ohio even if he wins, because he didn’t file full delegate slates in all 16 congressional districts.

But as long as some billionaire is paying the bills — and pulling the strings — a candidate can and will stay in the race. Sheldon Adelson has propped up Newt Gingrich. Peter Thiel supports Ron Paul, and Santorum’s got “not tonight, I’ve got a headache” billionaire Foster Friess.

The Republican nomination may go to the highest bidder. Romney’s spent almost as much as Gingrich, Paul and Santorum combined. But in some ways the process seems more like a circus than an auction — or a poorly rehearsed skit of “Who’s on first?”

Of the 13 states that have chosen delegates, there’s been a counting controversy in two of them. (Of course, when it comes to counting votes, the Republicans have perfected the “fuzzy math” approach.) Iowa flipped from Romney to Santorum, and Maine is going to recount its votes. Romney had to scramble to win Michigan, his home state, which should have been a no-brainer. And probably was.

If this race stays close into the late spring, the candidates will look for reasons to raise questions about how delegates are being allocated and counted. Such confusion calls into question their competency. If the Republicans can’t trust themselves to count to 1,144 — the number of delegates needed to with the nomination — without messing up the numbers, how can the country trust them to honestly manage bigger numbers?

This brings us back to Romney, the apparent nominee-by-default. He’s the leading candidate, and the Republicans just aren’t excited. GOP turnout has dropped in five of the 13 states that have voted. (Colorado dropped 6%, Missouri 57%; Florida, Nevada and Minnesota dropped in double digits.) Compared with four years ago, Romney’s numbers dropped in six of the 13 states (only 1% in Iowa but 46% in Colorado, 63% in Missouri and 68% in Minnesota). Ironically, the only state with a significant increase in GOP turnout was South Carolina, where Republicans voted against Romney in a landslide: He got just 28% of the vote.

GOP turnout in 2012 is even worse when compared with Democratic primary turnout in 2008, despite population growth. Except for South Carolina, turnout is lower in every state that has voted — and by significant numbers. Turnout is down by 69% in Missouri, 72% in Nevada, 77% in Minnesota and 86% in Maine. In those four states combined, the average drop of turnout is more than 75%. Those numbers don’t bode well for the nominee or the party, no matter how much fuzzy math they use come November.

One reason for GOP indifference may be, ironically, Romney’s strength: He’s a fighter. But he fights with negatives. While he succeeds in soiling his opponents, he also sullies himself. He has a very high unfavorable rating among independents, and even among Republicans he doesn’t match where John McCain was at this point four years ago. When Romney’s not negative, he appears unfocused and becomes like a gaffe machine on steroids: “Cadillacs,” “Blunt amendment,” “firing people,” “not worried about the poor,” etc.

So what’s ahead? A desperate race and a war of attrition. Santorum, Paul and Gingrich have no incentive to exit the race, because they’re being paid to stay in and they’re getting just enough delegates. Therefore, what we’ve seen is what we’ll get: a negative arc; shrill attacks against other candidates; hysterical hyperventilation against Obama; the language of fear, war and doublespeak; and a social issue feeding frenzy, with fainting spells when women’s health is mentioned and panic over immigration. And the media lapping it up.

It’s going to be a long, hot spring.