Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye to 2012! And Hello, Cliff!

 I am home at last from the knee surgery and am very grateful for your kind concern.  AND Obama is still president!  And the GOP is as stupid and destructive as ever.  So let's end the old year the way I intend to go in 2013:  finishing the job we have all begun by demanding that our government work in spite of the Tea Party in Congress.

At this moment, the GOP leaders are supposedly huddled in a dark room of the Capitol trying to decide whether to hold hands and leap off "the cliff".  (I'm assuming you know the cliff from all the bleating on TV.) The whole thing is more stupid than terrifying.  The real cliff is the cliff of public opinion. But for reasons I'll discuss in a subsequent posting the Congressional GOP doesn't care about public opinion.  As for the fiscal cliff, the Democrats have been willing to make a deal for quite a while.  But the GOP is set on suicide and has been for the last several years.  (Why else pick Romney as a candidate?)    

It's just that we don't want them dragging us over any cliffs with them, not even phony cliffs like the present one.  And yes, it is a phony cliff.  Because as soon as the ball drops at midnight in Times Square and every VOTER'S taxes go up, the Republicans will be scrambling back up from their suicide leap, begging for a chance to vote tax relief to 98% of Americans.

How can the Republicans NOT vote for that? By then it will be tax REDUCTION. How can they not vote for TAX REDUCTION?  It's more important to them than sex.

And they will not try to hold up the tax relief for the 98% in order to get a tax break for the 2%.  Not if they have even a small shred of sense.  Even the Tea Party people would balk at that gross unfairness.

The resulting tax hike on the rich will (it is my understanding) forestall the "sequestration", the huge automatic cuts in fed spending that would have been split 50-50 between defense and non-defense.  Some of us who grew up with Ike's "beware the military-industrial complex" will be disappointed at defense not being axed, but you can't always get all you want.  And at least we will have the satisfaction of knowing that the rich's bucks, not ours, are going to the rescue of defense.

So if I understand what's going on  -  and the media have been grossly inadequate in laying it out  -   the GOP has a double incentive to NOT give a tax break to the very rich 2%.  First, it would look bad to further hold up everybody else's tax relief for the sake of the 2%.  Second, the GOP's beloved and bloated defense budget would take a fearful whack unless the 2% are tagged for that tax hike.

None of the above paragraph has been enunciated by any Republican so far as I know.  (See the P.S. below.)  So maybe I've got it wrong, but it's more likely that they are just too scared.  They cannot and will not tell their constituents what's really going on because the entire thing is such an affront to the far right.  Do you see it?  Sure you do!  If the GOP can't stop the taxes automatically going up on the 2%, and thus the end of any sequestration cuts, the GOP is enabling  -  oh, horrors!  -  spending by the federal government.  Yes, half the spending is for military crap even the Pentagon says it doesn't want,  but some of it is for things like school lunches.

And heaven forbid that a hungry kid should get a lunch paid for by Uncle Sam, albeit as part of a subsidy to agribusiness.  You want that kid to grow up to be an Obama voter because he got a sandwich?

So it appears that, at the worst, the GOP will take the leap and then quickly undo it.  They'll quickly give the 98% back their lower tax rate, save the defense budget with the tax hike on the rich, and even let the rich buy a kid some lunch.

So then what's the harm?  The pseudo-drama filled a lot of air time, didn't it?  So who got hurt by the GOP leap?

We all did.  And more on that later.

Tune in next time for "The GOP'S Doomsday Machine".

And a blessed and happy New Year to each of you!  (But not Ann Romney.)

P.S.  After I wrote this paragraph but before I posted this column, the NY Times began reporting there's something in the wind about the sequestration being forestalled by the tax increase on the 2%.  It's nice to be ahead of the news!  That's us!  Firstest with the mostest!  Sort of.    


Monday, December 10, 2012

Give Me Two! And Obama Four!

The knee surgery was a success, but I need another two weeks off the computer.  Meantime lots of fun stuff has piled up for us to discuss.  Which we will right after Christmas.  Till then let's enjoy the best two holiday presents ever:  Karl Rove going crazy election night, and Ann Romney finding out it wasn't their turn after all.

We already gave Obama his Christmas present of four more years.  Actually it was a gift  to ourselves!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Time Out for a New Knee

I'll be gone for a few weeks getting a new knee.  But I'll be thinking of you and our victory and all the wild times of these past couple of years.  I timed this surgery so that, if Romney won, I'd be knocked out on pain medication during the days immediately following.

If the replacement doesn't go according to plan, I have a back-up.  A good old-fashioned peg leg.  And I'll wear a black eye patch and a parrot on my shoulder and go around saying "Argh!" a lot.

Medicare will pay for the eye patch but we're not sure it covers the parrot.

It pays to plan ahead, doesn't it?

Sp please plan on coming back to read this blog.  Knowing you're out there is just great.  I'm never lonely in this big old house on this ten acres in the midst of the woods in the back-of-beyond.  Because all the way around the world, there you are!

So start checking in after Thanksgiving.  (That's late November for you folks in the other countries.)  It might be a good idea for me to resume then by doing a piece about all that we have to be thankful for.  At the top of my personal list is you.

And Barack Obama.

If you're the praying sort, please give me the benefit of your prayer for a safe outcome of the surgery.  If you're not the praying sort, do it anyway.  Humor the old grandma!

And if the knee works out well,  let's go dancing!

We Are Indeed the Change We Waited For

 We are going to be all right now.

Our world is still intact.  Billionaires couldn't buy our country.  Hatred couldn't beat goodness.  Lies couldn't beat truth.  Hard work and faith in our efforts could not be thwarted by voter suppression or buried by TV ads.

A good leader could still defeat a coalition of the greedy and the ignorant.

We have much to be be grateful for.  Certainly for President Obama and his great accomplishments as president and his fierce campaigning.

But we can also be grateful for ourselves, for one another.  Together we defeated forces that were the darkest I have ever seen in America's political life. darker than even the Ku Klux Klan of my childhood, because they were so insidious and so well-financed.  They stood ready to grab and strangle our democracy and pervert it all to their personal enrichment.  We stood to lose our vast public lands, the fight against global warming, our democratic process, our personal liberties, and most certainly our economic gains against the terrible recession from which we are emerging.  I think we were poised to lose the upward arc of human history.  For if the Great Experiment that is America should fail in the face of mere money, what hope is there for all those around the world who dream and struggle for a better society and a better day?

Perhaps that sounds overly dramatic, but I have the perspective of an old woman who has seen much and read deeply in history.  We have just moved through one of the hinges of history.  We made it through.  We are going to be all right now.

Yes, there are problems and probably threats ahead.  After all, the greedy never sleep.  They never even take time off to enjoy life the way we do.  So we have to be ready for what may be coming.

But we know something now that will see us through whatever comes:  Together, we can do anything.

We did this.  Against all the odds, we won.  With our little contributions of hard-won dollars, our efforts in the precincts, our faith in a good man, and with our faith in social justice and in each other  -  nothing could or will stop us.

He was right, you know.  We are indeed the change we waited for.

This time we have truly proven it.

May you all feel as proud and happy as you well deserve to.  And please accept the thanks of a grandma who can look at her grandchildren and say, "They will be all right now."  I really was frightened for them.  But you have made them safe.

Bless you all.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Clues To Outcome


And here's a few indicators to hang on to while waiting for the tallies:

1. Statistics Guru Nate Silver has upped his estimate of Obama's electoral college vote to 315.  That's a jump of 10 votes in the last few days.  It's based on the consistent and growing lead of Obama in the polling and is right in line with others who look to the numbers instead of a vague "sense" of the campaign.  Best of all, Nate has finally rounded off his electoral college numbers and is awarding whole electors!  This saves me puzzling over what in the hell a sixth-tenths of an elector looks like.

2. Historically the stock market predicts the election.  It depends on the market's rise or fall between Labor Day and Election Day.  As I write the Dow is up about 200 points from Election Day.  Wowsa!

3. An incumbent's job approval rating usually is the same as what he will get on election day on votes. As of yesterday Gallup had Obama's approval rating at 52%!  It's been a long time since he's been at 50%!

4. One of the most highly regarded analysts  (Andy Kohut of Pew polling)) notes something I mentioned several blogs ago:  The voters' prediction of who will win is uncannily accurate.  And this time the uncanny is with Obama by a nice lead.  Well over 50% of voters think he's going to win. Only about 30% pick Romney.

5. Similarly, this guru points out that an edge in "strongly supports"  means that the candidate those supporters support is going to win.  (It also means I get to write a sentence loaded with the uncanny word "support".)  Happily, Obama leads Romney in "strongly supports" supportive supporters.  (Three uses in a row!)

6. And, finally, Obama's supporters are not only strong for their guy, but supporting him is their chief motive in voting.  According to the polls, Romney's voters predictably are voting for R mainly because they don't like  our President.  Per studies, the candidate whose supporters are FOR him and not just ANTI the other guy  .....  well, you guessed it!  He wins!

