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Showing posts from October, 2012

Climate change - is it about words or deeds?

About midway through the presidential debates, a meme emerged on the left about  climate silence  - the idea that neither candidate was talking about climate change enough. That meme has only grown in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. As this meme was developing,  Michael Grunwald  - author of  The New New Deal  - wrote this: ...while it’s absolutely fair to complain that Obama doesn’t talk about climate change anymore, except at rallies when he’s firing up his liberal base, it’s also worth noting that he’s probably done more to prevent climate change than anyone else on the planet. His stringent new fuel efficiency rules for cars and light trucks are expected to reduce emissions by 6 billion metric tons by 2025, the equivalent of wiping out an entire year of emissions. As I’ve written here , and in The New New Deal, Obama’s stimulus bill also launched a quiet clean-energy revolution, with unprecedented investments in wind, solar, geothermal and other renewables; energy efficiency in e

State of the Race: Florida is in play!

With everyone focused on Ohio! Ohio! Ohio! it seems that no one is paying much attention to the other big battleground state - Florida. But according to the folks at places like  Huffington Post ,  TPM,  and  Five-thirty-eight , Florida is actually a closer race than Ohio. Nate Cohn  breaks down why. With Romney all but assured to make enough gains to cover Obama's modest 2.8 point win [in 2008], Obama's path to victory requires him to compensate for losses by capitalizing on demographic changes, and particularly Florida's growing black and non-Cuban Hispanic populations. Voter registration numbers show that the white share of Florida's registered voters declined from 69 percent to 66.5 percent over the last four years. More than 150,000 more African Americans are registered than four years ago and the number of registered Hispanics increased by 300,000. The number of registered Hispanic Democrats increased by 131,000 compared to just 30,000 for Republicans. If Obam

Government serving the people - a novel idea in this age of obstruction

Over the last few years what has been most disturbing about the Republican position of obstruction is their willingness to sacrifice the good of the American people for their own political gain. Its happened over and over again - but never more explicitly than in their attempt to take the global economy hostage when it came time to raise the debt ceiling. It is against that backdrop that  Governor Christie's  response to the support New Jersey has received from President Obama and FEMA seems so striking. Christie offered a fairly detailed assessment of conditions in the Garden State, including the fact that there have been three reported fatalities thus far. But when Lauer asked about the efficacy of the federal response, the governor said it's been "great," noting that he spoke directly to President Obama at midnight and FEMA again this morning. Christie said Obama "has been outstanding." The governor made similar remarks on CBS, saying, "Coope

Preparing for disaster - that's what good government does

Sitting here on a clear crisp late fall day in the midwest, its hard to imagine what life is like today for people in the northeast as hurricane Sandy hits. But I do think of something I noted during hurricane Irene... FEMA has prepared for this. If the possibility of escaping from New York seems like something only for Hollywood to you, you probably do not work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In May 2009, the Obama administration conducted a simulation exercise around the possibility of a Category 3 hurricane hitting New York City, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Friday. The National Level Exercise, as it is known, was part of a coordinated effort by federal officials to prepare for a variety of disaster scenarios, including one very similar to what is likely to take place this weekend. President Obama himself participated in the exercise, one of the first of its kind by the new administration. "The federal government's preparation for

Poll Crazy?

Are the polls and the prognostication about the polls driving you crazy? If so, I have some great news. Here's one poll that absolutely cannot be refuted. I was in our local bakery, Colozza’s, today here in Parma, OH. They are selling cookies with portraits of Obama and Romney on them, and tracking the number of sales. As of this afternoon, Obama was up 283 to 270. That's IT. Obama has Ohio in the bag! ;-) Just a little levity to take the edge off.

Souls to the Polls...a quiet determination

From  Reuters: Errol Thompson, a Baptist pastor in Orlando's black community, acknowledges that the excitement over Barack Obama becoming the first black U.S. president has cooled. But with the Democratic president locked in a tight race against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, Thompson still expects voter turnout in Florida for the November 6 election to be equal to or greater than it was four years ago. To make sure of that, he and other black church leaders across Florida are organizing a mass effort, dubbed "Souls to the Polls," to get thousands of people in their flock to vote early - right after Sunday's morning service. This weekend's voting drive carries special importance as it is the only Sunday included in the state's truncated early voting period - which begins on Saturday - after it was cut this year from 14 to eight days. Legislators eliminated voting on the last Sunday before the election, the day black churches traditionally mobili

