Free Markets, Free People

Elections

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Gasp! Mr. “Hope and Change” more negative than Romney?

It must be true. None other than Politico has noticed:

A crabby, negative campaign that has been more about misleading and marginal controversies than the major challenges facing the country? Barack Obama and Mitt Romney can both claim parenthood of this ugly child.

But there is a particular category of the 2012 race to the low road in which the two sides are not competing on equal terms: Obama and his top campaign aides have engaged far more frequently in character attacks and personal insults than the Romney campaign.

Nice to see Obama has “changed politics as we know it”.

Another promise abandoned.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Indicators: Enthusiasm among critical voters down for Obama

So the question of the week is can the DNC via Obama reignite the “magic” of 2008 in dispirited voters?

Charlie Cook, the dean of Democratic strategists, takes a look at three demographic groups critical to Obama’s 7 point margin of victory in in 2008. While he finds one of the groups, African-Americans, still with Obama in numbers similar to 2008, two other groups are not at all showing the same enthusiasm they had then. They are voters 18-29 and Latinos. Obama leads comfortably in both demographics. However, the question is, will they vote in the numbers necessary to push Obama over the edge.

Cook says it doesn’t appear so.

In each case, the percentage who say they will definitely vote is significantly lower than it is among other demographic groups who view Obama less charitably.

Groups among those who see Obama “less charitably”, as Cook puts it, includes seniors (65 and older):

Voters ages 65 and older favor Romney by a 15-point margin, 54 percent to 39 percent, and 86 percent of those in that oldest cohort say they definitely plan to vote, compared with just 61 percent of those ages 18-29. Romney has a statistically insignificant 1-point edge (46 percent to 45 percent) among those 30 to 49 years of age, but 80 percent of them say they will definitely vote. Among the 50-to-64 age group, Romney leads by 3 points, 48 percent to 45 percent, with 86 percent of that cohort saying they will definitely vote.

Cook believes it is a matter of enthusiasm, or lack thereof:

But the study also found “consistent evidence that President Obama’s 2008 first-time voters are less supportive than other Obama voters, reflecting a decline in enthusiasm among a key voting bloc in the 2012 elections.”

Note, both polls are those of “registered voters”, however, the point is clear – enthusiasm for Obama isn’t at all near the fever pitch it was in 2008 and experts like Cook know that. As he says, there’s “consistent” evidence Obama’s support among those groups has eroded when it comes to enthusiasm. Cook also knows what has to happen for Obama to again grab the edge and win. How critical is the Democratic convention to that?

Very. It is there the spark needs to be lit again, where a message that resonates and energizes the same demographic groups that put him over the line last time.

Will it happen? Well that’s the “big question”.

And behind all these problems isn’t the “war on women”, “race” or “inequality”. It’s the economy. If, in fact, the Democrats concentrate on the diversion of the first three, the likelihood of them reenergizing their voters isn’t high. It may, however, even further energize the other side.

So you may see them tip-toe around mentions of the economy and attempt to push it off on Bush again. They’re already trying out “the Bush recession”, “the Bush economy”, etc. That’s unlikely to impress many (most polls have indicated that voters think, after 3 years, Obama owns the economy now), but it’s about all they have in that arena.

Of the two conventions, the DNC is likely to be the more interesting of the two by a long shot.

~McQ
Twitter: McQandO
Facebook: QandO


The philosophy of Obama’s speechwriters: "Thank goodness for cut and paste"

This is definitely worth two minutes:

Of course, politicians routinely repeat their stump speeches, so you could generate a video with repeated mantras for almost anyone in office. But this many, four years apart?

Remember, this guy is supposed to be a world class orator with world class intelligence. Can’t he come up with some different ways to explain himself? Hasn’t he learned from four years of being president, and gained a deeper understanding of the problems?

Four years ago, those soundbites sounded fresh, and people hearing them could believe that he meant them and would take action on them.

Recycling soundbites after four years in office doesn’t sound fresh. It sounds desperate, unoriginal, and generally sad.

Back in December, 2008, I said:

If Obama supporters don’t feel the quasi-religious fervor they felt in 2008, which I think is probably the case, then they might not give nearly as much money, or work nearly as hard for him. He’ll have to find other ways of connecting with voters to make up for that.

It’s pretty clear now that he has no other ways. He used everything he had in 2008, aided by a compliant, sycophantic media. He must confront the reality of four years in office, yet he has nothing left to offer but the same empty rhetoric and the same empty promises.

