Sunday Open Thread

Good Morning. I hope you are enjoying this weekend with family and friends.

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14 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:


  2. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:08 PM ET, 09/02/2012
    The Romney campaign’s theory of the race

    By Greg Sargent

    Today on Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol criticized the GOP convention for failing to offer an affirmative case for what Mitt Romney would do as president. Note Kristol’s description of the Romney campaign’s theory of the race, as described to him by senior Romney advisers (Think Progress has the video):

    “I thought that they should do a more forward looking emphasis on the next four years. They thought they’re comfortable with asking voters to pass judgement on the last four years and… just reassuring people about Mitt Romney.

    “You talk to the top Romney strategists, they use that word an awful lot. We have to reassure voters about Mitt Romney. He doesn’t hate women, he’s a likable guy. He’s a generous guy. The Republican Party is diverse. That’s enough, plus the case against Obama. That’s their theory of the race and they had a convention that fit with their theory of the race…I’m more inclined to this other belief, that you need to actually convince voters by making a positive case for the Romney-Ryan ticket… “


    I strongly suspect it’s because Romney and his advisers have over-estimated their ability to persuade swing voters that the Obama presidency is a total failure, and think the only reasons they are reluctant to vote Obama out are emotional and symbolic — they like Obama, they think he tried hard, they don’t want a transformative and historic presidency to come to an ignominious end, etc. So Romney will win if he persuades voters he’s not the rapacious corporate raider and extremist on women’s issues Dems have painted him as, and patiently explains to them that they can end the Obama presidency and feel okay about it — it’s not their fault; it’s Obama’s fault for failing them.

    I’m going to try to make this case one more time, because I haven’t been clear enough in previous posts.

    Despite the Romney campaign’s assumptions, these voters may be proving unexpectedly resistant to the conclusion that the Obama presidency amounts to an “extraordinary record of failure,” as Romney put it recently. It’s true that majorities disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy. But disapproval can mean different things. A disapproving voter may be disappointed in the slow pace of the recovery, but may also have decided that the crisis was so severe — and the resulting problems run so deep — that Obama could not have done much to make the country recover faster.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Yes, we must

    Disillusioned Obama supporters from 2008 must rally behind the President if they don’t want a Romney victory
    By Jamelle Bouie / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    Those who want to reelect President Obama need to face a disappointing reality: The chances that Mitt Romney may win in November are real, and one of the reasons is that some of those who supported Obama in 2008 and still believe in him today are making noises that they may not come out to vote.

    Yes, this may only happen on the margins — but the margins matter in a close election that could well come down to base turnout.

    Demoralized Democrats need to snap out of it, starting at this week’s convention in Charlotte. They need to realize that Obama has been a very successful President, and the Republican alternative is as stark and dangerous as anything offered by President George W. Bush.

    Over the last three-and-a-half years, the GOP has become an extraordinarily narrow party. It’s incredibly homogenous — 87% white, 52% male and 53% older than 50, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s because its policies and rhetoric have alienated African Americans, Latinos, gays, young people, women and the well-educated.

    The party has taken extreme stands against reproductive rights, lesbian and gay equality and religious pluralism. And almost a year ago, during the debt ceiling stand-off, its congressional wing held the economy hostage to absurd demands for massive spending cuts, all while refusing to increase taxes even on the very top by a fraction of a percentage point.

    Read more:

  4. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan’s Large Lies and One Big Truth
    By Jonathan Chait

    Amidst the vast plumes of rhetorical homages to freedom and entrepreneurship and the evils of central planning, there was but one small moment in Paul Ryan’s speech when he actually spelled out what his abstract rhetorical formulations really mean. It came when he assailed President Obama for cutting Medicare — cuts that Ryan now finds unconscionable but had proposed to maintain until a few weeks ago, but never mind — for what he called “a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for.”

    This is actually true — one of the few clear truths in a speech sorely lacking them. But what does this mean?

    Obama was indeed trying to turn access to health insurance into an entitlement. Ryan and his fellow Republicans have made various gestures toward the notion of some kind of plan of their own to provide access to health insurance for people who can’t afford it, but they have never been willing to devote the necessary resources. Here was Ryan actually assailing not the method but the goal, implicitly conceding his position that health insurance is not an entitlement but a nice thing everybody would like but not everybody can have, like a beach house.