Photo of the Day: Let My People Vote

Via  The Obama Diary I have to wonder if the Republican's attempts to suppress voting rights are going to backfire. Before the supervisor of elections opened the main polling site here in Duval County at 7 a.m., a line of almost 100 people had already formed, snaking its way along the sidewalk of a strip-mall parking lot. All but three voters in line were black. As they waited, they held hands and prayed. “Our father, our God,” began the Rev. R.L. Gundy of Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church. “Our ancestors paid a dear price to have a right to vote, and we don’t take it for granted. Yet the enemy does all it can to disenfranchise us. God, go with us into these polls and every poll around the country.” He continued, “We are not fearful. We are not afraid. We will not be turned away.” And the crowd said a somber “Amen.” Then, in a more jubilant mood, someone screamed, “Fired up?” And a chant began: “Ready to vote!” “Fired up” … “Ready to vote” …”Fired up” … “Ready to

Racism: whose problem is it?

Thanks (?) to  John Sununu,  racism has become a topic in this election once again and  Charles Blow  used the opportunity to point out how racially polarized this election has become. Right on cue for that conversation comes the release of a poll by the  Associated Press  suggesting that racism has actually increased since President Obama was elected. Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly. In all, 51% of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48% in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56%, up from 49% during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fe

THIS is what Hope and Change look like

The political narrative we hear these days is that those of us who support President Obama have given up on hope and change. That's a lie!!! The truth is that we agree with what the President said in his convention speech. ...not blind optimism, not wishful thinking but hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward even when the odds are great, even when the road is long... As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together — through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That's what we believe. So you see, the election four years ago wasn't about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens — you were the change. Nothing I've seen lately demonstrates better what that hope and change looks like - on the ground in a very real life - than the story of Eric Smalls. Please take a few mi


Let's get this one viral...FAST!!!!

He's no bullshitter - and they know it!

Did you read the interview with President Obama by  Douglas Brinkley  in Rolling Stone ? If not, you should. Before he gets into the actual interview though, Brinkley tells a couple of stories. Over the summer, I brought my wife and kids to an Obama rally in the Ohio town of Maumee, not far from where I grew up. The president delivered a speech about how bailing out GM and Chrysler saved thousands of jobs in Ohio. When he started working the rope line, two young African-American girls began squealing with joy. Playing the good Samaritan, I escorted them to the front of the line so they would be sure to meet the president. The younger girl asked Obama to sign her T-shirt with a Sharpie. "How old are you?" he asked. "Eleven." He gladly obliged. The older girl had the same request. Obama, however, eyed her with warm parental disapproval. "How old are you?" he asked. "Fourteen," she replied. The same age as Malia Obama. "Oh, no,&

Your First Time

A light went out that day - but the legacy lives on

I remember it like it was yesterday. Ten years ago today I was having lunch in the employee lounge at work. Someone came in who had just heard the news. I ran to my office and turned on the radio. It was true... Paul and Sheila Wellstone, their daughter Marcia and three campaign workers had been killed in a plane crash.  I wept for most of the rest of the day. As I cried, I asked myself why. Paul and Sheila weren't friends/loved ones - even though I'd had the distinct honor of spending time with them. But I did love them - just not as one loves family/ one loves someone who brings light, energy, life and hope into a world that is often too dark. And on this anniversary every year, I shed tears for that loss again. For those who need a reminder about just how special these two people were, take a few minutes and listen to this tribute. I will simply add that Paul Wellstone wasn't a perfect Senator - nor was he a perfect man. He demonstrated that in 1996

President Obama: Off the record

This morning the publisher and editor of the Des Moines Register had an off-the-record interview with President Obama in order to make their decision about who the paper should endorse. Following the interview, the editor wrote a lengthy article  suggesting that the content should be made public.  Shortly thereafter, the Obama campaign  made the entire transcript available. I would suggest that you read the whole thing. Its nice to hear President Obama responding off the stump and outside of debate formats. But there was one portion that particularly stood out to me. The question was about how the President would handle the partisan gridlock that has consumed Congress for the last 4 years. In the short term, the good news is that there’s going to be a forcing mechanism to deal with what is the central ideological argument in Washington right now, and that is: How much government do we have and how do we pay for it? So when you combine the Bush tax cuts expiring, the sequester i

