Monday Afternoon Coffee Break

Afternoon Coffee Break, by Merle Keller

I’m having trouble focusing enough to write a real post, so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been reading this afternoon. I’ll begin with some very good news from Reuters: Shot Pakistani girl can recover, UK doctors say

A Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban has every chance of making a “good recovery”, British doctors said on Monday as 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai arrived at a hospital in central England for treatment of her severe wounds.

Yousufzai, who was shot for advocating education for girls, was flown from Pakistan to receive specialist treatment at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital at a unit expert in dealing with complex trauma cases that has treated hundreds of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.

“Doctors…believe she has a chance of making a good recovery on every level,” said Dr Dave Rosser, the hospital’s medical director, adding that her treatment and rehabilitation could take months.

The article says the doctors haven’t actually evaluated Malala yet; but they are nevertheless confidence she can recover because she has made it through “the removal of the bullet and the very critical 48-hour window after surgery.”

Treatment for the schoolgirl is likely to include repairing damaged bones in her skull and complex follow-up neurological treatment.

“Injuries to bones in the skull can be treated very successfully by the neurosurgeons and the plastic surgeons, but it is the damage to the blood supply to the brain that will determine long-term disability,” said Duncan Bew, consultant trauma surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust in London.

Malala’s youth increases her chances for full recovery, because young brains are more plastic than older ones.

Mitt Romney has chickened out on his scheduled appearance with the “sharp-tongued women” of The View

One of the nuggets overshadowed by the 47 percent dis in the secret Mitt Romney fund-raiser video had the candidate telling his wealthy donors how he picked his television appearances, and why he shunned the likes of SNL and Letterman. The View was “high risk,” he said, because “of the five women on it, only one is conservative, and four are sharp-tongued and not conservative. Whoopi Goldberg in particular.” To make amends, the Romney campaign said both Mitt and Ann would come on the show in October, and a summit was planned for this Thursday. But as Barbara Walters announced on today’s program, the appearance has been canceled, and Ann will have to do.

“We were looking forward to it,” explained Walters. “Over the weekend, his people said that he had scheduling problems and would not be coming on with us. Nor at this point did he feel that he could reschedule.” She added, “He can change his mind and we hope he does. It would be our pleasure to have him on the program.” (“It was no longer going to work in the campaign schedule but Mrs. Romney is very excited to join the ladies of The View,” a Romney spokesperson confirmed.)

What a wimp!

There’s a lengthy article at by John Boher at BuzzFeed that explodes a number of myths about George Romney’s political career, and it is well worth the read.

Everyone agrees: Mitt Romney is not like his father.

The late Michigan governor and 1968 presidential candidate George Romney is remembered as a principled man of spontaneity and candor. His example is regularly invoked by both admirers of his son’s disciplined campaign style and critics of Mitt’s back-and-forth pandering. George, it is said, told the truth about the Vietnam War before it was popular to do so, with an unfortunately worded comment about “brainwashing” by U.S. government officials that cost him the 1968 Republican presidential nomination. “Mitt learned at an impressionable age that in politics, authenticity kills,” historian Rick Perlstein wrote in Rolling Stone earlier this year. “Heeding the lesson of his father’s fall, he became a virtual parody of an inauthentic politician.”

This rejection of his father’s example, the thinking goes, is what has made Mitt a more successful presidential candidate — self-controlled but hard to pin down, flipping from moderate to conservative to moderate once again. It is observed that Mitt would never draw a line in the sand like his father did in 1964, when George dramatically “charged out of the 1964 Republican National Convention over the party’s foot-dragging on civil rights,” as the Boston Globe’s authoritative biography, “The Real Romney,” put it earlier this year. Outlets from the New York Times to the New Republic have recalled this story of the elder Romney’s stand against Goldwater’s hard-line conservatives. Frontline’s documentary “The Choice 2012” reported it as a formative event: “when Goldwater received the nomination, Mitt saw his father angrily storm out.” A Google search for the incident produces hundreds of pages of results. In August, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne cited the episode to write that Mitt “has seemed more a politician who would do whatever it took to close a deal than a leader driven by conviction and commitment. This is a problem George Romney never had.”

Except that none of it is true. George Romney was known by his political peers and by journalists as a flip-flopper with no real ideological core. He never stormed out of the 1964 Convention.

