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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2-months into the new revolution – Part 2

Write your own text
In yesterday’s post, we defined revolution and its relationship to a social movement, both of which involve beginnings that emphasize what is wrong, rather than dwelling on the solution.  As Robert Reich said: “Every social movement in the last half-century or more, it started with moral outrage…and the actual lessons, the specific demands for specific changes, came later.”  It seems to me that we first have to spend time determining what is not right, finally placing what we have found in priorities, that then becomes the basis for demands.

John Hirschhorn says, “…the Occupy movement in the US offers the possibility of being seen, eventually, as the seed of a successful Second American Revolution…”  Since he is convinced this is needed to fix a “…corrupt, dysfunctional and unfair government, political and economic system,” the question remains just what happens next.  Although the bulk of the Occupy Movement may not know it, they have essentially followed the correct parameters to induce social change.    

History reveals that violence against the uprising almost always becomes necessary for the overthrown of a “Hated” political system.  Then comes the time period involved in cleaning up the mess and making the necessary changes.  All of the factors discussed so far have been integral parts of the Occupy Movement, including the violence displayed by police against protesters in Oakland and elsewhere.  Although there is no measure to determine the success of the movement, the fact that one-third of the country is destitute due to an avaricious Wall Street and an inept Congress, is enough to keep things going.



Pew research has asked the question of Americans, “although our people are not perfect, but is our culture superior to others?”  Only 49 percent agreed recently compared to 60 percent in 2002, the first time this question was asked.  This flies in the face of conservatives who regularly wave the flag over U.S. “exceptionalism.”  And the young ages 18 to 29, were lower in their opinion of our country compared to young citizens in Germany, Spain and Great Britain.

Poll after poll finds that Americans are convinced their country has declined in its place in world powers and an NBC News/Wall Street Survey recently discovered the public no longer thinks the U.S. is a world leader with the pessimistic view that neither the President nor Congress can do anything about it.  But many analysts see the Occupy Movement as a means to change.  James B. Stewart’s article, “An Uprising With Plenty of Potential,” is a good example. 

Stewart ends his article with a statement from Cornel West, a Princeton professor who has emerged as a prominent voice of the movement.  It said that he didn’t know where the movement was going, but “you can’t evict an idea whose time has come.”  In Hirschhorn’s article, he wonders if the Occupy Movement is truly the seed capable of producing a Second American Revolution.  As the saying goes, only time will tell.

Read more here, here and here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2-months into the new revolution

Occupy Movement demonstrations went all-out on Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the two-month anniversary of the start of the “new” revolution.  At the same time, cities have become more aggressive in cracking down on protesters, issuing ultimatums to disperse in some instances…or else.  As an example, 20 people were arrested in Los Angeles, in Chicago, they made historic Grant Park off-limits for encampments, and 17 people were arrested in Dallas.  But Oakland was relatively quiet.

A Berkeley student tried to explain why the occupiers continue to do what they do in the face of opposition that says the movement doesn’t know what it wants.  He quoted Robert Reich’s recent speech from Sproul Plaza: “Every social movement in the last half-century or more, it started with moral outrage…and the actual lessons, the specific demands for specific changes, came later.”  Kevin Gorman, a student writing in The Berkeley Daily Planet, says Occupy, with its explosive growth and no top-down direction, which he thinks is proper for the time being, needs no explicit goals now.



Business & Government greed
The question arises, is this “social movement,” as described by Reich, actually a social revolution of sorts that could change the business and political makeup of this country?  For the better.  Balance the economic inequity on the backs of big business CEOs and an incompetent government.  Wikipedia defines revolution as a “fundamental change in power or organizational structure that takes place in a relatively short period of time.”  Aristotle gives us two types:

·       1. Complete change from one constitution to another
·       2. Modification of an existing constitution

I don’t think anyone wants a new constitution, just some tweaks in the current one, reserving the major changes for the greedy ones who are presently running the corporate world and Washington.  Joel Hirshhorn says, “…the Occupy movement in the US offers the possibility of being seen, eventually, as the seed of a successful Second American Revolution…”  He goes on to indicate that many “…believe {it} is desperately needed to fix our corrupt, dysfunctional and unfair government, political and economic system.   

