Election 2012

Obligatory Trump Post #5,387

So the media is examining itself again lately.  Pundits are asking, “Why is the media so afraid of calling Trump a ‘liar’?”

Well, Michael Cohen at the Boston Globe is among the many who have had enough:

Donald Trump is a liar.

For anyone who has been following the Republican presidential campaign for the past few months, this statement will not elicit much surprise. But then again, that’s also true if you’ve been following the direction of Republican presidential campaign rhetoric over the past several years.

When Trump claimed that he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheer when the Twin Towers were felled, he was lying, because thousands of Muslims in New Jersey didn’t cheer when the Twin Towers fell.

He is not stretching the truth when he says the Obama administration wants to take in 250,000 Syrian refugees. He is lying.

He was not, as ABC News put it, making “questionable comments” when he retweeted the racist claims of a neo-Nazi that black Americans are overwhelmingly responsible for homicides in America. He is peddling made-up racist claims about black Americans.

When he said that there should be a database of American Muslims and that US mosques should possibly be shut down, he wasn’t misquoted. He was quite clearly playing on xenophobic fears.

Some have argued that Trump’s intentions are unclear. Maybe he truly believes he saw Muslims in New Jersey celebrating on 9/11.

And maybe some of Trump’s best friends are black or Mexican. Instead he’s just playing on fears about immigrants, Muslim terrorists, and black criminals, like countless politicians before him.

But this is a dodge. It’s been consistently pointed out, by reporters and fact checkers alike, and often directly to Trump, that he is saying things that are verifiably untrue. That Trump keeps repeating them is all we need to know about his intentions.

I think it is great that some in the media are finally calling him out.  Being “fair” does not mean being wrong.  If Person A — and I don’t care who it is — says something that a reporter can confirm is patently untrue, then the reporter should say so in his or her reporting.

Not that it matters.  On CNN this morning, there was a remarkable panel.  I only heard it on the radio and I missed the beginning, but the CNN moderator had two regular people — both Republicans — in the studio.  And the issue was Trump.  One of the people was clearly a Trump fan — he said he built the Truckers for Trump website, among other things.  And this guy insisted that Trumps “Thousands of Muslims Dancing in New Jersey on 9/11” claim was absolutely true.  The CNN moderator pushed back and explained that CNN and every single major and local news organization looked into it, and it was absolutely untrue that there was “thousands” of Muslims.  And the Trump supporter snapped back, “But you’re wrong. We know there were thousands. We know it.”

And that, to me, explains the psychosis of Trump followers.  And that, to me, is the Trump phenomenon.  For perhaps the first time in electoral politics, we have an identifiable block of voters who are more drawn to the narrative than the truth.  See, it just doesn’t matter to them that Trump lies.  As long as he is sticking it to whoever — gays, people from other countries, minorities, women, Democrats, the media, etc.

But I have had issues with calling him a liar.  To me, a liar is someone who knows what the truth is, but says the opposite.  Trump, I believe, doesn’t know what the truth is… and, like his followers, he doesn’t care.  Again, it is the narrative.

Fortunately, as I was formulating this “not liar” theory, I read this:

Trump is something worse than a liar. He is a bullshit artist. In his 2005 book On Bullshit, Harry G. Frankfurt, emeritus philosophy professor at Princeton University, makes an important distinction between lying and bullshitting—one that is extremely useful for understanding the pernicious impact that Trump has on public life. Frankfurt’s key observation is that the liar, even as he or she might spread untruth, inhabits a universe where the distinction between truth and falsehood still matters. The bullshitter, by contrast, does not care what is true or not. By his or her bluffing, dissimilation, and general dishonesty, the bullshit artist works to erase the very possibility of knowing the truth. For this reason, bullshit is more dangerous than lies, since it erodes even the possibility of truth existing and being found.

The contrast Frankfurt draws between lying and bullshit is sharp. “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth,” Frankfurt observes. “Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all bets are off. … He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of truth than lies are.”

Frankfurt’s analysis works extraordinarily well in explaining why Trump is so unfazed when called on his bullshit. Trump’s frequent response is to undermine the very possibility that the truth of his claims are knowable. When asked why there are no videos of “thousands and thousands” of Muslim-Americans cheering the 9/11 attacks, Trump told Joe Scarborough that 2001 was so far in the past that the evidence has disappeared. “Don’t forget, 14, 15 years ago, it wasn’t like it is today, where you press a button and you play a video,” Trump said in a phone interview on yesterday’s Morning Joe. “Fourteen, 15 years ago, they don’t even put it in files, they destroy half of the stuff. You know, if you look back 14, 15 years, that was like ancient times in terms of cinema, and in terms of news and everything else. They don’t have the same stuff. Today you can press a button and you can see exactly what went on, you know, two years ago. But when you go back 14, 15 years, that’s like ancient technology, Joe.”

This claim—that he’s telling the truth but that there can be no proof of it—is in some ways more insidious than the initial falsehood. It takes us to a post-truth world where Trump’s statements can’t be fact-checked, and we have to simply accept the workings of his self-proclaimed “world’s greatest memory.” In effect, Trump wants to take us to a land where subjectivity is all, where reality is simply what he says.

Yes, that’s it!  A bullshit artist!

Now, to be sure, Trump is not the only one (see Carly Fiorina on the Planned Parenthood video), nor the first one (see anti-vaxxers and birthers, who counts Trump among their legions).  But Trump is the best, by far.  And why is he so good at hucksterism?

His background as a real estate developer—a job that requires making convincing sales pitches—is one clue. But Frankfurt’s book offers another suggestion: “Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about,” Frankfurt notes. “Thus the production of bullshit is stimulated whenever a person’s obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic exceed his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic.” As a businessman-turned-politician, Trump often seems in over his head on policy discussions. Maybe that’s the core reason why he’s so given over to bullshitting.

Yyyyup.

This of course explains the polls and Trump’s apparent resiliency.  As Ben Carson’s poll numbers have plummeted lately, Trump’s have gone up.  However, the real beneficiaries of Carson’s drop have been Rubio and Cruz.  This suggests to me that there IS (believe it or not!) a ceiling to Trump’s numbers, i.e., even if there is a sucker born every minute, there still is a finite number of suckers out there at any given time.

But I still don’t hold out much hope for Trump.  And here’s why: National polls are not helpful.

There are two reasons for this:

(1)  Most people in the nation are not really paying attention.  Sure, people tune in to watch the debates…. as entertainment.  But unless they are in Iowa, they don’t really feel the need to make up their minds yet.  Even in New Hampshire, it is too soon for people to settle on one candidate or another.  In the last two elections, over 60% of all New Hampshire voters didn’t make up their mind until the week of voting.  So, national polls are virtually meaningless.  Trump is famous and gets a lot of TV time and press.  He’s the most known commodity.

(2)  Most polls ask… “if you were to vote today, who would you vote for?”.  And if a person answers “Uhhhmmmmm [6 second pause]…. Trump, I guess”, that is recorded as a “Trump”.  In other words, we don’t get the enthusiasm of the voter.

(3)  Trump only has 25-35% of the the Republican vote among registered Republicans.  And roughly 35% of people in the country are registered Republicans.  That means that within the voting age population, Trump has 25 to 35 percent of roughly one-third of the country.  Or, put another way, 8-10% of voters.  That is NOT a lot.  And certainly gives a lot more room for others to take over the field.

So, listen.  Trump is not going to be the GOP nominee.  I still say Rubio.  It could be Cruz.  But Trump will fall eventually, just as Gingrich and Huckabee and Bachmann did last time.

Palin Started It

Light blogging as things are busy, but I had to draw attention to this op-ed by William Paley in the Washington Post, entitled “The GOP’s dysfunction all started with Sarah Palin” because I think it is right on the money, i.e.:

Once McCain put Palin on the ticket, Republican “grown-ups,” who presumably knew better, had to bite their tongues. But after the election, when they were free to speak their minds, they either remained quiet or abetted the dumbing-down of the party. They stood by as Donald Trump and others noisily pushed claims that Obama was born in Kenya. And they gladly rode the tea party tiger to sweeping victories in 2010 and 2014.

Now that tiger is devouring the GOP establishment. Party elders had hoped new presidential debate rules would give them greater control. But they are watching helplessly as Trump leads the pack and House Republicans engage in fratricide.

It’s hard to feel much sympathy. The Republican establishment’s 2008 embrace of Palin set an irresponsibly low bar. Coincidence or not, a batch of nonsense-spewing, hard-right candidates quickly followed, often to disastrous effect.

In Delaware, the utterly unprepared Christine O’Donnell promised “I’m not a witch,” but it didn’t save a Senate seat that popular, centrist Republican representative Mike Castle would have won, had he been the nominee.

In 2012, Missouri Republicans hoped to oust Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). Those hopes died when GOP nominee Todd Akin opined that “the female body” could somehow prevent pregnancy from “a legitimate rape.”

Party leaders aren’t responsible for every candidate’s gaffe. And Republican primary voters, not party honchos, choose nominees. But it’s easy to draw ideological lines from Palin to O’Donnell to Akin and so on to some of the far-from-mainstream presidential contenders of 2012 and today.

Then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) was rising fast in Republican presidential polls in July 2011. Pizza company executive Herman Cain led the polls three months later. Does anyone now think Bachmann and Cain had the skills, experience and temperament to be president?