He stayed until the very end, formally seconding Goldwater’s eventual nomination and later standing by while an actual walkout took place. He left the convention holding open the possibility of endorsing Goldwater and then, after a unity summit in Hershey, Pennsylvania, momentarily endorsed the Arizona senator. Then he changed his mind while his top aides polled “all-white and race-conscious” Michigan communities for a “secret” white backlash vote against LBJ’s civil rights advances — a backlash that might have made a Goldwater endorsement palatable at home. Finding the Republican label even more unpopular than civil rights in Michigan, Romney ultimately distanced himself from the entire party, including his own moderate Republican allies

No one knows how that story got started, but it was Mitt who repeatedly spread it around once he began running for office. George Romney never marched with Martin Luther King either. There’s much much more, and it’s really interesting. Mitt may just be a chip off the old block after all.

There a little bit of good news for Obama in today’s polls. Reuters/Ipsos shows Obama leading by two points

President Barack Obama retained a slim lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll on Monday, as he appeared to have stemmed the bleeding from his poor first debate.

Three weeks before the November 6 U.S. election, Obama leads Romney by 2 percentage points, with 47 percent support from likely voters in the national online poll, to 45 percent support for Romney.

The margin was small enough to be a virtual tie, but Obama’s slight edge broadened from Sunday, when he went ahead of Romney by 1 point after falling behind in the wake of Romney’s decisive victory in their first presidential debate on October 3.

“Romney received a bump from that first debate, but the very nature of a bump is it recedes again,” Ipsos vice president Julia Clark said. “We’re now seeing Obama regaining a little bit of a foothold as we go into the second debate. They go into the debate on equal footing.”

The Washington Post-ABC poll released overnight had Obama with a 3 point lead, 49-46 percent. Chris Cillizza has some “deep(ish) thoughts” about the results. For some crazy reason, more people still think Mitt Romney would handle the economy better than Obama, but not by much, and everyone is anxious about the future no matter which candidate gets elected. Obama is still seen as far more likable than Romney, 60-30 among registered voters and 58-32 among likely voters.

The bad news for Obama, if the USA Today/Gallup poll of the swing states can be trusted, is that Romney has made huge gains with women voters.

Mitt Romney leads President Obama by five percentage points among likely voters in the nation’s top battlegrounds, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and he has growing enthusiasm among women to thank.

As the presidential campaign heads into its final weeks, the survey of voters in 12 crucial swing states finds female voters much more engaged in the election and increasingly concerned about the deficit and debt issues that favor Romney. The Republican nominee now ties the president among women who are likely voters, 48%-48%, while he leads by 12 points among men.

Why those issues would favor Romney is a mystery, since all the experts say his tax cuts would explode the deficit.

The battle for women, which was apparent in the speakers spotlighted at both political conventions this summer, is likely to help define messages the candidates deliver at the presidential debate Tuesday night and in the TV ads they air during the final 21 days of the campaign. As a group, women tend to start paying attention to election contests later and remain more open to persuasion by the candidates and their ads.

That makes women, especially blue-collar “waitress moms” whose families have been hard-hit by the nation’s economic woes, the quintessential swing voters in 2012’s close race.


Ralph posted a couple of very interesting poll-related links in the previous thread:

Sam Wang: The Passing Storm

In national polls, the race has swung back three points since the Presidential debate to a narrow Obama lead. This return has been steady over time, and so the role of the VP debate is unclear. Combined with state polls, the data suggest that the effect of Mitt Romney’s performance was an instantaneous jump of 5.5 points, which has now subsided back to where polls were in August. The decline in the state poll meta-analysis has been blocked by Ohio. Today, President Obama’s November re-elect probability is 84% – still a Russian-roulette situation for the Democrats.

And and “exclusive” at Democratic Underground: Gravis Marketing exposed as a fraud Part I. Very interesting and creepy too.

Everyone has advice for President Obama for tomorrow night’s debate. Lanny Davis offers some ridiculous suggestions at The Hill

1) Be respectful and gracious to Romney — look at him while he is talking and listen to what he is saying — not because it is better than the appearance of disrespect you conveyed in the first debate by looking down and taking notes, but because he is a good man, a good dad, a good husband and a successful businessman and politician who is deserving of respect.

2) Be firm and strong when you challenge him on his policy positions — but don’t interrupt or raise your voice, and concede him the merits once in a while (since it is neither true nor politically effective to declare that he is 100 percent wrong and you are 100 percent right).

