President Obama recently conceded that his 2008 vow to "get us out of his polarizing debate... and actually get things done" may have been a bit "naive" considering the current level of gridlock caging Congress. But that hasn't stopped Mitt Romney from resurrecting the promise as his own this cycle - after all, the GOP nominee said during Tuesday's debate: He's done it before, he'll do it again."What we have right now in Washington is a place that's gridlocked," Romney said during the second presidential debate at Hoftra University in...
NEW YORK -- Like Chicago Cubs fans in spring, Jewish Republicans start every presidential election season hoping this will be their year. They hope American Jews, who have voted overwhelmingly Democratic for decades, will start a significant shift to the political right. But scholars who study Jewish voting patterns say it won't happen in 2012.
Although recent studies have found potential for some movement toward the GOP, analysts say any revolution in the U.S. Jewish vote won't occur anytime soon.
"I would be very surprised to find that this is the transformative election," said Jonathan Sarna, an expert in American Jewish history at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.
Surveys confirm that growth in socially conservative Orthodox Jewish communities, who tend to be GOP voters, is greater than in Jewish groups from other traditions. Russian-speaking Jews are also emerging as a strong GOP constituency, as evidenced when Republican Bob Turner won the special election to succeed disgraced New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner.
But a generous estimate of the two groups combined would make them only a quarter of American Jews, with many living in heavily Democratic New York. Steven M. Cohen, director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at New York University's Wagner School, predicts "status quo ante" – the way things were before – for a decade or more, at least until the many Orthodox children reach voting age.
The enduring liberalism of Jewish voters has confounded Jewish conservatives, who tend to view support for Democrats as a youthful habit Jews should have outgrown long ago. In the 1970s and 1980s, when U.S. Jews were becoming more assimilated and wealthier, expectations rose that they would follow the pattern of other ethnic groups and start voting Republican.
It didn't happen. President Barack Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008, according to exit polls. The only Democrat who failed to win a majority of Jewish voters in recent decades was President Jimmy Carter, in a three-way race in 1980 with Republican Ronald Reagan and independent John Anderson.
This year, Republicans saw a new opening. Surveys found a softening of support for Obama among Jews, as his favorability also dipped with the American public over the economy and other issues. Polls have the president down anywhere from a few to 10 percentage points among Jewish voters compared with four years ago.
The Republican Jewish Coalition has been hammering away at Obama with ad campaigns such as "My Buyer's Remorse" and a video, "Perilous Times," on Israeli security under the president. The focus has been on Obama's frosty relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and critics' claims that Obama is doing too little to stop Iran's nuclear program.
Obama has repeatedly pledged his support for Israel. His administration considers military action against Iran an option but says all nonmilitary means of pressuring Iran must first be exhausted.
Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson poured funds into the coalition, especially for outreach in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Adelson, a staunch supporter of Israel, has said he would spend up to $100 million to defeat the president.
While American Jews make up only 2 percent of the U.S. electorate, they register and vote at a much higher rate than the general public. In Florida, the prize battleground, about 3.4 percent of state residents are Jewish.
Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, noted that since 1992, the percentage of Jews voting Republican increased in every presidential election except for 2008.
"Republicans have been making inroads and gaining market share," Brooks said.
However, Ira Sheskin, a University of Miami professor and director of the Jewish Demography Project, said Republicans aren't on the way to overtaking the Jewish vote. Sheskin argued that Jewish votes for Republicans are recovering from a low of 11 percent for President George H.W. Bush, whose policies toward Israel had upset many Jews. Of the 12 Jewish U.S. senators and 24 House members currently serving, only one, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, is a Republican, Sheskin said.
Rabbi Kurt Stone, an Obama surrogate in South Florida, accused the Republicans of creating a false impression that "the Jewish community is moving in droves away from the Democratic Party."
"Everybody's having these thoughts pounded into their consciousness over and over again," said Stone, spiritual leader of the North Broward Havurah, or worship community, in Coral Springs.
Overseas, many Jewish communities are, in fact, becoming more politically conservative. In Canada, Australia and Britain, Jews have shifted to the right in the face of liberal party stands against Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories. By contrast, in the United States, major-party candidates compete for the mantle of better friend to Israel.
"If you have two candidates for a political office that has an impact upon national security and both appear to be supportive of strengthening Israeli security and the American-Israeli relationship, the American Jewish community quickly addresses other issues that are of deep concern in the field of social issues and human rights," said Gordon Zacks, a founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition, who advised Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
In a survey conducted last month for the American Jewish Committee, an advocacy and humanitarian organization, Jewish voters listed the economy, health care and national security as their top concerns. Nancy Kaufman, chief executive of the liberal National Council of Jewish Women, said her group was organizing in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and elsewhere on issues such as supporting gay marriage, protecting abortion rights and opposing voter identification laws.
