This morning, Mike Allen lamented the loss of Indiana Senator Dick Lugar with—predictably—a complaint about partisanship on both sides:
Look at the two Blue Dogs who lost primaries in Pennsylvania last month, plus the Lugar result, and the quick extinction of moderates in both parties over the past decade, and there is one inescapable conclusion: This town could get even more ungovernable and polarized in November.
If you haven’t already, you should read Ed Kilgore and Greg Sargent on Mitt Romney’s speech yesterday in Michigan, where he tried to clarify and contrast his approach on the economy. The message was typical of Romney’s rhetoric; an attempt to flip an attack and direct it at his opponent. In this case, Romney decried Obama as the purveyor of failed policies, and presented himself as a reform conservative in the mold of Bill Clinton and the New Democrats.
Three years ago, Mitt Romney was a naysayer on the auto bailouts, warning that they would result in the destruction of the American auto industry. But now that President Obama is running on the success of the bailout, Romney has decided that he’s responsible for the revival of auto manufacturing:
“I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet,” Romney told a Cleveland TV station while visiting a local auto plant Monday. “So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.”
Yesterday, I wrote on Barack Obama “evolving” position on same-sex marriage, and pointed to a Gallup poll from last year that showed majority support for marriage equality. If Obama could count on public opinion in 2011—with 53 percent of Americans in favor of gay marriage—then there’s no question that he could do the same in 2012, and gain from announcing his support for marriage equality.
A new Gallup survey shows a slight reduction in support for same-sex marriage. 50 percent of Americans say that marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by the law as valid, compared to 48 percent who say otherwise:
Republicans haven’t always been opposed to stimulus. In 2008, under George W. Bush, congressional Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the Economic Stimulus Act, a $152 billion package which gave tax cuts to individuals and married couples, tax breaks for businesses, and $40 billion in direct spending. Going back further, again under President Bush, Republicans touted the initial round of Bush tax cuts as stimulus that would boost the economy.
“I think there are 60 votes in the Senate to solve the budget challenge and to secure Medicare and Social Security,” Kerrey said Saturday.
“The Democratic and Republican caucuses are the problem.”
Those organized party caucuses stand in the way of bipartisan cooperation on difficult problems that continue to grow larger and become more urgent as the Congress remains paralyzed by partisan gridlock, Kerrey said.
Two swing state polls are out today which show the presidential race in a statistical dead heat. The first, from USA Today and Gallup, has President Obama with a two point lead over Mitt Romney in the 12 battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The big finding from the poll is that Obama has edged out Romney in terms of enthusiasm among his supporters; 55 percent of Obama supporters say that they are “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting, compared to 46 percent of Romney supporters.
Yesterday, on Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden was unusually candid about his feelings on same-sex marriage:
“And you’re comfortable with same-sex marriage now,” NBC’s David Gregory asked Biden on Meet the Press.
“I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy,” Biden said by way of a disclaimer, then continued, “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction—beyond that.”
Thanks to a sluggish economy, and restrictive voter identification laws from Republican lawmakers, voter registration is down for the first time in years. In particular, registration among African Americans and Latinos has taken a plunge:
Together, the number of registered blacks and Hispanics across the country declined by 2 million from 2008 to late 2010, when the Census Bureau collected the data through its Current Population Survey.
The figure among blacks is down 7 percent, to just over 16 million. Among whites, it dropped 6 percent to 104 million.
Once the general election kicked into gear, and it was clear that Barack Obama would have the overwhelming support of African American voters, a meme picked up among some white voters. “They’re only voting for him because he’s black.” This, of course, was at odds with the facts. Black voters were initially ambivalent toward the then-Senator, and only embraced him after the Iowa and South Carolina primaries. Moreover, by that point, African Americans had been loyal Democratic voters for four decades; their positive feelings may have stemmed from racial pride, but their material support everything to do with his political affiliation.
Immediately after the jobs numbers were released, the Romney campaign put out an email to highlight President Obama’s “broken promises on jobs.” The problem, as has often been the case with Romney’s rhetoric, is that the argument is built on outright falsehoods. For example:
During President Obama’s Time In Office, The Nation Has Lost 572,000 Jobs And The Unemployment Rate Has Increased To 8.1%.
Ahead of President Obama’s visit to Ohio tomorrow, Mitt Romney is out with a new editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where he lays out his economic case against the president, and presents himself as uniquely well-suited to strengthening the recovery:
As far as April is concerned, the jobs report is disappointing; 115,000 new jobs, just enough to keep pace with population growth. Unemployment dropped to 8.1 percent, but labor force participation also declined, which means that joblessness is lower because fewer people are searching for jobs.
What’s interesting is that this runs counter to a host of other economic indicators, all of which point to a brighter picture. According to Gallup, for example, economic confidence is a four-year high, consumer spending has edged up, and small-business optimism has risen to its highest levels since the summer of 2008.
At the moment, the American political system is not equipped to handle climate change. But both parties aren’t the same, and Democrats have (effectively) symbolic legislation to signal their support for a cap and trade regime. The orthodox position for the Republican Party, by contrast, is complete denial. As such, the new Mitt Romney is a denialist crank:
A new survey from Gallup shows an even split among Catholic voters—46 percent support President Obama, and 46 percent support Mitt Romney. If you disaggregate by race, the picture looks very different; only 38 percent of non-Hispanic Catholics support Obama, compared to 70 percent of their Hispanic counterparts. Among white Catholics, if you break the numbers down by religiosity, the most religious and moderately religious support Romney, while the nonreligious support Obama.