3) Most heretical of all — concede a little when you can when the truth requires that you made some mistakes in your first term — and aver that will make you a better president in the second term.

For example, you could say you regret not making a greater effort to break the logjam of the supercommittee on dealing with the then $15 trillion debt. You could say you wished you had done more to reach out to the Senate and House Republicans on the committee and intend to do so in your next term — and to do a better job seeking the counsel of senior Republicans who are, in fact, interested in achieving solutions and bipartisan consensus, particularly on making real progress on reducing the nation’s unsustainable national debt, such as Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah).

I think he’s actually serious too!!

Greg Sargent wants to make sure President Obama reads David Stockman’s smackdown of Romney’s economic policies so he can “unmask” Romney “as an economic sham.”

Howard Fineman has a column on the many “fans” who are now second-guessing the Obama campaign strategies.

What are you hearing? This is an open thread, of course.

50 Comments on “Monday Afternoon Coffee Break”

  1. Plan to blog on this a bit, particularly Hillary’s speech on women and economics… hopefully sometime this week! If not, I’ll throw it in my Caturday post.

  2. Posted this comment on the Morning thread, but maybe it belongs here too… Honestly, I think any of the voters, woman or otherwise, who are apparently ‘breaking for Romney’ are probably more or less of the “we just want a change” variety, nevermind what it’s changing to. They just want to vote Obama out… it’s very hard to really sway those people. I actually really don’t think there is any breaking much movement in voters at this point period, the so-called undecideds probably lean one way or the other at this point…What the Obama campaign needs to focus on is turn out. If they get out their vote, O wins. If they don’t, he loses, and probably rightfully so, as Romney is a horrible opponent and it really means people just wanted him out rather than Romney in. Romney is clearly not a Ronald Reagan figure, even his own “supporters” have trouble being enthused about him–that debate was such a swagger moment for Romney and his supporters precisely because it gave them enthusiasm for the first time about Mr. Flim Flam Shim Sham.

  3. dakinikat says:

    I’m really getting disgusted with this election cycle. It’s depressing to see a major political party in a system where you only have two put forth one candidate who is so radical in every sense of the word he should be running in a tin pot dictatorship and the other one such an obvious upper class dunderhead greedo that he’ll say anything to get elected. What’s even more depressing is knowing people that will actually vote for this pair because they don’t seem to realize exactly how diseased they really are. I can’t take much more of any one who actually takes Mitt Romney serious as a human being let alone a presidential candidate.

    WTF has this country come to? We can’t we get rid of these religious freaks and corporatists? It’s also driving candidates to the Democratic party that really should be republicans in saner circumstances. It’s just awful!

    • Kat, most people just do not know that much about Romney other than he’s elitist and he made that 47% remark at this point… they really just have not sat around and analyzed his record the way we have, and the zombie in place of the fourth estate hasn’t done a good job highlighting his record, much less Paul Ryan’s. They just do the same old song and dance of focusing on the most sensationalist aspects, without really getting to any facts. Or if they do get to the facts, they’re buried on the backpages of newsprint or in long drawn out investigative pieces that just don’t catch the public’s attention the way a CNN coverage of “oohh is this a campaign ending event” “but is this?” “well maybe this?” does… and all that really does is trivialize the weaknesses of both candidates and makes them seem like non-issues because the media glosses so easily over them in their determination to keep up the horserace/ratings… it’s the same thing they did with Bush then worse with Obama and now even worse with Rom/Ry.

      • NW Luna says:

        I’ll never understand why so many Americans don’t bother to look at the records of politicians, or to check out what their policy stances really mean.

        Yes, the media does not help; they just print the claims and lies without much fact-checking. Look at the constant use of “entitlements” and their worry about the horrors of a deficit.

        I still remember in ’08 going to the Dem candidates websites and comparing their policy positions. I was dumbfounded to see that Hillary was to the left of Obama — everyone and the media seemed to think the opposite. But I’m not one to let my surprise get in the way of following the evidence. 😉

    • I am just like you Dak, it keeps me shaking my head too.

