Saturday Reads

Good Morning!!

I’ve been pretty sanguine about the chances of President Obama being reelected, but I have to admit I’m getting to the point that I could start panicking. I can’t understand why Mitt Romney seems to be doing so well in the polls right now. Seriously? Just because he managed to roll over Jim Lehrer and lie his ass off in a debate? I simply cannot understand why anyone would vote for the policies that Romney and Ryan are running on or why there would be such a sudden reversal in the polls based on outright lies and deception. What exactly is going on here?

Nate Silver, who throughout the campaign has been forecasting an Obama victory, is beginning to reverse course. Yesterday afternoon Silver wrote: Obama’s Swing State ‘Firewall’ Has Brittle Foundation.

President Obama’s position has been stronger in state polls than in national surveys on recent days, a streak that extended itself in Thursday’s polling.

Although Mr. Obama got a distinctly poor poll in Florida, which showed him seven points behind there, the rest of Thursday’s state-level data, like a series of polls by Quinnipiac University and Marist College, were reasonably good for him. In surveys of competitive states that were released over the course of the day, he held the lead with 11 polls to Mitt Romney’s 6.

However, four of the six national tracking polls moved toward Mr. Romney, who also led by one point in a national poll published by Monmouth University.

The case that Mr. Romney’s bounce is evaporating after his debate last week in Denver continues to look a bit thin. The tracking polls aren’t perfect by any means. Some are better than others, but they are a below-average group of polls on the whole. But they do provide useful information about the day-to-day trend in the race, and so far they haven’t shown the sort of reversal that Democrats might have hoped for.

What the hell is going on here? Then last night Silver published another piece: Romney Debate Gains Show Staying Power

Mitt Romney continues to surge in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, and Friday may have featured his best set of polls all year.

The best way to track a change in the polls is to look for instances in which the same firm has surveyed the same state (or the national race) multiple times. The FiveThirtyEight forecast model relies on a procedure very much like this to calculate the overall trend in the race.

Fifteen polls were released on Friday that provided a comparison with another survey conducted between the Democratic convention and last week’s debate in Denver. Mr. Romney gained an average of 4.6 percentage points in these surveys.

The scariest thing is that Romney is gaining in the swing states. Silver admits that many of the polls released on Friday were from Republican leaning firms, but still, it’s frightening.

The only really good news for Democrats is that Mr. Obama had built up a large enough cushion that he could withstand a lot of damage without becoming the underdog. The forecast model still has him clinging to narrow leads in Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and Nevada, states that in some combination would give him 270 electoral votes.

Mr. Obama may also be just slightly underperforming the fundamentals in the election. His approval ratings remain near 50 percent, which would ordinarily predict a narrow re-election victory.

But for the first time, it’s really looking like Romney/Ryan could win. For those of us who believe that there will be a gigantic difference in outcomes–especially for women–if Romney becomes president, that is a terrifying prospect. Some liberals have argued that there is little difference between these two candidates. I simply can’t agree. I think the only hope for democracy is to get Obama reelected and then push him to enact policies that will reduce economic inequality and increase individual rights.

Can Obama turn this around? I have to believe he can, but it will obviously take a dramatic improvement in his performance in next Tuesday’s debate. Both candidates are prepping for the debate over the next three days.

In other news, Think Progress pushes back on Paul Ryan’s lies about the Libya situation during the vice presidential debate Thursday night. Ryan claimed that embassy officials had requested increased security for the Benghazi consulate, but that was not true. The requests were for security at the embassy in Tripoli.

Ryan also claimed there were requests for Marines to protect the ambassador, but that is not true either. TP quotes Foreign Policy:

At Thursday night’s debate, Rep. Paul Ryan seemed to suggest that the requests were for Marines to go to Libya, which was not the case. The requests were to extend the tours of a Mobile Security Detachments [MSD] and the Site Security Team [SST] at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, which are teams of military personnel, not Marines, who can help protect an embassy and its personnel.

There’s more at the link, but pretty much everything Ryan said about Libya during the debate was a lie. So why was it wrong for Biden to laugh at him again?

At HuffPo, Sam Stein writes that Ryan actually requested more stimulus funds from the Obama administration that has previously been known.

During Thursday night’s vice presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden attacked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for criticizing the president’s stimulus act despite having sent two separate requests for stimulus funds for his district.

Biden was wrong. Ryan sent at least four requests.

A Freedom of Information Act request for correspondence between Ryan’s office and the Environmental Protection Agency, filed by The Huffington Post, unearthed two additional instances in which the Wisconsin Republican petitioned for American Recovery Act funds. In addition, there were many other occasions in which the GOP vice presidential nominee asked the EPA for grant money for projects in Wisconsin’s 1st District, which encompasses Ryan’s hometown of Janesville and has a slight Democratic lean. Combined, the letters muddy Ryan’s claim that the stimulus wasn’t helpful and that government spending, more broadly, doesn’t assist small businesses.

