Category Archives: Foreign relations

Horses & Bayonets Edition

Well, SOMEBODY’s been practicing his zingers…

Last debate before the election (chews nails nervously) and I don’t care what the spinroom says, that was a clear win for Obama. I also don’t care how badly my shirt smells, I’ll be preserving its magic right through the World Series and through Election Day.

Debate transcript (will make for some fascinating reading) and video here.

Foreign policy was the topic of this debate, although really foreign policy meaning mainly Middle East politics with a faint nod to China. The rest of the world apparently has no impact on your presidential aspirations.  Congrats to Bob Schieffer for spanking Romney at least once, although frankly I think he could have been a little sterner about Romney’s penchant for flouting time limits and being a blowhard. Schieffer was competent, although he was no Martha Raddatz, which is a shame, because someone needed to call out Romney on his inability to answer a question on foreign policy directly.

But happily, Obama was on fire tonight, getting the best zingers of the night and calling out the Romney lies.

Some of my favourite Obama lines of the night (lines I’m sure he practiced ahead of time):

You were asked, what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia — not al-Qaida, you said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years. But, Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.


But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities.

Bob, let me just respond. Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. This has been probably the biggest whopper that’s been told during the course of this campaign, and every fact-checker and every reporter’s looked at it. The governor has said this is not true.

Now, I hasten to add, that while those were lines I loved, the truth that every Obama supporter has to come to terms with is that NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS, there are people who will never accept that Romney has lied about Obama. Case in point, the apology tour.  This is a fiction promulgated by the GOP political machine since Obama left for Cairo.  There was nothing apologetic about it, but I have ex-friends (whom I had to unfriend on Facebook) who railed about how they knew Obama had gone on an apology tour and that it was a disgrace. No amount of logic or facts is ever going to dislodge her sad opinion.  Some people do not want to be confused by facts.  Romney’s poor performance will make as little difference to them as Obama’s poor performances in the first debate did for me. I understand that.  I can only hope there are slightly more sane people out there than insane people.

I also must mention the blinking.  With the candidates on split screen, I noticed Romneys blinking FAR more than I have at the previous debates.  Here’s what About.com says about that particular piece of body language, “People often blink more rapidly when they are feeling distressed or uncomfortable.”

Curiously, besides the blinking, one of the takeaways of the night was that Romney apparently agrees with most everything Obama has done, revealing either an amazing lack of imagination, or an underlying truth that all along Obama has been doing what a commander-in-chief should be doing.

Of course not every pundit felt it was a clear Obama win. But at the Political Wire, Taegan Goddard says:

The third and final presidential debate was President Obama’s best moment in the campaign so far. He was prepared on every issue and knew Mitt Romney’s record of past statements just as well… As the debate went on, Romney tried many times to move the international affairs discussion back to the economy where he was more comfortable. It was as if he had only 30 minutes of foreign policy talking points for a 90 minute debate. As a result he seemed to string together random thoughts which often made him sound incoherent.

TalkingPointsMemo concludes: “Romney began to falter as Obama became more direct, organized and declarative. Romney seemed increasingly lost. Obama seemed comfortable, happy. The visuals told the story.”

It was a good night.

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Paul Ryan Repairs the World

And while Romney is out debating the future of the world, his pal Paul Ryan has been out doing good deeds, like cleaning Mount Rushmore:

Cleaning Mother Teresa:

and cleaning Brad Pitt’s abs:

Ah, the things one can do with Photoshop…

And sometimes I don’t need to Photoshop anything at all:

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I have a theory.

By Ann Elk.

Stay with me here. I know this is going to sound like I’m a nut job, but, here goes. Clearly from these last two debates, we can see that Debate #2 and Debate #3 Obama is so much more practiced, so much smarter and quicker than Debate #1 Obama. And I’m not the first one to wonder what the heck happened in that first debate.

Here’s my crazy theory. What if Obama lost that first debate with strategy in mind?

Pshaw, I hear you say, what a thought! Why would he do that? Well, folks, this election is a different animal mainly due to the sudden rise of SuperPACS, quasi-political organizations that we all knew were stockpiling cash to make a hit on Democrats running for Senate, particularly in the final weeks leading up to the election. In early October, Obama had only a small lead in polls in popular vote, but the likelihood was that he would carry most of the swing states in the electoral college race.

