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 electoralvote.com 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!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Wrestling With Clarence: A Last Word On The Debate

This is the last thing I'm going to say about the debate because the debate isn't determinative in the election, and we have a lot more important things to focus on.  Like get-out-the-vote.  But I worry that some of you may still be a bit downhearted because of the bad press Obama got.

So here goes:  You can't wrestle with smoke.  You can't pin Jello.  And if you're president of the United States of America, you can't deck a guy or call him a liar to his face.

All the critics who jumped on Obama are people who do not do oral argument for a living.  I did.  As an attorney in court and before numerous legislative and administrative bodies, I had to plead and argue all the time.  If I was up against a "heavy dude" or a "tough opponent", I was happy!  Because I knew that when I threw a punch, he would be right there to get it in the gut.  Thank heaven when my opponent wasn't a Clarence the Angel as in "It's A Wonderful Life."

You remember Clarence?  And remember the scene where Bert the Cop tackles Clarence and wrestles him to the ground to handcuff him?  But all Bert has is an armful of nothing.  He's rolling around on the ground alone and looking ridiculous. Clarence is gone!

That's what Obama was up against in trying to debate Romney.  Romney was a wisp of river fog.  He denied everything with outrage, even insulting the President by likening him to Romney's lying little boys.  What did you want the President to do?  Challenge Romney to a duel?  Kick him in the nuts, as Bobby advised JFK as the latter went on stage to debate Nixon.  The President did exactly what he HAD to do in the face of such lying.  He bowed his head in sorrow at the spectacle.

And left it to the voters  -  not the pundits, BUT THE VOTERS  -  to decide.

Because he believes  -  and I do too  -  that the voters know the truth.  And the pundits and the voters have proven the President to be correct.  That's what all the screaming at Obama has been about.  The responsible media know the facts.  You know the facts.  And the pro-Obama voters know the facts.  The screams of dismay have been the screams of frustration at some jerk telling lies and seemingly getting away with it.  The dismay was because Obama wasn't bouncing all over Romney and beating him into admitting his lies.  Everybody wanted to be on that stage telling Romney off in no uncertain terms.  It was frustrating BECAUSE EVERYBODY ALREADY KNOWS THE TRUE FACTS!  Obama felt frustration too.  But he deliberately held himself in check  -  you could see it in his face and posture  -  and not just because he had to behave as a president, but because you CAN'T corner a shape-shifter.  Romney was all prepped with more lies.  

But most of all,  Obama was trusting the public.  And you.  He believes you know the truth NO MATTER WHAT ROMNEY SAYS.

My friend Joyce is so outraged by the lies Romney told that she's gone to the local Obama  meeting and volunteered to work.  She's also giving money.  When she told me on the phone some of the lies Romney had told that most offended her, I thought the phone would melt because she was so angry!

And who has taught you and Joyce and the voters all these truths that Romney trampled on?  Obama and his campaign have!  It's been a very good campaign, very effective and very convincing.  The ones screaming the loudest are the ones who learned the most during this campaign.  They know the truth because Obama and his campaign have told it so well.

So well, in fact, that Obama has persuaded a majority of the voters to support him, especially in the swing states.  He's winning.

Yes, you say, but what about the undecided?

There aren't any that matter.  The whole pool of them is at a record low.  Many of the undecided also just don't bother to vote.  Plus polling shows that many of them also don't bother to watch the debates.

Romney shape-shifted to the center to try to hold his more centrist voters.  He's bleeding two significant groups:  white males and seniors.  This is very bad news for him.  The energy you saw Wednesday night in him was the energy of desperation.

It was a genuine battle Wednesday night.  A true mano-a-mano.  It may have been different from the rough and tumble that outraged observors wanted, but it was a titanic struggle just the same.

And the strong, quiet man of truth won.  He didn't take the bait.  He just trusted you and the truth.  It was hard because his IS a fighter, but he resisted the temptation to fight a shadow.  Remember that Obama always plays the long game.  He knows what he's doing.

And he's a teacher.  A good teacher.  He and his campaign have taught the public well, thanks to your dollars.  And like a good teacher, he believes in his students and that they have learned well.  He trusts them now to go out and do the right thing.

So let's go get those voters to the polls, waving to Obama as we go out the door:  "Thanks, Teach!  We'll take it from here!"


Hey, Romney, bet your tax returns show that you do know quite a bit about tax deductions for offshoring jobs.  Otherwise why would you pretend in the debate that you never heard of such a thing?  Hmmm?



Friday, October 5, 2012

7.8 % AT LAST! And That's The Election!

Feeling down about the debate?


Several new numbers today clearly show the debate is small potatoes in the bigger picture of who's winning and losing.