  4. ecocatwoman says:

    Has anyone seen/heard Chrystia Freeland’s, author of The Plutocrats, interviews? She was on Colbert last week & on Morning Edition this morning. Here’s a link to the NPR interview:

    Here’s just a short excerpt from the NPR interview:

    Those at the very top, Freeland says, have told her that American workers are the most overpaid in the world, and that they need to be more productive if they want to have better lives.

    “It is a sense of, you know, ‘I deserve this,’ ” she says. “I do think that there is both a very powerful sense of entitlement and a kind of bubble of wealth which makes it hard for the people at the very top to understand the travails of the middle class.”

    I think it sounds as if she has gathered some insights into how the 0.001% justify their choices/actions.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I wrote about her article in the New Yorker, I think it was last week. I really want to read her book. There are so many books I want to read!

      • ecocatwoman says:

        I somehow missed that – sorry. I wish I could find someone to follow me around & read them to me. That’s the only way I find the time to get through them. Maybe a portable CD player & audio books? Oh, & some lottery money to buy them all.

  5. dakinikat says:

    OH, and if this dude is afraid of the ladies on the view I just really don’t want to see him in a room with Putin. He’d piss his big boy pants.

    • I don’t think he could handle being in a room alone with Slimy the Worm (Sesame Street).

    • ANonOMouse says:

      So true. He’s not accustomed to talking to women who don’t defer to him so it’s likely that assertive women make him very uncomfortable and out of control. I’m sure he feels the same about men that he doesn’t consider his equal, but that he has no power over. I often wonder what the BOY would have done had he not been born to affluence and been handed a life of connection and privilege.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I meant to preface my comment above with this reference to Dak’s comment “OH, and if this dude is afraid of the ladies on the view I just really don’t want to see him in a room with Putin”.

        Maybe the BOY should invest in DEPENDS

      • dakinikat says:

        He would’ve died faced down in a rice paddy in Vietnam.

      • bostonboomer says:

        He probably would have been an officer and would have been fragged by his men.

      • NW Luna says:

        In the sailing ship days of navies, officers who were cruel sometimes got injured or killed by mysteriously loose rolling cannonballs. Shot-rolling. Romney probably would have been finished off that way, by his underproductive entitled crew, after he’d flogged too many of them too long.

    • The view, Letterman, Jon Stewart…hmmmm….

  6. Beata says:

    BB, Joe Donnelly and Richard Mourdock are debating on C-SPAN now if you are interested. It’s on until 8:00 pm ET. I don’t know if it will be replayed later.

  7. pdgrey says:

    I must apoligise for not keep up. Return of dental, computer and back-up work for being sick. So many really great posts. Kinda of feel left out . So sorry. I must agree with Dak @5:20. I guess I’m just worn out. Women who vote to be chatel! I really can’t stand anymore. Here are some things I saw, just to re-enforce my fight and anger.

    And this one makes me want to leave this country.

    • dakinikat says:

      Michelle Bachman needs psychiatric help. The last place she should be is in congress.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “Michelle Bachman needs psychiatric help. The last place she should be is in congress.”

        I don’t know, I watch the work of both houses on CSPAN and I’d say that congress has a disproportinate number of psych cases in it’s ranks. There are as so many wacks among the TeaNuts in the House they could have their own group therapy sessions right there in the House Chamber.

      • janey says:

        Too many repubs seem mentally ill. They scream about states’ rights but they don’t exist when the states want to pass gay marriage rights, marijuana decriminalization, or abortion rights. Then all of a sudden it becomes a national issue. But if a state wants to pass JimCrow laws, then it is a private matter that belongs only within that state!!!!! Doesn’t make sense.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “They scream about states’ rights but they don’t exist when the states want to pass gay marriage rights, marijuana decriminalization, or abortion rights.”

        The folks who yell the loudest about state rights and freedom are the same people who use State Legislators to legislate their religious views into laws that take away the freedom of others. These are the same people who are terrifed that Obama is going to bring Sharia law to the U.S. yet they’re legislating extreme religious dogma.

        We need freedom from religion in this country far more than we need freedom of religion.

    • RalphB says:

      Soup Kitchen calls out Paul Ryan for using them for a drive-by photo op and for cleaning pots that weren’t even dirty.

      Soup kitchen to launch new “You Didn’t Wash That!” slogan.

  8. ANonOMouse says:

    BB…..That article written by Lanny Davis is a piece of work. I hope Obama takes none of that advice.

  9. Lanny seems to want Obama to lose.

  10. bostonboomer says: