United States presidential election

Photo Of The Day

Boris Yaro of the Los Angeles Times took this historic image in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel when the senator and presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan on 5 June 1968. The photographer was so close to the action that he was able to pick up Sirhan's gun while it was still warm.

Boris Yaro of the Los Angeles Times took this historic image in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel when the senator and presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan on 5 June 1968. The photographer was so close to the action that he was able to pick up Sirhan’s gun while it was still warm.

The Other Guy in the RFK Assassination Photo

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What is Romney’s path?

Head to head in polls it looks close but as I have said all along the path for Mitt Romney to win is obscure. While Obama has several paths to victory I still can’t see Romney’s path.

Some commentators are clinging to a forlorn hope that there will be a “Reagan Pivot“. Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan and his attempts to channel the Gipper have appeared as shallow as his sincerity.

RealClearpolitics has a No Toss Ups Map…which is where they make the call based ont heir extensive research and that map shows just how hard it is for Romney to win…he simply does not have enough in the Electoral College..and never has.

When you start looking at some of the key states you find that Romney’s maths don’t add up to any number near 270. Ohio is one of the key states that history says is key to win. RCP has that as a Obama state. Nate Silver agrees:

What I find confounding about this is that the argument we’re making is exceedingly simple. Here it is:

Obama’s ahead in Ohio.

A somewhat-more-complicated version:

Mr. Obama is leading in the polls of Ohio and other states that would suffice for him to win 270 electoral votes, and by a margin that has historically translated into victory a fairly high percentage of the time.

The argument that Mr. Obama isn’t the favorite is the one that requires more finesse. If you take the polls at face value, then the popular vote might be a tossup, but the Electoral College favors Mr. Obama.

The polls are clear on Ohio. It will fall for Obama.

Without Ohio the path for Romney is difficult. Without Wisconsin he is doomed, and though some are calling Wisconsin for Romney off the back of Gov. Scott Walker’s Republican victory there int he gubernatorial recall election. Those calls are like Labour claiming victory off the back of Len Brown’s victory in Auckland. It didn’t work for labour and it won’t work for Romney. Wisconsin is Obama’s too:

[O]n Friday the firm’s founder, Scott Rasmussen, said Wisconsin “may be the new Ohio.

It’s a good story line, which some of the media will run with, but I don’t quite believe it. In 2008, Obama carried Wisconsin by fourteen points. Since Labor Day, more than a dozen polls have been carried out there, and Romney has yet to lead in one of them. (Friday’s Rasmussen poll is the only survey to show a tie.) Still, Obama’s average lead in the five polls carried out during the past two weeks is only 2.2 per cent, which is narrow enough to make it interesting, especially with Ryan on hand to rally the G.O.P. voters, and Tommy Thompson, who served four terms as governor, running for the Senate.

Obama basically has a ‘firewall‘ in the Electoral College…one that Romney will find impossible to breach.

There were 12 polls published on Wednesday among Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin. Mr. Obama held the lead in 11 of the 12 surveys; the exception was a survey by the University of Iowa, which had Mr. Obama down by about one point there, but also had a very small sample size (about 300 likely voters). On average, Mr. Obama led in the polls of these states by 3.9 percentage points.

None of this ought to have been surprising, exactly, if you have been attentive to the polls rather than the pundits. It was a pretty good day of surveys for Mr. Obama but not a great one: for the most part, the polls were coming in close to FiveThirtyEight forecasts in each state, give or take a modest outlier here and there.

Rather, the polls in these states confirmed what we already knew: that Mr. Obama remains the favorite in the Electoral College.

Mr. Obama is not a sure thing, by any means. It is a close race. His chances of holding onto his Electoral College lead and converting it into another term areequivalent to the chances of an N.F.L. team winning when it leads by a field goal with three minutes left to play in the fourth quarter. There are plenty of things that could go wrong, and sometimes they will.

But it turns out that an N.F.L. team that leads by a field goal with three minutes left to go winds up winning the game 79 percent of the time. Those were Mr. Obama’s chances in the FiveThirtyEight forecast as of Wednesday: 79 percent.

Not coincidentally, these are also about Mr. Obama’s chances of winning Ohio, according to the forecast.