I think he also knew that if it looked like Romney was going down in flames (which he was after the 47% remark) the conservative SuperPACS would pull their money from the Romney campaign and abandon Mitt to focus on the Senate and House races.  With Obama on a slide, GOP superPACS have earmarked more cash for pro-Romney ad buys in swing states and moved away from the Senate races. Savvy?

Think of it like that final act of Lord of the Rings. Aragorn proposes a crazy house call on Sauron’s front gate to draw the Eye away from the hobbits scrambling up Mount Doom.  Yeah, yeah, go ahead and tell me I’m crazy, because who would throw away an only slightly-greater-than-nothing lead?

It would be an incredible game of brinksmanship, I concede, but come on, this man is President of the United States. You have to have some nerves of steel to get the job.

Anyway, my point is, yes, he took a dip in the polls–perhaps more than might have even been anticipated. But still, Romney has never been able to create volatility in the polling, not like back in 2004.

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VOTE NOW

Have I mentioned early voting?  Very much worthwhile.  It means that once you’ve voted you can ignore the myriad political ads and paraphernalia invading your inbox…

In-person early voting has commenced in South Dakota, Idaho,  Vermont, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, Indiana,  California, Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, Hawaii,

You can vote by absentee ballot already most states. Check Reed’s calendar for more info.

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GROUSY CAT SEZ:

That was a good night.

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Pwned Edition

Well, Hallelujah!

Welcome to Presidential Debate Number Two and a fine, fine Obama win. Debate video and transcript here.

Hopefully this little dog and pony show puts the Obama campaign back on track and makes people stop and think, really think for a moment about who this Romney jerk is.

So here’s what we learned today. Mitt Romney is a kneejerk bully who can’t let anyone else have the last word and believes that rules, even debate rules, are for someone else.

But this time, Obama doesn’t just roll over and let Mitt the Arrogant run roughshod over him. ‘Bout damn time. I have a brief flash to that story of Romney’s “Lord of the Flies” style attack on his presumed gay classmate, you know, where he held down and cut the hair of another kid just because he was “different.”  This is the same Mitt Romney we’re looking at today, folks. This is how that kid grew up, from an insolent, overprivileged cocky little brat who thought he could do whatever he wanted, to a pompous swaggering braggart who thinks he can say whatever he wants.

Pssst…Mr. President….there’s a crazy person behind you…

But I’m glad to say that Obama is not a little kid, and he’s not taking it lying down, thank god. At times, it looks like an episode of the Bickersons, with the two of them doing a “No, you don’t,” “Yes, I do,” “No, you don’t” “Yes, I do” kinda useless exchange. And to her credit moderator Candy Crowley tolerates it only for a moment before shutting it down. She has obviously taken heed of the ghost of Jim Lehrer, and I give her credit for cutting through the brawling going on on the stage. In fact, Candy more than earned her stripes when Romney tried to shove down everyone’s craw a particularly silly little bit about Obama’s response to the Libya attacks.

“You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror?” Romney eye-rolled, adding obnoxiously, “I want to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.”

“Get the transcript,” Mr. Obama replied. With such firm, unsmiling authority, that it sent a million bloggers to Google to find the transcript, which took all of .0000002 seconds.

Candy actually live fact-checked–LIKE ANYONE WITH A BRAIN WOULD– and said, “He did in fact, sir.”

To which the president added, “Can you say that a little louder, Candy?”

Yeah, here, Candy, let me do it.  HE SAID: “NO ACTS OF TERROR WILL EVER SHAKE THE RESOLVE OF THIS GREAT NATION, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”

It was a stupid move by Romney because winning a semantic point like that really doesn’t prove anything, but losing the point makes him look like a bully and a condescending jerk who doesn’t know enough to stop lying when he’s been exposed. Didn’t someone say “I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it….” Oh YEAH, that was YOU Governor Romney, back in Debate Number 1, at time 21:16:44.

one does not simply fill binders with women

I think Obama’s feistiness and the fact that Crowley was indeed going to call him on BS must have rattled Romney, because his voice actually took on a different tone and he had a few weird little worms come out of his mouth. Something garbled about how on Day One as president he would “label China a currency manipulator.” But one of the fastest growing memes in the seconds after it emerged from his mouth was “binders full of women.” Uh, yuck.