"Jewish voters' preferences depend on their views on economic justice and social diversity, things like fairness in taxes, health care and reproductive rights," Cohen said. "Once those views are taken into account, then their views on Israel – be they passionately for or not, dovish or hawkish – have little if any effect upon their vote."
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio -- Mitt Romney is attacking the Obama administration for delaying a decision about whether China is manipulating its currency to gain a trading edge.
A decision was due Monday, but the Treasury Department said Friday that it won't come before global finance officials meet in nearly November. That means a decision probably will be after the Nov. 6 presidential election.
Romney pointedly noted the delay during a speech Saturday at a rally in Portsmouth, Ohio.
The GOP presidential nominee says that on his first day in office, he'll brand China a "currency manipulator" and work to end what he calls Beijing's cheating practices on trade.
He says "it's got to stop."
Romney says President Barack Obama has failed to hold China accountable and as a result, the U.S. has lost jobs.
In these closing weeks of the campaign, each side wants you to believe that it has the right ideas to fix a still-ailing economy. So here’s what you need to know: If you look at the track record, the Obama administration has been wrong about some things, mainly because it was too optimistic about the prospects for a quick recovery. But Republicans have been wrong about everything. Paul Krugman For Op-Ed, follow @nytopinion and to hear from the editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, follow @andyrNYT. About that misplaced optimism: In a...
How big an impact did Mitt Romney's performance in last week's debate have? Huge. Mr. Romney not only won the night, he changed the arc of the election—and perhaps its outcome. Surveys have him leading the RealClearPolitics average of polls for the first time since securing the GOP nomination in mid-April.Prior to Oct. 3, Mr. Romney trailed President Barack Obama by an average of 3.1 points in national polls tallied by RealClearPolitics. Since the debate, Mr. Romney now leads Mr. Obama in the RCP average by a point, 48.2% to 47.2%, and the bounce is likely to grow. By...
A Wisconsin lawmaker faces fresh criticism from his election challenger over comments he made last year about women who "rape easy."
State Rep. Roger Rivard (R-Rice Lake) spoke to the Chetek Alert newspaper in December about a 17-year-old who was charged with assault after having sex with his underage girlfriend on their high school campus. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rivard said his father had warned him that "some girls rape easy." He explained that meant they'd verbally consent to sex, then later accuse the man of rape.
"If it's rape, it's rape," Rivard told the newspaper. "If it's not, it's not."
"He also told me one thing, 'If you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,'" Rivard said. "Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she's not going to say, 'Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.' All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she's underage. And he just said, 'Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,' he said, 'they rape so easy.'
"What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, 'If you're going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.' So the way he said it was, 'Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.'
"So it's been kind of taken out of context."
Three hours later, Rivard issued a statement to the newspaper clarifying that "sexual assault is a crime that unfortunately is misunderstood." He also said he realized his comments "have the potential to be misunderstood as well."
Rivard's initial comments were ignored by the media in December. However, as the freshman legislator faces a tight reelection bid against Democrat Stephen Smith, a number of groups of Wisconsin have revisited the comments, criticizing the Republican for appearing to blame the victims of assault.
Smith, Rivard's rival in the upcoming election, told the Journal-Sentinel that the Republican's "extreme" views proved that he is "out of touch with the majority of voters."
Smith also mentioned that he was unaware of Rivard's remarks until August, when Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) sparked national outrage by claiming that victims of "legitimate rape" do not usually get pregnant because the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
A 2012 GOP plank reads "We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life..." This came out about the same time that my church held a Fortnight for Religious Freedom, to encourage the faithful to fight for religious freedom. This pledge sounded very familiar to me. It turns out that the "battle" appears to be over abortion (Roe v. Wade), with contraception and same sex marriage a close second, and it can be won by voting Republican in the upcoming election. Wow! I decided to use this IPad, an amazing invention I got for my 77th B-Day, to get a little past history on this frequently addressed, never resolved issue:
Back in 1973, the abortion issue of Roe v. Wade and its constitutionality was brought before the Supreme Court. The Court, after much complex study and discussion, ruled that Roe v. Wade was the law of the land.
This was the result of a majority decision of seven to two. Five of those majority member votes were made by justices who had been appointed by a Republican president. Roe v. Wade was solidly in.
