Voter Suppression…Don’t Let It Happen to You!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday was our nation’s first National Voter Registration Day.With that in mind, this thrust seemed apropos for today’s topic.In the past decade, a wave of new voter laws has been enacted; nearly a thousand have been introduced in 46 states since 2001.More are pending.The pace has escalated sharply in the past two years, since the 2010 takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives and sharps upswing in the number of Governorships held by the GOP.These legislative initiatives are expected to affect voter behavior.The pertinent questions are why, and to what end?

In all fairness, these statutes are viewed differently in different circles.However, with just as much fairness, it must be noted, the default bogeyman, “voter fraud,” while hotly debated, struggles to survive the “test of reasonable man scrutiny.”I will delve more directly into that notion momentarily.

Meanwhile, as you might well imagine, in the shadow of America’s rapidly approaching national election, where the public is thought by most observers to be fairly evenly divided, any scheme or action that has, or is perceived as having, the wherewithal to fundamentally alter the outcome is certain to be controversial.Such is the case with what are commonly referred to as “voter suppression laws.”

The basic nature of these provisions is to do one or more of the following to tighten identification rules for voting:

·Require a government-issued photo ID

·Demand proof of citizenship

·Purge voting rolls of non-citizens

·Shorten timelines for Early Voting

·Eliminate third party (such as the League of Women Voters) registration

·Prohibit Sunday voting

Interestingly, the new laws have been sponsored, almost without exception, by Republicans.Their claim regarding the necessity of such laws harkens back to the aforementioned notion of voter fraud.In five states (Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, and North  Carolina), Democratic Governors have vetoed ID laws passed by Republican Legislatures.OK, right out of the box, we have the fuel to submit this issue is one with clearly differentiated partisan perspectives.In full disclosure, one Republican Governor, Rick Snyder of Michigan, has also vetoed such legislation.

The GOP has frequently used a template from the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to argue there is a compelling need for this variety of lawmaking because voting related irregularities are widespread.This argument has been supported by the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA), which joined the fray by publishing a list of reported election crimes during a 12-year period endng December, 2011.Furthermore, proponents of these measures insist that invoking such requirements is not an onerous imposition in an era when such documentation is routinely required to board an airplane or enter an office building.Moreover, according to opinion polls, a majority of the public supports the concept of photo IDs.Finally, the Supreme Court has taken a similar view, though it has left open the possibility of reconsidering, should new evidence emerge.

At first blush, given the former paragraph, one may see why individuals could find comfort in the argument for more voter laws.However, I would contrastingly point your to the NRA, the GOP, and gun-toting conservatives, and the idea they put forward, consistently, regarding any effort to expand gun laws.To put it succinctly, their consensus opinion is, there are enough gun laws on the books. Ergo, there is absolutely no need whatsoever for any new gun legislationabsolutelynone!Can you feel me?

Consider that we live in an environment in which during a 16-day period in late July-early August, we experienced both the (Batman) theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado (12 killed; 58 injured), and the Sikh Temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin (7 killed including the gunman; 3 injured).Republicans, who have in recent years acted in activist fashion promoting initiatives to amend, augment, and/or enact voterID laws, have contemporaneously and enthusiastically opposed legislation to address gun violence. Let’s just say the present day cyber-abbreviation for my response is SMFH. Really!

There are a number of critics who question the necessity of this proliferation of new voter laws.Count me among them.In addition to the question of whether there is a need for these new laws, questions have arisen regarding their effectiveness.Picture IDs serve only to restrict voter impersonation fraud.By any known measure, such fraud is rare.In 2005, Indiana enacted such a provision on a straight party-line vote.What was the number of “widespread” cases of voter impersonation fraud that prompted this “compelling”action?None, nada, zero; there had been not one single known instance of voter impersonation fraud in the history of the state.That is in forever!

In 2011, Texas enacted a strict new law, even though in 2008 and 2010, only 5 formal complaints of voter impersonation were made…out of 13 million votes cast.  Just so we are clear, that number was not 5,000, not 500, no, not even 50.  It was 5…out 13 million.  I’d say that is the classic definition of a solution in search of a problem.  In fact, backtracking to that RNLA inventory, a balanced assessment of reported voter fraud reveals the inventory to have been flawed and misleading.In general, election experts believe the most significant threat to election integrity actually comes from absentee ballots; a threat, incidentally, not covered by this current spate of laws.