So  -  absent chicanery in Ohio  -  Obama should make it.  With its 18 votes, plus the base of states that went for Kerry, plus Wisconsin and Iowa or Nevada, he gets the 270 that wins the electoral college.  He leads in Ohio in all polls.  He has twice as many or more campaign offices there.  And he has the blessed UAW.

But absence of chicanery is not assured.  Ohio has a dismal record of GOP voting chicanery.  Supposedly the Obama campaign, the federal Department of Justice and pro-voting groups have over a thousand personnel on hand in Ohio to protect the election.

What about Florida?  The GOP there has already started its usual tricks to deny people their sacred vote.  But if we get Ohio, we don't need Florida, and it can twist in its own chicanery but to no avail.

If this posting is a bit more discombobulated than usual, chalk it up to the great high that comes off having JUST  VOTED!  Yeah, folks, Grandma just went and did it!

Now, go ye and do likewise!      

Monday, November 5, 2012

Let's Go Vote!

Or as they said back in Chicago when I was a little kid, "Vote early and often!"

Today's the big day.  Let's hope it's a good one.

Let's think about the guy or gal who was working at that Romney fund-raiser in Boca Raton and had the chutzpah and smarts to video the Romney 47% speech.  This unknown person is an unsung hero of this election cycle.

So many memories of the far-less-than-heroic.  The weird lineup of GOP primary contenders.  "Nine, nine, nine."  The unending jerkiness of Romney.  The rabid far-right with its racism and its smirking spokesmen.

Better memories are those of the Occupy Wall Street folks who lit up the real issue of this campaign:  the 99% v. the 1%.  They gave Obama his pathway.

And there's the man himself, bounding up the steps of countless stages all across the country to ask people to do what was best for themselves.  It was never about him.  It was about us.  And the children.    Poor exhausted skinny and smiling man.

I love him.  Shamelessly and abidingly.  I hope this blog has served him well.  I wish I could have done more.

I guess we all do.

Because he did so much for so many.  The auto workers, the immigrant young people, the gays, the women workers, the environment.  And he made us laugh.  And he sang for us.  And he rid the world of Bin Laden and brought our folks home from Iraq.  He even helped the Native Americans, more than all prior presidents put together.  There was no political mileage in that.  He did things because they were the right thing to do.

But it's more than what he did.  It's his decency and his honesty, his calm in the storm and his intelligence.  He is in many ways like my other darling, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  Steady and sure, charming and good.

I hope he makes it tomorrow.  For his sake and for all of us and especially for that little boy who reached up and touched Obama's hair because it was like his own.

Oh, my children, I have seen many beautiful moments in my long life, but that was one of the very best.

And tonight I think of Obama's mother, dying of cancer and fighting the insurance company.  Small wonder he risked all to get us health insurance that cannot be clawed away from us.  May her sweet soul rest in peace, the good lady who brought this remarkable person into the world.  And the grandma and grandpa who raised him and whom he saw work so hard all their lives.  His values are built on the rock-solid foundation of these good people.

"I have been to the mountain top,"  Martin Luther King said the night before he died, "and I have seen the Promised Land."  May the good people of this land embrace the chance we have in this election to affirm goodness and reject the passions of hate, greed, and duplicity.

It is devoutly to be wished.

Blessings on you all.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Big Good News in a Short Post!

The top-ranked Pew poll today puts Obama 3 points ahead of Romney in the national vote at 48% v. 45% and predicts that Obama will reach 50% v. Romney's 47% when the undecideds are allocated.

This is great news.  Less than a week ago Obama had pulled even in the Pew poll after trailing Romney by 3 points in their prior survey.  Because of Pew's high status, these results had been worrisome.  But it's all okay now!

Not only are the national numbers reassuring in themselves, but they buttress what the polls have been showing in the swing states:  that Obama is leading in all of them but North Carolina, with ties in Virginia and Florida.  Even without these three states, he's got the electoral college vote.  Now this national Pew poll confirms  his electoral college lead.

So spend your Sunday smiling instead of sighing.  And keep praying for a good Democratic turnout!

One more day to go!

Pat Boone?? GOP's Bet on the Dead and Dying

Isn't four million a nice big number?  So hug that number and hold on to it through the next couple of anxious days.

And it's meaning?  There are now 4 million MORE Latino registered voters than in 2008.  Since Obama is pulling about 70% of Latinos, he could get about 2.8 million more votes than in '08 from this one group.  (I said 4 million to open because it's a bigger and rounder number and thus more comforting.  The difference between the two numbers is not as important as us hanging on to our sanity these next few days.)

This number illustrates the most important factor in American politics:  two segments are growing rapidly:  minorities and the young.  And they are Democratic.

We will likely see the effect of this growth this week as the votes are tallied EVEN IF these groups DO NOT TURN OUT in as big a percentage as they did in 2008.

Go back and read that last sentence again.

Why is it true?  Because the sheer numbers of these groups is growing so fast that a lower percentage turnout does not doom Obama's chances.  That was true even in 2008.  As the Obama campaign murmured about a year ago  -  and no one listened  -   the percentage of turnout among young voters was NOT remarkably higher in 2012 than in prior elections.  Instead it was their sheer numbers that produced their big contribution to Obama's victory.  And since 2008 a hell of a lot of more kids have come of age to vote.

Yes, there isn't the wild excitement visible on campuses and elsewhere as there was in 2008, but you have to face it, folks.  The 2008 election campaign was a once-in-your-lifetime phenomenon.  Treasure the memory, to be sure, but it's not a yardstick to measure against.  It was a spectacle!

So what's the GOP answer to all this?  Pat Boone.


Yup.  That aged milk-toast sort-of-singer from the 1950s.  Do you remember him?  If you do, I feel sorry for you, not so much because it means you're old   -  being old is actually kind of fun  -  but because, of all the great memories we oldsters could have, Pat Boone is a disgusting one.  He wasn't even 50s hip.  He was a joke among us who knew how to rock and surf and started the great social revolutions that blossomed in the '60s and 70s.  He was a jerk as well as a joke.

I thought he was DEAD!

But he's on the robophone, calling voters on behalf of Mitt Romney.  This is a logical follow-up on Clint Eastwood highlighting the GOP convention by talking to an empty chair.  Together, these two truly symbolize the GOP and Romney.  The two are old, white, and male and one is crazy and the other is a jerk.  They are so yesterday!  But this is all Romney has.  He is winning among old white males  and older white married women.  And that's all he's got.

By 2016 there will be lots more minorities and LOTS more young people.

And it's likely that by 2016 Pat Boone and Clint Eastwood will both be dead, as will a lot more of the GOP's aging white voters.  (Are they sure Pat Boone isn't already dead?  I could have sworn he was.)

And so will the Republican Party. Be dead, that is.

So watch this election day with a keen historic sense.  It is the last stand of a dying and once powerful ruling class.  A class that ruled the world until recent decades:  white males.  They colonized, they enslaved, they oppressed, and they exploited rapaciously, poisoning the environment mindlessly.

Free at last!  Great God Almighty, we are free at last!  Or almost.  We still have to get through November 6.

And those who are to be free at last include a goodly number of good white males who never wanted to oppress or do other crap-o.  They are free now too.  Now it will be okay for them to be the nice guys they always were.  No more dictatorial male peer pressure to be ruthless.

Will minorities, women, and the young be better at ruling the world.  Let's hope so.

At least they won't be as boring as the old white guys who have run everything.  NOBODY could be as boring as Mitt Romney and Pat Boone!


Well, Mitt, I sure hope you love your undisclosed tax returns as much as you apparently love Pat Boone.  Because, kiddo, they are partly why all the polls are showing that  -   like ol' Pat's "Love Letters in the Sand"  -   your chances of winning are just washing away to sea.



Saturday, November 3, 2012

Coming Down to the Wire!

It seems like this campaign has been going on for four years.  And it has.  Mitch McConnell began the anti-Obama campaign before the new president even had a chance to hang his trousers over the back of a chair in the White House.  "We will make him a one-term president", Mitch announced.

So will they?

Traditional wisdom is that the candidate who leads going into the last weekend usually wins.

On this Saturday morning President Obama is leading in the polls, and poll analyst par excellence Nate Silver now pegs him at 305.3 electoral college votes and an 83.7% chance of winning, with a national vote total of 50.6%.

All the polls except GOP-leaning Rasmussen show the President having increased his lead day by day in incremental amounts over the past week or so, especially in the swing states.  That's called a trend.

Ohio.  Ohio.  Ohio.

It's the biggie and it's looking pretty good.  Nate Silver gives Obama an 84% chance of winning the state, and the polling spread average is about 3 points in Obama's favor.  Not as great as the 8 points after the Democratic convention, but polls generally tighten just before an election.  What matters is that Ohio has held the 3-point spread steadily these past couple of weeks.

If Ohio goes to Obama, he's pretty well got a lock on the electoral college.  As I've said a zillion times over the past months.

There are still power outages in Cleveland as of yesterday, per a phone call with a contact there.  That's not good because the Cleveland and Toledo areas are where Obama must do very well to offset the rural GOP vote.

