Tag - Campaign 2012

Barack Obama: Community Organizer

People joke about President Obama’s abilities at eleven-dimensional chess. I think that Obama has a long-term strategy, more understandable than eleven-dimensional chess. I also think that it’s quite different from much of what passes for strategy in political Washington.

Obama came into office in January 2009 with an enormous number of problems facing the country. He had been dealing with the financial crisis since his election. That crisis was, in a way, the culmination of the financialization of the American economy, which, along with tax and other policy, had hollowed out prospects for the middle class. The country was stuck in two wars that had very little to do with its national interests. Other aspects of the “War on Terror” that damage the perception of the US abroad and damage civil liberties at home persisted long after any utility had disappeared. North Korea had demonstrated nuclear weapons, and Iran was engaged in pursuit of technology that could make nuclear weapons possible for them.

Perhaps the most difficult problem Obama faced, though, was an apathetic electorate and media that depicted that president as the only political actor in the country. Democracy can’t work without the participation of the people.

Obama would have seen that apathy before, as a community organizer. Poor communities are often demoralized or do not know how to fight for what they need. The organizer’s job is to get citizens active in helping themselves. This involves many things: educating citizens on their rights and ways to go about changing their circumstances, which would include the political process; and encouraging the citizens to take action on their own behalf. Read More

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (Or, The Totally Unskewed View From Romneyland)

When you’re this filthy fucking rich apparently you don’t need pesky contradictory facts  getting in the way of your plans for a kick-ass post-victory fireworks display (h/t Kos):

Romney was stoic as he talked the president, an aide said, but his wife Ann cried. Running mate Paul Ryan seemed genuinely shocked, the adviser said. Ryan’s wife Janna also was shaken and cried softly.

“There’s nothing worse than when you think you’re going to win, and you don’t,” said another adviser. “It was like a sucker punch.”

Their emotion was visible on their faces when they walked on stage after Romney finished his remarks, which Romney had hastily composed, knowing he had to say something.

Both wives looked stricken, and Ryan himself seemed grim. They all were thrust on that stage without understanding what had just happened.

“He was shellshocked,” one adviser said of Romney.

[…]

[T]hey believed the public/media polls were skewed – they thought those polls oversampled Democrats and didn’t reflect Republican enthusiasm. They based their own internal polls on turnout levels more favorable to Romney.

[…]

The huge and enthusiastic crowds in swing state after swing state in recent weeks – not only for Romney but also for Paul Ryan – bolstered what they believed intellectually: that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.

Kos sums up Mittens’ dubious onward & upward rationale with ice-cream headache-inducing acuity:

1. They got big crowds, therefore,
2. people won’t turn out for Obama.
3. If people don’t turn out for Obama,
4. then the public polls are skewed.
5. If public polls are skewed,
6. then Romney is winning.

Of course, the size of Romney’s crowds had absolutely no bearing on whatever turnout Obama would get. But apparently, that idiotic and fact-free assumption is what made them so confident.

And hilariously wrong.

But wait — it gets worse (yes, really):

At 6:30AM on Tuesday, I went to the polls. I was immediately turned away because I didn’t have my poll watcher certificate. Many, many people had this problem. The impression I got was this was taken care of because they had “registered me”. Others were as well. But apparently, I was supposed to go on my own to a Victory Center to pick it up, but that was never communicated properly. Outside of the technical problems, this was the single biggest failure of the operation. They simply didn’t inform people that this was a requirement. In fact, check out my “checklist” from my ORCA packet:


Notice anything missing? My guess is the second “Chair (if allowed)” was supposed to be “poll watcher certificate” but they put chair twice. This was an instruction packet that went out to 30,000+ people. Did no one proof-read it?

(Make sure to read the entire sorry account; crucial typos — a longtime bane of Romneyland — are merely the tip of ORCA’s massive GOTV failberg.)

So, to recap, not only did the Romney team manage to box itself into a comfortably numb bubble of ignorance, it also managed to massively cock up the Election Day efforts of 30,000 pro-Romney operatives on the ground across the nation.

Jonathan Last punctuates the epic facepalm — and punctures the obnoxious myth of Romney as 1337 MANAGER!!1 once and for all:

There was, to my mind, only one qualitative argument generally made in favor of Romney: that his management experience made him uniquely qualified to be president. He was a “turn-around artist.” A “genius CEO.” Now even the claim that his private-sector ability to master organizations and rescue them was a variation on process. And it always struck me as a little dubious. For one thing, it’s not immediately clear how the skill set of the private-sector executive transfers to the job of managing the executive branch of the U.S. government. CEOs say jump and everyone around them says how high. The president says jump and half of Congress tries to countermand the order while getting him fired and the other branch of government gets to decide whether jumping is even theoretically allowed.

But at least this was a falsifiable claim. And the fact that Romney could not master even his own campaign organization in order to win an incredibly winnable election demonstrates–incontrovertiably–that it wasn’t true. If he was a turn-around artist, he would be president-elect right now.

Most political campaigns aren’t invalidated by a loss. A candidate puts forward an idea or a worldview and it can stand whether or not it’s embraced by voters. It has its own truth. But in the wake of his loss Romney’s campaign now looks ludicrous.

