Midday open thread

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2012-05-2008

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Because really, if you sampled the polls to make sure you talk to more Romney voters than Obama voters, the polls would be showing Romney ahead. And that’s what really matters.

  • Is the Romney campaign peddling a dangerous and medically dubious conspiracy just to please an influential social conservative?
  • In Los Angeles, it’s the weekend of Carmageddon II, as the horribly overused 405 freeway is closed for an entire weekend on one of its busiest stretches to allow a major construction project to take place. The first time this happened, everyone predicted traffic calamities, but it wasn’t so bad. Doesn’t change the fact that I decided to get out of town anyway. But here are some amazing photos of the work itself, as well as the amazing sight of an empty Interstate 405.
  • Voter fraud and ACORN will steal the election! Voter fraud! Voter fraud! Oh…wait.

    MIAMI — The number of Florida counties reporting suspicious voter registration forms connected to Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm hired by the state Republican Party to sign up new voters, has grown to 10, officials said, as local election supervisors continue to search their forms for questionable signatures, addresses or other identifiers.

    After reports of suspicious forms surfaced in Florida, the company — owned by Nathan Sproul, who has been involved in voter registration efforts since at least the 2004 presidential election — was fired last week by the state Republican Party and the Republican National Committee. The party had hired it to conduct drives in Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia.

    In Colorado, a young woman employed by Strategic Allied was shown on a video outside a store in Colorado Springs recently telling a potential voter that she wanted to register only Republicans and that she worked for the county clerk’s office. The woman was fired, said Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

  • No, really, I thought it was a total accident:

    Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is “strategically” placing minorities at his campaign rallies, according to a Republican insider.

    Speaking to Politico, Republican strategist Ana Navarro – who worked for the McCain and Huntsman campaigns – alleges that when the Romney campaign stages its rallies, “You can almost invariably count on the row of women or black or brown people strategically placed in the audience.”

  • Just in case anyone had forgotten about Mitt Romney’s $100 million IRA, here’s more news about Mitt Romney’s $100 million IRA. Note that most regular human beings are only allowed to contribute $6,000 a year to one of these tax-advantaged retirement accounts.
  • Ann Romney is quite concerned about her husband’s mental health, should be become president:

    During an interview with Nevada television station KTVN, Ann Romney, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, revealed that her biggest concern if her husband becomes president is his “mental well-being.”

    In the interview, Ann was asked what her biggest worry was should Mitt Romney be elected to serve in the White House. She responded:

    “I think my biggest concern obviously would just be for his mental well-being. I have all the confidence in the world in his ability, in his decisiveness, in his leadership skills, in his understanding of the economy. …So for me I think it would just be the emotional part of it.”

    Let’s all do Ann Romney a solid and preserve Mitt’s mental health by making sure he never has to worry about such a thing.

  • More Republican voter registration fraud, this time in California:

    SACRAMENTO — Aggressive recruitment efforts in one of California’s most hotly contested voting districts has created a surge of newly minted Republicans like Marleny Reyes. Except she had no intention of joining the GOP.

    The Moreno Valley College student is among scores of voters in Riverside County who say they were duped.

    Formal complaints filed with the state by at least 133 residents of a state Senate district there say they were added to GOP rolls without their knowledge, calling into question the party’s boast that Republican membership has rocketed 23% in the battleground area.

  • A heads-up for our Los Angeles-area readers: I will be appearing on “Southern California Live” with Johnny Wendel talking presidential debates and the road to Election Day. The show airs from 7-9 PM (Pacific Time) on 1150 AM in the L.A. market. I will be appearing shortly after 8 PM. Be sure to tune in! –Steve Singiser


As the Romney campaign unskews, will the GOP’s racist id take over?

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2012-05-2008

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The Republican id and the vestiges of racism.

In 1948, Southern Democrats, led by Strom Thurmond, bolted from the Democratic Party to form the States’ Rights Democratic Party, better known as the Dixiecrats. Why? Because these Southern Democrats opposed desegregation:

Harry Truman established a highly visible President’s Committee on Civil Rights and ordered an end to discrimination in the military in 1948. Additionally, the Democratic National Convention in 1948 adopted a plank proposed by Northern liberals led by Hubert Humphrey calling for civil rights; 35 southerners walked out. The move was on to remove Truman’s name from the ballot in the South. This required a new party, which the Southern defectors chose to name the States’ Rights Democratic Party, with its own nominee: Governor of South Carolina J. Strom Thurmond. […] They later adopted a platform in Oklahoma City that said:

We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race; the constitutional right to choose one’s associates; to accept private employment without governmental interference, and to learn one’s living in any lawful way. We oppose the elimination of segregation, the repeal of miscegenation statutes, the control of private employment by Federal bureaucrats called for by the misnamed civil rights program. We favor home-rule, local self-government and a minimum interference with individual rights.