Every week, in more ways, this man sounds like a loser. With four years in office rebutting everything that was said about him in 2008, I doubt that his tingle-thighed acolytes in the media can do much about that.

(Video found via Instapundit.)


The question that resonates

We’ve said it is a question that ought to be asked. Mitt Romney brought it up in his RNC speech. Chris Wallace ask it of David Axelrod. George Stephanopoulos posed it to David Plouffe. The answer? Well you’ll not hear a straight one from either Axelrod or Plouffe.

The question they’re avoiding?

The question Democrats didn’t want to answer head-on Sunday: Are Americans better off today than they were four years ago?

Asked the same question repeatedly host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” President Barack Obama’s senior White House adviser, David Plouffe, reverted to talking points about job creation and the failings of the Bush administration.

“We were this close to a Great Depression,” Plouffe said at one point, pinching his thumb to his index finger.

Stephanopoulos cut him short.

“We’ve clearly improved, George,” Plouffe replied. “We’ve made a lot of progress from the depths of the recession … We’ve got to continue to recover.”  

Of course, what Axelrod and Plouffe both understand, surely, is that it really doesn’t matter how close we got to a depression or whether or not we are actually technically recovering. What matters is how the American voter perceives the situation.

That, of course, includes the unemployed and the underemployed. It means all the households which have seen their income slip over the years (median income dropped from about $54,000 to $50,000 during the Obama years).

As I keep pointing out, economic issues become priority issues when a voter is effected by something like a downturn. When the negative effect is widespread, it is likely to be the priority issue for the majority of the voters.

So it will be interesting to see how the DNC chooses to theme its convention. Sandra Fluke being a keynote speaker should tell you much of what you need to know. My guess is it will be themed to avoid talking about the economy and the administration’s dismal record and instead, heavy on this faux “war on women” theme, with splashes of “I got Osama” and “why didn’t the Republicans talk about Afghanistan?”. Throw in a dash of “the evil rich not paying their fair share” and you’re done.

What you won’t hear, not even faintly, is whether or not we’re better off than we were 4 years ago.

Because we know we’re not.

And they know it too.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Jobs, jobs, jobs …

We’ve been told for months now about all the jobs that have been created by the laser-like focus on jobs that Barack and Sheriff Joe have given us.

Of course the inconvenient statistic that keeps dogging their claim is the unemployment rate.

As for the jobs themselves? Well, per the New York Times, not so hot:

While a majority of jobs lost during the downturn were in the middle range of wages, a majority of those added during the recovery have been low paying, according to a new report from the National Employment Law Project.

[…]

Lower-wage occupations, with median hourly wages of $7.69 to $13.83, accounted for 21 percent of job losses during the retraction. Since employment started expanding, they have accounted for 58 percent of all job growth.

Another of those indicators. Again something that effects voters personally. Not only are those in the 8.2% unlikely to be particularly happy about the current economic situation and those in charge, but those that are employed but earning far less than they were are unlikely to be very happy either.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

Facebook: QandO


“We own this country!”

Clint Eastwood is 82 and an American icon.  It’s that simple.  He’s sort of the John Wayne of this era.  And he’s always been more “Republicanish” than the usual Hollywood crowd.

Last night he gave a speech, or a talk, or, well, whatever you’d like to characterize it as.  It was both interesting and at time hilarious.  That is, if you “got” what he was trying to do.

He said two things that to me are not said enough.  If for no other reason, I liked his speech (which, by the way, is the only speech I’ve watched) because he said them.  They are reminders that should be repeated over and over and over again.

The first is in the title.  “We own this country”.  Frankly, it’s time we started acting like it.  Because there are those who would weaken that ownership to the point of non-existence.  In fact, for the most part, that intrinsically American principle gets mostly lip service from our employees.

And yes, that’s the second line.  Government and politicians are our employees.  They work for us.  Not the other way around, although you wouldn’t really know that the way things are going.  When they’re not up to the job, we should fire them.

Anyway, Eastwood’s speech is getting the expected shredding in the press.  Breitbart points out that there are already 25 plus stories (5 in Politico alone) on Eastwood’s speech.  I don’t think anyone with any experience around politics and how it is covered today is the least bit surprised.  They don’t like seeing “the one” they helped elect mocked.