Worst candidate/campaign since WWII (and beyond)? Regardless, that MA Curse is a motherfucker.

h/t Allahpundit

America’s election and the Tea Party

by Cas Mudde

(Originally posted by openDemocracy, republished under a Creative Commons license)

What a difference two years make.After the congressional elections in November 2010, the Tea Party was the talk of the town. Both left-wing and right-wing media pundits declared “the” Tea Party to be the (only) winner, and all focus was on the right’s new stars such as Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida. The new Republican Party kingmakers were Jim De Mint and Sarah Palin, support from whom was claimed to be essential for their fellow Republicans to get elected. It became obligatory to refer to the new legislature as “the Tea Party Congress”. The fact that only one-third of Tea Party-backed candidates had actually been elected was irrelevant. The Tea Party was the new story, and all experts knew that it was here to stay.

An aptly titled Fox News story – “After election victories, Tea Party activists look ahead to 2012″ – speculated about the movement’s future. It seemed beyond debate that it was the newly dominant force in United States politics; the question was whether it was going to take over the Republican Party or create a third party. Within a month of the November 2010 elections the answer to that question became clear: helped by massive spending by “astroturf” organisations such as FreedomWorks, and led by members of the Grand Old Party establishment, the Tea Party was steadily integrated into the GOP. But who controlled who?  Read More

Mittens Compounded Initial Benghazi Fail Because NEOCONS

WaPo on the internal response to Mittens’ hasty, ill-conceived late night Libya presser:

By sunrise the next day, it was clear to Romney that they had acted too quickly. The campaign learned that four Americans had been killed in an attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Even to some Republicans, Romney’s hasty statement looked insensitive.

“We screwed up, guys,” Romney told aides on a conference call that morning, according to multiple people on the call. “This is not good.”

His advisers told him that, if he took back his statement, the neoconservative wing of the party would “take his head off.”He stood by it during an appearance in Florida. Two days later, Obama traveled to Joint Base Andrews to meet the four flag-draped coffins.

h/t TPM

Related: “[W]hen you crunch the numbers, the truth is that foreign policy didn’t matter much in ushering Barack Obama to reelection in 2012″ (h/t Michelle Shephard)

A convenient “tie”

by Magnus Nome

(Originally posted by openDemocracy, republished under a Creative Commons license)

We’re only a few days away from knowing who will lead the US for the next four years. (Probably – I haven’t forgotten 2000).

The contest is already a media success. It has had some interesting twists and turns, and as it approaches the finish it’s close and exciting.

For pundits, it’s prediction time, and we’re treated to their expert opinions (also known as gut feelings) on who will be occupying The White House.

But this year we’ve seen more of a less cocksure bunch, wielding large sets of interesting numbers but still refusing to go all in. While traditional pundits still pretend that any cherrypicked poll swing is “news”, proper statisticians are adding them all together, carefully weighed by many parameters, thus creating a much more reliable meta-analysis.  Read More

Chait: “The attempt to wall disaster response off from politics in the aftermath of a disaster is an attempt to insulate Republicans from the consequences of their policies.”

This:

What you are going to see over the next week is an overt effort by Democrats to politicize the issue of disaster response. They’re right to do it. Conservatives are already complaining about this, but the attempt to wall disaster response off from politics in the aftermath of a disaster is an attempt to insulate Republicans from the consequences of their policies.

Funding for FEMA is something the parties wrangle over, with Republicans pushing to limit the agency’s budget, and Democrats pushing back. FEMA has to fight for its share of a constricted pot of money for domestic non-entitlement spending, a pot of money that the Republicans propose to radically constrict. How radically? Romney’s budget promises require shrinking domestic non-entitlement spending as a share of the economy by about two-thirds.

The Republican proposal to eviscerate this wide array of public functions is one of the underdiscussed questions of the election. Republicans have defended it using a very clever trick. They don’t explain how they would allocate the massive cuts to all these programs. When President Obama explains what would happen if those cuts were allocated in an across-the-board fashion, Republicans scream bloody murder. And when any single one of those programs enters the political debate, they can deny plans to make any specific cuts: They won’t cut education, they won’t cut support for veterans, and so on.

[…]

The GOP is the party arguing for splurging on a long vacation at the beach rather than repairing the roof. Naturally, they want to have this argument only when it’s sunny and never when it’s raining. There’s no reason to accommodate them.

As Scott Lemieux (h/t) rightly notes, “Policies have consequences… . It’s “political” to point this out, but not in any negative sense.” Sandy has highlighted (and further widened) the measurable gap between the respective policy platforms of the Obama & Romney campaigns relating to critical federal infrastructure and crisis management resources.  And no amount of frantic Etch-a-Sketching (nor simian-esque shit-flinging from the sub-literate wingnut fringe) will damn that hemorrhagic fissure.

Bank Of America And Billionaires Funded Conventions

by Russ Choma

(Originally posted by OpenSecrets Blog, republished under a Creative Commons license)

The story of the money behind this year’s political conventions hews very closely to the funding narrative of the entire election cycle — the Republicans had a huge advantage, led by generous donations from individuals, and the Democrats turned to a coalition of traditional supporters and a very large regional company.

ObamaConvention.jpg Both parties looked to regional backers to foot large parts of the bill for the respective conventions. A number of well-heeled Tampa-area individuals and companies picked up much of the tab for the Republican Convention in August, while Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank Of America was the single largest financial supporter behind the Democratic Convention in that city in early September.

In total, the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee raised $55.8 million and spent about $52.4 million, while the Committee for Charlotte 2012 raised a much more modest $35 million and spent $33.4 million. Contributions from Bank of America to the Democratic event came to $10.9 million, nearly one-third of the total. Bank of America also donated $1.1 million to the Republican event.  Read More

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