Stein notes that the EPA request could be embarrassing for Republicans:

…the letters’ language reveals a congressman who was involved in reviewing the applications and determining that taxpayer money could be useful economically. Moreover, the direct petitioning of the EPA could prove awkward for the Republican ticket, owing to the insistence among many in the GOP that the agency is a hindrance and should be eliminated.

You can see the original letters at the link.

Horrible, ugly troll and Romney surrogate John Sununu has struck again: Sununu Says Obama Imitating Biden Would Fail. From the Bloomberg TV unofficial transcript:

AL HUNT: Welcome back. We are now joined by former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, a top Romney surrogate. John, let me ask you. Last night, the Democrats were ecstatic. They say Joe Biden energized us again. Give me your take on the VP debate.

JOHN SUNUNU: If they’re energized by that grotesque display, all the better for it. I thought Joe Biden was on steroids last night. He looked like the Cheshire cat at times and then he looked like the gawker and the stalker. But worse than that was his substance.

“Grotesque display?” Well, I guess it takes one to know one.

HUNT: John, second presidential debate next Tuesday in Hofstra. Do you expect a different Barack Obama, a different Mitt Romney?

SUNUNU: I expect the same Mitt Romney. Mitt is pretty consistent. But I think you’ll probably see a different Barack Obama. They’re probably showing him tapes of Biden’s disgraceful performance and suggesting to him he ought to get wired like that. So I suspect you’ll see a little bit of Joe Biden not only in Joe Biden, as we saw last night, but a little Joe Biden in Barack Obama.

Well that was insightful.

Sorry I don’t have more positive news. I guess we have to hang on until Tuesday night while the media continues to fawn over Romney and Ryan.

What are you reading and blogging about today?

54 Comments on “Saturday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    James Risen has an interesting piece on the embassy security situation in the NYT this morning. The backstory involves the horrors inflicted by the Blackwater-style private contractors who are in charge.

    Lost amid the election-year wrangling over the militants’ attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, is a complex back story involving growing regional resentment against heavily armed American private security contractors, increased demands on State Department resources and mounting frustration among diplomats over ever-tighter protections that they say make it more difficult to do their jobs.

  2. Beata says:

    I can see my rosy future now: Pres. Romney, Vice Pres. Ryan, Sen. Mourdock ( along with Sen. Coats ) , and Gov. Pence. It may well happen. What a nightmare.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I just keep reminding myself that John Kerry won all of the debates in 2004 and led in the polls late in the campaign.

      • NW Luna says:

        I cannot believe that Vulture/Voucher would win in Florida. Most older voters are pretty smart about anyone messing with Medicare.

        • ecocatwoman says:

          Luna, many of Florida’s retirees are either snowbirds (homes in the North, 2nd home for the winter months in FL) or sold their home in the North & retired here. I don’t know the exact percentage, but a lot have oodles of $$$$. Lee County, in SW Florida, The Villages & Celebration in Central Florida are high dollar communities. Remember that we have had Republican dominated state legislatures & many more Republican governors than Democratic ones.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Scott Brown backed regulation changes that led to contaminated steroid injections and meningitis infections and deaths.

    The letter didn’t specifically related to the steroids, but supported the industry’s practice of shipping drugs to doctors and clinics in bulk instead of preparing individual prescriptions for each patient.

  4. janicen says:

    I remain not at all concerned. Although I was feeling pretty good about the Nat’s chances after they took a 6-0 early lead over the Cardinals but the Cards scored 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth and managed a 9-7 victory. It was heartbreaking to watch. But enough about baseball. Seriously, I’m not worried. This is all about money. They have to manipulate the polls to make us believe the race is close so that billions will continue to be spent on this election. I live in a swing state, and I see it all around me. My mail box is filled every day with info from the Republicans and we are getting bombarded with robo-calls from the Republicans. Why? Is there any evidence that anyone has ever changed their mind in a presidential election based on a robo-call? Does anyone even listen to them until the end? They have to keep spending that money. They have to so they can continue to ask for it. It’s an industry all to itself and it has to stay alive. I really believe it’s like the military industrial complex has to continue to have wars and promote wars just to survive. Electioneering is becoming like that. They have to have a tightly contested race to get more and more money so that the industry itself survives. Once people’s livelihoods are at stake they will do anything to maintain them. Manipulating a few polls is child’s play to these people.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That was too bad about the Nationals. It would have been fun to have them advance in the playoffs. But that’s baseball.

      I wish this were just a few polls. I agree that many of the smaller polls are questionable, but Pew and Gallup, PPP, Quinipac, I just do not believe are being manipulated. There is a definite trend toward Romney, and I find it frightening. I’m definitely not panicking yet, but I want to see some serious action from Obama.