And the GOP in Ohio will likely pull every dirty trick imaginable (and some yet-to-be-imagined).  Remember 2004 when they stole the state from Kerry by having too-few polling places in Democratic areas?  On the other hand, the Obama campaign will have 650 lawyers in Ohio to try and keep things straight.  And the federal Department of Justice is sending out FBI and other officials to keep an eye on things in various states.

We have fought an uphill battle for 4 years.  Against the worst economic mess since the Great Depression, the parting gift of George W.  We have stood against the over-critical, know-it-all "intellectual" liberals in our own party.  We have watched our fine young president be smeared by lies and racist hate.  God help us all, we have had to watch the likes of scum such as Donald Trump abusing the airwaves with unmitigated crap.  And his hair.

We have had to dig into our shallow pockets to match the money of billionaires determined to buy the presidency so they can loot our country.

And all the while, we have had to watch that nice skinny guy get grayer and grayer and thinner and thinner.

But the smile is still there.  And it's in our hearts too.  We are in a respectable position at the end of what was pundited as a doomed race because of the economy.  Obama has campaigned ferociously.  So have we.

And he has done it honorably, as have we.  Romney and the GOP have seemingly lost all sense of what the word "honor" means.  Let us hope that the outcome of the election reaffirms that honor and truth still mean something in this country.

Let us be of good heart and go rejoicing, bringing in the votes.


So, Mitt, did your unreleased tax returns show that you owned some of the action in the auto parts scandal that is just starting to surface?  That's what folks are saying, Mitt.  And if this story doesn't break in time for the election, think what fun it will be if you win and have this scandal to welcome you to the White House.  Buried rotten things have a way of sending stinky gases up to the surface.  Just hope you don't win, Mitt, because there's an awful lot of pigeon-poop waiting to drop on your coiffure (to mix my smelly metaphors).  No sensible candidate would have hidden those tax returns unless there was something really awful to hide.  Like criminal infractions.  Nixon got impeached in part for tax stuff.  Getting ready for impeachment, are you, Mitt?  But don't worry.  The polls are against you, and it looks like you'll most likely lose the presidency and stay out of jail.  Lucky you.  Luckier us.  



Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Most Accurate Poll Picks Obama

All of the people are right lots of the time.

Or more than 80% of the time historically when the question they are asked is:  Who do you think will win the election?

This is the fascinating finding of a study just released today by some heavy-duty guys.  (It's actually something I've heard whispered before.)  Apparently we know more about how our fellow citizens will vote than do the pollsters who ask them directly.  For one thing, the general public knows a lot more folks than the voters will ever get around to interviewing, and therefore we form a sense of what's going down.

So what's the good news?  The people expect Obama to win!  And the expectation is running pretty high.  Unbelievably high compared to what the pollsters are sensing.

Therefore, without further lame attempt to build suspense, here are the results of two polls coincidentally released today on this very topic.  Gallup shows that  people believe by 54% to 32% that Obama will win.  Reuters/Ipsos finds that 53% believe Obama will win compared to ONLY 29% who expect Romney to win.

That's quite a gap!

But note that about 20% of the voting public are missing from these results.  Does that undercut the value of the assessment as it would in some kind of polling?  I have to think about that, but off-hand it doesn't seem like it should.

Oddly enough, pollsters have not often thought of asking this question about who you think will win an election.  But they have done it off and on going all the way back to 1936.  I like to think about 1936, the year FDR won a second term even though the economy was still hobbling.

Tomorrow morning the October unemployment figures come out.  But sufficient unto the day is this news today about what our fellow citizens think will happen on Tuesday.

So smile.  And keep your fingers crossed!  Maybe our fellow Americans are right!


So, Romney, your fellow Americans think you are a loser.  Maybe you won the battle of the tax returns release but it looks like you lost the war for hearts and minds.  It even looks like some number of your own voters think you are a loser!  And you are!      

Romney: Desperate and Dumb in the Stretch

The Romney campaign has hit the wall.  Polls this week in the swing states show him behind in all but North Carolina.  Nate Silver today gives Obama a 79% chance of winning, with 300 electoral college votes! The myth of Romney's "momentum" has exploded for all to see.

Beyond the polls, it appears Romney too thinks he's losing.  Why else tell such a whopper about Jeep production being moved from the U.S. to China?  Why else risk the result:  public repudiation by the car makers?  Both Jeep and parent Chrysler published angry statements that the Romney' assertion was a lie.  When did you last see a car company doing THAT?

The sudden way-too-late Romney dump of money in Pennsylvania and Minnesota is another indicator of wild desperation.  Romney hopes to convince the media and his followers that he is "expanding his electoral college map" so as to "threaten" Obama's chances.  No.  If Romney has any rationale at all, he's likely just poking for a weak spot in Obama's dominance in the swing states.  But any candidate who is trailing in Wisconsin and Iowa, as is Romney, is not going to swing Pennsylvania and Minnesota away from a Democrat who has a more substantial lead in those two states than in the other two.  Not in less than one week.  The Romney campaign and its super pacs simply have too much money and are spending it too late on the wrong things in the wrong places.

But let's bring it closer to home.

I got a robocall yesterday from the Republican National Committee trying to persuade me that we should elect Romney so we can use more coal and gas.  Why call a Democrat?  Why this repugnant message to an environmentalist who helped found the movement?  A Sierra Club member.  Where's the vaunted GOP intel on all the voters?

These GOP folks are floundering!

More floundering.  Two mailing pieces this past week from an undecipherable group, obviously a GOP front, pushing the idea that Jews are abandoning Obama for not being helpful to Israel.  Any Jew who can read probably has heard of the Israeli defense minister's statement that Obama has done more to help Israel's security than any prior president.

Bu here's the kicker.  The mailings were addressed to a relative who hasn't lived here for twelve years.  TWELVE YEARS!  Talk about using an out-of-date list of Jewish Democratic voters!

And the crazy bumper sticker my daughter saw yesterday.  Something about Obama being so bad he makes George W look good.  Stupid message printed in dark blue on black so you had to get inches away to read any of it except the Obama name in yellow.  Amateur hour v. "Mad Men".

So much for the "business efficiency" of the Romney organization.  So much for letting a "job-creator", private sector, we-know-it-all business guy who can run the country.  The fool can't even run a campaign!

Not only is Romney's flailing a waste of his resources but it diminishes his image just when Obama's is soaring because of his ever-so-presidential response to the Sandy Storm crisis.  (A poll today shows 80% of the folks approve of the job Obama's doing in this crisis.)

As for the Romney flailing:  Yeah.  I know.  Two mailings, one bumper sticker, and a robocall to one little old lady in the mountains of Pennsylvania are pretty small potatoes.  But I think the mistakes here may seem small to an outsider because this area is so out of the way.  (It's not the end of the world, we always say, but you can see the end of the world from the top of the ridge.)  Isn't it likely that he who is making mistakes in small places is likely making mistakes in big things too?  Like in spending last minute bucks in states Obama has a 5% or better lead in instead of piling into where the lead is less solid?

And a mustache is on the line.  Obama's key guy, David Axelrod, has offered to shave off his major mustache of 40 years if Romney wins Pennsylvania, Michigan or Minnesota.  And Axelrod is going to do it on TV!

"I'll see your $10,000 and raise you a mustache!'

Now that's real macho!


So, Romney, you managed to keep your tax returns hugged to your chest.  Paper is a good insulator, so maybe those papers will keep you warm in what looks like a long and very cold winter for you.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Second Storm: Election Day

It's less than a week now until election day dawns.

It may be a long day from that dawn until the election process ends.  There may be places still without electricity on November 6, and voting there will have to be postponed.  Or there may be lots of challenges and lots of "provisional ballots".  (That's a fancy word for "You really think your vote is going to count?")  By law in some states the provisional ballots and some absentee ballots can't be counted for a while.  Quite a while.

Or it may be really close in some states, and we will have lots of recounts, with the GOP bringing in buses of Congressional staffers to pound on the doors and demand the vote counting stop, as they did in 2000.  Do you remember that?  I'll never forget it.  It was America gone to the brown shirts.

Or maybe there will be hanging chads?  Or butterfly ballots?  Remember those?

Well, you say, surely no chads.  They use electronic machines now.  Yeah.  And no paper trail in some jurisdictions.  As for butterfly ballots, the same Florida jurisdiction that created the butterfly nightmare in 2000 through the incompetence of a locally-elected amateur has now produced a misprinted ballot wherein the stuff doesn't line up.

To paraphrase Robert Frost, the old darling, "Something there is in Florida that doesn't love an election."  Or doesn't love a fair one.

There will be self-appointed "monitors" sent by the GOP to challenge voters at the polls.  "Vigilantes" is what the New York Times is calling them.

There will also be 10,000 attorneys ready for action.  Unsurprisingly half will be in Florida.  I think they should be in Ohio.

Ohio.  Ohio.  Ohio.  It's all in Ohio.  He who takes Ohio wins, especially if he is Obama.  (But I'm not explaining that again.)

And my hunch is that the GOP will pull every outrageous trick in the book to keep Obama from winning Ohio.  Romney will not go lightly into that dark night.

So, brace yourselves, folks.  The storm of October 29 may be nothing as compared to the one on November 6.

Gosh, I hope I'm wrong.


Hey, Mitt!  You've hung on to those tax returns.  But it's never too late, old boy.  No. I take that back.  It is too late.  For all intents and purposes, the cake is baked.  The goose is cooked.  And I truly believe that the goose that's cooked is you.  And you cooked the goose yourself with those tax returns.  Plus 47 other stupid, smarmy things you said and did.  SO LONG, MITT!  And  -  no!  -  it has not been good to know you.  Not..... at...... all.      


Sunday, October 28, 2012

In the Face of Two Storms

We are dead center target here in Central Pennsylvania for the meeting of three weather systems:  Hurricane Sandy,  the cold rain storm now arriving from the west, and a mass of Arctic air moving in on us from the north.  Lucky us.

If the power goes out here in our rural, wooded area,  this blog and I may be silenced for a while.  But it took three storm systems combined to do it!  It's not so easy to put a sock in a grandma's mouth!

There's another storm coming too.  The election.  We will be tossed and pummeled by all kinds of rumors and rumors of rumors, especially bad polls.  Like the one being trumpeted today on the Sunday morning talk shows.  It was done by a firm hired by a consortium of newspapers in Ohio, a firm I never heard of.  It shows a tie of 49-49.  In polling, like a lot of things, you get what you pay for.  Newspapers have little money these days, so they probably went cheap and thus got a flawed result.

Compare that with the ABC/Washington Post poll this weekend that shows Obama leading in Ohio by 51 to 46.  And compare the bank accounts of ABC and the Washington Post with the moola of some unnamed newspapers in Ohio.  You get the point.

Obama holds steady in the storm.  (He's that kind of guy.)  He still leads Romney in all the swing states, except North Carolina and Florida, which of course belong to the Old South, poor things.

Nate Silver and other analysts still give Obama a better than two-to-one chance of beating Romney in the electoral college and by a percent or two in the national vote even though the polls say otherwise about the national vote.

The reputed tie in the national polling (if it really exists) is apparently due to something that escapes the hysterical pundits.  Romney's numbers have risen in states he had already locked up and risen in some states, including California, where Obama has such a huge lead that he will still win the state without the defectors to Romney.  Undoubtedly Obama is doing less well in California this year than in 2008 because California still has an unemployment rate over 12%.

For any of you who are feeling tossed by the political storm, don't be.

For those of you in the path of Mama Nature's storm, I wish you well.  Stay high and dry, and let's all hope and pray that we don't lose the electricity!

On the other hand, no electricity means no TV and no computer  nor any faulty polls or drama-craving pundits.  On the other hand, it also means no lights, no heat, no cup of coffee in the morning. Argh!


Speaking of lack of electricity, you're still keeping us in the dark about your tax returns, Mitt.  That's a joke, boy!  You're not the only one who has a really lame idea of humor!        

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Media Buys GOP "Surge" Malarkey

There is NO "mo" for Romney!

("Mo" being campaign-speak for momentum.)

It's just malarkey from the GOP.  Romney is NOT "surging".   The media may have bought the mo myth, but they'll get over it.  The math will win out.

And the math is clear.  Obama is still holding his lead in the swing states.  He has all along.  They are what matter.  They are all that matters.

But the media has to keep things bubbling on the stove, so when the GOP serves up some "surge" stew, the media says "Bring it on!"

And this is not just Grandma here telling you that the GOP stew has no meat in it.  Check it out with the heavyweights: Jim Fallowes in the Atlantic, Charlie Cooke, Nate Silver.  Look at their numbers and those at or votamatic.  These folks are ANALYSTS, not pollsters nor pundits.  They analyze polls and other numbers by using computer programs.  They don't just "sense"things like the pundits do.

These numbers experts have Obama winning about 290 electoral votes.  He only needs 270.  The range is about 290 (Nate Silver in the NY Times) to 332 (votamatic).  Most give Obama about a 70 percent chance of winning the election.

Can the numbers be wrong?

Sure. Numbers aren't people.  (Nor are corporations, for that matter, Mitt.)  Numbers don't vote.  And we don't know how many people will actually vote by election day.  A lot of Democrats could stay home. We have been notorious for that since I started in politics 45 years ago.   Or young people may go back to the sleep they enjoyed before 2008.

Or voter intimidation and suppression by the GOP may work. The rotten stuff is already starting in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia.  Threats of jailing for trying to vote, postcards announcing the wrong date for the election, threats of losing one's job.  Same old  s_ _ t the GOP has been pulling ever since I can remember.

Or Hurricane Sandy may hit us so badly along the East Coast early this next week that there's no electricity in several states even by election day.  No electricity, no voting machines.  We may have to postpone voting!  Argh!

Yeah, lots can happen.  But meantime, Obama just keeps going along, holding on to a poll lead in those key states, even gaining a tick or two these last couple of days.

He just keeps bounding up those stage stairs like a man who's glad to be there.  Because he is.  He's good at campaigning.  Very good.  And he likes doing it.

As for Romney  -  he's drinking his own hootch.  Unless a campaign is a thundering wipeout, as in 2008, candidates and their hard core supporters ALWAYS believe in the last weeks that the candidate is going to win!  They want to believe it and they do believe it.  It makes them happy and energized and creates an aura of OH WOW!  Nevertheless, it's an illusion, a self-delusion.

But it keeps them out of the pool halls.

Just too bad the media also got caught up in the trip.

So relax and watch the World Series.  The playoffs and series are the best baseball I've ever seen.  Especially those Giants.  They are having a good time!  They like what they are doing!  They do it very well!

Just like Obama and campaigning!


Well, Mitt,  you don't like campaigning, do you?  You have to tell yourself you're winning just so you can carry on.  You didn't want it enough, Mitt.  If you had, you would have cleaned up your financial act years ago so that you could have released your tax returns this year.  Not releasing them has really cost you, Mitt boy.  So far, it's cost you the presidency.  



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Where Are We Now? Ohio and Colorado

Lots of polls and lots of talk about a "close race that's a real nail-biter".  So how bitten should our nails be?

While the national polls show a virtual tie in the popular vote, what matters is Ohio and Colorado.  Not the third debate last night, not whether Obama is pulling out of North Carolina (more on that in a moment).

It's all just Ohio and Colorado.  One is the key to an "easy" win in the Electoral College; the other is fundamental to a "backup plan".

If Obama wins Ohio, all he needs in addition is New Mexico, which he appears to be winning, plus only 2 more electoral votes.  (He has a "base" of 245 electoral votes in the states Kerry won in '04, adjusted for census changes.)  The 2 additional electoral votes could come from Nevada (5 electoral votes) where he's ahead by 3 to 5 points.  OR Iowa with its 6 electoral votes and Obama's slightly smaller lead than in Nevada.  OR Colorado with its 9 votes, where the race is much tighter.

Plan B is based on Obama NOT winning Ohio.  (After all it is a traditionally Republican state.)  To make up for Ohio's 18 electoral votes, Obama would have to win Kerry's 245, plus Nevada, Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado.  This would snag him 271. With Colorado getting squishier lately, this is not as rosy-looking a path as it once was.  Nevertheless, it could work.

Note that both of these paths do not include Florida, Virginia, or North Carolina.  Obama could let the South be the South and give up on these and still make it.

What he must not lose is Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, both of which Kerry won. These are looking pretty good with the former at about a 3-5 point lead and the latter at about a 5 to 8 point lead.

But New Hampshire is a possible stinker for Plan B.  It's wobbling around the "too close to call" mark in the polls.  Kerry won it in '04, but New H is notoriously inconsistent in voting.  Of course, if Obama gets Ohio, New H becomes irrelevant.

So there you are.

Now a note about North Carolina.  Way back last year, I mentioned that the Obama campaign ran a test of its ground game by working the off-year local elections in North Carolina and swept almost every dog-catcher seat, etc., for the Democrats. (I don't know if N. C. has prothonotaries as we do in Pennsylvania  -   whatever ever they are   -    but we would have won them too.)  And now comes confirmation that Obama's ground game in N. Carolina is  doing a great job in this campaign.  Early voting in N.C. is running 120,000 ahead of '08!  That is super!  But remember that Obama in '08 won North Carolina by only 4000 votes.  Could this huge increase in early voting hold or increase that razor edge of '08 and thereby beat the current polling that shows Romney taking N.C.?  Tune in November 6 for all the answers!

Meantime, put your hands in your pockets so you won't bite your nails.  Keep your eyes on Ohio and Colorado.  And when you take your hands our of your pockets, bring out some more money to keep Obama's ground game going.  From this point on, IT'S ALL THE GROUND GAME.


Hey, Romney!  Take those tax returns out of your pockets, and keep your hands out of ours!  No more tax reductions for you and your cronies at our expense!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Romney to Destroy America the Beautiful & Not By Singing

The worst thing Romney wants to do is virtually a secret.  He wants to take our land  -  your land and my grandkids' land  -  and give it to his business buddies for commercial exploitation and destruction.  The media has paid no attention to his open statements that this is his intention.

