Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Traditional v. Economic Conservatives

If this were the conservative Republican Party of 25 years ago, I think President Obama would go down to defeat; but under this unfeeling and angry lot that now controls the party, I think Obama can win!
by Charlie Leck

Here’s a hint at what’s going on in the election as the candidates drive toward November 6…

Obama surging in Wisconsin
President Obama has overtaken Mr. Romney on who would do a better job handling the economy, according to a new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll of likely Wisconsin voters. The poll also found that Mr. Obama has a 17-point edge over Mr. Romney when voters are asked if a candidate cares about their needs and problems.” [New York Times]

Now, Obama’s actual lead in the Wisconsin polls is somewhere between 5 and 6 percent; however, he is perceived by a whopping majority of Wisconsin voters to care more about their needs and problems. That is extraordinarily significant – especially if it translates to other toss-up states as well (Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, Ohio and Florida).

It amazes me that candidate Romney could have allowed this to happen. His constant and clear support of wealth and protecting wealth and not caring about the ordinary guy has badly hurt him; and, strangely, I don’t think that image is correct, but the Romney campaign has allowed it to become the operative picture of him.

Other political pundits are starting to talk and write about Romney’s “Wealthcare Program!”

David Brooks, a clearly conservative, syndicated columnist for the NY Times seems pretty disturbed with the movement of the Republican Party away from traditional conservatism and blames Romney’s poor showing on that shift. I think he’s correct. If this were the traditional conservative party of 25 years ago, President Obama wouldn’t stand a chance of reelection. Here’s how Brooks summarizes the dilemma is the final paragraph of his column yesterday (The Conservative Mind)…

“Some people blame bad campaign managers for Romney’s underperforming campaign, but the problem is deeper. Conservatism has lost the balance between economic and traditional conservatism. The Republican Party has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition. It appeals to people as potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors and citizens.”

Robert Reich (former Secretary of Labor and a blogger I follow regularly) proposes a convincing reason why Romney is not doing well in this campaign. He rejects the idea, put forward by a couple of leading right-wingers that it is because he is a poor candidate. Ann Coulter, for example, contends this. Reich in a recent blog argues it is more that the American public is starting to see just how radical the Republican Party has become – that it is no longer the party of Ronald Reagan.

“The Republican primaries, and then the Republican convention, have shown America a party far removed from the ‘compassionate conservatism’ the GOP tried to sell in 2000. Instead, we have a party that’s been taken over by Tea Partiers, nativists, social Darwinists, homophobes, right-wing evangelicals, and a few rich people whose only interest is to become even wealthier.” [Robert Reich]

Where the Polls Are!

The Toss-Up States
I make no changes here in my allotment of the states to each candidate. I’m leaving the toss-up state list exactly as I had them last week; however, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin have shown a slight shifting toward Obama. Florida remains a statistical dead-even state no matter what anyone otherwise might try to tell you.

I’m leaving New Hampshire in the Obama column even though many poll readers continue to call it a toss-up state.

In Virginia,
even Fox News has Obama up by 7 points and the Washington Post has him up by 8. I still don’t trust those reading and continue to call it a toss up.

In Iowa
NBC/WSJ finds that Obama has a 8 point lead. That’s the only poller I trust giving Iowa readings right now. Still, consider it a toss-up.

remains very, very close, though Obama has risen very slightly in the polls there.

shows Obama continuing to maintain a statistically very slim lead. This state could go either way after the debates.

is such a critical, important state and Obama shows a slim lead there that is well within the possible statistical error range; so, this is a state that we must view as even.

is another vital state, especially for the Republicans, and the polls there have all moved rather strongly toward Obama. FOX News polls show Obama leading by 7 points and the Washington Post has him 8 points up. Several polling organizations, however, report that it is pretty much a very even race so far. It’s become a generally accepted bromide that “the Republicans cannot win without Ohio!” It’s been true for quite a few decades and I think it’s true against this year. This
story in today’s Washington Post describes the detailed attention President Obama is giving to Ohio in this campaign.
“With polls showing Obama enjoying a clear advantage in Ohio, Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), began two days of retail campaigning with a joint rally here at Dayton International Airport.”

In the same edition of the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza’s blog says of Ohio that the “auto bailout equals political gold for Obama.”

Personally, I think Obama will soon unleash his most powerful campaign weapons on Ohio –his wife, Michelle and, possibly, his daughters, Sasha and Malia. Ohio is indeed that important!

North Carolina
is still called a toss-up by most polling agencies but I gave it to Romney three weeks ago and I see no reason to change that; however, the polls have moved back closer to an even race. Obama’s chances here hang on a very, very strong turnout of minority voters and a lot of black church-goers are tepid about Obama because of his strong support of gay marriage. If they can shake off that apathy this could turn out to be a major surprise state.

The first debate takes place next week. I think these debates are Romney’s last hope. He’s got to sparkle in them and clearly better the President on a majority of the issues discussed.

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