Posts Tagged Election Day
Raging Moderate, by Will Durst
“So, expect showers and gale-force winds over the next couple of days and don’t forget that high-surf advisory is in effect throughout the weekend. We may even see some downed power lines and scattered looting. That’s the weather here on Capitol Hill — now let’s go to Brandon with your Congressional traffic report.”
Rick McKee / Augusta Chronicle
“Thanks Brandon. Well, its gotten pretty ugly out there, people. My best advice is, stay in your homes. As expected, following the holiday recess, we’re seeing a lot of bluster and bombast building up on the Beltway, and the obstructionist blather has managed to stall headway on nearly every budget deal ramp to a virtual crawl.
Three or four 18- wheelers jam-packed with Election Day rancor have overturned, and as you might imagine, rubbernecking has resulted in hundreds of not-so-tender fender benders in both directions. It’s gotten so bad that major media outlet trucks are stuck on the shoulder filming each other, filming each other.
It’s not just the Beltway that’s backed up. Main Street and Wall Street and the Path to Prosperity all report major slowdowns due to a multitude of partisan pile-ups. Some drivers seem to be purposefully ramming fellow travelers right off the road while others speed across median strips to dive into oncoming traffic seemingly with no thought to life or limb. Casualties continue to mount and officials worry about running out of tarps.
Sky Nine over the Bridge to the Future reports that progress remains hopelessly clogged with all visible movement being of the backwards variety, and from their vantage all the right lanes look to be blocked as far as the eye can see. Left lanes: not much better. Center lanes: you don’t want to know.
Many reasons have been offered up for Carmageddon spreading nationwide. Pure native stubbornness, leading to refusals to merge. Infrastructure deterioration. Widespread smoke screens creating low visibility. A plethora of misread signs due to intentionally misinterpreted polls. Death wishes. Insanity. Mad Cow.
Part of the problem can be attributed to the numerous turnarounds closed by committee chairmen to restrict desertion from party-line movement, and reports continue to stream in that a crazy person by the name of Grover Norquist has been single-handedly impeding traffic by standing in the ditch and flagging motorists off the road straight into various freeway abutments. Although it must be said, some cars do now seem to be aiming right for him, chasing the anti-cheerleader back to the safety of various rest stop bathroom stalls.
Due to the slick situation, eternal congestion and some inexplicable glitch that has turned all the surface street stop lights to red, further delays are expected to spread across the nation as the country experiences a massive impasse on all roads leading to the cutoff meant to avert the dreaded Fiscal Cliff.
Veteran observers claim this activity is expected due to the mostly poor driving skills possessed by the residents of our nation’s capital. But the upshot is, we’re back to stalls and jams and near-total gridlock far into the foreseeable future. So remember to keep that dial here, where we bring you weather and traffic together on the eights, although to be perfectly honest, not much is expected to change any time soon. Back to you, Brandon.”
- Fiscal Cliff Traffic Report (athomesense.com)
- Will Durst: More gridlock ahead (goerie.com)
- Fiscal Cliff Traffic Report (readersupportednews.org)
- Overnight Beltway Closures Planned in Md. (washington.cbslocal.com)
- Tractor Trailer Carry Pineapples Overturns, Snarls Beltway Traffic in Bethesda (washington.cbslocal.com)
- Sen. Chambliss brings tax pledge debate outside beltway (mbcalyn.com)
- Grover Norquist Calls Romney a Poopy-Head, Mockery Ensues : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- AFP Hosts Tele-Townhall TONIGHT with Grover Norquist (paramuspost.com)
- “An Effective Ad Man”: Democrats Could Use Their Own Grover Norquist (mbcalyn.com)
- HOT Lanes Opening on the Capital Beltway Cause Few Speed Bumps (wjla.com)
Inside Team Romney’s whale of an IT meltdown
Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock
It was supposed to be a “killer app,” but a system deployed to volunteers by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign may have done more harm to Romney’s chances on Election Day—largely because of a failure to follow basic best practices for IT projects.
Called “Orca,” the effort was supposed to give the Romney campaign its own analytics on what was happening at polling places and to help the campaign direct get-out-the-vote efforts in the key battleground states of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Colorado.
Instead, volunteers couldn’t get the system to work from the field in many states—in some cases because they had been given the wrong login information. The system crashed repeatedly. At one point, the network connection to the Romney campaign’s headquarters went down because Internet provider Comcast reportedly thought the traffic was caused by a denial of service attack.
As one Orca user described it to Ars, the entire episode was a “huge clusterfuck.” Here’s how it happened.
Develop in haste, repent at leisure
The Romney campaign put a lot of stock in Orca, giving PBS NewsHour an advance look at the operation on November 5. But according to volunteers who saw and used the system, it was hardly a model of stability, having been developed in just seven months on a lightning schedule following the Republican primary elections. Orca had been conceived by two men—Romney’s Director of Voter Contact Dan Centinello and the campaign’s Political Director Rich Beeson. It was named in honor of the killer whale as an allusion to the Obama campaign’s own voter identification program, code-named Narwhal; orcas are the top predator of narwhals, Romney campaign staffers explained, and they were preparing to outshine the Democratic voter turnout effort.
As Romney’s Communications Director Gail Gitcho put it in the PBS piece, “The Obama campaign likes to brag about their ground operation, but it’s nothing compared to this.”
To build Orca, the Romney campaign turned to Microsoft and an unnamed application consulting firm. The goal was to put a mobile application in the hands of 37,000 volunteers in swing states, who would station themselves at the polls and track the arrival of known Romney supporters. The information would be monitored by more than 800 volunteers back at Romney’s Boston Garden campaign headquarters via a Web-based management console, and it would be used to push out more calls throughout the day to pro-Romney voters who hadn’t yet shown up at the polls. A backup voice response system would allow local poll volunteers to call in information from the field if they couldn’t access the Web.
But Orca turned out to be toothless, thanks to a series of deployment blunders and network and system failures. While the system was stress-tested using automated testing tools, users received little or no advance training on the system. Crucially, there was no dry run to test how Orca would perform over the public Internet.
Part of the issue was Orca’s architecture. While 11 backend database servers had been provisioned for the system—probably running on virtual machines—the “mobile” piece of Orca was a Web application supported by a single Web server and a single application server. Rather than a set of servers in the cloud, “I believe all the servers were in Boston at the Garden or a data center nearby,” wrote Hans Dittuobo, a Romney volunteer at Boston Garden, to Ars by e-mail.
Throughout the day, the Orca Web page was repeatedly inaccessible. It remains unclear whether the issue was server load or a lack of available bandwidth, but the result was the same: Orca had not been tested under real-world conditions and repeatedly failed when it was needed the most.
All tell, no show
Before Election Day, volunteer training at Boston headquarters amounted to a series of 90-minute conference calls with Centinello. Users had no hands-on with the Orca application itself, which wasn’t turned on until 6:00 AM on Election Day.
“We asked if our laptops needed to be WiFi capable,” Dittuobo told Ars. ”Dan Centinello went into how the Garden had just finished expansion of its wireless network and that yes, WiFi was required. I was concerned about hacking, jamming the signal, etc…Then we were told that we would not be using WiFi but using Ethernet connections.”
Field volunteers also got briefed via conference calls, and they too had no hands-on with the application in advance of Election Day. There was a great deal of confusion among some volunteers in the days leading up to the election as they searched Android and Apple app stores for the Orca application, not knowing it was a Web app.
John Ekdahl, Jr., a Web developer and Romney volunteer, recounted on the Ace of Spades HQ blog that these preparatory calls were “more of the slick marketing speech type than helpful training sessions. I had some serious questions—things like ‘Has this been stress tested?’, ‘Is there redundancy in place?’, and ‘What steps have been taken to combat a coordinated DDOS attack or the like?’, among others. These types of questions were brushed aside (truth be told, they never took one of my questions). They assured us that the system had been relentlessly tested and would be a tremendous success.”
In a final training call on November 3, field volunteers were told to expect “packets” shortly containing the information they needed to use Orca. Those packets, which showed up in some volunteers’ e-mail inboxes as late as November 5, turned out to be PDF files—huge PDF files which contained instructions on how to use the app and voter rolls for the voting precincts each volunteer would be working. After discovering the PDFs in his e-mail inbox at 10:00 PM on Election Eve, Ekdahl said that “I sat down and cursed, as I would have to print 60+ pages of instructions and voter rolls on my home printer. They expected 75 to 80-year old veteran volunteers to print out 60+ pages on their home computers? The night before election day?”
Invalid passwords, crashing servers
When the Romney campaign finally brought up Orca, the “killer whale” was not ready to perform. Some field volunteers couldn’t even report to their posts, because the campaign hadn’t told them they first needed to pick up poll watcher credentials from one of Romney’s local “victory centers.” Others couldn’t connect to the Orca site because they entered the URL for the site without the https:// prefix; instead of being redirected to the secure site, they were confronted with a blank page, Ekdahl said.
And for many of those who managed to get to their polling places and who called up the website on their phones, there was another, insurmountable hurdle—their passwords didn’t work and attempts to reset passwords through the site also failed. As for the voice-powered backup system, it failed too as many poll watchers received the wrong personal identification numbers needed to access the system.Joel Pollak of Briebart reported that hundreds of volunteers in Colorado and North Carolina couldn’t use either the Web-based or the voice-based Orca systems; it wasn’t until 6:00 PM on Election Day that the team running Orca admitted they had issued the wrong PIN codes and passwords to everyone in those states, and they reset them. Even then, some volunteers still couldn’t login.
In Boston, things weren’t much better. Some of the VoIP phones set up for volunteers were misconfigured. And as volunteers tried to help people in the field get into the system, they ran into similar problems themselves. “I tried to login to the field website,” Dittuobo told me, “but none of the user names and passwords worked, though the person next to me could get in. We had zero access to Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Seems like the only state that was working was Florida.”