If he is elected, you can just kiss goodbye to the America we love.

Say goodbye to about 700 MILLION ACRES of YOUR LAND now federally-held on behalf of all of us. That's ONE-THIRD of the entire acreage of the U.S.  And Romney wants to give most of it to big business. His proposed gift parcel to big business?  

---  YOUR 155 national forests and 20 grasslands, all 59 MILLION ACRES of them

---  YOUR fish and game reserves

---  YOUR 144,000 miles of wilderness trails    

---  YOUR  544 national wildlife refuges

---   ALL the plant and animal species that reside in these protected places

---   ALL the streams and rivers that are protected from bad logging and mining practices      

---   ALL the federally-held buffer areas around our national parks

---   ALL the Native American lands held in conjunction with the federal government

---   ALL the historic, archaeological and Native American sacred sites protected by federal jurisdiction

---   ALL the grazing and timber lands now managed by the Bureaus of Land Management, Agriculture, Forestry, Reclamation, and Fish and Wildlife

---   A LOT of our coastal areas and waterways now managed by the Corps of Engineers and the above agencies

----  VAST desert holdings of the U.S. military that could suddenly be deemed "surplus"

---   AND  the NATIONAL PARKS!  Maybe he can't unilaterally end federal ownership of them as he can of our other prized places, but he can certainly open them to all the commercialization and bad land use practices that took almost a century to end, such as sheep grazing on the floor of Yosemite Valley!

Romney has stated that "the federal government doesn't need" these lands and that he wants "to give them back to the states".  Those are the two most false and most stupid things he has ever said, and he has said plenty of false and stupid things.

It is WE who "need" these federal lands.  Of course, a government doesn't "need" them, not the way WE need them.  They are OUR lands, our breathing room, our America the Beautiful, not the government's.  The federal government is just taking care of our land for us  -  and thank God it is!

And as for "giving the land back to the states"?  You're dead wrong on that one, Romney.  The ownership of the land from which states were created remained with the federal government except for that which the federal government thereafter granted to the states.  What the hell do you think the old term "land grant colleges" means, Mr. Romney?  It refers to the federal government granting land to the states for colleges in the 1800s, i.e.  we have always regarded the physical territory of the United States as being originally in federal ownership.  That's how come it was the fed  -  NOT the states  -   doing the land grants to the railroads, Mitt, in order to get the transcontinental railroad built.  Don't you know any American history?

So don't give us that crap about giving something "back to the states".  That's what your Minutemen westerners and Tea Party kooks and big-business friends want to believe.  That somehow the states originally owned the land.  They are an ignorant, self-interested bunch, but you went to law school and should know better.  Your legal theory is just crap!

What would follow Romney's election would be even worse crap!  Do you, my friends, believe for one minute that the western states, where much federal land lies, would protect those lands from bad practices in mining, timbering, and over-grazing?  Would keep now-pristine wilderness areas free of roads and development?  Would spend the dollars to maintain the trails used by folks from all over the country?  Would control over-fishing and over-hunting?  Would restore the wolves and other predators necessary to ecological balance?  Would protect the habitats of endangered species?  Would even have the resources to fight massive forest fires?  Well, California might.  But certainly not Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, etc.

Come on!  If you believe the western states would not be handmaidens to timbering, oil, mining, cattle and agribusinesses, and the building industries, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.  And I got title to that bridge just the same way the states would be "getting their land back"!  It's ALL a ruse!  And don't tell me that a president can't de-federalize federal lands all by himself without Congress.  Don't you bank on that, kiddo!  

Please, please, be sure Obama wins.  If you don't care about what makes America the Beautiful, our children sure do.  Did you ever meet a kid who wasn't thrilled by a trip to our great outdoors?  Are you going to let the children be ripped off of one of life's greatest treasures?

And what better way to hasten the destruction of the planet than allow the destruction of America's forests and grasslands?  The air that crosses America comes out cleaner of carbon dioxide on our eastern shore than when it entered on our western shore.  It's the TREES and GRASSLANDS, baby!  The great forests aren't all in South America, Russia, and Africa.  One of the greatest of all is right here!

These last weeks are our last chance.  It's the last chance for America the Beautiful.  Romney has already ruined the song.  Don't let him ruin the actual land we love.  Please.


So, Romney, how much of YOUR income is from businesses that would benefit from exploitation of OUR lands?  Is that why you hide your business info? You wanna get your hand further into OUR cookie jar? Just show us those tax returns, buddy boy!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Galloping Over Gallup and Poking at Polls

Forget Gallup's tracking poll and its claim Romney leads Obama by 6 points. Nonsense!

As NY Times premier analyst Nick Silver pointed out in his "538" column yesterday, history shows that Gallup is prone to mighty big boo-boos.  Like a 26-point swing back and forth in just one week earlier this season.  Yoicks!  Or a 10-point miss on the final results in 2008 and 2010.

Consider instead the new Marist poll for NBC and its numbers-man Chuck Todd.  This new polling shows Obama leading by 8% in Iowa and by 6% in Wisconsin.

State polls are generally more accurate than national ones. Further, the results in Iowa and Wisconsin tell us far more about the race than does Gallup's stab at a national figure.  As 2000 so unforgettably demonstrated, we don't elect presidents by national popular vote.

We elect a president state by state in the electoral college.  With Wisconsin and Iowa in his column, Obama needs only Ohio in order to win the electoral college, provided he holds all the states Kerry won in 2004.  Obama has several other plausible ways to do it, but that's the most reliable because he leads in Ohio by about 4 or 5 points per the last polling (pre-second debate).  But he also can make it without Ohio by winning Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada if he continues to hold on to Wisconsin and Iowa.

Since Wisconsin usually is a blue state in presidential races, it's clear Iowa is the swing pin for Obama.  Thus the Marist poll's result about Iowa is infinitely more important than the Gallup national poll even if the Gallup one weren't so obviously cuckoo.

Also the Marist poll shows a LOT of early voting in Wisconsin and Iowa, and Obama's leading Romney 2 to 1 among these early voters.  Marist predicts this year's early voting will be 40% of total voting as compared with 30% in 2008.  Even though Romney may win more of the votes cast on Election Day in these two states, he apparently can't catch the Obama early voting lead.

This is good news, not for just its numbers, but for what it tells us about the Obama ground game.  In simplest terms, it tells us the Obama ground game is working mighty fine!

More next time of cheery news!  I hope.


Early voters or late voters, it doesn't matter.  All voters have the right to see your tax returns, Romney you bum!    

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jerry Brown Didn't Need No Stinkin' Binders!

Twenty-eight years before Mitt Romney had to seek "binders full of women" for jobs in Massachusetts state government, California's Governor Jerry Brown was appointing women to high positions in the biggest state government in the country.  I know because I was one of them.

And Jerry didn't need no stinkin' binders to identify qualified women. Nor did he need to ask women's groups to identify them.  He personally knew, all on his own, who the qualified women were.

No sooner was he sworn in than he immediately appointed Rose Bird as Secretary of Agriculture.  Within the same week he appointed Claire Dedrich as Secretary of Resources and Adriana Gianturko to head CalTrans, the largest state highway system in the country.  These three women held control of most of the land and water of California (including its coastal waters), its enormous agricultural industry, and its might freeway and bridge system.  These sure were no sissy "lady-like" jobs!

And within two years Brown elevated Rose Bird to be Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court!

These women tackled tough stuff head on. While Secretary of Agriculture, Rose ended the violence and strikes in the agribusiness fields by creating the Farm Labor Relations Act, a crowning achievement for Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the United Farm Workers.  Like Cesar, Rose was in constant danger for her life, not just from agribusiness hired thugs but also from the Teamsters who wanted control of farm workers.  She didn't care.  "Let's go take square dance lessons," she said to me.

Claire went up against the tough guys by seeking to protect the dwindling redwood forests from clear-cut logging. The lumberjacks came roaring into Sacramento in their monster trucks and hung her in effigy in front of the state capitol.  I watched it all with her from her office window.  "Should we go out and serve them coffee?" I quipped.  She smiled, though wanly.

Adrianna earned the unrelenting hatred and attacks of the auto industry, the highway workers, the mighty Operating Engineers, and the City of Los Angeles for trying to embue the state's massive freeway building with some kind of environmental good sense.

Where are they now?

Adrianna is apparently still alive somewhere, but Rose and Claire have been dead for years and years.  I miss them.  The four of us could have had a good laugh and a few drinks over Mitt Romney's "binders full of women".

We'd all have the same question for Mitt, paraphrasing Big Bill Clinton:  "Where you been, boy, these past forty years since the Woman's Movement?"

And where the hell were you, Mitt,  in the twenty-eight years between Jerry Brown's women appointees and  you becoming governor of Massachusetts?

Sitting around for decades with a binder over your head?


Hey, Mitt boy!  You got a binder full of tax returns you should share with us?


Another Compelling Reason for Obama

So Romney wants to talk coal!  While we wait for new post-second-debate polls, let's take a look at coal.

Let's go to an auction!  It's at a "modest home" (in mediaspeak this means poverty) in Altoona, Pennsylvania, about fifteen years ago.  The poor old lady who has just died and left her possessions to the mercies of an auction has lost the battle against coal dust.

