Throughout her campaign Elizabeth Colbert Busch has fashioned herself as a candidate devoid of any ties to a party or agenda. Despite her opponent, former governor Mark Sanford, insisting she holds an allegiance to the left, Mrs. Colbert Busch has remained steadfast in her approach. In a race replete with negative ads and the typical disdain for corruption, partisanship and business as usual, what has not been discussed is what actually defines an independent.
The appeal to the politically-homeless and disenfranchised is commonplace and to be expected; particularly in the current political climate where even head lice is more popular than Congress. Needless to say, appearing to be a rebuke against the establishment is more crucial now than ever. The primary goal of the Colbert Busch campaign has been to capitalize on this bourgeoning cynicism.
To her credit, Mrs. Colbert Busch drove this point home early in Tuesday’s debate saying, “I will take that tough, independent business woman—independent business career and I’ll go to Washington with the help of all of you.”
Sanford would question this statement early and question it often. Citing on several occasions the amount of funding Mrs. Colbert Busch had received from the Democratic left, he stressed his concern that such financial support would not come without expectations. To this she replied, “No one tells me what to do except the people of South Carolina’s 1st District.”
Written by David Kirby, associate policy analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Last week, I posted data from the latest Reason-Rupe poll showing 77 percent of libertarians supporting Romney—the highest percentage share of the libertarian vote of any Republican presidential candidate since 1980.
Many commenters on Twitter and Facebook were horrified! Surely, many reasoned, this large vote share is a measure of antipathy for Obama rather than affinity for Romney. Others commented that any libertarian supporting Romney doesn’t deserve to be considered a “true” libertarian.
I wanted to reflect on this last comment. Who should count as a libertarian?
In our Cato research, David Boaz, Emily Ekins and I have taken to using a relatively broad definition of a libertarian. Why? Compared to other political words like “capitalism” or “socialism,” fewer know the word “libertarian.” Many who hold libertarian views call themselves “moderate” or “independent” or even “conservative.” Few polls even offer respondents an option to identify themselves as “libertarian.” Those that do reveal confusion about what the word means.
A few months ago, conservatives sought to gain politically by going after the contraceptive mandate implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services. This immediately became an issue of religious liberty for conservatives because it would have required religious institutions to cover contraceptives even if it was against their teachings.
Thanks to some rather nutty comments by Rick Santorum, who openly questioned the use of contraceptives, Democrats were able to spin the issue into a so-called “war on women.” The situation was exacerbated thanks to comments by Rush Limbaugh aimed at Sandra Fluke, who had argued that taxpayers should fund contraceptives. Even though Fluke’s reasoning was flawed, taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to subsidize her contraceptives, Limbaugh’s comments were completely unnecessary and wrong.
The strategy was successful in the short-term, as wedge issues usually are. However, it eventually backfired on them when Hilary Rosen, a Democratic operative, said that Ann Romney, wife of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, had never worked a day in her life.
Romney took to Twitter to defend herself, setting off a firestorm that caused Rosen to later apologize. The argument from conservatives is that Democrats are waging a “war on stay-at-moms,” largely silencing Democrats on the issue and swinging momentum back to Republicans — at least temporarily.
I’ve long held that, to be effective politically, conservatives and libertarians (or center-right independents) need to find common ground, and that if libertarians want to see policy and political change, it needs to be an inside job.
While this video isn’t surprising, it’s sad to me to see an outspoken conservative like Alfonzo Rachel divisively deriding libertarians as the 2012 cycle begins to pick up. It’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to stay home on Election Day.
Consider this an open thread.
It’ll be nearly three years before Republicans begin to head to the polls to choose their presidential nominee, but they jockeying for position is well under way. Both Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), both of whom are thought to be among the Republicans who will seek the nomination, have been making high-profile speeches and legislative proposals over the first four months of the year.
