Archive for August, 2011

Do ‘keys to the White House’ go for or against Obama?

Allan Lichtman, a professor at American University, says he has a certain formula for predicting the winner of the presidential race. He has 13 “keys to the White House.” If six of the 13 go against the party currently holding the presidency, that party will lose. Otherwise, it will win.

Since 1984, he says, this formula has never been wrong about the winner of the popular vote (with the caveat that Al Gore of course won the popular vote but not the presidency).

He explained these keys recently to Paul Bedard of U.S. News & World Report:

1. Party mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than it did after the previous midterm elections.

2. Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination.

3. Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president.

4. Third Party: There is no significant third party challenge.

5. Short term economy: The economy is not in recession during the …

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2012 Tuesday: A Republican reprise of 2008 or 1980?

At this stage of presidential politics, with months to go before the first meaningful ballots are cast, everyone loves the horse race: Who’s in? Who’s out? Who’s up? Who’s down?

Right now, the who’s in/out appears to be settled for the 2012 GOP contest. Who’s up is definitely Rick Perry: The Texas governor has soared to a 5-point lead over Mitt Romney in the Real Clear Politics polling average as of today, including double-digit leads in all but one major national poll taken since he officially became a candidate.

But does any of it matter?

A lot of people — particularly those who support trailing candidates — point to the 2008 GOP primary as reason to discount current polling for the 2012 contest. After all, on this date in 2007, everyone just knew that Rudy Giuliani was going to be the Republican nominee (matched up against Hillary Clinton, of course). In fact, here’s how the RCP polling average stacked up on Aug. 30, 2007:

Giuliani –27.9 percent

Fred Thompson — 16.9

Mitt …

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House GOP to focus on overregulation this fall

It appears that letter Speaker John Boehner sent to the White House last week foreshadowed part of the House GOP’s legislative agenda for this fall. From a National Journal report on a memo House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sent Monday to Republican members about tackling “10 job-destroying regulations”:

Cantor wrote that Republicans will kick off their efforts the week of September 12 by seeking to overrule a National Labor Relations Board ruling that restricts Boeing’s efforts to move an assembly line from unionized Washington state to South Carolina, a right-to-work state. Business leaders accuse the Obama administration of seeking to to help labor allies. Cantor noted that freshman Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., has introduced legislation to prevent NLRB from “restricting where an employer can create jobs in the United States.”

Other regulatory proposals or rules to be targeted in following weeks and months touch on Environmental Protection Agency standards for cross-state air …

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Report: Obama to tell us some jobs are shovel-ready, after all

President Obama, late September 2010, to the New York Times: “[T]here’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works.

President Obama, about a year earlier (off the record to the Times’ David Brooks): “Shovel-ready jobs” don’t exist.

President Obama, June 13, 2011, at a meeting of his jobs council: “Shovel-ready was not as…uh…shovel-ready as we expected.”

CBS News, August 27, 2011, in a report on President Obama’s forthcoming plan to boost job creation:

The President wants to spend big on the nation’s roads and bridges, starting with a two-year, $109 billion spending package that’s been stalled between the House and the Senate — but which he argues — will put tens of thousands of people back to work quickly. (emphasis added)

How much is $109 billion over two years — and how much impact is it likely to have? Well, the 2009 stimulus has disbursed $20.9 billion toward infrastructure, with the number of jobs created as a result peaking at 30,597 in the …

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With killing of al-Qaida’s No. 2, some good news — finally

For a nation in need of some good news, the killing of perhaps the most important person in al-Qaida’s post-bin Laden leadership certainly qualifies. From the Associated Press:

U.S. and Pakistani officials said Saturday that al-Qaida’s second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan, delivering another big blow to a terrorist group that the U.S. believes to be on the verge of defeat.

Al-Rahman was killed Monday in the lawless Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan, according to a senior administration official who insisted on anonymity to discuss intelligence issues. …

A Libyan national, al-Rahman never had the worldwide name recognition of [Osama] bin Laden or bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. But al-Rahman was regarded as an instrumental figure in the terrorist organization, trusted by bin Laden to oversee al-Qaida’s daily operations.