Of course the Dixiecrats ended up in the modern Republican Party. And they came to dominate it. A sad trajectory for the Party of Lincoln. As times changed, the overt racism was cloaked in dogwhistles. See “Law and order.” But on occasion, the cloak was unmasked. For example, Jesse Helms’ infamous “Hands” ad in his 1990 North Carolina Senate race against Harvey Gantt:

(Continue reading below the fold.)


‘I don’t have the time’ to explain tax plan, says Paul Ryan on Fox News

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2012-05-2008

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There’s kind of a pattern here: Back in an August interview with Fox News’ Brit Hume, Paul Ryan couldn’t offer details on the budget proposal he and Mitt Romney would be promoting if elected because “we haven’t run the numbers” and also he didn’t want to get too wonky, didn’t want to get into complicated baseline issues, and so on.

Sunday, talking to Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Ryan again ducked, dodged, and evaded Wallace’s attempts to get him to be specific about the Romney-Ryan tax plan, culminating in the claim that “I don’t have the time. It would take me too long to go through all of the math.”

Ryan is straight-up using his reputation as the Republican party’s big budget wonk to get out of giving direct answers to any actual budget wonking questions. Because from his point of view, “I don’t want to get too wonky” or “I don’t have the time” are more palatable answers than “if I gave you details you’d see that I’ve been lying.”


Unscrewed: How 5th-grade political analysis became a GOP article of faith

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2012-05-2008

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Recent track of the election survey of the RAND Corporation

Not to toot my own horn, but I was on this Unskewed fella pretty damned early.

Indeed, before he inexplicably became the most-quoted polling analyst in the GOP, the subject of serious profiles in places like Slate and The Atlantic, and even merited mention in a column by Eugene Robinson, readers of our Daily Kos Elections Polling Wrap were introduced to one Dean Chambers.

The purpose, in our case? Gentle mockery:

Speaking of national polling: did you know that Mitt Romney is up by eleven points? He really is! According to the most unintentionally funny attempt at “unbiased polling” you ever will read. Go ahead and read the write-up. While you are at it, check out our man’s archives, where you will learn that if you just take the left-wing bias out of polling, Mitt Romney is clearly favored to win 350+ electoral votes. Just…read the whole thing. Oh, and one more thing: You’re welcome.

But, in our amused chuckling, something strange and awful happened. People on the right began to mimic the rantings of this small-bore Examiner polling blogger. And the issue of “skewed polls” suddenly, and inexplicably, became among the most discussed items in the electoral and political conversation for the past week.

What is mournful about that is not that Republicans in general, and Chambers in particular, are skeptics about polls showing Mitt Romney at risk of getting routed in November. It is human nature to be doubtful of pessimistic outcomes, especially when your heart is wholly invested in said outcome. Democrats were, to be sure, devout polling skeptics in both 2004 and 2010, while in the interim, it was the Republicans who were certain that what they were seeing on paper was not what they were going to see on Election Day.

My beef with Chambers, and the wave of Republicans that have followed his lead, isn’t that it is analysis of polling that runs counter to my own.

My beef is that is simply poor analysis. It would barely qualify as acceptable polling analysis for a middle school student, and even then only because it would be mildly impressive for a middle schooler to be analyzing political polls.

That anyone in the Republican Party, or the political press, is taking him seriously is the biggest indictment of all in this whole sordid episode.

(Continue reading below the fold.)


Christie predicts Romney debate performance will change course of presidential race

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2012-05-2008

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie predicted on NBC’s Meet the Press that Republican nominee Mitt Romney will change the dynamic of the presidential race in Wednesday’s debate with President Barack Obama.

McCain: Don’t expect surprises in upcoming debate

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2012-05-2008

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FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2008, file photo Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is greeted by Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., respectively second and third from left, while on stage with other Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls during a break in the debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. When they stand side by side on the presidential debate stage Wednesday night, Oct. 3, 2012, it will be one of the few times Obama and Romney have ever even met in person. Others from left are former New York City Mayor Giuliani, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Republican presidential hopeful, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.,former Sen. Fred Thompson, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)Sen. John McCain says not to expect any surprises in this week's first presidential debate because the televised confrontations nowadays are so heavily scripted.

Weekend Polling: Advantage Team Blue

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2012-05-2008

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The Polltracker chart does not include the Dispatch poll out this morning as of this writing.

A trio of interesting newspaper polls just out in the last twelve hours show an advantage for the Blue Team.

Ohio

In Ohio, Columbus Dispatch: Obama 52 51 Romney 41 42 (+9). The two were tied at 45 in August.