True, the party eventually settled on Mitt Romney. But for months, Americans wondered, “Is this party serious?” Now the Republicans’ leading presidential contenders are Trump — who vows to make Mexico pay for a “great, great wall” on the U.S. side of the border — and Ben Carson, who questions evolution and asks why victims of the latest mass shooting didn’t “attack the gunman.

This isn’t to heap new scorn on Palin. But let’s not diminish the recklessness of those who championed her vice presidential candidacy. It was well known that McCain, 72 at the time of his nomination, had undergone surgery for skin cancer. It wasn’t preposterous to think Palin could become president.

Now Republicans ask Americans to give them full control of the government, adding the presidency to their House and Senate majorities. This comes as Trump and Carson consistently top the GOP polls. Republican leaders brought this on themselves. Trump calls Palin “a special person” he’d like in his Cabinet. That seems only fair, because he’s thriving in the same cynical value system that puts opportunistic soundbites above seriousness, preparedness and intellectual heft.

Oh Noes! Michelle Is In Trouble!!

From The Daily Beast:

The Hindenburg. The Titanic. Michele Bachmann.

Eighteen months ago, the Minnesota House member was considered an unlikely but undeniable Republican rising star, winning the Iowa straw poll that unofficially begins the primary season. Today, she is embroiled in a litany of legal proceedings related to her rolling disaster of a presidential campaign—including a Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into campaign improprieties that has not previously been reported.

The Daily Beast has learned that federal investigators are now interviewing former Bachmann campaign staffers nationwide about alleged intentional campaign-finance violations. The investigators are working on behalf of the Office of Congressional Ethics, which probes reported improprieties by House members and their staffs and then can refer cases to the House Ethics Committee.

God told Michele Bachmann to run.  I wonder if the investigators will interview Him next.

Quote Of The Day

“The GOP today is a tale of two parties. One of them, the gubernatorial wing, is growing and successful. The other, the federal wing, is increasingly marginalizing itself, and unless changes are made, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future.” – opening sentences of the report commissioned by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to examine what went wrong in 2012.

The report (PDF) goes on to say that the GOP is seen as the party of “stuffy old men”.  Other words used to describe the GOP include "scary," "narrow minded," and "out of touch".

I’m Back

Went to NYC with the girl, and saw some good shows, but missed several things.  The Patriots losing for one, which I could have missed anywhere.  

And the inauguration.  Inauguration speeches, particularly those for a second term, often become historical (or, at least, a line or two does).  And Obama is a good orator, so I thought maybe there was something lofty and ideal to come about from his speech.

But I didn't see it, and haven't read much about it.  Apparently, he gave a shout-out to homosexual people, likening it to the civil rights issue of our time.  Which it is, but saying so NOW isn't quite as bold as saying so four years ago.  Still, kudos and all.

No, the BIG controversy from the inauguration was that Beyonce lip-synced the National Anthem.  And she admitted to it.

Shock. Horror.  Dogs mating with cats.

Now, it's true that James Taylor and Kelly Clarkson, who also performed, sang live.  But here's the thing: the National Anthem is hard vocally, it was freezing hella-cold, and Beyonce was singing with the Marine Band with whom she didn't have any practice time.  Oh, yeah, and it's not like this is the first time someone lip-synched at an inauguration.

So "controversy"?  No.  Leave Beyonce alone.

Didn’t Want Those Grapes Anyway

This article in the Boston Globe is a good wrap-up summary of the very basic ways in which the Romney campaign went so wrong… and the Obama campaign worked so well. Key paragraph informs us that Romney wasn't that into being President anyway.

More than being reticent, Romney was at first far from sold on a second presidential run. Haunted by his 2008 loss, he initially told his family he would not do it. While candidates often try to portray themselves as reluctant, Tagg insisted his father’s stance was genuine.

“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” said Tagg, who worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”…

Yeah.  He realized that he might actually have to work, and he wouldn't be surrounded by yes-men.

Lie Of The Year

Politifact judges Romney Jeep ad "Lie of the Year".

And they also did a reader survey for biggest lie of the year.  First place went to Rush Limbaugh, for his comments on health care being "the largest tax increase in the history of the world." Many readers commented that they voted not for that particular statement, but because they think Limbaugh generally distorts the truth.

Here are the full results: 

*"Obamacare is . . . the largest tax increase in the history of the world." — Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh 26.6%
President Barack Obama was saying success "is the result of government," not "hard-working people," when he said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."  – a campaign video from the Mitt Romney campaign 20%
Barack Obama "sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China" at the cost of American jobs. — a TV ad from the Mitt Romney campaign 18.7%
"Under Obama’s plan (for welfare), you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check." — a TV ad from the Mitt Romney campaign 13.1%
Barack Obama began his presidency "with an apology tour."  – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney 10.4%
"Over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence" of President George W. Bush’s policies and the recession. — President Barack Obama 5.6%
Mitt Romney and Bain Capital are to blame in a woman’s premature deathwhen they closed the plant where her husband worked. — Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that supported Barack Obama 3.1%
Other (Examples: "Romney’s 47%", "Benghazi was caused by a video," "legitimate rapes don’t cause pregnancy") 1.6%
Mitt Romney "backed a bill that outlaws all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest." — a TV ad from the Barack Obama campaign 0.7%
When it comes to jobless workers, "Mitt Romney says he likes to fire people." — Delaware Gov. Jack Markell 0.2%
Mitt Romney "called the Arizona law a model for the nation."  – President Barack Obama 0.2%

 

 

Fiscal Cliff Notes #2

I'm not writing about this much, in part because I think much of what is going on is theater.  Lots of posturing on both sides.

I will note, however, that Republicans are playing a losing game.  Most polls show that they are not trusted to avoid the fiscal cliff, and if we do go over it, the GOP will be blamed.

Popularity for raising taxes on the upper 2% remains solid.

It's just embarrassing to watch this play out.  Everyone knows what needs to be done — tax increases on the wealthy, and slashes to the budget (particularly within the military), and some entitlement reform.  Everybody in Washington just needs to hunker down and do it.

The problem, of course is the Republicans, who have to satisfy a based which is still not tethered to reality.

And speaking of reality, were you aware that 49% of polled Republicans believe that the presidential election was stolen by ACORN?  This, despite the fact that ACORN (the community organizing group) has been non-existent since 2010.

A9UTAlCCcAADNIW

Worst Punditry of 2012

(1) Conservative Pundits: Romney will win the election in a landslide

We decided that it was unfair to single out any one of these predictions, since they all met the threshold of being spectacularly off-target.

Pundit Prediction
Larry Kudlow Romney will get 330 electoral votes
Dick Morris Romney will get 325 electoral votes
Glenn Beck Romney will get 321 electoral votes
George Will Romney will get 321 electoral votes
Michael Barone Romney will get 315 electoral votes
Wayne Allyn Root Romney will win by 100-120 electoral votes

(2) Chris Matthews: Michele Bachmann will win the GOP nomination

Some have argued that Matthews was joking, but we don’t buy it. Decide for yourself.

(3) Dick Morris: Obama might pull out of the election

This prediction was too hedged to include on PunditTracker.com, but it was so outrageous — and outrageously wrong — that it justified a spot on this list.

<< As bad news piles up for the Democrats, I asked a top Democratic strategist if it were possible that President Obama might “pull a Lyndon Johnson” and soberly face the cameras, telling America that he has decided that the demands of partisan politics are interfering with his efforts to right our economy and that he has decided to withdraw to devote full time to our recovery. His answer: “Yes. It’s possible. If things continue as they are and have not turned around by January, it is certainly possible.”….. if the Republicans nominate a more moderate candidate such as Mitt Romney, Obama will not be able to rely on partisan animosity to succeed where job approval has failed. And, given all that, he might not even run. >> [Dickmorris.com]

We will announce the “winner” in two weeks, at which time we will also reveal our awards for Best and Worst Pundit of 2012.

You should go there and vote.

Romney Was The Moral Winner Of The Election

Mitt Romney was nothing but a stone cold rebel. Didn't fit and didn't care. He was just going to have fun, keep it real, stick it to the losers and generally blow the doors off the whole place whatever the DC crowd and the insiders and the elites thought. And damn if he didn't win the whole thing in the end. At least if you're counting the good people. Sure, he didn't catch with the poors and the non-whiteys. But c'mon: Who the f' cares, right? Mitt Romney, the President of Real America.

That's how Romney's chief campaign advisor is recasting the whole election.  He describes the loss as a "narrow prediential loss".  Narrow presidential loss? President Barack Obama won 332-206, and has a 3.5-point lead in the popular vote, or 4.5 million raw votes. George W. Bush declared a big "mandate" in 2004 after winning the popular vote by just three million.

With advisors this delusional, it's no wonder Romney lost.


Romney at 47 Percent

After Obama won, most of us stopped caring about the popular vote count.  But the count continued, and the votes trickled in days — and even weeks — later.  Now, via David Wasserman's invaluable chart, we can make it official: Romney WON 47.43 percent of the vote, making it impossible to round up.

He is the 47 percent, a truly ironic number, given that Romney dissed "47 percent" of the population in his infamous Boca Raton fundraising talk with donors.

