Everyone is so sick of earring about the ‘cliff, our January 1 deadline whereby the nation’s financial system is expected to “right-size” itself as a result of failed attempts by the legislature in Washington D.C. If you follow this blog at all, you know that we have beat this topic like a dead horse to simply educate everyone on how we foolishly arrived at this point.
After a year of conversations about the looming deadline, the hope for reaching a deal to avoid the drastic slashing of entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid, sharp spending cuts to the Defense Department totaling hundreds of billions of dollars and an immediate across the board tax increase to every single American.
As reported by Politico, a Senior GOP Aide close to the discussions said, “No negotiation can change the fundamentals” meaning everyone has already drawn their lines in the sand and there’s not much left to discuss. What precisely are those fundamentals?
1. Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) will need to get the assurances from the GOP Minority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that he won’t attempt to block or delay the bill, a filibuster, and wont encourage his Senate members to block it with useless motions and amendments.
Senator Reid will also need the Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH) to promise to permit any bill that passes in the Senate to actually receive a vote in the republican controlled Congress, even if only democrats vote for it (the Speaker can prevent or permit a bill from ever being discussed or voted on).
Mr. Reid doesn’t want to try to hammer out a deal or even get his Senate Democrats to vote on anything if the republicans in the Senate or the House are just going to block it. So before sticking his neck out there, revealing his hand, possibly hurting any negotiating posture he may take in the future, he wants to know he’ll have a clear path to actually get a vote on anything the democrats come out for. Speaker Boehner knows all too well why that concerns Senator Reid considering he himself recently came out for increasing tax revenues and then further suggested increasing tax rates for those making over a million dollars annually, only to have his on colleagues refuse to support such a measure. Republicans are truly boxed in by the President and the flack Boehner has taken for his about-face on tax rates may cause trouble for him later.
2. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell needs The White House to cut back on the tax increases its demanding from republicans. McConnell doesn’t see anything they can claim as a victory to their constituents once the debt fight is over. All the advantage is leaning Obama and McConnell simply can’t sign off on anything that shows a win in the Obama column solely. But if The White House increases the income cut off from the current $250,000 to say, $750-800,000, that will be a clear victory for the GOP. Although the President has signaled he would be in favor of $400,000 income earners and above, what McConnell is wanting is not likely.
As an alternative, McConnell will accept deeper cuts to some spending in major entitlement programs like Medicaid or the President’s Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare, to offset tax rates increases to the wealthy…neither likely to happen.
Finally, as Senator Reid is requesting a clear path for a democratic bill to pass the Senate without obstruction from McConnell, the Minority Leader is not likely to oblige Mr. Reid without prior coordination with Boehner. If McConnell allows a bill by democrats to get out of the Senate without filibustering it, it then goes to the House of Representatives where the pressure would then be on Speaker Boehner and the GOP to support it and McConnell isn’t likely to add more pressure to to his republican colleagues in the House so he’ll have to block or delay the bill; jumping on the grenade for the House republicans.
Either way, republicans will be blamed for the delay, the obstruction and ultimately the fiscal free-fall the economy and the recession that is almost certain if no action is taken. Reports are already surfacing that imply the President would use his Inaugural address and his State of the Union address to blame republicans for any damage caused to the economy if no deal is reached in time.
With so much to lose, both sides of the aisle have begun to instead search for any political upside if any, to see what’s the worse that could happen once over the cliff. Speaker Boehner may be able to negotiate without the attacks from his own flank to do something more significant on taxes and rates.
3. Democrats have a bigger majority in the next Congress so it may be advantageous to wait and go over the cliff, knowing their majority will be able to change the conversation after Jan 1. The 10 member Senate majority and the increased presence in the House Minority, makes the Dems a force to reckon with.
Some or all of these “fundamentals” are necessary to move legislation in the next week to thwart an economic free-fall. Lets not forget, we are here because this government cannot find a way to negotiate. They have such distrust and disdain for each other, this cliff is beginning to look like the best alternative to losing to each other. This government is on a crash course to stupid-ville. Just know, while all this is going on, some small group of strategists are huddled in some capital hill basement thinking up possible attacks on the other side to blame away their involvement in this calamity; a sad case of throw the rock-hide your hand.