The media need a story...dammit

Back in mid-September when it looked like President Obama had a commanding lead in the polls, his campaign kept trying to tell us that this was a close race. I know, I didn't believe them either. I had mistaken what amounted to a  poll-driven bounce  following the conventions for a permanent trajectory in the race. And I thought the Obama campaign was simply calling the race close in order to combat any complacency people might feel if they thought it was going to be a rout. I was wrong. And so perhaps it behooves us to listen to what the Obama campaign  is saying about the race right now. Obama aides insist they are either tied or winning in all the battlegrounds — and that Romney has succeeded in locking up nothing. And they say the early vote continues to bode well for an Obama victory. “Anybody who thinks those states are in the bag is half in the bag themselves,” top Obama adviser David Axelrod said of North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida. “We have added millions to TV

Photo of the Day: Everyone on board!

Dr. Jill Biden hanging out with a couple of Obama/Biden supporters I think the one in white is singing "How do you solve a problem like Romnesia?"

Romney's incoherent message last night (updated)

After all we've seen of Romney over the last few months, I suppose it shouldn't surprise us that the candidate who showed up to the debate last night was completely unrecognizable. And yet most of us are left with scratching our heads and asking "Who the hell was that guy?" But the thing is...he didn't just shape-shift once again. He made no sense. Overall, his argument was that President Obama has done an awful terrible job in handling foreign policy. Yes, but let me — let me — let me come back — let’s come back — let’s come back and go back to what the president was speaking about, which is what’s happening in the world and — and — and the president’s statement that things are going so well. Look, I — I look at what’s happening around the world and I see Iran four years closer to a bomb. I see the Middle East with a rising tide of violence, chaos, tumult. I see jihadists continuing to spread. Whether they’re rising or just about the same level hard to —

You Don't Own Me

Cornel West abandons purity for strategy

Cornel West has made no secret of his criticisms of President Obama. As a matter of fact, he went far beyond a critique of his policies and  made it personal. However, as the election nears, it seems that Mr. West has made the calculation to  abandon purity for strategy. We have to prevent a Romney takeover of the White House. No doubt about that. It would be very dangerous in terms of actual lives and actual deaths of the elderly and the poor. Those people who are dependent on various programs would have to deal with the ugly damage of the further redistribution of wealth from the poor and working people to the well off. I’m strategic...American politics are not a matter of voting your moral conscience—if I voted my moral conscience it would probably be for Jill Stein. But it's strategic in terms of the actual possibilities and real options available for poor and working people. I welcome Mr. West into the fold of those who will cast their ballot to re-elect President Obama

Prelude to a foreign policy debate: These Guys

You might remember where the previous season ended. Here's how season two opened. Coming soon...the season finale.

A Little Fun with Romnesia

Mitt's Romnesia on Benghazi

You have to wonder how much Mitt Romney is going to want to get in to the whole Benghazi story tomorrow night after his epic fail on that one in the last debate. Since then, all the news has basically  exonerated the Obama administration's story  about how the whole thing unfolded. Meanwhile,  Rep. Issa's document dump  may have endangered the lives of some Libyans who are working with the U.S. Overall, Republican insistence on trying to make some political hay out of a tragic situation is backfiring on them. But I'm reminded today of how this whole thing started - with Mitt Romney stepping in to  shoot first and aim later.  We know that folks in his campaign were on the lookout for a moment they could paint President Obama with the same brush Reagan had painted President Carter on the Iran hostage situation. And so on September 11th - before we even knew that Ambassador Stevens had been killed -  Romney released this statement. I'm outraged by the attacks on Am

The Power of One

At least one Republican knows math

That one Republican would be  Jeb Bush. Sitting down across from me, he assumes his role as party Cassandra, warning of the day when the Republicans’ failure to tap an exploding Hispanic population will cripple its chances at reclaiming power—starting in Texas, the family seat of the House of Bush. “It’s a math question,” he tells me. “Four years from now, Texas is going to be a so-called blue state. Imagine Texas as a blue state, how hard it would be to carry the presidency or gain control of the Senate.” I gotta admit...I'm dreaming of a blue Texas :-)

It's all about the ground game, baby!