Other mostly random factoids:

– Obama's margin over Romney is up to 4.4 million votes.

– There's no state where the margin between Romney and Obama could have been erased by a switch of third party votes. Florida comes close, but the margin is about 15,000 votes greater than the total vote for all third parties.

 

If The Campaigns Were Businesses

Mitt Romney ran for president largely on his experience as a businessman, and how he could bring fiscal responsibility to America.

But if you look at the spending in the campagin, Romney was a horrible businessman.  Take a look at the ad buys for September in one market, Columbus, Ohio.

Romney was paying nearly four times as much per television spot as Obama.

What went on?

The cost differential is attributable to the fact that Team Obama bought “preemptable” or or “lowest unit rate” ads — while Team Romney paid for “fixed,” non-preemptable rates.

“Obama could deliver 1,000 points for a fourth as much as Romney,” said one source.

So why didn’t Team Romney negotiate better rates? Since spots are typically not bumped in early September, the notion of reserving non-preemptable ads — in order to guarantee they would air — seems implausible.

According to our source, Team Obama simply did the “due diligence to find where the lowest unit rate was,” a tedious process which “takes manpower.”

Conversely, it appears Team Romney simply didn’t want bother with the hassle. So they threw money at the problem — and walked away.

This, no doubt, saved a lot of time and energy. But it also cost a lot of money.

Wow. Some businessman.

Oh, and for larfs, here's a photo of Romney taken yesterday, pumping his own gas:

Romney Is The Douchebag We All Thought He Was

From the NY Times:

Saying that he and his team still felt “troubled” by his loss to President Obama, Mitt Romney on Wednesday attributed his defeat in part to what he called big policy “gifts” that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies, including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.

In a conference call with fund-raisers and donors to his campaign, Mr. Romney said Wednesday afternoon that the president had followed the “old playbook” of using targeted initiatives to woo specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.”

“In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said, contrasting Mr. Obama’s strategy to his own of “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth.”

And he goes on with that blather… making the same case regarding women and contraception.

This is basically doubling down on what he said to his donors behind closed doors in Boca Raton, in the infamous "47%" comments.  He thinks certain large segments of society are freeloaders who want free stuff and President Obama gives it to them.

Fuck you, Romney.  Here's why you lost: because you can't recognize that the middle and working classes are the backbone of this country, and that people like you wouldn't be rich if you didn't profit off the labor and sweat of the 47%.  When you asshole Wall Street types fuck up the economy because of your greed, it's not you who pays through the nose; it's the 47% of people who you so callously condemn.   When you start your little wars, it's not you, Mr. Senator's Son, Mr. Vietnam forlough, who fights and dies — it's the working and middle class sons and daughter who do all the dirty work and come back with broken bodies and minds.  Do they deserve more from this country than you do?  Fuck yeah!

In other words, you elitist douchebag, you lost because you ARE an elitist douchebag.  Now it is time to prance off to the Cayman Islands, Little Lord Fauntleroy.  Begone with you.  And don't ever EVER go near a microphone or camera again.

Quote Of The Day

Anonymous Republican, on the subject of the GOP's huge FAIL at measuring the electorate:

Democrats "must be looking at us like we're the biggest f—– morons in the world," one frustrated Republican said. "That's what I'd be doing."

Yyyyyup.

Woman Runs Over Husband; Blames Him For Obama Re-election

Phoenix New Times:

Mesa resident Holly Solomon thinks it's her husband's fault that President Obama was re-elected last week, because he didn't vote.

Not only does Solomon, 28, have a thorough misunderstanding of our nation's electoral system, she also ran over her husband with her car because of this, according to Gilbert police.

In an e-mail to media, Gilbert police Sergeant Jesse Sanger says the argument started in a parking lot Saturday morning over Daniel Solomon's lack of voter participation.

"According to Daniel, Holly believed her family was going to face hardship as a result of President Obama's re-election," Sanger says.

Witnesses told police that there was a lot of yelling before Holly Solomon hopped in her Jeep, and started chasing her husband around the parking lot.

Her husband tried to use a light pole to shield himself, and Solomon drove around the light pole several times as she continued to yell at him.

Eventually, her husband made a run for it, but Solomon hit him, pinning him under the car and on a curb, according to police.

Daniel Solomon's currently in critical condition at a hospital.

Holly Solomon was booked into jail on charges of domestic violence and aggravated assault, and there are no indications she was impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time, according to Sanger.

It should be noted that President Obama won a grand total of zero of Arizona's 11 electoral votes, so it wouldn't have helped if Daniel Solomon had voted for Romney 1,000 times.

Guess The System Works

Ryan Reilly tells the story of two separate incidences where a Republican — one in Nevada and one in New Mexico — believed all the bullshit about how easy it is to vote twice.  

They tried it for themselves just to show how easy it was to "work the system".

Both of them were arrested.

 

Romney Campaign Was In A Bubble, Too

In all the post-mortems, we learn this about what it was like inside the Romney campaign:

Romney and his campaign had gone into the evening confident they had a good path to victory, for emotional and intellectual reasons. The huge and enthusiastic crowds in swing state after swing state in recent weeks – not only for Romney but also for Paul Ryan – bolstered what they believed intellectually: that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.

***

As a result, they believed the public/media polls were skewed – they thought those polls oversampled Democrats and didn't reflect Republican enthusiasm. They based their own internal polls on turnout levels more favorable to Romney. That was a grave miscalculation, as they would see on election night.

Let that sink in for a minute: Team Romney was “unskewing” its internal polls, or maybe they were just using the numbers from the Unskewed Polls guy, who knows, but the point here is that they didn’t like the reality they were getting from their own data collection.

Recap their logic:

1. They got big crowds, therefore,
2. people won't turn out for Obama.
3. If people don't turn out for Obama,
4. then the public polls are skewed.
5. If public polls are skewed,
6. then Romney is winning.

Reality sucks.

And has a liberal bias.

Good Pollster, Bad Pollster

Fordham University has published a ranking of the most accurate pollsters of the 2012 in terms of national trends, and (both) top spots were held by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, the North Carolina-based firm.

Director of Fordham's Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy, Dr. Costas Panagopoulos, based the study on pre-election polling and compared it against the results from election day.

"For all the ridicule directed towards pre-election polling, the final poll estimates were not far off from the actual nationwide vote shares for the two candidates," Panagopoulos said in a statement. Here's the whole list:

1. PPP (D)*

1. Daily Kos/SEIU/PPP*

3. YouGov*

4. Ipsos/Reuters*

5. Purple Strategies

6. NBC/WSJ

6. CBS/NYT

6. YouGov/Economist

9. UPI/CVOTER

10. IBD/TIPP

11. Angus-Reid*

12. ABC/WP*

13. Pew Research*

13. Hartford Courant/UConn*

15. CNN/ORC

15. Monmouth/SurveyUSA

15. Politico/GWU/Battleground

15. FOX News

15. Washington Times/JZ Analytics

15. Newsmax/JZ Analytics

15. American Research Group

15. Gravis Marketing

23. Democracy Corps (D)*

24. Rasmussen

24. Gallup

26. NPR

27. National Journal*

28. AP/GfK

It should be noted that Rasmussen, the favorite pollster of Fox News and right wing blogs, was close to the bottom of the list.  They were bad last election cycle, which is why I ignored them this year.

As for poll aggregators, CNET reports that the best one was 538, i.e., Nate Silver. But TPM PollTracker, HuffPost Pollster, the RealClearPolitics Average, and the Princeton Election Consortium — successfully called the election for Obama, and save for TPM PollTracker and RealClearPolitics handing Florida to Romney, the aggregators were spot on across the board when it came to picking swing state victors.

Then, there is this:

Dean Chambers, the man who garnered praise from the right and notoriety on the left for his “Unskewed Polling” site, admitted today that his method was flawed.

 “Nate Silver was right, and I was wrong,” Chambers said in a phone interview.

Chambers’ method of “unskewing” polls involved re-weighting the sample to match what he believed the electorate would look like, in terms of party identification. He thought the electorate would lean more Republican when mainstream pollsters routinely found samples that leaned Democratic.

But as it turned out, the pollsters were right — self-identified Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 6% in election exit polls.

The bigger question is why on earth he ever thought just changing numbers in a poll until you liked the outcome was going to actually reflect the reality on the ground. That’s the power of the bubble working. When every source you hear, whether it be Clown Hall or Faux News or the National Review or whatever else ells you over and over and over that the media is biased or that statistics have a left-wing bias, chumps like Chambers start to really believe it. And then they do predictably laughable stuff like this- just rejiggering polls until the numbers put you in your happy place.

What’s even more astounding than some lone nitwit doing this is all the people who linked to it, repeated this nonsense until significant portions of the right wing believed it. That’s what is really astounding. You can find people doing really stupid things every where you go in the world. You don’t expect their stupidity to be elevated. And there was just no one, no one at all in the GOP feedback loop who stood up and said “Good lord, you people are morons.”

Angry Billionaires

And why not?

Many of the lightning bolts were aimed at none other than Karl Rove, the former Bush administration political genius who oversaw the deployment of nearly $400 million in campaign spending through outside groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS toward the presidential race and toward numerous Senate and House races.

