Posts tagged election
Posts tagged election
Romney’s task for this summer was to reintroduce himself to the public as a competent moderate—someone who could get the economy back into shape by sheer dint of his business experience. But since Team Obama began its savage attacks on Bain Capital, the Romney campaign has been on the defensive. Revelations about Bain-led outsourcing, his “shadow years” at the company, and his opaque tax returns have wreaked havoc with his favorability ratings. Romney’s unfavorability is higher now than it’s been since the GOP primaries. Romney’s 40 percent favorability is the lowest mid-summer rating for a presidential nominee since 1948.
This, to put it lightly, is a big problem for Team Romney. Contrary to what the campaign seems to think, the economy isn’t bad enough to guarantee a defeat for President Obama. As Nate Cohn points out at The New Republic, Obama’s disapproval rating has hovered at 47 percent—the same as his approval rating. Americans are divided on the president’s tenure, but aren’t eager to throw him out of office. They also still like him, and see him as someone who looks out for their interests.
Conservatives should be very, very worried at this point.
The problem is that PolitiFact’s rating system doesn’t work well for irresponsible and unsubstantiated claims that can’t be definitively falsified (and likewise Glenn Kessler’s four Pinocchio rating of Reid’s statement at The Washington Post). The site is right to hold public figures like Reid accountable for making such claims, but the standard to which they are held does not easily map onto a scale of truth and falsehood. For instance, it is impossible to prove that a “Pants on Fire” rating for Reid is merited. As a result, critics can divert attention from the substance of PolitiFact’s analyses and turn the debate into a referendum on the epistemological flaws in the site’s ratings, which force complex issues into arbitrary and subjectively determined categories.
1.) This article acts like questioning PolitiFact’s is itself an act of partisan spin. True, liberal-leaning commentators are likely to cry louder about this than conservatives, but that doesn’t remove the fact that Politifact’s methodology is fundamentally flawed.
2.) PolitiFact should be more upfront at what it does: it doesn’t adjudicate truth, it adjudicates partisan spin. That will make a more honest approach to the issues.
As a lady who covers politics, I’m intimately familiar with the mansplainer. You know who I’m talking about: he’s the supremely self-impressed dude who feels the need to explain to you—with the overly simplistic, patient tone of an elementary school teacher—really obvious shit you already knew. Like why you need to drink fluids when you have the flu, for example. Or how to avoid getting blisters when you’re breaking in a new pair of flats. Or how to adjust your side view mirrors. I could go on. It doesn’t really matter if the mansplainer has his facts straight or not, of course, because he is a very smart man and therefore better able to understand and explain the situation at hand than you.
The mansplainer is an occupational hazard that keeps popping up in my personal life—at an unfamiliar house party, when I meet a friend’s parents for dinner, or most distressingly, on dates. (I was on a first date a few weeks ago that began with a dude explaining to me in excruciating detail the politics of the health care law. Never mind that I was, you know, a reporter covering Capitol Hill when the health care debate went down—he recalled news events I had witnessed and rehashed New Yorker stories I’d read until I was ready to run screaming into the night.)
This article really hits the nail on its head in regards to Mitt’s attitude.
The defense of Citizens United rests on two primary claims about the case, one factual and one legal. Its defenders contend, first, that while Citizens United only concerned corporate election spending, the facts show that it is spending by individuals — not corporations — that counts this year. Next, they argue that, as a legal matter, individual spenders have been free to make unlimited political donations since long before Citizens United. They’re wrong on both counts.
It’s true that individuals have donated more than corporations to super PACs, but it’s misleading to suggest corporate dollars don’t matter. A recent analysis by the Washington Times, for example, showed that “nearly 200 companies gave $8.6 million to super PACs in June” — the highest total yet this year — including “many repeat givers who have given a total of $18 million.”
And corporate donations to super PACs are just the tip of the iceberg. More corporate money is flowing into non-profit “social welfare” groups and trade associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spend millions of dollars on electioneering but don’t reveal their donors. Corporate donors afraid of alienating customers prefer these groups because they allow the corporations to remain anonymous — except when a company like Aetna accidentally reveals that it gave more than $7 million to such groups to influence elections. As the New York Times recently reported, secretive tax-exempt groups outspent super PACs by a 3-to-2 margin in 2010, and “such groups have accounted for two-thirds of the political advertising bought by the biggest outside spenders so far in the 2012 election cycle.”
Just as misguided as downplaying corporate election spending this year is suggesting that there’s nothing new about the unlimited contributions that individuals are making — like the up to $100 million that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has pledged to defeat President Obama. Defenders of Citizens United say individuals like Adelson have had the right to spend unlimited sums since 1976, when the Supreme Court decided the seminal campaign finance case Buckley v. Valeo.
I am always amazed at this aspect of the Roberts’s court. While there are room for debate for many conservative theories, I cannot understand in what America it is a good thing for corporations and rich individuals to give unlimited money to elections. In what way is this good for society?
