Archive for the ‘2012 Tuesday’ Category

2012 Tuesday: Team Obama moves ‘Forward’ by dredging up, distorting Romney’s words from 2007

On Monday, the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign unveiled its slogan: “Forward.”

Yep, that’s it. As Washington Post humor-blogger Alexandra Petri observed, “If your slogan is just one or two notches above BCC, it might not be a great slogan.”

But never mind the lack of zip to the latest and greatest in Democratic bumper-sticker philosophy, or the fact that it won’t help the arguments that President Obama isn’t a Marxist. The most disqualifying thing about “Forward” as a slogan is that this is a president who keeps looking backward. Heck, even the video unveiling “Forward” as a slogan began with a retrospective on the 2008 financial crisis; the very first words of the video titled “Forward” are “January 2008.” I’m not sure that word means what the Obama team thinks it does.

In other forward-looking news, Democrats are using today’s anniversary of the Navy SEALs’ killing of Osama bin Laden last year to revisit some comments Mitt Romney made five years ago. (Forward! Forward!)

According …

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2012 Tuesday: The long GOP veepstakes begins

The Republican primary resumes today, but it doesn’t matter. When Rick Santorum dropped out of the race a couple of weeks ago, any remaining suspense dissipated. The only question tonight will be Mitt Romney’s margins of victory. (Yes, I realize Newt Gingrich is playing up his chances of winning in Delaware. I also realize that, well, it’s Delaware.)

The conversation quickly moved on to the question of Romney’s running mate, which is a little bit silly. Four months remain before the Republican National Convention, and in my view it would be foolish to name a running mate this far out. If Romney continues to run neck-and-neck with President Obama in the polls or even opens up a sizable lead, he will want to play it safer with his choice than if, say, he falls behind significantly (think Sarah Palin in 2008). It’s too early.

I think the next couple of months will feature more scenes like the one we saw yesterday, with Romney campaigning alongside potential running mates. …

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2012 Tuesday: Events, dear boy, events — and their ability to shape the race

A butterfly sows its oats — er, flaps its wings — in Cartagena, and an incumbent in Washington loses an election?

On it own, the story from Colombia about Secret Service agents hiring prostitutes in Colombia while on an advance trip preparing for President Obama’s recent visit there — a story that has broadened to include perhaps 20 people, including military personnel — is little more than a headache to a president. Quite obviously, he did not direct them to behave in such a way and does not approve of their actions.

But it may be a small example of the external, wholly unpredictable occurrences that cumulatively help to shape an election. As former British Prime Minister Harold McMillan is said to have responded when asked what worried him, it’s “Events, dear boy, events.”

I feel confident in predicting that one Secret Service scandal in Colombia, by itself, will not undermine Obama’s re-election chances. But consider that it comes at the same time as a controversy that does …

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2012 Tuesday: With Buffett Rule, Obama ignores economics and leans on ‘fairness’

A lot of commentary about Barack Obama’s re-election campaign focuses on what’s different from 2008. But there’s one clear way in which it’s exactly the same.

In 2008, when ABC’s Charles Gibson asked Obama during a debate why he favored raising the capital-gains tax rate when the evidence suggests doing so would only reduce government revenues, Obama answered, “Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.” (Amazingly, except to those who have noticed Obama’s tendency to try to have things both ways, he went on to talk about the need to spend more money on health care and education — without disputing Gibson’s premise that raising capital-gains tax rates would instead lower revenues.)

Now, in discussing the so-called Buffett Rule, which would require Americans making at least $1 million in a year to pay at least 30 percent of their income in federal taxes, we’re back to the argument of fairness, economic and …

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2012 Tuesday: About that notion the economy, GOP ‘war on women’ have Obama cruising to re-election

A GOP “war on women” concerning contraception. A bloody Republican primary that keeps dragging on. Improving jobs numbers. A sharp drop in President Obama’s approval ratings.

Wait, what?

The narrative of February and early March was that Obama baited Republicans into focusing on social wedge issues, even as the economy is foremost on voters’ minds, and then seized on good economic news to begin gaining ground on that top concern as well. The president had returned to the magic 50 percent mark in approval ratings in both the New York Times/CBS national poll and the Washington Post/ABC survey. It seemed that it didn’t matter who the Republicans nominated: His name would simply go down in history as another guy who lost to Obama.