As the Web traffic from volunteers attempting to connect to Orca mounted, the system crashed repeatedly because of bandwidth constraints. At one point the network connection to the campaign’s data center went down—apparently because the ISP shut it off. “They told us Comcast thought it was a denial of service attack and shut it down,” Dittuobu recounted. “(Centinello) was giddy about it,” he added—presumably because he thought that so much traffic was sign of heavy system use.
As the day wore on and information still failed to flow in from the field, the Romney campaign was flying blind. Instead of using Orca’s vaunted analytics to steer their course, Centinello and the rest of Romney’s team had no solid data on how to target late voters, other than what they heard from the media. Meanwhile, volunteers like Ekdahl could do nothing but vote themselves and go home.
This sort of failure is why there’s a trend in application testing (particularly in the development of public-facing applications) away from focusing on testing application infrastructure performance and toward focusing on user experience. Automated testing rigs can tell if software components are up to the task of handling expected loads, but they can’t show what the system’s performance will look like to the end user. And whatever testing environment Romney’s campaign team and IT consultants used, it wasn’t one that mimicked the conditions of Election Day. As a result, Orca’s launch on Election Day was essentially a beta test of the software—not something most IT organizations would do in such a high-stakes environment.
IT projects are easy scapegoats for organizational failures. There’s no way to know if Romney could have made up the margins in Ohio if Orca had worked. But the catastrophic failure of the system, purchased at large expense, squandered the campaign’s most valuable resource—people—and was symptomatic of a much bigger leadership problem.
“The end result,” Ekdahl wrote, “was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of [get out the vote] efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.”
Republican campaigners will undoubtedly try to wrap their heads around it for some time to come.
- Inside Team Romney’s whale of an IT meltdown (arstechnica.com)
- Which consultants built Romney’s “Project Orca?” None of them (arstechnica.com)
- Killer fail: how Romney’s broken Orca app cost him thousands of votes (theverge.com)
- Did an app failure cost Romney the presidency? (phonearena.com)
- Romney Campaign Enlists Help of ‘Killer Whale’ Project to Get Out the Vote (pbs.org)
- ORCA: Romney The Manager Outmanaged (Just Killer-Whale Me Now) (justoneminute.typepad.com)
- Project Orca’s Failure Not Romney Game Changer (pbs.org)
- Romney campaign disputes that its Orca project was a ‘fail whale’ (venturebeat.com)
- Romney Campaign Acknowledges High-Tech Election Day Monitoring System ‘Had Its Challenges’ (abcnews.go.com)
- Romney’s Expensive Computer Get-Out-The-Vote Effort Explodes Miserably, Like Rest Of Romney Campaign (wonkette.com)
GOP: “God Must be Dead”
November 9, 2012
By S. McConnell
In the wake of watershed losses on Election Day, many of the more Evangelical members of the Republican Party have been left wondering what kind of God could have allowed President Barack Obama to be re-elected for a second term. Of those, some have decided He never would have let that happen, under any circumstances. It therefore stands to reason, they’ve concluded, that God must be dead.
“It pains me to say this– it’s hard to even think it,” said Pastor Michael Shane of Kentucky. “But for weeks I have been asking myself, ‘Is it possible that it is part of God’s plan for Obama to be re-elected?’ And ultimately the answer is, Nope. Not possible.”
He continued, “So once Obama won the electoral college, it was confirmed– someone must have gotten to God first and made it so He couldn’t keep Mitt Romney safe and carry him forward to a divine victory.”
Shane added, “Frankly, my money is on Nancy Pelosi.”
Other theologians have questioned whether God might have given Barack Obama a second term as a way to test good Christians; by putting them through deep suffering in order to determine the strength of their loyalty.
“I did wonder about that, at first,” said conservative and Christian Fundamentalist voter Ellen Kent of Decatur, GA.
“God does have a history of subjecting his most dedicated followers to difficult trials and tribulations to ensure that their devotion is pure. So at first I wanted to think that we were just being put through four more years of a blasphemous, satanic president who works to feed the poor and heal the sick as a test of our Christian faith,” she said.
“But then I realized that the amount of suffering that Obama’s second term will inflict on all of us is beyond the scope of anything that Mankind has ever had to endure since the beginning of time,” she added. “So I really don’t think this was God’s plan. He is simply not that cruel. There’s got to be another explanation– so the only answer is that sadly, there must no longer be a God.”
Kent noted that she was ultimately grateful for the fact that God was dead, because it meant He wouldn’t have to see the terrible path this country is on anymore.
“If Jesus were here today, I believe he would weep mightily for how lost we Real Americans are,” she said.