These fundamentals are only necessary as each side looks to bulletproof themselves, even if the American public stands in the line of fire. This is not friendly-fire, it’s a slaughter to the finances and stability of hard working Americans. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
The only way to fix the country’s debt problems is to raise taxes (politically correct to say revenues) and cut spending (politically correct to say reduce entitlement expenditures), but regardless of how you say it, something has to be done on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue in the next 26 days or all the minions in hell will break loose. What is there to keep discussing? Why are we still dodging the obvious solutions?
What’s the reason for this back and forth?…politics of course. If you look at recent history, the nation has approached a debt ceiling impasse six other times in the last decade not counting this time. Before that, you would have to go back almost just as long to find a single occurrence where such an event occurred more than twice in a five year span. And even then, matters beyond the scope of politics would have been the ultimate reason for the increase.
When they did happen, politicians on both sides refused to make them political footballs because they knew, no one would benefit from a stalemate. So the rubber-stamp would quickly come out to ensure stability in the U.S. Treasury and the investment markets held strong. The perceived strength of the nation always was first and foremost.
Truth be told, there is no real rubber-stamp, Congress would actually come together and present legislation, a bill, agreeing to raise the debt limit and it would then, without much fanfare, make its way over to The White House for the President to sign it into law and it was done. This normally took no more than a week and the Congress was then able to get on with its business and so would every other branch if government.
In today’s “gotcha-politics”, where everyone is set out to prove that the other is bent on destroying the country, both sides are throwing rocks and hiding their hands. Through the bad blood, America’s excellent credit rating was lost a year ago and foreign investments have fallen off due to instability. Standard and Poor’s, a credit rating agency puts total blame on the political system. Well, that’s a no brainer.
Like I said, we’ve come close many times in the last decade to reaching the statutory limit but never over that hump. In 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2009 we came close, but smarter politics prevailed. Now, it’s hard to know who will drive the nation into the ground for political points and “one-ups-manship”. It’s almost easier to further divide the already fracture country and broken economy to prove…absolutely nothing.
In the past, crisis’ were averted by attaching the debt raising legislation to other pieces of legislation. They call it a rider because it hitches a ride on other bills moving through the Congress; formulated into one major packaged deal. For example, as recent as 2010, republicans attached a rider to the debt increase call PAYGO, or Pay as you Go. Not a bad idea actually, because it causes measures to be introduced to pay for the increase to help balance out the overall impact (or cost) of the increase.
What most people, including politicians have forgotten, these increase are to the debt. There are times when the country has to be able to make such choices, however, this process has become all too consistent and without strict oversight. How do you PAYGO? If you want the debt to increase, you have to cut spending. Simple right! Well, not so much.
If George W. Bush was forced by these same Republicans to PAYGO those two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, what would he have cut to pay for it, considering, we are still paying for it on a credit card that has hit with higher interest by Standard and Poor’s credit reduction? How do you PAYGO the stimulus Barack Obama had to sign into law to pay for the reckless economy he inherited? Even Jeb Bush, Obama’s predecessor agrees Obama was dealt a bad hand.
So although a good idea, it won’t cut the mustard with today’s economic implosion. Currently, Obama has staked out a position that is different from the one he took in 2011. Then he encouraged Republicans to raise $1.2 Trillion in revenues without raising the tax rates for those with higher incomes (politically correct way for say rich people). He was then trying to give the Republicans some cover so their base would not attack them, but then said “no way”. They said no because they thought they had him on the ropes at the time. As a good show of faith, Obama cut $1 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, but republicans still didn’t budge.
They then agreed to this nonsensical “Fiscal Cliff” because republicans believed Romney would win and all bets would be off. They were wrong. Now they face an emboldened President with the wind at his back and public opinion on his side. This their own web. So of course, two days ago, Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Ohio) decided to offer the same $1.2 Trillion Obama asked for a year ago, but guess what? Obama said, “no way”.
The President said, “the situation has changed and “I cannot ask middle class families to continue to sacrifice while the wealthy pay nothing extra”. He went on to refer to the Speaker’s plan as “out of balance” and not going far enough to prevent the critical ‘cliff.