During the 39 years and millions of abortions since that time, our electorate has given us 20 years of Republican presidents. In not one of those 20 years has a Republican president ever expressed responsibility for giving America Roe v. Wade, but many have used the law in campaign pledges to overturn it -- campaign pledges which then quietly fade away after election day. One of their best opportunities to carry through on those forgotten pledges was with a Republican president who served for eight consecutive years, during at least six of which he had the power of a Republican majority in both the Senate and House. Did he and his Republican Congresses make good on their promise? Well, no! He did find the time to give us two wars, but must not have had enough time to get around to abortion and those "traditional family values!"
Fool you once, shame on them... fool you again and again and again, shame on you!!!!!
Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican congressman running for U.S. Senate, said Wednesday he had not and would not sign the no-tax pledge from Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, even though the group says he already signed.
"The only pledge I'd sign is a pledge to sign no more pledges," Flake said at a debate with Democrat Richard Carmona and Libertarian Marc Victor. "We've got to ensure that we go back and represent our constituents in a way -- I believe in limited government, economic freedom, individual responsibility. I don't want higher taxes. But no more pledges."
Flake is listed as one of the 279 signers of the pledge against new taxes on the website of Americans for Tax Reform. The pledge is a promise to voters to "ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
But it often gets in the way of legislation, because any attempt to raise revenue can be interpreted as a tax increase -- putting pledge-signers in the awkward position of either thwarting debt-reduction efforts or breaking their word.
The debate showed an effort to shift toward the center for both Flake and Carmona. Flake emphasized his willingness to work with both parties, even though his record shows him consistently voting with his party. He said he is not a member of the Tea Party, although he is proud to have the conservative group's support.
Flake said he worked with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) on immigration issues, but offered no legislation on the subject. Flake voted against the Dream Act, which would provide legal status to some undocumented young people, but said he supports a "version" of the Dream Act that would give states the option of charging in-state tuition prices to undocumented immigrants instead of out-of-state tuition. He is struggling with Arizona Latino voters, who by and large support immigration reform.
Carmona, meanwhile, emphasized his long history as an independent, saying he became a Democrat for this election because the Republican Party has gone so far right. He said he hopes to go bring change to the Senate.
Carmona said he would have voted against Obamacare as the law stands now, and would have instead encouraged Congress and the president to make adjustments. Republicans quickly pointed out that the statement contradicts previous statements that he would have supported health care reform, although he did say earlier that he would have wanted changes. Carmona said he stands behind the principle of health care for all, but does not view single-payer health care system as workable.
"The way it is, if the president and Congress was not willing to change it, I wouldn't have voted for it as is," Carmona said. "And the reason is I believe that it's unsustainable in the long run. ... But I'm fully behind the aspiration to make sure that every American has access to a basic set of health care benefits."
At the beginning of the election cycle, Democrats publicly agonized that outside campaign spending, liberalized by the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, would create a brave new world where stealthy Republican outside groups would overwhelm underfunded Democratic candidates, giving the GOP an unfair advantage in the race for the White House and control of Congress.None of the Democrats' nightmares came to fruition. The Republicans' much-feared financial edge never materialized in the presidential campaign, as President Obama and his allies have been outspending Mitt...
Voting in November is the end of the process.
Literally for YEARS we have been leading up to this race. A ton of people have jockeyed for position. This is almost like an NCAA bracket where game after game is played to refine the best team. Bringing in a third party candidate at the end make no sense. It would be like following your March Madness pool and right before the Final 4 game between Temple and UCLA, Villanova somehow gets onto the court.
Third party candidates are woefully unprepared compared to the major party candidates.
Continuing the sports metaphor, think of the major party primaries as minor league baseball. You learn to hit a curve ball, hit behind the runner -- all the smart stuff you are supposed to do in the batters box with everyone looking at you. The primary system vets out a lot of odd folks like John Edwards or Newt Gingrich who could never hit from the opposite side of the plate. Guys like Rick Perry shrank once the pressure got turned up.
The campaign is the regular season. The stump speeches and appearances test the mettle and veracity of the candidate. The advantage of the current two-party system is the pressure testing by the media that supposedly forges a solid product. There is a reason you give the ball to the 20-game winner for the final game of the playoffs.
Putting a third party candidate into the mix is similar to sticking a guy off the street into the ninth inning of the final playoff game. You have no idea of what you are going to get. The person has not been vetted at all. Likely they have no experience as evidence they could do anything if given the mound in that situation. A manager (We The People) would be nuts to allow such a person to even throw a single pitch.
Voting for a third party in a two party race helps the major party candidate furthest from you.
