News from the Votemaster
A massive ad blitz in other states notwithstanding, the Romney campaign is not on the air in Michigan and Pennsylvania, despite talk from the campaign that they are in play. Lack of ads in any state is certainly not due to lack of money, something Romney has in excess. Either the campaign has decided (for the moment, at least), that these states are hopeless or the campaign is waiting to see how much of a bounce Obama gets there. Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm gave a real stemwinder at the Democratic National Convention about how Obama saved the auto industry and how Romney wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt. It is possible Romney wants to do some polling in Michigan before putting any more money in the state. That would be consistent with Romney's data-driven approach to everything. John McCain would just have gone with his gut feeling about whether the state was winnable and to hell with the polls.
Pennsylvania is a different story. It is a very blue state that normally Republicans don't win at the presidential level. The one factor that makes it an unknown this year is the voter ID law, but it is hard to get a handle on it. Pollsters can ask if someone is likely to vote. That's easy. The hard part is figuring out who will be allowed to vote. In theory they could ask people if they have official government issued photo ID that is consistent with what the law requires, but that question is likely to be misunderstood by precisely the people who the law is aimed at disenfranchising. Nevertheless, it is possible that Romney either has some data or thinks that the law won't stop enough people to flip the state.
The big wave of attack ads hasn't even really hit full power yet, but the voters in the swing states have already had enough. They are confused and think the system is not working because the parties are at each others' throats all the time. They don't realize that the parties' goals are completely different and unless one of them changes what it really wants or one of them takes unquestioned control of Congress as well as the White House, nothing is going to change.
With the conventions over, the candidates are back on the trail dissing each other. Obama is in Florida to try to blunt any momentum Romney got from his convention there. Although Romney is not in North Carolina doing the same thing, he is in Virginia, which is close enough and probably a better bet. Polls shows that Obama is probably better than even odds in Virginia (certainly, now that Virgil Goode is on the ballot for the Constitution Party) but in North Carolina, Romney is still the favorite.
Obama campaigned with his new friend, the once (and possibly future) governor of Florida, Charlie Crist. Crist is still popular in Florida, so appearing with him helps Obama. Many observers expect Crist, a former Republican and current independent, to complete his transition and become a Democrat and then run for governor on the Democratic ticket in 2014. He would be far the strongest Democrat available, so both Obama and Crist have something to gain from their new friendship.
While in Florida, Obama is trying to refocus the debate on Medicare, a topic that resonates with Florida's large senior population. He said: "No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies." Grammar nerds may wince at his use of "their" (it should be "his or her" given the singular subject) but if he can convince enough people that the Paul Ryan's plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program is a bad idea, it could be enough to swing Florida. Without Florida, Romney has no chance of winning the election.
Meanwhile, Romney is in Virginia trying to win over NASCAR fans. He needs to overcome a remark he made in February at the Daytona 500 that some of his friends are NASCAR team owners. While many of the white working-class men he needs follow NASCAR races, probably not so many of them are buddy-buddy with team owners.
The Democrats have come out in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry and the Republicans are against the idea. But gay rights gets more complicated when states rights gets thrown into the mix. Normally the Republicans want to strip the federal government of much of its power and give it to the states. But a case now pending could test this. It involves two lesbians who lived together for 40 years and were eventually married in Canada. One of them died in New York in 2009, a time when New York State recognized marriages performed in other jurisdictions, as most states normally do. Now the federal government wants to levy estate taxes on her widow as though they were not married. The widow is arguing that states regulate marriage, not the federal government, and if New York State says they were married, then they were also married for estate-tax purposes. In May, a federal judge sided with the widow and struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which says that no state has to recognize a same-sex marriage from another jurisdiction. Speaker John Boehner appealed the decision to the Second Circuit Court.
What brings this case, gay rights, and states rights into the mix now is the decision by 145 House Democrats to file an amicus curiae brief with the appellate court siding with the widow and New York State and against the federal government. So far, Romney has not gotten involved in this dispute. On the one hand, he certainly doesn't want to side with a lesbian defending same-sex marriage, but he also doesn't want to be against New York's argument that the states should determine who is married, not the federal government. The ideal situation for him is to never talk about the case, but now that so many House Democrats are involved, Romney may be forced to comment on the case.