That's the headline we've been yearning for a long, long time.  It is BELOW the GOP's beloved 8%.  It really kicks the stool out from under Romney's central claim that Obama has failed to improve the economy.  That was Romney's whole ball game.  And it's over!

Somehow 7.8 is just so much smaller than 8.1 in people's perception.  That's why retailers love pricing at $1.99 versus $2.  But what really counts is that now there is unarguably a downward trend in unemployment.  No wonder 57% of voters have recently rated the economic outlook as being better !  They could sense it even before that 7.8!

Other joyous numbers today:      

-----  30,000 turned out for the Obama rally yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin.  That's the first time we have seen a 2008-sized crowd this year, and it was the day AFTER the debate.  By contrast, Romney drew only 10,000 at a Virginia rally the day after his supposed debate triumph.

----- Obama's job approval rating has shot up to 54% in Gallup's just-released tracking poll! That's the highest it's been since the honeymoon period in early '09, and it's a 10-point leap from just a few weeks ago.  Note also that it is OVER 50%!  It's a WINNING number!

 -----Obama had a terrific September in fund-raising!  The exact figure hasn't been released but the major dailies are reporting this morning that it's between $114 and $150 million!  Even better news is that Obama's 2012 campaign has received TEN MILLION small donations.  That's a hell of a lot of grass-roots support!

-----Contrary to the pundits' total hysteria over Obama's debating, he hung at least two key things on Romney that did not slide off the Tower of Jello.  One was Romney's support for replacing Medicare with a voucher system.  Romney did not slide out from that but defended it in the debate.  The second was the craziness of Romney's tax plan, that it just doesn't add up.  Romney baldly lied about it, then accused the President of lying like Romney's sons.  (Nice family, that one.)  But it was clear that Romney was contradicting what he had just said on "60 Minutes" a couple of weeks ago.  Lots of people watch "60 Minutes", and Romney has set himself up for "Liar of the Year" award from the media and the voters.

-----So stop buying into the "Debate Debacle" nonsense.  Get up from your chair and GET TO WORK.  Hit those streets and hit those phones.  Obama is fighting on after the exasperation of punching at a column of smoke for 90 minutes of debate.  Go, thou, and do likewise!  This election is in YOUR hands.  The votes for Obama are still there, and they are enough to win.  BUT WE HAVE TO GET THOSE VOTERS TO THE POLLS!


Yes, Mitt, you combed your hair to look taller for the debate, as my friend Joyce noted.  But no matter how tall your hair, you can't hide your tax returns in it.  Let's have those returns, buddy!  And how 'bout some truth about your self-enriching proposed tax "reform"?        


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Not the Debates! It's OHIO!

Did Obama win the debate or did Romney?  The consensus is that Romney won.  I disagree.  But, either way, it doesn't matter.

What matters is Ohio.  Obama is leading in Ohio by 8 points.  That's the election right there.

With the states Kerry won in 2004 (adjusted for changes in the 2010 census) Obama has a base of 248 electoral college votes. Ohio gives him another 18.  That's 266.  All he needs is is 4 more electoral votes to reach the magic 270.  He's now leading in Nevada with its 6 electoral votes.  That's 272.

As back-up, he's also leading in all the other swing states except North Carolina.

It seems unlikely the debate will change any of this.  Especially Ohio.  It's hard to imagine that nearly ten percent of the voters in Ohio will change their minds because of the so-called win by Romney in the debate.  And the undecided in Ohio?  There aren't enough of them to make the difference.  Further, many who are undecided this late in a campaign don't show up on Election day.

Am I just rationalizing away a debate disappointment?  No.  You can't argue with numbers, not when the spread in Ohio is 8 points.  But that won't stop the pundits from blaring that Romney's debate "performance" makes this is "a new ball game."  That's the story line that suits their need to keep the game going.  Now they have something to justify their continuing blather, i.e. their jobs.  It's a very wobbly peg to hang their hats on.

Setting aside the polling numbers, what about the debate?  Maybe the talking heads watched a different debate than I did.  I SAW Romney as an overly-excited, overly-aggressive and defensive contender who was flailing away like a drowning man.  I HEARD him outright ABANDON his oft-stated pledge to "cut taxes 20% across the board" and lie about a number of things. By contrast, Obama was cool and restrained in appearance and concise in making his case.  Like a steady captain at the helm, trying to steer the ship past the iceberg-size lies Romney kept throwing out.  It's exasperating trying to debate someone who changes positions right before your eyes, and Obama did well in controlling his exasperation.  A bit of that exasperation, and the effort to control it, showed in his often looking down rather than at Romney.  But that's okay.

