2012 Presidential Election

Progressive Journalists: NOW we’ll be tougher on Obama

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There’s been a lot of ink (digital or otherwise) by conservatives and libertarians about the lack of critical thinking on the part of much of the press regarding President Obama and his policies.  I’ve been accused of just being paranoid (which may be true), but it looks like there is some validity to the argument.

In conversations with POLITICO, some of the left’s most influential voices in media said that, with the concerns of re-election over, they intend to be more critical of the president’s performance and more aggressive in urging him to pursue a progressive agenda as the clock ticks on his last four years in office.

“Liberals in the media are going to be tougher on Obama and more respectful at the same time,” Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker’s chief political commentator and a former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, told POLITICO. “He was the champion of our side, he vanquished the foe….. [but] now liberals don’t have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing.”

“In a tight election, people were sensitive to anything that would jeopardize the president’s re-election,” said Melber. “There’s no question that a second term changes the center of gravity for any administration: There is no reasonable argument that criticism will result in the defeat of Barack Obama.”

 

Time to Separate Conservatism from Religion—And Fast

Religion and Politics

It is far past time to separate the conservative movement in this country from it’s fanatical marriage to religion, to once and for all put to bed the idea that all conservatives are Christian and that to be a conservative one must be a very religious person.

This is complete balderdash.

Recent surveys have put the number of nonreligious Americans at 20%, or one-fifth of the population. That’s right: one out of every five Americans does not have a religious affiliation. That’s not the same as being atheist or agnostic—we’re only 6% of the population—but it is significant. That’s because almost every argument for social conservative policies, which are a main course in the conservative policy dinner, are argued for on either religious lines or appeals to “tradition” or “Western civilization,” and those almost always come back to religion too.

What that means is that there is automatically one-fifth of the population that disagrees with you, and will always disagree with you, and will very likely always support your opponent.

Where did Romney go wrong?

Mitt Romney has lost.  In a purely academic fashion, I can’t help but think about what the Republican Party will get out of last night’s results.  After all, there is bound to be some kind of “after action” examination of the Romney campaign, at least by pundits.

Much of the results of those examinations will be that Romney wasn’t “conservative enough.”  They figure that the problem wasn’t that he was a horrible candidate, but that he wasn’t far enough to the right.

This ignores the fact that more and more people are supporting issues like gay marriage and ending the War on Drugs.  This isn’t indicative of an evangelical conservative stance as many Republicans tend to think most Americans really have.  Instead, it seems to indicate a more libertarian stance on social issues.  Will the conservative pundits understand that?  It’s doubtful, but we will see.

Economics are another issue that played a major role in the election.  It’s also one that some conservatives think they should modify their position on if they want to win in 2016.  Romney talked a sort-of free market game, and it looks like it cost him because free markets scare a lot of people.  Now, he wasn’t as free market as he liked to think he was, but what he put out seemed to scare enough voters in battle ground states that those people opted not to vote for him.

Personally, I can’t help but believe that foreign policy cost him. Obama’s supporters weren’t likely to change their vote on that issue apparently, but the undecided voters may have swung his way had there been more difference than “drone strikes and kill ‘em all” that we’ve seen for the last four years.

Why I voted for Gary Johnson

Over the last few months I’ve read many posts and arguments about why libertarians should vote for Mitt Romney. None of them really spoke to the core libertarian beliefs of libertarians, which is the advancement of individual sovereignty and free markets. Of course, my conservative friends making these arguments never really spoke to how a Romney/Ryan ticket would advance those beliefs. The argument was almost exclusively along the lines of how badly Barack Obama has been as president.

Based on the numbers from David Kirby at the Cato Institute, Romney will take some 70% of libertarian-minded voters. Many of my libertarian friends are casting their ballots for Romney. Though I may disagree with them, I understand why and respect them.

Look, I don’t disagree that President Obama has been bad for the country. The national debt has skyrockted by more than $5.5 trillion, passed a terrible health care law, and he has expanded executive power. Nearly every step Obama has taken to “help” the economy and create jobs has hampered businesses. Moreover, the tax hikes that he wants to pass, which would marginally lower the deficit over the long-term, are among the things keeping employers from investing or hiring. Passing these tax hikes in the phony notion of “fairness” would almost certainly lead to another economic downturn.

The damage to the economy during Obama’s presidency are points that we’ve been over countless times. But there are other parts of his first-term agenda that need to attention.

Why the new CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac polls are meaningless

I am not a poll truther, indeed when Romney was trailing in the polls and the trendline for him was bad in September, I warned conservatives to take those polls seriously and stop trying to claim that every poll was part of some secret plot to undermine Romney. That having been said, someone needs to explain to me how — according to the new NYT/CBS/Quinnipiac poll — Romney leads among independents in Virginia by 21 points but is somehow losing the state to Obama by 1 point. Is there a single sober person who has a turnout model for Virginia that would allow Obama to overcome a 21-point deficit among independents? I don’t think so. If Romney wins indies by 21 points on election night, he carries VA by 5 points.

In 2008, independents made up 27% of the Virginia electorate and Obama won them by 1 point en route to a 6 point win. NYT/CBS/Quinnipiac says Romney leads by 21 points among independents in Virginia today. Yet, somehow their poll shows Obama actually ahead in Virginia by 1 point. For the sake of argument, lets just pretend 2008 turnout turnout model, a model most analysts believe overstates Obama’s numbers, is the turnout model for Virginia in 2012. Even by the 2008 turnout model Obama simply can not lose independents by 21 points and win the state.

