Political Strategy Notes
For those who missed it last week, kiljoy Charlie Cook has some discouraging, but hard to refute words for those of us who have engaged in the folly of electoral college bean-counting months ahead of the general election: "It is a source of constant amusement to me that so many people obsess - as if fiddling with a Rubik's Cube - over the various combinations of states that could get either President Obama or Mitt Romney to the magic number of 270 votes in the Electoral College. The guilty include pros at both ends of the political spectrum; people who ought to know better; and armchair analysts who seem to think that they can crack the magic code."
Yet also at the National Journal, we have Josh Kraushaar's "Electoral Map Math Favors Romney." Go fig.
Once again at the National Journal, Ronald Brownstein's "More Swing State Storm Clouds for Obama, Romney" offers this mixed bag observation: "The NBC/Marist Polls showed Obama holding only a narrow advantage over Romney in Michigan (47 percent to 43 percent) and North Carolina (46 to 44 percent) while the two men are running dead even in New Hampshire (45 percent to 45 percent). Of those three, Michigan is by far the most important for Obama...The best news for Obama, of course, is that he's ahead in two of the new states and even in the other. The bad news is that his vote share stands below 50 percent in all three of the new states surveyed...And just as in the Quinnipiac polls, Obama's approval rating doesn't crack the 50 percent barrier in any of the three new surveys, either: He's at 48 percent in Michigan, 47 percent in North Carolina and 47 percent in New Hampshire. Those aren't ominous numbers, but neither are they entirely reassuring."
They call the Affordable Care Act "Obamacare," but do read Eleanor Clift's richly-deserved tribute to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose creative leadership and determination was pivotal in making sure that tens of millions of American will soon have real health security.
Attention Democratic oppo watchers: To understand how the Republicans may leverage the "budget reconciliation process" to destroy the ACA, read "A Strategy to Undo ObamaCare" in the Wall St. Journal by Keith Hennessey, Bush's director of the National Economic Council.
Nice tribute here to a rock-solid southern progressive Democrat, the late Andy Griffith.
All the elaborate legal arguments about why Roberts upheld the ACA strike me as myopic. IMHO Roberts calculated quite correctly that this was his the best chance he was likely to get to lead and frame a legacy. Had he gone the other way, Justice Kennedy, who is reportedly livid about the Roberts' ruling, would still be the belle of the ball. Instead, from now on, it's "the Roberts Court," and Justice Kennedy is just another reactionary jurist --- unless he gets off the GOP bandwagon.
What's this, a Republican Governor opposing voter suppression? Not so much because of discrimination against Latinos and African Americans. He says he "appreciates the issue of ensuring voters are eligible and U.S. citizens, however, this legislation could create voter confusion among absentee voters."
Micah Cohen continues with FiveThirtyEight blog's series on Presidential Geography with a profile of Georgia, where Obama got 47 percent of the votes in '08. Cohen notes that "The number of minority residents in Georgia has increased dramatically, particularly in the Atlanta area. Black residents made up 31 percent of the state's population in 2010, up from 26 percent 2000, and the percentage of Hispanic residents increased to 9 percent, from 5 percent." However, notes Cohen, "Through 2012, the voters Democrats have gained in Georgia from the state's growing minority groups have largely been canceled out by the white voters the party has lost. Indeed, Mr. Obama has just a 3 percent chance of winning Georgia's 16 electoral votes according to FiveThirtyEight's current projections."