With the Republican primary effectively over, the Obama campaign has apparently decided to take Romney at his word, that he is "severely conservative." Their new video highlights Romney's lurch to the right.
This from Andrew Sullivan:
Every time you think the ultras in the current GOP won't go there, they do. They'll sabotage economic growth for short term political advantage. They'll sabotage their own president in negotiating with allies. They're happy for the US to default if it means they can damage Obama. Their own plan for immediate, drastic austerity would be catastrophic for the global economy. Their pre-Arab Spring belligerence would shut America out of a critical opportunity to ease tensions with the growing and burgeoning Muslim world. And they have no problem treating the world economy as a partisan plaything.
If they claw their way back to power this way, our system really will be broken for a long time. And the great possibility of an adult conversation on pragmatic grounds to help the economy will be lost. And this is emphatically not Obama's fault. He tried. They threw it back in his face again and again. Which means, I believe, that we should double down in backing him, instead of the ear-splitting whine coming from the left.
The GOP spin machine and complicit media — including, disturbingly, NPR — would like you to believe that the recent special elections are incontrovertible predictors of the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. (See Nate Silver's A Guide to Cutting Through Special Election Spin.)
Alter Net's Joshua Holland has a cogent analysis in TruthOut.org of the discussion in liberal circles of whether Obama should be considered a success or a failure. In a particularly even-handed critique, Holland argues that:
... [T]his is actually a debate over whether one should do what one can within the political constraints of the day, or expend a lot of energy trying to move the political dialogue in one's preferred direction.
Holland also suggests that the Obama political team bears some responsibility for the ambivalence in progressive circles:
Obama didn't promise to do what he could to dig the country out of eight years of disastrous Republican governance: he promised to change Washington – to usher in a new era of comity and reason -- and people believed him. They shouldn't have, because at the end of the day, progressives still faced any number of structural hurdles.
In an earlier commentary, Holland noted:
... [T]he message is as hopelessly naive in the real world of American politics as it is appealing on the stump, and for a simple reason: it assumes that the GOP -- dominated as it is by "movement conservatives" in the Delay-Rove mold -- and it's corporate backers are interested in engaging in a thoughtful debate over how to make America a better country. If that were the case, then bridging the divide through calm words and negotiation would certainly be better by leaps and bounds than the ugly brand of politics we have today
Eugene Robinson has an excellent summary of how out of touch with the public Republican attempts to repeal the health care bill are.
A recent AP poll found that 62% of those surveyed either wanted the law left as it is, or wanted it to do more to change the health care system. A Washington Post poll found that only 18% of respondents wanted the law repealed; in the AP poll it was 26%.
As Robinson puts it, "what House Republicans just voted to do may be the will of the Tea Party, but it's not 'the will of the people.'"
Bob Herbert writes in Monday's NY Times
The fundamental mission of the G.O.P. is to shovel ever more money to those who are already rich. That’s why you got all that disgracefully phony rhetoric from Republicans about attacking budget deficits and embracing austerity while at the same time they were fighting like mad people to pile up the better part of a trillion dollars in new debt by extending the Bush tax cuts.
Continuing to demonstrate the Republican version of family values and Christian virtue, Monday night Rand Paul supporters stomped on the head of a MoveOn.org activist at who was trying to present Paul with an "employee of the month" award from RepubliCorp — a fictional company created to highlight ties between corporate America and the Republican party.
In results substantially simlar to their poll from the end of September, a Newsweek poll conducted October 20-21 finds 48% of registered voters more likely to vote for Democrats, compared to 42% more likely to vote for Republicans.
Other key findings: