Tag: Presidency 2012
By John Stark
Iran’s semi-official FARS news agency appears to have been fooled by a story in The Onion, which provided bogus poll results indicating that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is more popular than Barack Obama among rural white U.S. voters.
I notice that The Onion staff, vigilant and helpful as ever, has noted the FARS report and provides a link to it, referring to FARS as “our Iranian subsidiary organization.” That’s not really true, is it?
By John Stark
The Los Angeles Times reports that some Ohio voters are getting letters informing them that their right to vote is being challenged.
The challenges are being mounted by a Tea Party affliliate that, among other things, is trying to weed out college students who tend to vote Democratic.
We’ve heard rumors–but no more–that some people in Whatcom County may be getting such letters. If you have received one, give me a call at 360-715-2274, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
By John Stark
Many Democrats seem to be icing down the champagne for an Election Night celebration, but Mitt Romney could still overcome Barack Obama’s apparent lead in opinion polls, says John Cassidy, writing in the New Yorker.
While Obama’s lead in the polls is significant, Cassidy notes that late-September margins typically get a lot tighter by Election Day, and the presidential debates are still to come.
Also still to come: economic and international headlines known only to Nostradamus. Will the October surprises benefit the President, or the challenger?
Also on the New Yorker website, the always-helpful Andy Borowitz offers still more comfort to the Romney camp under this headline: “Romney ahead in presidential race, say replacement refs.”
In one of the least-surprising developments of the week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s economic stimulus actions, announced Thursday, Sept. 13, have triggered a lot of political commentary.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore suggests that Bernanke is injecting new financial stimulus to help Barack Obama’s reelection prospects and thereby save his own job. Republican challenger Mitt Romney has said he will replace Bernanke if he is elected.
If Romney is, in fact, elected and Bernanke is shown the door, I’m guessing Bernanke won’t be unemployed any longer than he wants to be.
Romney himself had this reaction to the Fed’s moves: He called the stimulus a “sugar high” for the U.S. economy, according to this AFP report.
Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan offered invocations at both the Republican and Democratic conventions, but his words in the two venues contained significant differences.
In both invocations, Dolan offered veiled references to the ways in which party positions on social and economic issues are at odds, to some extent, with Catholic doctrines. For the Democrats, that meant same-sex marriage and abortion. For the Republicans, that meant immigration and concern for the needy.
Schmalz concludes: ”In the clamor of both conventions, I wonder whether anyone had the space to listen to Dolan, let alone to God.”
(Full disclosure: I’m a Catholic.)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wasted no time Monday in linking President Barack Obama to the teachers’ union, as striking teachers disrupted the school year for 400,000 Chicago students.
This AP report outline’s Romney’s statements about the strike, but also notes that Obama has already advocated some education policies that have put him at odds with the National Education Association — the big teachers’ union.
And Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief-of-staff, is the guy in the showdown with Windy City teachers. In this report from the Wall Street Journal, Emanuel criticizes the union and calls the strike “unnecessary.”
Obama’s earlier actions, and Romney’s comments today, make it pretty clear that politicians in both parties are aware that public employee unions are less than popular among the electorate at large. Conservative commentator Michael Barone cites some poll data in this column published online in June 2012.
Deep in the Republican Party’s 2012 platform is a reference to China’s allegedly unfair trade practices and a promise to “impose countervailing duties” on Chinese goods entering this country, if the Chinese do not shape up.
Maybe this is a secret plan for balancing the federal budget. Even a small federal tariff on Chinese goods entering this country could probably raise a lot of money — although this would be a tax that U.S. consumers would pay.
I don’t want to encourage anyone to take party platforms too seriously, but this item hasn’t gotten much attention that I’m aware of.
I’m indebted to an old crony, Nick Hayes, for pointing it out here.
My Facebook friends come from all points on the political compass, and it’s always amusing to watch them posting their reactions to major speeches and news events.
Last night, my Democratic-leaning friends posted their glowing reactions to Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, while the Republicans and conservatives scoffed at what they saw as empty rhetoric attempting to distract people from the dismal swamp that is our economy.
What do you think?
From the beginning of this campaign season, Mitt Romney has battled the idea that he is too moderate to appeal to the Republican Party’s right-wing base. To win the nomination, he had to fend off that charge repeatedly from rivals who contended that they were more in touch with the issues that mattered to social and cultural conservatives.
President Barack Obama has confronted dissatisfaction in liberal/progressive ranks. The current issue of Harper’s contains a savage essay from Thomas Frank that ridicules Obama’s efforts at compromise and suggests he may be little more than a tool for the same powerful financial interests that Frank believes dominated the Bush administration.
(Harper’s is subscription only.)
We would like to hear the views of Bellingham and Whatcom County partisans on these issues.
Are you a conservative Republican who will decline to vote for Romney? Will you vote for him, but with regret? Or do you think he is a worthy standard-bearer for your beliefs? Post your views in the comments section.
Democrats, feel free to do the same. If you are a left-liberal-progressive voter, will you decline to vote for a second term for Obama? Will you do so reluctantly? Or are you still enthusiastic about the audacity of hope?
Republican candidates at the Wednesday, July 18 Whatcom County Tea Party forum joined in on the widespread criticism of a quote from President Barack Obama that is being interpreted as belittling the contributions of American business people.