So, what’s the big deal?If one has a driver’s license, or a passport, or (in Texas) a concealed carry permit, there is none.Alternately, if one lacks those forms of ID, he or she will have to assemble some combination of birth certificate, naturalization forms,proof of residence, and transportation (be it public, or someone else’s car) to a government office that issues official photo IDs (for which there may be a cost).

Who are these people?Based upon data assembled in numerous studies, they are disproportionately:

  • Young
  • Elderly
  • Poor
  • Black
  • Hispanic

Put somewhat differently; this list of the “least of these” represents the proverbial heart of the Democratic Party coalition of voters.Of the 5segments listed above, President Obama won 4; all except the elderly, in 2008.Moreover, given the current state of the campaign dialogue on Social Security, Medicare, and Healthcare Reform, chances are the President will do better with older Americans in 2012.

What’s the bottom line?  We know why…and to what end!  The number of potential voters affected by these laws is substantial.The Texas secretary of state estimates that 600,000 already registered voters do not possess the documents they will need to cast votes in November.That is just one state; a big state no doubt, but still just one.  

The Brennan Center for Justice at New  York University’s Law School has estimated that more than five million people may lack the requisite identification documents to vote in states that have passed new ID laws.  That’s literally millions of disenfranchised voters.

Finally, Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, director of voter protection for the Advancement Project, said in a study released Monday, that obstacles stemming from the spate of voter ID laws could deter or prevent more than ten million Latino citizens from registering and voting in the 2012 elections…and that’s just Latinos.  Even if you pick a number between that projected by the Brennan Center and the figure released by the Advancement Project, the level of voter disenfranchisement ment is in the millions.  If Democrats had proposed such a scheme, President Obama, like President Clinton, would have been Impeached.      

There is no doubt this mass action is intended to (the why) drive the outcome of the 2012 elections.  The ultimate goal (to what end) is to retrieve the Presidency and achieve a majority in the Senate.

There are far too many aspects of this story to cover in a single blog post; it’s conceivable that not even Volume 1 of a book would suffice.That notwithstanding, I think I’ve left you with enough to glean the gist of the matter.There are some tainted endeavors afoot; intended to disrupt the will of the people during this election.Over the next six weeks, I urge one and all to solidify and stiffen your commitment and resolve, understand the dynamics that are in play, and see the scourge that is Voter Suppression…Don’t Let It Happen to You!

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.comor A new post is published each Wednesday. For more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post, consult the links below:

Willard Romney Unplugged, Unrepentant; but is He Undone?

It’s time to Break It Down!

The Republican nominee for Presidentis a very wealthy man.  He is obviously adroit at counting, especially when it comes to money.  His various bank accounts, whether domiciled in Massachusetts, the Caymans, Switzerland, or elsewhere, attest to that.

Recent developments leave some question as to just how rigorously Mr.Romney applies this erstwhile exceptionally refined skill set when counting people in general, voters more precisely, and people likely to vote for him in particular.  Over the course of the campaign, questions and concerns have arisen regarding whether Candidate Romney has effectively managed to stay on message, maintain previously stated positions, and project a consistent message to different audiences.

These concerns have emerged and coalesced, in large measure, because the GOP has become a house-divided.  This division played an integral role during the Republicanprimaries, and was instrumental in the popularity of various candidates rising and falling during the primary season.

Willardbrought a checkered past to the table.  He was generally regarded as a Moderate Governor when he led the State of Massachusetts. At one time, he held pro positions onabortion, gay marriage, and of course he implemented health care reform legislation that became the progenitor for the law he now disdainfully refers to as Obamacare.

All this and more made him the anti-candidate for the newly transcendent, ultraconservative strain of the GOPknown as the Tea Party, as well as for several of his more conservative leaning primary rivals, including Michele Bachmann, the Rick Brothers (Perry &Santorum), Newt Gingrich, and Herman Cain.  Despite the head winds resulting from this opposition, Romney prevailed.  In some cases his opponents self-destructedRick Perry, for example, could not avoid stepping on his own message.  Meanwhile Herman Cain was done in by revelations of indiscretionsfrom his past.

