Election 2012

There Is No "Real" Mitt Romney

Peter Beinart has some encouraging words for conservatives worried about a Romney presidency, but this has relevance for liberals too: ...within weeks of Romney's election, his chief of staff would be culling through lists of potential deputy secretaries of the interior. The list would be generated by places like the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and Chamber of Commerce. It would consist largely of people who served in the Bush administration, with perhaps a few entrants who stood out at the state level—which is to say, were particularly zealous in serving corporate interests—thrown in. This list would have been approved, if not actually assembled, by the very industries that the Interior Department regulates. It would be similar to the list that would have been assembled for President Perry or President Cain, and it would include no pro-regulation Republicans, because the people who produce such lists are in the anti-regulation business...

Bill Daley, Obama's Chief of Staff, Leaves the Stage

Last year, the White House brought on William Daley as chief of staff to manage the second phase of Barack Obama’s presidency. Republicans had just won a huge majority in the House of Representatives, and Daley was seen as someone with the skills necessary to cut deals and build relationships. But that didn’t work out. Republicans were committed to right-wing dogma and a strategy of complete intransigence that, when combined with a concilliatory White House, led to feckless compromise, legislative hostage taking, and a general sense that President Obama was ill-suited for the Oval Office. Between his push for the American Jobs Act and his newfound aggressive posture, Obama has regained some of that lost confidence. But Daley, as something of an emissary to both Republicans and Wall Street, just isn't right for this new confrontational approach. As a result, The Wall Street Journal reports , he’s been moved away from the day-to-day responsibilities of the White House chief of staff...

Why Iowa Conservatives Haven't Warmed to Perry

I'm going to contradict myself and briefly discuss Rick Santorum again. The former U.S. senator secured a key Iowa Republican's endorsement over the weekend, a move that won't significantly improve his chances at gaining the presidential nomination (still only a fan-fiction dream among personhood supporters). But the endorsement highlights the prevalence of discontent among the conservative base this year. Chuck Laudner has a nonexistent public profile—not just nationally, but within Iowa as well. However, he's just the sort of hire that successful presidential campaigns have been built upon in the past. Laudner worked for Steve Forbes in 2000, but his standing didn't truly rise until 2004, when he organized Steve King's first congressional run. Laudner followed King to Washington, where he served as the archconservative representative's chief of staff. He returned to Iowa after a few years and worked as executive director for the Republican Party there during the 2008 caucuses. Last...

Cain's High Crimes, Not Misdemeanors

Minutes ago, Sharon Bialek, one of the four women who alleged Herman Cain sexually harassed her, came forward in a press conference to recount what happened. In short, after losing her job at the National Restaurant Association in 1997, Bialek traveled to D.C. to meet with Cain for a discussion about her finding a new job. Before meeting with Bialek, Cain had her hotel room upgraded to an expensive suite and let her know he was responsible for the nice room. After drinks, he took her to a fancy Italian restaurant, then offered to show her the NRA offices. At that point, Cain allegedly parked the car, reached his hand under her skirt, pulled her head toward his crotch and said, "You want a job, right?" When she resisted, he drove her back to her hotel. This account is shocking on several levels. First, what the media have described up to this point as sexual harassment has in fact turned out to be sexual assault (though Bialek's lawyer, Gloria Allred, refused to define the crime as...

Sabotage?

In its most recent poll of Florida voters, Suffolk University asked respondents about the Republican Party’s relationship to President Obama. Did Floridians see the Republican Party as deliberately harming efforts to improve the economy in order to boost their election chances? According to the survey, a whopping 49 percent said yes, “they believe that the Republicans were intentionally hindering efforts to boost the economy so that Barack Obama would not be reelected.” The partisan gap was large –- 70 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents agreed with the statement, while 24 percent of Republicans disagreed. The Washington Post and ABC News asked a similar question in its most recent poll of voters and got similar results. Here’s the question: Which of the following statements comes closest to your point of view? Statement A: (President Obama is making a good faith effort to deal with the country’s economic problems, but the Republicans in Congress are playing politics...