Now, both polls show a significant reversal. The WaPo/ABC poll, released yesterday shows Obama falling from 50 percent approval/46 percent disapproval to the exact opposite: 46/50. Today, the NYT/CBS poll shows an even larger fall: from 50/43 to 41/47. …

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2012 Tuesday: What to watch in Georgia

Voting day is finally here in Georgia. Besides the bottom-line totals for each candidate, how can we gauge success for them?

One key measure will be their performance by congressional district. First, it matters for the awarding of delegates: About half of Georgia’s delegates (42 of 76) will be granted based on their performance in Georgia’s new 14 congressional districts.

But it will also help us see whether Mitt Romney has gained or lost strength since 2008 — as well as giving us a very good head-to-head comparison between him and Newt Gingrich, who in Congress represented the very same areas where Romney was strongest four years ago. It’ll also help us see whether Rick Santorum fared better or worse than Mike Huckabee, who in 2008 was the social-conservative choice.

Here’s a graph based on the 2008 results, adjusted for the new congressional districts:

2008 vote chart for blog

A few quick takeaways:

  • Romney did best in districts 6 (now represented by Tom Price), 7 (Rob Woodall) and 11 (Phil …

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2012 Tuesday: Michigan is the show-me state for Santorum

Our unscientific poll last week found that, by about a 3-to-2 margin, readers believe Newt Gingrich would be hurt more by losing next week’s Georgia primary than Mitt Romney would by losing today’s primary in his native Michigan. Today, I’m going to suggest the person with the most riding on one of these states is neither Gingrich nor Romney, but Rick Santorum.

If one believes the “Mitt Romney vs. the Not-Romneys” narrative of this GOP primary, it follows that Santorum must buck the trend of all the other short-term front-runners if he wants to be a serious threat to topple Romney in the end. There is little reason to believe Santorum has risen to his current No. 1 spot by mere force of personality or policies: His personality and policies didn’t keep him out of fifth and even sixth place for much of the race, and they haven’t changed during the past two months when he became a top-tier candidate (or survivor, depending on how you view him). So, we need to see if he can buck …

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2012 Tuesday: When Obama attacks, which Republican can answer him?

This quote from an Associated Press story about President Obama’s “modest American Dream” summarizes the whole general election in my view:

“He can’t run on change because he’s the incumbent, and he can’t paint too rosy a scenario because things aren’t that rosy,” said John Geer, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. “He’s got to come up with a theme that appeals to voters, especially middle-class voters, alleviates their fears and gives them reason to believe the future will be better.”

That’s the whole game this fall. If you can’t run on change anymore, you have to run on staying the course. But do most Americans believe we’re on the right course when things, as Greer noted with understatement, are not that rosy?

The Obama strategy appears two-fold: Spend tax money to convince Americans he can be considered one of them, and brand his Republican opponents as people who can’t.

To the latter end, Obama supporters paint Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch …

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2012 Tuesday: Are Obama and the left baiting GOP into nominating Santorum?

It’s been a couple of weeks since the Obama administration announced it would force religious-affiliated entities such as hospitals and colleges — most notably those tied to the Catholic church — to cover contraception, abortifacients and sterilization in the health insurance plans they provide their employees. And ever since, much of the commentary (including some of my own) has focused on the apparent mistake President Obama was making in alienating a large chunk of the electorate. Why would he make such an unforced error?

Maybe he thinks he can bait the GOP into making an error of its own.

After a couple of years of hearing that social issues would take a back seat in this election to the country’s soft economy and dire fiscal situation, suddenly social issues are all the rage:

  • There was the contraception mandate that came Jan. 20.
  • While those flames were still burning hotly, the decision by Susan G. Komen For the Cure to stop awarding grants to Planned Parenthood clinics …

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2012 Tuesday: With Obamacare contraception ruling, the president burns a wide bridge

Sometimes, you have to wonder if the uber-brains in the Obama administration/re-elect team are so bored with merely running the country that they try to challenge themselves by making matters more difficult than need be.

Last week was one of those times. Just in case Obamacare — to which President Obama hardly referred in his State of the Union address/campaign speech — didn’t seem like enough of a liability, the administration declared that all employer health-insurance plans will have to cover sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacients. There will be no exception if an employer  is a religious group whose doctrine opposes these things. Among other things, it was the latest sign that President Obama’s infamous promise about his health-care reform — that you could keep your present coverage if you liked it — was an example of active deception.

(One assumes there will be no retroactive decisions by fact-checkers like Politifact to name that Obama line — and not the GOP …

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