Archive for the ‘2012 Tuesday’ Category

2012 Tuesday: A real deficit hawk endorses . . .

David M. Walker has been touring America talking about the need to face facts about our federal debt. Walker, who was U.S. comptroller general under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, came to Atlanta with former Clinton staffer Alice Rivlin and other members of the bipartisan Fiscal Solutions Tour last March: Here’s what I wrote about it at the time (quoting Rivlin but not Walker). He has even been mentioned as a possible independent presidential candidate in the near future; the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman actually wrote a column suggesting that Walker run this year.

So when Walker says he’s endorsing one of the two men who are major-party candidates for president this year, it’s worth listening. Here’s what he wrote in an op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Times:

From a fiscal perspective, I am convinced that both major presidential candidates want to achieve a “grand bargain,” although they clearly differ on how to get there. Unfortunately, while I would prefer to make a …

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2012 Tuesday: What, exactly, can Obama do to win tonight?

By now, everyone acknowledges the first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney altered the course of this election.

On the day of the debate, Obama led Romney by 3.1 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics average of national opinion polls. Romney took his first lead against Obama six days later and has been no worse than tied for the past week; the two are in a statistical tie at the moment. More important, Romney has closed the gap or taken the lead in the crucial swing states and even put formerly Obama-leaning states Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania back in play. Today, for the first time, Romney even leads Obama in the RCP average of favorable/unfavorable polls: On average, the former Massachusetts governor is seen favorably by almost 50 percent of voters and has a net favorability rating of +5.4 percentage points — both figures are the highest of the entire presidential campaign for him — while Obama is at 51 percent and +5 percentage points. In four …

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2012 Tuesday: When Barry met Big Bird

Barack Obama leapt to Big Bird’s defense. Big Bird said, no thanks.

If the first debate between Obama and Mitt Romney winds up being a turning point in the election, the episode involving American children’s tallest, yellowest feathered-est friend may prove to be a symbol of what went wrong for the incumbent.

During the Oct. 3 debate, moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS NewsHour asked the candidates for specifics about how they’d tackle the federal debt and deficit. Romney reiterated the test he said he’d use to decide which spending to cut: “Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?” For examples, he named Obamacare and then said:

I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.

Obama did not address this remark during the debate, but within …

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2012 Tuesday: What Romney got right about Obama and dependency, where he went wrong

So it appears that, with the Muslim world burning and reports that some but not all embassies were on alert for possible security threats on the 9/11 anniversary last week, with unemployment still so high and the Obama administration’s policies still so ineffective that the Federal Reserve has resorted to a new round of printing money — with all that, we’re nevertheless doomed to another round of debate about another “gaffe” by Mitt Romney.

That gaffe consists of Romney’s remarks, during a a closed-door fund-raiser four months ago, when he said, in part:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, 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. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. …

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2012 Tuesday: What will we hear from Charlotte?

Last week in Tampa, the Republicans made significant progress toward their main objectives: revealing more of the personal side of Mitt Romney, and clearly communicating their pitch to voters in this election.

This week in Charlotte, it’s the Democrats’ turn. What will President Obama and his party try to accomplish? Will they continue to play defense against the GOP or try to seize the initiative?

Going into today’s opening events, it would appear it’s the former, with Democrats trying to neutralize the Republican message. Here’s part of today’s curtain-raiser from the Wall Street Journal:

The Democratic Party’s goals for the three-day gathering include widening its advantages among female and Hispanic voters while limiting Mr. Obama’s losses among white, working-class ones. At the same time, its overarching ambition is to rebut Mr. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, who used last week’s Republican National Convention to try to pry away the president’s 2008 voters by casting him …

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2012 Tuesday: GOP to tap a sure bet in one congressional seat, an underdog in another

Today’s the primary runoff election in Georgia. None of the races in my area went unresolved last month, so I’m sitting this one out. Metro Atlanta races of interest include commission races in Cobb and Gwinnett and the sheriff’s race in Clayton County.