We Are Living in the Conservative Recovery

In talking about the economy, the Republican presidential candidates are quick to blame government spending for our current woes. “On my first day in office, I will send five bills to Congress and issue five executive orders that will get government out of the way and restore America to the path of robust economic growth that we need to create jobs,” said former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney when he unveiled his jobs plan in September. Likewise, in his plan, Texas Governor Rick Perry touts spending cuts as part of the road toward renewed economic growth: “The cut, balance, and grow plan paves the way for the job creation, balanced budgets, and fiscal responsibility that we need to get America working again.” The problem, as Neil Irwin reports for The Washington Post , is that sharp cuts to government have been terrible for the recovery. Thanks to lower revenue, limited federal aid, and budget-cutting state legislators, the public sector has cut 455,000 jobs since the beginning of...

Romney Robocalls, Perry Takes on Iowa

Last week, I speculated that Mitt Romney could still win the Iowa caucuses if he poured enough resources into the state over the next two months. Evangelical Christians might have the loudest voice in the Iowa GOP, but they don't constitute the whole party. They're matched by a set of business-minded Republicans who favor low taxes and defanging regulation and who are less concerned with the social issues that could derail Romney's campaign; thanks to the 2010 midterms, the ranks of registered voters from this wing has increased significantly since the last time Romney ran for president in Iowa. It looks like Romney may have come to the same conclusion. He has two stops scheduled along the state's eastern border today after he barely visited Iowa for the first ten months of the year. And on Friday, the AP reported that Romney has rolled out robocalls against his main opponent in Iowa: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid for automated telephone messages in Iowa accusing...

Mitt Romney's Public Option

If you want to be a serious presidential candidate, you have to offer just enough detail in your policy proposals that it appears that you're genuinely grappling with the issues, but not so much that you give people too much material with which to find fault. To that end, Mitt Romney has offered a plan that includes the following about Medicare: Medicare should not change for anyone in the program or soon to be in it. Nor should tax hikes be part of the solution. Reforms must honor commitments to our current seniors while giving the next generation an improved program that offers the freedom to choose what their coverage under Medicare should look like: • Give future seniors a choice between traditional Medicare and many other health-care plans offering at least the same benefits • Help seniors pay for the option they choose, with a level of support that ensures all can obtain the coverage they need; provide those with lower incomes with more generous assistance • Allow beneficiaries...

Ch-Ch-Changes (in the Democratic Party)

According to the latest Gallup survey , affiliation with the Democratic Party has dropped from a high of 50 percent in 2008 to 43 percent in 2011. This is lower than it was in June , but well within the average for the last two years: The details are straightforward: Democrats remain “less white, more female, more liberal, less religious, and less likely to be married than the general population.” Further, the Democratic Party remains disproportionately liberal and nonwhite. What’s significant is that the proportion of liberals and nonwhites has grown since 2008, from 33 percent to 36 percent. In addition, the Democratic Party has seen a corresponding decrease in the number of whites who identify with the party – from 66 percent to 63 percent. The proportion of liberals has also grown since 2008, from 35 percent to 37 percent. By and large, this is just a long way of saying that the Democratic Party has lost significant support from white, conservative, and moderate Democrats. These...

Ohio's in the Bag, but Mississippi and Maine are Toss-Ups in Referendum Votes

AP Photo/Bruce Newman
*** UPDATED *** Here are the latest polling numbers for today’s election: #winning Ohio Issue 2 : According to a Public Policy Polling released Sunday, 59 percent of voters plan to vote against Senate Bill 5 , which would severely limit the state’s public employees right to collective bargaining. Five percent of voters are still undecided, and 86 percent of Democrats are against the bill. Independents are also for repeal of the bill pushed by Governor John Kasich, who has a dismally low approval rating of 33 percent. The failure of SB5 will be a big and much needed win for labor in Ohio. Pins and Needles Mississippi’s Amendment 26: The Personhood amendment is the referendum to watch tonight, not only because its fate is up in the air, but because if the electorate makes this amendment a reality, it could set a dangerous precedent for how states approach abortion and women’s rights. 45 percent of voters support the amendment, and 11 percent of voters were still undecided as of...