Hirschhorn is the author of Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government.  His op-eds have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Baltimore Sun, and Chicago Tribune, and he writes for several progressive websites such as The Progress Report.  The main point of his article emphasizes the fact that in the beginning of a “movement,” it is almost completely about what the demonstrators are against.  Fighting a tyranny that has been advanced against the common folk.

Part 2 next.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Joe Paternos will ruin college athletics

When you put a winning record ahead of common decency and what is right for young people, the end result is exactly what happened at Penn. State.  Disgrace.  Not only did Jerry Sandusky get away with what he did, he got away with it for ten years while others, like head coach Paterno, looked on and either turned their head or made minimum efforts to do something about it.  Sandusky was arraigned on 40 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15 year period.  The man is married with six adopted children.


Jerry Sandusky arrested
The assistant coach is charged with seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, eight counts of corruption of minors, eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, seven counts of indecent assault plus other offenses.  Back in 2002 another asst. coach Mike McQueary, a graduate asst. at the time, says he surprised Sandusky as he was anally raping a ten-year-old boy.  He reported it to Paterno, who then reported it to Tim Curley, athletic director.  It is alleged that Sandusky was only barred from bringing children to the football building then.



Vicki Triponey with Paterno
Curley and Gary Schultz, overseer of the Penn. State police dept. were both charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse.  Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier have been fired, the coach ending an otherwise supposedly illustrious 41 years at the school.  Although that was questioned repeatedly by the university’s former disciplinarian Vicky Triponey whose opinion was that Paterno felt football players should be coddled and treated different than other students.

Several incidents occurred involving the players both before and after Triponey arrived at the school in 2003 from the U. of Connecticut.  She suspended one student which drew Paterno’s ire, and in an email to Curley she complained that “…football players were getting in trouble at a ‘disproportionate rate’ from other students, often for serious acts.”  She even indicated to president Spanier that she didn’t support the way Paterno was running the football program.

After Triponey suspended another player and Paterno had him suit up for the next game anyway, she advised the player he could face expulsion if he played.  It was at this point that Paterno gave Spanier an ultimatum: either fire Triponey or he would no longer do fundraising for the school.  Spanier visited Triponey at home and let her know that if this choice had to be made, she would be out of a job.  Triponey eventually left Penn. State in 2007, followed by accolades from former Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, who had nothing but good things to say about her when she worked there.

And like they say, the rest is history.  Much like the old adage, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” in college football, if the program’s winning and making money, don’t touch it.  And therein lays the Paterno-like problems that are going on at campuses across the country.  Not necessarily sexual abuse, but the kind of favoritism that gives preference to athletes over other students.  Other than the latter and player run-ins with law enforcement that can often be serious, they get special treatment within the school administration like registration partiality and placement with teachers who are sports fans.  Some have actually been paid money to play and given automobiles to sign up with a particular school.  Most of this can be attributed to alumni who also put winning ahead of ethics.

It remains to be seen if the Penn. State uproar will change anything.  This sort of revelation has done little in the past to improve the system.  Most would agree that the secret to the problem is balance, so that one side is not overpowering the other, which is pretty much true of anything we do.  Did Paterno do enough?  Not likely. 

Let me leave you with a couple of quotes from Vince Lombardi, former coach of the Green Bay Packers.  First: “Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser.”  And: “Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing.”  Peace!

Friday, November 25, 2011

“Have they gone nuts in Washington?”

David Gergen
David Gergen, senior political analyst with CNN, said it with gusto evidenced by the content of his commentary.  He says this kind of political jockeying has been with us since the beginnings of this nation, but political leaders in the past have been able to work out compromises.  Our ‘leaders’ of today, however, have tossed aside the wisdom of the Founders.”  To most of us, it would appear that they have completely abandoned the clear thinking approach to government for the more trendy partisan fanaticism of left and right.

