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David Javerbaum at The New York Times looks at how Republican Mitt Romney is changing the standard campaign rules:

Before Mitt Romney, those seeking the presidency operated under the laws of so-called classical politics, laws still followed by traditional campaigners like Newt Gingrich. Under these Newtonian principles, a candidate’s position on an issue tends to stay at rest until an outside force — the Tea Party, say, or a six-figure credit line at Tiffany — compels him to alter his stance, at a speed commensurate with the size of the force (usually large) and in inverse proportion to the depth of his beliefs (invariably negligible). This alteration, framed as a positive by the candidate, then provokes an equal but opposite reaction among his rivals.

But the Romney candidacy represents literally a quantum leap forward. It is governed by rules that are bizarre and appear to go against everyday experience and common sense. To be honest, even people like Mr. Fehrnstrom who are experts in Mitt Romney’s reality, or “Romneality,” seem bewildered by its implications; and any person who tells you he or she truly “understands” Mitt Romney is either lying or a corporation.

Nevertheless, close and repeated study of his campaign in real-world situations has yielded a standard model that has proved eerily accurate in predicting Mitt Romney’s behavior in debate after debate, speech after speech, awkward look-at-me-I’m-a-regular-guy moment after awkward look-at-me-I’m-a-regular-guy moment, and every other event in his face-time continuum.

Thomas Suddes writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer about the troubles that await Romney in the battleground state of Ohio:
Romney has indeed worked: He leads Santorum in the quest for Republican presidential convention delegates. But as demonstrated by Ohio's March 6 presidential primary, rank-and-file Republicans in GOP heartland counties prefer Santorum.
It's impossible to believe that many, if any, of those Ohio Santorum voters would vote for Obama if Romney became the Republican nominee. But those Ohioans might stay home. And that'd be a big headache for Romney. [...]

Those pro-Romney counties are growing suburbs, so that's "where the votes are" -- and that's a plus for Romney. And yes, Ohio Republicans probably would prefer anyone for president, even Mitt Romney, to any Democrat. But Ohio's March 6 tally suggests enthusiasm for Romney isn't even lukewarm among the salt-of-the-earth Ohioans who go door to door for Republican candidates, distribute their literature and post their signs.
For Romney, that's bad news. If he can't romance an Ohio whose GOP runs every statewide executive office and the General Assembly, and elects most of the state's congressional delegation, Republicans have a big problem -- and Barack Obama a big opportunity.

Dante Chinni in The Washington Post examines the demographic categorization that becomes standard during election season:
Every two years — and especially every four, when we’re electing a president — individual Americans disappear, and we become subsumed into some larger group. Go to your favorite political blog, cable news channel or daily paper, and you’ll learn that candidates need to do better with African Americans or Catholics or (my favorite) women. Yes, women! They’re half of the population, but obviously they all share common beliefs and values. [...]

In politics, it’s entirely acceptable to wonder aloud what black people want, how Hispanics think, or whether a new policy proposal would play well with women or people who go to church on Sundays. We feel comfortable reducing people in this way because such conclusions aren’t solely stereotypes, we tell ourselves — they are backed up by polling data. There are bad pollsters in politics, hucksters who sound off on things they don’t know much about, but there are also some very good ones. I know some of them and trust their work implicitly. The best have spent years honing their craft, and the industry as a whole has gotten very good at what it does since its early days in the 1960s and 1970s. In that primitive time, you might have learned as much by doing hours of man-on-the-street interviews.

But as polling has become more sophisticated, we have come to invest it with powers it often doesn’t have. Those demographic segments morph into cartoon characters that we write and talk about when we want to explain the electorate.

Patrick Pexton at The Washington Post thinks The Washington Post shouldn't be too heavy-handed moderating its comments sections:
Online trolls skulk, just waiting to go after unsuspecting commenters with ad hominem attacks, insults, derision or some brickbat hurled just to get a rise out of someone. And organized groups of trollers affiliated with this or that cause pounce at the first sign of heterodoxy.