Herman Cain and the Problem of Serial Harassers

What is it that turns a person into a serial predator? Is there something about power that makes some men think they can take whatever they want, or are there men who just don't recognize women as human? Make no mistake: Real sexual harassment is predation. My rule has long been that if I hear one allegation, I wait to hear the evidence—might be true, might be false. If I hear two serious allegations in which women took the risk of bringing the charge publicly, I assume there are more. Someone smart at the Associated Press must know that rule, because their reporters have turned up a third allegation of sexual harassment against Herman Cain: A third woman considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she deemed aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate...

Republicans Agree that Mitt Romney Is Most Electable

Mitt Romney’s ideological heterodoxies are well known among political observers, but this latest poll from The Washington Post and ABC News shows the extent to which those deviations may harm the former Massachusetts governor among the Republican Party’s most conservative voters. According to The Washington Post , 48 percent of Republicans say they are less likely to support Romney for his health-care plan, a number that shoots to 55 percent among those who describe themselves as very conservative. What’s more, Romney’s Mormon faith puts him at a disadvantage among conservative voters –- 32 percent say that they are less likely to vote for Romney because of his Mormonism. Even still, Romney maintains a lead in electability among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Thirty-three percent say that he “has the best chance to beat Barack Obama” -– compared to 21 percent for Georgia businessman Herman Cain, and 11 percent for Texas Governor Rick Perry -– and 20 percent agree...

The Case for a Clinton-Biden Switch

Putting the current secretary of state on the presidential ticket could be Obama's best shot at re-election.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waves at the crowd at the 2008 Democratic National Convention (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves at the crowd at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. S hortly before the Democratic National Convention opens in Charlotte, North Carolina, next September 3, Barack Obama should announce that he has asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to join him on the ticket as the vice-presidential candidate, and Vice President Joe Biden to become secretary of state in his second term—and that both of them have agreed. A Clinton-Biden switch can improve the odds of a Democratic victory at a time when economic conditions would make re-election difficult for any president. As secretary of state, Clinton has been associated with the part of the Obama administration that enjoys the highest approval. Just as important, she has not been associated with economic policy and could now provide the ticket with a fresh voice and sense of renewal on economic issues. According to polls, Clinton has been the most...

Obama Tied with Romney in the Swing States

Consider this an addendum to yesterday’s post on Nate Silver’s forecast of the 2012 election. According to a recent poll from USA Today and Gallup, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are tied in 12 swing states: New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. Of the GOP candidates, Obama fares best against Texas Governor Rick Perry in these swing states, winning 49 percent of the vote to Perry’s 44 percent. Despite the coverage around it, this poll doesn’t actually tell us much new about the landscape for next year’s election. Given the current economy and his approval ratings, Obama has long stood an even chance of losing re-election. If it does anything, this poll just underscores the extent to which he is in a precarious position. One additional thing: I’m not sure that it makes sense to call Pennsylvania a swing state, given its track record in presidential elections. It has voted Democratic in every...

Why Rick Santorum Should Be Ignored

With controversy circling Herman Cain all week, pundits have begun searching for the next conservative bubble. With Mitt Romney unable to top 25 percent in the polls, some candidate must step in to fill the conservative void, or so the thinking goes. Perhaps Newt Gingrich will get his moment in the sun. Or maybe Rick Santorum will steal away Cain's supporters in Iowa polls. At first glance, the latter wouldn't seem too surprising. A former senator from a swing state, Santorum has never strayed far from conservative doctrine and wouldn’t face the problems that might sink Rick Perry's candidacy. While other presidential candidates have been slow to invest in the early states, Santorum has been a constant presence in Iowa, earlier this week becoming the first candidate of the cycle to visit all of Iowa's 99 counties. But there will likely be no Rick Santorum boom. Even as the Republican Party drifts further and further right with each passing month, that shift is largely contained to...

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