What they have really abandoned is the American public in favor of Tea Party wackos and a Grover Norquist stand on absolutely no tax increases.  Some Democrats are at fault as well for not realizing there will have to be some painful, perhaps deep, cuts to domestic entitlement programs.



Gergen, who has worked with a number of presidents and has been a political analyst for several years, says the GOP wants federal spending cuts without raising any taxes.  On the other hand, Dems claim the rich have increased their wealth on the backs of the “99%” and should be taxed as a beginning to righting the ship. 

And yes, the White House has been severely lacking in its leadership on this issue by remaining seemingly either resigned to defeat, or not able to come up with the aggressive strategy to prevail.  White House Secretary Jay Carney’s reply to this is that the responsibility for doing a deal belongs to Congress, not the White House.

But a CNN/ORC poll asserts there is an explanation to the Super Committee’s failure.  Although most Americans agree on increasing taxes on the rich and major cuts in domestic spending programs, there is definitely a partisan divide that stands in the way of the committee’s decision.  Two-thirds of the public wants increased taxes on high-income Americans and businesses, 32 percent don’t.  However, Republicans oppose tax increases by 59 percent to 39 percent, and Democrats are against spending cuts by 57 percent to 42 percent.

Grover Norquist fantasy
 When it comes to Independents who are critical to the 2012 elections, a whopping 70 percent are for taxing the wealthy and corporations, but also want major cuts to domestic spending.  It would seem most everyone is against raising taxes on the middle class, 60 percent don’t want major cuts in military spending, and 57 percent oppose any major changes to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

And there are yet other important issues that must be dealt with.  There are pressing deadlines on extending the payroll tax at a cost of over $110 billion.  A temporary extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed costing $55 billion with an added $130 billion for the minimum tax cost.  Canceling doctors’ Medicare fees cuts will cost another $30 billion.

Members of Super Committee
Put the blame on…who?  Neither side wins a popularity contest but the GOP leadership in Congress approval ratings have fallen even further to 21 percent.  The Democratic leadership approval also dropped but remains at a higher 29 percent.  The general consensus is that a plurality of the American public will blame Republicans more than Democrats for the failure of the Super Committee.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Nasty Jack, Keith Olbermann and Sarah Palin

David, day after Thanksgiving
I don’t know about you but I have several things to be happy for.  A great wife who is an incredible partner helping me through trying times, four kitty kats that are a riot to watch, three fantastic kids that grew up to be outstanding citizens, five awesome grandchildren who are just wonderful, and four great-grandchildren who are spectacular. 

Even the "bird" didn't like him
Who could ask for more unless you are a frustrated progressive living amongst an active hive of radical conservatives in Arizona.

And here are some Thanksgiving sayings you might be interested in:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare.  They are consumed in twelve minutes.  Half-times take twelve minutes.  This is not coincidence.  ~Erma Bombeck

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

Thanksgiving is America's national chow-down feast, the one occasion each year when gluttony becomes a patriotic duty.  ~Michael Dresser

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.  ~Native American Saying

So let me leave you with a You Tube video (below) by progressive Keith Olbermann featuring Sarah Palin pardoning a turkey some 3 years ago when she was Gov. of Alaska.  It is hilarious with Olbermann’s commentary and Palin’s usually stupid remarks.  To begin with, Palin is standing in front of a turkey killing machine with a man in the process of doing a gobbler in.  It also has a short vignette of the fiasco several years ago on the WKRP television sitcom where turkeys are dropped live from a plane.



HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where is the Hispanic vote likely to go in 2012?

The first question is will Latinos compound their recent increases in population to make their presence known at the polls?  They’ve let themselves down recently, as in 2010 when they sat back and allowed the Republicans to take over the House, although they did win the Governorships in Nevada, New Mexico and Florida. 

But a Pew Research study in 2010 found that 44 percent of Hispanic Republicans planned to vote compared to only 28 percent of Hispanic Democrats.  When it is clear that the GOP still views Latinos in a negative light, it is hard to understand these figures.  Have they learned a lesson with the recent continued rhetoric on immigration reform from the right?

