“What Republicans don’t get is the more they fire back at Reid, the more he will fight,” said another top Reid confidante. “And in the end, what will the topic be? Romney and his taxes.”National Journal:
Reid initially acknowledged to The Huffington Post that he’s not “certain” that the information is correct. But that hasn’t stopped him from repeating the charge to Nevada reporters, saying on the Senate floor that the “word is out” that Romney hadn’t paid taxes for a decade. He expanded on his allegation in a lengthy statement Thursday night that accused Romney of “hiding something” by not releasing more of his tax returns.
“He’s doing what he always does,” said Jon Ralston, a top political analyst in Nevada, “which is to say the things that most partisans and elected officials only dream about saying.”
The July jobs report was a heavy dose of Nothing’s Changed, for the U.S. economy and the presidential campaign.Not good news for the guy that's behind.
The report showed that the economy added 163,000 net jobs last month, per the Labor Department’s survey of business payrolls; a separate survey of households showed nearly 200,000 job losses, pushing the unemployment rate up from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent. Read those numbers thus: The economy is very slowly healing; the pace of recovery isn’t picking up; and, with a big caveat about Europe, we don’t seem to be headed back toward recession anytime soon.
As Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, put it in a snap reaction on Friday morning, “The data are consistent with an economy that, while not growing strongly, is not continuing to weaken sharply either.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Obama was helped in the forecast by a report showing an increase in personal income — one of the economic variables that the forecast model uses, and a reasonably good predictor of voter preferences in past elections. On Wednesday, he polled strongly in a number of swing states. And on Friday, Mr. Obama got a respectable — although by no means wonderful — employment report, which estimated that 163,000 jobs were created in July....Jay Cost makes the case the other way (and not very convincingly):
So far, Mr. Obama seems to have persuaded a slim plurality of voters that there are enough hopeful signs to warrant another term for him. Mr. Romney still has plenty of ammunition to make the counterargument, but the flow of economic data this week made it a little harder for him.
Is this polling bump an important development? It is hard to say. It is worth noting that in the last two weeks, the Romney campaign and the main Republican super PAC, Crossroads GPS, have upped their ad spending in these states. That suggests they think it is time to engage the president.Cost's argument is that Romney money will magically make a difference (not likely, since the candidate is dreadful, and money doesn't make up for lousy strategy) and that undecideds can still break for Romney in numbers that matter. All 5% of them? In the end, Cost would do well to use something other than a flawed Rasmussen polling data base to make his case.
But I am not at all convinced that, in the end, Obama is actually winning over voters. Above all, the truly undecided are not really paying attention at the moment. They might have been swayed toward Team Obama a little bit, but I doubt they have been locked down. That being said, I do believe that the president has successfully laid the groundwork for his general election strategy, which Greg Sargent ably summarizes here. Basically, it boils down to the idea that, though the state of the union stinks right now, Romney is an uncaring plutocrat who will make it worse for the middle class. These ads have clearly forwarded that agenda.
Cost links to this Bill Kristol piece which "gets it". Kristol is channelling a "savvy friend":
“One can draw a lot of different conclusions here—but doesn't it seem likely that the Obama attack on Romney is working where it is deployed in full measure? I think many analysts have erroneously concluded that because the national tracking has not moved, the Obama attack on Romney's wealth, Bain, taxes, etc. is not effective. The results in these states suggest otherwise. (And the partisan splits in the polls may be following the ballot test in these states—if you're turning away from Romney, you're less likely to self-identify as a Republican. So the polls aren't necessarily bad. The real trends could well be bad.)Ezra Klein:
I can describe Mitt Romney’s tax policy promises in two words: mathematically impossible.TAP:
Romney is offering nothing new in terms of policy. As the Prospect’s Jamelle Bouie points out, “Mitt Romney’s Plan for a Stronger Middle Class” is little more than a “cruel joke”—a recitation of the wealth-first tax and spending plans that Paul Ryan translated into English from the works of Ayn Rand. But the new thrust of the Romney campaign [mentioning his tenure as MA Governor] is a notable development: It shows that the Obama campaign has succeeded in making Romney’s business career, which he wanted to run on exclusively, into a liability. Starting to tout his record as governor, rather than pretend it’s a period of his life that never actually happened, is the surest signal that the Romney campaign is groping for a new way to pitch their man—and that they’ve lost the battle over his attempt to paint himself as a business guy who just stumbled into politics.CBS on why politicians lie:
Despite a professed distaste for negative advertising, Brands said, the public rarely turns against a candidate for throwing mud at his opponent.There's plenty of "both sides do it" bullshit in this interesting report, but the basic premise is true. Politicians lie because they can, and most of the time the media hasn't the balls to call them on it.
"I can't think of any election where the public said 'enough is enough,' where they were really turned off by negative campaigning," he said. "Many voters have become so cynical that they really don't expect candidates to speak the verifiable truth, and they accept these exaggerations, these mild falsifications, as just part of the game."
They don't just accept them, says psychology and behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely - they come close to demanding them from the politicians they support. His research found that Americans have a high tolerance for dishonesty when it comes from their own candidate, with no difference between Republicans and Democrats.
"I think it basically is about the ends justifying the means," he said.