But according to a new poll, voters have a more favorable opinion of Paul, who has carried the Tea Party banner in the Senate, than they do Rubio, who has been dubbed by Time as the “Republican savior”:
According to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, Paul, who was elected with strong tea party support in Kentucky, comes in at 53% among Republicans, and 32% among independents.
Rubio’s favorable rating among Republicans, meanwhile, is 48%. Among independents, the Florida senator is at 27%.
The numbers fall mostly in line with a CNN/ORC International poll conducted last month, when 53% of Republicans had a positive opinion of Paul, though slightly more–54%–felt the same about Rubio at the time.
And while Rubio was a top surrogate for GOP nominee Mitt Romney and a contender to be his running mate, Paul still has higher ratings among Romney voters than Rubio, 62%-56%, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.
While other polls show Iowa and Wisconsin out of Mitt Romney’s reach, new polling from Rasmussen in both states show a tightening race with just four days left to go until voters head to the polls.
A week ago, the candidates were tied at 48% apiece. The president led by two earlier in the month, while Romney posted a three-point lead in September. Prior to the latest findings, Romney’s support in Iowa has fallen in the narrow range of 46% to 48% in surveys since June, while Obama’s support has ranged from 44% to 49%.
Forty-two percent (42%) of likely Iowa voters have already voted. The president leads 56% to 39% among these voters.
In line with voters nationally, Iowa voters trust Romney more by seven points – 51% to 44% - when it comes to handling the economy but trust the candidates equally in the area of national security.
Independent voters are the key to this presidential election. There is little doubt about that. Mitt Romney is already doing well in swing states with these crucial voting bloc, and, as Chris Cillizza recently explained at the Washington Post, may ride them to victory over President Barack Obama:
In the last three releases of the tracking poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News, Obama has trailed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney among independent voters by between 16 and 20 percentage points.
That’s a striking reversal from 2008, when Obama won independent voters, who made up 29 percent of the electorate, by eight points over Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
So, what gives? Why is Obama — at least according to the Post-ABC data — having so much trouble with independents?
The answer lies in the fact that most independents are not, well, independent. Of all the likely voters who called themselves independents in nine days of the Post-ABC tracking poll, fully three-quarters (75 percent) — said they tend to lean toward one party or the other. (The remainder are known as “pure” independents.)
And it’s among those shadow partisans that Obama is struggling. Ninety-two percent of Republican-leaning independents said they plan to support Romney, while 84 percent of Democratic-leaning independents are backing Obama.
This morning we ran through the current electoral vote count and what states were currently in play for both candidates. Some may be wondering what factors are driving the race right as Mitt Romney looks to be making substantial gains in swing states. Perhaps the most important voting bloc helping Romney in these important states is independents, as Christian Heinze notes over at The Hill:
a. Colorado = Obama won by 10% with indies in 2008.
b. Florida = Obama won by 9% with indies in 2008.
There is no denying that Mitt Romney has had a rough go of things lately. President Barack Obama managed to get a decent bounce out of the Democratic National Convention, though it seems to be diminishing in recent polls, and the aftermath of the attack on the United States Embassy in Libya was contentious thanks to the media focusing on his criticisms of Obama rather than the substance of his comments about the incident.
The latest outrage is that Mitt Romney has written off 47% of voters who he says will never vote for him because they are too dependent on the government:
During a private reception with wealthy donors this year, Mitt Romney described almost half of Americans as “people who pay no income tax” and are “dependent upon government.” Those voters, he said, would probably support President Obama because they believe they are “victims” who are “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
Citizens United, a group made famous thanks to a 2010 Supreme Court case dealing with free speech, put together some good stuff about the Left in the United States. They will soon be released Occupy Unmasked, which documents the crazy that we know as Occupy Wall Street.
Another documentary, The Hope and the Change, they’ve put together looks at the thoughts of some Democrats and independent voters who supported Barack Obama in 2008, but have been disappointed in his presidency:
This documentary, which is out now on DVD, will be among those offered by Citizens United for a free screening during next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa.