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.