At the Washington Post, David Ignatius explains a bit further why al-Rahman might have been a bigger target than …

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Rubio makes a Reaganesque pitch for free enterprise, growth

The next debate among GOP White House hopefuls will be next month at the Reagan Presidential Library in California. But they will be hard-pressed to match the words spoken there this past week by one of those non-candidates conservatives find so intriguing.

Marco Rubio rode into the U.S. Senate last year on the tea-party wave. The son of Cuban immigrants and former speaker of the House in Florida gained national notoriety by running then-Gov. Charlie Crist out of the primary and then beating him soundly in the general election (when Crist ran as an independent).

On Tuesday in California, he gave a speech worthy, in substance and style, of the man for whom his venue was named.

Rubio’s subject was defining the proper role of government. Reagan, he said, did this “better than any American has done ever before.” And this question, he added, is today “as important as it has ever been.”

He began his own answer with an observation that “the vast majority of Americans …

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Boehner to Obama: Come clean on cost of new regulations

The only question I have about this is: What took so long?

From a letter Speaker John Boehner sent today to President Obama:

This year the Administration’s current regulatory agenda identifies 219 planned new regulations that have estimated annual costs in excess of $100 million each. That’s almost a 15 percent increase over last year [when there were 191 such regulations], and appears to contradict public suggestions by the Administration this week that the regulatory burden on American job creators is being scaled back. …

I was startled to learn that the EPA estimates that at least one of its proposed rules will cost our economy as much as $90 billion per year. The Administration has not disclosed how many of the other 218 planned rules will cost more than $1 billion, nor identified these rules. This information is of great relevance to the American people, who face so much uncertainty about these new regulatory costs, and to the Congress, where we continue to aim to work …

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Poll Position: Is Obama getting short shrift for Libya?

The Libyan civil war appears to be reaching its climax, with the rebels having overrun Tripoli and Col. Moammar Gadhafi nowhere to be seen, only heard as he issues desperate calls to arms to extend his 42-year reign. An Associated Press dispatch Thursday began with this gruesome scene:

The streets where rebel fighters bombarded snipers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi were strewn with bullet-ridden corpses from both sides Thursday. Streams of blood ran down the gutters and turned sewers red.

At the Washington Post, columnist E.J. Dionne is concerned that President Obama isn’t getting the credit due him:

It’s remarkable how reluctant Obama’s opponents are to acknowledge that despite all the predictions that his policy of limited engagement could never work, it actually did.

Let it be said upfront that the rout of Gaddafi was engineered not by foreign powers but by a brave rebellion organized inside Libya by its own people.

But that is the point. The United States has no troops in …

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ICYMI: Steve Jobs’ legacy, Biden in China, Echols as Oxendine and Super Marco (Rubio)

Catching you up on what you might have missed during the past week:

  • Steve Jobs’ resignation as chief executive Apple provoked a host of reactions. Here are two: the ways he and Apple have changed the way we live, and why he “failed better than anyone else in Silicon Valley,  maybe better than anyone in corporate America.”
  • Only Joe Biden would describe China’s one-child policy as “repugnant” to him by saying he “fully understand[s]“ it.
  • Speaking of China, a long but interesting piece about the “Sinosphere.”
  • Twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, a look back — and explanation of why today’s Russia isn’t as democratic as hoped.
  • With all the talk about Rick Perry’s grades, this score from his time as governor will have much more to do with the way he’s judged.
  • All the details about Georgia’s new legislative maps.
  • Put a blue light and siren atop the car he uses to check limousine registrations, and Tim Echols’ transformation into John Oxendine will be complete.
  • Why the …

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Ralston eyes tax reform to boost Georgia jobs — just not yet

This summer’s meeting of the Legislature is extremely limited in scope. That’s by design: Redistricting is such a deeply political process that it’s best to wait until a regular session to deal with other matters.

That’s the case even when those “other matters” include measures to help Georgia’s economy get out of neutral and put Georgians back to work.

“I don’t know of anybody who really would doubt the fact that [that’s] one of the things we ought to be about, more than any other here,” Speaker David Ralston told me in an interview in his Capitol office Tuesday.

“Not government creating jobs, but government getting out of the way and allowing a climate to grow where small businesses across the state feel safe in maintaining the number of employees they have or growing a few employees, [and where] new companies want to come here and do business here because of the economic climate that we have.”

By the numbers, Georgia’s employment situation is a …

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