    The political logic embedded in Ryan’s formulation was even more telling. He dismissed the goal of providing health insurance to those who can’t afford it as something “we didn’t even ask for.” Who is “we”? We is the majority of Americans who do have health insurance. We outnumber the 50 million who don’t. They can go screw themselves. Ryan actually called Obama’s decision to cut what he deemed wasteful spending in Medicare to cover the uninsured his “coldest power play.” It is a cold power play to give medical care to people who can’t get it, and an act of compassion to take it away from them.

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Confidence Game

    Team Obama won’t come out and say it, but it believes the race is in the bag.

    We could lose.”

    That’s David Axelrod, President Obama’s chief reelection strategist, injecting an obligatory note of caution into what is in every other way a “there’s-no-way-we-can-lose” assessment of the campaign. From top to bottom, Obama’s team keeps this self-effacing qualifier around mostly for amusement, like a yo-yo, a balsa-wood airplane, or a paper-clip necklace.

    Every campaign, of course, believes it’s going to win. Obama’s team, however, conveys such a visceral sense of self-confidence that even protestations to the contrary take on air of comically profane absurdity.

    “I don’t want you to leave here thinking I’ve got my feet up on my f—— desk and I’m sanguine,” Axelrod says after a 51-minute interview in which he surveys the landscape and finds nothing but roses for Obama and thorns for GOP nominee Mitt Romney. “I’m not! I treat this as a struggle to the end, and we’re going to fight that way.”


    There is no end of fight in the Obama campaign. Pugilism has displaced post-partisanship. The president’s aides fastidiously remind every reporter who asks about the brass-knuckle campaign conducted so far that it spent $25 million on “positive” ads in May. Losing track of their own talking points, senior advisers then offer a surgical assessment of the political vivisection they performed on Romney on issues ranging from unreleased tax returns and Bain Capital to outsourcing and a Swiss bank account, wielding TV ads and attack lines in June, July, and August.

    “They didn’t give people anything to grab on to, and they allowed us to define him before he could define himself,” Axelrod says of Romney. “And now they are playing catch-up. And now they are running bio ads. The summer is when candidates and races get defined. That’s why we made a strategic decision that it was better to muscle up in the summer. I can’t think of a presidential race determined by paid media after Labor Day.”

    That’s Axelrod’s understated way of saying—feet-up-on-the-desk protestations notwithstanding—that he thinks the election is already over. In fact, campaign officials purposely approach the race as closer than they truly think it is. For more than two months, the campaign has been subtracting 2 points from internal polls that consistently show Obama ahead nationally and state by state.

  6. rikyrah says:

    The Other Power in the West Wing

    President Obama was in a bind, and his chief of staff could not figure out how he had ended up there

    Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church were up in arms last fall over a proposal to require employers to provide health insurance that covered birth control. But caving in to the church’s demands for a broad exemption in the name of religious liberty would pit the president against a crucial constituency, women’s groups, who saw the coverage as basic preventive care.

    Worried about the political and legal implications, the chief of staff, William M. Daley, reached out to the proposal’s author, Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary. How, he wondered, had the White House been put in this situation with so little presidential input? “You are way out there on a limb on this,” he recalls telling her.

    “It was then made clear to me that, no, there were senior White House officials who had been involved and supported this,” said Mr. Daley, who left his post early this year.

    What he did not realize was that while he was trying to put out what he considered a fire, the person fanning the flames was sitting just one flight up from him: Valerie Jarrett, the Obamas’ first friend, the proposal’s chief patron and a tenacious White House operator who would ultimately outmaneuver not only Mr. Daley but also the vice president in her effort to include the broadest possible contraception coverage in the administration’s health care overhaul.

    A Chicagoan who helped Mr. Obama navigate his rise through that city’s aggressive politics, Ms. Jarrett came to Washington with no national experience. But her unmatched access to the Obamas has made her a driving force in some of the most significant domestic policy decisions of the president’s first term, her persuasive power only amplified by Mr. Obama’s insular management style.

    From the first, her official job has been somewhat vague. But nearly four years on, with Mr. Obama poised to accept his party’s renomination this week, her standing is clear, to her many admirers and detractors alike. “She is the single most influential person in the Obama White House,” said one former senior White House official, who like many would speak candidly only on condition of anonymity.


    Yet if that answer remains elusive, interviews with more than two dozen former and current administration officials offer a portrait of a woman wielding a many-faceted portfolio of power.

    Partly it is her ubiquity, the guiding hand in everything from who sits on the Supreme Court to who sits next to whom at state dinners, the White House staff memos peppered with “VJ thinks” or “VJ says.” When the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett showed up for a private lunch with the president last July, the table was set for three.