Josh Lederman of The Hill blog looks at 3 states to follow in 2012, but winning them won’t be easy.  If the President had put as much effort behind immigration reform as he did with healthcare in his first year, the numbers might be different.  Seven out of ten Hispanic registered voters are not happy with their personal situation and “frustrated” with both parties.  The building influence of the Latino vote is impressive and has to be reckoned with.
There are over 50 million Hispanics in the U.S. and those who are citizens will represent 10 percent of the adult population by the 2012 election, according to Hispanic News.  With over 60 percent earning incomes of over $35,000, around 44 percent are in the income category that Democrats will probably most appeal to.  But a study by the Center for Immigration Studies says partisanship remains strong regardless of economic standing.  As an average, Dems have a 20.5 point advantage over Republicans.

Following this same study, Democrats have a whopping 32 point lead with college-educated Latinos.  And the longer these folks are in the country, the stronger they lean to the left.  But Hispanic News tells us that even with a rapidly growing population, Latinos still don’t register to vote like Whites and Blacks.  Much of this can be attributed to the bigoted anti-immigrant laws passed recently in Arizona and Alabama.  Even the legals are still skeptical of the likes of a Joe Arpaio. (Arizona’s Sheriff who regularly intimidates and arrests immigrants)

Only around 60 percent of Hispanic citizens are registered to vote, compared to 70 percent of Blacks, 74 percent of Whites.  The HN site estimates that 21.5 million Latino citizen adults will be eligible to vote in 2012, leaving over 8 million to get registered.  However, this could all change with President Obama’s recent deportation policy to concentrate now on criminals.  It helps relieve law enforcement as well as recognizing the fact that some of the migrants caught in raids like those of Arizona Sheriff Arpaio are honest working individuals.



The 3 states up for grabs, as reported by The Hill’s Lederman are Arizona, Florida and Nevada.  Arizona, with a Latino population of 1,895,149 in 524,806 households is looking much better since the anti-immigration bigot, State Sen. Russell Pearce lost his seat in a recall.  Also, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, an Independent but loyal to Democrats, will run to take over Republican Jon Kyl’s Senate seat.  And one prominent state Republican has said that based on his pissing off Hispanics, Romney would be lucky to get 9 percent of the Latino vote.

 Florida, on the other hand, is a hard state in which to predict the Hispanic vote, because of its diversification of immigrants from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Central and South America.  A GOP strategist says you would insult them by making an appeal to everyone as a group. 

The question is, do even the Dems have the time and money to devise separate campaigns?  U.S. Sen. Bill nelson (D) will likely be running against Republican Connie Mack, whose criticism of Arizona’s immigration crackdown could garner Latino votes.  Total Hispanic population is 4,223,806 in 1,422,496 households.

Nevada, hard hit by a slumping economy fraught with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, has a smaller Latino presence; population 716,501 in 192,459 households.  Democrats are working hard in this state where Hispanics made up 16 percent of the electorate in 2010, giving Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) 66 percent support, 86 percent among Spanish-speaking voters.  Republican Dean Heller appointed to Jon Ensign’s seat after his resignation will run as an incumbent against whoever the Dems come up with.

The only state of the three not included in the USA Today/Gallup Poll 12 swing states is Arizona.  But with the recent extremist politics in this state voters seem to be fed up with, Arizona could go all the way over to the left side.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Arizona’s fake governor Jan Brewer extends her dictatorship

Arizona tourism
For those of you who don’t live in the state of Arizona, let me recommend that you make a visit as soon as possible, in part to enjoy the wonderful weather and surroundings while most of the rest of the country fights the cold including snow and sleet.  It’s Florida without the humidity, and, although we don’t have an ocean, there are plenty of great lakes and water parks.  We know how to cater to our valued tourist here; we just don’t know how to run a civilized state.  At least the conservative extremists in control don’t.