 You wanna know how we win this thing?  Here's how. final factor matters more than all the rest in a close race: ground game. It’s the ability to get your voters to the polls—a way of moving soft support into actual votes. We don't need no steenkin' poll to tell us who's winning that game. Click here for an enlarged version. The latest  WaPo/ABC poll  captured the difference these efforts are making. More swing-state voters say President Obama’s campaign has contacted them in the past month than have heard from Mitt Romney’s campaign, and a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Obama leading by a whopping 40 percentage-point margin among voters contacted by an Obama representative. Romney leads by just 16 points among voters reporting contact with his campaign. A couple of weeks ago Jim Messina  said "We're going to make 2008 on the ground look like Jurassic Park." If you're not part of this already, better get involved or miss

After all the drama - could the state of the race still be "stable?"

Way back in July, I suggested that  the state of the presidential race was stable.  Watching the poll bouncing and the freak-outs over the last few weeks, it would certainly be understandable if people think I got that one all wrong. It is interesting, however, to take a look at all this from the perspective of what  Nate Silver and David Plouffe  said about it the other day. Here's Silver: It continues to be noteworthy, in my view, that in slow news cycles — as in most of the spring and summer months — the polls have generally converged to show an overall advantage for Mr. Obama of about two percentage points. After his best news cycles, like after the Democratic convention, Mr. Obama pulled ahead in the polls by four to five points, while Mr. Romney remained about tied with Mr. Obama after his best series of events. But some of these effects could be artificial, as a result of nonresponse bias. Let's take a look at some graphs that demonstrate what Silver is talking abou

Why the "Romnesia" meme seals the deal

Whoever came up with the  Romnesia  meme needs to have their own place of honor in the history of this campaign. There are a several reasons why this one hits it outta-the-park so thoroughly. First of all, Romney's etch-a-sketch of himself since the first debate was nothing short of stunning. And yet the media seemed to be allowing him to get away with it and some recently tuned-in voters were buying it. Who wants to hear President Obama having to spend a lot of time pointing out the differences between what Romney said on one occasion and then completely contradicted himself later? Boring! They needed a meme for that. Hence...Romnesia. By the end of today, almost every voter in the country will know what that means. Secondly, it fits a theme that has already been developed about Romney's biggest liability - being a flip-flopper. That's one of the reasons it will catch on so quickly and cement the idea in voter's minds. The third - and perhaps most important rea


What can I say? There are no words that describe how outta-the-park President Obama hit it this morning. Just watch!!!

State of the Race: When Plouffe and Silver agree...take it to the bank

In his  Abbreviated Pundit Roundup  today at Daily Kos, Greg Drowkin put a couple of quotes side-by-side that back up what I've been saying about the latest national polling. It just so happens that the two come from guys that - together - trump the savvy of all of the rest of the commentariat on this issue combined. David Plouffe: Polls in September that showed Mr. Obama with a lead of eight or more percentage points in Ohio and elsewhere were a “fantasy,” [David Plouffe] said. The president’s margin of victory in battleground states was going to be “one, two, three, four points at most.” “In those states, if the election were held today, I’m as confident as anything I’ve been in my life, that we would win the election,” Mr. Plouffe said. “I assume tonight’s debate performance will strengthen that a little bit. I think it will provide some more excitement for Democrats and our supporters as Romney got additional enthusiasm off his debate.”  “But the structure of the race is

How the right wing media brought Romney down

Regular readers here know that I check in with a couple of right wing web sites to see what they're up to. I've actually picked up some interesting stories that way. But lately I haven't found much because ALL they've been talking about is trying their hardest to spin a political story out of the attacks on the consulate in Benghazi. They're consumed with it. I didn't pay much attention because I never thought that they would manufacture anything that would reach anyone other than their rabid base. In a way, I was wrong about that. Apparently Mitt Romney has been reading their garbage about it. And on Tuesday night you could see him reveling in the idea of a "gotcha" moment against President Obama because he bought into it all rather than paying attention to the actual facts. And boy...did he pay a price for that! In a much less noticed exchange, he did the same thing with the story the right wing media tried spinning for months on the Fast and F

Luck or Genius?

