Monday, September 24, 2012

gotta keep it simple

Okay, it's time for me to provide some unsolicited advice to the Romney camp.

Please note, I do not offer this advice because I am disheartened by his performance to date.  In truth, I'm pretty happy with where things stand.  He survived the summer negative ad onslaught and is in position to take advantage of "facts on the ground."  Or at least I think that is the status of the race.  Who knows if I'm right?

But he needs to seal the deal, and I'd prefer for him to do that soon.

And I know that Presidential campaign messages are complicated things.  There are so many things at play that trying to keep it soundbite-simple while still offering something more substantial than "Hope and Change"is challenging.

But not a challenge that I will run away from.  (Don't worry, you can offer your thanks by voting for Mitt!)

Let's make it three prongs for the victory, shall we?  How about:

a)  The economy.  There are fewer workers today than there were 4 years ago.  Median household income is lower now than at any time since 1997--and the trend for the entirety of the Obama Presidency is in the wrong direction.  And of course we can't forget about the national debt--$16T and counting, with US debt-to-GDP ratio approaching a point from which economic contraction is a near-certainty.  And need we even mention the "taxmageddon" at the start of 2013?  Well yes, we do, because there's no reason to assume that everybody knows about it--higher taxes from the implementation of Obamacare taxes and the expiration of tax cuts (to include the "Bush" tax cuts among others) will lead to higher taxes on EVERYONE that has a job.  If Taxmageddon happens as it is currently scheduled--which is to say if the White House doesn't get something done before Jan 1st--the impact will drive our economy to conditions in 2013 that will "probably be considered a recession."

Is there enough in there to cover the economic front?

2)  Let's take a good look at the political environment today.  Do you feel it is more or less hostile than it was in 2008?  Only one candidate has had 4 years to deliver on his promises to overcome the poison of partisanship in our politics; oddly, that same candidate told his political opponents "I won" in a meeting designed to promote bipartisan cooperation during the first days of the new administration.  To date, that same candidate's party is the only party that aired ludicrous ads that blame their opponent for the deaths of former employees; that party also allowed a leader of a Congressional caucus to take the floor of a chamber of Congress and accuse their political opponent of felonious activity.  Is this the "new kind" of politics that we were promised?

And there's a foreign-policy aspect to this line of attack, too.  Weren't we supposed to be beloved by the world?  Didn't Obama say something like his worldliness prior to inauguration--combined with his oh-so-brief time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (seriously??!!!)--will lead to the world viewing the US in a new light?  SO here we are, almost four years later:  the Middle East is a mess--and was such even before an American Ambassador was assassinated on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11; Egypt may or may not be an ally but one thing that is for sure is that their new government--which came into power as the entirely foreseeable consequence of Obama's action to oust Mubarak--is trying to bully the US into new gestures of, umm. . . "understanding" to the Arab world; Obama gets caught offering "flexibility" to a senior member of a government that continually pokes America in the eye at the UN Security Council-- wasn't all this supposed to be a thing of the past by now???  Where's the adoration we were promised?

and finally 3)  Obamacare needs to be front and center.  Not just as part of the economic argument posited in paragraph #1 above, but as a stand-alone for the reckless and headstrong manner in which this administration did EVERYTHING they did when they had total control in DC for two years.  (It will help remind folks, such as the viewers of the Univision interview who may have been left to believe something contrary, that Obama really wasn't powerless for the entire time he has been President)  In 2008 Obamacare (or something like it) was only a warning on the lips of the "wacky right"; then barely 14 months after inauguration it was rammed down an unhappy public's throat. . .and we had the backlash of the 2010 midterms.  But here's the thing:  even with the success of 2010, Obamacare will still get fully implemented if Obama wins re-election.  I still feel like the public doesn't like O'care--in fact, I feel that as the pricetag has increased (as it had to thanks to the budgeting gimmicks built into the thing; the current 10-year estimate on new spending under PPACA is about double the original estimate that accompanied the vote in early '10) public dislike of the thing has grown even greater.  I don't hear everything Romney says, but it's been a while since I heard O'care mentioned--and it's been an even longer while since I have heard him speak passionately about it.  I want this to be  referendum election, and this is the topic that most people "connect" with--so it needs to be front and center moving forward.  Make it as clear as possible to those on the fence/in the middle/however you want to call the people that will swing this election:  Obama = Obamacare.  We can't be rid of Obamacare unless we oust the bill's namesake IN THIS ELECTION.

Is that simple enough?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Election 2012: September 13th edition

In case I never told you before, I am a numbers guy.

And the nice thing about being a numbers guy is that I seldom get excited until the numbers tell me to get excited.