The other reason you should come here is to witness the most bizarre politics in the nation, leaving with the absolute certification that you are much better off where you live; unless, of course, you are also a fanatical conservative.  In that case you might want to consider a move to the Sunshine State.  Arizona is a wonderful place to live if you are apathetic about the political scene, willing to have a legislative asylum make your laws. 

Or…if you are a progressive that sincerely wants to change the present state government and make it a decent place to live for all political persuasions.

Colleen Mathis "perplexed"
In the latest development, the counterfeit governor Jan Brewer has decided to fly in the face of voters again—she already did recently by halting a medical marijuana bill passed by the people of Arizona—and fire Colleen Mathis, the Independent head of the redistricting commission simply because the maps don’t favor Republicans as much as she and the GOP wanted.  Her decision was challenged in the state’s Supreme Court and was struck down.

Arizona’s attorney provoked the court when she told them that Brewer did, in fact, have the right to fire Mathis.  Further, that the state’s top tyrant could even fire Mathis if she didn’t like her hairstyle, and the Court couldn’t do a thing about it.  Well, they did, and reinstated Mathis as the Independent Chair, telling them to go on about their business of redistricting.  One former Justice commented on how blatantly Brewer’s act was refuting the voter’s wishes.



With this kind of reasoning, this wacko could keep firing people until she got what she wanted, tying up the redistricting process for months.  Brewer even admitted she wanted to fire the two Democrats on the panel, but the State Senate wouldn’t let her, obviously, when someone decided that was just going too far.  The make-believe Gov. let us know how disappointed she was and added her decision was made “only after much deliberation.”  Like she took 5 minutes away from her book tour in New York to approve something prepared by her inept staff.

The Arizona Redistricting Commission, enacted in 2000 by voters to eliminate tampering by lawmakers to gerrymander their own districts, consists of 2 Democrats, 2 Republicans and 1 Independent.  The way the current draft maps are drawn, Republican Reps. David Schweikert and Ben Quayle would be forced to fight it out now for the same district.  Rep. Paul Gosar, also a Republican,  would find himself in a less GOP-friendly district.  Poor babies.  Imagine having to do it the right way instead of the prejudiced conservative way. But this isn’t the end of the story.

Arizona’s pseudo governor is now considering firing Mathis all over again.  Brewer’s demented staff says, ‘we got the letter wrong,’ which is understandable considering this group of double-digit IQs, claiming the Court agreed when it said she, “…did not lay out a constitutionally valid argument in her dismissal of Mathis.  So maybe she will say she doesn’t like the way Mathis does her hair, or the shoes she wears, or the kind of car she drives.  Anything is possible with this blockhead.

With any luck, the redistricting panel will quickly get their act together and finalize the maps in a legal and ethical procedure.  If the phony governor still attacks the outcome, then, hopefully, we can talk Randy Parraz into holding off long enough on Joe Arpaio to impeach Jan Brewer first.




Monday, November 21, 2011

75% say deficit Super Committee negotiations are “doo doo”

Deficit "Super Committee"
That’s my term.  The actual words are, “ridiculous, disgusting, stupid, frustrating, childish, and a joke,” according to the Christian Science Monitor.  Just recently NY Sen. Charles Schumer (D) said the committee would fail due to the refusal by Republicans to consider tax increases.  And if that happens, the prediction is that the approval of Congress will drop to yet another low from the current 13 percent.  Only 21 percent of Americans think the panel will accomplish its goal.

The clock is ticking with the deadline Wednesday for a decision by the group of 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans.  The Economist reports the GOP has offered a paltry attempt at a revenue increase consisting of fees, sales and a host of creative ploys, including closing some tax loopholes on charitable deductions and mortgages on a second home.  But the kiss of death comes in the form of making permanent George W. Bush’s tax cuts as well as lowering the top tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent, a definite no-no for Democrats.