"The billionaire donors I hear are livid," one Republican operative told The Huffington Post. "There is some holy hell to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do … I don't know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing

Who’s To Blame

A lot of conservatives are blaming Chris Christie for Romney's loss, based on the fact that Christie praised Obama for Obama's leadership in response to Hurricane Sandy.

Which only begs the question: If Christ Christie is so influential that his comments can swing the election, then why the fuck didn't you guys nominate HIM and not Romney?

Senate

Consider this jaw-dropper: in a year that was supposed to be awful for Senate Dems, zero Democratic incumbents lost this year. Literally, none.

And now that all the Senate races are in, the Democratic stronghold in the Senate is actually BIGGER than before. If Maine's Sen.-elect, Angus King (I) caucuses with the Senate Democrats, which has been widely expected, then King would be the 55th member of the Senate Democratic caucus and give the party a net gain of two seats in this campaign cycle.

Why Romney Lost: A Bunch Of Reasons

1)  You have to be FOR something.  The Romney campaign strategy seemed almost entirely to rely on stoking anti-Obama sentiment.  Every campaign needs to demonize the opponent, but Romney seemed to do that exclusively.  Toward the end, he and his surrogates had the talking point about how Obama failed to fulfill his promises — promises which, if fulfilled, Romney would have opposed.

The best example of this is in the area of healthcare.  Romney said he would get rid of Obamacare.  But THEN what?  He was never clear.  What was he going to do about rising health care costs — the thing that Obamacare was designed to cure?  Or was he going to do nothing?  Again, you have to be FOR something, not just AGAINST something.

2)  Failure to identify who he is and what he would do.  This is related to point one above.  But it's more than that.  Nobody really knew what Romney was about.  And that seemed to be a feature of their campaign strategy, not a bug.  Remember "Etch-A-Sketch"?  So if people have a hard time defining Romney, that made it easier for Obama to fill-in-the-blanks.  In fact, the work was started before Romney got the nomination.  The Republican party voters never warmed to Romney.  They spent months looking for the anti-Romney: Newt, Bachmann, Santorum — even Hermain Cain was at the top of the polls.  And all those candidates piled on Romney for being flip-floppy.

So if Republicans couldn't warm up to Mitt Romney in their primaries, how could the electorate in the general election?

When Romney did make an affirmative case for himself and his policies, it was often stated in general goals.  Stuff like "We need to bring the deficit down, and I'm going to do that."  Well, you know, good on you, buddy.  But everybody — even Obama — wants to bring the deficit down.  What made Romney so special that he thought he could do it?  He never made the case.

3)  Boss Man.  People are generally disfavored to politicians, but I think they have an even  more tangible dislike of bosses.  Bosses are a form of authoritarianism that people encounter on a daily basis — someone who believes himself to be superior, and who knows what's good for you.  And Romney, intentionally or not, positioned himself as a boss.  An employer.  You know, like the guy who just fired your brother… or you!  He took sides with bosses ("entrepreuners"), which would have been good strategy if most of the country were bosses, or even aspired to be.  But most of the country feels — particularly in tough economic times — like they are at the mercy of bosses.  Romney was the Man from Bain, the one who this that corporations are people.  And that hurt him.

4)  Failure to adapt to changing demographics.  I've mentioned this elsewhere.  So has everyone else.  And it's true.  The Republican party can no longer afford to be anti-immigrant (read "anti-Hispanic"), anti-gay, and anti-women.  There just aren't enough angry white men for any party to sustain itself on the national level.

5)  Lying.  Every campaign twists their opponents words.  Romney certainly did.  The whole "you didn't build that" thing.  We know that Obama didn't say that, at least not in the way that Romney ran with it.  (By the way, the "you didn't build that" is only an insult to business owners — again, Romney identifying with the boss man).

But that kind of lie isn't why Romney lost.  He lost because he lied about things that people KNEW was a lie.  He kept telling people that the economy was getting worse, when people KNEW — from their own experiences, the experiences of their family and friends – that it really wasn't getting worse.  Romney had the balls — or stupidity — to tell the American public that the sky was green, when people could just look and see differently.

This tactic really backfired and it especially hurt Romney in the final stretch of the campaign, in Ohio.  He ran ads which said that, thanks to Obama's bailout, Chrysler was going to build jeeps in China.  It just wasn't true.  But he tried to tell this to the people of Ohio, who knew it not to be true.  All the Ohio papers leapt on those ads, noting it wasn't true.  And then something unprecedented: Chrysler itself stepped in and said it wasn't true.

It made the Romney camp look untrustworthy and/or desparate.  And it absolutely killed whatever hope he might have had in the Midwest.  Killed it.

6)  47%.  I think Romney's 47% remark will be discussed and studied for some time to come.  Back in 1979, Jimmy Carter talked about the nation's "malaise", and people got really pissed off, and voted him out.  This is like that, but worse.

Understand what Romney did, and think about it for a second.  The man stood in a room of rich donors, and insulted 47% of the country!  That's ballsy.

Now, some people said it wasn't that bad, because most people don't consider themselves to be the freeloaders that Romney was disparaging.  But that's irrelevant.  *I* don't think *I'm* in the 47%, but I was still insulted.  How can a man hope to lead the country when he disparages half of it?

Imagine this.  Imagine your boss gathers you and your employees together in a room, and says, "You know what?  Half of you are lazy assess."  Now, would you want that boss to be your leader? 

And nothing Romney said afterwards could undo it.  He called it a "gaffe", although people know it wasn't.  A gaffe is when you confuse "Iran" and "Iraq" for a split second because of a brain fart.  Romney stood at a podium and for a full 30 seconds insulted voters.  And even though he later said that he intended to be the president for "all America", he never took back or explain the actual insult.  He never explained what he intended to say (assuming he "said things wrong" to begin with).  

Insulting almost half of the American taxpayers?  Oh, yeah.  That hurt him.

7)  Yes, Sandy.  In the heat of a presidential election, the electorate sometimes forgets that this is about real stuff, and it's not just a reality show being played out.  The election has consequences.

Sandy came along and subtly reminded everybody that the President of the United States actually has some serious things to contend with. 

When Sandy hit, all Obama had to do was his job.  He didn't have to ACT presidential; he just had to be President.  And that's what he did — his job.  And suddenly, people forgot about Big Bird and the other silliness of the campaign.  And they liked — or were reminded of what they liked — in President Obama.  And that was enough to give me the edge.

8)  Bad ground operation.  The Republicans piss off unions.  Democrats support them.  So you get the public employees union, teacher's union, labor unions, etc. all working together to get out the vote.  Again, like the 47% thing, you only git what you give.

9)  Being hawkish to a war-weary nation. 

10)  Opposition to auto bailout.  Put him at a disadvantage from the beginning with the Midwest.  Never really explained it away.

UPDATE:  Over at The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen offers an overriding theory as to why Romney lost, to wit:

May I suggest instead a simple, elegant overriding theory on why we won't have a Romney Administration in 2013? No serious political party in America — no legitimate party in any viable democracy — can win an election by suppressing votes. So long as the Republican Party endorses (and enacts) voting laws designed to make it harder for registered voters to vote, so long as Republican officials like Ohio's Jon Husted contort themselves to interpret those laws in a restrictive fashion, the Republicans will continue to play a loser's game.

That's my theory, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

I don't think that was a contributing factor this time, but I can see how it could hurt a party generally in the long game.

Waaah Quote Of The Day

Robert Stacy McCain in The Spectator:

What is left to hope for? That the American people will soon regret their choice? That another four years of economic stagnation and escalating debt will cure them of their insane appetite for charismatic liberals? If four years of endless failure have not rid them of this madness, the disease may well be terminal. Perhaps others will still see some cause for hope, and in another few weeks my friends may persuade me to see it, too. But today I will hear no such talk, and I doubt I'll be in a better mood tomorrow. At the moment, I am convinced America is doomed beyond all hope of redemption, and any talk of the future fills me with dread and horror.

File:The Scream.jpg

Nate Silver Wins

I urge everyone to read this Politico piece from last week, slamming Nate Silver ("Nate Silver: One-term celebrity?")

Now, look at this:

This is how punditry ends

That is Nate's map of his final predictions.  Just like the real thing.

The creepiest thing about Nate’s prediction is that the only state that he didn’t claim better than 79% certainty about was Florida, which he called as an almost exact tie (probability of going for Obama: 50.3%). Naturally Florida is, as of this writing, leaning towards Obama but still too close to call.

Prediction isn't an exact science, but it's not voodoo either.  Silver has already shown what he can do with math and sports (see the movie "Moneyball").  He'll be the first to tell you that he can be wrong.  But to be so dismissive of number-crunching — well, that comes from the same place as people who are dismissive of global warming.

Hopefully the right wing pundits who bashed Nate Silver, and the polls in general, will be a little cowed this morning.

Along those lines, if you want some good post-election reading about why so many on the right were delusional about Romney's chances, read this article.  An excerpt:

Some Romney aides were surprised too, especially since they had put an enormous amount of effort into tracking the hour-by-hour whims of the electorate.  In recent weeks the campaign came up with a super-secret, super-duper vote monitoring system that was dubbed Project Orca.  The name “Orca,” after the whale, was apparently chosen to suggest that the project was bigger than anything any other campaign, including Barack Obama’s in 2008, had ever imagined.  For the project, Romney aides gathered about 34,000 volunteers spread across the swing states to send in information about what was happening at the polls.  “The project operates via a web-based app volunteers use to relay the most up-to-date poll information to a ‘national dashboard’ at the Boston headquarters,” said a campaign email on election eve.  “From there, data will be interpreted and utilized to plan voter turnout tactics on Election Day.”

