Mitt Romney and the GOP lost, but it wasn’t for lack of money. They spent a lot; they just didn’t get enough bang for the buck.
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson alone donated $150 million. But Romney lost anyway, especially among unmarried women.
Which is why I think that rich people wanting to support the Republican Party might want to direct their money somewhere besides TV ads that copy, poorly, what Lee Atwater did decades ago.
My suggestion: Buy some women’s magazines. No, really. Or at least some women’s Web sites.
One of the groups with whom Romney did worst was female “low-information voters.” Those are women who don’t really follow politics, and vote based on a vague sense of who’s mean and who’s nice, who’s cool and who’s uncool.
No, it's just that lots of dumb broads who are too busy getting pedicures and facials to follow politics just have this silly idea that Republicans are "uncool" and "mean."
Since, by definition, they don’t pay much attention to political news, they get this sense from what they do read. And for many, that’s traditional women’s magazines — Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, the Ladies Home Journal, etc. — and the newer women’s sites like YourTango, The Frisky, Yahoo! Shine, and the like.
The thing is, those magazines and Web sites see themselves, pretty consciously, as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party.
Uh, really? Take a look at the latest issue of Glamour. Why, it might as well be Mother Jones!
Anyway, I'm sure Putz's idea will be a big success. What should this new GOP women's magazine be called?
Are the polls making you as nutty as they're making me? They're defying all of my gut instincts right now, with this crazy up and down, back and forth, counterintuitive crazymaking.
I told you I'm not a poll truther and I'm not, which is why I offer you today's Rand poll image to soothe your ruffly feathers. Or mine. Or something.
I like the Rand tracker because they poll the same group over and over again, so that shifts actually feel like real shifts rather than these "by the seat of your pants" type of polls, and you can see where the trend line is going now. The debates are over, we're in the home stretch, early voting has started in a lot of states, and turnout is exceeding 2008 levels.
Yet. These crazy polls have the race at dead even, which makes no sense to me just based on the early voting numbers. Fortunately, I'm convinced they just don't have to. I liked this Kos diarist's "dead fish" analogy, where he relates the story of tracking a marlin's movements for hours as the marlin moves randomly east, west, north and south in no apparent pattern or in response to anything. Only later do they discover the fish died shortly after the tracking device was attached, and was just drifting on the bottom according to where the currents pushed it.
Are we tracking a dead fish? Perhaps. Perhaps we should give them the weight they deserve, which is just a constant reminder that this election won't be won or lost by anything other than getting out the vote. This shows up in the likely voter versus registered voter poll results too. Gallup and others assume Republicans will turn out in greater numbers because Republicans are typically the more reliable vote.
But this is not an ordinary election year. It is not a sweeping, broad hope/change theme-based election. It is a bruising battle for the direction of the country. Though I can't understand exactly why any woman would want to vote for a Republican, I guess some habits die hard. I think about Wisconsin and Ohio and Virginia, all states where Republican governors have worked with Republican legislators to squash the rights of the poor, and women, and unions, and just about everything we hold dear and wonder how this can be.
Yet it is. So whether you follow 538, or Intrade, or Polltracker or Daily Kos, the moral of the story is to give minimum attention to the trend and get out the vote. We win if we vote.
Right now the dead fish is trending in our direction. Let's keep it that way, and let the Republicans just enjoy the stink we leave in its wake.
In the comments on my Romney/Bain/Big Tobacco post, I heard a lot of people saying "Enough about Romney, we believe! Why is the race so close?"
Is the race really as close as we think it is? Or is that a perception driven by the Romney campaign working the refs every time things turn away from him?
If you follow the polling over the past week since the debate, it seems that we live in a really weird, fast-paced culture where themes and memes aren't always driven by fact-based assumptions. See, for example, John Amato's post on the Beltway groupthink developed via Twitter.
Tuesday's Pew poll, cited in Rachel Maddow's report Tuesday night, for example, was adjusted from the week before, causing a full 11 point swing in results. Via The People's View:
Pew polled fewer voters altogether, and, they acquiesced to the wingnut browbeating and entirely took away the Democratic registration advantage documented in actual voting in 2008,registration data, and well, their own previous polling.
Please do not assume I am a poll truther. I confess to falling into that trap back in 2010, when I challenged the belief that Democrats were unenthusiastic and wouldn't come out to vote. That was a mistake I will not make twice. I take polls seriously, but also think it's worth looking at them more holistically in terms of trends. My error in 2010 was not considering the trend, which clearly did indicate that Democrats and progressives were not inclined to come out and vote, for whatever reason.