Mr. Romney’sefforts also benefited from both his own personal fortune, and from the tail winds generated by Super Pac money, made possible by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling.  In effect, he was able to spend his remaining rivals into oblivion.  At different times, he aimed his financial Tsunamiat Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich.  They had no answer.

A couple of days ago, Mother Jones Magazinereleased a video showing Willard Romneymaking comments about Obamasupporters that he later described as off-the-cuffand inelegant.  However, he neither rescinded them, nor offered an apology.  Those comments were recorded, surreptitiously, in May at a $50,000 per plate fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida, and released on a day the Romney Campaign had widely circulated news that it was endeavoring to reset the candidate’s message.  It appears the reset directive may have come a day too soon.

The gist of the Governor’s comments can be distilled into these essential points:

1.     There are 47%of the people who will vote for the President, no matter what

2.     There are 47%who are with him

a.     Who are dependent upon government

b.     Who believe that they are victims

c.     Who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them

d.     Who believe they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you-name-it

3.     That that’s an entitlement…And the government should give it to them

4.     The Presidentstarts off with 48, 49…he starts off with a huge number

5.     These are people who pay no income tax

6.     Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax, so our message of low taxes doesn’t connect

7.     He’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich; that’s’what they sell every four years

8.     My job is not to worry about those people; I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives

9.     What I have to do is convince the five to ten percent in the center that are independents

a.     That are thoughtful

b.     That look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion

10.Whether they like the guy or not

There has been a lot of analysis about this unedited stream of consciousness straight from the candidate’s mind.  Republicanstrategists, who generally are tasked with defending the nominee, have emphasized the truth-telling aspect of the message.  Many have applauded his resolve and commitment to double-down.   They giddily underscore the fact that 47% of Americans do not pay taxes.  This, by the way, is not only true, but may even be a conservative estimate.  One recent data source says that number has crept up to 51%.

However, if you don’t have the responsibility of carrying that water, you may be open to a few of the other implications of Governor Romney’s remarks.  Namely, that the off-the-cuff and inelegantly framed comments appear to assert that all Obama supporters:

·        Are dependent upon government

·        Pay no taxes

·        See themselves as victims

·        Believe government is responsible for them

·      Think they are entitled to healthcare, food, housing,you-name-it, and that government should give it to them 

·        Are not thoughtful

·        Are incapable or unwilling to employ the power ofdiscernment in determining for whom they will vote

·        Are not concerned about lower taxes (except for those of the rich)

·        Do not take personal responsibility and/or care for their own lives

·        Are not thoughtful voters

Is it conceivable that each of those ten points is an irrefutable and universal fact?  That is likely inconceivable.  However, just to be clear, if one believed that sentiment in its entirety, it would mean that person believed, among other things, that 95% of African American voters, 66% of Latino voters, and 56% ofcollege educated white women voters don’t pay taxes, see themselves as victims, do not take personal responsibility and/or care for their own lives, and are not thoughtful voters.  Taken in part or as a whole, that is more than a stretch.

Moreover, one extrapolation of this narrative holds that retirees, veterans, recently laid-off workers on food stamps, many of whom support the Governor, are being written off.  As you might imagine, the fallout from this recent revelation has spurred the Romney Campaign into damage control mode.  Call it, a double reset, or Reset.2.

In an effort to get ahead of the story, Team Romney orchestrated a hastily called press conference after 10:00 p.m.Eastern Daylight Savings Time Monday night.  In it, the Governor doubled-down on his comments, focusing on why non-taxpayers will not find his message appealing.  Interestingly, he did not mention the millions of Obamasupporters who do pay taxes, who do take personal responsibility, and whodo not see themselves as victims.

In his Monday night news conference, Candidate Romneycontended he was taken out of context, and rued the fact the entire video sequence was not presented.  In fact, he asked for its full disclosure.

So Tuesday, Mother Jones released the entire video.  In a companion piece, David Corn, head of the Washington Bureau of Mother Jones noted:

“Romney was not the only one who has called for the release of the full 49-minute video. And we’re more than happy to oblige. The complete video demonstrates that Romney was not snippetized and that he was captured raw and uncut.”