Orca, which was headquartered in a giant war room spread across the floor of the Boston Garden, turned out to be problematic at best.  Early in the evening, one aide said that, as of 4 p.m., Orca still projected a Romney victory of somewhere between 290 and 300 electoral votes.  Obviously that didn’t happen.  Later, another aide said Orca had pretty much crashed in the heat of the action.  “Somebody said Orca is lying on the beach with a harpoon in it,” said the aide.

Also, very good readingHow Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File

Also… here's 34 wrong election predictions

  1. Before the election, Karl Rove predicted Mitt Romney would win 279 electoral votes.
  2. Rove gets two mentions because after the election, he continued to predict a Romney victory—even as everyone else concluded Romney had lost. Which he had.
  3. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, John McCain's top economic adviser, thought turnout would win it for Romney.
  4. House Speaker John Boehner said Romney would win Ohio.
  5. Steve Forbes said the polls were wrong and that Romney would win.
  6. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Romney would carry Virginia.
  7. Dick Morris said Romney would win 325 electoral votes.
  8. Dean Chambers, inventor of the unskewed polls nonsense, said Romney would take 311 electoral votes.
  9. Michael Barone predicted a Romney landslide.
  10. George Will said Romney would win big.
  11. John Bolton said he was "very confident" Romney would win.
  12. Wayne Allen Root predicted a Romney landslide.
  13. Stu Rothenberg said the race was too close to call, even though it was clear from all available data that President Obama had a significant advantage.
  14. Pat Toomey said Romney would win Pennsylvania.
  15. Peggy Noonan said "vibrations" told her Romney was about to win.
  16. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said Romney would carry Pennsylvania.
  17. Charles Krauthammer said Romney would win a close victory.
  18. Suffolk stopped polling in Virginia and Florida because they decided Romney had locked those states up.
  19. The head of Mason-Dixon polling said Mitt Romney had nailed down Florida.
  20. Fred Barnes confidently explained to everyone why Romney will win.
  21. Joe Scarborough mocked Nate Silver for relying on data and said he would rather be in Mitt Romney's shoes than President Obama's.
  22. Eric Cantor declared Romney would win Virginia.
  23. Romney's own campaign predicted he would win 300 electoral votes.
  24. Glenn Beck predicted a Romney landslide.
  25. Jeb Bush said Florida would go Romney's way.
  26. Ohio Gov. John Kasich not only said Romney would win Ohio, but that he'd seen internal polls showing Romney ahead.
  27. David Brooks mocked analysis like Nate Silver's.
  28. Dylan Byers treated Nate Silver's partisan opponents with equal credibility as Silver himself.
  29. Bill Kristol predicted a Romney victory.
  30. Ari Fleischer said Romney would win comfortably.
  31. James Pethokoukis of American Enterprise Institute predicted a Romney win.
  32. Newt Gingrich guaranteed Romney would win by at least six points.
  33. Dave Weigel predicted a Romney victory.
  34. Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard claimed Romney would win.

 

A Good Night For Progressives

* Obama won.  I wasn't surprised or too nervous.  It played out pretty much as I thought it would, although I gave Virginia and Florida to Romney.  (VA went Obama; FL is still undecided, but probably Obama)

* Obamacare is preserved.  The things that haven't taken effect, WILL take effect… and no lawmaker can strike it down.

* UPDATE:  Oh, and the Supreme Court.  My God.  With as many as three justices possibly leaving, this Obama victory is HUGE!

* Dems retain hold of the Senate, but more importantly, a progressive champion has been sent to the Upper Chamber in the person of Elizabeth Warren. The first openly gay Senator — Tammy Baldwin, another solid liberal — joins her. The Dem majority will be more progressive and energetic.

* Maine, Maryland and Minnesota all supported same-sex marriages.  Maine and Maryland actually permit it; Minnesota squashed an attempt to ban it (something NC failed to do this year).  UPDATE:  Washington joins Maine and Maryland.

* Women power: there will be at least 19 female senators, the most ever.  In my home state of New Hampshire, every senator and member of the House being sent to Washington DC is now a woman, as is the the state's new governor.

* Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin went down, as did Richard "Babies From Rapists Are A Gift From God" Mourdock.  They weren't the only ones who suffered for their rape-related comments and views.

*  Tea Party candidates struggled — including my favorite Michelle Bachmann (she barely won re-election, but she won).  Same with Allen West of Florida, another leader of the Tea Party caucus, and Representative Frank Guinta, Republican of New Hampshire (UPDATE:  OOoooh — Allen West just lost).  Fortunately, Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Illinois beat Republican incumbent Joe Walsh (the Tea Party-approved Republican who heckled Obama's State of the Union speech).

* For social liberals, two states became the first in the US to approve the use of recreational marijuana. In Colorado, voters passed amendment 64, legalising the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults aged 21 and older; in Washington, their counterparts gave the seal of approval to initiative 502.

* For the most part, voters across the nation rejected the right-wing led tax cut hysteria.  For example, in Michigan, a proposal to implement a requirement that tax increases receive a supermajority vote in the state legislature was rejected by a vote of 69 percent to 31 percent.  California approved both an increase in the sales tax and a tax increase on those making more than $250,000 per year, with the money hopefully preventing cuts to the state’s university system. California, of course, has been the epicenter of nonsensical anti-tax ballot questions for decades.  And nationaide, 60% of those exit-polled believed that tax hikes were necessary to curb the deficit.

CNN Uses Empire State Building Lights For Election Results

(CNN) - New Yorkers looking to see who’s winning the White House on election night just need to look up… to the Empire State Building.

As CNN projects winners in each state, the iconic beacon of Gotham will be exclusively displaying the race to 270 electoral votes with a vertical LED illuminated “meter” on its spire—blue for President Obama, and red for former Governor Romney.

And when CNN projects a winner in the presidential election, the full spire and upper floors change colors to either red or blue.

Jesus, just deliver the news.

The Day Ahead (Via Atrios)

Drudge/Fox footage of black people being black.

Fake exist polls.

Anecdotes of poll shenanigans.

Increasingly smug teevee pundits who have the math and know the winner but won't tell us.

The end.

UPDATE:  Yup…. already.

 

A black person holding the door open for an elderly white woman.

VOTER INTIMIDATION!!!

Other Races To Watch

ARIZONA

Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, now eighty years old, is facing his most serious challenger in a long time. Paul Penzone is struggling with name recognition, but the race has been tightening in recent weeks.

In the newly-created 9th Congressional District Kyrsten Sinema, a former school social worker and defense lawyer, is slightly favored to become the first openly bisexual Congressperson in American history.

CALIFORNIA

Proposition 30. A good bell-weather about income inequality.  This measure would establish a small, temporary sales tax hike (0.25%) and temporary income tax increases for the wealthy in order to close the state’s huge budget deficit in education. With recent polling putting the yes vote on 30 just under fifty percent, it’s likely to be close.

Proposition 34 would end the death penalty in California.  Too close to call.

Proposition 35 is a ban on human trafficking and sex slavery.  Should be a no-brainer, I would think.

COLORADO

Amendment 64 would legalize and regulate marijuana.  It's been ahead in polling, but not by much.

ILLINOIS

In the 8th Congressional District, Joe Walsh (who yelled out "you lie" during one of Obama's States of the Union) is looking like he’ll lose to Tammy Duckworth. Yay.

INDIANA

It’s a Republican-leaning state, but Richard Mourdock’s October comments about rape pregnancies being part of “God’s plan” seem to have hurt him badly in his Senate race. Democrat Joe Donnelly has led in two recent polls.

MAINE

In Question 1, one of four marriage equality referenda nationally, the voters of Maine will consider repeal of a 2009 referendum banning same-sex marriage. Polling is looking good, but SSM referenda have historically tended to underperform polls. There’s reason for optimism, but no more.  "Yes" is good here.

MARYLAND

Maryland has Question 6, another same-sex marriage referendum, with perhaps the best polling data of any of the four. "For" is good here.

Long-term Republican congressmember (and Tea Partier) Roscoe Bartlett, one of the state’s two GOP House incumbents, is in a tough race because of redistricting.

MASSACHUSETTS

Incumbent senator Scott Brown has been leading strong progressive Elizabeth Warren for most of the race, but she’s starting to open up a lead — she’s currently at +3.5% in the RCP polling average.

Question 2, the legalization of physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, polling very strong.

Question 3, medical marijuana legalization, is also looking like a winner.

MICHIGAN

Proposal 2, which would add collective bargaining rights protections to the state constitution.

MINNESOTA

Amendment 1 is the country’s only attempt to place a ban on same-sex marriage in a state constitution this cycle. Polling has shown the amendment narrowly failing, but it’s really too close to call.

Amendment 2 would write a voter ID requirement into the state constitution. A similar law recently passed the state legislature but was vetoed by the governor. A mid-October poll showed it leading 53-40.

Michele Bachmann’s probably going to win. But it’ll be single digits, and a guy can dream.

OREGON

Measure 80, the most dramatic of the country’s three pot legalization initiatives, is also polling the worst. Likely to fail.

WASHINGTON

Referendum 74, the last of four same-sex marriage referenda this cycle, is an attempt to overturn a marriage equality law passed by the legislature. It’s currently too close to call.

Initiative 502, which would legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana, is showing the strongest polling data of the country’s three pending pot referenda. Passage would set up a showdown between the state and the federal government, which independently criminalizes pot.

WISCONSIN

Tammy Baldwin is a solid progressive, and if she wins this race she’ll be the first and only openly gay senator of any gender in US history. She’s ahead or tied in each of the five most recent polls in her race, but only up by an average of 2.2 points. 

Cramer’s Crazy

The Washington Post asked people to give their election predictions.  And Jim Cramer, who gives advice to people on their money, shows what a complete factless man he can be.

Outlook s 16th Crystal Ball contest   The Washington Post

Paths To Victory

I was going to write a post about who is going to win tomorrow and why it looks REALLY good for Obama.

But the New York Times has an excellent interactive doo-widgey that explains it graphically.  It's totally awesome.

For those who don't click through, here's the bottom line: With the swing states of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, there are 512 paths to the White House: Obama has 431 ways he can win; Romney has only 76 ways (and 7 ways end in a tie).

The Times notes that Florida is a must-win for Romney.  If he loses Florida, he has only one way to victory: by winning all the other battleground states mentioned above. However, he has led most polls there, however, and is the favorite.  So let's forget that scenario, and focus on the more likely.

I firmly believe that Obama has Wisconsin.  In fact, of all the toss-up states llisted above, it is the least toss-up-y (according to poll aggregator Real Clear Politics).  It probably shouldn't even be in the toss-up category.  So let's give that to Obama.

When we do that, the paths to victory become more marked.  Obama has 230 paths to win (90% of all paths); Romney has only 24 paths (9.4%).  And 2 paths to a tie.

Now, give Obama Ohio.  That's the second least toss-up-y of the states listed above.  Obama has (according to poll aggregates) a 3 point lead, and it has been more or less consistent throughout the season.  

What happens?

With Wisconsin and Ohio in the Obama column, Obama has 126 ways he can win from the remaining states.  Romney has one.

That's right — one.  Romney would have to win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada — to win the White House.  And the latest polls only show him with a lead in Florida and North Carolina.  (Note: Romney could win all those states and lose New Hampshire, and then it would be a tie).

In Nevada, by the way, perhaps 65 or 70 percent of its vote has already been cast — and Democrats have roughly a 50,000-ballot lead there based on the votes that have been collected so far.  That's another toss-up state which might be not-so-toss-up-y.

So if you are an Obama supporter, you have to like the lay of the land.

And if you are a Romney supporter, you have to despair or be confused.  Just ask Fox's Bret Hume:

"I think the conventional wisdom is trending now towards a Obama win, something along the lines of what Karl Rove and his team pulled off for President Bush in 2004, but I'm by no means certain. And there's this striking discrepancy between national polls — which tend to be done, by and large, by older, more-seasoned polling firms — and state polls — a number of which are done by less-established firms. The national polls have this a tie. The state polls, as you just suggested — the battleground state polls suggest and indicate that President Obama is ahead in all of them." "It seems striking that there would be this difference," he added. "And it is sobering, if you're a Romney supporter, to think that he is trailing or just tied in so many of those states." "I think it's unlikely — it's hard to imagine as a political journalist that all these many polls are off. But the discrepancy is unmistakable and puzzling."

It's really NOT puzzling if you have a grasp of popular votes versus electoral votes.

It’s Started

Cheaters:

A Clackamas County elections worker is under criminal investigation for tampering with ballots, WW has learned. 

The underlying allegation is that the woman, whose name has not been released, filled in blanks on ballots turned into the county for the Nov. 6 general election. 

Sources familiar with the incident say their understanding is that the woman filled in a straight Republican ticket on the ballots where preferences had been left blank by voters.

 

Strange Reasoning

David Frum, GOP speechwriter, is one of those rare reasonable Republicans.  He hates the Tea Party and the extreme turn to the crazy right that his party has taken.

Today he endorsed Mitt Romney, with some bizarre reasoning:

The congressional Republicans have shown themselves a destructive and irrational force in American politics. But we won't reform the congressional GOP by re-electing President Obama. If anything, an Obama re-election will not only aggravate the extremism of the congressional GOP, but also empower them: an Obama re-election raises the odds in favor of big sixth-year sweep for the congressional GOP – and very possibly a seventh-year impeachment. A Romney election will at least discourage the congressional GOP from deliberately pushing the US into recession in 2013. Added bonus: a Romney presidency likely means that the congressional GOP will lose seats in 2014, as they deserve.

Translation:  If Obama wins, congressional Republicans will go completely ape and destroy the country. They will deliberately tank the economy and then impeach the president. Therefore, to avoid this, we have to kick Obama out of office.

Better translation:  Give the terrorists what they want.

The Economist Endorses Obama

The Economist, the world's leading economics magazine, will announce its endorsement of Barack Obama, says Forbes.

The Economist said it would have chosen Romney if he had maintained his positions from the first debate, or promoted himself as the Romney that ran Massachusetts in a bipartisan way.  Even then, however, Massachusetts is a solid Democratic state, with very few Republicans in the state Congress on Beacon Hill. There is not a whole lot of partisan bickering in the golden domed State House of Massachusetts.

The problem for the magazine was that there were too many versions of Romney—and, as they have outlined — those versions come with a lot of dangerous ideas, including:

Foreign Policy:  On foreign policy matters, Romney seems too ready to bomb Iran and he has vowed to label China a currency manipulator, something the U.S. Treasury Department has said China is not.

Government Spending: Although he would slash red tape on the domestic front, Romney said he wants to start with huge tax cuts yet again and dramatically increase defense spending. With what revenues?  Magazine editors said, “He is still in the cloud-cuckoo-land of thinking that America’s finances can be dealt with entirely through spending cuts. Backing business is important, but getting the macroeconomics right matters far more.”

Economy:  Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says.

Ouch.

Half Hour Of Ohio TV

The people in Ohio are getting KILLED with political ads.

This YouTube video is one half hour of TV programming (the local news at noon of the CBS affiliate, yesterday, in Columbus Ohio) — condensed to 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

 

Most of the ads are for conservative candidates and casuses.

If you didn't have the patience to watch the entire clip, I don't blame you. Here's what you missed:

  • Just over 10 minutes worth of political ads packed into a half-hour newscast
  • 22 consecutive political ads (including 1 voter ID PSA)
  • 5 ads attacking Obama (all from outside groups)
  • 2 ads supporting Romney (one from Romney campaign, one from Crossroads)
  • 2 ads attacking Romney (one from OFA, one from Priorities)
  • 4 ads attacking Sherrod Brown (all outside groups)
  • 1 ad supporting Sherrod Brown (from his campaign)
  • The rest of the ads were for local ballot issues or candidates

 

Christie and Obama

Ap_chris_christie_barack_obama_chris_fugate_ll_121031_wg

You know, one year ago, everybody on the right wanted Christie to run for president.  I mean, everybody.  And he would have easily trounced Romney in the primary.

Can't help wondering what it would have been like if Christie actually had run and won the nomination…. and then Sandy came along.  Somehow, I don't think would have been this cordial.

Ohio Looking Good

The state of Ohio is perhaps the most critical swing state this election, and the latest polls are strong evidence that President Obama's got it locked up.

Via Nate Silver on Twitter:

7 polls released in Ohio in past 48 hours: Obama +2, Obama +3, Obama +3, Obama +3, Obama +5, Obama +5, Obama +5. #notthatcomplicated

— Nate Silver (@fivethirtyeight) October 31, 2012

Another sign things are looking good?  Republican pundits are complaining about biased polling again.

Harry Enten addresses this:

I learned a powerful lesson eight years ago: polling averages work. The averages have correctly predicted all state presidential contests except for five since 2000. They have accurately projected every Senate winner, save a few, over the last few years. The state polling averages say Obama is going to win.

There is a crowd, however, that believes the polls have too many Democrats. They look at the polling data and see the same, or even higher, percentage of poll respondents in states like Ohio self-identifying as Democrats than the polls had in 2008 – a year of record high enthusiasm for Democrats.

My personal opinion is that the polling averages are likely correct. I witnessed Democrats making the "skewed" argument in 2004 when polls showed "too many Republicans". The averages won, and George W Bush served another term. We'll see, though, if I'll be eating my words.

 

The Stage Managed “Relief Effort”

It was an awkward question: how does a campaign promise to cancel a political rally then hold it anyway? For Mitt Romney, it was simply a matter of rebranding.

In Ohio, yesterday, the Republican wanted credit for being sensitive to the victims of Hurricane Sandy and canceling a scheduled rally. He also wanted to hold the rally. So the same event was held at the same time, in the same venue, with the same celebrities and same campaign movie, but the rally was called a "storm relief event."

But there was another problem: what if supporters showed up without materials to drop off? Team Romney prepared for that, too — the night before the partisan rally "relief event," campaign aides went to a local Wal Mart and spent $5,000 on "granola bars, canned food, and diapers," which could then be displayed for cameras.