It covers everything at the auction sale.  It coats the house inside and out. It coats the neighborhood,  which is right next to the coal-burning Pennsylvania Railroad yards of yesteryear.  It undoubtedly coated the lungs of the poor little old lady who has lived here and died here.

It is disgusting.

But it is also a grave warning.  Specifically, it is a warning of the early grave that awaits those who mine coal: black lung disease.  And those who use it.  And  -  most of all  - it warns of the grave of the entire planet if coal-burning is allowed to continue unabated to increase global warming.

So who has the muscle to fight this scourge of cheap but deadly fuel?  The so-called "least of our brothers" (and sisters),  the Native Americans, and the president of the United States.  Right now fifty of the tribes of the Northwest are fighting the building of coal export facilities all along the beautiful Northwest coast.  Coal use in the USA is  -  thankfully  -  dropping precipitously.  But there's still the Asian market.

Fortunately, the Native American tribes of the Northwest have some pretty cool treaties which focus on the protection of the tribes' right to fish.  These treaty rights have been increasingly protected by the federal courts and now offer the best shot at banning the proliferation of coal transport and the scarring of our magnificent Northwest coast with coal shipping facilities.  The facilities would not only ruin the scenic calibre of the coast but also the fish population.

Now enter the villains.  The coal industry is spending millions and millions against Obama's re-election in hopes of getting a coal-friendly federal decision on the Northwest coast facilities.  Romney has repeatedly promised he will be coal-friendly.  You get the picture.

So this election is not just about the joy of beating the GOP and Karl Rove and the likes of Romney and Ryan.  It's about saving ourselves and the planet.  Those are very high stakes.  They couldn't be higher.  

It's also about our national treasure:  the magnificent Northwest Coast.

And it's about our Native American brothers and sisters.

Haven't they suffered enough from all we have done?  Why should they have paid the price for our great America coming into existence with its liberty and freedom for all if they are to get nothing from history's great experiment except the driest crust?  If that.

Obama has done more for the Native Americans and for justice toward them than all prior presidents put together, as I've noted in earlier blogs.  There was no political gain for him in doing so.  He did it because it was morally right.

Let us now help him and thereby help the Native Americans and ourselves.  Let us now literally save the world by helping stop the proliferation of deadly coal.  Let's fight back against the coal conglomerate with our dollars and our efforts by helping Obama.

Can we save the world by helping Obama?  Yes we can.

We are the ones.  There's nobody else.


Well, Romney, so you're taking campaign money from the coal industry.  And do you and Bain own some coal interests?  Is that what your tax returns would show?  Hmmm?          

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Where Are We Now After Second Debate?

The skinny kid with the graying hair did just fine last night.  Anybody who doubted he's a fighter just had his face flattened.

That being said, will this debate make a difference?  And while we wait for follow-up polling over the next few days, how do things look otherwise?

                                                            IT'S WONKY TIME!

1.  NEVADA:  A new (though pre-second debate) poll in Nevada shows Obama has increased his lead there from a week ago.  Now he's at 48 v. 45 as compared with last week's 47 v. 46 result by the SAME pollster.  (Comparing results from one pollster over time is often better than jumping from pollster to pollster.) Also the Democrats now have a 90,000 registration lead in Nevada over the GOP.  Is Nevada important?  If Obama holds all of Kerry's 2004 state victories and adds Ohio, he's still needs 4 more electoral college votes.  And there sits Nevada with a nice fat 6!

2.  OHIO:  Still a 5-point lead for Obama as of the latest respectable polls.  Remember always that it's virtually impossible for Romney to win without Ohio.  A couple of weeks ago the GOP was reportedly bringing busloads of volunteers into Ohio from Alabama.  (I'd like to hear an Alabaman at some Ohio voter's door trying to sound like she's "from the neighborhood"!)  That's not a good sign for the GOP.  Though the Romney effort in Ohio is reportedly cranking up big now, it's late to get a limping ground game into top shape.  (I used to run these ground games.)  And if Romney was in fact having to bring in the troops from Alabama, that says his campaign is running way late.  Besides, as the Music Man says, "They don't know the territory!"

3.  SENATE SEATS AND OBAMA:  Something funny is going on.  During the period after Debate #1, when the media were screaming that Romney was surely pulling ahead of Obama in the polls, the Democratic candidates in about eight supposed-to-lose Senate races went right on doing just fine, still beating all the earlier predictions of a Democratic wipe-out in these seats.  Now, it certainly is true that a Senate race can beat the top of the ticket here and there and now and then.  But when a whole bunch of Senate races seem to be going opposite the polls for the top of the ticket   -   well, that just doesn't make sense.  Only if these were long-time, beloved incumbents could it add up.  And these aren't.  These races are almost all just two newcomers battling it out or a one-termer like Montana's Dem Senator Jon Tester battling for re-election.  (I'm not including the Senate race in Missouri in my count of eight because Tom Aiken is from another planet. Is Dem Senator Claire McCaskill Irish and thus so lucky?)
Are a couple of national polls off about Obama v. Romney (Pew and USAToday) or are all the pollsters covering eight separate Senate seats wrong?  You decide where you'd bet the farm.

4. A "DUMB" POLL: GALLUP/USA/TODAY:  The term "dumb" is Nate Silver's, the whiz-bang poll analyst for the NY Times, in describing yesterday's Gallup/USAToday poll claiming to show Obama losing in some key swing states.  What's dumb?  Gallup didn't poll these states separately but merely broke out the respondents state-by-state from its national poll.  Why is this dumb?  Because Gallup ended up with a sample in each state so small as to be totally non-credible.  With only 1000+ respondents nationwide, the number of respondents in any one state was waaaaay below a meaningful sample.  That's a criticism quite different from the GOP yelling that earlier polls had too many Democrats.  Pollsters take what they find regarding number of GOP versus number of Democrats.  That's standard operating procedure.  But having too small a sample is a big fat no-no among all reliable pollsters.  Bottom line:  ignore yesterday's USAToday/Gallup.

5.  THE WOMEN:  There's a big ballyhoo that Obama's losing his edge with women in the key states.  This latest whoop comes from the same poll discussed at #4.  It's doubly faulty because Gallup's break-out of just women reduces the sample size to a pinhead.  Chuck Todd, MSNBC's poll numbers addict, got in just one sentence in all the uproar:  "Obama is not losing his margin with women!"  A voice crying in the wilderness of pundits determined on hype.

That's enough wonkiness for now.  (There will be a quiz.)

So lift a beer to the skinny fighter who so cleverly ended the debate by smacking Romney with the 47%.  The closing words are supposedly those longest remembered.  Good job,  Mr. President!

Now let us have the last word on this election.  Let's get our folks OUT TO VOTE!


Yeah, Romney, and you ain't heard the last word on those tax returns!  Turn 'em loose!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ann Romney v. What Really Matters Now in the Campaign

As I noted the other day, Ann Romney came here to mountainous, beautiful, and impoverished Central Pennsylvania to raise money.  Pathetic.  But she did appear in a local TV "interview".  If you can call a less-than one minute Q & A an interview.  Long or short, however, her appearance here does not matter.

Because this is what REALLY MATTERS:  OHIO!

You betcha!  OHIO OHIO OHIO!  No matter if Ann Romney does a Lady Godiva and rides her dressage horse naked or whatever else she does or Mitt does, Mitt Romney CANNOT WIN WITHOUT OHIO.  The polls elsewhere don't matter. The national polls don't matter.  The debates don't matter.  The advertising doesn't matter. ALL THAT MATTERS IS OHIO!  And  -  glory be!  -  Obama STILL has a 5% lead in Ohio!

Provided he wins the states Kerry won in 2004 and wins Ohio, he will then have 266 electoral college votes, just four votes short of the magic 270.   At that point all he needs is any ONE of the following swing states: Nevada (6), New Mexico (5), Colorado (9), or Iowa (6).  He doesn't need Florida nor Virginia nor North Carolina.  But, if Obama indeed wins Ohio, poor ol' Romney has to win ALL the swing states I've listed in this paragraph.  That's a hell of a lot of states!

And it would not happen.  Common sense tells us that, if Romney loses Ohio, he certainly will lose some other swing states.  In short, he will be toast.

So, what else matters in this race?  Nothing much really.  Sure, Obama might disappoint the pundits in tonight's debate.  Or something awful might happen beyond that, like Democrats not voting.  But as long as he hangs on to Ohio.....

Nevertheless let's do a feel-good romp!  Let's roll around in the other recent good news like we used to roll around in the piles of autumn leaves when we were kids! Here goes:

Consumer confidence has gone through the roof, and retail sales zoomed in September. Unemployment comp applications were way down last week.  The stock market is as high as before the Crash of '08.  Unemployment is below 8%.  Early voting is strong, plus it favors Obama by a big margin.  Obama has between two and three times as many campaign offices as Romney and at least twice as many paid ground staff.  And he out-raised Dollar Man Mitt in September, almost all of it from small donors.

