Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Romney's Lying & Buying Ain't Working In Ohio

     Those Romney campaign advisers who have been going on TV with predictions of  a surge, and a win, in Ohio can cancel their dreams.

With less than a week to go before election day, the latest polls show President Obama holding onto that same five-point lead he has held for a month, in what, for Romney, is a must-win battleground state.

Moreover, the polls indicate that Romney scare tactics--such as the false claim that Jeep automobile jobs in Ohio  will be outsourced to China during an Obama second term--have backfired.

 The Jeep story has been debunked by pundits and the prying press, and the auto company has come public to lambaste Romney for lying.  And that has cost Romney dearly in what is normally an area of strength--white blue-collar males.

The Republican presidential candidate continues to dump a ton of money into the Buckeye state for TV and radio ads; but apparently to no avail.

Meanwhile, down south, the President is faring better in three important swing states,  He now has a slight lead in Virginia, and he has pulled into a statistical tie with Mitt Romney in North Carolina and Florida.

Could the buying by Romney--the broadcast advertising--be fallling on deaf ears?  Could the lying by Romney--at long last--be catching up with him?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Feeling Sorry For Voters In "Safe" States

    Yesterday, in Gainesville, Florida, where I live, the excitement of a hotly-contested presidential election was in the air--literally.   MSNBC was reporting live--two hours worth--about the record setting early voting turnout throughout the Sunshine state.
    It was a carnival atmosphere,  as music blared while long lines of eager voters moved slowly on their way to the ballot box.  Before  and after their visit to the polling place, these Floridians were bombarded at home by the deluge of political ads that now saturate the airwaves.  In this final week before the election, rallies on behalf of the presidential candidates will add to the excitement.
       It's all because Florida is up for grabs. It's a swing state, a battleground state.  It could go red or blue.  It could decide the election.  Hence the attention.

I can't help thiinking how unfair it all is.  Most states--those that the politicians know are safe, those that are already known to be red or blue--do not get to share in the excitement.

There's something wrong with that picture.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

About The President's Olive Branch

     The larger than normal number of comments posted by readers following my Friday column in The Huffington Post tells me something in black and white that does not come as a complete surprise,  An awful lot of people don't agree with my left-leaning point of view, in general, and my presidential preference in particular.

Happily, for me, many of those comments are reassuring in that they let me know there is also a lot of  support for what I wrote.

The column titled, "For Sale Cheap After The Election -- My 19-Inch TV" (in the Politics section October 26) apparently struck a nerve with Republicans and Democrats alike.

The point is that the divided, vociferous response to that column is one more indication to me of the need for our country to come together when this contentious election is over.

President Obama took a step in that direction yesterday when he offered an olive branch to his Republican opposition.  He said that post election--if reelected--he would immediately offer to wash GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner's car, and walk GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's dog.

A little bit of humor that should be taken seriously.  Consider it a step toward the civility, cooperation, and compromise that will be needed to get us safely past the fiscal cliff,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Election Results Should Mean The Majority Rules

     It is quite possible that incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama will win a second term in The White House despite a majority of Americans preferring Republican challenger Mitt Romney.   

That's because the only voting that counts is that of the electoral college, where each state has a total of votes based on the number of U.S. Representatives and Senators.

Personally, I would be happy with an Obama win however it comes about; and for the Democrats to win the election without winning the popular vote would be poetic justice.  It would be payback for the presidential election of 2000, when the Republicans and George W. Bush won The White House while losing the popular vote.

But the archaic system that has our presidential election decided by electoral college voting should be replaced by a nation-wide popular vote.  It is entirely unfair--and ridiculous--for Ohio and Florida and a handful of other toss up states to,  election after election,  get all the attention from the presidential candidates.

Switching to a popular vote would assure that the majority rules and that presidential candidates would have to consider the best interests of all of the states.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Election Reform Wish List

     It seems as though most everyone finds one fault or another with our presidential election process.  I find five.

My handful of suggested changes in the way we elect our president is as follows:

1.  Have one national primary election day in the late spring of the election year.  All states same day.

2.  Initiate a constitutional amendment to put a cap on the amount of money that any one individual or corporation or organization can contribute to a candidate and require full disclosure of each transaction including name of donor.  Ban all political advertising except that which is paid for by the candidate.and place a cap  on the amount that can be spent during the campaign.  Authorize Congress to set the amount of the caps prior to each election year.

3.  Have the same dates and rules for early voting in all 50 states.

4.  Schedule all debates prior to the start of early voting.

5.  Elect the President by popular vote.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let Me Say Again -- It's Over -- It's Obama

     Listen to the vast majority of political pundits and you are led to believe that the presidential contest is a real horse race--neck to neck approaching the finish line.  A lot of those pundits see the Republican challenger inching past the incumbent President..

Hogwash!  It has been, it is, and it will be President Obama winning a second term. 

In recent days, the "experts" have claimed to see a tightening in the polls.  They say they see momentum on Romney's side.  

So what?  The most important thing to consider is not a word.  Not "tightening".  Not "momentum".  The most important thing to consider is a number--270.  And Barack Obama has a lock on enough electoral college votes to exceed that number on election day.

The pundits, the press, and partisans of both parties have long acknowledged that 237 votes have been safely in the blue column almost from the outset.  Then came those polls of late September that showed the President leading by eight points in Iowa.  And that was it.  Game over.