For this to happen in the next few days, the deal will include many things and will leave out several. Tax reform cannot happen in this session. A temporary tax increase may be put in place to expire at the completion of a more detailed, comprehensive tax reform plan is rolled out in the next year. Keep in mind, this is a lame-duck session, many legislators are moving out of their offices making rooms for newly elected ones from the recent election.
1. Raise Social Security age from 65 to 67.
2. Increase the debt ceiling, possibly giving the President limited powers to do so without Congress.
3. Additional cuts in Spending to reach between $300-$800 billion in entitlements.
4. Let the Bush Tax Cuts expire on the top 2% of income earners.
5. Keep Bush Tax Cuts for middle class families and small businesses in place.
6. $500 Billion in Defense cuts
7. Stimulus spending for jobs close to $300 Billion or so.
This deal will either help build or break political careers and Speaker Boehner knows it. The double-edged sword however deals an even worse blow if a deal is not reached at all. The Speaker will have to answer for his reluctance in raising rates on the rich. The poor and middle class will never forgive him if he protects the rich at all costs; he gets cut either way. Obama will again try to help Boehner look good, but we all will know, the Speaker blinked.
The other GOP leadership are bracing for what they know is an eventuality. They agree secretly behind the scenes that they are in a pickle, but publicly offer a stance of failing instability. Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, (R-Kentucky) publicly supported his colleague in the House, Speaker Boehner, for making an effort, yet he would not endorse the effort Boehner submitted to the President as a counter offer. Neither of these men want to be responsible for this hot potato…but they will be.
Everyone will pay for this debacle, but mostly, everyday Americans. We all have invested interests and for that reason, we have to fix it. Those who invest in our Treasury bonds and the markets are sitting on the sidelines waiting for these crazies to get their act together. That’s my story and um sticking to it. I’ve had it up to here with the debt ceiling and fiscal talks and the back and forth of leaders looking for wiggle room to get out of bad positions they’ve put the country in. Lets get it done.
This President, who many thought was set to be soft on foreign policy and demonstrating military might has been quite the opposite. Vice President Joe Biden frequently discusses Obama’s ability to make the tough choices everyday. Bin Laden? Done. Military drones? Done. Gaddafi? Done. Immigration reform, fixing Social Security and other “entitlement programs”, taxes and spending cuts? Not so much.
In the President’s first term, several things seemed to thwart his agenda and much of it was laid at the feet of the republicans. When Obama moved into the Oval, the first year seemed more about the “year of firsts” for the new First Family and their unprecedented, meteoric ascension to political royalty. What the President got accomplished was a systematic, item by item check off of everything he had campaigned for in 2007 and 2008. There was movement, but mostly symbolic overtures and executive orders for the optics of being presidential.
The second year of the term was a continued effort to deliver on all he had promised however, these were things that his party leadership had hoped would get rammed through in the first term. It was then, that his own base and his White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, believed Mr. Obama was not aggressive enough and demanded more fight. From outbursts at the State of the Union to continued queries about the President’s birthplace, intended to only stoke the anger of the opposing electorate, Obama’s most ardent supporters worried aloud.
The internal conversations in the West Wing of The White House began to center around making bigger waves on Capital Hill to force republicans into difficult votes and postures with hopes of not only maintaining their Senate majority, but also building on their House majority.
The GOP unleashed an avalanche of campaign ads against then Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Majority Leader, attributing all of America’s economic woes to the dems. It had been two years since the President’s historic election, and the dems had invariably become the fiscal punching bag. The GOP had a mission and it was working.
Everything from the budget to healthcare, immigration reform and extending the Bush Tax cuts, Obama punted to Pelosi and Reid. The White House took on a reactionary role as opposed to getting out front and moving the waters back. The politics of formulating the policy was what Obama most loathed, but it was essential. Through micro-targeting, Obama won the presidency and planned to govern that way; say very little, show yourself as bipartisan till it hurts and carry the big stick. The unending show of bipartisanship to a group who publicly stated they didn’t want it made the President appear weak, and it did hurt.
After the 2010, republicans got more help from the rise of the Tea Party and its foot soldiers. The only problem with that was, where the devil may have been previously hidden in the details, now he was fully visible for all the world to see. What the right was once successful at doing, making Obama appear unprepared for the job, was now looking more like calculated opposition. That alone began to move public opinion back in the President’s favor.
