Election 2012

Republicans or Obama, Voters Can't Decide

One of the striking things about the current political moment is the extent to which anti-incumbent sentiment hasn’t abated since last year. The poor economy has left Americans in a continuous state of anger toward their elected officials, regardless of political affiliation. In particular, according to the latest poll from United Technologies and National Journal, voters are down on both the congressional GOP and President Obama.

Iowa GOP: Not as Crazy as You Imagine

At New York, John Heilemann ponders Mitt Romney's standing in Iowa. Early in the campaign, team Romney made a deliberate decision to downplay his presence in the first-in-the-nation caucus. He would not repeat his 2008 mistake, where he invested heavily in Iowa only to lose handedly to Mike Huckabee , a candidate who had been buoyed by a wave support from Iowa's active evangelical Christian base. Romney has made just three Iowa trips to date this year, and his Hawkeye staff is limited to five people with no television or radio purchases to his name.

Do Democrats Need Discipline?

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, accompanied by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., center, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., takes part in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, to discuss China currency. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In response to my post on Drew Westen’s latest, a few commenters took issue with a secondary point. (My primary point, that Westen mischaracterizes the partisanship of the mass public, attracted less dissent.) My secondary point was that, despite this stereotype that Democratic politicians are less disciplined than Republicans—more fractious, harder to coordinate, etc.—Democrats and Republicans in Congress have essentially equivalent levels of unity on roll call votes.

The Right Rallies Around Herman Cain

At the end of my post this morning, I wondered if the Right would rally around Herman Cain following Politico’s allegations of sexual harassment, as if to replay the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. Via Real Clear Politics, we have our answer. Here is Rush Limbaugh as he defends Cain and attacks the Politico story as an “unconscionable racially charged attack”:

The Politico and the mainstream media has launched an unconscionable, racially stereotypical attack on an independent, self-reliant conservative black because for him that behavior is not allowed. […]

Would Rick Perry Skip Debating Obama?

Rick Perry's campaign spent last week floating the possibility that the Texas governor might skip some, if not all, of the remaining presidential debates. Their logic was pretty clear: Perry entered the field as the newly crowned frontrunner in August, only to see his stock plummet after a series of inept debate performances. They hoped to pull their candidate from the debate podium and counted on having few primary voters notice or care. As Jamelle noted last week, that was a risky strategy, which could alienate the conservative elite who already wary to support the governor after his stumbles.

Can Congressional Democrats Run Away from Obama?

Speaking to the The New York Times, Rob Jesmer, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, makes a good point about efforts by congressional Democrats to distance themselves from President Obama:

“Whether they get on stage with him is not going to matter,” said Rob Jesmer, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “They are going to rise or fall with him in most cases. The reason he is unpopular is because of his policies and these are the policies they have voted for – health care, the stimulus, now a second stimulus. There isn’t any daylight in the minds of voters.” [Emphasis mine]

Multiple Choice Mitt Strikes Again! Kind of.

As recently as June, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was on record as accepting climate change, and acknowledging the extent to which humans were major contributors, “I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that.” Over the weekend, in a characteristic move, Romney changed that position outright:

“My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” he said, according to CBS. “And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

Iowans Love Herman Cain, for Now

The Des Moines Register released their latest caucus poll over the weekend, and Herman Cain is the official favorite to win Iowa two months before caucus day. Cain posted support from 23 percent of likely voters, narrowly edging out Mitt Romney at 22 percent. No one else could even come close to touching the top two. Ron Paul gathered 12 percent. Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry—both of whom were crowned caucus frontrunners at one point in 2011—only had eight and seven percent respectively.

A Most Happy Fella

Here's Rick Perry's new ad in Iowa. Watch, and then we'll discuss:

Believing Cain

The talk of the town today is of course Politico's story detailing how two women who worked for Herman Cain at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990's accused him of sexual harassment, and were then given payouts to leave the organization (and made to sign non-disclosure agreements, of course). Although Politico relied extensively on anonymous sources for their story and obtained only some details about the alleged harassment, it does appear that they worked it pretty hard and didn't publish until they were confident about the facts they had.

Foreclosed for Business

Before the Republican presidential primary debate in Nevada, 2012 GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney told the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review Journal that government shouldn’t be in the business of trying to help families about to lose their homes. “Don’t try and stop the foreclosure process,” he said.

Will the Right Rally 'Round Cain After Harassment Allegations?

Last night, Politico broke the news that Herman Cain was involved in a sexual-harassment suit during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association. "At least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group," writes Politico. According to the story, Cain used sexual innuendo when interacting with the women in question; one reported an "unwanted sexual advance" from Cain during an event.

Obama's Wheel and Deal

The administration's recent trade agreement with Korea, Colombia, and Panama is expected to destroy more than 200,000 American jobs.

President Barack Obama stands after signing the Korean Free Trade Agreement in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. He is joined by, from left, Korean Ambassador Han Duk-soo, Commerce Secretary John Bryson, DOW Chemical Company CEO Andrew Liveris, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Korean Alliance for Free Trade William Hwang and Correct Craft, Inc., CEO William Yeargin. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

On Borrowed Time

President Obama's new student loan plan isn't enough to help students saddled with debt.

AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced its new plan for student loans: new graduates can cap their student loan repayments to 10 percent of their monthly income. After 20 years, their debt will be forgiven. Graduates already repaying their loans can consolidate and get half a percent interest rate cut. These changes will go into effect next year, two years before they were already scheduled to do so, and the administration said the move was in response to an online petition drive on its “We the People” site.