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27 Sep 2011 00:54


Politics: When it comes to fundraising, Obama’s still got the magic touch

  • $5 million in donations in two days; he’s makin’ it look kinda easy source
  • » So far, so good for Obama: With a successful West Coast swing (helped in large part by an up-to-$35,800-a-plate dinner in San Diego), President Obama is well on his way to reaching his goal of $55 million in the third quarter of 2011, which Reuters claims is “a more modest total that they say reflects the fact he was stuck in Washington for most of July by a bitter budget debate with Republicans.” Sure, modest total.

08 Sep 2011 10:28


Politics: Why would Obama not curb smog emissions? Gore has a few ideas.

  • Al Gore: He’s not happy with Obama. President Obama has recently halted regulations that would curb “smog-creating emissions until at least 2013“. According to Gore, the “result of the White House’s action will be increased medical bills for seniors with lung disease, more children developing asthma, and the continued degradation of our air quality.” He also likened Obama to George W. Bush, a seemingly low blow. source

30 Aug 2011 22:06


Politics: Forecasting model with perfect record predicts Obama reelection

  • In 1981, a professor at American University developed a forecasting model for presidential elections. Based on thirteen different metrics, or “keys,” the model has never been wrong. In 1992, it spotted George H.W. Bush’s vulnerability when everybody assumed he was invincible; that prediction was instrumental in convincing Bill Clinton to enter the race. Which is to say, were it not for Allan Lichtman and his “Thirteen Keys,” we may have never had a President Clinton. Now, Lichtman has applied his model to 2012. Here’s how Obama stacks up:
  • Reelection Working in the president’s favor are his significant domestic policy accomplishments, a lack of scandals, a weak Republican field, generally successful foreign policy, no significant third party candidates, no primary challenger and a lack of sustained social unrest.
  • Defeat So why might Obama have reason to worry? Well, the long-term economy, a lack of personal charisma, the results of the last House election and, if it comes to fruition, an upcoming recession could all spell trouble for his reelection campaign.
  • » Conclusion: “Even if I am being conservative, I don’t see how Obama can lose,” Lichtman says. The President wins 9 out of the 13 keys, two more than needed. Now, there’s lots of room for debate here–for example, is it really true that Obama lacks personal charisma? Lichtman’s rationale here is that the president has “lost his ability to connect since the 2008 election,” but that’s debatable. And do we know for certain that Rick Perry won’t prove to be a dazzling candidate, charming voters across the nation? Furthermore, a lot can happen between now and 2012: a surprise rebound of the economy, an unforeseen international crisis, or some other black swan event. But as it stands, this metric is some of the best reelection news Obama’s had in months. (Photo: Reuters/Jim Young). source

26 Aug 2011 12:38


U.S.: Obama: Take precautions now, don’t wait for Hurricane Irene to show up

  • I cannot stress this highly enough. If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don’t wait. Don’t delay.
  • President Barack Obama • Warning people about the danger of Hurricane Irene, which is likely to be the strongest hurricane the Northeast has seen in a few years. For what it’s worth, the storm — currently a Category 2 — will likely be a Category 1 when it hits the Northeast, so it won’t be a super-strong hurricane. Just a really big, slow-moving one that will remain strong hundreds of miles from the center. Amongst major metropolitan areas, it looks like the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area is about to face a strong hit from the storm. source

25 Aug 2011 23:58


Politics: New poll brings bad news for Republicans

  • -6 Obama’s net favorability, as of this month
  • -7 The Democratic Party’s favorability
  • -25 The Republican Party’s favorability source
  • » Why no love for the GOP? Over the last six months, everybody–Obama, Democrats, and Republicans–has seen a net drop in their approval ratings, but Republicans are clearly the most hated of the bunch. This is probably due to a combination of factors: Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, Scott Walker’s anti-union antics in Wisconsin, and the GOP’s handling of the debt ceiling debate were all high-profile issues that attracted (mostly) negative attention to the GOP. Whatever the cause, there’s one thing we can glean from these results: Democrats seem to be out-messaging Republicans in 2011. Whether or not this can carry Obama to reelection amidst a horrible economy remains to be seen.

16 Aug 2011 20:32


U.S.: Ron Paul cops a move from T-Paw’s playbook

  • Tim Pawlenty may no longer be running for president, but his influence on the race continues to be felt. If you don’t believe us, check out this new Ron Paul commercial, which mimics Pawlenty’s wonderful Michael Bay-style campaign ads. Paul’s take is admittedly a bit more toned-down, but the general approach is the same–trick young (or disengaged) voters into thinking they’re watching a movie trailer, then flip it on ’em and start pitching the candidate. This ad appeals to electability, making the spurious claim that only Ron Paul can defeat President Obama in the general election. It’s an attempt to widen his appeal, which is devoted (to say the least), but still rather narrow. source

08 Aug 2011 14:31


U.S.: President Obama tries to reassure after credit rating downgrade

  • No matter what the agencies say, we will always be a AAA country.
  • President Barack Obama • Talking about the S&P’s downgrade of the United States in a speech today. He explained that they didn’t downgrade us because they didn’t believe that we would default on our debt, but because our politics get too much in the way — and because the threat of default was used as a bargaining chip. He also talked about our real challenge — long term deficit reduction. He stuck to his guns on policies like tax  cuts for the wealthy, and also said that we need to keep unemployment benefits around to keep our recovery going. However, just from this speech it’s clear that it isn’t going to be easy. It’s evident that despite the fact that Obama has good intentions, the politics simply aren’t going to change overnight. Obama also honored the troops that died in the helicopter crash over the weekend, which was well-deserved and moving. source

25 Jul 2011 23:09


Politics: A little perspective on this whole deficit mess

  • This graph, courtesy of the New York Times, has been making the rounds today, and it’s worth examining. Note that health care reform, much-maligned by the right as deficit-killer, cost less than even the most inexpensive of George W. Bush’s policies (that policy being Medicare Part D). Note also that the Bush tax cuts alone added more to the deficit than all of President Obama’s new policies combined — and that’s including projected spending over the course of a theoretical second term.  source

25 Jul 2011 22:58


Politics: Nate sets us straight

  • A very good point. We tend to forget that, as crazy as it sounds, some people’s idea of fun doesn’t involve reading about the debt limit, America’s credit rating, or parliamentary procedure in the United States Senate. source

25 Jul 2011 22:02


Politics: Obama speech light on policy, heavy on politics

  • We were planning on live-blogging the President’s primetime speech on the debt ceiling, but there wasn’t much to live-blog about. He didn’t support or reject any new policies, or endorse a specific strategy for raising the debt limit. Rather, the President doubled-down on the importance of avoiding default, reinforced hard distinctions between him and House Republicans, and make slight adjustments to his political positioning. He warned, in his most explicit language yet, of the consequences default would have for average Americans. He came out hard for progressive taxation, hammering the Republicans for refusing to consider raising taxes on the rich, and explicitly asked constituents to call their representatives in Congress and voice support for the White House’s “balanced.” In general, as was the case in his press conference last Friday, the President ended up sounding a whole lot more partisan than normal, but didn’t deliver any game-changers. source