President Obama chose to go on the attack in the third presidential debate last night; in a sort of reverse 'rope-a-Hope' strategy the challenger attempted to defuse the pummeling by not quite praising the president's efforts but, rather, agreeing with him whenever it was even remotely possible. This was the Obama of 2008, though the pounding spoke less of hope and change & more of a desperate attempt to please his base.
If there are any female
voters out there still thinking about voting for Mitt Romney and his
fellow Republicans, I have a binder for you. Not the one Romney
mentioned during last week's presidential debate at Hofstra
University. No, my binder is full of examples of why the GOP war on
women is real.
If you consider each of them on a stand-alone basis only, then you'd be right to conclude the Republican track record on women's issues is merely pathetic. However, when they are lumped together, one after the other, they should make make a grown woman blush or angry. Or both.
Here are the unvarnished facts:
Two debates down. One -- on foreign policy – to go.
Last Tuesday night the candidates sparred over the tragic attack in Benghazi. The question of how the United States should engage Libya and the region is important, but let’s hope tonight that the conversation around terrorism extends beyond questions about consular security and who knew – and said -- what, when.
The political career of former Governor Mitt Romney brings to mind the 1983 Woody Allen movie “Zelig.” The main character of that movie was Leonard Zelig, a human chameleon, who took on the look and characteristics of whatever group he happened to be with. During the recent primaries former Republican presidential contender Jon Huntsman called Romney a “perfectly lubricated weathervane” given the ease with which he changed positions. Then there is the sign going around the Internet advising voters to have patience as Romney will agree with their position on the issues eventually. This charge moved from the purely metaphorical given the allegations that Romney applied spray on tan before appearing on a national interview on the Hispanic television network Univision.
Political pundits seem to agree that “the Latino vote” will swing the election for Obama. They see Hispanics as the fastest growing electorate. They cite polls showing Latinos favoring Obama almost two-to-one, and they believe that Republicans have a fatal problem with Latinos because of “harsh anti-immigrant” rhetoric. Hence, growing Latino populations will turn swing states blue, and Hispanics will decide the election for Obama. Right?
Wrong! Winning the Latino vote in 2012 is far more elusive than pundits and Latino advocates claim.
Most political analysts would agree that if one poll gives different results than most others it is probably wrong. This is surely true of the recent Gallup Poll showing Mitt Romney with a seven point lead over Barack Obama.
You don’t have to compare the Gallup poll with any other survey to expose its flaws. A check of the internal consistency of this poll yields such implausible results that its findings are almost certain to be wrong. The key to this analysis is comparing results for registered voters and for likely voters.
Most poll readers assume that there is large falloff between registered voters and people who vote in presidential elections. In truth, most non-voters are not registered. The overwhelmingly majority of registered votes participate in presidential contests.
Belligerence isn’t a strategy for the Middle East. Neither is defeatism or political distraction. But that’s what Governor Mitt Romney offers.
In his recent speech at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), the governor used antagonistic language that left many wondering if the Republican nominee for president wants to take us right back to the neocon policies of the last administration that caused our country to invade Iraq and take our eye off al-Qaeda and Afghanistan.
Harsh rhetoric was leveled at Iran, but from a policy perspective the governor gave no specifics other than saying he would do the same things President Obama is already doing.
Where is the guy who pulled our car out of the ditch?
Remember? In May of 2010 when President Obama encapsulated a ton of economic jargon for the average American in one succinct metaphor: “After they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back. No! You can’t drive. We don’t want to have to go back into the ditch.”
It was a result that might predictably raise skeptical eyebrows among many Americans. The recent reelection of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez came amidst a polarized political atmosphere and resulted in a victory for a man whose relationship with the United States has been contentious, to say the least.
Americans need only remember their own systemic misadventures in Florida in 2000 to reflect on how vulnerable the election process can be to either intentional manipulation or chaotic breakdown.
When voters mark their ballots on November 6th, there will be 68,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. In spite of a long campaign, it's still unclear what each candidate believes should happen with those soldiers after Election Day.
Nothing captures the ambiguity better than Tuesday's news from the State Department about the formal opening of negotiations to extend the US troop presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014. This follows on the heels of Vice President Biden's much-noted statements in the vice presidential debate that, "We are leaving in 2014, period." President Obama has also been trumpeting the coming end of the war, with a partial withdrawal completed this summer. But the U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership agreement he signed this year, along with statements from the Pentagon, leave the door wide open to a large troop presence as far out as 2024.