The very best poll for watching trends is the Rand tracking poll, which polls the same sample on a weekly basis. That poll has some interesting results, particularly if you have a look at the "Intention to Vote" tab, which shows a trend upward for Republican voters and a fairly flat line for Democrats. The more disturbing trend to me is that women are starting to trend upwards for Romney. Is that because he seems to be pivoting toward the center on his positions regarding abortion and birth control?
In 2012, the "registered voter" numbers are relevant, where they were not in the midterm elections. For example, Democrats hold the edge in voter registrations -- legitimate ones at that -- in Florida, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina.
And then there is the Gallup tracking poll which came out Wednesday morning showing that among registered voters Obama leads 50-45 percent while the race is a dead heat among likely voters, 48-48. This puts it back to pre-debate levels in the likely voter column, at least.
In the end, the road to the White House is a two-lane highway straight through Ohio. And in Ohio, the Secretary of State has made one final effort to block early voting on the weekend before Election Day by filing an appeal with the US Supreme Court. Ari Berman writes in The Nation:
Remember what happened that year? George W. Bush won the state by a narrow 118,000 votes in an election marred by widespread electoral dysfunction. “The misallocation of voting machines led to unprecedented long lines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of thousands, of predominantly minority and Democratic voters,” found a post-election report by Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee. According to one survey, 174,000 Ohioans, 3 percent of the electorate, left their polling place without voting because of massive lines in urban precincts and on college campuses. Ohio’s Secretary of State that year was Ken Blackwell, co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.
The election is twenty-eight days away and Ohio voters still can’t vote during the most convenient times before Election Day—on nights, weekends or the weekend before the election. The prospect of the Supreme Court’s getting involved will add further confusion. Rick Hasen, an elections expert at the UC-Irvine School of Law and the author ofThe Voting Wars, says the Court may be reluctant to intervene so close to the election, but “if they do take it, I think they would reverse [the lower court].” The Supreme Court intervening on behalf of Republicans to decide a presidential election in a critical battleground state? Sadly it’s happened before.
Back to the original question. Why is the race so close? Because we are not simply weighing two candidates against each other. We are also battling voter suppression efforts in the battleground states, a barrage of advertising, mailers and dishonest behavior, and a candidate who lies every time he opens his mouth and speaks to voters.
Everyone who is engaged in this race on any level should not only be planning to vote, but also getting out the vote. Canvassing neighborhoods, phonebanking, and even just talking to neighbors is the best way to make sure the result isn't close at all.
There are a lot of variables at hand in a serious discussion of tax policy.
The Romney/Ryan team have been widely criticized for a lack of specificity in their tax proposal. To be honest, they just haven't had time. The distractions of the campaign are seemingly infinite--the plane rides, the rallies, sleeping, eating.
Finally, they've broken down the specifics of the plan in an easy-to-understand way. Give it a listen. Do the fundamentals serve the immediate jobs crisis rather than just pay lip service to a short term deficit problem? Will homeowners, donors to charity, and workers be protected?
Hear them out. Our nation is like a car, we're all barreling down this highway together. What might it be like if we hop in Mitt's handy roof-top carrier and hang on for a ride?
The thing that is always so infuriating to me about watching This Week is how George "I Have A Job, Too Bad About Yours" Stephanopoulos is coldly ticking away points for style, presentation, etc - everything except the truth. He is the perfect practitioner of what journalism professor Jay Rosen calls "The View from Nowhere." God knows, I'm no fan of the Obama administration. But to place the Romney/Ryan's outright lies about Medicare as a mere point of disagreement - well, that's hackery of the highest order. It's as if he's watching a sports event and acting as a referee, when this is our society and our lives he's talking about! He just doesn't care, and it's obvious.
How about a reality show, where the audience members could vote on bringing real journalists from other countries to our top media outlets, and send our hacks to theirs? Much hilarity would ensue!
STEPHANOPOULOS: One place you disagree with the Romney/Ryan ticket is the ads they have been sending out on welfare reform, neither Governor Romney nor Congressman Ryan mentioned welfare in their convention speeches, but here's the ad they've been running in a lot of battleground states.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama's plan, you wouldn't have to work and wouldn't have to train for a job. They'd just send you your welfare check. And welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you disagree with the ad, and a lot of independent fact checkers have backed you up on that. My question is, it doesn't seem to deter Governor Romney. The question is, why? And many of your supporters have accused the Romney team of playing the race card. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair, called it quote, "a dog whistler for voters who consider race when casting their ballot." Does the president agree with that?
Well, George, the Romney campaign can advertise outright lies because they know they can count on the media to ignore them. Or just as effective, to falsely equivocate them with an unrelated action by a Democrat. "Look over here, ladies and gentlemen: Debbie Wasserman Schultz!" See how you did that?