The Obama quote that is getting all the attention runs like this: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Republicans are interpreting this comment to mean, “You did little or nothing to build your own business,” which would certainly be an absurd thing for the President to say.
John Swapp, business owner and Republican challenger to State Sen. Kevin Ranker in the 40th District, observed: “I didn’t have any help from the government. The government was in my way most of the time.”
To me, Obama’s comment makes a bit more sense when you see it in context. Here’s a longer excerpt reported by the Washington Post:
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. ( emphasis added.) Somebody else made that happen.”
Not one of Obama’s more eloquent moments, to be sure. But when you look at the offending sentence, it doesn’t sound as silly. It looks like ”You didn’t build that” is supposed to mean, “The government, not you, built the roads and bridges that enable your business to exist.”
Swapp, at least, seemed aware of the full context.
“Yeah, I drive over a lot of roads and bridges, but so do a lot of people,” he said. He went on to observe that the business owners generate more than their share of the tax revenues that build those roads and bridges.
Matt Krogh, Democratic challenger to State Rep. Vincent Buys in the 42nd District, also referred to the wider context of Obama’s remark, attributing his own success in life to public school teachers as well as roads and bridges.
“The success that I have in life I owe to a lot of other people and I’m glad of it,” Krogh said.
President Obama’s recent move to halt deportations of illegal immigrants brought to this country as children is proving surprisingly popular, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
The poll results, reported here by the Wall Street Journal, seem to provide some evidence that the outspoken, strident opponents of all things immigrant are a minority that is out of step with the majority of Americans.
“Nearly every segment of the population—whites, male voters, suburbanites, rural voters, even union members—supported the move to cease the deportations. But those identifying themselves as Republicans narrowly opposed the move, 48% to 47%. Nearly half of all Americans now think immigration helps the U.S. more than it hurts, while 39% said its hurts more than helps, down from 52% who held that view in 2007,” the Wall Street Journal report states.
Obama’s move is especially popular among Hispanic voters, the poll reports.
President Barack Obama made a recent splash with his decision to use his executive power to create a path to legal residency for undocumented young immigrants who were brought into the country as children. Now, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is prepared to offer his own proposals to ease immigration restrictions.
Political analysts see a political motive in the actions of both men: They want to cultivate Hispanic voters.
McClatchy News Service reports that Romney is scheduled to talk about immigration issues today (Thursday, June 21) in Florida, a key presidential battleground with a large Hispanic population.
The McClatchy reporter’s lead paragraph says Romney is offering “few new proposals.” That may be true, but to me it’s big news that the Republican nominee is proposing any kind of easing of restrictions on immigration. There is a slice of the GOP base that seems to favor a zero-tolerance, zero-clemency, ship-em-all-out approach.
Romney is proposing permanent residency and even eventual citizenship for young people who crossed the border illegally with their families, as kids. But there’s a big qualifier: military service.
Romney’s package of proposed immigration reforms also includes a business-friendly increase in existing immigration quotas for highly-skilled workers, as well as the raising of immigration quotas for individual countries that tend to drive skilled professionals from those countries into Canada, Australia and so forth.
Of special interest to Whatcom County, Romney also proposes improvements in temporary visas to allow growers to bring in seasonal farm labor.
He also pledges to complete a “high-tech fence” and take other measures to stop illegal border crossing.
Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate identified by Forbes as one of America’s wealthiest people, has provided $10 million to a SuperPAC that is backing Mitt Romney for President, according to published reports.
The news organizations reporting this contribution to the “Restore our Future” PAC are relying on unnamed sources.
The Wall Street Journal says Restore Our Future would not confirm the donation, but cites “people with knowledge of the matter.” The Journal also reports that Adelson’s big issue is support for Israel: He wants a President who is more strongly pro-Israel than Barack Obama.
The Los Angeles Times reports that its Washington bureau checked out the Wall Street Journal’s report and confirmed that it was accurate, but LAT got no official confirmation either.
Adelson helped provide a big chunk of Newt Gingrich’s PAC money before the former House Speaker’s own presidential campaign fizzled.
After Democratic political consultant Hilary Rosen contended that Mitt Romney’s wife Ann–mother of five–had “never worked a day in her life,” other key Democrats scurried to try to repair relations with stay-at-home moms.
Just a day earlier, the Post’s E.J. Dionne was arguing that Obama’s higher approval ratings among many women, especially the well-educated, put him in a strong position to win the 2012 election using the same political coalition that elected him in 2008. As Dionne sees it, Romney’s efforts to counter Rick Santorum’s popularity among cultural conservatives boxed him into positions on contraception and abortion that alienated many women.
What do you think? Will this Hilary Rosen affair hurt Obama among women voters? Or is it just another one of those transitory events that roars through the echo chamber and then is heard no more?
A recent poll shows that 55 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents now believe that the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting, according to an ABC News Poll.
The Post’s story indicates that Obama’s plan to hand over the fighting to Afghan forces by the end of 2014 should be a plus for Obama in his all-but-certain fall campaign against Mitt Romney.
Overall, two-thirds of Americans now believe that the war was a bad idea, according to the poll.
But I suspect that economics, not foreign and military policy, will be the key factor in the outcome of the election.