When taking into account comments from around the political spectrum, Democrats have understandably been somewhat understated.  Oh sure, some have made the obligatory comment here and there, but most have been comfortably ensconced on the sidelines while watching Republicansof all stripes labor to make sense of this latest Romney Camp PR dust-up.

The most “dug-in” GOP pols, aside from those who actually work for the campaign, appear to be the Tea Party types, Neocons, and the abashedly ultraconservatives.  In statements such as those made by Romney, they actually see some evidence that the Governor really is capable of earning not just their vote, but their trust.

Contrast that with David Brooks, a conservative commentator who writes for the New York Times.  He wrote a scathing op-ed entitled Thurston Howell Romney.   Thurston Howell, III, in the event you don’t recall, was the mega-bucks character on the TV Show,Gilligan’s Island, who took tens of thousands of dollars and several changes of clothes on what was intended to be a 1-day cruise.

In the piece, Brooks makes several assertions, and poses a series of companion queries.  First, he suggests that at the Florida fundraiser, Romney, who criticizes President Obama for dividing the nation, proceeds, himself, to “divide the nation into two groups: the makers and themoochers.”

Brooks argues that Romney really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits.

Who are these freeloaders?  Is it the Iraqwar veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retireeon Social Security or Medicare?

He suggests the Governor does not know much about the culture of America.

Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.

He suggests Romney does not know much about the political culture.

“The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.

Brooks added,

“The people who receive the disproportionateshare of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.”

Brooks went on to add,

Romneyhas lost track of the social compact.  In 1987, during Reagan’s second term, 62% of Republicans believed that government has a responsibility to help those who cannot help themselves.According to a recent Pew study, only 40% of Republicans believe that today.”

Finally, Brooks notes:

Romneyknows nothing about ambition and motivation.  The formula he sketches is this: People who are forced to make it on their own have drive.  People who receive benefits have dependency.”

In closing, Brooks said this:

“Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not —some sort of cartoonish government-hater. But it scarcely matters. He’s running a depressingly inept presidential campaign. Mr. Romney, your entitlement reform ideas are essential, but when will the incompetence stop?”

While comparing Governor Romney’scomments to then Senator Obama’s 2008 comments about clinging to guns and God, (Here’s Barack Obama), Bill Kristol, a neocon political analyst, commentator, and editor of the Weekly Standard wrote in a column yesterday, “Romney’s comments arestupid and arrogant.”

Even some GOP Senatecandidates, (Scott Brown, Massachusetts, Linda McMahon of wrestling notoriety, Connecticut) have moved to distance themselves from the Governorand his comments.

For some, it had appeared the GOP was flagging in interest, and down on it’s Presidentialnominee.  In seeking a reset, then being forced to chart Reset.2, the Campaign has found a burst of enthusiasm.  It is unclear whether it can be used to propel the overarching political debate in directions Republicans desire.

In summary, the 2012 race to the Presidency is as close as it’s ever been, with no compelling signs that attendant dynamics have shifted fundamentally.  Two important aspects of note to keep in mind are: 1) Yesterday’s Gallup Poll indicates, in the wake of the Libyan fallout, any Post Convention Bounce President Obama experienced last week has dissapated; 2) Perhaps even more important, courtesy of the Super Pacs, the Romney Camp maintains a humongous money advantage.  This could be critical over the course of the final seven weeks of the campaign.

The combined observation/question of the moment can be stated simply…”Willard Romney Unplugged, Unrepentant; but is He Undone?”  We’ll see.

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.comor A new post is published each Wednesday. For more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post, consult the links below:

Revisionist History: the New Normal

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday marked the annual observance of Nine-Eleven (9/11); the 11th anniversary.  Last year I wrote a post, “Calling All Patriots; 9/11 Ten Years Later,” acknowledging the 10th Anniversary.  That edition framed specific details of one of America’s most fateful days, including segments about the 2,977 victims, the Twin Towers, The Pentagon, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the four flights (2 American and 2 United) for which the aforementioned sites served as ultimate final earthly destinations.  I invite you to click on the link referenced above and review the post at your leisure. 