PLOUFFE: Well, first, George, on Medicare, I want to make clear, I don't agree with Paul Ryan. I agree that it's an important debate for the country.
PLOUFFE: So, first of all, George, right now, their campaign, is built on a tripod of lies. A welfare attack that is just absolutely untrue. The suggestion that we're raiding Medicare, absolutely untrue. And then this whole we can't build it nonsense. The president, as I think everybody in America does, believes that small businesses are built through the drive and innovation and hard work. The point he was trying to make is, things like education, roads, or infrastructure, it's something we all do together.
So it is amazing, by the way -- I don't think we have ever seen a presidential campaign, ever, that's built on a foundation of absolute lies. And I think ultimately they are going to pay a price on that.
On welfare, it's absolutely untrue. Everyone who looked at it is outraged that they're making this. The president, actually, these waivers strengthen work. You would have to get 20 percent more work in the state to even qualify.
Now, as to their motivations, I'll leave that to them. It is remarkable that the entire--
STEPHANOPOULOS: But (inaudible) the DNC chair who says it's a dog whistle playing on racial resentment?
Yes, George, by all means, to point out that Wasserman Schultz is pointing out their strategy is exactly the same thing as lying!
PLOUFFE: Well, listen, I think they'll have to answer what they're trying to do. I think they're trying to suggest somehow that we're trying to give a bunch of handouts to people, which is just not true. This is a president who believes in his core that hard work must be rewarded. And if people aren't willing to work harder and be responsible, we shouldn't help them.
But here's the question, George. Their whole theory was -- our whole campaign is just going to be the economy is not great, and it's Obama's fault. Now they are on this Medicare thing. Now they're on this welfare thing. It's a remarkable thing. And so he didn't talk about welfare in his speech on Thursday night.
The other thing he didn't talk about welfare -- didn't talk in his speech, which I think is remarkable, is he didn't talk about the war we're waging in Afghanistan. Or our troops. Which is an amazing thing for someone who wants to be 66 days from now elected as our commander in chief. Not even talk about our troops or the war we're waging in Afghanistan. And maybe that's because Governor Romney called our ending of the Iraq war tragic. Has opposed our plans in Afghanistan, in terms of bringing troops home. We're recovering 33,000 in September. So that was a huge omission, and I think a really remarkable thing.
After weeks of slanderous and baseless accusations leveled against Governor Romney, the Obama campaign has reached a new low. The comments made by the Vice President of the United States are not acceptable in our political discourse and demonstrate yet again that the Obama campaign will say and do anything to win this election," said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. "President Obama should tell the American people whether he agrees with Joe Biden’s comments."
Now here's what I would say if I were President Obama. I would say I don't agree with Joe Biden because, well, we're still chained by Wall Street. We are still beholden to Wall Street's beck and call, their manipulated markets, their threats if we (and our government) does not bow to their whims and demands. So it's less about us being unchained because we're not, and more about how much worse it would be if they didn't have the teeny tiny small constraints imposed by the Dodd-Frank legislation.
Chaining Wall Street and unchaining the rest of us would mean reinstating Glass-Steagall. We're not even close to that.
The Obama campaign did shoot back a reply:
For months, Speaker Boehner, Congressman Ryan, and other Republicans have called for the ‘unshackling’ of the private sector from regulations that protect Americans from risky financial deals and other reckless behavior that crashed our economy. Since then, the Vice President has often used a similar metaphor to describe the need to ‘unshackle’ the middle class. Today’s comments were a derivative of those remarks, describing the devastating impact letting Wall Street write its own rules again would have on middle class families. We find the Romney campaign’s outrage over the Vice President’s comments today hypocritical, particularly in light of their own candidate’s stump speech questioning the President’s patriotism. Now, let’s return to that ‘substantive’ debate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan promised 72 hours ago, but quickly abandoned.
I can see where it would be politically advantageous for Romney to turn this into some kind of racial reference on Biden's part, but it fails, largely because Wall Street's shackles know no racial boundaries. It's purely about who has the money and power and who doesn't. For Wall Street, most of us aren't even on the radar, unless we're catering their parties or something.
Back in July, I wrote a post about Romney and Bain, and how he will never tell the truth. In that post, I mentioned his connection to Latin American oligarchs and how they funded a substantial chunk of his initial Bain ventures.
Now the Huffington Post has picked up that thread and run with it. What they've uncovered is ugly and violent. It layers on another layer of taint to Bain Capital's founding, Romney's offshore accounts, and his equally unsavory offshore associations.