The final nail in Romney’s coffin is the so-called “Mittmentum”…simply put, it doesn’t exist:

If Mr. Romney has the momentum in the polls, then this should imply that his polls are continuing to get better: that they were a little better this week than last week, and a bit better last week than the week before. So these polls are further broken down into three different periods of about 10 days each, based on when the poll was conducted.

What type of polling average is this, by the way? About the simplest possible one: I’ve just averaged together all the polls of likely voters in the FiveThirtyEight database, applying no other weighting or “secret sauce.”

If you evaluate the polls in this way, there is not much evidence of “momentum” toward Mr. Romney. Instead, the case that the polls have moved slightly toward Mr. Obama is stronger.

In 9 of the 11 battleground states, Mr. Obama’s polls have been better over the past 10 days than they were immediately after the Denver debate. The same is true for the national polls, whether or not tracking polls (which otherwise dominate the average) are included.

Now you can attack me all you like, but those are the simple bare-faced facts there for all to see, if only people would peek beyond their blinkers. I don’t like that Obama is winning, I can;t think of anything worse for America, but it is what it is.

The only thing now will be people shoring up their excuses…bias polls, Hurricane Sandy, pinko media…it all matters not..Obama has the firewall and until the GOP can work out a way to secure stronger states then it is going to be difficult.

As i have said before…one way or the other Leighton Smith and I are going to have a superb lunch on Friday, one of us will pay and the other will not.

Has Trev been advising Mitt

Mitt Romney has had a mallardesque shocker, and some are blaming his willingness to be goaded into a fight that only his opponent could win.

All of which raises the question: What was Team Romney thinking? I’m not really sure, but I happened to speak this morning to a senior Romney adviser from a previous campaign who offered his own theory. According to this person, Romney may have been feeling defensive over the hazing he took in Charlotte last week–“my opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy,” the president tweaked him—and was primed to hit back. “They set him up Thursday night at the convention with the smack down on foreign policy,” says the former adviser. “They called him naïve, Palin-esque. Then he got his back up about it and was waiting for opportunity to show, ‘I’m strong, too.’”

The adviser has no direct, inside knowledge of the campaign’s thinking on this matter. But he does have a good read on Romney–a man with a healthy sense of pride, and who’s already invested  in the idea of Obama as an appeaser. It was the only plausible explanation the adviser could think of for how “they stepped in it,” in his words. “I always thought it was a one-two punch [by the Obama campaign],” the adviser continued. “Punch one was Thursday night. Punch two would be in the foreign policy debate. To cast Romney as naïf, an empty suit on foreign policy, and tie him to Bush—as a puppet of the bow-tied hawks of the Bush administration. … This intervening event was gravy.”

Looks like Trev has been “helping out” Mitt.

The best analysis of the United States Election

This year is going to see all sorts of cant published by all sorts of so called experts about the presidential election. Watch our MSM wheel out tired old liberal hacks from universities who will pour scorn on the Republicans for being unable to connect with the real world, despite controlling congress, and forgetting that Europe has no electoral college votes. Or that Mitt Romney is out of touch or boring or just a dud candidate.

Then there will be the rabid right wingers who will go on about Obama being a socialist for his health care reforms and soft on terror for not torturing people. The happy people at the NRA will bash away at Obama forgetting he is the best gun salesman ever.

There will be minor scandals and silliness as there are with all elections. These will give our media more opportunity to ask opinions of the same tired old liberal hacks opposing the right at every turn, but will have little outcome on the election.

To avoid the cant readers should focus on what really matters. Winning 270 electoral college votes. That is all that matters. Here is the best analysis so far:

Messina laid out publicly the ways that advantage gives Obama an upper hand when it comes to the Electoral College: four mathematical scenarios by which he could get to 270 while underperforming 2008. (A fifth scenario involved him expanding the playing field, about which more in a moment.) The safe presumption underlying each is that Obama holds the nineteen states plus the District of Columbia that John Kerry won in 2004—which, recall, did not include Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, or Virginia, all of which Obama carried in 2008, giving the president a base of 246 electoral votes. There’s the western path: Obama holds Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Iowa for a total of 272. There’s the midwestern path: Obama holds Ohio and Iowa (270). There’s the southern path: Obama holds North Carolina and Virginia (274). And there’s the Florida path, in which Obama simply again takes the Sunshine State (275).