If you are on the far left voting for the Green Party, or the Far Right tallying for the Libertarians, your vote will be helping the GOP and the Democrats, respectively. If the Green Party (or Libertarian) candidate wasn't there, you would be voting for the Democratic (or GOP) candidate instead. Those candidates needed your votes. Anyone remember John Anderson in 1980? He pulled six percent of the vote. His being in the race was a minor factor giving Ronald Reagan the win. Ross Perot gave Bill Clinton the White House in 1992. How did Ralph Nader work out for you?
If you want a third party, create a third party.
That means getting people elected at the lower levels so that you can train someone to step in with each larger successive office.
One way to create a third party is from the ground up. The Tea Party was able to abscond with the GOP because they got enough people in the grassroots (the ground up) to figure out how the system works. They took over because they knew the rules. They also had message discipline.
All those sane people who left the GOP do not have a home now. They can return to fight for their old GOP apparatus or they can create a new one. I am sure there enough people disassociated with the current system that would come back if there was a legitimate path to victory.
How to create legitimacy?
Increase the size of Congress. We are currently the second worst represented country on the planet with one congressperson for every 710,000+ people. Only India is worse with over 1,000,000 people per seat. Most western democracies have about 300,000 people per seat. We would need about 1,001 seats for now. The really smart thing to do would be to link a Congressional Seat to a fixed population number. Currently we have a fixed number of seats, 435, with a variable number of people being represented.
Some side effects of increasing the size of Congress:
- it takes fewer people for you to get elected
- it costs less to get elected (campaign finance reform)
- congressional gerrymandering gets mitigated
There are ton of others...
For this discussion of creating a third party, you get legitimacy when you get seats in Congress. You can then start to create the bench you need to go deep into an election cycle.
Since you are an expansion team, you can expect to get some free-agents who are tired of playing for the existing teams as well as walk-ons who never played before.
Oh, by the way, increasing the size of Congress can be done by fixing one small phrase in a law passed in 1929.
A Republican Florida state legislator expressed his doubt in the campaign of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney witha tweet he posted Tuesday.
State Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) tweeted late Tuesday afternoon that he believes President Barack Obama's decision to use Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as a Romney stand-in during debate practice is a omen of where Romney's campaign is headed. Kerry lost the 2004 presidential race to George W. Bush.
Gaetz then ended the tweet with a hashtag expressing support for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) to make a presidential run in 2016.
The Obama campaign has cast John Kerry as Mitt Romney for debate prep......need I say more.....#Jeb2016— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) October 2, 2012
Gaetz could not immediately be reached for comment.
This is the second tweet in recent days that Gaetz has posted expressing doubt in Romney. On Saturday, he tweeted about an email he received from the Romney campaign about a 15 percent off sale on "Romney gear." He then wrote that he believed no one was buying the "Romney gear" and ended "#sigh."
Just got email that "Romney gear" is 15 percent off till midnight...guess those puppies weren't flying off the shelves at full price#sigh— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) September 30, 2012
Gaetz, 30, was elected to the Florida legislature in a 2010 special election and reelected to a full term in November of that year. He serves as vice chairman of the K-20 Innovation Subcommittee and on other criminal justice, law and education related panels. Professionally, Gaetz is an attorney with a firm in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
Gaetz is the son of state Sen. Don Gaetz (R), the president-designate of the state Senate. The older Gaetz recently made news when he put out notice that lobbyists who did not back his preferred Senate candidates would not be allowed in his office. Don Gaetz is considered to be one of the state's more conservative senators.
Across most of the presidential battleground states, particularly in the Midwest, President Obama’s lead rests on a surprisingly strong performance among blue-collar white women who usually tilt toward the GOP.
According to his pal Kevin McCarthy, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is “the thinker” of the GOP, the fiscal visionary with the plan to lead America out of debt and into the promised land of balanced budgets.“Paul is knowledge,” said McCarthy (Calif.), the No. 3 Republican in the House leadership.
By all accounts, this was the Republicans’ election to win: an economy stuck at a level insufficient to generate enough jobs or income gains; a somewhat disillusioned Democratic base; and a stunted generation of young adults who supported Barack Obama last time by a margin of 71-29 and are unlikely to do it again.Yet Obama’s lead keeps widening. It’s worth unpacking why.The most obvious reason, of course, is the sheer clumsiness of Mitt Romney, God’s gift to the Democrats. If a computer had been asked to generate a candidate guaranteed to alienate...