Plus, in two respectable polls yesterday, Obama is at 51% JOB APPROVAL.  As the profoundly serious pundit Rob Reiner points out, an incumbent's job approval rating always ends up being his vote total.  (You may know Rob Reiner better for "When Harry Met Sally".  Or you may not know him at all, but he's still right historically.)

And the betting parlors are still giving 2 to 1 in Obama's favor.

So if you can't trust Las Vegas bookies, Rob Reiner, and this old grandma, why the hell are you a Democrat?

Just GET OUT THAT VOTE.  It's our vote to get.  And be happy!  Can we Dems be happy for once?  YES WE CAN!


Hey, Romney!  Hiding your tax returns may make you happy.  Having all that money and all those houses may make you happy.  But you're still a miserable shell of a human being, and we still want those tax returns!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

And Democrats Kill Themselves?

The news is full of Romney "surging ahead".  The media are delighted to have a "big" story again and are naturally hyping it a lot, but it's not all hype.  The polls do show Romney's poll numbers advancing  to a more competitive level.

So what do we do?

One pundit has noted, "When Republicans get bad news, they kill the media.  When Democrats get bad news they kill themselves."  Very clever and quite apt.

But there's no need for suicide nor for collecting travel folders about where to move if Romney's elected president.  Let's get back to basics and be sensible:

1.  In Florida, the GOPs are falling far behind their 2008 lead in absentee ballot performance, both in requests and in returns. (See Tampa Bay Times story 10/13 by Adam C. Smith, posted at realclearpolitics.)  This major improvement in Democratic absentee vote is evidence of the superior Obama ground game in Florida.

2.  Obama still leads in Ohio by 4 to 6 points, per the latest and most reliable polls.  Again, Romney CANNOT win the electoral college without Ohio.

3.  In order for Romney to win the national vote, he has to get 61% of white voters.  No GOP presidential candidate has ever done this.

4.  Registration is way up among Latino voters.  Further, when super-cautious Nate Silver of the NY Times adjusts his analysis for Spanish-only-speaking voters, Obama's chances in Colorado improve from 44% to 57%, in Florida from 35% to 53%, and in Nevada from 62% to 77%.  WOW!  And it appears that pollsters are undercounting Spanish-only-speaking voters because pollsters DON'T SPEAK SPANISH!

5. Absentee voting thus far favors Obama and promises to be one-third of the entire vote, up by maybe 5% from 2008.

6.  Though married white women in the suburbs have faded somewhat on Obama, they have done so at least once before during this year.  And then they have swung back.  (These are the same soccer moms who forget where they left the team off.)

7.   And there's more.  But I'll confine myself to just one extra piece of candy.  Obama has a two-point lead in Arizona, according to a pollster that Nate Silver rates as having "good results in the past".  Yes, I said ARIZONA!  Can this be true?  Well, the Democratic Senate candidate in Arizona is leading in his race.  So something is happening in Arizona.  I wouldn't try to put it in the bank for Obama, but it's a lovely thought and a great tribute to the good sense and rising numbers of our Latino brothers and sisters.  Viva La Raza!  Viva La Causa!

So don't be depressed!  No one ever said it would be easy.  Well, actually I did when Romney's campaign was crashing and I speculated about a "blowout".  So it's all my fault for violating my innate Jewish superstition against saying anything hopeful out loud.  (Like the Irish and the African-Americans, we Jews have had too many blows to risk being overtly confident that all will be well.)

But I still think it will be.  Because why drain our energies into wrestling with dread?  It's dumb.  Besides, I just found out I've been exposed to low-level carbon monoxide for several weeks (through no fault of my own).  Plus I've got knee replacement surgery right after the election.

So how much can even a Jew worry?

More encouraging to me than the seven points I listed above is the fact that YOU are out there working for Obama and contributing dollars to his campaign.  I do believe in Obama, but I believe even MORE in YOU!

Can we win this election?  Can we beat carbon monoxide?  Can we get a new knee?  Can we continue to be what Democrats have always been  -  a people of hope?



Speaking of beliefs:  Hey, Romney, do you still believe you can get away unscathed by your refusal to release your tax returns?  The press may have stopped pushing for them, but for a lot of folks your refusal to release those returns sealed the deal.  It sealed the deal against you, dummy!                


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Desperate Ann Romney Begs At My Back Door

This is weird but wonderful.

Ann Romney is here in Central Pennsylvania at a private fund-raiser.  This late in the game!  And she will make no public appearances while here.  Only the wealthy will get a glimpse of Annie.

This tells us that a couple of polls showing Pennsylvania once more being a toss-up are just wrong.  If Romney had a chance here, Ann would be going out among the voters in this highly GOP area.

No, she just wants the money.  And she has to be pretty desperate to want it from here.  This ain't no Beverly Hills or Boca Raton!  This is an impoverished though beautiful mountain region of tiny villages and one sort-of city:  Altoona.  Once the home of the mighty Pennsy railroad, Altoona is now almost a ghost town.  Any "big" money here is just very small potatoes.  It will likely cost the Romney campaign as much to come here as they will raise.

The local TV new reporter was embarrassed at having to announce Ann Romney would be here but was snubbing the public.  He knew this was a terrible "dis" on the home area.

Back in 2008, Pennsylvania was up for grabs deep into the campaign.  Obama came here several times, once to State College  -  home of Penn State  -  where tens of thousands waited hours to see him.  He was also here in the 2008 primaries, rolling that pathetic bowling attempt in Altoona while Hilary was somewhere throwing back shots of whiskey.  (You gotta love American politics!)

But nobody comes to Altoona to raise money! That's like asking a drowning man for a drink of water. It's silly!

It's desperate!

Meantime  -  THANKS TO YOU!  -  Obama collected $181 MILLION in September,  almost all in small contributions.  Eat your heart out, Annie!

And take your begging bowl elsewhere.  Or at least go bowling while you're here.

P.S.  Hey, folks!  Don't forget that, while  the Romney campaign seems short on bucks, the GOP super pacs are now starting to pour money into Ohio.  So keep giving to Obama, you wonderful people you!


Hey, Mitt!  Since you and Ann have a "traditional" marriage, why don't you keep her at home looking for your tax returns?  They gotta be there somewhere in one of your five "homes".  She's wasting her time in Altoona, but we STILL want those tax returns!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Post Mighty Biden, Where Do We Stand Now?

Joe Biden, you did great!  You took Ryan to the woodshed and made everyone  -  except the GOP  -   feel just a whole lot better.

That said, does Joe's performance make a difference in the race?  Has he "saved" Obama's chances of winning?  (Please recall that I never bought into the hysteria that followed the Obama-Romney debate.)

The happy truth is that we were doing okay before the veep debate.  For all the media outcry about the President's debate performance, it made little difference in the voters' minds.  In three key swing states (Ohio, Florida and Virginia), over 90% of voters say that they made up their minds before the debate and are staying with their choice even though two-thirds thought Obama lost the debate.

And the undecideds?  Less than half of them nationally watched the debate, over a third of those who watched couldn't tell who won and, of the rest, only half as many thought Romney won as did the decided voters.

And the undecideds are few in number.  They are now less than 3% of the voting public.  In fact, they are so disengaged, that many of them won't be voting.  All this is according to a UCLA study that has been following them for over a year.  So much for the vaunted undecideds!

So how are we doing otherwise?  Here are some items to cheer your spirits:

1.  We still are ahead in OHIO!  As I've said over and over, Romney can't win without Ohio.  The arithmetic just doesn't work.  (Not that he and Ryan care a toot about arithmetic!)  By contrast,  if Obama wins what Kerry did in 2004, plus Ohio and Iowa (which he also leads in), all he needs is ONE more small state and he's got the electoral college.  That's it, baby!  And two major polls this week show Obama leading in Ohio by 4 points to 6 points.  As for that one more small state he would need, not to worry; he's leading in several.  So HOLD OHIO!  That's our mantra.

2.  Unemployment claims fell this week to their lowest since pre-Crash 2008!  That's fantastically good news, especially after the drop in September's unemployment to less than 8%.  And consumer confidence is up, as are housing sales and prices and housing starts.

3.  Obama collected an all-time record-breaking $181 MILLION from small contributions in September.  By contrast, the Romney campaign is still scrambling for bucks.  (My next blog is about Ann Romney scratching at my back door for a handout.)

4.  HALF A MILLION people gave to Obama in September who had NEVER donated before!  Not in 2012 or 2008.  Phenomenal!  That's another half million folks with some skin in the game who will likely now work for Obama.  So we now have almost five million potential volunteers!

5. More than one in five voters in Ohio has already voted.  And TWO-THIRDS of them voted for the Democrats!

6.  Obama has a great ground operation, with two to three times the number of Romney campaign HQs in the swing states.  And the superpacs can't help Romney with financing more of a ground game because that would clearly violate the ban on coordinating with a candidate's campaign.

7.  The Democrats have successfully beaten back the GOP efforts to disenfranchise Democratic voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.  There may be a bit of residual dust, i.e. confusion among voters as to the actual rules, but it's likely this can all be sorted out by the on-the-ground Obama operation.