Benefit of the political-doubt was given to Obama for just about every decree, piece of legislation and proposal etched on draft White House letter head. The only ideas that seemed to be new were his because even on historically bipartisan procedural matters where both sides had always agreed before, were now contentious issues before the American people. The raising of the debt ceiling, once a standard procedural vote to keep the country moving and pay the outstanding bills quickly became a hot button issue.
The republicans have themselves to blame for voluntarily taking the role as Obama’s bogeyman. He just needed to appear as if he was trying, not actually do anything, the GOP took care of the rest. Their answer or opposition became expected at every turn. Facts no longer mattered if those facts looked like they would get in the way of the desired anti photo op or disparaging headline crafted by republican strategists.
The goal was to keep the economy performing poorly long enough, generate angst among impatient voters, to then use it against Obama in the general election. How were doing that you might ask? For example, force the President to either break a campaign promise to cut middle class families’ taxes or break another campaign promise to not extend the Bush Tax Cuts for wealthy individuals? Force him to explain the country’s lower credit rating, the stagnant economy, subpar job growth and rising unemployment. Republicans however over reached and the election became more about “how” they over played their hand.
Obama’s Chicago headquarters seized the day with social issues specifically strategic to every region and caused the conservatives to answer them all simultaneously in the heat of the race. The Obama Rule was in full effect as the Dems used the blowback to drive up voter registrations in key areas where they needed the votes most and then turned their focus on turning out that voting block to either win the district or neutralize the opponent’s advantage.
Before it was all over, the pure desire to win backed the GOP into corners that offended Obama’s Minority Coalition; African Americans, Hispanics and Women. The one term president transitioned the historical 2008 movement from a political experiment in the minds of some, into a two term sensation with record wins and an undeniable mandate.
What will not work this time around however is the absence of the President’s vocal leadership on the substantive details. He will be forced by the republicans to get into the weeds to hammer out any legislative agenda he hopes to build his legacy on. They will force him to the table for every decision, appointment and policy proposal initiated from that end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The President has to use the bully pulpit he’s worked so hard campaigning to win, and go on record defending what he believes is right for the nation. The republicans must work with the Administration to form a style of governing from the middle outward; the journey from both ends of the political spectrum is taking longer and longer to reach the middle than in years past.
Reports are, Obama is losing North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Colorado, but is he? I made the case several days ago in my post, On The Road Again, neither of these states which went for Obama in 2008 should have ever gone for the democrat. These states were typical GOP strongholds and if you consider the fact that North Carolina had not voted for a democrat since Lyndon Johnson, it gives you some indication how difficult an uphill climb it had been for the democrats who followed Johnson; Carter, Clinton.
Think about Florida, only one democrat had won the state, Clinton, but not both attempts, just once, although he went on to win his reelection decisively. I am not looking for an excuse for Mr. Obama, but instead, identify the challenge these states present for any candidate so to view them as a loss may not be an accurate characterization of Obama’s true potential.
So how did he do it in 2008 with what seems to have been with some ease? Consider he had been locked in a bitter battle for the nomination with the most formidable candidate known in all of American politics, Senator Hillary Clinton, doing what was viewed as impossible, defeating her. He demonstrated his mettle to the doubtful and convinced the democratic base, that if he could dispatch her, McCain would be cupcake.
By the time Obama began the general election campaign, battleground states were in fact no battle at all. Everyone wanted to be a part of the historic narrative of electing the African American President, but beyond that, the historic election year of 2008 provided a battle tested candidate who America could believe in to get the nation out of Iraqi quicksand.
A war weary, economically broke nation supported Obama’s contagious hope and belief in a grassroots recovery. On election night in 2008, then President-Elect Obama said, “The road will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America-I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight, that we will get there. We as a people, we will get there.
It all sounded, well, hopeful, to what seemed like a self defeated nation. The very next line of the acceptance speech, literally with the world watching, “There will setbacks and false starts…”, and boy, were there ever any setbacks. Unemployment never above 8% until this month, the housing market not fully recovered and the financial markets still holding growth hostage for a better hand at the card table.