So, in effect, Republicans have made a mockery of an offer they hope will make them look like they are cooperating in the face of the American public, when all they are hoping for is for the Dems to turn it down so the GOP can use that in 2012.  Pathetic.  Of course there is the slim possibility the GOP is waiting for a counter offer by the left, but not likely since Democrats are adamant they want “real” tax revenue increases in return for cuts to entitlements.

The official deadline to reach the minimum $1.2 trillion cut is Wednesday, but before that date the congressional Budget Office was supposed to evaluate the fiscal impact of the plan.  The latest news as this was being written was that Democrats had rejected the latest proposal from Republicans that would curb deficits by $545 billion over the next decade.  The Dems termed it just “halfway” because there was only $3 billion in tax revenue.



 What happened to the Millionaire’s tax that is backed by 75 percent of the American public?  One of the reasons for this is that the average big-business CEO pay is $9.6 million annually.  Another, 25 percent of millionaires are taxed less than the middle class.  If this 5.6 percent surtax on the super-rich were applied, it still would only put the top rate for the wealthy to approximately where it was during Clinton’s administration, when he turned record deficits into surpluses. 

If the committee doesn’t reach an agreement, there will be automatic cuts in defense and domestic spending starting in 2013.  It will also piss off an American electorate even further that will hopefully go for the jugular in 2012.  This kind of inability to negotiate for the benefit of the country in general is truly grounds for the concept that has been circulating for some time now.  Replace Congress!


Latest Developments: The deficit committee was reporting Sunday that negotiations have ended and the latest activity is trying to figure out just how to release this to the American public.




Friday, November 18, 2011

Progressives make significant strides in recent elections

It would appear that voters are finally making their voices heard, letting elected officials know they are fed up with conservative extreme politics.  You had to wonder just how long thinking Americans would allow this Bush/Cheney/Rove insanity to go on.  But apparently it is emerging at just the right time for the left, but must be nurtured even more to keep the momentum going. Justine Sarver, executive director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, says “…the other side has gone too far.”

One of the most blatant examples is the recall election of Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce which resulted in his defeat by a Republican moderate.  Pearce was even the Senate President.  There is now consideration to recall Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, even the forged governor, Jan Brewer.  And in Michigan, state Rep. Paul Scott (R) lost his seat due to opposition to teacher tenure and education funding.  He was also chairman of the House Education Committee.

Also in Michigan, Traverse City residents voted to keep on the books a non-discrimination law prohibiting discrimination for sexual orientation.  Openly gay and lesbian candidates across the country, themselves, achieved success by electing candidates in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Virginia and New Jersey.  A total of 53 of 75 candidates endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund won.

But the biggest loss by conservatives was in Ohio where Gov. John Kasich (R) took a big hit.  It was a bi-partisan effort, including Independents, totaling 60 percent of Ohio voters that defeated the issue to maintain the Governor’s restricted union collective bargaining rights of 360,000 public employees.  Even Kasich, in his first term, said it was time to pause, adding, “You don’t ignore the public.” 



In Mississippi a stupid “personhood” amendment was rejected that declared a fertilized egg a legal person and would have made it illegal for women in the state to use some birth control along with other restrictions.  It almost sounds as if the Catholic Church has infiltrated Mississippi government.  And Maine reinstated the right to register to vote on Election Day rather than a legislative requirement by the Republican governor for two days prior to the election.

But returning to Arizona where the politics have been so bizarre since sham governor Jan Brewer took office, there is energized hope that saner heads and enlivened progressives could prevail in 2012.  I use this state as an example, and as a prototype for the worst state government in the U.S., primarily because I live here.  Also, from my observation, it actually is the worst governed state in the country. 

There is a legislature controlled by Republicans that, with the help of an incompetent pretend governor, does as it pleases, regardless of how it affects the state.  Arizona’s Democratic Party contends that the recent recall of State Sen. Russell Pearce, author of the anti-immigration bill SB1070 and the state’s official bigot, is evidence of a shift from extremist conservative politics in the state.  President Obama has even said Arizona will play a “critical role” in 2012 where his grassroots group Organizing for America has been active.  And they are also focusing on the Hispanic vote by hiring Mexican-Americans to work the Latino community.