And I have to tell you with regards to the 2012 Presidential election:  there's no need to get excited (in a negative sense) yet.

I know, I know:  this advice is contrary to what the "news" reports would have you believe.  And who am I to question the all-knowing media?  

Well, like I said, I'm a numbers guy.  And I don't see "despair" in the current numbers.  So let's go to the numbers, shall we?

*  Biggest thing to keep in mind:  Obama has a big electoral vote foundation from which to build his 2012 campaign.  He won 28 states plus DC in 2008.  And he doesn't have to defend all those states--just enough to get to 270 electoral votes (EVs).  And if I was a lazy person, I would say that he has SO MUCH margin for error that there's no way Romney can overcome the challenge.  Fortunately, I am not a lazy person. (well, not today. . .or at least not on this topic)

*  Next thing to keep in mind:  the Presidency is not a nationwide popularity contest.  The President is determined on a state-by-state basis.  Most states give all their EVs to the candidate that wins the state's popular vote; Maine and Nebraska are the exceptions and their votes likely will not be "split" unless Romney either wins Maine (unlikely) or is able to win over the majority of the state that is not in the Portland-Augusta corridor (more likely than the other scenario, but not all that likely in itself).  Nebraska is unlikely to yield an EV for Obama; the state is represented by 3 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, and all 3 of those folks won their election in 2010 with at least 60% of the vote in their Congressional district.  For the sake of keeping this simple, let's assume that Maine and Nebraska's EVs go 100% to the candidate that wins the popular vote in the state.

*  Due to the 2010 census, electoral votes have shifted in accordance with population changes.  If the state-by-state Presidential results of 2008 are repeated in 2012, Obama would actually lose 6 electoral votes.  Now since he captured 364 EVs in 2008, obviously he would still win in 2012 in that scenario. . .but the important thing is that the population shift works mostly in Romney's favor.  Assuming Romney wins all the same states that McCain won, his "foundation" is 180 EVs.  So he needs to peel off 90 EVs from Obama's 2008 column to win in November.

*  So now to the crux of the matter:  where does Romney get 90 votes from Obama's 2008 column?  I'll tell you that the states that need to be targeted by Romney's camp are the following:  Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina.  Right now all those states are classic "toss-ups"; if he wins those states and holds the rest of McCain's map, he wins 282 EVs--and the Presidency.  Heck, he could actually lose any one of the three smaller states on that list (Iowa, Wisconsin, or Indiana) and still get the White House.

*  How likely is it that any of the above states flip to Romney?  Keeping in mind that the campaign season is actually far from complete (I know, it seems like it's gone on forever already!), Indiana and even North Carolina look like pick-ups for Romney.  If that guess holds through November, a Romney victory requires the GOP to win either Iowa or Wisconsin, and all of the following states:  Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.  

*  There's a reason the convention was in Tampa, don't you think?  Or that R&R hit that state hard to overcome the all-too-foreseeable Mediscare tactics from the left?  There's also a reason that Ryan is on the ticket--not just that he's a darn fine public servant and a smart guy on the economy, but also he "belongs" in Wisconsin. . .say, at a Packers game on a Thursday night when the hated Bears roll into town.  

*  Important fact:  all the states listed above except North Carolina have Republican governors (and Gov Perdue is so unpopular in NC that the Dem candidate to replace her is down comfortably to the Republican candidate for the Governor's mansion).  Kasich in Ohio and McDonnell in VA are really popular and they've done some good work for their constituents; I'd look for them to put that popularity on the line and campaign hard for Romney.  Both states have big Senate elections, too--where it just so happens the Dem candidate for the Senate is either remarkably liberal (Brown in Ohio) or closely linked to everything "Democrat" from the first two years of the Obama Presidency (Kaine in VA; he was the Chair of the DNC from '09 to April '11--you know, when Obamacare was served up to the American people like a hot poker just waiting to mess up your insides).  Walker's recent recall victory in WI won't hurt much in that state, either.

*  NOT EVEN MENTIONED in the above scenarios are other states currently discussed as "toss-ups":  Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire.  There's 19 EVs in those three states; while I don't think my beloved CO will come back to the GOP this time around, I definitely think Nevada (and its chronic 12-plus percent unemployment and 6 Electoral Votes) is in play.  I don't know enough about NH to make even a wild guess; I will only point out that every little bit helps.           

So is there reason to be giddy?  No, not really. . .but the purpose of this post isn't to make you "giddy."  It's to keep you from despair, and to ensure you know the "how" of a Romney victory.  When you break it down by states, and then take a hard look at the GOP situation in those states. . .things aren't nearly as bad as some want you to believe.

Take heart in that. . .and then pick up the phone and talk to folks where it matters most!