But despite the negative claims of the media, was the speech effective?  Well, I like Richard Fernandez’s take.  He does a nice job of laying out why, at least to the “common folk” it was likely a hit.

It was an old man’s delivery, but overstatedly so for effect. It was a cutting delivery and for that reason delivered in low key. But for all of Clint Eastwood’s rhetorical cleverness at the Republican convention it derived its effectiveness precisely because it wasn’t one of those “I take this platform tonight with pen in hand, bearing in mind the immortal words of Clancy M. Duckworth” type orations. It wasn’t the speech of someone who was running for office.

Rather it might have come from Mr. Weller down at the corner office musing on simple things to not very important people. How it wasn’t good form to mess things up continuously. How one might lose faith in a man who made one broken promise too many. How at the end of the day everyone either did the job or quit out of decency. Even Presidents.

There was no malice in it. Just a tone of regret. But it was redolent of memory too. Of simple things a world away from the Mountaintop; of sentiments a light-year from dramatic arcs, and of ordinary happiness in a universe apart from grand bargains and high-flown rhetorical visions. They were truths that everyone who has ever worked knows but has somehow forgotten because it was so ordinary.

But they were never known to those who had never worked a real job in their lives. And that is the wonder. That they never knew them. Thus the speech was at once us versus them; it was the check in the mail against the certainties of the heart. Every true challenge is built on the bricks of memory. And there were as many challenges in the Eastwood speech as the stones we stand on.

So will it resonate?  I think so.  For the very reasons I outline above.  Simple truths given by a man without a script, reminding us of the reality of the day.  Straight talk, no apologies, no waffling, even using a symbolic device (empty chair) to make his point without having to say it.

Political professionals on the left, liberal bloggers and the press will savage it for days.  But for those who saw it or will see it, my guess is they’ll pay little attention to those attacking him and more likely identify with the authenticity of the man they’ve “known” for decades.  He’s one of us, they’ll think.  He’s up there saying what we’d like to say if we had the podium and the ability to do it.  It wasn’t polished, but it was real.

That’s what folks are looking for these days.

Frankly, it was refreshing.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Democrats and Republicans: A pox on both their houses

We’ve talked in the past about why these “wave” elections, as they’re called, are happening with increasing frequency.

Well one of the reasons, I would assert, is people are tiring of the same old promises – promises that are rarely if ever kept – with the same old results – business as usual with vituperative partisan sniping and finger pointing, while we spend ourselves into oblivion.

No matter who is put into power, nothing substantive happens.  So voters keep switching the sides in hope that some group they put in there will “get it”.

So along come this poll, which is quite interesting.  No matter how “popular” Obama is alleged to be, it seems the party he is associated with is now at their popularity nadir.

Today’s Gallup Poll, "GOP Favorability Matches 2008 Pre-Convention Level," shows the pre-convention favorability ratings of the two Parties going back as far as 1992. For the very first time, the favorable/unfavorable ratios are now higher for the Republican Party than for the Democratic Party. For the first time ever, the Democratic favorability ratio, which has always been within the range of 1.20 to 1.56, is now below 1. It is a stunningly low .83, which is 31% lower than the prior Democratic Party low of 1.20, which was reached in 2004.

The Democrats find themselves at John Kerry territory in terms of popularity.  Gee I wonder why (*cough* ignore the voters and pass ObamaCare, unemployment at 8.2%, economy in the crapper, etc., *cough*)?

But  before Republicans celebrate because they’re better than Democrats, they should realize they’re only marginally better. 

By contrast, the Republican ratio is now .88, which compares with the 2008 ratio of .80, which was that Party’s lowest-ever ratio, reached at the end of the Bush Presidency. Prior to 2008, the ratio was 1.16 in 2004, 1.41 in 2000, 1.16 in 1996, and 1.36 in 1992.

Those figures compare with the Democratic ratios of 1.38 in 2008 (compared with the Republican .80), 1.20 in 2004 (vs. 1.16), 1.56 in 2000 (vs. 1.41), 1.50 in 1996 (vs. 1.16), and 1.42 in 1992 (vs. 1.36).

So?  So right now,  Republicans seem to be enjoying a slightly better level of “popularity” than are Democrats.  But both should note that their relative popularity is near the bottom of their historic range.

What does that say?

It says to me that voters are truly considering the lesser of two evils.  That their “popularity” is a function of there being no other choice but these two and there being little if any confidence in either doing what is necessary to turn this mess around.  But, at the moment, they are inclined to give the Republicans a shot, simply because the Democrats have been so lousy.