    Ms. Jarrett often serves as a counterweight to the more centrist Clinton veterans in the administration, reminding them and her innately cautious boss that he came to Washington to do big things. Some of his boldest moves, on women’s issues, gay rights and immigration, have been in areas she cares about most. If Karl Rove was known as George W. Bush’s political brain, Ms. Jarrett is Mr. Obama’s spine.

    She is also his gatekeeper, sometimes using that power to tip the balance in internal debates. After the financial crisis, as the administration grappled with how to rein in Wall Street, Ms. Jarrett made sure that Paul A. Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman whose voice was being drowned out, got a meeting with the president. The result: tougher measures than the president’s top economic advisers were advocating.

  7. rikyrah says:


    Willard and his team must have peed in Milbank’s breakfast one day.


    Dana Milbank Political Sketch: Auditioning for President

  8. rikyrah says:

    Internet Killed the Convention Bounce

    by BooMan
    Sun Sep 2nd, 2012 at 12:39:03 AM EST

    If video killed the radio star, it appears that the internet killed the political convention bounce. Between 1968 and 1992, the only challenger not to get a double digit bounce out of his convention was George McGovern, and he still got a bounce bigger than Bush in 2000, Kerry in 2004, or Obama in 2008. McGovern’s convention was, of course, a tremendous disaster because his running mate turned out to have received electric shock therapy.
    Before the inception of the internet, most Americans were much more influenced by the political coverage of the conventions on television. People learned a lot about Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Mike Dukakis, and Bill Clinton by watching their conventions. They learned almost nothing about George W. Bush, John Kerry, or Barack Obama by watching theirs. I think Mitt Romney will discover that the trend remains true.

    Today’s conventions are basically like big ad buys. You get a small and unsustainable bounce out of them, but they matter very little.

    In 2008, the Democratic convention didn’t move the polls much but the flawless execution solidified the impression that Obama knew how to do big things. In 2012, the Republican convention had a lot of hiccups, which bolstered the idea that Romney can’t execute under pressure. We saw it with his foreign trip, and we saw it in Tampa. He reinforced negative perceptions about himself. He”ll get a little bounce just because he got a lot of attention. But it won’t last.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Congresswoman Opposes Federal Law Preventing Insurance Companies From Denying Care To Leukemia Patients

    By Scott Keyes and Adam Peck on Aug 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    There should be no federal law preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to leukemia patients, according to a leading Republican congresswoman.

    In an interview with ThinkProgress, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) argued that, contra Obamacare’s new protections, insurance companies should not be prevented by federal law from denying insurance to people with pre-existing conditions, including those with leukemia. “What you don’t have to do is federalize everything,” Blackburn, one of the GOP leaders in the health care fight, explained. She preferred state-run high-risk pools instead, but refused to entertain the idea that it should be illegal for insurance companies to deny care for those with pre-existing conditions.

    KEYES: Should that be a federal law that insurance companies can’t deny insurance to, say, leukemia patients?

    BLACKBURN: Republicans have for years worked on how to handle pre-existing conditions. Some of the states have state-run high-risk pools and those have been very successful. […]

    KEYES: So you’re saying a state thing rather than a federal law?

    BLACKBURN: Yeah. And when you look at the way some of these risk pools have been handled, they’ve been handled at the state level, some at the local level, but I think that you’ve got some models there for doing it. Not every good idea originates in Washington DC. […] There’s a different way to handle it.

    KEYES: Rather than a one-size-fits-all law?

    BLACKBURN: Handling pre-existing conditions, having something to handle that, was a Republican idea. What you don’t have to do is federalize everything. That’s what Democrats want to do. They want to bring it all into Washington D.C.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Survey Finds Zero Employers Plan To Drop Insurance Coverage

    | Out of 512 employers surveyed by the consulting firm Towers-Watson, none of them said they would drop insurance coverage for their employees after the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. Only 3 percent said it was “somewhat likely” that they might end coverage, but a large majority — 77 percent — said it was “not likely” that they would drop it. As Wonkblog’s Sarah Kliff points out, this statistic is surprising because it is much more expensive to cover a worker as well as the employee’s family — about $15,073 — compared to the $2,000 per employee fine for not offering health care.

  11. rikyrah says:

    September 02, 2012 07:00 AM
    Taibbi: Mitt Romney Was The Guy Who Fired You From Your Job
    By Susie Madrak

    Once upon a time, when I was a department head at a large company, one of my employees was badgering me about why we were going to lose our jobs after we merged with another company. “We make money for them, if you just tell them, they’ll keep us on,” she said.