I could have only wished Obama had repeated that last tag line more and more and managed America’s recovery expectations better along the way. Sure you said it on the first night Mr. President, but like little children, voters have an unrealistic reliance on precisely how this nation works, what powers you truly have and many cannot see beyond what their wallets would permit. So the responsibility is yours, Sir, to engineer and steer that same hope you instructed the electorate to believe in four years ago.
So again, this is not about North Carolina or Florida. It has nothing to do with Colorado or Virginia either. This race has come down to the mismanaged Hope in the belief that mountains would bow down in four years. Had we not began in the journey in the valley, one term to right the wayward ship would’ve been more than enough to overtake the mountainous terrain.
The failure to better communicate that to the electorate is what makes this race a nail biter for democrats and an unexpected gift for republicans who blatantly worked in tandem to ensure this President as Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) stated hours after the Inauguration, remained “…a one term president…”.
The race is where it should be. Those states should not be considered a loss, but instead look at how close Obama is in them as of today. Florida has Romney up by 1% over Obama, North Carolina is consistently polling Romney 49% with Obama trailing 46% on average. Virginia, a military hub for the Navy has Romney up 48%, Obama 47%. These all well within striking distance, turnout will be the key.
In 2008, Obama won states by expanding the map beyond what any democrat had been able to do, ever. The electorate is still stretched to make room for an Obama repeat, but not in the same ’08 fashion. The states that Romney must now win, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado were all expanded for Obama in the previous election and now only represent the cushion Team Obama wishes they had.
The map is still one Obama controls, however, if re-elected, Lead-don’t teach, Guide-don’t deflect, propose legislation and defend it. Stand by your proposals with the weight and enormity of The White House and your office. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were left to carry the water among the sharks who ate your lunch with glee. Republicans voted for you, they crossed the line against everything they knew in 2008, they won’t do it again. Democrats shouted from rooftops in your stead, you now must convince them to get off the sidelines and believe again.
They don’t believe Romney will do the job any better, but they are not convinced that you have sharp teeth for republicans to match the backbone that killed Bin Laden. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
According the recent travels of both candidates and their political surrogates (those speaking for them on the trail), the electoral map looks like its no longer 50 states but instead only 5. Depending on the current polling, five states always seem to be the focus of the campaigns, although one may fall off or day, another rises as a concern. This is partly because the volatility in the race is such that the dynamics are constantly shifting.
Today Florida may be in the talking points but Michigan may not be heard of for several days and the same with Pennsylvania dropping off the electoral battleground map with the influence of New Hampshire and Wisconsin this year. These states are the pulse of the electoral map due to their political activity, shifting demographics and employment prospects.
Some of the polling as of 10/19 shows some steady gains for Obama in several battleground states. My previous post highlighted some of the strong efforts Romney has made in Florida which is beginning to pay heavy dividends for the Romney camp. But these numbers are moving as violently ack ad forth as ever indicating what we all, always kew; that this race for The White House will go down to the wire.
Nevada: Obama 51%, Romney 43% (Mellman)
North Carolina: Obama 47%, Romney 44% (Grove Insight)
Ohio: Obama 46%, Romney 43% (Fox News)
Wisconsin: Obama 50%, Romney 48% (Rasmussen)
The one state republicans believed they could more handedly bring ack into its fold was Wisconsin. Republicans failed to carry the state four years ago which was more of a shock then. Add it to one of the likely states Obama may carry with ease this election cycle and it becomes to look as if Wisconsin decision in presidential politics may be less of a fluke and more decisively left-leaning.
Romney, for sure, believed he had locked up the state with selection of Congressman Paul Ryan of the First Congressional District in Wisconsin, but they now see, not much on the presidential level for the pick. Add the fact that GOP Senate Candidate and former Governor Tommy Thompson is attempting a come from behind slog, the race in Wisconsin is a hot one. What may be embarrassing however is if republicans fail to hold off Obama yet again AND lose the U.S. Senate seat.
Ohio CLEARLY a must win for Romney considering no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio, the stakes could not be any higher, yet they are consistently polling behind Obama. The campaign buses and aircraft will be stationary in the state because both parties know just how valuable Ohio is to the winning the presidency.
With one debate left for the presidential candidates, the focus is to be on Foreign Policy, both are testing their foreign policy messaging, checking the facts and stumping for support. This is the week to look for any repos from the Pentagon/Defense Dept and old retired Generals and military leaders who still want to weigh in on the politics of the defense of the nation.