As a postscript to last year’s 9/11 post, a new tower, One World Trade Center (1WTC) is currently under conrstruction, and due for completion in 2013.  The 104-story skyscraper will be, upon completion, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the third-tallest building in the world.      

In today’s post, I will attempt to describe and put into perspective some of the more interesting developments, especially contradictions or position changes, emerging from the 2012 Republican Presidential CampaignWillard Romney’s repeal Obamacare mantra took a serious detour over the weekend when he suddenly began explaining how he would “not repeal all of Obamacare”on day 1 of a Romney Administration.  Turns out he actually likes certain provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Imagine that; will wonders never cease to amaze?

Actually this Etch-A-Sketch (See video tribute, courtesy of Ms. Bree Newsome: moment is not all that surprising; probably should have been predicted.  In fact, perhaps it was.

CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger in a documentary entitled “Romney Revealed: Family, Faith and the Road to Power,” interviewed’s Erick Erickson, among others, about Romney.  In two brief anecdotes, Erickson noted:

  1. “If a group of conservatives were locked in a room and asked to raise their hands if they believed Romney would fully repeal Obamacare, not a single hand would go up.”
  2. There was a period of time when Romney referred to himself as “severely conservative.”  Erickson went on to note, “conservatives do not refer to themselves using that term;” rather it is a phrase others use, and in a pejorative sense.

As most observers know, Obamacare was modeled after Romneycare.  By all accounts, the Healthcare Reform program in Massachusetts, adopted during Governor Romney’stenure in the Bay State, is wildly successful. Ninety-nine percent of Massachusetts citizens are covered.  You might say, “Governor Romney was for Healthcare Reform before he was against it.”

During the Republican Primary debates, Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota Governor, and one of the challengers to Governor Romney for the GOP Nomination, suggested that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the President’s Healthcare Reformlegislation) was a derivative or an amalgam of Governor Romney’s Massachusetts law.He referred to it as Obamneycare.

In an interview this past Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Romney’sfirst national interview on a show other than Fox News Sunday, the Governorrevealed, surprisingly to his Right Wing/Tea Party supporters, that he favors some elements of the program he has excoriated consistently, and promised to repeal on day 1.  Give Erick Erickson his due; he called it.

Reports indicate the Governor spent last week during the Democrats’ Convention, holed up, preparing for the upcoming debates; the first of which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 3rd. at the University of Denver, in Denver, Colorado.  The theme for this debate is Domestic Policy; Jim Lehrer, host of NewsHour on PBS will be the Moderator.  The full Presidential/Vice Presidential Debate series schedule is accessible by clicking on the linkbelow:

You can be sure these new revelations are both tactical and political.  After all, on one hand, Mr. Romneyhas secured the nomination…take that Tea Party; on the other hand, he and his Teamhave obviously reasoned, a lot of those independent voters he now needs and seeks to attract, like a number of Obamacare provisions.  “So Romney wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with Obamacare, or at least the consumer-friendly parts of Obamacare that Romney knows are popular.”

But not so fast!  As soon as the dust settled, the Romney Camp began to walk back his Sunday revelations.  They now claim he would repeal all ofObamacare, then replace some of it with similar provisions that he likes…wink-wink.  Hmm, now this is more like the Willard we have come to know!

Prior to the selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, it was widely reported that the Far Rightwas pressuring the Governor to choose the Congressman from Wisconsin, which he did, ultimately.  The pressing concern revolved around Mr. Romney’sperceived lack of conservative bona fides.  It would appear the basis for that concern is becoming evident.

One recent tack by Governor Romney is to accuse the President of attempting to divide Americans because Mr. Obama has expressly sought support from members of several different segments of voters, including women, Latinos, the Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, and independentvoters. Mr. Romney has implied, alternately, thatHe, instead, embraces the idea of E Pluribus Unum (from many, one), or bringing all Americanstogether.  Yet, interestingly, the Governor has designed ads, and made pitches at rallies designed to pursue individual voting blocs, such as veterans, the wealthy, small business owners, Jews, Latinos, and Independents, just to name a few.  Pot, meet kettle!