Mitt Romney’s tax returns had nothing to do with Sen. John McCain’s decision to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008, according to the Arizona Republican, saying he chose the former Alaska governor because she was a “better candidate.”
So is Palin a better candidate than Romney? Probably this offhand comment means nothing, but I enjoy watching McCain stick his foot in his mouth.
Even Wall Street, where hostility toward the White House is especially acid, has reason to be grateful. Bankers got the biggest government bailout of all – much more than laid-off workers or beleaguered homeowners received from this Democratic administration – and the president resisted calls from the left to nationalize the banks he rescued, as did the British.
Part of the answer is simple self-interest. As the economics writer Matthew Yglesias has argued, there is one easy and obvious explanation for the animosity of the rich toward the incumbent: He wants to raise their taxes significantly. That is certainly right. On Monday, Obama reiterated his support for letting the Bush-era tax cuts for household incomes of more than $250,000 expire, while keeping the lower rates in place for everyone else.
This is a powerful point. It can be tempting to imagine that the affluent might fret less about their tax bills than the poor, who are struggling to get by, but the elaborate tax avoidance strategies of superrich Americans suggest otherwise.
But this is about more than bank balances. Some of Obama’s most vehement critics in the private sector insist they are willing to pay higher taxes, if that’s what it takes to get the United States back on track. Their complaint, if you take them at their word, is instead with the president’s attitude toward them, toward their wealth and toward capitalism itself.
Their sense of insult is easy to mock: Do those testosterone-pumped Masters of the Universe really turn out to have the tender feelings of teenage girls? It is a mistake, though, to dismiss the outrage of the 1 percent just because it is so emotionally rendered. The truth is that Obama is telling a very different story about capitalism and its winners from the one Americans are accustomed to hearing, and it is no surprise that the rich don’t like it one bit.
The little precious snowflakes on Wall Street obviously need to be coddled at every opportunity.
1.) Romney, give it up. You can’t be CEO, principal stock holder, and owner and not be in charge of the company. That just doesn’t make sense to anybody. If you affix your signature to something, that something is your business. Even if you were mostly occupied with the Olympics at the time, nobody honestly believes you didn’t have some sort of veto power if your surrogates at Bain did something you didn’t like. The story you are telling doesn’t make one iota of sense to anybody.
2.) If Romney loses this fall, I suspect that this will be considered the big turning point of the election. This Bain affair, unfortunately for Romney, appears to be sprouting legs. What began as an empty piece of anti-outsourcing / anti-factory closing demagoguery has evolved into a bona fide media story. Journalists are starting to fact-check every aspect of Romney’s story, and since the truth appears to be complex and contradict many things Romney has recently claimed, there appears no foreseeable end to this brouhaha. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for Romney here.
3.) I mentioned demagoguery in the last paragraph. Make no mistake: the heart of the Bain message is demagoguery. Corporations try to maximize profits; to do this, they often outsource. Asking them not to is a bit like asking a dog not to grab that tasty bit of meat lying on the corner of the table. It’s what they do. Like the dog, you need to provide them with incentives not to grab the metaphoric meat off the table. This makes the rhetorical gymnastics needed to be an American politician even more ridiculous. They will dance through many hoops to avoid being accused of “outsourcing” and “being weak on China” . Even though the American electorate has created this environment, they deserve a more nuanced discussion of outsourcing. Being a businessman who outsourced should not be a disqualification for being President. Instead of condemning Mitt for outsourcing, we should be asking what incentives would have motivated Bain-era Mitt to keep the jobs in America.
4.) The problem is, as this story grows, it is becoming more than demagoguery. The story is becoming more and more about a completely valid point, namely, Romney’s denials and rhetorical dodges. As he continues to make lame excuses, he continues to box himself in. And as more information links out, it becomes more likely that Romney will be revealed as at best stretching the truth, at worst a liar. And even worse, his weird “I am CEO but not responsible for anything” stance calls into question his very capacity as a leader. What will a presidency look like with a leader who refuses to take responsibility? These Bain issues, in short, are more and more looking like a problem of character.
5.) And using Drudge to plant a story about Condi being VP? Could you be any more obvious you were trying to change the narrative? Really, Romney, is this the best you can do?
What’s worse than the void is what rushes in to fill the empty space: wars fought through Twitter hashtags and hastily clipped cable news gaffes. Any member of any political party can become a national sensation by saying anything slightly off message or offensive, or critical of their own nominee or overly critical of the opposing party’s nominee. A Romney adviser says “Etch A Sketch” on TV and there goes the news cycle. A Democratic talking head mocks Ann Romney and it’s a national scandal. And both sides feel they can’t afford to stand by while the other side pummels them, even on something silly, because it just might break through with voters.
This Politico piece is long, disorganized, and rambling, but I think here they put a finger on what has defined the 2012 election cycle: surrogates. I personally do not remember a campaign so focused on what otherwise minor members of each campaign has said. Most of the biggest “controversies,”from Etch-A-Sketchgate to Booker’s comments on Bain, have been generated by surrogates, not the candidates themselves.