      • janicen says:

        Here’s something that I find weird. I’ve been polled a few times and the last two times, when asked the likelihood that I would vote for Obama I emphatically answered “Yes, absolutely, 100 percent, I will not change my mind…” Now they call and don’t want to talk to me. They ask specifically for my daughter or my husband by name. Why do that unless you’re looking for a different answer? Are they hunting for demographics? If that’s the case then polling isn’t all that random. When there is so much money at stake, some people will do anything to get their hands on it.

      • bostonboomer says:

        That does sound pretty hinky.

    • Beata says:

      My Cincinnati Reds lost their series to the Giants. I thought the Reds were going to make it to the World Series this year. I was really looking forward to it.

      It’s very sad about the Nationals. They had a great regular season.

    • NW Luna says:

      Joe Cannon has a great example of a slanted poll:

      Should Obama force homosexual marriage on everyone? Take the poll.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    TPM: What Does A Winning Romney Majority Look Like?

    I might have to go on a media diet until Tuesday if TPM is publishing stories like this now.

    • bostonboomer says:

      TPM’s electoral college count today is Obama 253, Romney 220!

    • bostonboomer says:

      The article suggests that Romney’s momentum is coming from increased GOP enthusiasm and demoralized Dems.

      • ralphb says:

        That may be right but everyone is counting a poll done by Mason-Dixon in Florida which has Romney leading among both women and hispanics in Florida. Since Cubans now are less than 33% of FL hispanics I don’t see that as realistic. Still everyone, including Nate Silver, is averaging it in. FWIW.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I find it hard to believe, but Mason-Dixon is a respectable poll. I don’t think we’ve seen any polls that reflect reactions to the VP debate yet either.

      • RalphB says:

        The demoralized Dems part is almost obviously true if you look at the switch in party ID makeup in most every poll. Dem participation is down while Rep participation is way up so the candidate’s numbers swing.

        Are these polls going to be right on election day when both sides may, or may not, come out to vote? GOTV seems to be the main driver there.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I still think it’s essential for Obama to do well in the debate on Tuesday. People will get excited if they think he’s fired up and fighting back.

      • RalphB says:

        I agree. Tuesday may be make or break.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Three suspects held in shooting of Malala Yousafzai.

    However, dozens of suspects have been arrested so far in the investigation – including the bus driver, school guards and witnesses – and all have been released on bail. Malala rose to prominence after she emerged as the author of a blog on the BBC Urdu service, which described life under the Taliban when they controlled her home town in the Swat Valley in 2009.

    A spokesman for the Swat branch of the Pakistan Taliban claimed the would-be assassins were drawn from a pool of 100 specially trained men. Speaking from Afghanistan, Sirajuddin Ahmad said the decision to attack her was made months ago.
    ”Before the attack, the two fighters personally collected information about Malala’s route to school, timing, the vehicle she used and her security,” he said. They decided to shoot her near a military checkpoint to make the point they could strike anywhere, he added. Vigils and prayer meetings were held for her around the country yesterday.

    • HT says:

      Good grief,what kind of people are these? she is a 14 year old child. They think it is a-okay to shoot a child? Is that the kind of world that Pakastanis want to inhabit? Makes me ill just thinking about it.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Actually Pakistanis are up in arms about this.

      • HT says:

        “Most” Pakastanis are up in arms, but what about the rest of them? How can the Taliban exist without the support of local populations? Of course, most of them are cowed into silence for fear of retribution, yet if they really do not agree, then these cretins would not have found a safe place in the first place. Of course, I’m not in one of those tribal areas, so cannot really know what it is like to live with these barbarians, however it seems to be that they have safe harbour wherever they have chosen to settle. It’s sad to say the least.

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    bb, like you I have no idea where this “surge” is coming from or why.

    Romney is a proven liar. Ryan right along up there with him. But even aside from those facts the agenda this ticket promotes is bad for the nation at large:

    Eliminating Planned Parenthood.
    Eliminating reproductive rights.
    Eliminating healthcare access.
    Privatization of Social Security.
    Deregulating industries.
    Vouchers in place of Medicare.
    Eliminating programs that aid the poor, the handicapped, veterans.
    Striking down collective bargaining.
    Rolling back the minimum wage.
    Eliminating aid for higher education.
    Increasing an already bloated defense budget.
    Reducing aid to seniors in nursing homes by going after Medicaid.
    Redefiing rape.
    Blocking gay marriage.
    Granting “personhood” to a zygote.
    Beating a war drum.
    Protecting the rich.
    Villainizing gays.

    How can this agenda be taken seriously? How can so many people be voting against their own interests? How can any reasonable voter consider this ticket as worthy of support?

