A widely-held belief is that voter-ID laws endanger Obama's chances in Pennsylvania, but the campaign's don't seem to buy it. Last week, Romney allies withdrew advertisements from Pennsylvania, and the Obama campaign cut their buy in half. This week, the Obama campaign is going even further: withdrawing advertisements from the Keystone State altogether, making this the first week that Obama has gone without airing advertisements in Pennsylvania.
Is Obama Alienating Rich Voters?
July 19, 2012
Affluent voters were an important element of Obama’s coalition in 2008. Will that change this year? Some observers believe that Obama might alienate former supporters with attacks on Bain Capital and renewed calls to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
Every four years, political reporters flood western Pennsylvania searching for the latest clue to decipher the shifting allegiances of coveted “Reagan Democrats,” the socially conservative voters who abandoned the New Deal coalition over cultural issues in the '70's and '80's. When a candidate visits Pennsylvania, the accompanying news reports remind us that “Reagan Democrats” are the consummate swing voters who maintain a stranglehold over the outcome of critical races in large industrial Midwestern states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Will Voter ID Laws Cost Obama Reelection?
July 16, 2012
The possibility that new voter-ID laws could disenfranchise thousands of Democratic- voters in pivotal swing states has received considerable attention recently. After all, 9.2 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania lack photo identification, including 18 percent of registered voters in heavily Democratic Philadelphia. But these flashy numbers might be misleading. If voter-ID laws have consequences for voter turnout, they’re difficult to detect. Several studies conducted in the wake of the 2006 midterms showed a weak correlation between tougher voter-ID laws and reduced turnout.
A Perfect Summer Painting Exhibition That Falls Flat
July 03, 2012
Arcadia, the pastoral paradise beloved by poets and painters from the ancients to the moderns, is a terrific subject for a summer museum show. Aren’t we all in the mood for green glades, cool streams, lazy afternoons, and a little wine and song? I wish I could report that the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s “Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia” fulfills more than a fraction of that promise.
Why Walker's Urban-Crime Scare Ad Might Work
June 01, 2012
Well, so much for Scott Walker's brand of Republicanism being all about forward-looking, green-eyeshade bottom-line reform. It's flown mostly under the national radar this week, but Walker decided to go old-school, late-1980s-style, with a TV ad conjuring the menace of inner-city crime to attack his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
The worst time to see a museum is in the weeks when it’s just opening. That’s why, for the moment, I’ve opted to stay away from the Barnes Foundation’s new building in downtown Philadelphia, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. In the days before the public arrives, critics experience a totally artificial environment—a museum without museumgoers. When the doors are finally opened to the public, the mood in the galleries is likely to be so keyed up that it’s impossible to have a sense of what the place will feel like six months—or two years—later.
March 29, 2012
The Steins Collect Metropolitan Museum of Art Van Gogh: Up Close Philadelphia Museum of Art Van Gogh: The Life By Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith (Random House, 953 pp., $40) Nobody in the history of culture has known more about the art of persuasion than the avant-garde painters, sculptors, writers, composers, choreographers, and impresarios who transformed European art from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century.
March 29, 2012
On the evening of Wednesday, February 22, protesters pitched tents in front of the district office of Democratic Representative Allyson Schwartz in the small hamlet of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.
If X, Then Why?
March 29, 2012
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention By Manning Marable (Viking Press, 594 pp., $30) I. When Malcolm X died in a hail of assassin’s gunfire at the Audubon Ballroom in February 1965, the mainstream media in the United States was quick to suggest that he reaped the harvest of bloodshed he had brazenly sown.