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Political Strategy Notes

Been wondering, just who are these mighty "job-creators" who Republicans keep referencing in their never-ending quest to fatten the incomes of millionaires? Rick Newman has a pretty good primer on the term -- and its abuse, "What 'Job Creators' Really Want" at U.S. News Politics.

The Prez has +2 approval margin in the latest Gallup poll, an impressive improvement over -16 in October.

Newt compares his exclusion from the Virginia primary ballot to the attack on Pearl Harbor in which more than 2,400 Americans were killed and left another 1,200 wounded. "I'm not sure the analogy does justice to the grandness, the immensity of Newt," conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer observes dryly. "I think the better analogy is 1066 -- the Battle of Hastings. And I think King Harold is dead and William the Conqueror has landed. And Newt is going pick up the crown of the last king of the Saxons and lead a trusty band of Saxons fueled with money from Freddie Mac and will retake Britain from William and change the course of European history. I think that that kind of analogy captures the cosmic importance of the Newt campaign."

This unsigned Economist article on "The faith (and doubts) of our fathers: What did the makers of America believe about God and religion?" should be of interest to Democratic candidates challenging GOP theocrats who jabber on about their oneness with the Founding Fathers.

Newt's failure to get the requisite 10K signatures to get on the VA ballot -- even with paid staffers gathering signatures -- in his home state and an important swing state, indicates that there may be serious incompetence afoot in his campaign. It gets worse, as CNN's Steve Brusk reports, quoting Newt's campaign director Michael Krull: "We will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign to make sure that all the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice."...Problem is, notes Brusk, "Virginia state law specifically prohibits voters from writing in candidates not on the ballot in primary elections."

WaPo's Josh Hicks gives Ron Paul three Pinocchio's for his evasive comments about who wrote the many racist comments in his newsletter. Too generous, imho. For a revealing look at the "white supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists" who have embraced Paul, read the Times's "Paul Disowns Extremists' Views but Doesn't Disavow the Support" by Jim Rutenberg and Serge F. Kovalesky.

Democratic activists have an article to read at Demos about a significant constituency, "From Citizenship to Voting: Improving Registration for New Americans" by Tova Andrea Wang and Youjin B. Kim. The authors explain: "The significant difference in turnout rates between native-born and naturalized Americans is due, to an enormous degree, to a parallel gap in voter registration rates. For naturalized citizens who surmount the barrier of voter registration, turnout rates are very similar to or even higher than among registered native born citizens. Thus, the key to increasing participation of naturalized citizens is to make voter registration more accessible."

Robert Farley, Lori Robertson, D'Angelo Gore and Brooks Jackson have put together a fairly thorough USA Today report, "Fact Check: Many attacks on Gingrich are true," which could be helpful to Dems in '12.

John Nichols makes an important observation in The Nation about a recent Politico report on the Wisconsin movement to recall Governor Walker: "Politico errs when it sees the fight in narrowly partisan terms. What is happening in Wisconsin and, frankly, a lot of other states, goes beyond Democratic and Republican positioning. The overwhelming support for the recall drive in rural counties that backed Walker in 2010 offers a strong indication that of the more than 500,000 signatures already collected on petitions seeking to recall Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, tens of thousands have come from voters who have until recently identified themselves as Republicans or Republican-leaning independents, and who still think of themselves as conservatives...Walker did not merely pick a partisan fight when he attacked public-sector unions, public services and public education. Rather, he attacked the underpinnings of civil society."

E. J. Dionne's column "Obama: The conservative in 2012" makes an interesting argument that Dems should find helpful in appealing to moderates, the idea that the GOP field is pushing a radical right-wing agenda, positioning Obama squarely in the political center "For the first time since Barry Goldwater made the effort in 1964," writes Dionne, "the Republican Party is taking a run at overturning the consensus that has governed U.S. political life since the Progressive era...Obama is defending a tradition that sees government as an essential actor in the nation's economy, a guarantor of fair rules of competition, a countervailing force against excessive private power, a check on the inequalities that capitalism can produce, and an instrument that can open opportunity for those born without great advantages."