- Join me as I “shine a light” on Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky (goodolewoody.wordpress.com)
- McConnell warns Obama on taxes (politico.com)
- McConnell (kind of) promises to work with Obama (tv.msnbc.com)
- Ashley Judd doesn’t rule out run for U.S. Senate (state-journal.com)
- Time For Mitch McConnell to Get a New Hobby (pensitoreview.com)
- McCONNELL STATEMENT ON THE RE-ELECTION OF PRESIDENT OBAMA (mcconnell.senate.gov)
- Boehner and McConnell Dissed Obama on Election Night – Refused Phone Calls from the President, Claiming They Were Asleep (pensitoreview.com)
- How about ASHLEY JUDD for future Senator in 2014? (bonjupatten.wordpress.com)
- Obama, Boehner Open to Compromise With Firm Stance (bloomberg.com)
- Ashley Judd, future senator? (news.yahoo.com)
Early voting’s pros and cons
By Ruth Marcus, Published: November 1
The neighbors gathered in Hurricane Sandy’s drizzly aftermath, surveying the damage: tree limbs crushing the roof of a car, telephone poles snapped in half, power lines strewn across the street. It was, for all the unpleasant circumstances, a nice communal moment.
It made me think, oddly enough, about what it is that bothers me about early voting.
More precisely, it reminded me about what I like about Election Day — the neighborly lines at the local elementary school, the sense of common purpose, the we’re-all-in-this-together ritual of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. I like wearing my corny “I voted” sticker on Election Day. I like seeing yours.
Early voting is the civic manifestation of the modern age: fragmented, individualistic and solitary. Once we all saw the same television show at the same time; now, we watch “Modern Family” whenever it is most convenient. We withdraw our cash from a machine when we need it, rather than racing to the bank before it closes. We scan our groceries as we shop and check out on our own.
Like early voting, these are conveniences of modern life. And we are, on balance, better off for the advent of early voting as much as for the ATM and DVR. Not everyone can make it to the polls on Election Day. Not everyone can afford to be late to work in the event of long lines.
In what early voting expert Paul Gronke of Reed College has termed a “quiet revolution” in American politics, the country no longer has Election Day — we have Election Month.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states and the District of Columbia now allow in-person early voting, beginning, on average, 22 days before the election.
In addition, and almost entirely overlapping, 27 states plus the District have no-excuse absentee voting. Two states — Washington and Oregon — conduct elections entirely by mail.
The result has been a surge in early voting — to 30 percent of voters in 2008. Michael McDonald of George Mason University predicts that this share could rise to 35 percent this year; several states, including Maryland, Louisiana, Iowa and Montana, have already exceeded their 2008 numbers. In battleground states where both parties have been pushing early voting, well over half the vote could come in early.
Initial studies raised questions about whether early voting increased turnout or simply shifted the time that voters cast their ballots. But given candidates’ emphasis on early voters in recent elections — the Obama campaign targeted them in 2008 and the Romney campaign is trying to catch up to Democrats this year — it seems likely that early voting is boosting turnout.
I would support early voting even if it didn’t, for the same reason that I support laws requiring restaurants to post calorie counts even without conclusive evidence that such information helps reduce obesity levels. Consumers should have access to nutrition information to consider as they wish. Voters should be able to turn up early if that is convenient for them.
Some states do begin their early voting disconcertingly early — up to 45 days before the election.
Does too-early voting matter, potentially depriving voters of information that could have affected their decision?
Probably not much this year, when so many voters were so settled on their choices. In addition, most early voters, even in truly early-bird states, wait until close to Election Day. The earliest among them are probably the most energized partisans, unlikely to be swayed by new information.
If it were up to me, I would condense the early voting time to perhaps two weeks out, and also rejigger the presidential debate calendar so that the debates take place before most early voting starts.
This year, by the time the final debate took place on Oct. 22, early voting had commenced in all but five of the states that permit it, although in some cases just barely. That’s unfortunate. Voting on the basis of more information is better than voting on the basis of less.
Early voting has begun in my state, Maryland, and I considered taking advantage of it — now, that is, that we have our power back. But I’ve decided to hold off until Election Day, lines and all. I can swap Sandy stories with my neighbors while I wait, and feel part of the quadrennial ritual, however anachronistic.
- Early voting turns Election Day into Election Month (oregonlive.com)
- Complaints crop up in Ohio of early voting machines marking Romney votes for Obama (conservativeread.com)
- Romney camp predicted early/absentee Fla lead by election day. So far Dems lead by 76k (tampabay.com)
- Friday is the deadline for early voting in Wisconsin (fox6now.com)
- Today is the last day for early voting in Texas (star-telegram.com)
- 34.8 percent vote early in Victoria County (victoriaadvocate.com)
- Crist to Scott: ‘Florida deserves better,’ extend early voting (tv.msnbc.com)
- Democrats crushing Republicans on sporadic Fla voters in early voting (tampabay.com)
- Saturday is your last chance to vote early (salisbury.wbtv.com)
- More than 1.4 million have voted early in Georgia – Atlanta Journal Constitution (ajc.com)
Sorry, dealer’s all out of race cards
By Kathleen Parker, Published: October 30
Predictable as rain, the race card has surfaced just in time to stir up electoral passions, justify outcomes and explain away inconvenient truths.
Just days from Election Day, the zeitgeist belched up one of its least attractive — and least defensible — memes. (Was it the weather?)
Preemptive theories, in no particular order, include: Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama because they are both black (according to Romney surrogate John Sununu); if Obama loses Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, all of which voted for him in 2008, the old Confederacy will be restored (Daily Beast commentator Andrew Sullivan); Americans still harbor racial biaseven if they don’t know it (recent online poll, Associated Press).