Expect news from subcommittees in Congress hoping to release information for pet projects they want traction on and how best to get attention other than to make it part of the debate conversation. But. Not just any project, it would be best to expect anything that could be spun as a job creator, military contractor or one that would prevent further job loss…regardless of the cost to the federal government.
Amazing how no one thinks of the deficit or national debt as long as it helps their on state agenda and populations. Those same contractors will say “Obama is weak on defense…ruined the economy and should not spend so much on entitlements” but would love the government to continue to spend billions on the manufacturing of F-22 and F-35 aircraft no longer needed in great supply. Republicans want cuts in every area of the government except the areas they like, defense being one.
Some of these arguments are winning in Ohio, Virginia and Nevada, where Obama is doing well consistently. Nevada is pulling its weight for the President with its large Hispanic and union groups. Romney wanted to make Nevada a player this year, but as long as the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is on Obama’s side, the army of volunteers in Nevada will likely do the job on the ground for Team Obama, polling there has also been decisive.
Virginia, a military heavy state is key to both men winning, right behind Ohio (for Romney mostly). Obama carried the state in 2008 and would love the rerun in 2012 to lock in his Re-election. It won’t be easy and cannot be assumed to simply go his way again, so both candidates have been in the state almost in a contest to see how many times each campaign could visit before the election.
This race is tight, it will swing more and more in the next two or so weeks. Polling will anger you and it will help you rest at ease, but it will only be a snapshot of where the current races stand for the moment, not for the duration. The only numbers that will matter will be those on November 6 after the polling places are closed and the networks call in their tallies. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
A game changer for sure. Now one week later, the fallout has appeared to hit rock bottom for the President and his re-election team and the healing has begun…sorta. With the Vice Presidential debates scheduled tomorrow between the Vice President, Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan for the one and only debate for the two second tier candidates.
What they need to do is less important for their supporters and more significant for their campaigns. Primarily, maintain the status quo and do no harm. However pressure has mounted for Biden to deliver his best performance to make up for his bosses lack luster showing last week at the University of Denver.
As polls have indicated the grounds under the presidents footing has shifted, drastically, yet he is standing firm albeit not comfortably. Obama has focused his campaign’s strategy on re-energizing the youth vote and strengthening his position among Latinos. The African American vote is locked and loaded for the president so no major outgoing efforts are scheduled for the final days.
Hispanics, however are not showing the same level of enthusiasm although the President has the substantial lead overall among Latinos, that lead is not rooted with “likely voters”. The likely voters are off-setting those who are merely registered. The enthusiasm has swung to Romney no doubt, so Obama has been visiting college campuses in battleground states that he is now likely to win which is Iowa, Wisconsin and a troubled Nevada.
Nevada has seen an uptick in seniors for Romney which has sent the state strongly into the toss up category. Although Obama snatches away the Latino vote, Romney pulls the seniors for a tight race.
As it stands, every battleground state has tightened since the first presidential debate. As always, the race will be determined by the ground game. Now that there is movement on the ground, the ground attack will be all the more imperative. The advantage Obama still has regardless of the drop in the polling is that his get out the vote mobilization is structurally solid and intact. Organizationally, Romney is not where he needs to be in either Wisconsin or Iowa, most analysts believe.
Polling can and will change. There are two more presidential debates left so don’t put all your eggs in the same electoral basket. Movement on the ground is merely responding to the top of the ticket…as they go, so will the voters. A strong Biden performance in tomorrow’s debate and Obama finally showing up in the next presidential debate with Mr. Romney will handedly adjust the polling, but the voters will ultimately decide. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
What was expected to be the home stretch of his final political race, President Obama’s recent debate performance showed the race is far from over and the remaining debates look more like obstacles than hurdles. A return to the communication basics will be necessary for Obama. He will need to run the race like he’s the Community Organizer once again and not the President of the United States.
Romney, known for his wealth, has often been criticized for his perceived distance from everyday Americans and their daily struggles, but on the night of the debate, his instant poll tracking conducted by CNN during the question and answer period helped to breathe life into what many of his supporters believed was a dying and endangered campaign species.