The big election news in the state tonight will come from Republican races in two congressional districts. State Rep. Doug Collins and radio talk-show host Martha Zoller are in a heated race in the Northeast Georgia district centered on Gainesville: Collins bested Zoller by just 734 votes out of nearly 110,000 cast last month. To the east, the district that stretches from Augusta down almost t0 Savannah pits state Rep. Lee Anderson against Augusta businessman Rick Allen: Anderson led with 34 percent in the first round, while Allen barely made the runoff ahead of two other candidates.

Either Collins or Zoller is almost certain to win the very conservative 9th District’s general election in November, so after tonight one of them …

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2012 Tuesday: ‘2016′ says we don’t know the president we elected in 2008

At a friend’s request, I went to the theater Sunday to see “2016: Obama’s America” (it’s true, I’m not the most political person I know). The movie, if you haven’t heard, is the work of Dinesh D’Souza, the Indian-born conservative commentator and college president whose 2010 book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” argued the president’s world view was shaped heavily by his anti-colonialist Kenyan father.

I’m no movie critic, so I’ll spare you my thoughts on the cinematography (I’ll only note that D’Souza worked on the film with Hollywood veteran Gerald R. Molen, and it shows in the film’s production quality). The movie’s about our president’s past and what that means for our future, and I’ll focus on that.

D’Souza dispenses early on with any notions of birtherism, noting briefly, but pointedly, that Obama was born in Hawaii. Instead, he makes the far more interesting argument that what’s foreign is Obama’s ideology, shaped in absentia by a father he barely knew. His evidence for …

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2012 Tuesday: Voter fraud, not suppression, is real

It’s an election year, so we’re being treated to the usual back-and-forth about whether requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls is an attempt to suppress voting or just voter fraud.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder — never hesitant to politicize an issue — last month likened voter ID laws to Jim Crow-era poll taxes that suppress minority voting. Of course, neither he nor any plaintiff in a court challenge to a voter ID laws has produced any evidence that suppression has taken place. I’ve always thought it is insulting to minorities to suggest they are incapable, or unmotivated, or whatever, when it comes to obtaining a free, state-issued photo ID.

On the contrary: Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp noted in a recent interview that since the General Assembly passed our voter ID law in 2006, the number of minority voters has soared — between both the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, and the 2006 and 2010 gubernatorial elections. That’s strong evidence against …

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2012 Tuesday: Millions of dollars might not buy a T-SPLOST

Each month, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney — and their respective parties and PACs — report their fund-raising totals. One result is a monthly debate about the propriety of big money in politics, and many participants in that debate begin with the apparent assumption that money is everything in an election.

On the local level, however, we are watching the final days of a campaign in which a gilt Goliath appears mortally wounded by a dollar-poor David. Yes, I’m talking about the T-SPLOST.

The pro-tax campaign yesterday finally released its financial statements (on the last day of its past-due grace period), and it shows pretty much what we all expected: a campaign that has had millions of dollars to persuade voters to tax themselves $7.2 billion during the next 10 years to fund transportation. Here’s how the AJC summarized the standing of the pro- and anti-tax groups:

Citizens for Transportation Mobility — the political action committee pushing the July 31 transportation …

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2012 Tuesday: Polls show clear decline for T-SPLOST support (Updated)

Opinion polls for the presidential race, even when broken down by state, are too far out from Election Day to tell us very much. But the T-SPLOST referendum, which is just two weeks away? That’s different — and a few new polls show us where the momentum lies.

First, a Rosetta Stone Communications poll for Channel 2 Action News released last Friday showed the $7.2 billion tax for transportation projects trails 33 percent to 56 percent. That’s minus-23 percentage points, with just 12 percent saying they’re undecided. Here’s the trend for that poll, with the undecided share of the vote remaining constant:

MAY: minus-3 points (42 for, 45 against, 13 undecided)

JUNE: minus-11 points (38-49-13)

JULY: minus-23 points (33-56-12)

Net Change: minus-20 points

Next, internal polling for Untie Atlanta, the pro-tax campaign. The day after Channel 2 reported its May results, Untie Atlanta released an internal poll showing the measure was winning by 15 percentage points. Today, the campaign’s …

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