Friday, November 9, 2012

The American Electorate -- No Rest For The Weary

     Is there anyone in these United States of America who hasn't had enough politics for a while?

I think not.  There is a nationwide need for time off from talk by pundits and politicians; time off from thoughts of  policies, proposals, and positions.

So how much time off do we have between the election cycle just ended, and the start of the next?

All of five days.

Less than a week after election day 2012, the first move by a probable 2016 presidential candidate will be made in Iowa--always the state with the first event of the primary season,

 Florida's junior U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio, will speak there during what will be only the first of  many visits to the Hawkeye state over the next four years.

Expect New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, to soon make it a trio of Republican presidential hopefuls piling up frequent flyer miles in and out of Iowa.

It will be interesting to see how soon Democratic presidential possibilities Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton find reason--in actuality an excuse--to make the same trip.  And most likely there will be any number of "new" Democratic and Republican presidential wannabes testing the waters and perhaps expanding the field. 

The race for The White House--the 2016 edition--begins Monday.  Enjoy  the time off.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Charlie Crist -- 2014's Comeback Kid?

     Seeing Charlie Crist serve as an energetic, enthusiastic surrogate for President Obama in the waning days of the presidential campaign tells me we may soon be witness to another change of political allegiance by the former Republican Florida governor.

Now operating as an independent, Crist could quite possibly effect a return to prominence and power were he to join the Democratic party.

Charlie Crist fell out of favor in GOP circles when he embraced Barack Obama--literally and figuratively--when, as Governor, he met with the President to voice his approval of the controversial  federal stimulus program. 

 That act of "treason" caused the Republican party to favor Marco Rubio over Crist in a subsequent primary fight for a U.S. Senate seat.  Charlie Crist lost that bid, and his political career seemed to be over.

Meanwhile, Florida's current Republican Governor, Rick Scott, faces a difficult reelection campaign in 2014.  His woeful job approval polling numbers and his personal unpopularity left him ostracized during the presidential campaign,  Mitt Romney appeared with him but once in 11 months.

Pitting Crist--still popular with Floridians--against Scott in the race for governor in 2014 makes sense--for Crist and for the Democratic party.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Won't Soon Forget Those Long Lines Of Voters

     Each presidential election has its memorable moments.  For me, there is one 2012 happening that stands out from the rest, and which I definitely won't forget.

It was late afternoon on Friday, four days  before election day, and my lady friend, Carol, and I were about to enter "Harry's" in downtown Gainesville.

First, however, we became engaged in conversation with two young ladies,  at a sidewalk table,  who had just come from casting their votes--doing so under Florida's early voting program. 

Across the street, a long, long line of voters stretched from the entrance to the Board of Elections to around the corner and well down the block.  The line moved painfully slow, and the wait was not minutes, but hours.  And therein was something that made that long, long line memorable.

Florida has suffered this election from well-documented and oft discussed voter suppression.  Voter rolls have been subjected to a questionable and controversial purging.  Early voting days have been cut in half.

That intended obstacle has been overcome, however, by voter determination--the willingness to do whatever it takes to be able to cast a vote.

There was no grumbling in that long, long line--during that long, long wait.  There was only an air of what I would call happy defiance.

Monday, November 5, 2012

About The Winner & Loser Come Wednesday

     We are scant hours from election day, 2012,  and soon--finally--it will all be over.

For one of our presidential candidates, the results will be the cause of nearly inconsolable sorrow,  and will almost certainly mean the abrupt end to a political career.

One of them--Barack Obama or Mitt Romney--will exit the publc arena with cancelled dreams--tortured by thoughts of what might have been.

The thunderous ovations from adoring, massive crowds on Monday, will be but a melancholy memory as of Wednesday.

The loser will, however, have a choice of paths to follow.  He can fade into relative obscurity--retiring from public life.  Or he can follow the lead of defeated presidential candidates John McCain and John Kerry and continue to serve his country.

For the winner tomorrow, a myriad of challenges awaits.  But,  those challenges are also opportunities, and hopefully the President-elect will seize them and carry us forward.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Early Voting Should Be Expanded -- With The Rules The Same Everywhere

     There's an idea for improving the presidential election process that is gaining support and getting some traction.  Election day should be a national holiday, some say, so as to make it easier for workers to get to the polls.