It’s anonymous, mostly, and people who are banned because they step over The Post’s guidelines come back with other noms de plume the next day. It’s a mess.

Yet I think that in the messiness lies virtue. Online commenting boards are an online speaker’s corner and free-speech release valve.

Mary Lou Giles, writing a Letter to the Editor over at The Sacramento Bee, perfectly lays out a simple and compelling argument for a single-payer health system:
I have a reality check for those of you who start shrieking about "creating a new bureaucracy" if a single-payer system were in place. There is already a bureaucracy deciding who has access to health care, who gets which services, how quickly one gets services, and if one gets a particular service at all. It's called an insurance company.

The government has at least a theoretical interest in keeping its citizens healthy and productive. The government is accountable to the voters and taxpayers, that is, to us. Insurance companies have only one interest -- profit. And they are essentially accountable to no one. Believe me, they don't give a hoot about your health. Pick your poison. Personally, I pick the government. The rest of the developed world came to that conclusion decades ago. When will we catch up?

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Comment Preferences

  •  At this point (16+ / 0-)

    I'm betting that Mitt Romney can successfully run an entire (hopefully losing and badly in the end) Presidential campaign without a single reporter noting that he lies a lot.

    If a person walked up to him and said "Hi, I'm an alien" Romney could look that man in the eyes and tell him that he's summered in both Roswell New Mexico and at Area 51 and that he's a big fan of faster than light travel. Done it many times. Fun. The dog didn't like it. Roof. Not cool.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 04:42:27 AM PDT

  •  WARNING: WaPo would not let me finish the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, Bush Bites

    Dante Chinni piece without subscribing.  Got two pages in and then WaPo wouldn't let me go further without a request for forking over dough.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 05:07:02 AM PDT

  •  pssst (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Melanie in IA, annieli

    SACRAMENTO Bee........

    "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

    by kestrel9000 on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 05:07:26 AM PDT

  •  I love David Javerbaum's column (8+ / 0-)

    Quantum physics is great frame for mocking Romney's doublespeak.

    Wholly-owned subsidiaries are people, too, my friend.

    by deminva on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 05:09:51 AM PDT

  •  And now, a message from Willard: (5+ / 0-)

    Mitt Romney Pleads With America: "For Fuck's Sake, Can't You See What an Utter Fucking Asshole I Am?"

    JP
    http://www.welcomebacktopottersville.blogspot.com

    Defending bad taste and liberalism since 2005.

    by jurassicpork on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 05:14:30 AM PDT

  •  Things are a bit different in other countries (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2, TexMex, ybruti

    "The government has at least a theoretical interest in keeping its citizens healthy and productive. The government is accountable to the voters and taxpayers, that is, to us. Insurance companies have only one interest -- profit. And they are essentially accountable to no one. Believe me, they don't give a hoot about your health. Pick your poison. Personally, I pick the government".

    The rest of the developed world came to that conclusion decades ago. When will we catch up?
    In a great many other "developed countries", the individual tax rates vs. the U.S. are far higher and very few individuals are not required to pay any federal income taxes vs. the U.S. that has over 47% of individuals not paying them.  This is not to say that i am against either the ACA or a better system of income distribution.  What we can't do is compare what and where the government takes in from taxes in many other countries vs. the U.S.  It's apples and oranges.  This is why there is a push being made by some on both sides to end ALL of the Bush tax cuts which would bring all income levels back to original tax amounts prior to those cuts.  This would significantly affect the middle class, but it is one consideration.  

    In any case, the U.S. tax structure and rates is far different than a great many other countries which offers them the opportunity to have more government-led social programs.  

    A complete list of income tax rates and so forth is listed in THIS LINK for all countries around the world.