    I don’t claim to be a full supporter of Obama but the alternative is both frightening and detrimental to the nation.

    I can’t wrap my head around the closeness predicted based upon the policies that are in danger of elimination under this party come November.

    It is beyond my comprehension to understand.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Sorry I didn’t see your comment sooner, Pat. Somehow it ended up in spam.

    • Fannie says:

      Thanks Pat, I always like your reasons for Obama, and find myself agreeing with you. I’ll just add the Latino vote, 2/3 latino favor Obama, and I can’t forget that he selected the one and only latina to the surpreme court, and that has a long range impact, and that is what I want to see more of. You know damn well Romney isn’t going to appoint a woman to the surpreme court.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Bruce Springsteen, Bill Clinton to campaign for Obama in Ohio.

  9. RalphB says:

    Here’s another potential reason for Rmoney’s rise in the polls. Seeing Moderate Mitt in the debate may be allowing all these attack ads to work better than before. I just don’t believe the debate alone could have mattered so much.

    Romney tries to bury Obama in ads

    Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his allies are banking heavily on a high-risk, high-reward media strategy in the final weeks of the campaign, hoping that burying President Obama in ads will give them a crucial edge on Election Day.

    Ad purchases in the presidential race doubled or in some cases tripled last week in swing states such as Colorado, Florida, Iowa and Virginia, tracking data show. The surge is being driven by Romney and well-funded allies, who decided against running more ads earlier in the campaign in favor of a big bang at the end.

  10. RalphB says:

    Romney Proudly Explains How He’s Turned Campaign Around
    ‘I’m Lying More,’ He Says

    According to Romney, amidst all the lies, there is only one thing that remains true.

    “I literally have no clue where I stand on any single issue at this point,” said Romney, adding that when it comes to women’s rights, gay rights, health care, the middle class, the economy, or the U.S. military, all he knows is how to lie about them. “I understand what other people want. And what I’ve learned, especially in the past week, is that in order to be a viable candidate for the White House, that’s all you really need to know.”

    Following the interview, Romney told various reporters that, if elected, he would save the newspaper industry.

  11. ANonOMouse says:

    I feel like this blog and it’s terrific POSTS put up by frontpagers has done an EXCELLENT job of informing, shining a spotlight, truth telling and in dissecting the lies and deceptions of Romney/Ryan as well as others who support the GOP/TP.

    I’m also sure that all of us have made some sort of outreach to the Obama campaign, either through contribution, through volunteer work or through talking up the stark differences between the 2 tickets. So, we’ve made our stand and spoken our minds and after we cast our individual votes we have no more control over how the chips fall.

    For what it’s worth, I still feel optimistic that Obama will win, maybe it’s because I’ve watched the political pendulum swings for so long I know it ain’t over til it’s over. FORWARD!!!!!

  12. dakinikat says:

    Nicholas Kristof’s Sunday column is a must read

    Is that a nanny state? No, it’s a civilized one.

    President Obama’s care plan addresses this problem inelegantly, by forcing people like Scott to buy insurance beginning in 2014. Some will grumble about the “mandate” and the insurance cost, but it will save lives.

    Already, Obamacare is slowly reducing the number of people without health insurance, as young adults can now stay on their parents’ plans. But the Census Bureau reported last month that 48.6 million Americans are still uninsured — a travesty in a wealthy country. The Urban Institute calculated in 2008 that some 27,000 Americans between the ages of 25 and 65 die prematurely each year because they don’t have health insurance. Another estimate is even higher.

    You want to put a face on those numbers? Look at Scott’s picture. One American like him dies every 20 minutes for lack of health insurance.

  13. dakinikat says:

    Exit Stage Left: The FBI and Student Radicals

    From The Nation ….

    • bostonboomer says:

      I bought that book, but I haven’t had time to read it yet. I’m going to take it to Indiana with me.

    • Fannie says:

      I wonder if my phone calls were tapped………….talking with Jessica Mitford………….I’ll have to pick that up too.

  14. dakinikat says:

    New Poll shows Obama leading in Arizona. … must be all those retired people.

    Arizona: Obama 44%, Romney 42% (Rocky Mountain Poll)

  15. Saudyssey says:

    An issue something could be done about?:

    Rapists, beware…

    Kym Worthy has identified 21 serial rapists so far…

    The thousands of rape kits had piled up in a dusty police warehouse in Detroit for years, ignored, until one of Worthy’s colleagues stumbled upon them in 2009.

    In one especially horrific case, Worthy says, a convicted rapist named Shelly Andre Brooks had raped and murdered five women after raping a woman whose kit was just recently entered into the database through Worthy’s initiative. If that rape kit had been tested and entered into the database sooner, the man could have been caught sooner—and five women’s lives could have been saved. “That’s why it’s so horrible, this whole thing,” Worthy says.