What's more, local voters who wanted to shake Romney's hand were at risk of messing up the photo-op, so they were stage managed, too.

As supporters lined up to greet the candidate, a young volunteer in a Romney/Ryan t-shirt stood near the tables, his hands cupped around his mouth, shouting, "You need a donation to get in line!"

Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, "What if we dropped off our donations up front?"

The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. "Just grab something," he said.

Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their "donations" to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest "Thank you."

It's reminiscent of Paul Ryan's recent stop to an Ohio soup kitchen. The Republican ticket is principally concerned with giving the appearance of assistance.

How Romney Is Losing Ohio

By lying, and getting called out on it.

It's not just Chrysler. A radio ad for Mitt Romney includes General Motors in his campaign's false claims that, because of President Barack Obama, American auto manufacturers will be moving jobs from the U.S. to China, and GM is not happy with Romney:

"At this stage, we're looking at Hubble telescope-length distances between campaign ads and reality. GM's creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country should be a source of bipartisan pride," GM spokesman Greg Martin said. "We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days. No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country."

False campaign ads telling swing state voters they're going to lose their jobs because of Obama may be a way to scare up some Romney votes. But forcing two giant, high-profile swing state employers to denounce your lies to their workers and the world—going into detail along the way about all the jobs they've created and will continue to create in the U.S.—may just undercut that fear-mongering effort.

Awkward Quote Of The Day

Romney's NOT campaigning today in Ohio, so listen to how he's talking to an audience today in Ohio at a Romney "storm relief event" after they show a Romney promotional film:

“We’re counting on Ohio. I know the people of the Atlantic Coast are counting on Ohio and the rest of our states,” he said, after urging them to donate to the American Red Cross or another relief agency. “But I also think the people of the entire nation are counting on Ohio.  Because my guess is – my guess is that if Ohio votes me in as president, I’ll be the next president of the United States.”

"Um, but… Sandy! Relief!" he then added quickly afterwards.

Yes, Mitt Is Campaigning

Mitt Romney has suspended his campaign out of concern and sympathy for Sandy, except… he hasn't.

He's in Ohio right now, at a "storm relief event".

Here's the press pass given to NPR's Ari Shapiro…

Screen-Shot-2012-10-30-at-11.02.06-AM

It looks like a VICTORY RALLY to me.

Here's a sign there….

Screen-Shot-2012-10-30-at-10.59.32-AM

Here's the Romney campaign video playing…

Screen-Shot-2012-10-30-at-10.37.18-AM

And here's a Politico reporter reporting on the music and events…

Screen-Shot-2012-10-30-at-10.57.00-AM

As the tweet above notes, there IS, apparently, a roped off area where you can get supplies, but otherwise… yeah, it's a campaign rally.

Oh, well.

121029_obama_sign_hurricane_sandy_ap_3281

“It’s The Hurricane Disaster Relief Effort… Brought To You By Federal Express!”

With Sandy bearing down on us, it's important to remember that Romney thinks things like FEMA should be left to the states and/or privatized.

 

In this clip, Romney was asked at a debate for the Republican presidential candidates about emergency-response efforts, and he suggested FEMA should be shuttered, moving responsibility to the states.

"Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better.

"Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we're doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do?"

Asked specifically about the federal government playing a role in disaster relief, Romney added, "We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids."

Again, in context, he wasn't talking about debt reduction in the abstract; Romney was specifically talking about FEMA and the federal role in responding to communities hit by disasters.

He went on to say, by the way, that keeping FEMA and other federal programs is "immoral".

And this wasn't just Lying GOP debate talk; Romney's present budget plan would mean at least a 34% cut to FEMA's budget.

FLASHBACK:

During his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney mocked Obama’s pledge to address climate change, turning it into a punch line.

“President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans — [bites lip and pauses for audience laughter(!)] — and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”

Why was "rise of the oceans" so funny?

Wingnuts Go Apocalyptic Over Latest Obama Ad

Here's the ad:

 

A young attractive woman (actress Lena Dunham) talks about her "first time"….. the first time she voted for Obama.

It's cute, and a little edgy (and not too original)

Well, conservatives are clutching the pearls and clearing the shelves at Fainting Couches R' Us (and just as they were recovering from Obama's use of the word bullshiter, too!)

CNN contributor Erick Erickson came unglued:

What's worse than the Obama as is that some people really like it. We do live in a fallen, depraved world destined for the fire.

— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) October 25, 2012

Romans 1 teaches that when God turns a people loose the first sins they embrace are the sexual lusts of the flesh.

— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) October 26, 2012

And there were others.  Ace from Ace of Spades:

It's hideous.

It's not funny, it's not cute, and it's not persuasive, unless you think the important issues in this campaign are Binders Full of Birth Control.

It underlines the essential triviality of Obama and his Government Client & Upper Upper Class White Voter agenda. There is nothing to his campaign except very small social-progressive appeals to people who are simply not affected by the economy, whether they are too poor to notice a bad economy, immunized from the economy by being a government worker, or so rich they have nothing at all to fear from a bad economy.

It continues to be weird that Democrats want so bad to have sex with their cult leader. But I guess that's a central part of the cult thing.

And more:

Kathryn Lopez: "It's as if every day the Obama campaign gives me another reason to see how clearly we a new president — for the sake of our politics and our culture."

Adrian Gray: "That Lena Dunham ad was a very risky move for any campaign. And even more surprising it was approved by the father of two girls."

Liz Mair: "So voting for Obama is like losing your virginity? A dude cooked that one up, right? Because for us girls, that means you're saying it's painful."

Stacy Washington: "The #MyFirstTime ad is the height of vulgarity. Tell me #Democrat Moms: Is this how you want the president talking to your daughters?"

Andrea Chapman: "You don't want your first time to be with #Obama because his stimulus package didn't deliver as promised."

Kat McKinley: "Does one get the feeling Hugh Hefner is running the Obama campaign?"

Kristina Ribali: "Be careful ladies . . . You don't want to be punished with an Obama."

Kevin Eder: "I've now watched it four times. I refuse to believe that it's a real, actual thing." He adds, "Dear college kids: trust me on this, having a job when you graduate is WAY more 'cool' than voting for Barack Obama. I PROMISE."

Moe Lane: "I know I'm supposed to be shocked by Obama's new NSFW ad, but instead I'm embarrassed. It's like walking in on my parents having sex. I mean, you know that your parents — or your President — is aware of sex. You just don't need to VISUALIZE it."

NY Dem49: "Word of advice for Obama, don't create an ad you wouldn't be comfortable with your daughter reciting."

Hideous?  Vulgar?

This from the party who thinks that God gift-wraps babies as prizes for the lucky ladies who get raped?

Go check the female gap, Republicans.  It's still, and always will be, heavily Democratic.  And this is why — because of your freakout and disparagement over sexually active women.

Anyway, I wouldn't worry.  Cute Lena Dunham vid may be hit with young voters. The pushback from offended white males over 55 isn't going to change their minds.

UPDATE:  By the way, it's no different than this ad from the Republican National Committee:

 

Well, Lesley Gore has something to say:

 

IN YOUR FACE UPDATE #2:

Who said this?

I know what it’s like to pull the Republican lever for the first time, because I used to be a Democrat myself, and I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great.

Ronald Reagan

Romney-mentum? Nope.

Yes, Romney clearly did have things going for him for the two weeks following the first debate.  But that's all gone now…

Nate Silver looks at the daily tracking polls for today, and it's Obama's gain:

Fivethirtyeight-1025-wedpolls-blog480

Silver writes:

Take Wednesday’s national tracking polls, for instance. (There are now eight of them published each day.) Mr. Romney gained ground in just one of the polls, an online poll conducted for Reuters by the polling organization Ipsos. He lost ground in five others, with President Obama improving his standing instead in those surveys. On average, Mr. Obama gained about one point between the eight polls.

The trend could also be spurious. If the race is steady, it’s not that hard for one candidate to gain ground in five of six polls (excluding the two that showed no movement on Wednesday) just based on chance alone.

What isn’t very likely, however, is for one candidate to lose ground in five of six polls if the race is still moving toward him. In other words, we can debate whether Mr. Obama has a pinch of momentum or whether the race is instead flat, but it’s improbable that Mr. Romney would have a day like this if he still had momentum.

Silver gives Obama a 71% chance of winning the electoral college, and his math projects a 50.2% to 48.8% popular vote win.

I'm a little less optimistic, but the polls today are good (Obama up in Virginia!), and Dems have every reason to stop despairing.

Been Busy…

I've been out of the loop for the past couple days.  I'm sure I didn't miss much, because the debates are over, and now it's the home stretch.  The candidates will be covering the country coast to coast — er, I mean Ohio coast to coast, as they sprint through these last two weeks of the election.  So there's probably not much for me to comment on, which is fine because I'm happy to —

Hello?

 

Oh, for crying out loud.  Obama?  Your response.

 

Game, set, match.

Ok.  Hopefully that's the last Republican silliness we'll see for a whi–

 

Ohhhhhh, man.

Now, Richard Mourdock wants you to know — he really wants you to know (because he's said it in numerous press conferences since) — that he wasn't saying that rape is a gift from God.  No.  Just the products of rape are gifts from God.

In other words, if a rapist gives you lemons, carry the lemons to term and make lemonade!!