Bad idea and not necessary,  Another holiday would hurt the economy.  No need to do that.

Instead, make the two weeks before the first Tuesday in November early voting days--in all 50 states.  Make the dates and the hours and the rules the same everywhere.

Making the process uniform and easier would improve the currently anemic percentage of Americans who vote, and would make for a more enthusiastic electorate,

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How The GOP Of 2012 Will Be Remembered

     Only days before the presidential election, the Grand Old Party is, indeed, a confusing mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

There's a wonderful example of the good that is emanating from the unfolding, tragic aftermath of hurricane Sandy,  It's often sharp-tongued Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey being effusive in his praise of Barack Obama for his handling of this historic natural disaster.

Christie is a strong, vocal supporter of Republican challenger Mitt Romney, and he has been highly critical of President Obama's past performance, policies,  and proposals.

But he is now relating to all who will listen how political opposites can work together in a non-partisan way when the need for cooperation arises,

As Governor of the state hit hardest by Sandy, Christie has been called on for comment by virtually every TV network.  And with each interview about the handling of the crisis, Christie gives credit where credit is due, and no one is given more credit than the President.

Noteworthy,  also, is Christie.s appreciation for the speedy assistance provided by the federal government, in general, and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), in particular.

Coming near the end of a bitter presidential election cycle, Governor Christie's words are most welcome.  Something good about the Republican party.  Something  encouraging for America.  Perhaps even something hopeful for the gridlock in Congress.

But while Chris Christie's remarks show the good of the GOP, a bold-faced lie by Mitt Romney  is a sad example of the bad. 

Campaigning in Ohio, Romney has told audiences that a Jeep automobile plant is about to close, with its jobs being outsourced to China.  Even though he has been called out for the lie by the press and the pundits, Romney has doubled down by running  an ad making the same false claim.

And then there is the ugly--the continuing innuendos and suggestive remarks that keep the race card in play.

 John Sununu--former Governor of New Hampshire, and a Romney surrogate--attributed Colin Powell's endorsement of President Obama to their both being men of color.

There is much that is good about the Republican party.   But sadly, the good is being marred by so much that is bad--and ugly,  And that is how the GOP of 2012 will be remembered.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

For Democrats A Beautiful Sound -- The Fat Lady Warming Up

     "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings", but she's warming up,  and she may as well start warbling now.   This presidential race is over.

At least that is what I take away from a close look at the latest polls--those released yesterday and today, and conducted just prior to the arrival of hurricane Sandy.

There are polls, and then there are polls.  There are left-leaning and right leaning polls, and then there are strictly non-partisan, independent polls, conducted and produced by straight shooters, who have a history of accuracy.

Delving into polls of the latter kind is to see a second term as President for Barack Obama.  Numbers don't lie.

President Obama, who most politicos acknowledge has been assured blue state wins, totaling 237 electoral college votes, from the outset, has been  building a firewall of three mid west battleground states, which--no matter what  happened elsewhere--would get him to the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.

There's Ohio, where the President enjoys a five-point lead,  There's Iowa, where he has widened his lead to six points.  And there's Wisconsin, where his lead is three points.

Should  Obama supporters think the three-point lead in Wisonsin is too close for comfort, they can substitute on their mental tally sheet Virginia, where the President leads by four points.  Then there's Nevada, which is strong for Obama, and trending away from Romney, and which, when combined with New Hampshire, provides further backup.

Important to note, and all the more reason to think the race is over, is  the dwindling number of undecided voters in the President's firewall states--only four percent in Ohio, two percent in Iowa, and three percent in Wisconsin.

The Obama camp doesn't need Florida, but the Sunshine state is up for grabs--currently a statistical tie.

All of this good news for Democrats comes before the national bump for the Democratic ticket that is expected by both parties as a result of the President's impressive handling 0f the hurricane Sandy disaster.

More and more in the days ahead, Democrats will be enjoying the fat lady's singing, as Republicans cover their ears.