In The Real Romney, the author mentions Romney's trip to Latin America to raise money for the initial Bain Capital funding rounds. Romney and his partners had been encountering difficulties raising funds for that initial round and had agreed not to approach existing Bain investors. So Romney reached out to his Latin American friends for help. The family mentioned in the book is the Poma family, but the Huffington Post article has much more.
"I owe a great deal to Americans of Latin American descent," he said at a dinner in Miami in 2007. "When I was starting my business, I came to Miami to find partners that would believe in me and that would finance my enterprise. My partners were Ricardo Poma, Miguel Dueñas, Pancho Soler, Frank Kardonski, and Diego Ribadeneira."
Romney could also have thanked investors from two other wealthy and powerful Central American clans -- the de Sola and Salaverria families, who the Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe have reported were founding investors in Bain Capital.
While they were on the lookout for investments in the United States, members of some of these prominent families -- including the Salaverria, Poma, de Sola and Dueñas clans -- were also at the time financing, either directly or through political parties, death squads in El Salvador. The ruling classes were deploying the death squads to beat back left-wing guerrillas and reformers during El Salvador's civil war.
Great pains were taken to make sure The Real Romney readers understood that Romney and Bain vetted these investors to make sure they were not becoming an investment vehicle for illegal drug money or other ventures which might not look so great.
This is what happens when one side tries to accomodate the other, especially when the other side is known for their dishonest, brutish ways. Reince Preibus and his merry gang of Republicans have no problem airing an ad suggesting that President Obama eliminated the work requirements for welfare all by himself. Based upon the wording and images in the ad, the underlying suggestion is that he's cutting lazy people of color some slack.
Romney's lying. He's not spinning the truth to his advantage; he's not hiding in a gray area between fact and fiction; he's just lying. The law hasn't been "gutted"; the work requirementhasn't been "dropped."Stations that air this ad are disseminating an obvious, demonstrable lie.
All Obama did is agree to Republican governors' request for flexibility. That's it. Indeed, perhaps the most jaw-dropping aspect of this is that Romney himself, during his one gubernatorial term, asked for the same kind of flexibility on welfare law that Obama agreed to last month. Romney, in other words, is attacking the president for doing what Romney asked the executive branch to do in 2005.
The entire line of attack is simply insane.And that brings us back to the test for the political world.
How are we to respond to a campaign that deliberately deceives the public without shame? This lie about welfare policy comes on the heels of Romney's lie about voting rights in Ohio, which came on the heels of Romney's lies about the economy; which came on the heels of Romney's lies about health care; which came on the heels of Romney's lies about taxes.
The Republican nominee for president is working under the assumption that he can make transparently false claims, in writing and in campaign advertising, with impunity. Romney is convinced that there are no consequences for breathtaking dishonesty.
The test, then, comes down to a simple question: is he right?
I fear he might be. It seems that the language of lies is one that gains traction in today's world, thanks to Fox News, who serves as the lie amplifier. Free speech and all that, you know.
Facts are facts, unless it's political. Then Fox makes sure it creates a new set of facts, ignoring reality. Fox viewers don't care. They just want to hear what they want to hear, regardless of whether it's true. In this case, they are smug about the uppity black guy giving lazy people a reason to suck off the government teat. Never mind that it's a lie, or that their guy actually requested that which the President granted. They just lie, because they know Fox will enable them to get away with it.
Which sitting Republican governor will stand up and tell Fox News they're lying?
This is where I point out that pawprints are not usually accepted as signatures in state registrars' offices. Mailing is not a crime.
The Voter Participation Center (VPC) exists to reach out to unregistered voters in more than half the states in this country and get them to vote. They do this by combing lists, comparing them to registration lists, and sending out a pre-populated voter registration form clearly identified with their organization. Before any mailing goes out, state registrars have an opportunity to review and edit what is sent. It's not being done in a vacuum, and 15,000 people have returned the forms to the Virginia registrar, which is really why the Romney campaign has heartburn, I'm sure.
The Romney campaign has jumped on the bandwagon, calling for an investigation by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli into their practices. Wouldn't that be a nice "get"? A peek inside the lists the VPC uses, a list of voters, all sorts of goodies there for the taking if they actually got the Cooch to agree. The VPC is pushing back hard against their efforts, and well they should. For some bizarre reason the Romney people have it in their head that mailing a form is the same as submitting one for registration.
As anyone who has ever had the misfortune of working with lists knows, it's pretty easy to have entries that aren't right. A typo, someone uses their pet's name to register or subscribe to something, any number of things can cause list errors. But there isn't a problem unless someone actually picks up that erroneous form and tries to use it. Then they're committing fraud, and it would be the job of the registrar to verify those registrations anyway.