Mitt was trying to show off how wonderfully openminded he is and how he did his darndest to locate some kind of qualified dames to hire  for his cabinet.

Actually, as it turns out, this idea that he ASKED for the binder full of women is another Romney lie/exaggeration. From David Bernstein at Talking Politics:

Hey, I know about that binder! And guess what — Mitt Romney was lying about it… What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.

Here’s what Emma Keller at the UK Guardian had to say about it, “Why did the phrase resonate? Because it was tone deaf, condescending and out of touch with the actual economic issues that women are so bothered about. The phrase objectified and dehumanized women. It played right into the perception that so many women have feared about a Romney administration – that a president Romney would be sexist and set women back.”

Romney is, according to him the kind of open-minded guy that lets his Chief of Staff leave at 5 pm so she can go home and make dinner for the kids. I can only presume that Romney is talking about Karl Rove protege Beth Myers, who manages his campaign and owns a share of that famous Romney horse, Rafalca. Of COURSE, Romney will let her leave at 5  make dinner, because we wouldn’t DREAM of asking Beth’s husband to do that. [Rolls eyes.]

If Romney was hoping to make an impact on women with his caring compassion for the struggles of a working mom, he needed to dial up his “I am a human” setting a few more notches and maybe turn on a space heater to warm him up. Ugh.

Anyway, as I was saying… Romney got pwned by Obama tonight. I figure if the conservatives are saying it was an Obama win, it was clearly a knockout… LOL.

The NY Times noted:

“George Will said, ‘Barack Obama not only gained ground that he had lost, he cauterized some wounds that he inflicted on himself by seeming too distant and disengaged.’

On CNN, the longtime analyst David Gergen said “the night goes to Barack Obama.” On MSNBC, the Rev. Al Sharpton credited Mr. Obama with his “best performance of his career as a debater.”

“Tonight Mitt Romney was up against a different man,” said the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who added that “Democrats will be thrilled.”

I will now breathe a little more easily, take off my lucky Giants T- Shirt (It is SOOOO working) and ignore the polls until the post debate swing happens.

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“Look at how sparkly someone else already made them…”

Nice Christian Attitude Department

And, no, I just can’t pass over that Paul Ryan photo op in the homeless shelter in which he showed up in a 15-minute stop ON HIS WAY TO THE AIRPORT, after the breakfast was over, (conveniently missing any actual contact with homeless people, who are, as we all know in the 30% of Americans who are “takers), “ramrodded” his way into the kitchen (yep, that’s what the charity’s president said) and proceeded to clean pots and pans that were already clean (lest he soil his pretty hands with kitchen schmutz.)  All to get the picture you see on the left.That is one cynical photo op.

I mean really, it’s just so difficult being Romney-Ryan.  They deride the takers, the 47% who just won’t take responsibility for their lives,saying we should cut out entitlements and get rid of handouts.  But, they also want us to think they’re good Christians, so they should at least look like they’re serving, but they should not actually hand any free food to those freeloading “takers.” But they don’t want to be viewed as cold  and unfeeling, but they also only have fifteen minutes to make this op look good, so “Liza, do NOT get grease on your hands, we don’t have time to clean it off, we have a plane to catch!”

Marie Lee of Salon says this: “This staged emptiness is such a glaring metaphor for the oxymoronic “compassionate conservatism” that a novelist would reject it as too obvious…This is exactly what the GOP is all about. They need to pretend to care about the poor and disenfranchised so they don’t come off as total monsters, but in practice, they’d be horrified to confront a food scrap that may have been touched by a 47 percenter.”

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The news that George McGovern is entering hospice gave me a sobering moment today.  I couldn’t help but think, is this the end of an era for Liberals, or can we make this the passing of a torch.  Well, okay, I know Barack Obama isn’t the Liberal I wanted, but he’s liberal enough for right now.  I wasn’t there in 1972, but I have to imagine that this election is a lot different from Nixon vs. McGovern.

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I’m trying not to get too depressed by polling.  Really, truly, with everyone and his aunt out there polling “likely voters”  the noise is unbearable and those poll lines are guaranteed to fluctuate a lot in the next three weeks. When I want to feel good about life, I look at Electoral-Vote.com’s Senate map.

In more heartening news, Obama is leading Romney 59-31% among early voters, according to a new Ipsos/Reuters poll.