In the ’80s and ’90s, the GOP basked in an atypical rep as “the party of ideas.” Thanks to the liberal project’s distinctly dilapidated charms once Jimmy Carter got done playing the concerned mortician, the rise of deep-pocketed think tanks and often sharp-witted neocon intellectuals—and, not least, Newt Gingrich’s endlessly self-fertilizing conception of himself as a brainiac—it wasn’t even undeserved. Revealingly, though, all that froufrou stayed disconnected from the party’s popular appeal....
Having been severely stung by criticism over their presidential nominee's and their speakers' lack of mention of the Afghanistan War and of the U.S. military during the recent Republican National Convention, GOP hawks are now "urging Mitt Romney to separate himself from President Obama on Afghanistan and back an extended presence for U.S. troops in the country."
While president Obama continues to deliver on his promise to end the Afghanistan War, while an overwhelming number of Americans support such a course and while even Mitt Romney has publicly, albeit reluctantly and "evolvingly," agreed with the withdrawal plans, GOP defense hawks apparently see in prolonging the Afghanistan war -- our nation's longest war already -- a winning campaign strategy. This is a war that continues to cost our nation dearly in lives and treasure. A war where, "getting it right" in Afghanistan -- whatever that means -- is more important than the lives we are losing and the treasure we are squandering over there, and they are telling Romney that he needs to distance himself from "the Obama administration's goal of pulling all American forces from Afghanistan by 2014."
My personal belief is that such a war strategy -- shamelessly, at this point in time, more a political strategy -- will backfire badly on Republicans and will become just one more nail in the coffin that is presently the Romney campaign.
But those are just my words.
Some words, however, can have a tremendous impact.
Take the words in a letter written by U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Matthew Sitton, an Army Ranger who served with the 82nd Airborne Division, in Afghanistan.
Those words are having a significant impact for several reasons.
First, Sergeant Sitton, 26, while on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan was killed there by an IED on Aug. 2, less than two months after writing the letter.
Second, the e-mail letter was sent to none other than U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, (R-Fl), the senior Republican in the House of Representatives and the chairman of the influential House Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee.
Finally, and tragically, Sitton's letter pointing out the dangers and mistake of sending troops on foot patrols in fields that were known to be full of IEDs, where "every time they went into this field, someone lost a leg or an arm or their life," pretty much predicted the soldier's own death.
In his letter to Young, Sitton said:
I feel myself and my soldiers are being put into unnecessary positions where harm and danger are imminent. There is no end state or purpose for the patrols given to us from our higher chain of command, only that we will be out for a certain time standard....We are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives.
Sitton's letter has contributed to a change of heart and possibly to a change in policy on the part of an 81-year-old Congressman who thus far has consistently voted against troop withdrawals from Afghanistan "or even for setting a timetable for troop withdrawal."
Last Monday, Young said during an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, "I think we should remove ourselves from Afghanistan as quickly as we can. I just think we're killing kids that don't need to die."
As the longest serving Republican member of Congress and as chairman of the powerful House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Young's change of heart should say something to the Romney campaign as it will carry some weight with fellow Republicans and with the American people.
Last Wednesday Young said, "I have been very careful not to substitute my judgment for that of military leaders in the field managing the mission. I really believe that. But I also believe that we are not carrying out our commitment to protect our troops the best we can."
"I don't think we should put our soldiers at risk any longer," he said. "The president wants to bring them out piecemeal by 2014. Logistically, I am not sure how long it would take, but I think we should start moving them out quickly and safely and leave a combat force that has authority to use whatever force they need."
In addition to changing his views on Afghanistan, Young is also looking into the IED danger. He has called for a hearing next week to "ask the agency in charge of protecting troops against IEDs to explain why so many are still dying and suffering horrific injuries despite an annual budget of nearly $3 billion."
While Sitton's letter has certainly been a catalyst in changing Young's heart on Afghanistan, Young has always been an advocate for our wounded warriors and he frequently visits them at Veterans Administration hospitals to check on their care.
But Young is not the only Republican having second thoughts on Afghanistan.
Young told the Tampa Bay Times that he has talked with his Republican colleagues in Congress about his new position on Afghanistan and he believes they feel the same way he does, "but they tend not to want to go public" about it.
According to the Stars and Stripes, Republican Congressman Tom Rooney said that after learning that the training of Afghans by coalition forces has been suspended, "I no longer know what our mission is anymore ... right now I am on Bill Young's side of this issue. I have never been before."
It may thus be that the words of a fallen Army Ranger -- a hero who leaves behind his wife, Sarah, and their 9-month-old son, Brodey -- may have a greater impact on the course of a war than the words of a presidential candidate, of generals, of pundits and, hopefully, of Senator Lindsey Graham.