Another “indicator” poll.  Expect the media’s full court negative press to continue unabated.  We now know more about Mitt Romney than we’ve ever known about the President of the United States (of course that’s partly because Romney has actually run things and done things prior to running and has an actual record to examine).

Meanwhile voters seem inclined toward the Republicans, but not such that anyone in the GOP should get arrogant or cocky by any means.  This is all touch and go at the moment.

But here’s a key which is hard to ignore, speaking of Obama’s “popularity”:

The Democratic brand has thus suffered more (down 39%) under Obama than the Republican brand suffered under either of George W. Bush’s two terms (-16%, then -31%).

Democrats have reason to be worried.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Meanwhile, the economy returns another “unexpected” negative

I’m not sure how this is “unexpected, but it certainly isn’t good news around election time.  Why?  Because when consumer confidence dips, that means the likelihood of an increase in private consumption, something that would help the economy, isn’t at all high.

U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly weakened in August to its lowest in nine months as Americans turned more pessimistic about the short-term outlook, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.

According to the article, consumers are concerned about price increases and expecting inflation during the next 12 months. It was the lowest level since November. July was originally reported as 65.9.

“Consumers were more apprehensive about business and employment prospects, but more optimistic about their financial prospects despite rising inflation expectations,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, in a statement.

But hey, don’t worry … be happy!  Hope and change.  Forward.

Yee haw …

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Romney offers states control and the ability to create jobs, the NY Times offers spin

But remember, they’re not biased.

What’s a good way to for the Federal government to begin the long road toward economic recovery?  Do something that creates incentives for businesses to hire and expand.

Here’s one, but look how it is spun by the NY Times:

By proposing to end a century of federal control over oil and gas drilling and coal mining on government lands, Mitt Romney is making a bid for anti-Washington voters in key Western states while dangling the promise of a big reward to major campaign supporters from the energy industry.

He’s “making a bid for anti-Washington voters in key western states”  while pandering to “Big Oil”.  That’s it?  That’s what this is all about?

State control isn’t really bidding for the anti-Washington vote as much as a return to “federal” government vs.a national or “unitary” government.  Here’s the point:

The federal government owns vast portions of states like New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Alaska. Under President Obama, officials in Washington have played a bigger role in drilling and mining decisions on federal lands in the states, and such involvement rankles many residents and energy executives, who prefer the usually lighter touch of local officials.

It owns more than “vast portions”, the federal government owns most of the West.  And when an administration like the Obama administration takes the angle on energy it has taken, it is free to block and slow walk oil and gas exploration while carpeting vast stretches of the West with marginally efficient solar and wind farms.

Most believe those sorts of decisions should not be left up to the neer-do-wells in Washington.  Those sorts of decisions should be left to the states and those who have to live with the DC decisions.  But they’re not.  And consequently you see the difference as reflected in the progress in North Dakota (where the decisions are made by the state and local government in conjunction with private property owners) and Nevada (which is 80% owned by the Federal government and where most decisions are  made in Washington).  North Dakota is booming.  Nevada is not.

Federico Peña, secretary of energy in the Clinton administration and now a co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign, said Mr. Romney’s plan would cause more problems for the oil and gas industry. “I cannot imagine a world in where there are 50 different kinds of rules and regulations for industry,” Mr. Peña said. “To see Balkanization of rules and regulation I think would drive the industry crazy.”

Really?  Seems the industry is handling it just fine in those states in which it is already happening.  And, my guess is they’re willing to endure it in those states where the Federal government now restricts exploration and drilling.

“It is a preposterously bad idea — we are talking about federal trust lands that belong to the whole nation,” said Bobby McEnaney, a senior aide at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

Because it would be impossible to sort out those lands which should actually be in a “federal trust” and “belong to the whole nation” vs. those included just “because”, huh Mr. McEnaney?

Here there is an opportunity to a) actually return to a bit of federalism and get the federal government out of making decisions states could make and b) create incentives that would lead to expansion of an industry, jobs, revenue for the federal government and produce more domestic oil and gas (which would effect the global price of those fuels).

Win-win, yet those possible outcomes are never mentioned by the NY Times.

Instead we get the “anti- Washington” (how dare the proles question their elite masters!) and “Big Oil” spin.

Some things never change.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Facebook: QandO

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