The online poll is another sign that early voting is likely to play a bigger role this year than in 2008, when roughly one in three voters cast a ballot before Election Day. Voting is already under way in some form in at least 40 states.

And in even more heartening news, “The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a last-gasp appeal by Ohio Republicans and approved early voting for Ohio residents on the weekend before Election Day.”

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And if you REALLY need a laugh, check out this Gangnam style parody, “Mitt Romney Style.”  I almost fell off my chair when I first saw this.

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GROUSY CAT SEZ:

Booyah.


Fine Fillet Edition

So I have always suspected this: far from being the addle-pated old fool that people like to portray him as, Biden is a shrewd, savvy politician who knows how to play the “gaffe-prone” guy in order to advance a bigger objective.

It is with modified glee, that I point to tonight’s debate performances as evidence. It was a fine filleting of Rep. Paul Ryan, and sent a sigh of relief rolling through the ranks of Demos riled by Romney’s lies and Obama’s apparent indifference  to them in the last week’s debate.

But even before tonight, I had my suspicions about Joe.  Take his so-called gaffe on gay marriage.  Supposedly he just blurted out his support for gay marriage and irritated the president, putting the Obama administration in an awkward position. Know what? I think you don’t get to be a veteran politician with 40 years experience by shooting off your mouth unless it’s calculated. I see Joe in a meeting with the president saying, “Hey, let me just go out there and take the temperature of the water.  If it’s a horrible idea, it’ll just be crazy old Joe shooting off his mouth, but if it’s the right time, then you’ll find out.”

And when Obama’s gay marriage support speech rolled out,  I knew for sure that Joe is one helluva smart political strategist whose greatest advantage is that he doesn’t care what people think about him personally.

But back to the debate at hand. First off, props to Martha Raddatz.  She’s feisty right from the start, “I would like to begin with Libya.”  Whoa, Nellie! No softball question? No inane “what is the difference” queries?  Just, “Good evening, gentlemen, let me set a breakneck pace here by asking you about libyan terrorists assassinating a US Ambassador.” Yeah. I love it. In a tweetshell, as Vanity Fair put it: “Yo, Jim Lehrer, This Is What Killing It Looks Like.”

The NY Times’ Alessandra Stanley observes:

For Mr. Biden especially, the night was his chance to relive past debates and unleash his inner barroom brawler. He had to be contained and courteous when he debated Sarah Palin four years ago, lest he look like a bully. This time he let loose. And unlike the courtly Mr. Bentsen in 1988, Mr. Biden turned his temperature up, singeing the young man across the table with patronizing grins, but mostly withering retorts. His interruptive barrage was as relentless as his silent mugging for the camera.

Mr. Ryan held his own, but did look abashed when Mr. Biden mocked him for opposing the Obama stimulus, yet asking for government funds for his own district. “On two occasions, we — we — we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants,” Mr. Ryan said stiffly.

“I love that. I love that,” Mr. Biden said. “This was such a bad program, and he writes me a letter saying — writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, the reason we need this stimulus — it will create growth and jobs.”

And if Biden looked authoritative and no-nonsense, Ryan often seemed rattled, like a punky, arrogant little kid who’s just been called out on blatant lies and is desperately trying to keep his cool and bluster his way through. His little “heh-heh” chuckle creepily reminds me of GWShrub’s grating little trademark snigger.

Oh, and by the way, these are real photos of Paul Ryan– he posed for Time Magazine, when he was the 2011 runner up for Person of the Year (???). Don’t ask.
But before I leave the topic of Ryan’s appearance, I’m going to say again… Hannover Fiste.  Remarkable. (Thanks, Todd, now I can’t see anything else…)

Anyway, pundits on the right will claim that Biden was unhinged because they can’t refute what he said, and those on the left will  rejoice that FINALLY someone is starting to call out the Romney-Ryan lie machine.

They get to Medicare entitlements and Ryan tries to drag his mom into the discussion. In his response, Biden offhandedly reminds us that he filleted Sarah Palin on the death panel debate and can fillet Ryan just as neatly.