Photo: U.S. Army
The GOP had high hopes of taking back the Senate and defeating President Obama in this election. But it's quickly becoming clear that they overestimated their candidates -- and underestimated the American public. Voters nationwide recognize just how out of touch conservative politicians are with the issues that matter to the middle class, and dozens of polls over the last weeks show them rallying around candidates dedicated to making sure the GOP's hopes don't become America's reality.
Republican contenders for the Senate in North Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, and Hawaii continue to disappoint conservative strategists at the polls, and Republicans are trailing their opponents in key swing states like Ohio and Florida. Meanwhile in Missouri, Rep. Todd Akin is still clinging to the pieces of his floundering Senate campaign along with his grossly outdated and ill-informed ideas about women. The latest battleground polling also shows the president leading in the key swing states of Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. Coming out of the party conventions, the door is open for Democratic gains in states across the country.
But more than just Democratic victories, this election offers big opportunities for true progressives who have shown a commitment to rebuilding the American Dream.
MoveOn members are hard at work to ensure victory for progressive leaders like Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Mazie Hirono, Tammy Baldwin, and Chris Murphy -- bold candidates who are willing to roll up their sleeves and help build an economy that works for everyone again. MoveOn members have already donated well more than $1 million to progressive candidates and will donatemuch more before Election Day. They're volunteering their time and energy spreading the word to their friends and neighbors about the changes we will see if we have visionary new leaders in Congress. And they're providing the grassroots muscle that we'll need to stop Republicans from implementing their radical vision.
MoveOn is also endorsing progressive leaders in House races across the country -- candidates who will take the fight for the middle class to Washington, DC. Candidates with a demonstrated commitment to the issues that matter to voters nationwide, from creating good jobs to safeguarding every woman's right to make her own healthcare decisions.
The candidates who've earned MoveOn members' support this cycle are the most dedicated fighters for the 99%. Because if we send these true progressives to the Senate, and give the President a second term, working families across the country will have the security of knowing they have leaders who care more about improving thelives of their constituents than about giving tax breaks and other perks to corporate special interests.
MoveOn's endorsed candidates understand that America's strong middle class isn't an accident of history -- that progressive policies made it possible for anyone who worked hard and played by the rules to make a decent living and provide a better future for their kids. They believe that, if we work together, we can build a stronger, more durable middle class for the twenty-first century. That's why MoveOn members endorsed them, and that's why it's so important that they win on Election Day.
We know conservative candidates and right-wing Super PACs will vastly outspend our candidates this election cycle, but we also know that grassroots activism by everyday voters can win out over special interest spending. And the contributions of hundreds of thousands of MoveOn members, which average just $23, when added together can help make a difference.
Voters deserve strong, progressive representatives who will fight for the 99%, not insult hard-working Americans and call them victims. From now until Election Day, MoveOn and our millions of members nationwide will be hard at work to make sure that's exactly what they get.
One of the most interesting aspects of the 2012 election is how the tea party movement has proven more politically mature than the center-right’s self-styled elites, and those who spent much of the Republican primary season chiding swathes of people for being insufficiently pragmatic have turned out to be far more childish than the conservative base.For the past several weeks, Mitt Romney has been surrounded by critics from the DC-Manhattan elite who’ve denounced him for a lackluster, unfocused campaign, teeing off on Team Romney in the wake of the 47 percent comments for...
Turn autoplay offTurn autoplay onPlease activate cookies in order to turn autoplay offThe GOP effort to flip the narrative about the fundraiser video is doomed. Romney's flaws would be tragic "" if he weren't so richThe Republicans' most coherent complaint about the now-infamous "Mitt Romney fundraiser video" is that there are two minutes missing from it. This is apparently a thing, now, as they say on the internet. On Legal Insurrection, one of the first blogs to seize upon the lacuna, a writer posited:"Maybe in the fullness of the answer, the...
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Written off by many in his own party a mere month ago, Republican Rep. Todd Akin has been slowly rebuilding his Senate campaign after apologizing for inflammatory remarks about pregnancy and rape.
Now Akin is approaching a critical week that could determine whether his re-emerging campaign can gain enough momentum to put Missouri back in the battleground column as Republicans attempt to win control of the Senate from Democrats.
Tuesday is the deadline for Akin to get a court order to drop his challenge of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. But Akin says he won't do so. Instead, Akin plans to ramp up his campaign. He's holding a fundraiser Monday with former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. He's addressing a potentially influential group of pastors Tuesday morning. Then as the drop-out clock ticks down, he's kicking off a statewide bus tour for his Senate bid that will include venerable conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.