I ask Messina if all four avenues are still open. “Absolutely,” he replies. “The West path is completely operative. The Midwest is there; I believe that we’ll carry Ohio and Iowa. We lead in Virginia and North Carolina today; so that pathway’s there. We are tied in Florida; so that pathway’s there.”

Messina and I were talking a few days before Obama’s gay-marriage decision, which, because of its impact in Iowa and North Carolina, would leave his people feeling more pessimistic about both the midwestern and southern paths. (And because of the foreclosure crisis and other economic factors, they are worried about Florida, too.) In truth, the most promising of all the routes to 270 is the western one, because of the dominant lead Obama possesses over Romney with Hispanics. Indeed, if you factor in New Mexico, which the president nabbed in 2008 and is considered safe this time, and Virginia, which has a sizable Latino population, a relatively strong economy, and polls consistently showing Obama ahead, he can hit 270 without winning Iowa, Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, or North Carolina.

This is an amazing fact—and one that throws into stark relief the converse difficulties Romney will have in reaching the magic number. The dauntingness begins with his initial hurdle to surmount: clawing back at least six states Obama won last go-round. Almost all of Romney’s 270 scenarios revolve around a strategy outlined by Karl Rove and dubbed “3-2-1,” in which the GOP reclaims three of the traditionally red states snatched away by Obama (Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia), wins the two perennial mega swing states (Florida and Ohio), and then snags one more from among those up for grabs.

A senior Obama campaign official scoffs at the notion that Romney could pull off such a feat. “To get there,” he says, “they’ve got to take away either Pennsylvania or Michigan, and they can’t do either one of them. Michigan is a motherfucking joke, to think they can do that, because of what he’s done on the auto stuff. And in Pennsylvania, we have a 900,000-person registration advantage. John Kerry had 250,000; we had 900,000 more Democrats than Republicans on the first day.”

As for the western states, Messina believes Romney’s problems with Hispanics are insoluble, although he, like everyone else on Team Obama, anticipates a vicious ad barrage aimed at depressing Latino turnout. “I expect to see what I’ve seen in the primaries, which is their super-PACs spending an impressive amount of money completely negative,” he tells me. “I expect us to counter that the way Harry Reid did [in his 2010 reelection battle]—with a full discussion of the issues and a huge ground game.”

The Blood and Guts election

New York Magazine

The US presidential election this year is shaping up to be the blood and guts election:

But if the Obama 2012 strategy in this regard is all about the amplification of 2008, in terms of message it will represent a striking deviation. Though the Obamans certainly hit John McCain hard four years ago—running more negative ads than any campaign in history—what they intend to do to Romney is more savage. They will pummel him for being a vulture-vampire capitalist at Bain Capital. They will pound him for being a miserable failure as the governor of Massachusetts. They will mash him for being a water-carrier for Paul Ryan’s Social Darwinist fiscal program. They will maul him for being a combination of Jerry Falwell, Joe Arpaio, and John Galt on a range of issues that strike deep chords with the Obama coalition. “We’re gonna say, ‘Let’s be clear what he would do as president,’ ” Plouffe explains. “Potentially abortion will be criminalized. Women will be denied contraceptive services. He’s far right on immigration. He supports efforts to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage.”

The Obama effort at disqualifying Romney will go beyond painting him as excessively conservative, however. It will aim to cast him as an avatar of revanchism. “He’s the fifties, he is retro, he is backward, and we are forward—that’s the basic construct,” says a top Obama strategist. “If you’re a woman, you’re Hispanic, you’re young, or you’ve gotten left out, you look at Romney and say, ‘This fucking guy is gonna take us back to the way it always was, and guess what? I’ve never been part of that.’ ”

Great Campaign Ads, Ctd

This ad was from the 2004 Bush Presidential election campaign and was acknowledged as the most devastating of the campaign.

The images of Kerry windsurfing, edited so he appears to change direction repeatedly, are used as a visual gag. The ad accuses Kerry of “flip-flopping,” and the images make this charge literal. The amusing music and voiceover mock Kerry. The images, editing, music, and voiceover of the ad heighten both its argument and its emotional impact.