Some favorite Biden lines:

  • “That is a bunch of malarkey!”
  • “Go on our Web site. He sent me two letters saying by the way, ‘Can you send me stimulus money? It will create growth and jobs. Those are his words. And now, he’s sitting here looking at me?”
  • “By the way, any letter you send me, I’ll entertain it.”
  • “Oh so now you’re Jack Kennedy…”

And one of my favorite Biden responses managed to wrap the 47% remark, the GM bailout,  and Romney’s veteran policies neatly into a response on unemployment figures:

Let’s look at the — let’s take a look at the facts. Let’s look at where we were when we came to office. The economy was in free fall. We had — the Great Recession hit. Nine million people lost their job, 1.7 — $1.6 trillion in wealth lost in equity in your homes, in retirement accounts from the middle class.

We knew we had to act for the middle class. We immediately went out and rescued General Motors. We went ahead and made sure that we cut taxes for the middle class. And in addition to that, when that — and when that occurred, what did Romney do? Romney said, no, let Detroit go bankrupt. We moved in and helped people refinance their homes. Governor Romney said, no, let foreclosures hit the bottom.

But it shouldn’t be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. My friend recently, in a speech in Washington, said 30% of the American people are takers. These people are my mom and dad, the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who in fact are living off of Social Security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now who are, quote, not paying any taxes.

I’ve had it up to here with this notion that 47 percent — it’s about time they take some responsibility here. And instead of signing pledges to Grover Norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class, we’re going to level the playing field. We’re going to give you a fair shot again.

Says Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Beast: “Biden’s affect is the most important thing tonight. He seems like the elder statesman but also a pitbull.”

And at the Economist, reaction was: “Joe Biden was easily the more memorable debater in every way; he was louder, more emotional, lucid, detailed, garrulous, grinning, teary-eyed and just Joe Biden. He sank some real barbs into Romney-Ryan. The Biden that Mr Obama hired in 2008 to excite lower-middle-class types from Scranton showed up and did his job. Ryan was cool, impressively calm given his unpredictable opponent, and detailed, but seemed reactive much of the night. He could have put Obama-Biden on the spot for their deficit failures more effectively; as it was, more time was spent on how Mr Romney’s numbers don’t add up (a potential future deficit) than the actual deficit itself.”

Sam Youngman of Reuters on PBS: Joe’s message was “Hey, welcome to my turf, rookie.”

And I won’t deny that Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker pretty much gets it right: “In a poll of Democratic voters taken immediately following Thursday night’s Vice-Presidential debate, a wide majority said they wanted Vice-President Joe Biden to appear in all remaining 2012 debates,” adding, “Obama should crush a little bit of Joe Biden into a joint and smoke it.”

So, how did Joe do? If you must know my opinion, he cleanly filleted Ryan before the guy even knew what was going on, and  then he packaged him up with a wine sauce to cover that off-flavor of hypocrisy and put a few nice clean chives on the top.

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So early voting began in California last Tuesday, and we realized that in order to vote at this juncture, we would have to wade through our positions on nearly a dozen ballot measures and another handful of local propositions. So, Californians, we are now prepared to reveal our recommendations on everything from gross receipt taxes to GMO labeling to the human trafficking.  Interested?  Send me a message and I’ll be happy to share our snarky take on this year’s props.  And when you know which way you want to vote on your local and state props,

GO VOTE. 

In-person early voting has commenced in South Dakota, Idaho,  Vermont, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, Indiana,  California, and beginning today, Arizona.

You can vote by absentee ballot already in Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Georgia, Arkansas,Maryland, South Carolina, New Jersey, Maine, Michigan, Mississipi, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas,Delaware, Virginia, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, North Dakota, Illinois, Washington DC, New York and Florida.

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GROUSEY CAT SEZ: 
 “Sometimes I leave malarkey in the litterbox…
and sometimes I leave malarkey on the carpet…”

 


Blunderbuss edition

DEBATE PREP

Where to begin?

It’s debate season–one of my favorite parts of the election cycle. and with the first debate coming up tomorrow, I’m  feeling more than slightly revved up about the campaign.

In case you haven’t looked at the schedule, the first presidential debate, coming from Denver and starting at 9 pm ET (6pm PT), covers domestic policy–topics include the economy, the economy, the economy and health care.

The candidates are sequestered away prepping madly for the event, of course.

“Mr. Romney’s team has concluded that debates are about creating moments and has equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing on aides since August,” reports the New York Times.

Ezra Klein at WaPo offers this pro tip: “If your strategy to turn the presidential election around relies on Romney’s sense of comic timing, you might want to prepare a Plan B, as well.”