The Behavior Research Center said, "The impression of Arizona as a majority conservative state is more a reflection of gerrymandering and the historically superior strength of conservative forces in getting their voters to the polls."  And if you have been following the recent redistricting dispute where mock Gov. Jan Brewer removed the Commission’s Independent member because the new map results favored Democrats, you can understand the gerrymandering charge.

So my point is, if it is possible for progressives to bring around the state of Arizona, at least partially, it is possible for progressives to win across the U.S.  The country will be eyeing the typically important states where election decisions are traditionally made in most elections.  But I bet a lot of people, including myself, will turn their attention to Arizona to see if it continues to qualify as the most politically laughable state in the nation.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Barack Obama at the crossroads

Some are predicting gloom and doom for the President, yet others say he has a good chance in locking up the 270 electoral votes needed to win.  He had 365 in 2010 with nine considered toss up, five leaning Obama, and thirteen solid Obama; but 2012 is likely to be very close.  The site above provides some interesting insights into his win in 2012, and a clear roadmap to what he’s up against next year. 

As an example, solid states like Michigan may prove impossible to reclaim with an unemployment rate there of 11.1 percent.  Nevada, with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country could now be leaning right.  John Avlon on CNN News tested the theory of top political experts that says “…you can gauge a president's chances of re-election by looking at just a couple of key indicators -- job approval, unemployment and growth in gross domestic product.”  He concludes there is no reason for overconfidence for Mr. Obama.



His approval rating is 45 percent compared to Nixon, Reagan and Bill Clinton who had 49 percent at the same point in their administrations.  The closest unemployment rate to the current 9 percent was with Ronald Reagan at 8.5 percent.  And with this considered, Obama actually stands tall with the 45 percent, along with a personal approval rating of 70 percent.  What the former presidents didn’t have to contend with is today’s home foreclosure market.

One of the President’s biggest problems now is the ongoing European crisis, escalating up and down on almost a daily basis.  Greece gets repaired then Italy starts going down the tube.  Conversely, the two things that Obama has to shout about are the killing of Osama bin Laden, and the death of the dictator Muammar Gaddafi.  But Avlon notes that other figures are against him with American conservatives measured at 40 percent and liberals only 20 percent.


Back to the Electoral College, Chris Cillizza, writing for The Washington Post says Mr. Obama “…still retains several plausible pathways to the 270 electoral votes he needs.”  Cillizza even thinks he can lose important states like Florida, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina and still win.  Further, the President’s 2010 election win with 365 electoral votes was the largest since Clinton’s 379 in 1996.  And Obama won three states in 2010 that no Democratic president has carried for over 20 years: Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia.


Carrying this further in a USA Today/Gallup Poll, it determined the 12 swing states most likely to decide the outcome of the 2012 election based on their voting histories.  They are: Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia in the South; Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico in the Mountain West; Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin in the Midwest; and New Hampshire and Pennsylvania in the Northeast.  I plan to analyze all these states in the future as well as others for characteristics that could be considered positive for Obama.

Indiana, which Obama carried in 2008 now seems to be lost to the GOP.  But Jim Messina, his campaign manager, says that Arizona could be a possibility in 2012.  The recall of Arizona State Sen. Senator Russell Pearce, a Republican, and replaced by a moderate, gives this call credence.  Then you have to consider a sleeping Hispanic population in this state coming alive in 2012.  

On the other hand twice as many Republicans voice an “extremely enthusiastic” attitude for voting next year than Democrats.  This is an inherent gene for the left and if someone doesn’t improve this kind of DNA before next November there will be problems.

Of course it all comes down to who is the GOP candidate that will run against the President, and every expert I have heard from says that is definitely important.  Even with a bunch of Keystone Kops leading into the Republican Primary, there is still a dedicated group of voters on the right that would follow any one of them off the ends of the earth.  However, it looks like it is going to be Mitt Romney and the fact that he is a moderate could be a real challenge to Obama.