    Only horses should wear blinders.

    by independantman on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 05:23:19 AM PDT

    •  Well that's the whole point, it seems. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, independantman, ybruti, deha

      Politicians in other "developed countries" have made the case for their country to be seen as a community, requiring higher taxes to be able to keep as many as possible of its citizens healthy and productive.  And the government has been given the authority by the people to allot their taxes to achieve that end.

      In contrast, for the past thirty years (at least) the politicians in this country have made the case that each individual should make their own way, that government is the problem, and that helping your neighbor is undeserved "welfare."  That your money is yours, and the only things the people of the country share is the need for big banks and a huge war machine.

      Until someone, some leader of whichever party, can re-educate us to understand "we're all in this together," we will not catch up, and the Wild West will prevail here.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 06:13:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is very true (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SueDe

        And, to add to that, having government involved in a "we're all in this together" philosophy has been drilled into our heads as socialism and socialism has been made to be evil and counterproductive as a governmental form.  

        This is a actually the biggest difference between what has become the democratic party's philosophy and the republican party's philosophy at the end of the day.  

        For me, I see that there can be a joining of philosophies between socialism and capitalism.  For example, I believe that insurance companies can operate successfully and with adequate profitability under a system of mandating health insurance for all citizens.  It is a joining of philosophies.  I can see government creating job opportunities through capitalist, for-profit companies through innovative initiatives like subsidies and tax benefits for hiring long-term unemployed and military veterans and previously "unemployable" people.  

        This is not true socialism and certainly is not true capitalism but a joining of the two for the overall benefit of our citizens.

        But, as you say there are few politicians with the balls to actually even suggest things like this let alone get them passed.  

        Only horses should wear blinders.

        by independantman on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 06:27:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Most working people in this country (0+ / 0-)

      Pay taxes. They pay ss and Medicare taxes. Those are included in most of the tax structures of other countries.

      So when you say "47% don't pay fed tax" that's a lie.

      They do pay taxes. They just don't make enough to pay income tax, which, in other countries, includes taxes that fund medical and pension benefits.

      •  Unfortunate choice of words, mmacdDE (0+ / 0-)

        I am not a liar, so please do not refer to me as that.

        Here was what I said on the 47%.

        federal income taxes vs. the U.S. that has over 47% of individuals not paying them
        It was about federal income taxes.  

        Thanks.

        Only horses should wear blinders.

        by independantman on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 07:13:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So what? (0+ / 0-)

          Forty-seven percent of the population would be paying federal income taxes if their wages had kept up with the country's enormous productivity gains over the past thirty years.  But the overwhelming level of gain has, since the '70s, gone to the upper reaches of wage earners and particularly those enjoying unearned income.  Since that 53% of the population has enjoyed the benefit of outsized access to income, they should not be "blaming" the rest of the population for not having enough income to warrant paying federal income taxes.

          Reform the IRS code so that net income from productivity gain is more evenly spread across the population, and I am certain the 47% will be more than glad to pay federal income taxes on their higher income.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 07:42:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This was not my post's intent (0+ / 0-)

            I was simply making the point that in other countries most workers pay federal income taxes vs. the U.S.  I was making no positive or negative insinuation with regard to that.  The IRS code is actually the reason that 47% of the people do not pay federal income taxes.  I too believe that more people should make higher incomes and thus would fall into the same wage structure that the 53% pays.  

            How that comes about I have no idea.  

            Only horses should wear blinders.

            by independantman on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 07:54:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And my point was (0+ / 0-)

              That taxes in other countries include taxes that here are separate, and that EVERYBODY pays, regardless of the amount of income they make.

              So saying that 47% don't pay income taxes is a really inaccurate comparison.

            •  EITC (0+ / 0-)

              Part of this is just distortion of statistics.
              Since welfare reform in the 90s, most direct welfare payments were replaced by the Earned Income Tax Credit. These payments, or reduction of taxes, are figured into the "47% of people do not pay federal income taxes" data.

              In other countries, if welfare payments are handled differently, someone may get more in benefits than they pay in taxes, but still show in the x% paid income taxes numbers.