In reading around the internet about the Obama/Romney debate last night, I was struck by a word  Kevin Drum  used twice..."luck." It came as his response to what were probably the two most memorable moments of the debate. First was the way Romney's attack on President Obama about the Benghazi incident backfired. Obama played this really, really well. He let Romney dig himself into an ever deeper hole, and just smiled when Romney tried to get him to directly deny it. This turned out to be either lucky or smart, because it gave Candy Crowley a chance to fact check Romney and confirm that she was there and she heard Obama refer to Benghazi as an act of terror on the very next day. The second was in using a quote from Andrew Sprung   on President Obama's response to the last question. Lord-a-mercy, Obama just killed Romney on the 47%. Was it genius, or luck that he saved it for the end, when there was no time for rebuttal? I've written before about  this

The Choice

What I'll be looking for in tonight's debate: authenticity

It seems as though we've completely given up on the idea of measuring a debate based on content and instead are much more concerned about the theater of it all. I think that is a very telling indictment of our culture. But it is what it is. Today the internet is full of advice for President Obama on what he needs to do in the debate. I would suggest that most of that is focused on what would please the particular pundit or partisan who is expressing their opinion. In other words, what most of these folks are suggesting is that the President needs to do/say what THEY want to hear. They've had it up to their eyeballs with Romney's lies and flip-floping. They're mad about that and want some punches thrown. But there are several problems with this kind of advice. The real audience for this debate is not the pissed off partisan. Those folks already know who they're going to vote for and one debate is not going to change their minds.  So I would suggest that the Pre

Obamacare voters

The other day I told the story of a  Republican mom in Florida  who will be voting to re-elect the President because of Obamacare. In case you missed it, here's the story. Jill Thacker was dying for a cup of coffee when she recently ran into a 7-Eleven convenience store. To her pleasant surprise, the coffee was free -- as long as she would commit to drinking it in either a red Mitt Romney cup or a blue Barack Obama cup. "Which are you going to choose, Mom?" her son asked. Which, indeed. A gun-owning, big-government-hating Republican, Thacker's every instinct told her to buy a Romney cup. But Thacker, 56, and her daughter have asthma -- a pre-existing condition -- and with Obama as president they'll be guaranteed the ability to buy insurance. Thacker stood in the 7-Eleven and stared at the red and blue cups, stymied by the choice they represented... She thought about her insurance, which covers her only if "I get hit by a bus." It's the only

Who's doing the polling lately?

As I wrote about last night,  there are some questions that need to be raised about whether or not the first presidential debate is the reason the polls have started swinging in Romney's direction. And so this morning, I decided to take a look at which polls are contributing to the change. I used  TPM's list  of the polls they aggregate because its one of the most comprehensive. It will come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention that Rasmussen and Gallup dominate with a total of 12 polls each since the beginning of October. Running a close 3rd is Reuters/Ipsos - who uses web-based polling - with 11. Next in line would be Rand with 9. But its the 5th place finisher that caught my eye. Beginning just the day before the first presidential debate, IBD/TIPP has weighed in with 5 polls in just 2 weeks - when they had previously been polling once-a-month. Those are the big players. YouGov has 3 polls in the mix while Clarus and CVoter have 2. Eight organizations

It wasn't the debate

For months now I've been saying that I don't pay attention to national polls. But I want to talk about them right now to make a point. Everyone is assuming that the swing in the polls towards Romney is because of the first debate. But no matter how many times people say that - its just not true. Take a look at this graph of the national poll averages since September 1st. If you scroll over it, you'll find that the movement towards Romney and away from Obama started on Sept. 27th and 28th. The first debate wasn't until Oct. 3rd. So if we're assuming this has all been a result of President Obama's performance at the first debate - we're missing the story...big time. Today Kevin Drum  is the only pundit I know of who is asking the important question: What happened at the end of September that changed this trajectory?


Years ago I remember watching  Jim Wallis  as a guest on The Daily Show . He said something that stuck in my mind...that comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are modern prophets. That struck me as very true. Who can forget Colbert's performance at the White House Correspondent's Dinner? I defy anyone to name a critique of President Bush that was so thorough and devastatingly accurate. I also think regularly about Colbert's coining of the word "truthiness." I'm not sure anyone has better captured our culture's failure to deal with this information age any better than he did. The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c The Word - Truthiness Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive I suggest that truthiness is a reaction to the information age because as human beings - we have to find a way to sort through the implosion of information we are bombarded with every day. One

The entire Republican argument is slipping away

From the first words ever uttered about the 2012 presidential election, the one and only argument the Republicans have had against the re-election of President Barack Obama has been the economy. And now even that one is slipping away. Not only did the unemployment rate drop to 7.8% - the lowest its been in almost 4 years. But that news was quickly followed by: Unemployment claims  fell to their lowest level since February 2008. The latest Federal Reserve Report showed  broad improvement in the housing market. Consumer confidence  rose to its highest level in five years. Federal tax receipts are up and spending is down. The Treasury Department said Friday that the deficit for the 2012 budget year totaled $1.1 trillion. Tax revenue rose 6.4 percent from last year to more than $2.4 trillion, helping contain the deficit. The government's revenue rose as more people got jobs and received income. Corporations also contributed more tax revenue than in 2011. Government spen

Don't mess with Grandma!!!!!!