Anyone reading headlines related to the pollmight infer that white Americans are biased against black Americans. Extrapolating, given the current election season, it follows that if some voters prefer Romney, it is because Obama is African American.
But a review of the poll reveals something not quite so definitive or sinister. Overall, the findings suggest that most Americans are moderate, fair-minded and, for the most part, don’t see things one way or the other based on race.
Some of the questions themselves, on the other hand, were unnecessarily provocative and biased. That is, their design was based on an assumption of racial bias.
For example, the AP poll asked people whether they agree or disagree with the following statements: “Irish, Italians, Jewish, and other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without special favors.”
What kind of question is this? Who doesn’t believe that everyone should work his or her way up? The underlying assumption is blatantly racist, implying as it does that blacks don’t work and do expect special favors.
It is heartening that the majority, perhaps perceiving the trap, neither strongly agreed nor disagreed.
Another statement read: “It’s really a matter of some people just not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder, they could just be as well off as whites.”
Why not just ask people when they stopped beating their children?
The poll posed similar questions about other races and ethnicities. I selected these two because they were among the most egregiously biased and were most pertinent to the current election. It should be noted that most of those polled expressed a preference for Obama to win on Nov. 6, even though the figures have dipped somewhat since 2010, when the AP polling began.
Oh, and most identified themselves as white Christian (though not necessarily born-again) Democrats — and most were from the South. So much for the racist-Republican Confederacy, which never dies in the eyes of some political commentators. Sullivan, declaring a Cold Civil War, found “fascinating” the reconstitution of the Confederate states, should Romney win the three previously mentioned. But the obvious implication, Sullivan’s protests notwithstanding, is that people who vote for Romney in those states are necessarily racist.
What else could he have meant by mentioning the Confederacy in the context of a black incumbent president being rejected by three Southern states that previously embraced him? Operative words: “previously embraced him.”
What happened? Did all those people who voted for Obama in 2008 suddenly become racist? Or have they lost confidence in Obama four years later? Obama had a 70 percent approval rating early in his administration. Did all those people suddenly become racist?
We are not a nation naive enough to think race plays no part in our perceptions and responses. And where there are humans, there will be racists. But this nation also elected an African American as its president. By an overwhelming majority, Americans like him and wanted him to succeed.
If Obama loses, it will be his own undoing. Meanwhile, no one questions why 95 percent of blacks support the president. Is it racial? Or is it simply that most African Americans happen to be Democrats?
Sununu implied the former, hinting that Powell chose Obama out of racial loyalty. I wish Sununu hadn’t gone there. Had Powell endorsed Romney, he’d be a GOP hero, just as he now is to Democrats who have managed to overlook his convincing support for the weapons-of-mass-destruction hypothesis in Iraq.
So it goes. But even the netherworld of politics should have standards. To preemptively label people racist for favoring a candidate who happens to be white, and otherwise advancing a narrative that will create only racial animus should Obama lose, is implicitly biased, unfair and a breach of good faith. Stop it.
- Sorry, dealer’s all out of race cards (bangordailynews.com)
- Race isn’t a rationale in the presidential election (oregonlive.com)
- The Political Obscenity Named John Sununu (themoderatevoice.com)
- John Sununu’s History Of Racial Remarks About Obama | ThinkProgress (mbcalyn.com)
- The race card and the campaign (miamiherald.com)
- Keeping it Real: Sununu is a racist (current.com)
- Romney Surrogate John Sununu: Colin Powell Endorsed Obama Because He’s Black (businessinsider.com)
- John Sununu: Race-Baiting Buffoon (theroot.com)
- Romney surrogate John Sununu: Colin Powell only endorsed Obama because he’s black (thegrio.com)
- Colin Powell’s Former Chief Of Staff: ‘My Party Is Full Of Racists’ (mediaite.com)
OCTOBER 26, 2012
G.O.P. SPLIT OVER WHETHER TO EMPHASIZE MISOGYNY OR RACISM
POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ
NEW HAMPSHIRE (The Borowitz Report)—With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, there is a deep divide among Republican leaders over whether to emphasize misogyny or racism as the campaign’s closing theme.
In one camp is the Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who says that his view that God is sometimes O.K. with rape is “gaining real traction with a key demographic: men who don’t like women very much.”
“I can’t tell you how many misogynists have come up to me at my rallies and said, ‘Thank you for saying what you said,’ ” he told reporters today. “I think they’re like, finally, someone’s taking a more nuanced position on rape.”
But in the other camp is the former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, who worries that the Republican Party’s emphasis on misogyny is threatening to drown out its “winning message of racism.”
“I understand the appeal of Mourdock’s anti-woman theme, but I worry that it’s going to overshadow our core value of racism, which is still our best shot at winning this thing,” he said. “In politics, you’ve got to dance with the one who brung you.”
Hoping to heal a possible rift with so little time left until Election Day, the R.N.C. chairman Reince Priebus said today that there is room for both views in today’s Republican Party: “Our ‘big tent’ message to voters should be this: come for the misogyny, stay for the racism.”