There's more good news, but don't be piggy.  Just love it the way it is.  And keep contributing and working.

Don't let Joe down after his great fight last night.


So, Mitt, the kid you sent on stage last night got pummeled by the old pro?  Question, Mitt:  How come Ryan had to give you tons of tax returns before you'd accept him aboard but we're supposed to hire you for the presidency with just two measly years of disclosure?  Does that seem fair?  Ooops, I forgot that you have already said no to fairness in taxation matters.  But we STILL want those tax returns.



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Is Obama Really Down? Nope.

Yesterday the Pew poll and the Gallup poll collided.  (Today ABC's poll butted in to further stir the waters, but let's take things just two at a time to start with.) Pew showed a major shift against Obama and Gallup showed a major shift toward him.  Yesterday I suggested that it seemed unlikely one debate could actually create the anti-Obama swing Pew was showing, much as we might all respect Pew.  My thesis was that the underlying dynamics of the race  -  the big margins Obama has had with major groups for compelling reasons  -  could not evaporate overnight.

Now Nate Silver, the supremo poll analyst for the New York Times, raises a similar point.  He too categorizes the Pew Research organization as a "strong" pollster, but he also takes issue with its startling find.  He too considers the Pew result "inconsistent" with the "fundamentals of the race".  But he cites a different set of fundamentals, chiefly the economic ones.  In fact, his election model is almost unique in taking these into account in making his forecasts. Unlike other poll result analysts, he does not merely average the polls. Per Nate, the economy looks too good right now for Pew to be right.

So ol' Nate and I reach a similar conclusion based on the same reasoning but using different factors.  As an old pol, I look at the voting blocks; as a numbers guy, Nate Silver looks at economic numbers.

Now comes ABC's poll, which agrees with Gallup more or less but is simply of registered voters rather than also reporting "likely" voter results as does Pew.  "Likely" voter results are generally thought to be more accurate.  But we can get a pretty good picture by comparing ABC's poll with its prior ones this year.  And the trend is good!  Obama's favoribility rating has been going UP this fall and is now its highest this year in the ABC polls. By contrast, Romney has improved a bit since September but is still "under water", with 4% more viewing him unfavorably than favorably.

Further, ABC says it picked up some day-to-day data that showed Romney with a bump right after the debate but that this has ebbed.  What was highly touted as "Romney's last chance" apparently looked good initially but wasn't much.  Like a gift that is wrapped so pretty but inside is just an empty box.  Like Romney himself.

So breathe a bit easier for now but get ready to worry about Ohio!  (More next time.)

And isn't that just like a grandma, telling you everything is okay except....?


Hey, Romney, can you hear me there under the water?  It still ain't okay about the tax returns!




Monday, October 8, 2012

Obama Up By 5%? Or Patience With The Polls?

A couple of news outlets have just flashed that Gallup's tracking poll now has Obama up by 5%.  Other media are just now trumpeting that Pew Research finds Romney leading Obama by 4%.

So what's a political junkie to do?

Keep waiting.  And I HATE waiting!  I want to KNOW!

The hard truth is that we won't really know until after the polls  -  the voting polls, that is  -  close on Election Day. I have to keep telling myself this, but I don't want to hear it.

Two things are encouraging for Obama supporters while Romney is going through what appears to be a post-debate bounce that may be fading.

The first thing is that Romney is still a jerk.

The second is that there's an enormous amount of background data which still augurs well for Obama.  In their infinite unwisdom the pundits keep overlooking this data.  Such as a post-debate Ipsos/Reuters poll that shows, even though twice as many think Romney won the debate, these same people still "like" Obama better by 2 to 1.  Further, more of them still think he's "a good person" by 47% to Romney's 37%.  And even though Romney picked up a couple of points on "being tough", Obama still out-polls him on toughness by 42% to 38%.

Perhaps most important, those polled by Ipsos/Reuters picked Obama over Romney by 6% on "has the right values to be president" and by 8% on "understands people like me".

So how much did one debate change people's perceptions of the two contenders?  Not enough, it appears.  It certainly did not change the African-American vote after the GOP has been running on racism for a year or more.  Nor can it conceivably have much changed the alignment of even bigger blocks of supporters who were going for Obama before the debate.  Some of these blocks  -  like the Latinos  -  are beyond big and are enormous in their, like the 70% support among Latinos.  And will women move away significantly from their 20% margin for Obama?  These groups have strong vested interests  -  their basic rights  -  at stake.  Is one debate going to shake that?

And can Romney win back the sizable percentage of seniors he has lost to Obama?  Pre-debate polls showed Romney losing a lot of the big margin the GOP usually has with seniors. That is most understandable. They know that Romney and Ryan are enemies of Medicare.  In the debate Romney denied nuch that he has previously espoused but did NOT deny that he wants vouchers to replace Medicare.  Like the Latinos and women, seniors have sharp hearing for signals about what's not in their best interest nor in the best interest of their middle-aged children.  Can one debate put them to sleep on such a critical issue?

It's just not likely that these groups will put their heads on the chopping block for Mitt Romney merely because of one debate.  After all, Big Bird wouldn't do that.  He's no dumb turkey.

So we have to be patient and wait for the dust to settle.  We have to wait for some consistency in the polls.  And above all else we have to wait for some good polling of the swing states, not just the pro-GOP polls of Rasmussen  (which stupidly exclude cell phones, i.e. 30% of the population).

But I'm not going to say we have to wait until the election results come in.  We do.  But I can't stand to say it!


Yoo hoo, Mr. Romney!  Even though the Count died recently (or the guy who did his voice),  lots of our kids learned how to count from Sesame Street.  Is that why you want to kill Sesame Street?  Afraid folks can do the arithmetic when we get hold of those tax returns?      


Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Good Gray Democrats of San Luis County

You've got to love San Luis Obispo County of California.  It's beautiful.  And especially you have to love a Democratic Club centered there.  The members are mostly gray-haired but doggedly determined to win this one for Obama,  just as my three Democratic friends are here in Central Pennsylvania.  My friend Nancy is (like me) flirting with being 80 years old, as are many of her club members.  That is not slowing them down one bit!

On the night of the debate, they gathered to watch it together.  Nancy brought guacamole, the first time she had ever tried making it.  Everybody liked it a lot.

But how did they like the debate?

They thought Obama did a fine job of explaining his side of things.  And they thought Romney came off as something of a wild man.  Of course, the media hadn't had a chance yet to tell them that Obama had "lost" the debate.

Perhaps because they are elders, they don't let anybody  -  including the media  -  tell them how to think.  They trust themselves.  After all, they've seen a lot of campaigns and candidates.  They've seen a lot of people generally.  They know how to sniff out a phoney.

So the morning after the debate, Nancy reported at the Democratic headquarters for her usual stint.  And  -  lo and behold!  -  "a lot of people came in to get Obama yard signs."  When Nancy says "a lot", it really is a lot.  (We've been pals for 61 years, and I can assure you she's not an exaggerator like I am.)  She was rather astonished, to say the least, because by then she had heard the media's post-debate obituary for Obama.

All through the dark times of the past four years, these good gray Democrats have kept plugging away for their man in the White House.  They have brought in speakers and invited the public.  They have done voter registration.  They have written letters to the editor.  They have made phone calls to voters registered as "decline to state".  And  -  above all  -  they have opened a headquarters.  THAT is a big achievement for a grassroots group.

Especially in San Luis Obispo County, which is agribusiness heaven and is ultra-conservative.  Nancy and her Democratic associates are battling in a really tough area.  So hats off to the South County Democratic Club for getting TWO headquarters opened in San Luis County!

Well, you say, what's the point?  Isn't California already bagged for Obama?

Think again.  Be smart like Nancy's group.  Sure, it's Obama who is their inspiration, but they also have their eyes on the down-ticket.  They want a Democrat to win in their newly-redistricted Congressional seat.  They have lived under GOP domination of public offices for a long, long time and now see a chance to finally have some representation of their own.  A good turnout for Obama will help the whole Democratic ticket there and nationally.  And maybe  -  just maybe  -  help win back the 25 seats we need to regain the House.  Wouldn't it be nice to give Obama a House of Representatives that represented more than the crazies?

Like the brave elderly Democrats of San Luis, keep your eyes on the prize.  Don't let the post-debate yelling and the probably short-lived wobbling in the polls deflate your energy.  We CAN do this thing!  For Obama and the House and the Senate.  Just march along with Nancy's Democratic Club.  They may be using canes and walkers, but they will be hard to keep up with.


(Hold on, Mitt. I'll get to you in a minute  -  as I always do  -  about your tax returns.  But first....)
Hey, folks!  Help free the Dems of Nancy's 23rd district by contributing to their candidate Lois Capps.  Incumbent Capps is being targeted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its millions.  Taking in Nancy's area has cut Capps' Democratic edge dangerously.  Free the good gray Democrats of San Luis!  Help win back the House! Just google "Lois Capps campaign" and send her some bucks.
Now, Mitt, it's your turn so listen up:   FREE THOSE TAX RETURNS, MITT!  Or we're coming after you, canes and all!