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Political Strategy Notes

Not all conservatives are tea party puppets or monomaniacal ideologues. Some top business and defense executives are now calling for tax hikes on the wealthy and defense budget cuts, according to this Huffpo report by Ryan Grim and Sabrina Siddiqui.

Yet another Associated Press-GfK poll indicates that "Americans prefer letting tax cuts expire for the country's top earners, as President Barack Obama insists, while support has declined for cutting government services to curb budget deficits...There's also a reluctance to trim Social Security, Medicare or defense programs, three of the biggest drivers of federal spending, the survey released Wednesday found."

In another just-released survey, "American voters give President Barack Obama a 53 - 40 percent job approval rating - his best score in three years - and by a wider 53 - 36 percent they trust the president and Democrats more than Republicans to avoid the "Fiscal Cliff," according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today...Voters 65 - 31 percent support higher taxes on households making more than $250,000 per year, with 84 - 14 percent support from Democrats and 66 - 31 percent support from independent voters. Republicans are opposed 53 - 41 percent...American voters say 56 - 38 percent that Obama and congressional Democrats will make a good faith effort to cooperate with congressional Republicans on important issues. By 51 - 43 percent, voters say congressional Republicans will not act in good faith."

Was there ever a more hypocritical Republican than John Sununu, who now echoes his version of Romney's "Obama won because of those who are dependent on government" meme? Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia's bio of Sununu: "As White House Chief of Staff, Sununu reportedly took personal trips, for skiing and other purposes, and classified them as official, for purposes such as conservation or promoting the Thousand Points of Light. The Washington Post wrote that Sununu's jets "took him to fat-cat Republican fund-raisers, ski lodges, golf resorts and even his dentist in Boston." Sununu had paid the government only $892 for his more than $615,000 worth of military jet travel. Sununu said that his use of the jets was necessary because he had to be near a telephone at all times for reasons of national security...After leaking rumors of financial difficulties in his family, he traveled to a rare stamp auction at Christie's auction house in New York City from Washington in a government limousine, spending $5,000 on rare stamps. Sununu then sent the car and driver back to Washington unoccupied while he returned on a corporate jet. In the course of one week, 45 newspapers ran editorials on Sununu, nearly all of them critical of his actions...Sununu repaid over $47,000 to the government for the flights on the orders of White House counsel C. Boyden Gray, with the help of the Republican Party. However, the reimbursements were at commercial rates, which are about one-tenth the cost of the actual flights; one ski trip to Vail, Colorado alone had cost taxpayers $86,330."

At PoliticusUSA, Jason Easley explains why Fox is benching Dick Morris and Karl Rove.

Lois Romano has an interesting Politico report on Democrats trying to get access to the Obama campaign's 16-million voters, donors and volunteers data base, noting: "The data is rich with intricate layers of information about individuals' voting habits, television viewing tastes, propensity to volunteer, car registration, passions, email address, cellphone numbers, and social media contacts. The historical trove enabled Obama to connect with voters on a highly personal level and get them not only to vote but to actively persuade their neighbors to do the same.

A new poll by the Barna group indicates a strong majority, with growing conservative support, for dumping the electoral college.

At CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak's "Digital experts: Social media and dual screens the future of online campaigning" notes that "...Metric trends don't end at viral photos and funny memes. Increasingly, the web is offering predictive tools that could become essential for campaigns looking to gauge their position ahead of important contests. Charles Scrase, Google's head of elections, issue advocacy and non-profits, said search volume had become "so prominent we're able to predict the outcome of primary elections," including Rick Santorum's surprise Iowa caucus win in January..."People want to gather information earlier," Scrase said, saying 51% of voters were looking for information about the election more than a year before Election Day."

Transparency International has released the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012. which "ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be..." The ten 'cleanest' are, in order (several are numerically tied), from the top: Denmark; Finland; New Zealand; Sweden; Singapore; Switzerland, Australia; Norway; Canada and The Netherlands. The U.S. ranks 19th, a little behind Japan, Germany, the UK and a few smaller nations.

This will likely be mother's milk for John Stewart.