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Political Strategy Notes

When it comes to comparing job-creation track records as elected officials, Mitt Romney gets crushed, as The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky explains: "...Romney--when working in the public sector, not the private, as he obviously would be as president--had a downright embarrassing jobs record, especially for a state with higher-than-average education levels...This, as has been often noted, put Massachusetts at 47th in the nation, only ahead of of Michigan, Ohio, and Katrina-ravaged Louisiana...In his seminal book Unequal Democracy, political scientist Larry Bartels measured the effect of each president's policies on the economy since Harry Truman by giving them all one year for their policies to start to kick in...by Bartels's rules, Obama has created a net 3.635 million jobs. Applying the same rules to Romney's numbers through the same time period--that is, through April of his fourth year in office, 2006--we credit Romney with 64,500 jobs. So he grew jobs by 1.9 percent. Obama's job-growth rate is 2.35 percent."

In The New Republic, Walter Shapiro takes a skeptical look that the opening salvo of TV ads for the presidential campaign and finds, despite "an estimated $1-billion-plus orgy spent trying to define the Obama-Romney race" that "all too often, the ads themselves are simply mediocre...Never in political history has so much money been spent to convince so few voters of so little. Take, as a case in point, the dreary dozen of TV spots and web videos put out by the Obama and Romney camps in the last two weeks. These ads offer either visual wallpaper or run-from-the-room negativism. There is not a dollop of surprise or aesthetic flair. These are headache ads transported to politics." Ouch.

Speaking of excessive negativity in political ads, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar has a Bloomberg Businessweek post up comparing two "throw granny of a cliff" ads from both parties -- they literally throw granny off a cliff --, arguing that neither one will help much.

The AP's Todd Richmond reports that the real story in the Wisconsin recall election may come down to: "a handful of undercard recall races could transform Wisconsin politics just as dramatically in the long run...Pockets of voters in southeastern, northwestern and central Wisconsin will decide recall elections that could hand Democrats control of the state Senate."

Despite media pessimism about Dems' hopes in the June 5 Wisconsin Recall vote, Abby Rapoport offers an alternative strategy in The American Prospect, where she explains "How Walker Loses in Wisconsin."

AP's David Crary discusses the disconnect between opinion polls showing substantial growth in approval of same-sex marriage on the one hand and continued disapproval in the voting booth in 32 states. "It's a paradox with multiple explanations, from political geography to the likelihood that some conflicted voters tell pollsters one thing and then vote differently."

Karl Rove writes in the Wall St. Journal about "Romney's Roads to the White House" and the "3-2-1" strategy that can get him there. Lotsa "ifs" here.

Rove's rationale looks like even more of a stretch in light of Donna Cassata's AP report "Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida -- GOP highlights in 2010 now marked by bitter Senate primaries."

Meg Handley reports at U.S. News on "Homeowners in Battleground States Dogged By Underwater Mortgages." Says Handley:"...Florida and Ohio are the only swing states that have negative equity levels above the national average...Although nearly one in three homeowners with a mortgage is under water, fully 90 percent of them are still current on their payments, and stresses that negative equity doesn't necessarily equate to foreclosures."

Paul Begala does a solid job of blistering two hypocritical fat cat Republicans, Joe Ricketts and former major league star Curt Schilling, who rail against government spending, but use plenty of it in their dubious business ventures. Re Schilling: "The state of Rhode Island has pumped $75 million of taxpayers' money into Schilling's unsuccessful 38 Studios, and could flush millions more down Schilling's commode. Schilling, who earned $114 million in his baseball career, loves to lecture us bleacher bums about government spending. Then Begala throws in Romney for good measure: "...Classic crony capitalism: privatize the gain, socialize the risk. When Romney drove GST Steel into bankruptcy, he and his partners made $12 million in profit and another $4.5 million in consulting fees. But Romney stuck the taxpayers with a $44 million tab for the company's underfunded pensions."

After all of the shouting of campaign 2012 is done, look at two sets of stats to predict who will win the presidential election, explains Alan I. Abramowitz in his post "What Does President Obama's May Approval Rating Tell Us About His Reelection Chances?" at Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball: "...The final outcome will depend on the actual performance of the economy and the public's evaluation of the president's job performance in the months ahead. Those interested in assessing where the presidential race stands should focus on these two indicators rather than the day-to-day events of the campaign, which tend to dominate media coverage of the election."