Candidate Romney has made running for the presidency over the last six years his only occupation. Theres not much to lose other than his pride. Although he has seen more rocky days than those like last night, today is what matters and both campaigns know it. Riding high on his performance, we should expect the GOP candidate to continue swinging for the fences while Obama regroups to prevent going the way of former President Jimmy Carter who was effectively dispatched by an actor by the name of Ronald Reagan.
Dems hoped for a loud thud from Romney but what they got instead was the sound of winds rushing into his sails. The only message that was heard loud and clear is that there is hope for Romney after all. No one will defend his message because there still was none, however the invincible now appears not so inevitable. With Romney’s “not-so-fast” performance, Americans will now give him a second look over the coming days and assess whether it was really a good night for him or simply a bad night for the President.
The real time polling performed by RealClear Politics and CNN showed those likely voters who watched the debate believed Mr. Romney won every single category polled. The gender gap that has eluded the republican nominee seemed to narrow before our eyes. Yes, there is a difference between likely voters watching the debate and those likely voters being polled nationally, so we will watch the national polling over the next few days.
This has undoubtedly ignited the conservative base and reinforced their determination to keep the pressure on the incumbent. The down ballot candidates must continue to run their local and state races with their fingers crossed. They need Mr. Obama to make the final lap on the inside lane in stride with the winds at his back. Senate and House Democrats need him in the win column for all practical purposes to help ensure he passes the relay baton to them down the ballot, if they hope to retain control of the Senate and hold onto seats in the House.
Romney effectively mentioned House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid with the hopes of shaking up the down ballot races. It was obvious he felt well within his element as he intended to leave nothing on the table. Pelosi and Reid saw this same tactic in the 2010 Republican midterm domination of Congress and had to notice their own eyes bulging out as they saw the best of their party miss hurdle after hurdle.
This debate was clearly Romney’s qualifying round; the race is now afoot. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
As we continue to plot out our ways each candidate can win The White House in November, there are several ways or paths this may be accomplished. But there nine battleground states they’ve got to get through first and the state of Virginia is one of those states. Formerly a republican stronghold for years, the demographic shift has moved the electorate into the “purple”, from a solid red.
Indicative of the shift, most of the races down the ballot are showing the same tightness in the polls which gives some indication that all eyes will be attempting to read the tea leaves late into the evening on election night as it will determine a few key major pivots.
The race to watch is not necessarily the presidential contest with the GOP nominee Mitt Romney against President Obama, but instead it’s the highly contested U.S. Senate race with former Governors of Virginia, Kaine (D) and Allen (R). Voters are fans of them both, and the polls show a razor thin down to the wire turnout election. The candidate that gets their base to the polls on election is the one who wins.
The fact that is a presidential contest as well will only drive the turnout down the ballot and push the state into a “too close to call” until late in the evening. Virginia, hardly as affected by the nation’s economic woes as most other states have less that divides them. Romney’s unemployment economic message does not resonate the same way here as it does in Michigan so healthcare, the President’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “ObamaCare” is what’s driving this race.
Governor Allen is towing the GOP party line and is for repealing ACA while Governor Kaine, a long time friend and supporter/surrogate for the President’s plan would pretty much keep it in place with some adjustments for small businesses and a few others.
Obama carried the state in 2008 by expanding the the electorate and driving turnout right down to it last few days of campaigning during that election cycle. His coat-tails were long down the ballot but this cycle is different. This time around, Mr. Obama has a record, he has a stagnated economy and bad jobs numbers each month which has kept the national unemployment rate above 8% for most of his presidency. But this time around, Mr. Obama also has the weight of The White House and the bully pulpit.
The Senate race will only be aided by the presidential contest and not the other way around. Dems are looking to grow their Senate majority under Majority Leader Reid, the Senator from Nevada, while at worst hold off the republicans so the Kaine-Allen senate race is an important one.
The Roanoke-Lynchburg area as well as the Richmond area are huge concentrated areas which are currently under siege with political advertising to the point of nausea, but do not expect less before a great deal more. A key demographic for Team Obama will be the up in the Norfolk, Newport News and Virginia Beach areas which will drive the African-American vote as well as the strong military support from that portion of the state.