- G.O.P. Offers Delegates Official Tips on Pretending to Like Mitt Romney : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Mitt Romney Accepts Nomination: “I Bought It” : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Romney’s Biggest Problem: He’s a Republican : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Lies, Damn Lies and G.O.P. Video – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Bad Luck and Missteps Make G.O.P.’s Senate Climb Steeper (redalertpolitics.com)
- Why Mandatory ‘Rape Babies’ Are the GOP’s New Normal (alternet.org)
- The G.O.P.’s Frustration Campaign (newyorker.com)
- Misogyny Modification For The Macquarie (blogs.abc.net.au)
- Cassidy’s Count: Romney’s Surge Continues: Florida Breaks to G.O.P. (newyorker.com)
- Well, At least the G.O.P. itself still officially upholds traditional marriage and opposes Gay Marriage, right? (servehiminthewaiting.wordpress.com)
Romney Unable to Catch Break
Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has been plagued by constant misfortune in recent weeks. Political analysts are speculating as to whether the candidate will be able to overcome these incidents to bridge a widening gap in the polls, with Election Day looming.
Romney’s troubles began at a rally last month at a convention hall in Vermont, where the candidate gave a stirring speech about conservative values and then climbed down from the podium, stepping directly into a bucket of mop-water.
He later removed his suit jacket while taking questions from the audience, and it was observed that the fountain pen in his breast pocket had leaked, leaving his dress shirt stained with a large inkblot. As he left the event in a limousine, Romney reportedly suffered a near-strangulation when the vehicle’s passenger-seat window was accidentally closed on his Hermes tie.
The following weekend Romney paid a visit to the Whistlestop Cafe, a family-owned eatery just outside Montpelier, where a defective salt-shaker caused his order of Eggs Benedict to be buried under a pile of salt. The burly proprietor of the Whistlestop, Mike Tompkins, noticed the stricken look on the candidate’s face and embraced Romney in what appeared to be a friendly bear-hug; it was later confirmed that he had actually been misguidedly attempting the Heimlich maneuver. Tompkins later told reporters he is planning to vote for Obama. As Romney left the Whistlestop, he stepped on a rake lying on the sidewalk, which struck him in the face.
The next evening Romney arrived at a dinner in his honor at a New Hampshire VFW with the price-tag still dangling from the cuff of his tuxedo suit, which it was confirmed had cost more than the VFW chapter’s annual budget. In the middle of his speech that night, Romney’s tuxedo bib snapped up suddenly and hit him in the face– although campaign staffers claimed that he had been wearing a full dress shirt. The humiliation continued when the hapless candidate forgot to turn off his lapel microphone before using the men’s room; the subsequent audio was later leaked, so to speak, by the website The Drudge Report.
The next week Romney was holding a constituent’s six month old baby during a meet-and-greet with voters in Ohio when the infant abruptly produced a seltzer bottle and sprayed it in the candidate’s face.
Early yesterday Romney gave a statement to the press defending the state of his troubled campaign, the gravity of which was unfortunately overshadowed when his pants fell down mid-sentence. Immediately afterwards a stray dog appeared, seizing the candidate’s brightly-patterned boxer shorts in its teeth and growling while Romney clutched his head and hollered comically.
The candidate’s tour the next day of a coconut cream pie factory in Delaware, however, was surprisingly uneventful.
- Free Wood Post – Romney: 47% Of The Nation Needs To Pack Up And Leave (mbcalyn.com)
- Free Wood Post – Campaign Unveils Mitt Romney V5.0 (mbcalyn.com)
- Free Wood Post – Clint Eastwood Thought President Obama Was Really There (mbcalyn.com)
- Free Wood Post – Romney Campaign to Issue Chick-fil-A Vouchers to Insulted Voters (mbcalyn.com)
- Free Wood Post (mbcalyn.com)
- Free Wood Post – Romney: “Enough About Women’s Rights – It’s Time to Focus on Serious Issues” (mbcalyn.com)
- Free Wood Post – Romney to Boycott Debates After Learning He Won’t Be Debating an Empty Chair (mbcalyn.com)
- Free Wood Post – Police Dig Up Driveway Looking For Hoffa, Find Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns (mbcalyn.com)
- Free Wood Post – Romney Drops Out Of Race After Conceding ‘I Couldn’t Vote For Me’ (mbcalyn.com)
- Free Wood Post – Mitt Romney on Casey Anthony Endorsement: And They Said We Don’t Appeal to Women (mbcalyn.com)
Hello, We Must Be Going
Published: September 18, 2012
After a five-week recess and the hard labor of political conventioneering, members of the House managed to stop briefly at the Capitol last week to enact a temporary budget to avoid a government shutdown. But, after Friday, they will be back home politicking nonstop until Election Day, and the Senate is also expected to cancel its scheduled October duties in Washington. Lawmakers call their latest hiatus from the job of legislating “an extended district work period,” but it will be spent mostly bragging to voters about imaginary accomplishments.