    I said that the whole point of the merger was to make money for the stockholders, not to reward us for doing a good job. She told me how unfair that was. Finally I said, “I hear you on the phone every week, moving the money around in your 401K because you expect to make 13 percent interest. Don’t you get it? It’s people like you who cost us our jobs. Everyone in the stock market who expects to make a killing, instead of a reasonable return. Every time you move your money, you make it more likely someone else is going to lose their job.”

    She simply didn’t believe me. I thought of her when I read this from Matt Taibbi:

    Are you kidding? Mitt Romney was the guy that fired you from that $22.50 an hour job, and helped you replace it with two $9 an hour jobs! He was a pioneer in the area of eliminating the well-paying job with benefits and replacing it with the McJob that offered no benefits at all. One of the things that killed him in the Senate race against Ted Kennedy were Kennedy ads that reminded voters that Mitt’s takeovers resulted in slashed wages and lost benefits. He was exactly the guy that eliminated that classic $22.50 manufacturing job, like in the case of GST Steel, where Bain took over with an initial investment of $8 million, paid itself a $36 million dividend, ended up walking away with $50 million, and left GST saddled with over $500 million in debt. 750 of those well-paying jobs were lost.

    What kinds of jobs were left for those fired workers to look for? Well, in the best-case scenario, you might have found one at Ampad, another Bain takeover target, where workers had their pay slashed from $10.22 to $7.88 an hour, tripled co-pays, and eliminated the retirement plan.

    So a guy who eliminated hundreds of $22 an hour jobs and slashed hundreds more jobs to below $9 an hour blasts Barack Obama for not giving you the better life you deserved, after you lost your $22/hour job and had to take two $9/hour jobs. Are we all high or something? Did that really just happen?

  12. rikyrah says:

    Stealing the Election

    by BooMan
    Sun Sep 2nd, 2012 at 09:07:26 AM EST

    Ohio is a crucial state in the November election. And Romney isn’t doing well enough there to win. The following analysis may have come from Karl Rove:

    On the eve of the Republican convention, a senior strategist with a Republican “super PAC,” who would share the group’s strategic thinking only on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Romney would need a “real surge” and “a reset to the dynamics there” to gain an edge over Mr. Obama in Ohio.

    This is why the Republicans have been fighting so hard to eliminate early voting. But they’ve run into a problem there, too.

    …the Republicans had a setback on Friday when a federal judge reversed a new state law that halted early voting on the weekend before Election Day. In 2008, that final weekend was seen as giving Mr. Obama an advantage, especially as African-American churchgoers organized trips to the polls on Sunday.
    The early voting accounted for 100,000 ballots in 2008, roughly 2 percent of the total cast. That is no small number in such a hard-fought swing state, especially this year. Republicans said they would appeal the judge’s ruling.

    For more than two weeks I had been working on developing a campaign to try to bring pressure on the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to drop his opposition to early voting. Then, right before we were ready to press the ‘go’ button, a federal judge ruled that the new Ohio law is unconstitutional. And, while the Ohio Republicans are appealing, once things get in the judicial arena, the opportunities for political action pretty much evaporate.

    So, on the one hand, I wasted a lot of time and energy. On the other hand, at least for now, black folks in Ohio can vote after church on the Sunday before the election. And that really is what these voting changes are about. Whether it is limiting early voting or requiring a state-approved photo identification, or it’s purging the voter lists, to beat Obama it is not enough to get the Republican base out to vote. And, since the GOP is having almost no success in winning over Obama voters from 2008, their only path to victory is to suppress the Democratic vote. They have been trying to do that through the law, but they can do it in other ways, too. They can fail to supply an adequate number of voting machines, thereby creating long lines in urban areas. They can arbitrarily strike people off the registration rolls. They can send in hordes of “election observers” to harass and challenge people’s right to vote. Perhaps they can even hack into the vote tabulating computers in certain instances. The GOP will employ most if not all of these tactics in addition to the legal shenanigans they have already pursued.

    The good news is that the Republicans have been consistently losing in court. Yet, court battles are not truly decided until the Supreme Court weighs in. With the Roberts Court, I don’t think either side can assume they will prevail in the end.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Roland Martin actually had an excellent segment on Black people and their healthcare options. fact filled, no ifs and or buts about it, and what Black folks would gain from the full implementation of the ACS versus what would happen if Willard became President and the GOP kept the House. if anyone finds it out there, please post a link.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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