by The Economist - Print Edition dated April 14, 2012 - US Elections 2012
AMERICA’S primary elections are not yet formally over, but with the exit of Rick Santorum it is at last plain that Mitt Romney will be the Republicans’ nominee. After the bruising primaries, Mr Romney starts from behind. Barack Obama leads in the head-to-head polls. But there are still seven months to election day, and Mr Romney has a fair chance of victory in November. Less than half of America’s voters approve of the way Mr Obama is doing his job. Six out of ten think the country is on the “wrong track”. The recovery is still weak and 12.7m Americans are unemployed. America added only 120,000 jobs in March, below expectations and fewer than in previous months.
This fight is going to be nastier than the one in 2008. By instinct Mr Romney is a moderate, but the primaries tugged him sharply right, forcing him to boast that he was “severely conservative” by embracing policies, including deep cuts in social spending, that even the famous flip-flopper will now find it difficult to drop. After the primaries, candidates pivot towards the centre. But Mr Romney knows that to turn out a conservative base that does not love him he must mobilise their hatred of Mr Obama. In the meantime Mr Obama appears to believe that he cannot afford to present himself once more as a healer who will soar above party divisions. He is running a more partisan campaign this time round. An already polarised America therefore faces a deeply polarising election.
All it took was an ill-advised quip from Rush Limbaugh to turn the national debate about ObamaCare from concerns about religious freedom to one about an imaginary Republican war on women. But the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are trying to refocus Americans on the threats to their religious liberty with a “Fortnight for Freedom” program planned for July in which they hope to get people discussing the ways in which the government is seeking to infringe on their rights to worship. Though predictably liberals are branding this as an effort to help Republicans, this is exactly the sort of project in which all faiths ought to participate.
The manifesto issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is an important document that is neither partisan nor an attempt to inflame sentiments on divisive issues. Rather, it is a sensible alarm issued to arouse Catholics to the insidious manner various government orders and legislation has sought to abridge religious rights. Examples include draconian immigration laws that conservatives have promulgated in Alabama. But is inevitable that the lion’s share of attention will be given to their citation of the way President Obama’s signature health care bill will force Catholic institutions to pay for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs as well as the way various municipalities have driven Catholic agencies out of adoption and foster care services because of its stand on same-sex couples. Though non-Catholics, as well as many Catholics, may not agree with the church’s beliefs, it is vital they stand in solidarity with its call for freedom.
The blather about a fictional war on women has distracted the nation from the fact that while no one is actually preventing anyone from obtaining birth control, having an abortion or infringing on the rights of gays these days, the rights of Catholics not to support activities that contradict their faith is under siege. The issue, as the bishops rightly put it, is not so much whether Catholics are allowed to gather in their churches or pray as they like at home but whether they and their institutions are to go on being permitted to participate in our national life.
In the campaign of 1936, James Farley—the postmaster-general and de facto Democratic campaign manager—dismissively referred to Republican presidential nominee Alf Landon as governor of a "typical Midwestern state." (The state being Kansas.)...
Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen opened a can of worms on Wednesday night when she suggested that GOP front-runner Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, is not qualified to discuss the economic issues p...
There seems to be more than a little irony in this story....
In what some might consider an act of GOP political suicide, Newt Gingrich slammed Fox News earlier this week, saying that the cable news channel has favored Mitt Romney throughout the 2012 Republican race--and that CNN has been the more...
It was perhaps predictable that the New York Times editorial page would leap to the defense of embattled Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. The Times takes a dim view of the Marlins’ decision to suspend their now contrite field boss for telling Time Magazine how much he loved Fidel Castro. Guillen, they believe, is being penalized for exercising his constitutional right to engage in political speech. ...
... But though the newspaper attempts to draw a distinction between Guillen and others who have been punished for expressing other hateful sentiments, the only thing different here is whose feathers have been ruffled.
"The problem is that as economics, the tax has almost no effect on the gap between what the government spends and its revenue. Assuming that the minimum tax would be about 30 percent of all incomes of more than $1 million, it would translate into about $5 billion a year. In the next decade, current forecasts are for the government to spend about $45 trillion, so the proposed tax would cover a bit more than 0.1 percent of that and leave the yawning trillions of the deficit largely untroubled," says Zachary Karabell.
Their willingness to rally over the smallest perceived slight means that candidates are free to ignore the issues they care about.Reuters Is criticism of Ann Romney going to rally the heretofore-unenthusiastic conservative base around her husband's...
Justia columnist and Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton takes very strong issue with Republicans’ current stances on issues that are of importance to women, such as contraception access, equal pay for equal work, violence against...
"I think we realized that just getting together ... and yelling and screaming wasn't going to do anything," says the 52-year-old Angius. "The best thing is to get involved at the local level in the party. Move the local party to the right ... and then the local party will move the state and then the state moves the national."
Principled conservative Michael Charney suggests the “war” assignation now seems the most popular tool for this purpose (apparently superseding the ubiquitous but overused “—gate” designation). The term itself has been around for a while. We began, several decades back, an anemic effort we deemed the “war on poverty,” there’s a constant “war on drugs;” and (obviously) we’re now into our second decade of the “war on terror.” We also have the annual roll out of the right’s “war on Christmas” mantra and the left’s more au courant accusation of a “war on science.”
Everyone from President Obama to Jason Furman, the principal deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, to the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank to Politico’s Jim VandeHei, agree that the so-called Buffett Rule is a gimmick that has...
We need real solutions to our budget gap that include cuts to 'sacred cow' programs and revenue increases through taxation. We all know this. What's taking Washington DC so long in admitting it? ~DM
“If a minority group were getting shut out of full participation in the political process,” Killian writes, “there would be a huge outcry. But Independent voters are far from a minority group. There are more of them that either Democrats or Republicans.”
The GOP is changing the way the redistricting game is being played. Instead of using it to create additional Republican-controlled districts, they're concentrating on keeping the ones they already have. Lam Thuy Vo maps it out.
Charney suggests the “war” assignation now seems the most popular tool for this purpose (apparently superseding the ubiquitous but overused “—gate” designation). The term itself has been around for a while. We began, several decades back, an anemic effort we deemed the “war on poverty,” there’s a constant “war on drugs;” and (obviously) we’re now into our second decade of the “war on terror.” We also have the annual roll out of the right’s “war on Christmas” mantra and the left’s more au courant accusation of a “war on science.”
The four women who have ever served on the Supreme Court got together on stage at the Newseum in Washington on Wednesday night to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the appointment of the first one, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
In the case of Obamacare, it now looks unwise of the Democrats to have pushed such ambitious—and unpopular—legislation through Congress without a single Republican vote. What, though, if the flagship achievement of a Democratic president is now to be struck down by the casting vote of a single judge, in a case where legal opinion is finely divided? Magnificent, in its way, but not the most harmonious way to run a country already asking whether its governing institutions are still up to the job.
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