Even Tea Party budget-cutting firebrands are so eager to get back to campaigning that many approved a six-month budget resolution (based on annual spending of $1.047 trillion) that is $19 billion more than the plan of their champion, Representative Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential nominee.
The 112th Congress has earned a reputation for monumental procrastination and toxic paralysis. Unyielding Republican obstructionism is the root of this dysfunction, and no amount of “extended district work” can change that fact. Yet, as they prepared to head home, both political parties were teeing up single-chamber bills designed to help troubled incumbents who need to pander to special-interest groups that might help their re-election.
In one final paroxysm of anti-regulatory hostility, House Republicans are scheduled to bring to the floor a bill called the Stop the War on Coal Act. It contains just about every bad anti-environmental idea they have tried to advance without success. The bill would cripple the government’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases, overturn fuel efficiency standards and undermine clean air and clean water laws. Less damaging but no less frivolous are House bills like the No-Hassle Flying Act (to ease luggage restrictions) and the Stolen Valor Act (to criminalize people who concoct military résumés) that should cause taxpayers to wonder why lawmakers could not spare the time to finish important work like completing a new farm bill, advancing cybersecurity and disclosing donors bankrolling re-election politics.
In the Senate, there is no lack of proposed bonbons for special interests, like the bill that would provide more federal land access for hunters and fishermen, a well organized special interest. That bill would also reverse important environmental regulations limiting the use of lead in ammunition and barring American hunters from importing dead polar bears from shooting expeditions in Canada, as hunters used to do. The 112th Congress, for all its rush to depart, has found time for some particularly bad ideas.
- Editorial: Congress Chooses Recess Over Work (nytimes.com)
- Don’t Tell Anyone, but the Stimulus Worked – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Editorial: 112th Congress retreats to the shadows (newsday.com)
- Congress Nears End of Low-Output Session (nytimes.com)
- This is ACT! for America (counterjihadreport.com)
- Why The Vileness Matters – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- In Poll, Obama Opens Medicare Edge Over Romney – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Irresponsible Congress Abandons Key Bills, a Mark of Its Historic Dysfunction (news.firedoglake.com)
- Worst Congress ever back to Washington to avoid government shutdown (rt.com)
- Kevin (barely visible): Thurston Howell Romney – NYTimes.com (nytimes.com)
Todd Akin’s comment brings ‘war on women’ back to prominence
Akin, campaigning to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in November, was trying to explain his stance against abortion Sunday when he committed what cannot be dismissed as a mere gaffe. It was an abomination that could only stem from benighted ignorance — and it brings the whole “war on women” thing back into scary focus.
If you think I’m exaggerating, let me quote Akin in full. He was explaining why he opposes abortion even in cases of rape — and how pregnancy as a result of rape, in any event, isn’t something that should overly concern us:
“It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
Let’s begin with the ignorant and offensive distinction Akin tries to draw between “legitimate rape” and some other kind of rape. He did not elaborate, but I’m pretty sure I know what he means.
He’s obviously talking about what Republicans call “forcible rape.” Last year, Akin co-sponsored a bill in the House that would have narrowed the exception that allows Medicaid funds to pay for abortions for women who are raped. The proposed measure would have permitted the use of funds only to end pregnancies resulting from “forcible rape.” Paul Ryan, now Mitt Romney’s running mate, was another co-sponsor of the measure, which ultimately failed.
The statutory rape of a child by an adult would not fit the definition the House Republicans tried to impose; nor would the rape of a woman who was drugged, say, or who had limited mental capacity. Never mind the fact that, as far as criminal law is concerned, rape is rape. Never mind the fact that all rape, by its very nature, is “forcible.”
Akin’s assertion about “legitimate” rape is really nothing but an attempt to blame the victim. It stems from the view that the only true victim is a woman who is raped while violently resisting a ski-masked assailant who came in through the bedroom window. Anything short of that, she must have been asking for it.
Now let’s examine Akin’s claim about what “doctors” have told him. Are these real doctors? Did they actually go to medical school?
I find it hard to believe that any physician told Akin that “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” I think he made it up.
That “female body” line is not only a frightening glimpse at the dangerous nonsense rattling around inside the heads of some on the far, far right. It is also — in its sheer, befuddled, clueless anatomical ignorance — an illustration of why we need more women in public office. When Akin says “ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” what exactly does he mean? What does he envision happening inside that mysterious, unknowable realm? Is it sorcery? Witchcraft?
Akin, by the way, is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. I am not kidding.
Akin allows that sometimes the magical process by which rapists’ sperm are rejected doesn’t work. In those few cases, he says, our aim should be punishing the rapist, not “attacking the child.”
Now let’s see, we’ve accounted for how we should treat the rapist, and we’ve accounted for how we should treat the product of the rape — the fetus or unborn child, depending on how you see abortion — and I guess that’s it. But wait, wasn’t there someone else involved?
Oh yes, the woman. The person who had to endure the rape, who is suspected of not having suffered a “legitimate” rape and who now, according to Akin, should be legally obliged to bring the rapist’s baby to term.
Akin’s stupid, sexist remarks were immediately denounced by Romney and other prominent Republicans.