Its not just Virginia, in Ohio the Quinnipiac poll shows Romney ahead among indies by 6 but losing the state by 5 points. Again, if you assume the 2008 turnout model - the most advantageous to Obama as humanly possible - this simply defies logic. Obama won independents in Ohio in 2008 by 8 points, independents made up 30% of the Ohio electorate in 2008. If Romney leads independents in Ohio by 6 points, and even assuming the 2008 Obama super turnout model, how in God’s name is Romney losing by 5 points? Simply put, it is not possible.

Ohio still showing support for Obama

Mitt Romney campaigns in Ohio

There hasn’t been any movement in the Electoral College since our last update on Tuesday. However, there is new polling out of Ohio showing that Mitt Romney has his work cut out for him in this must-win state.

While Romney’s campaign has touted his momentum in the race, largely spurred by the debates, new polls that have come out of the Buckeye State in the last couple are ominous for Republicans with only 12 days left before the election.

Here is a brief look at the three polls that have come out of Ohio since the beginning of the week. This obviously excludes anything that may hit later today. Since people often wonder about poll demographics, I’ve included the D/R/I split from each poll. For reference purposes, 2008 exit polls showed 39/31/30 split in Ohio (it was 36/40/24 in 2004, when Bush won the state). Take whatever you see below and draw your own opinion:

Obama, Romney discuss foreign policy, military spending in final debate

Obama and Romney debate

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney met for the third and final debate last night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida to discuss foreign policy, though economic policy came up at times.

The candidates went back and forth on policy in the Middle East and toward China. Romney was given a chance during the first question to discuss Libya and the attack on the consulate that led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, but he punted, letting Obama control the narrative on that particular issue.

Obama tried to paint Romney as someone who frequently changes positions when it’s convenient. Obama also explained several times that he didn’t believe in “nation-building,” saying that it was time for “nation-building at home.”

Romney turned the debate toward economic issues during a question about whether or not he would have stuck with Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. While he answered the question, Romney segwayed, explaining, “[W]hen the president of Iran, Ahmadinejad, says that our debt makes us not a great country, that’s a frightening thing.” Romney noted the words of Admiral Mike Mullen, who explained that the national debt is a security threat to the United States.

While noting this threat, Romney disappointed anyone who was hoping that he would put forward a viable solution to fix it. Romney explained, “I’m going through, from the very beginning, we’re going to cut about 5 percent of the discretionary budget excluding military.” As explained last week, that’s not at all a significant part of the budget, coming it at around $42 billion or so. So Romney’s great budget plan effectively does nothing.

Electoral Vote: Romney making gains in swing states thanks to debate

Romney

It’s been a while since we’ve looked at the Electoral College, which is what really matters in the race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Many Republicans keep pointing to national polls showing Romney either gaining on or leading Obama. This may be an important sign, but it’s very important to remember that the popular vote means nothing when looking at the presidential race.

Romney’s strong debate performance on Wednesday has given a boost to his mistake-ridden campaign, but as of now, the presidential race really boils down to four states — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia — representing 69 electoral votes.

According to Real Clear Politics averages, Romney is tied with Obama in Colorado and Florida and less that 1-point down in Virginia. However, Romney still trails by 3 points in Ohio. Say what you want about other swing states, but Romney has to run the table in the four states to win next month.

The Real Media Bias is Against Choice

On the right it is considered an axiom that the “mainstream media” is incredibly biased towards the left.  Now, this is not a charge without merit - I think it’s hard to deny that most media comes from major cities that tend to lean liberal.  But whether or not the media favors the left or the right, both sides know one thing for certain — their candidates will be covered extensively.  Every word from Romney or Obama will make the news in some format.

But for anyone outside the two major parties, it is rare to even be mentioned, except in passing as a potential “spoiler” for one candidate or the other in a swing state.  To the average voter, then, there are only two people running.  One cannot be surprised then that the vast majority of Americans have never heard of third party candidates.  They are presented a world where there are only two choices, as if the vast spectrum of political thought can only come in two colors, red and blue.

Take this quiz on USA Today for a perfect example.  Immediately upon opening the quiz, you are shown a graphic that is half Obama and half Romney.  Every option moves the bar one way or the other.  For me, the first couple questions were about the economy and moved it to Romney.  But then came questions about gay marriage, the War in Afghanistan, and cutting military spending, which knocked it to the blue side.  In the end, my score came out 55%.  Were the world truly consigned to two poles, then, I would have to vote Democrat.

More about libertarianism, fusionism, and the Romney campaign

Jason Pye has written a great blog post about libertarians and the Romney campaign already. He asked me my opinion about it, perhaps even with the possibility of a “point-counterpoint” sort of thing. I pretty much agree with what he’s saying, particularly about Ron Paul and the Libertarian Party. We are not a monolithic group; we are a very wide and very diverse range of individuals who just want to increase individual liberty.

What I want to add is that, while Republicans and conservatives complain about us, and want us to support them in elections, they have done nothing to earn such support. Let me show you a few examples:

To which I responded with:

And to which I got this response:


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