What to Read Before You Unwonk Tonight

  • The Center for American Progress released a report today that lays out how they see the 2012 election playing out, and their prescription for what Obama needs to do to win:

President Obama must maintain as much of his community of color, Millennial generation, and unmarried women base as possible in terms of vote share and electoral composition—and then manage to either hold his 2008 margins among white college graduates to offset possible crushing losses among white working-class voters or keep his deficits among both white college and working-class voters to 2004 levels and hope that his base support compensates for these deficits.

  • Not only does Obama need to hold on to his 2008 base, he probably can run on 2008 issues too, thanks to the failure of the Super Committee. However, the Obama campaign can’t rely on bashing the GOP if it wants to win. It also need to capture the hope of the 2008 campaign — perhaps the hardest part of making 2012 a 2008 redux.
  • While Obama needs to hold on to his 2008 base of young people, women, and minorities, the only people that new GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich has been really good at attracting are old people. Probably because they can’t hear the constant waterfall of condescension running from his mouth every debate very well. Or because they sort of remember him fondly from back in the 90s, when they were a different demographic and Golden Girls was still widely syndicated.
  • In the twelve-hundredth (rough estimate) debate tonight, Newt Gingrich will have to try to win those other demographics by fending off attacks from his fellow candidates, who will most likely turn their insults away from bullying Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich will in turn blame the moderators for turning the candidates friends against each other. Dan Amira and Molly Ball have good primers of what to expect at the second foreign policy debate in ten days, and Norman Orstein posits some wishful thinking questions that Wolf Blitzer would never ask.
  • Romney released an ad today that takes an Obama quote so far out of context that it makes even this look tame. However, many journalists made the sneaky cleverness of the ad the lede of their coverage instead of the fact that the Romney ad is an outright lie that will purposely mislead many voters, something Ryan Lizza rightly decried. 
  • If the aftermath of tonight’s debate and the inevitable ad backlash prove too much for Romney, he can always drop out of the race and try to win the hearts of the Pulitzer committee instead of the populace.
  • Although Zuccotti Park has become synonymous with Occupy Wall Street, it was actually the second choice for the protest’s battleground.
  • Great essay from David Frum in New York about the insanity of the current incarnation of the Republican Party:

Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich: The list of tea-party candidates reads like the early history of the U.S. space program, a series of humiliating fizzles and explosions that never achieved liftoff. A political movement that never took governing seriously was exploited by a succession of political entrepreneurs uninterested in governing—but all too interested in merchandising. Much as viewers tune in to American Idol to laugh at the inept, borderline dysfunctional early auditions, these tea-party champions provide a ghoulish type of news entertainment each time they reveal that they know nothing about public affairs and have never attempted to learn. But Cain’s gaffe on Libya or Perry’s brain freeze on the Department of Energy are not only indicators of bad leadership. They are indicators of a crisis of followership. 

Note to GOP: When your family admits you’re crazy, it’s time to give in and get some help.

  • Part of the reason that the US is having such a difficult time brushing off the stagnant economy is the fact that chronic unemployment has roots that reach far deeper than the mid-2000s. 
  • Economy v. campaign debates on election forecasts are so last week. Great post from The Monkey Cage on what "vintage" v. adjusted economic data forecasts say about Obama's 2012 chances. 

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