              I'd also point out that the 47% includes retired people, teenagers, the unemployed, etc.

              The Empire never ended.

              by thejeff on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 02:06:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  demographic segments morph into cartoon characters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Melanie in IA, TexMex

    Politicians maybe, Warner Brothers come to mind.

    Response: If you "got it" you wouldn't be a republican

    by JML9999 on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 05:44:48 AM PDT

  •  If David Javerbaum is correct, (0+ / 0-)

    and I hope he is, that Obama will prevail in the election over Mitt Romney because no one will know - can know - what Romney stands for or where he will come down on any issue, such an outcome will no doubt be better for country.  But the utter confusion it will leave in the minds of voters is not healthy at all.  Was Romney defeated because the Republican perspective is worse than the Democratic perspective on what needs to be done to heal the economy and the body politic?  Or was Mitt Romney defeated because he's not really a Republican and took no coherent stand on anything?  Did Obama win because his policies were better, or did Obama win because voters couldn't understand enough about Romney's policies to know whether they agreed with him or not?

    In other words, if Obama wins will we still be faced with the recalcitrance of Republicans in congress, or will the country finally decide to trust the person they have installed in the presidency enough to give his policies a chance to work or fail on their own merits?

    This campaign will be better than any TV reality show or adventure movie, but unlike a scripted show or film, we will have to live with the consequences.  We can't just finish our popcorn and leave the outcome behind.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 06:01:06 AM PDT

  •  re promoting my reposting of my last (0+ / 0-)

    ShelterBox diary.
    Because I know you want to be updated on ShelterBox and the Scouting movement.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    thanks for sharing and tweeting. Many people participated in send money to ShelterBox during Haiti.
    I still thank you for all you did.
    I am sharing the new developments for your NGO of choice.

    To get back on the topic.
    Romney has an authenticity problem until he steps up and introduces himself as a Mormon.
    There are unanwsered questions about military service  including his sons, until he admits he and they went on their Mormon missions.
    It is who he is as a person.
    Much was made of Obama's religion and Rev Wright.
    Santorum is very clear about his being a Catholic.
    Newt is all about being Catholic.
    What about Mitt?
    After all it was the Republicans that make religion front and center in this race.
    Anti-Mormon bigoty is about to rear it's ugly head, and not from our side.
    I know many people who are Mormon and they have been very good to me personally.
    Mormons were first at Katrina with truck loads of food and assistance. On the other hand, they have done serious mischief in California.

  •  Giles nails it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David54, mmacdDE

    There are a few lazy government bureaucrats who don't give a rat's ass about the public, most are somewhat conscientious, and some are great. What there aren't are actively malicious ones- they get fired.

    Insurance companies fire the representatives who are great because they cost money.

  •  How can Brown & Warren be in deadlock? (0+ / 0-)

    IN MASSACHUSETTS?!!

    Strange but not a stranger.

    by jnww on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 07:42:26 AM PDT

    •  Massachusetts gets too much credit... (0+ / 0-)

      ....for being liberal at the state level (presidential level is another issue).

      It's the Mitt Romney state, after all.

      If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 07:47:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Government is more open too. (0+ / 0-)

    Between sunshine laws, freedom of information act, power of the press, or just having your rep look into something for you and holding your elected rep accountable, you have a lot less chance of getting screwed over than you do when dealing with an insurance company that won't give you a straight answer for anything and can't be forced to give you a straight answer.

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 07:43:42 AM PDT

  •  :0( (0+ / 0-)

    If you desire a better world - be a better person.

    by laserhaas on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 11:30:24 AM PDT

  •  Do yourself a favour and read David Javerbaum's (0+ / 0-)

    entire op-ed.  His analysis of Mitt Romney is devastatingly  accurate and funny.  Not surprising, given his history with The Daily Show and The Onion.  

    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

    by Observerinvancouver on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 12:48:22 PM PDT

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