The Northern Virginia areas of Chantilly, Sterling and Dulles will be depended upon for the conservatives due to the suburban votes that will deliver for Kaine and Romney, more so for Kaine. A true test of sheer numbers and turnout, Virginia will not be a referendum on ideas but instead a mobilization effort. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
If you ever wanted to know how to you could gage whether the next Congress would be working for you or for themselves, just look at how they currently are governing themselves. After one flank of the party initially became angry that Mitt Romney offered too few details and specifics endangering the conservative ticket up against the incumbent, a group of republicans have found a silver lining to Romney’s vagueness.
They have found that the less detailed Romney is with regard to the campaign for tax reform, the easier it may be for them next year to write their own policy without having to include promises made on the campaign trail during the general election.
Here’s the catch: if Romney discloses the tax loop holes he’d like to close, he will likely upset those voters and donors who personally benefit from them further hurting his chances and path to victory. But by not providing more specifics, he could very well never make it to the Oval. Yet, is that a catch at all?
Regardless of whether ascends upward after November’s election, the congressional republicans will still be right where they want to be; in position to frame their own plan for reform and not be beholden to the promises of a failed Romney ticket.
Romney, the GOP nominee for president, has his own reasons for making a sweeping argument for a tax overhaul, since specifying which tax breaks he would like to eliminate could anger voters that benefit from them.
We took an in depth into Romney’s Tax Plan proposal and it calls for an across-the-board 20 percent cut in individual tax rates, which would bring the top rate down from 35 percent to 28 percent. Let’s keep it simple, there’s going to be a 7% reduction in the government’s revenue; income, for this one cut alone. In order to not create a bigger deficit, programs or entitlements will need to be cut to balance the check book.
Democrats have railed against the conservative for targeting entitlement programs and education and a viable source for the expected budget items. Romney and Ryan have pushed aside questions over what tax breaks they would like to rein in to reach their reform goals which has now been lauded by some of their colleagues.
“Mitt Romney and I, based on our experience, think the best way to do this is to show the framework, show the outlines of these plans, and then to work with Congress to do this…What we don’t want is a secret plan. What we don’t want to do is cut some backroom deal like Obamacare.”
Clearly, not everyone believes that. Democrats such as Rep. Sandy Levin (Mich.), the ranking member on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, say the GOP nominees are simply hiding their real plans from voters. “They don’t want to spell it out because they’re afraid it will help them lose. That’s the main motivation”.
Republicans in all fairness don’t want to get locked into a corner without the ability of walking back assertions when they finally sit across from Senate Majority Leader Reid. It’s hard to see nothing less than a major gamble on the side of the GOP. They have convinced themselves that this is the correct course, “When you approach things conservatively, it isn’t like you have to have too many details on your plans other than advocating more economic freedom,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.).
Romney and Ryan both have focused just about every argument they have on freedoms for the american people. Although that is not polling well, anywhere, conservatives are doubling down on the approach for less of everything. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
With the state’s senior Senator, Harry Reid also serving as the Senate Majority Leader and a democrat in The White house, you would think that Nevada, rich with unionized labor would be safely out of the grasp of the GOP and the Romney-Ryan ticket…not so.
Although President Obama has sat at the top of just about every poll conducted this year, there are vulnerabilities that plague his chances to comfortably put the state in his win column like harnessing the nation’s highest unemployment rate, there are no guarantees.
The President is doing well among his second largest voting block, Hispanics, the largest block of his base in Nevada due to their overwhelming growth. One hidden advantage to Obama, a rarely spoken of Libertarian Party which has managed to make it on the ballot in 47 states including Nevada. Former New Mexico Governor, Gary Johnson has surged in the state as of late keeping the state in the toss-up category and unlikely to go for Romney, an unexpected jewel the GOP would love to get away from the Dems.
What makes this a huge get, not to mention a competitive race is the states large Mormon population. Mitt Romney, if elected, would be the first Mormon to ascend to the presidency and if Nevada’s Mormon faithful could help the republican make history, they would be beyond honored.
Romney’s only challenge will be Clark County (Las Vegas) and Washoe County (Reno). Both were easy gets for Obama in the last cycle- two-thirds of the state’s votes came from these two counties. With Senator Reid’s enormous mobilization efforts, Romney’s got some work to do, but since the battleground is set, Dems cannot be careless. That’s my story and um sticking to it.