Political Strategy Notes
The recent New York Times editorial on "Jobs and Politics" offers some salient insights in the wake of the latest unemployment figures, including "...The Republican agenda misdiagnoses the cause of slow job growth, blaming taxes and regulation, while championing more tax cuts for the rich and deregulation of the banks and other businesses as a cure. Those policies, however, are precisely the ones that were in place as the bubble economy of the Bush years inflated, and then crashed, with disastrous consequences. They are the problem, yet they are all that Mr. Romney and his party have to offer..."
Ezra Klein debunks the myth that the unemployment rate dropped because of an increase in the number of 'discouraged workers.' Klein shows that the number of discouraged workers actually decreased between July and August.
The new Reuters-Ipsos poll brings good news for President Obama. In addition to edging Romney by 4 points on the "if the election were held today" question, the President is seen as better on jobs, according to Reuters' Alina Selyukh: "..Asked which of the two "will protect American jobs," 32 percent of independent registered voters picked Obama, while 27 percent sided with Romney...Among all the 1,660 registered voters surveyed, Obama scored 42 percent compared to Romney's 35 percent...Obama's ranking in that category has climbed steadily over the past two weeks of the daily poll, starting with 34 percent on August 28, reaching 40 percent on September 7 and peaking Sunday."
Matt Bai has a long article in the New York Times Magazine mulling over different answers to a question a lot of pundits are thinking about "Did Barack Obama Save Ohio?"
In his post, "The Washington Post's Feckless 'Fact-Check'," at The Nation Eric Alternman calls out WaPo's Glenn Kessler for being "the single most aggravating example of the press's lack of interest in keeping anyone honest anymore...Today he's the perfect example of a well-worked ref: an unwitting weapon in the Republicans' war on knowledge and, sadly, a symbol of the mainstream media's failure to keep American politics remotely honest--or even tethered to reality."
Chis Kromm has another good post, "From Clinton to Castro: Democrats' Southern strategy reaches out to both older and newer South" up at Facing South. regarding former President Clinton's role, Kromm observes "Kevin Alexander Gray, a civil rights activist also from South Carolina, compares Clinton's role with appealing to white voters to how Democrats used to deploy the Rev. Jesse Jackson when trying to mobilize African-American voters. "They used Jackson to 'vouch' for white Democrats to black audiences," Gray told Facing South. "Clinton is vouching to whites for Barack Obama..."Bubba's" mission of appealing to whites, including whites in battleground Southern states, exists in delicate balance with another key goal of this week's convention: to win over the increasingly diverse South of the future. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviews Kromm and Kevin Alexander Gray right here.
Bloomberg's Tom Schoenberg has an encouraging report on "Republicans Losing Election Law War as Campaign Ramps Up." Schoenberg explains: "All told, across the U.S., there are at least eight challenges to state voter-identification laws, six to state redistricting plans, four to early voting restrictions, four to voter roll purges, two to registration rules and two to ballot disqualification measures...The challengers so far have won favorable rulings in about 10 of the cases."
In his post, "Bad Economy? Blame It on Mitch McConnell and the GOP," The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky says what many Dems, including yours truly, want President Obama to do: "...The smart and aggressive thing to do is to call out the people who've been blocking attempts at progress...One of the Democrats' biggest strategic mistakes of the last two years has been their unwillingness to say plainly and openly that Republicans don't want to see jobs created as long as Obama is president...Imagine if Obama called out Mitch McConnell personally for that infamous comment of his. The base would be in heaven, and voters in the middle would at least see him standing up for himself, not letting himself get kicked around." I would only add that, if the President doesn't want to do it, then have his surrogates start doing it loud and often until it becomes common wisdom, even among low information swing voters.
Josh Goodman has an interesting report on "Democrats seeking comeback in state legislatures" at The Seattle Times. Goodman explains: "In November, three-quarters of the nation's state legislative seats will be on the ballot. With only 11 governorships up this fall, it's the legislative races that will do the most to determine the direction of state policy over the next two years...The 2012 elections give Democrats their first chance to bounce back nationally from the Republican landslide victories in 2010, which gave the GOP more legislative seats than it has had since 1928. As of this June, Republicans outnumbered Democrats in state legislatures 3,975 to 3,391.."
As the polls narrow, we are hearing increasing talk about how to reach "the low-information voter." Fortunately, we have The Onion to shed light on the question in this nifty clip on "In the Know: Candidates Compete for the Vital Idgit Vote."