"I believe the state of the campaign is looking better and better," Akin said Friday after engaging McCaskill in their first debate and then rallying on the Missouri Capitol lawn with supporters of a newly formed women-for-Akin coalition.
Akin has apologized repeatedly since a TV interview aired Aug. 19 in which he suggested that women's bodies have a natural defense against pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." He has repeatedly rejected calls of top national Republicans – including presidential candidate Mitt Romney – to quit the race so the state GOP committee can appoint a replacement candidate. Yet some have doubted Akin's resolve.
"There are a lot of donors who have sat on the sidelines and are waiting" for Tuesday's drop-out deadline to pass, said Rick Tyler, a former Gingrich aide who joined Akin's campaign as part of the re-building effort. "We are tilling that hard soil now – that is, reaching out to people who could potentially give significant amounts of dollars."
Come Tuesday, "those donors are going to see that Todd's going to be on the ballot," Tyler adds.
Whether that triggers an avalanche of money for Akin remains one of the most important questions facing his campaign.
Akin already was starting from behind against McCaskill financially after spending all but a few hundred thousand dollars to win a contentious Aug. 7 Republican primary. After his rape remark, Akin lost the financial support of the Republican National Committee, the Republican senators' political committee and the deep-pocketed Crossroads group affiliated with Republican strategist Karl Rove. That zapped millions of dollars of planned TV advertising.
Since then, Akin has raised nearly $600,000 through a small-dollar, online appeal that has cast his candidacy as an anti-establishment crusade against both Republican Party bosses and President Barack Obama's administration. Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has aided the Internet fundraising drive. But Gingrich's event Monday – at $500 a person or $750 per couple – will be Akin's first prominent headliner for a traditional fundraiser in at least five weeks.
"This is an act of conscience on my part – I didn't like seeking a guy getting beaten up by the power structure," Gingrich said.
But Gingrich also is pragmatic.
"If the Republicans are going to win control of the Senate, they need Missouri," said Gingrich, who led the Republican takeover of the U.S. House in 1994.
Others also are considering coming to Akin's aid, including Sen. Jim DeMint, of South Carolina, who has built the Senate Conservatives Fund into a formidable fundraising organization for its favored candidates.
Republicans need a net gain of four seats in the November elections to take control of the Senate. But Republican-held seats in Maine and Massachusetts are jeopardy, and losses there would increase the number of seats the GOP must wrest away from Democrats. Missouri had been considered one of the Republicans' best chances for a pick-up until Akin's rape remark undercut his campaign.
Regardless, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus flatly reiterated on Sunday he would be sending no resources to aid Akin's campaign.
"We're not going to play in Missouri with Todd Akin, I can tell you that. So it'll be yet to be seen whether he stays in or not," Priebus told ABC's "This Week."
Republican consultant John Hancock, who worked for one of Akin's opponents in the primary, said outside groups had been expected to spend about $15 million to support a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri. Even then, a Republican candidate likely needed to chip in $6 million or $7 million from his own campaign to offset the money from McCaskill and Democratic-aligned groups, Hancock said.
Under that model, a typical candidate would need to be holding about two, $500-a-plate fundraisers a week and as many as five, $2,500-a-plate fundraisers a month, including some out of state, Hancock said.
Gingrich's fundraiser is just one of many that Akin will need in the coming weeks. But if he remains close in the polls to McCaskill, those dollars could start coming a little easier.
"If you get to the first week or second week of October and the Missouri race is still unquestionably part of the equation for getting to 51 senators, then I would be shocked if outside money didn't come in," Hancock said, of the Republican strategy to win control of the Senate.
Akin doesn't expect to recoup all of the financial support he lost. That's why his campaign is focusing heavily on organizing grass-roots coalitions. Akin likely can expect a strong effort from his traditional base of anti-abortion activists and Christian conservatives, but he also needs the support of gun enthusiasts and business owners, some of whom backed Akin's rivals in the Republican primary, Tyler said.
This past week, the inaugural event by a new group of female Akin supporters drew about 300 people in the St. Louis area. A few days later, around 100 turned out for a similar event in Jefferson City, though they were countered by protesters who chanted "rape is rape" while Akin spoke to the crowd.
Julie Thomas, a mother of three from the Lake of Ozarks, said she took it upon herself to organize the women-for-Akin rally. She described herself as strongly "pro-life" and praised Akin as "a man with unparalleled character."
"Whenever he got thrown under the bus by his own party, I just said, `uh, uh.' That was a tipping point for me," Thomas said.