It’s been a while since my last rant, and I’ve been holding myself back, biting my fist, trying to contain that unbecoming tinge of schadenfreude that was coloring my cheeks–that smug smirk that crossed my lips whenever I heard about another Romney gaffe.

What can I say? It’s been an enlightening few weeks.

Let’s start with Libya and the horrifying violence that followed the YouTube video mocking Mohammed that was promoted by Terry Jones–not the Monty Python guy, I’m talking about the American pastor who wanted to burn Korans in 2010 and hanged (read “lynched”) Barack Obama in effigy  earlier this year. How is it the Secret Service is not ALL OVER this guy?

Anyway, after the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens at the hands of a mob/terrorists, Romney, with his steel-trap-like grasp of foreign events, decided to slam the president for sympathizing with the attackers.  Too bad that was completely and absurdly untrue and everyone knew it. If you like timelines the way I do, you can follow along in detail and see how Romney managed to respond before either Secretary of State Clinton or President Obama had made a statement.

Add to that that no one likes a political candidate scoring political points at a moment when national unity was called for–and on September 11 no less. “If the past week was Mitt Romney’s opportunity to show how he would handle a foreign crisis, the GOP nominee did not put his best foot forward as far as voters are concerned,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a press release.

At Slate, Fred Kaplan  pointed out: “No other prominent Republican, even those who have vigorously criticized Obama in the past, has spoken out against the president on this issue. Sens. John McCain and Mitch McConnell, as well as House Speaker John Boehner, have stepped before microphones to condemn the attacks, mourn the deaths, and assert American unity in seeking justice. These politicians know, as Romney apparently doesn’t, that in these sorts of crises, the proper thing to do is to rally around the flag. Ironically, it’s also the politically smart thing to do. Imagine if Romney had called President Obama, asked how he could be of assistance in this time of crisis, offered to appear at his side at a press conference to demonstrate that, when American lives are at risk, politics stop at the water’s edge—and then had his staff put out the word that he’d done these things, which would have made him look noble and might have made Obama look like the petty one if he’d waved away these offers.”

Then there was the delightfully candid remarks Romney made at a June fundraiser which surfaced in video from last week. Really?  47% of Americans “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…I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Hmmmm, maybe “entitlement” defines an arrogant rich guy who think he can dismiss half the country as freeloading peons who aren’t worth his consideration.

As Andrew Tanenbaum at Electoral Vote says, quite astutely, “The danger for Romney is that this story reinforces his image of wanting to be the President for the upper half. Gaffes only matter when they reinforce an existing stereotype and this one does.” Tanenbaum also points out that scooped up in Romney’s 47% are “government employees, soldiers, veterans, people on Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, people who have gotten Small Business Administration loans, people who work for government contractors or companies the government bailed out (like banks and GM) are at least somewhat dependent on government.”

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Polling that heartens...

Here’s the part I really like, though. I like to look at pretty polling graphs, and by pretty, I mean ones that point to a clear trend with sanity prevailing… Here is the state of the electoral vote, from electoral-vote.com, with handy markers for key events, and including the states that are considered swing states if they were to vote today. Notice the little blip around the 47% remark…

Here is the same graph but without the swing states included. See? Relatively the same curves, but with Obama just jogged over the all-important 270 line with the help of Romney’s 47% remark…

For reference, here is the graph from 2008, and you can see that actually McCain was in a better position than Romney at this point in the election–that is shortly after the McCain gaffe-fest started and certainly before the debates.

It’s also interesting to look at the volatility level of previous elections.  For instance the polling from the 2004 election (Kerry vs. Bush) makes this year’s election look positively serene. 

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GROUSEY CAT SEZ:

VOTE NOW!!!

I know in those swing states you’re probably buried under campaign ads and sick of even thinking about the election.  I have a solution: Early Voting.  Vote now and you’ll never have to think about it again.

Not sure when early voting starts in your state?  Check out this calendar.

Check in with your friends! 

In-personearly voting has commenced in South Dakota, Idaho,  Vermont, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska, and Ohio.

You can vote by absentee ballot already in Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Georgia, Arkansas,Maryland, South Carolina, New Jersey, Maine, Michigan, Mississipi, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas,Delaware, Virginia, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, North Dakota, Illinois, Washington DC, New York and Florida.

On Monday we here in California can begin early voting.  Just do it!


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