But the GOP refuses to do the one thing that would neutralize the “war on women” issue: Stop the misogynistic attacks. Stop them now.
- Republicans Press Todd Akin to Quit Race – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Parker: Todd Akin’s words about rape aren’t the problem (newsday.com)
- Rep. Todd Akin Says It’s Rare Women Get Pregnant from ‘Legitimate Rape’ (theatlanticwire.com)
- I’ve heard of smart water, is the right drinking stupid water? (honjii.wordpress.com)
- Huckabee: Rapes Create Some Amazing People (newser.com)
- Todd Akin Probably Isn’t Going Away After This New Apology Ad (theatlanticwire.com)
- US in uproar over Congressman Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments (bikyamasr.com)
- Todd Akin, Medical Doctor (boomantribune.com)
- Mitt Romney calls on Todd Akin to quit Missouri Senate race (guardian.co.uk)
- Akin Concedes, No Illegitimate Rape, It’s Just That Women Lie About It (alan.com)
2012 Campaign-Ad Spending Poised To Smash 2008 Record
The pace is faster now, with months to go, than it was in the weeks before Election Day in 2008.
Updated: June 29, 2012 | 4:56 p.m.
June 29, 2012 | 3:09 p.m.
With more than four months to go before Election Day, President Obama, Mitt Romney, and their allies are already spending money at a faster pace than the final weeks of the 2008 presidential election.
According to sources watching the onslaught of campaign ads, all sides dropped more than $30 million in just the past week. By the end of September 2008, Obama, John McCain, and their respective backers spent a combined $28 million per week.
In total, the campaigns have spent more than $170 million on television time so far during the general election. At the current clip, the two campaigns and their associated allies are poised to spend more than $700 million on television advertising alone. Campaigns typically increase their advertising spending as Election Day approaches, meaning the final amount will likely be far higher than that. Either way, it will easily eclipse the $515 million total both sides spent in the 2008 presidential contest.
The nail-biting nature of this year’s race, the millions both Obama and Romney have raised, and the introduction of outside actors allowed to raise money in unlimited amounts have all contributed to the early spending spree. This week alone, Obama’s campaign spent $15.8 million — more than half the total money spent on advertisements targeting the presidential contest.
Team Obama spread its cash out over nine battleground states. Between June 26 and July 2, the president’s campaign spent $3.2 million in both Florida and Ohio, and more than $2 million in Virginia. And there’s no sign of plans for much of a summer break: The Obama campaign has purchased $5.1 million in ads to be broadcast on NBC networks during the Olympic Games between July 27 and Aug. 12.
Romney’s campaign has spent far less than Obama’s as he replenishes his stockpile after the Republican primaries. This week, the Romney team dropped just $3 million on advertising, with the biggest investment being a $920,000 ad buy in Ohio. Romney’s camp spent $547,000 in North Carolina and less than $500,000 each in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, and Virginia.
But outside groups are doing their best to help Romney keep up. After going silent for a few weeks in order to rebuild their own coffers, the pro-Romney Restore Our Future super PAC spent $3.4 million on ads this week, and Americans for Prosperity — the Koch-backed group based in Alexandria — began a major $9 million advertising buy across 12 swing states (this week, the group is spending a total of $4 million, according to the ad data).
With Restore Our Future on the air, Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) organization affiliated with the American Crossroads super PAC, has shelved its own ad spending.
Democrats have warned that outside money will swamp them this year. But so far, that hasn’t been the case. Obama and his allies have spent nearly $94 million on advertising, while Romney and his have spent $76.6 million.
Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia have received the most attention so far this year. By next week, all sides will have spent more than $30 million in both Florida and Ohio, and more than $20 million in Virginia and North Carolina. Voters in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, and Pennsylvania will have been subjected to more than $10 million in advertising.
Republicans are trying to broaden the electoral map, buying television time in states where Obama has yet to compete like Minnesota and New Mexico. That effort could pay off: After early Republican spending in Michigan and Wisconsin, two states that looked more solidly in the blue column, Obama’s team has had to match Republican buys in both — indication that the states are more competitive now than they had been.
This week, however, no presidential ads are airing in Michigan. Republican outside groups are spending a total of $135,000 in New Mexico, $563,000 in Minnesota, and $901,000 in Wisconsin — all states where Obama’s campaign is not advertising.
- The Influential Campaign Ad (parishgov.wordpress.com)
- Cashin’ Out: President Obama Drops $5 Million On Olympic Campaign Ads (bossip.com)
- For Romney Superfan, a New Truck Courtesy of the Candidate (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- American Crossroads launches $25 million ad campaign against Obama (hotair.com)
- Obama camp demands the names of Crossroads GPS donors – Fox News (foxnews.com)
- Campaign Ads Target Latinos As A Key Issue Looms (npr.org)
- Analysis: Campaign dividing along 2 fault lines (mcclatchydc.com)
- Plan to tie Obama to Rev. Wright rejected by GOP super-PAC (thehill.com)
- Is Voter Engagement A Problem For Obama In 2012? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Look at context behind campaign ads (thegazette.com)