Tag Archives: election

The End Game In The Grey Rust Belt States


RealClearPolitics.com Electoral College Map on Oct. 25. Note the Confederate Grey zone. It’s mostly in the North, baby.

Well, well, well, flyover America, the middle ground, the old industrial-agricultural heart of this country, is suddenly important again. At least for the next two weeks.

I won’t turn this into a rant about political ads. Yes, they can be tiresome. But I’m happy to be in a place where my vote matters and where the presidential candidates are continuing to court votes. It’s an odd feature of the American political system that only a few of us, a minority of Americans, are in that position.

Live in LA? Nobody is after your vote, because your state is blue, baby blue, as blue as it can be, your steady is already in the White House.

Live in Houston? Ditto, except, you weirdo commie, you’re blood red state is going for Mitt no matter what you do. (Why is Red both the color of Socialism and Republicans? Clearly, using the logic of Fox News, it must mean that Republicans are Socialists. So there.)

But, if like me, you live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, you’re in a state that at best is slightly tinted blue—still in play, still part of that upper Midwest grey zone stretching from Iowa and Minnesota to Pennsylvania that will pick the winner in this year’s campaign.

Well, I plan to enjoy my day in the sun.

Yet, if I were king, and direct election were off the table, I would like some changes to how we pick presidents.

Here is Joe’s list for reforming presidential campaigns:

  • Reverse Citizens United. Corporations are not “persons” in the sense that they have free speech rights like the rest of us. Find ways to enforce full disclosure, limit spending and tone down the outside groups that pollute our campaigns.
  • Make it easy to both register and get on the ballot. No false barriers to suppress voting turnout or prevent choices. I don’t even care if we have voter IDs—but let’s make election day a Monday, a federal holiday, and also have universal easy absentee ballot rules for anybody whose away from home on Election Day (a federal holiday).
  • Elect members of the Electoral College on a per-district basis. That would spread around the attention and campaign so that it’s not just the “o” states (Iowa and Ohio) that matter. It would not be the same as a national vote count, but at least it would spread the election around.

Anyway, it’s almost over. I hope, and think, Obama will still pull it out. Despite the Romney surge, the Electoral College math seems to favor the Democrats. And, whatever happens, I don’t want us to have a GOP President and a GOP Senate.

Still, come what may, life will go on. For now, I’m answering nightly phone calls from pollsters and political activists. And no, I’m not voting early.

Why cut the party short?

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Florida: Everybody Gets a Pony

Watching the four candidates on Florida primary night. To hear the candidates talk, everybody but Barack Obama won. My impressions:

  • Mitt is fired up. Romney is almost animated. The man likes to win, and he won in Florida.
  • Rick Santorum says Newt’s time is over.  And he, Rick, is the true Mitt alternative. Or perhaps the VP.
  • Newt wins by coming in second.  He says that coming in second, even if he was a distant second, proves it’s a two-man race. Gives a grumpy “victory” speech that ignores Mitt and notes all the things Newt will do on inauguration day. Actually, the best he can hope for is an invite to a minor Mitt ball. If Obama is re-elected, he won’t even get that.
  • Ron is Ron. Caucuses are coming. Maybe only 7 percent liked him in Florida, but the brush fires of freedom are burning. And get rid of the Fed.

Of all the speeches, the oddest one was Newt’s. Both Rick and Ron were energized and forward looking. Newt was bellicose and feisty, but didn’t sound like a happy warrior, more like a whiney looser.

So it goes. It’s clearly too early, the results have been too split and the fight isn’t over—but Romney had a good night and clearly has the mo of the moment. Whether he keeps it is an open question in this odd up-and-down election year, but personally, I find myself in a rare moment of agreement with Rick Santorum.

Yeah, I know, it’s dangerous to declare Newt’s campaign to be over. He’s the zombie candidate—when you think he’s dead he’s suddenly pops out and tries to eat your brains.

Despite that, even a cat runs out of lives eventually. And Newt is running out of places to make last stands. Sure, there are 46 states to go, Newt, but unless there is a game-changing event soon, you won’t be in all of them.

Then again, you never know. It’s been a year of sudden ups and downs and quick surprises.


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And So The GOP Field Starts To Cure Like Cement

Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin at 2008 GOP convention. Photo from PBS Newshour photo stream in Flickr.

You know what I think? Well, I’m not sure, but:

Barack Obama is going to win.

Yeah, I know, it’s by far not a sure thing. And he might have done better if Sarah Palin had decided to toss her hunting cap into the ring and was nominated,because, really.

But she has given up, because she’s more free to seek and speak her mind that way. Good luck.

New Jersey’s governor is insisting that no means no,  like a college counselor advising incoming freshmen football players.

So the current crop of GOP hopefuls is what we’re probably stuck with. Sarah might, in a way, have strengthened the field by drawing off the crazies and maybe helping someone reasonable emerge. I really hope the GOP nominates someone I can live with as President, because he (or, horrors, she) might win. (The “horrors,” by the way, are not at the idea of a woman president, just a reaction to that particular possibility in the current GOP field.)

But, who will the GOP pick? Slow-talking, bad-dressing Rick? Slick, position-switching Mitt? Tall walking, smart talking, imaginative and slightly loony Ron?

The ecomomy sucks, the wars drag on, a federal budget deficit mounts, the gap between have and have not yawns wider as more are laid off into the economic void of despair—and yet, I think, Obama is going to win.

Because who is going to beat him?

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