What’s interesting here is not simply the confirmation of an Obama lead. The internals show Obama splitting the senior vote and winning everyone else. This, with Ohioans casting ballots starting Tuesday.  And not to put too fine a point on it, this from National Review:

In terms of the broader election, I don’t want to be the one who contradicts Karl Rove’s view that Romney can win without Ohio, but he can’t. It isn’t just that historically no Republican has won the presidency without Ohio’s electoral votes that “proves” that point. It also is the fact that Ohio is a bell-weather state, so if a candidate cannot win Ohio — especially a candidate operating under a very-low-margin-of-error strategy — the likelihood that that candidate wins enough of the other five to nine toss-up states is not high. We are seeing that in the polling results in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Virginia. The election isn’t over, but it appears that Romney will need a big Obama misstep to win.

Iowa

The Des Moines Register‘s go-to pollster in IA, Ann Selzer, has Obama up 49-45 (+4). There hasn’t been a DMR poll since February (Romney was up by 2).

Romney leads by a huge margin on who would be better for business,

But so far they’re not convinced Romney will do a better job of shoring up the economy. He trails slightly (47 percent to 46 percent) in voters’ perception of who would be the better economy fixer.

Also note:

Thirty-seven days from Election Day, Iowa has few undecided voters left — just 2 percent.

But 10 percent of likely voters say they could still change their minds. Of that group, more than half are independent voters.

“The 10 percent persuadable could change the race,” Democratic strategist Celinda Lake said.

The Polltracker chart includes the DMR poll out last night.

Massachusetts Senate

The Boston Globe has Elizabeth Warren (D) over Scott Brown (R-inc) by 5, 43-38 with 18% undecided. That reverses a May 2 point Brown lead. From the Globe:

This survey is the sixth of eight public polls taken this month that show Warren ahead.

Warren’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent, meaning a spread of as much as 8 percentage points between the candidates would still statistically count as a dead heat. Still, the survey is sobering for Brown six weeks before the election.

“It’s trending away from Brown,’’ said Smith. “Brown right now is not doing well enough among Democrats to offset the advantage that ­Warren has,” said Smith. “That’s just such a big obstacle to overcome for any Republican candidate” in Massachusetts.

The Polltracker chart does not include the Boston Globe poll out this morning as of this writing.

Finally, keep in mind the under-appreciated RAND poll shows a stable race today.

Since the narrative from the media will be straining for a Romney comeback to make this a race, keep in mind where we are the Sunday before the debates.


Paul Ryan: ‘We’ve had some missteps’ in campaign

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2012-05-2008

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Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan admitted in an interview Sunday morning the Mitt Romney campaign has made “missteps” with just 37 days to go until the Election Day.

Christie: Romney will shine in upcoming debate

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2012-05-2008

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says it’s been a “tough couple of weeks” for Mitt Romney in his presidential campaign and there’s no way to “sugarcoat” that.

Trashing experience and skill is just one more weapon in the war on workers

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2012-05-2008

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Forget football for a sec. There are a lot of jobs that shouldn’t be done without a lot of training and experience.

The role of training and experience was glaringly obvious in the National Football League’s lockout of its longtime officials. Glaringly obvious as in, the scabs the NFL brought in to replace the experienced referees were first a national laughingstock and then even more widely reviled for their errors on the field. It turns out not just anyone can officiate a professional football game. But what about other kinds of workers?

We’re told that part of the American character is to work hard and take pride in it, and that’s reflected in what we see around us. It’s not just people whose work results in big paychecks or offers the chance to climb the career ladder quickly or get public recognition, it’s a value as alive among low-wage workers as among the highest-paid. But something you hear a lot less about than the value of hard work is the value of skill. This is weird, because presumably if you’re working hard, one of the things you’re working at is getting good at what you do. If you’re taking pride in your hard work, it’s not just pride in how tired you are at the end of the day but at how well you did things, how accurate or efficient you were, how you got something right that not everyone would have gotten right.

But when there’s a labor dispute, or when Republicans are trying to undermine how voters think about other workers to set the stage for taking away pensions or collective bargaining rights, suddenly, to hear them talk, you’d never know that this was a nation that values hard work, because in those moments we’re told it’s not that hard, any idiot could do this job. It’s not that hard to referee a professional football game, so call up the guys who washed out of the Lingerie Football League. Experience is overrated for teachers, so throw people into the classroom after a few weeks’ training, they’ll do fine. More than fine! The youth and energy of the barely trained new teacher will be better than the experience of that useless old teacher. Suddenly, the drive to denigrate the workers becomes so strong that the CEO or the governor asks us, expects us, to forget the years of work that these workers have put into learning their jobs, learning how to teach or to run a snowplow or a cash register.

As the AP’s Paul J. Weber writes, “Professing expertise can also bring on suspicions of elitism and scratch an itch to knock someone down a peg”—an itch that the Roger Goodells and Scott Walkers and Mitt Romneys of the world and the generations of union-busters and racers-to-the-bottom who laid the groundwork for them will hasten to throw poison ivy onto. Hell, if you’re not itching, they’ll sneak up behind you with the poison ivy. But as Weber details, it’s not just on the football field that experience and the commitment that comes from doing a job for years matter.

(Continued below the fold.)