Even as top Republicans abandoned Akin after his remarks, McCaskill insisted that she still expected a close Senate race. At their first debate Friday, McCaskill took on the role of a challenger – striking first and furiously with accusations that Akin's positions are too extreme on contraception, Medicare, student loans and other issues.
"Our campaign is working hard and taking nothing for granted," said McCaskill spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki. "You can expect Claire to continue working as if she's running from behind."
COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Republican Mitt Romney says a video clip in which he said that nearly half of Americans think they are "victims" was "not elegantly stated." But he says President Barack Obama's approach is "attractive to people who are not paying taxes."
Romney spoke to reporters Monday evening in a hastily called news conference after the emergence of a video in which the GOP presidential nominee told donors that almost half of American voters "believe that they are victims."
The Republican nominee did not disavow the comments but said they were made during a question-and-answer session. He said it was indicative of his campaign's effort to "focus on the people in the middle."
The website of the magazine Mother Jones posted a video of Romney's comments from a private fundraiser.
Republicans' expected financial advantage in the presidential campaign's final weeks may not pay the dividends they had once hoped for.
Unemployment is still above 8 percent, job gains aren't even keeping up with population growth, the economy is barely moving forward. And yet, according to most polls, the Romney-Ryan ticket is falling further and further behind. How can this be?
Because Republicans are failing the central test of electability. Instead of putting together the largest possible coalition of voters, they're relying largely on one slice of America -- middle-aged white men -- and alienating just about everyone else.
Start with Hispanics, whose electoral heft keeps growing as they become an ever-larger portion of the electorate. Hispanics now favor President Obama over Romney-Ryan by a larger margin than they did six months ago.
Why? In last February's Republican primary debate Romney dubbed Arizona's controversial immigration policy -- that authorized police to demand proof of citizenship from anyone looking Hispanic -- a "model law" for the rest of the nation.
Romney then attacked GOP rival Texas Governor Rick Perry for supporting in-state tuition at the University of Texas for children of undocumented immigrants. And Romney advocates what he calls "self-deportation" -- making life so difficult for undocumented immigrants and their families that they choose to leave.
As if all this weren't enough, the GOP has been pushing voter ID laws all over America, whose obvious aim is to intimidate Hispanic voters so they won't come to the polls. But they may be having the opposite effect -- emboldening the vast majority of ethnic Hispanics, who are American citizens, to vote in even greater numbers and lend even more support to Obama and other Democrats.
Or consider women -- whose political and economic impact in America continues to grow (women are fast becoming better educated than men and the major breadwinners in American homes). According to polls, the political gender gap is widening.
Why? It's not just GOP senatorial candidate Todd Akin's call to ban all abortions even in the case of "legitimate rape" (because he believes women's bodies somehow reject violent sperm). The GOP platform itself seeks to bar all abortions, with no exception for rape or incest. And on several occasions Paul Ryan has voted in favor of exactly such legislation.
Meanwhile, Republican legislators in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Idaho, and Alabama have pushed bills requiring women seeking abortions to undergo invasive vaginal ultrasound tests. All told, over 400 Republican bills are pending in state legislatures, attacking women's reproductive rights.
Republicans have repeatedly voted against legislation giving women equal pay for the same work as men. Republicans in Wisconsin have even repealed a law designed to prevent employers from discriminating against women.
Or consider students -- a significant and growing electoral force, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008. What are Republicans doing to woo them back?
Paul Ryan's budget plan -- approved by almost every House Republican and enthusiastically endorsed by Mitt Romney -- would have allowed rates on student loans to double, adding an average of $1,000 a year to student debt loads. (Under mounting political pressure, House Republicans came up with just enough money to keep the loan program going safely past Election Day by raiding a fund established for preventive care in the new health care act.)
Now Romney wants to hand the federal student loan program over to the banks, which will charge even more. Earlier this year he argued subsidized student loans were bad because they encouraged colleges to raise their tuition, and suggested students ask their families for money.
Republicans have even managed to antagonize seniors by seeking to turn Medicare into vouchers whose value won't keep up with rising health care costs, and cutting $800 billion out of Medicaid (which many seniors rely on for nursing home care).
And, of course, they've come out against equal marriage rights for gay couples.
Romney, Ryan, and the GOP don't seem to know how to satisfy their middle-aged white male base without at the same time turning off everyone who's not white, male, straight, or middle-aged. Unfortunately for Romney and Ryan, the people they're turning off are the majority.
ROBERT B. REICH, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage," now available in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.