On September 25, I wrote words to that effect in The Huffington Post.  That column, titled, "The Importance of Iowa",  pointed out that the six electoral votes of the Hawkeye state increased the President's total to 243.  Add Wisconsin's 10, and Ohio's 18, and there you are--271.

Show me where there is a  tightening or significant momentum in any of these three states.  Figures don't lie and where we were September 25 is where we are now.   And where we are now is where we will be when the polls close November 6.

It's over.  It's Obama.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Shocking Presidential Endorsement

     It's that point in time--a couple of weeks before election day--when America's newspapers take sides and endorse one of the presidential candidates.

In Florida, a Tampa paper says vote for President. Obama.  An Orlando paper says no, go with Romney.  Out west, the Denver Post has just endorsed the President.

There will be many more to come, but no endorsement will be more shocking than that of The Salt Lake City Tribune, which has just recommended a second teerm for the President, saying that Mitt Romney should not be president.

That embarrassing slap down is not the only problematic Romney rejection.   He is losing in his home state of Massachusetts iby landslide numbers.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Obscene Waste Of A Billion Dollars

     To this point in time in the presidential election of 2012, some $800 million has been spent to promote the candidacies of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  And by election day that figure is expected to exceed one billion dollars.

Is it possible that some day soon, sanity will return to the political process, and leaders wiser than those we have now will put a cap on political spending?

Is it possible that some day a sizable portion of that billion dollars will go to better purpose--say research to prevent or cure Alzheimer's disease?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

47 & 30 -- The Numbers Don't Lie

     While the Republican presidential duo of Romney & Ryan continue to lie, some important numbers don't. The numbers of 47 and 30 tell a true story that is alarming because of what they signify.

It's not just the Dems who are increasingly hollering foul as the GOP ticket continues to mouth falsehood  after falsehood.  Republican nominee Mitt Romney and sidekick Paul Ryan are being called out for their disregard for veracity by the media, independent fact-checkers, and even members of their own party.

There are so many examples of compulsive lying by Romney and Ryan that it would take much more than the space of a single day's column to chronicle them.

Perhaps the one that troubles me most is Mitt Romney's misuse of  a navy seal's death for political gain.

Romney claimed--emotionally--on the campaign trail over a period of 48 hours that he had been close to one of the victims of the attack on the U.S. consulate in eastern Libya.  There was, for many, an air of hyperbole in the telling.

Then came a plea by the victim's mother for Romney to cease and desist from using her dead son to disparage President Obama and further his own presidential ambitions.

 Her request was followed by a statement from a close friend of the victim denying Romney's version of the story.  The friend went so far as to say that the navy seal Romney was misusing had only briefly met Romney--and didn't like him.

Then there's the old adage that numbers don't lie.  Mitt Romney has infamously said that "my job is not to worry about those people"--those people being those who don't pay federal income tax.  Paul Ryan recently  said that 30 percent of Americans are "takers".

The 47 and 30 numbers include millions of Americans on social security and millions of armed services men and women--many of whom are currently risking their lives in Afghanistan.

Both Romney and Ryan are now claiming that they are for 100 percent of the people.  But the numbers don't lie, and the 47 and 30 remarks are on tape for all to see and hear.

Friday, October 12, 2012

About Last Night's Vice Presidential Debate

     There was much food for thought provided by the trio of participants in Thursday evening's Vice Presidential debate;  and much of that will be covered in next week's overall presidential campaign update for The Huffington Post, after Tuesday's second presidential debate.

But some observations taken from last night's event deserve mention in the here and now.  "Breaking news", as the cable news outlets say to ad nauseam.

Perhaps the most unusual and important aspect of the debate is the fact that there were, indeed, three participants.  As moderator,  ABC's Martha Raddatz went beyond the call of duty in magnificent fashion, as she interjected herself into the proceedings,  insisting on answers,  and pressing for specifics.

Joe Biden performed admirably if you are an Obama supporter; but he was a pain in the butt if you are a Romney fan.  On both style and substance, he was clearly the winner.

Paul Ryan managed to get across a couple of interesting points of view--most noteworthy his criticism  of embassy security in Libya.  But even here, he was thwarted by Biden's reminder that Ryan was instrumental in the Congressional slashing of the Obama administration's request for embassy security funding. 

The Congressman also got in a couple of zingers, but these came off as rehearsed sound bites.   And some of his answers, or lack of answers, set up some problems for Mitt Romney, come the next presidential debate..

The Republican ticket's continuing refusal to give specifics on its economic game plan is one area sure to be exploited by President Obama.  And Paul Ryan's handling of the abortion and medicare issues could spell real trouble for Mitt Romney next Tuesday, and beyond.

In the first presidential debate, the President listened and "learned" , as Mitt Romney reversed his position on major issues.  Look for Barack Obama this time around to be the teacher.

President Obama will fare best if CNN's Candy Crowley moderates like Martha Raddatz--seeking the truth, and demanding answers.  Mitt Romney is surely hoping that she adopts, instead,  the easy-going style of Jim Lehrer.

In the final analysis, last night's debate will likely change little in the race for The White House.   It's still all about Ohio, and everything there continues to go the President's way.

One out of five Ohio voters has already cast a ballot, and two out of three of those has voted for Barack Obama.  Swing states Iowa and Wisconsin also appear to be safely blue. and that means that sooner rather than later, it is game over.  That's the fat lady you hear warming up in the wings.

As for Republicans who have hopes of a Harry Truman type upset, they had best get ready to cancel their dreams.  Political science, like all of science, has come a long way since 1948.