In point of fact, there is really no problem recognizing/conceding that all of these groups are integral parts of the tableau that is America, and that to run a successful national campaign, it is not only appropriate, but necessary to secure the support of voters from as many constituent groups and/or voting blocs as possible.  At least, there is no problem unless one candidate attempts to bludgeon the other for doing so…while moving full steam ahead doing the same thing.Frankly such behavior appears to validate the suggestion that Mr. Romney believes the rules do not apply to him, or worse, that voters are too dense to see through such a shell game…in effect, he is propagating a kaleidascopic panacea of Etch-A-Sketch moments.

In the wake of the Democratic Convention, and amid GOP concerns that President Obama may get a bigger bounce than Governor Romney received after the GOP Convention, Romney, Ryan and their surrogates reversed field and made their way to the Sunday Morning Talk Show Circuit, an arena many Republican candidates and office holders avoid like the plague.  In addition to Mr. Romney’s appearance on Meet the Press, Congressman Ryan appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation and ABC’s This Week.

Included among the delightful machinations Mr. Ryan released was the notion that Governor Romney and he did not intend to present in advance a plan for how they would cut taxes for the wealthy without increasing the deficit.  Rather, he said,  they will work with Congress to reach a deal.

Ryan noted expressly, they would not do as President Obama did with Healthcare and spring it on the Congress.  The principal problem with that line of attack (and it was an attack) is President Obama not only did not spring the bill on Congress, he ceded it to them to create.  Admittedly, after Republicans made it clear they were opting to practice obstructionism instead of negotiating in good faith, or agreeing to compromise, Democrats wrote the bill and passed it without Republican support. 

Still, that was not the President springing it on the Congress.  The truth of the matter is President Obama wanted a more robust bill that included a single-payer componentHe and Deomcrats in Congress settled, as they did with the Stimulus bill, for legislation they felt they could enact.

Congressman Ryan has also slammed President Obamafor not supporting the Bowles-Simpson Commission, and for supporting the sequester and the Budget Control Act.  Oddly enough, inexplicably really given the Congressman’s pronouncements, President Obama’s position on each of those matters was precisely the same as that of Mr. Ryan.  To paraphrase David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to President Obama, Mr. Ryan appears to be running from his position on those issues with the same vigor and fictionalized sub 3-hourspeed he claimed (and subsequently walked back) he once ran a marathon.

Newt Gingrich joined the GOP’s merry band of Musketeers over the weekend.  He appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, CNN’s Chief Political CorrespondentMr. Gingrich, often referred to as the GOP’sdeep-thinking intellectual, frequently employs a creative, if not over the top approach to his attacks.  Sunday was no exception.

In his latest spin, he proclaimed Bill Clinton was a real President, and labeled President Obama a pretender.  Here is where I confess I found this claim stunningly hilarious; especially coming from the former Speaker of the House.  Not so much because I disagree with his assertion of President Clinton’s status, I do not; I do, however, take issue with his premise about President Obama.  And while I believe Bill Clinton was a great President, there is little to suggest that such a notion ever crossed Newt Gingrich’s mind.

Based on historical accounts, I believe Mr. Gingrich either suffers from acute amnesia, or he has taken up residency in an alternate reality universe.  After all, at least the way I recall it, between 1995 and 1999, Mr. Gingrich and his Republican contemporaries were instrumental in shutting down the government…twice, and spearheading the Impeachment of the old sax player by the U.S. House of Representatives.  If that is how he treats “real Presidents,” I don’t even want to imagine what designs he has in store for President Obama, whom he considers a pretender.  I suppose in the case of Mr. Gingrich, “He was against President Clinton before he was for him.”

In reality, the GOP has devised a strategy intended to pit President Obama against President Clinton.  Ultimately, this is an effort to stunt the impact of President Clinton’s nomination speech at the Democratic Convention, as well as his subsequent stump appearances on President Obama’s behalf.  In my view, President Clinton is a savvy veteran who will not fall prey to such sophomoric okey doke; President Obama…just too cool to be the Speaker’s fool.