Despite (or maybe as a result of) a whirlwind performance at the Democratic National Convention, people are starting to speculate about Nancy Pelosi's future. She is 72 and has been the party leader longer than any Democrat since the legendary Sam Rayburn. She is not talking about her plans. If the Democrats take back the House, most likely she would not give up the Speaker's gavel, but if they fail to take it back, she might decide this is the time to cede authority to the next generation. In that case, Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer, would love to become Minority Leader, but he might be challenged by any number of others, including DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who at 45 is far younger than the 73-year-old Hoyer. Having just pulled off a flawless convention, Wasserman Schultz is a popular figure among Democrats, so a challenge to Hoyer could get interesting.
While political conventions no longer choose the nominees, they do have a function: getting their respective bases revved up and donating money. In that regard, the Democratic convention was a success as Obama has announced that he received 700,000 donations during the convention. He didn't say how much money he took in.Email a link to a friend or share:
Previous HeadlinesSep08 Bump Time
Sep08 Obama's Speech Had More Viewers and More Tweeters than Romney's
Sep08 Romney to Start Ad Blitz
Sep08 Ohio Secretary of State Concedes to Federal Judge
Sep08 Early Voting Starts Today in North Carolina
Sep07 Obama Accepts the Democratic Nomination
Sep07 Gabrielle Giffords Recites Pledge of Allegiance
Sep07 Villaraigosa Says Romney Will Push Immigrants to Self Deport
Sep07 Winners and Losers from the Democratic Convention
Sep07 Jobs Report Will Be Out Today
Sep07 European Central Bank Takes Action to Avert Crisis
Sep07 A New Generation of Kennedys Will Be in Congress in January
Sep06 The Big Dog Talks
Sep06 Elizabeth Warren Makes a Big Gamble
Sep06 Secret Service Investigating Alleged Theft of Romney's Tax Returns
Sep06 Obama's Speech Moved from Football Stadium to Basketball Arena
Sep06 God and Jerusalem Are Back in the Platform
Sep06 What is Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Future?
Sep05 Goode is Good Enough
Sep05 Democratic Convention Opens with Women and Latinos on Stage
Sep05 Conventions Are All Very Tightly Scripted
Sep05 Democrats Approve their Platform
Sep05 Politics and Typography
Sep05 Summary of the Republican Platform
Sep05 Summary of the Democratic Platform
Sep05 Comparison of the Platforms
Sep04 Democrats Reject Large Contributions to Pay for the Convention
Sep04 Voters Say Obama's Job Performance Does Not Warrant Another Term
Sep03 New Features Added Today
Sep03 Where Do We Stand Compared to 2008?
Sep03 Romney Does Not Get a Bump on Intrade
Sep03 No Bump for Romney in Florida Either
Sep03 Opportunities and Dangers for Charlotte
Sep03 Many Voter ID and Early Voting Cases in the Courts
Sep03 Latinos Gain Importance in North Carolina
Sep03 Democrats to Focus on 2012 but also 2016
Sep02 Why Didn't Obama Change Washington?
Sep02 Romney Campaigns in Ohio
Sep02 Valerie Jarrett is Obama's Spine
Sep02 Voting Starts this Month
Sep02 New York Attorney General Subpoenas Bain Documents
Sep01 Judge Allows Ohioans to Vote the Weekend before Election Day
Sep01 Fact Checkers Under Fire
Sep01 Al Gore Calls for an End to the Electoral College
Sep01 What Happens if the Republicans Win?
Aug31 Romney Accepts the Republican Nomination for President
Aug31 Republicans Speak to Latinos but Ignore Immigration
Aug31 Winners and Losers from the Convention
Aug31 Media Invent Euphemisms for Ryan's Speech without Saying He Lied
Aug31 What Obama Must Do in Charlotte