Seriously warped.

Well, ok.  At least he's not a prominent Republican or Tea Party person.  At least those people are having the good sense to —

Sarah-Palin-Shuck-and-Jive (1)

In case you can't read it, Palin wrote: "Obama's Shuck and Jive Ends With Benghazi Lies."

She also used the term in the text of the post, which concludes, "President Obama's shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end."

Oh, good.  A racist reference.  From the Urban Dictionary:

To shuck and jive" originally referred to the intentionally misleading words and actions that African-Americans would employ in order to deceive racist Euro-Americans in power, both during the period of slavery and afterwards. The expression was documented as being in wide usage in the 1920s, but may have originated much earlier.

"Shucking and jiving" was a tactic of both survival and resistance. A slave, for instance, could say eagerly, "Oh, yes, Master," and have no real intention to obey. Or an African-American man could pretend to be working hard at a task he was ordered to do, but might put up this pretense only when under observation. Both would be instances of "doin' the old shuck 'n jive."

Okay. Sarah wins.

Bayonets and Horses And How To Stop Digging A Hole When You’re In It

In last night's debate, President Barack Obama basically humiliated Mitt Romney in response to his lie about the size of the U.S. Navy, pointing out that if we have fewer ships than in 1916, "we also have fewer horses and bayonets." Republicans apparently leapt to their keyboards, Googled away and, instead of slinking away in hopes that voters also wouldn't hear that the Navy had fewer ships under George W. Bush in 2007, thought "we can win this horses and bayonets thing."

And so it was that Republicans from Fox News to Breitbart.com to Michelle Malkin rose up and shrieked "THE MILITARY DOES TOO USE HORSES AND BAYONETS" and then proceeded to dance about, sticking their tongues out, thinking they'd scored major points and proven that the president doesn't know anything about the military. Because, OMG, Special Forces rode horses into the mountains of Afghanistan and Marines are trained in bayonet use and it's disrespectful of our troops to suggest that horses and bayonets are maybe not the tools by which we measure our military strength today. Also, the bayonet industry was highly insulted, and we can't have that. Bayonet corporate people have feelings, too.

The little detail Republicans have ignored, of course, is that the president didn't say we have no horses and bayonets, he said we have fewer horses and bayonets. Not to mention that:

[…] a 2011 article in military newspaper Stars and Stripes (which is a Department of Defense authorized news outlet), highlighted the changing role of the bayonet in the military. The article explained that there hasn't been a bayonet charge since the Korean War and that "U.S. army units have not issued soldiers bayonets to Iraq and Afghanistan." (Nonetheless, the article noted that soldiers would still be trained to use a bayonet, just in a different capacity.)

To summarize, Obama said we have fewer horses and bayonets, not none, which is correct. He further noted that we have aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines, which is also correct. Romney, on the other hand, was basing his (false) argument on the notion that a 1917 ship is directly equivalent to an aircraft carrier or nuclear submarine. And Republicans think they have something to crow about here? We knew they want to take the country backward, but this is carrying things a little far.

PPP: Obama Wins Debate by 11 Points in Swing States

Good polling news:

PPP's post debate poll in the swing states, conducted on behalf of Americans United for Change, finds that Barack Obama was the big winner in tonight's face off. 53% of those surveyed in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin think Obama was the winner to 42% who pick Romney.

Obama's winning margin among critical independent voters was even larger than his overall win, with 55% of them picking him as the winner to 40% for Romney. The sense that Obama was the winner is pretty universal across different demographics groups- women (57/39), men (48/45), Hispanics (69/29), African Americans (87/13), whites (49/45), young voters (55/40), and seniors (53/43) all think Obama came out ahead tonight.

Maybe even more important than the sentiment on who won the debate is who folks in these swing states are planning to vote for now: 51% of them say they're going to support Obama to 45% who stand with Romney. That includes a 46/36 advantage for Obama with independents, and Obama also seems to have made a lot of progress with groups he was previously down by wide margins with. Among men (50/47) and whites (50/46) he is trailing only slightly and with seniors he's actually ahead 52/47.

Tonight's debate was more a win for Obama than a loss for Romney. Romney, despite losing, came out with 38% of voters now saying they're more likely to vote for him to 35% who say they're less likely to for a +3 positive spread. Obama just came out even better with 37% of voters saying they're more likely to vote for him to 31% who are less likely to for a +6 spread.

Interestingly Obama only came out of the debate as the candidate trusted more on foreign policy by a 51/47 margin, much closer than his overall victory in the face off. That suggests the points Obama scored on 'off topic' issues might have been more important than anything he said about foreign policy.

Full results here

 

Post-Debate Mortem

Well, despite my enthusiasm last night, Romney did manage to get a bit more energized, so it didn't turn out to be the trouncing that it appeared half way through.  Oh, Obama won.  Is say so.  So did the polls.  But it was clear that Romney wasn't trying to win; he just didn't want to be knocked out.  And he did this in much the same way that boxers avoid being knocked out — by clutching your opponent.

And Romney did, on almost every foreign policy question, embrace what Obama had done.  This allowed Obama to talk about how Romney was all over the map on foreign policy, contradicting himself from what he has said earlier.  

 

It seemed they only had one large difference on foreign policy, and that was military spending, and Obama dlievered the smackdown there:

 

It was a good night for Obama supporters.  Neo-cons have to be a little disturbed, and indeed they were.  Undecided moderates fell for Obama, who looked stronger and more in control.

But does it make any difference?  Only at the margins.  Meaning, only in the swing states.  The candidates veered off topic into economic issues, and it was clear by the way they talked about the auto industry that they were gunning for Ohio.  I'm surprised there are any undecided voters LEFT in Ohio frankly, but there they were: two candidates trying to sop up every Ohio vote.

Now the final stretch.  I'm still optimistic.

tomwhaley: http://cavalrymenforromney.com/

Tonight’s Debate

I'm not sure what to say about tonight's debate, except to opine that I don't think it will matter much.  It's foreign policy, and people don't care about that.  I expect viewership will be low.

Romney, if her's smart, should make the debate about his views and policies, rather than trying (as he did last debate) to prosecute Obama about Obama's views and policies.  But Mitt might try to throw some bombs, trying to imply that the Obama administration is at the head of a scandal.  He flamed out last week on Benghazi, but maybe he will try again on that.  It'll be harder this time, especially since intelligence reports now say what the administration said: it wasn't a heavily planned al Qaeda attack.

Or maybe he will go after Obama on Fast and Furious, although the Inspector General's exhaustive report on the matter suggest there isn't a lot of there there.  At least, nothing that can be pinned on Obama.

And in truth, Romney and Obama agree on many foreign policy issues, save for the fact that Romney likes to thump his chest more.  (Sadly, it's pretty hard to get to the right of the Obama administration with its drone bombings, Gitmo still open, etc.)  

But, there's always the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Romney likes to criticize Obama for pulling out, which places him (Romney) on the losing side of the debate.  Most Americans are war-weary and want our troops home.  Obama is seizing on this with an ad out today:

 

I probably won't be watching, but if I were, there is one thing — and only one thing — that I would want to see.

And that's Governor Romney repeating the worn-out line that Obama , at the beginning of his presidency, went around the world  "apologizing for America".  That's a right wing meme that has persisted for years.  Factcheck.orgPolitifact, and the Washington Post‘s “Fact Checker” said President Obama never went on an “apology tour” and has never apologized for American actions (the latter gave the claim "Four Pinocchios".  Yet, Romney brings it up.  And I would like to see a smack-down of that.

What Is It With Republicans And Calling Something Terror?

So Romney had a chance to screw Obama on Benghazi, but he blew it.  He decided to make it about when Obama called it an "act of terror" and he got his facts wrong, and he looked really really really stupid.  Obama did in fact call Benghazi an act of terror the very next morning after the attack happened, in the Rose Garden speech.

Now Republicans have a new tack.  Peter King is whining because Obama took 4 minutes to say the word “terror” in his Rose Garden remarks:

"I'm going to use my words very carefully. I think the president's conduct and his behavior on this issue has been shameful. And, first of all, as far as it being an act of terror, the president was almost four minutes into his statement on September 12th before he mentioned an act of terror…. It wasn't until he was well into the remarks."

Oh for crying out loud.

Why does this matter that we label the obvious… and that we do it within (what?) 30 seconds?

When an ambassador and three other Americans die inside a building because an RPG has blasted through the walls, I don't need to be told it was an "act of terror" (as opposed to what — an accident??).  Certainly the President doesn't need to tell us that, and it's not a scandal if he fails to do so.  Unless you're an idiot who needs to be told that.

Don’t Fear The Pollster

Don't worry about national polls.

Early this week, Gallup came out with a national polls showing that Romney was over Obama by 51 to 45.

You would think that is badm but you needed to look at the poll crosstabs from the previous day (when it was 50-46) and compare:

Romney's entire advantage in the poll comes from a massive lead in the South. Now sure, some of that may be Florida, but the state-level polling certainly doesn't show that. So Romney is driving up big margins in Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi and other such presidentially irrelevant states? Good for him! I'm sure that'll be cold comfort as he loses the states that actually matter in the Midwest and West.

So my advice is to either ignore the national polls, or, if you must, look closely at the crosstabs.