We know that there are all kinds of people who are enthusiastic in their support for President Obama in this election. But recently  Michelle Obama  singled out one group that she knows a thing or two about. It is no secret that a large segment of the African-American community put President Obama in office, with 95 percent of African Americans voting for him in 2008. And according to the NY Times, “Virtually every Black woman who voted did so for Mr. Obama,” making African-American women the largest voting bloc among all groups... "So there is a seriousness about the direction of the country but let me tell you, older Black women love Barack Obama! Don’t mess with Barack Obama! There’s a lot of prayers going out and when you see the secret service, they’ve got to bolster up because they [Black women] are not going to let that go!” I'd suggest that over the decades Black women have put an awful lot of their lives and energies into protecting their sons. Now they are not

I need somebody to talk me down on this

Last night Paul Ryan picked a very interesting story to tell in attempting to humanize Mitt Romney. It was about a family's devastation after a car accident involving their children. My gawd, a  car accident - when debating Joe Biden????? The truth is that Joe handled it beautifully. He took a moment to collect himself and  then said this. Look, I don't doubt his [Romney's] personal generosity, and I understand what it's like. When I was a little younger than the congressman, my wife was in an accident, killed my daughter and my wife, and my two sons survived. I have sat in the homes of many people who've gone through what I went through because the one thing you can give people solace is to know they know you've been through it, that they can make it.  But don't we HAVE to ask ourselves whether this was simply Ryan being unbelievably insensitive or was he being devastatingly devious in an attempt to throw Biden off his game? P.S. This story from Ryan

Winners in a debate? Depends on the audience

I feel the need to inject a note of caution in the analysis of last night's debate. But first, let me join my Democratic colleagues in saying how much I enjoyed watching Vice President Joe Biden. Because - if you're a Democrat - how can you not love this guy? But overall, I have to say that I agree with something  Greg Sargent said. It was, compared with last week’s tame affair, much better television. Did it “work”? That entirely depends on the goal. If it was to change minds, no, that seems unlikely. If it was to re-invigorate Democrats who were despondent over Romney’s recent polling surge, or those who were angry with the president for a flat performance last week, then it probably did what it was meant to do. There is something to be said for soothing the panic that had broken out in the Democratic ranks over the last week. To be real honest, that panic pissed me off. Kevin Drum  has a point - there is a "hack gap" - and if you didn't believe him before,

A Muslim American Makes the Case for Obama

We've seen purists like Glenn Greenwald and Conor Friedersdorf attempt to make the case about why they will not support President Barack Obama in his re-election this November. Their arguments rest mainly on foreign policy and national security issues - especially as they relate to the Muslim world. That's why I found an article by  Zaheer Ali  in the Islamic Monthly to be so compelling. He agrees with the purists on their critique of President Obama when it comes to national security issues. And yet he makes a case for why Muslim Americans should still support the President. But foreign and national security policies do not tell the whole story of Obama’s presidency, nor do they account for the totality of the Muslim-American electorate’s priorities. Muslim-Americans are one of the most ethnically and socioeconomically diverse religious communities in America, and their complex and competing political interests cannot, and should not, be simply boxed up and outsourced to

The good, the bad, and the ugly of punditry

In the aftermath of last weeks debate, many in the political pundit class revealed just how shallow they can be. And as we all know by now, the hair-on-fire about style over substance wasn't limited to those who lean conservative. The freak-out by folks like Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz on cable was followed by the likes of Andrew Sullivan ( meltdown central ). But others joined the fray as well. As representative of that group, I would point to Michael Tomasky's ridiculous column asking  Does Obama Even Want to Win the Election? All of that goes to show why  E.J. Dionne  passed on this little bit of wisdom from an unnamed pollster. “When you give conservatives bad news in your polls, they want to kill you,” he said. “When you give liberals bad news in your polls, they want to kill themselves.” That rings pretty true based on much of what we've seen over the last few days. I decided that this incident gave us an opportunity to evaluate some of our liberal pundits