Recent polling, by the way suggests President Obama benefited significantly from a post Convention bounce.  In addition, for the first time since April, the Obama Campaign raised more money than the Romney Campaign during the month of August.  The differential was narrow, $114 million to $111 million, but breaking through the psychological barrier of winning the month may be what matters to the Obama team.  It was their highest total for any month during the campaign.  Logical minds will infer there is a correlation between recent poll results, the fundraising edge, and this latest Romney Etch-A-Sketching.  Meanwhile, the Romney spin machine insists the new poll numbers are just a “Sugar High.”  He may be right.  But what if he’s not?

The acts of blatant deception, dishonesty, and dissembling by the Romney Campaign are tantamount to an emerging Republican Campaign theme. The appropriately coined phrase that comes to mind…“Revisionist History: the New Normal!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my bloganytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.comor A new post is published each Wednesday. For more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post, consult the links below:

The DNC in CLT: Party (Democratic) Time in the QC!

It’s time to Break It Down!

The nation celebrated Labor Day on Monday, and by the end of this week, the Political Conventions will be in the books.  In other words, the 2012 Presidential Campaign will be underway in earnest.

Now it may seem a little strange to suggest that the rhetoric, animus, and negative ads can get any more pervasive,but yes they can…and they will.  Traditionally, Labor Day is thought of as the time when the big guns come out, and things get really serious.

In reality, Mr. Romney just received the Republican nomination last week.  Before last Thursday night, he was, technically, only the Party’s presumptivenominee.  As such, despite the near certainty that the results of the GOPPrimaries would be validated, rules dictated that he could not gain full and complete access to the treasure trove of funds available to the nominee.  Funds that will in large measure be used to augment Super PAC’sby creating and airing negative ads that obscure, dissemble, or boldly lie about President Obama and his record.

Governor Romneyand his hand-picked partner, Congressman Ryanare now the GOP’s official Champions.  They will be pulling out all the stops to secure the prize Senator Mitch McConnell,Senate Minority Leader, first gave voice to December 7, 2010 when he said:

“Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny

Senator McConnell’s position, while troubling in its own right, is not the first indication of the active resistance to President Obama’s tenure from the far right.  No, going all the way back to the transcript of Rush Limbaugh’s January 16, 2009 Radio Show, we find what may have been the genesis of this unbridled anti-Obama sentiment.  During that show, the host noted receiving a request from what he described as a major print publication, asking prominent politicians, statesmen, scholars, businessmen, commentators, and economists to weigh-in with a 400-word opinion expressing their hopes for the Obama presidency.

Almost as an afterthought, the requester added, “We would love to include you.”      

After his trademark prologue, Mr. Limbaugh replied:

“Okay,I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.”

For those of you with some sense of history, it’s important to note, just for the record, January 16, 2009 was four days before Senator Obama was inaugurated.  Not four days after; not even the day of the inuaguration.  Before the guy ever set foot in the Oval Officeas Commander-in-Chief, the die was cast. .  That fact alone symbolizes how long-held, how deeply entrenched, and how irreducibly intractable is the nature of this insidiously hateful spirit.

Now this may sound personal, trivial, and lacking citation.  I feel you, because frankly, after watching the onslaught of GOP ads that alter the facts, or worse, simply fly in the face of them, I have an expanded appreciation for well-researchedrationally presented documented information.With that in mind, I offer my most pointed observation (with source).

In his new book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S.House of Representatives, Robert Draper lays out in fairly specific detail how on the night of President Obama’s inauguration, a group of Republican lawmakers and strategists (including Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, and Newt Gingrich) met at for a private dinner at a swanky Washington establishment known as The Caucus Room.  While there, they crafted what they envisioned (and subsequently executed) the steps they hoped would accomplish several ends, including:

·        Ensure that President Obama and his policies failed

·        Take steps to return Republicans to power

·        Challenge every bill and every campaign

·        Attack incoming Secretary Geithner

·        Assail Congressman Charles Rangel

·        Show united/unyielding opposition to the President’s economic policies

·        Begin attacking vulnerable Democrats on the airways

·        Win the House in 2010

·        Go after President Obama relentlessly in 2011

·        Win the Senate and the White House in 2012       

What a chilling Top 10 List!  From South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson’s infamous “You lie,” to the ridiculous notion of Mr. Romney’s deceptive assertion, that he actually hoped Mr. Obama would have succeeded, Republicanobstructionism has been rampant, and we now know, planned, purposeful, and designed to promote negative consequences.

