Political Strategy Notes
Today begins the great tax battle, simplistically pitched as "The Buffett Rule" vs. Eric Cantor's tax plan. Associated Press's Alan Fram has a pretty good stage-setter, noting that "neutral economists" say neither plan does much for the economy or job-creation. But "The Buffett rule is clearly popular. An Associated Press-GfK poll in February showed that nearly 2 in 3 favor a 30 percent tax for those making $1 million annually, including most Democrats and independents and even 4 in 10 Republicans."
Just to show you how moderate the "Buffett Rule" is compared to progressive proposals elsewhere, Barrie Mckenna reports on the Globe and Mail that "François Hollande is leading France's presidential race with a promise to slap a 75-per-cent levy on everyone earning more than €1-million ($1.3-million)."
McKenna also reports that up in Canada, where 80 percent of voters want a tax hike on the rich, the Ontario New Liberal party's Andrea Horwath is proposing a 2 percent tax hike on people earning $500,000 or more, and a conservative spokesman, Jim Doak of Megantic Asset Management, likens it to "ethnic cleansing," whining "It's nasty...She's defined a group, not by culture or by language, but by how much money it makes, and she wants to get rid of them."
President Obama has a big lead in the quest for electoral votes, 242 to 188 for the Republican nominee, according to the Associated Press. The AP says 9 states with 104 electoral votes (FL, CO, IA, NH, NM, NV, NC, OH, and VA) will likely decide the election. David Jackson's USA Today post has one-graph run-downs for each of the nine states.
WaPo's Chris Cillizza also sees nine swing states, but would substitute WI for NM in the AP's list. Cillizza adds, "There's no doubt that the 2012 playing field will be narrower than the one Obama dominated in 2008. But the president still retains far more flexibility than Romney in building a map that adds up to 270 electoral votes."
L.A. Times political reporter Mark Z. Barabak says about a dozen states are still in play.
But the Obama campaign is betting on a state that made none of the lists, Arizona. As Adam Nagourney reports in the new York Times, "Obama strategists are simply following the same techniques they used in 2008 when putting states like North Carolina and Indiana into play. Then, too, there was much initial skepticism, though both states ended up going for Mr. Obama...This is in no small part because of the increase in Latino populations and a series of legislative efforts aimed at immigration -- with the Republican governor and state Legislature of Arizona leading the way -- that polls suggest have created a backlash among many Latino voters."
Michael Tomasky talks sense at The Daily Beast about the Ann Romney-Hilary Rosen tea-pot tempest. Noting that most of America's 5.6 million stay-at-home moms do so because of economic necessity, he adds "...I doubt pretty strongly that they identify much with Ann Romney or are rallying to her husband's cause."
Chris Cilliza and Aaaron Blake make an instructive point about "How YouTube and Twitter are hurting Mitt Romney." They explain: "Ten years ago (or even maybe five years ago), the ability for anyone to quickly and easily upload video and share it was nonexistent. Finding quotes -- or images -- from candidates in obscure places or at anything other than sanctioned campaign events was virtually impossible...Given those limitations, it was far easier for candidates to put their primary rhetoric behind them when they became the nominee. To call them on their past contradictions involved a) finding some tape (audio or video) of their remarks, b) convincing a news operation to run it, and c) hope that average voters saw the report. All of those barriers have now fallen. "
Thomas B. Edsall has a column at the NYT "Let the Nanotargeting Begin," which takes an interesting look at which media and products are favored by each party's voters. Among the fun observations: "The top-ten Republican-tilted shows are "The Office," "Rules of Engagement," "The Mentalist," "New Yankee Workshop," "The Big Bang Theory," "Castle," "Desperate Housewives," "Dancing With The Stars," "The Biggest Loser," and "Grey's Anatomy." The top ten most Democratic-leaning shows are "Washington Week," "Tavis Smiley," "Late Show with David Letterman," "The View," "PBS NewsHour," "NOW" on PBS, "House of Payne," "ABC World News Now," "60 Minutes" and "Insider Weekend."
Self-described "liberal" Chris Mooney, author of author of "The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science -- and Reality," opines that "Liberals and conservatives don't just vote differently. They think differently" at the Washington Post. A 3,500+ comment donnybrook ensues.