Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

South Carolina: Up for grabs?

Based on South Carolina’s bright red image, the idea that it’s a toss-up state that could go for President Obama in the fall may sound like a joke. It isn’t when one looks below the surface.

Let’s acknowledge that Republicans control both houses of the legislature, hold all the state’s constitutional offices, and all congressional seats except for House Democrat James Clyburn’s. Yet, South Carolina’s political reality below the surface differs significantly from the national perception. As recently as late April, Karl Rove listed South Carolina as one of six toss-up states on the basis of 50-state polling.

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Bain debate misses the point

The current outpouring of information on where, how and why Bain Capital, with its investments in companies overseas, cost American jobs, actually misses the point, skews the facts for political purposes, and creates even more uncertainty in the job market.

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Romney's immigration record haunts him

On Face the Nation, Mitt Romney avoided the question of whether or not he would roll back President Obama’s new immigration policy giving the most vague, polite brush-off answer he possibly could -- not once, not twice, but three times. Under the new DHS directive, undocumented youth would no longer be subject to deportation and eligible for work authorization. Romney went on to assail the directive as a temporary fix motivated by politics, and that he would come up with some permanent legislative solution. The problem that Republicans don’t want to face, however, is that his “permanent” solution is virtually non-existent leaving policies like the unpopular “self-deportation” to fill the void.

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Some Tea Party advice for Governor Romney

On December 16, 1773, a group of American patriots dumped British tea into Boston Harbor to protest a power-hungry government that had overstepped its bounds. On that evening, America’s first tea partiers launched a revolution that would lead to our Declaration of Independence and to the founding of our nation.  They didn’t do it because of the “rising costs” of “unaffordable” tea, but because the British crown determined to tax it and other goods simply because they wanted to the revenue. The tax, declared by the British monarch, with no representation by the colonists was anathema to freedom for the fledgling nation launched the first American Revolution.

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Campaign narratives at odds with voters' concerns

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Top Political Buzzwords are telling a far different story than either campaign is presenting to the American people, One hundred and twenty-days before the presidential election, the Global Language Monitor has found profound differences between the actual concerns of the public and the political narratives of both parties. The Top Political Buzzwords 120 Days Before the Vote, was released earlier today.  GLM has tracked political buzzwords associated with the national political scene since 2003 in the process compiling perhaps the largest statistical database of the kind.

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Hispanics - the new colossus in American politics

Conventional wisdom regarding Hispanic voters is likely to be rewritten by the 2012 elections. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s split decision on the Arizona immigration law, following on the heels by Obama’s easing of the deportation rules for young Hispanics, the Hispanic vote has never been more front and center in our politics.

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What Obama could learn from Wilson

Our twenty-eighth president, Woodrow Wilson, was no paragon. He had flaws. His stubborn refusal to compromise torpedoed his dream of a League of Nations. He  failed to halt segregation in the federal departments and was slow to support women’s suffrage.  Yet he was a bold thinker, a committed doer and an effective orator. Employing those skills, Wilson managed to persuade a reluctant Congress to enact laws that profoundly changed America’s economic environment.  And he won a second term in office.

As he campaigns for reelection, President Obama could learn from Wilson’s leadership as both governor and president.  He could tap his predecessor’s playbook for boldness, resoluteness and advocacy.

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Memo to Mitt: Name names

Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, all eyes are on his prospective running mate. If you don't believe me, then you haven't been paying attention to the Web, talk radio hosts or TV commentators. 

Some potential candidates, like Capitol Hill insiders Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rob Portman of Ohio or Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, make sense to me. Others, like Washington outsiders Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Susana Martinez of New Mexico or Bob McDonnell of Virginia don't. 

Naming names isn't that far-fetched. The late Congressman Jack Kemp, Bob Dole's GOP running mate in 1996, thought we should in 2000. That's when he and retired Sen. George Mitchell, a Democrat, appeared together on "Larry King Live" and endorsed the idea.

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Elections have consequences: Fast forward to Lame Duck session

“This will be the most important election of ourlifetime.”  You’ve heard it so many times before that it has become cliché. But for those most concerned about the far-reaching policy outcome of the political fight, the election merely serves as a draft for the upcoming legislative season. The confluence of events scheduled to occur during the fifty-five day ‘lame duck” session and the first 100 days of the 113th Congress will have a profound effect on each of our lives and the fate of our nation.

The 2012 election comes at a pivotal moment. Our nation is at a crossroads, with record spending, record debt, and a quality of life deteriorating for most Americans in a way that we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. The choices made in November will go a long way in determining what the America that our children live in will look like.

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Presidential transitions and think tanks

The once clear line between interest groups and think tanks has become increasingly blurry during the well-publicized struggle for control of the Cato Institute. Scholars, such as Tevi Troy, have recently criticized the rapid drift of some well-known think tanks from their core values of impartiality and nonpartisanship which defined their historic mission (Winter 2012 edition of National Affairs). More and more, think tanks of the left and right blur the line between simply informing the policy process and advocating for particular policy outcomes. In doing so, they may sacrifice their trusted position as purveyors of policy information and possibly their status of nonprofit organizations.

In light of this year’s campaign, nowhere can this phenomenon be as clearly observed as during recent presidential transitions. While interest groups dominate voter mobilization, campaign finance, and issue advertising, it is think tanks which control transition planning. The Brookings Institution was the first in 1960 to play this role; sidling up to both Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy with an array of technocrats who had planned out the necessary steps the new president would need to take upon election--they even offered free office space and use of their library. In a largely non-ideological fashion, Brookings opined on the manner in which a transition should be executed, which policy areas were most critical, and which federal positions needed to be filled first. Kennedy’s victory signaled the ascendancy of Brookings as the voice of rational, non-partisan government planning.

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