The Republican National Convention convened last week in Tampa.  This week, the scene, and the Party shifted to Charlotte (the Queen City)where the Democrats have landed.  The GOP Light Show, which ended last Thursdaynight, provided Governor Romney a 1-point bounce, according to a CNN Poll yesterday.  The CNN Poll preceding the Republican Conventionshowed 49% of like voters lining up behind the President, and 47% for Mr. Romney.  The post-Convention poll showed both the President and Governor Romney at 48%.

So it is, with 62 days remaining, the race is a dead heat.  Both sides understand what is at stake, and there is every reason to believe it can be just this close on the morning of November 7th (day after the Election).

Everyone knows the now famous phrases that emerged from the 2008 Obama Campaign, “Change We Can Believe in,” and Yes We Can!  But the campaign also spurred another less well known catch phrase; Fired up!  Ready to go!  For several months, the media has pointed to an enthusiasm gapamong Democrats.  Just as important, that same media has observed that this campaign has evolved into a test of exciting and turning outrespective bases.  It is clear, if you still believe in the change, and continue to think, yes, we can, you better be “Fired up and ready to go!”

This week it will be critical for Team Obama to showcase aConvention that fires-up the President’s base, and helps Democrats go close the enthusiasm gap.  Last night was the first evening of live TVcoverage for the Democrat’s Convention.  I watched with interest, and came away with one interesting (to me anyway) anecdote.

Last week, Ann Romney, Willard’s wife, gave a speech at the GOP ConventionCNN commentators, without exception, praised Mrs. Romney for “knocking it out of the park.”  She gave a good speech, no doubt.

Last night, Michelle Obama, the President’s wife, gave a speech at the Democratic Convention.  As usual, I watched CNN’s coverage.  Imagine my surprise when two CNN commentators refused to say Mrs. Obama knocked it out of the park…or anything approximating that.  One of the naysayers, Ari Fleischer, is a Republican Strategist, so I suppose I understand his unwillingness to concede a simple point.The other, David Gergen, has worked in several Presidential administrations (Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton), and is presented as having a balanced perspective.  Last night, his leaanings were evident.

Just to be clear, I believe Mrs. Obama “knocked it out of the park.”I understand her in-house audience was essentially the choir, but certainly no less so than Mrs. Romney’saudience last week.  Fair is fair.

The optics and production valuesof the Democratic Convention were clearly superior to the first night of the GOPeffort in Tampa.But in keeping with the theme of fairness, there are reasons for that.  Hurricane Isaac undoubtedly took some of the verve out of the Tampaassembly.  Moreover, as I noted when discussing the 2008 Election, because of the individual Party rules, there are many more Democratic delegates and alternates than Republicans.

That differential led to theTime Warner Cable Arena having the feel and look of a full house.  It also didn’t hurt that the Democrats chose a slate of speakers who stuck to their talking points; Cory Booker, Ted Strickland, Martin O’Malley, Deval Patrick, Rahm Emanuel, Julian Castro, and Michelle Obama all sang from the same page of the same hymnal, “Re-elect Barack Obama.”  Several of the Republican speakers seemed to have been rolling out their own dry runs for 2016.  Others were just not compelling speakers.

Still, there are two more nights; it’s not over yet.  Also, the high wire act is scheduled for Thursday Night.  That when the President is scheduled to accept the Nomination and make his acceptance speech…not at Time Warner Arena, but at Bank of America Stadium.  The inherent risks include filling a football stadium and the possibility of rain, or worse, violent thunder showers.

There’s a back-up plan of course.  In a worse case scenario, the final night’s activities will be moved back to the Arena, where the event can take place in a dry setting, and without danger.  Of course, that would nullifytens of thousands of convention credentials and deprive those participants from seeing the President and Vice President receive their nominations, and make their speeches.

In summation, this is a big week in politics.  I hope you tuned in last week, and that you will do so again this week.  If it helps you get through it, have a bag of popcorn; enjoy the show.  Regardless of whether you caught last week’s production, don’t miss “The DNC in CLT:Party (Democratic) Time in the QC!”

I’m done; holla back!