In Obama's position, I would have walked over and decked Romney.  That's one way to pin jello to a wall.  Or, more accurately, to the floor.

What counts most is what we SAW.  The visuals of television are what give it enormous power.  The cliche that "the medium is the message" is quite true.  Howard Dean advised this week that one turn off the sound and just WATCH the two men.  I tried that, having recorded the whole thing.  Romney LOOKED wildly desperate.  And his hair was weird, different from usual and looking as though he'd forgotten to comb it.

But he also looked wild and desperate with the sound on.

Because he  IS desperate!  With Ohio apparently gone, he's sinking past any rational hope.

And in his despair, he threw Big Bird under the bus,  specifically saying he "likes" Big Bird but would kill funding for PBS.  And what about "Downton Abbey"?  Is the man crazy?  All over America millions and millions of viewers are waiting for January 6 and season three of America's favorite soap.  It's women's Super Bowl!  Be sure to remind any wobbling voters you know  -  especially the women  -  that Romney wants to kill their favorite show.

The bottom line is still the same:  Obama saved the auto industry, and that wise decision has saved Ohio for him.  And he will save the rest of us from the rapaciousness of Romney's GOP.  And he will also save Big Bird!  

The only way Obama can foreseeably lose this election is if Democrats don't get out and vote.  Sadly, there is still a reported "enthusiasm gap".  So we're the ones on the spot.  If we don't help get out the vote, Big Bird can turn to us and say, "Et tu, Brute?"  Coming from a bird, that will really hurt.


So, Mitt. the pundits are attacking President Obama for not mentioning your income tax returns (or lack thereof) in the debate.  So you think you're off the hook?  Forget it, baby!  We still want those tax returns!  And so does Big Bird!




Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Romney: Sasquach or Lurch at the Debate?

Sasquach or Lurch? The most pressing issue as we wait for the first debate is "Which Romney will show up?"

You all know how many times he's changed his position on virtually everything, so I'm not going to go through that list.  Besides, he's done it so often I can't keep track any more.  Thus there's no way to guess which Romney will show up at the debates in terms of substantive issues.  In the issues, it's going to be a surprise party!

So let's get right to the most pressing question:  Will he be Sasquach or Lurch in the debate?  Sounds superficially silly?  Well, Romney is a superficial man.  And he's quite silly.  He's just suggested that jet plane windows should open when, as just happened on his wife's plane, there is smoke in the cabin.

Actually, the Sasquach v. Lurch question is neither superficial nor silly.  It gets right to the heart of things, i.e. Romney's upside-down polls on "likeability".  More voters dislike him than like him, according to ALL the polls. Part of that  -  a big part  -  is that he's a jerk.  And his walk and his body carriage telegraph that fact beautifully.  If he could send just his supposedly handsome head out to campaign for him, minus the fake smile and dumb words, he might do better.  But he's stuck with the weirdest physicality I've ever seen in 70+ years of watching candidates.  He's the quintessial "tight ass", his steps are mincing, he leans forward obsequiously like a doorman the week before Christmas bonuses.  He doesn't even have the fluidity to fall down the steps of an airplane (Gerald Ford) or off a campaign platform (Bob Dole).  He's all clinched up.  (Maybe he constantly needs a bathroom stop?)    

In a previous post, I said he reminds me of Bigfoot, the mythological creature that folks are always seeing in the deep woods of the Northwest or  -  more recently  -   in the not-so-deep woods of eastern Ohio.  Romney's got the same long, rectangular head, the same heavy (not fat) build, and a similar strange walk.  But I have to apologize to Bigfoot.  A reader in Oregon informs me his correct name is Sasquach.  (Have to be politically correct at all times.)  And Sasquach can MOVE fast when he wants to!  I'd hate to see Romney try to run.

So is it going to be Sasquach who shows up?  Or will Romney successfully hide his off-putting physical qualities behind a podium?  If he's wise, he will.  His physical awkwardness is killing him with voters.  People like a president who looks and acts like he's physically put together okay. That's why FDR hid his crippled condition and JFK threw the football even with killer back pain.

So maybe Lurch will show up instead of Sasquach.  After all, Romney has certainly lurched all over the place on his positions.  You remember Lurch from "The Addams Family"?  Cold and rigid but kindly, Lurch had a certain dignity.  Romney doesn't have any dignity.  And for all his fakey grinning and phoney laugh, no one would ever call him kindly.  He tries to ACT that way but fails.

No, Lurch is a much more appealing monster than Romney.  And so is Sasquach.

Aren't they all?


Hey, Mitt! Lurch and Sasquach have released their tax returns.  So why are you hiding yours?