June 06, 2012
Dear James Taranto
James Taranto, in his Wall Street Journal "Best of the Web" feature, is taunting me for not replying to his tweet quoting with approval an African American minister (one who supports Sen. Scott Brown's re-election) making what Taranto obviously believes to be a devastating critique of Brown's opponent, Elizabeth Warren. To wit: “Affirmative action—that issue becomes important because it points to who you are,” added the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, executive director of the TenPoint Coalition, who pointed to an assertion that she is 1/32 Cherokee.
It’s always a mistake to over-interpret a single state or local election, because special circumstances unrepresentative of broader trends may have had a large effect on the outcome. Would Barrett have done better if he had been able to deploy against Walker the months and millions he was forced to divert to win his party primary before the recall? What if he had enjoyed the full-throated support of his party from President Obama on down?
I generally have a pretty steely stomach for political machinations (seven years in Washington will do that to a person—I hear tolerance only increases), but there was something a little nauseating about watching the pre-determined defeat of the Paycheck Fairness Act in the Senate yesterday. (“Paycheck Fairness fails in the Senate, as expected,” reported The Washington Post. “Senate Democrats knew they had little chance of passing the Pay Fairness Act on Tuesday,” said NPR.) This legislation addresses the wage gap between men and women.
If you’re waiting for the Romney campaign’s “etch a sketch” moment on immigration, it seems to have quietly arrived. Last week I had a revealing email exchange with a Romney advisor. I had written an item about Mitt Romney’s trouble with the Latino vote and referred to an anti-immigration advertisement from the Romney camp. A few days later, I got an email from an advisor to the Romney campaign, letting me know that I’d mistakenly referred to a Romney ad that ran during the 2007-2008 cycle.
June 05, 2012
Wisconsin by the Numbers Scott Walker cruised to a 53-46 win in the Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall, stunning Democrats expecting a tight race after early exit polls. Walker's victory was built on a GOP-friendly electorate, even whiter, older, richer, and less Democratic than the 2010 midterms, let alone 2008. Seniors represented 18% of the electorate, up from 16% in 2010 and 14% in 2008. The non-white share of the electorate fell from 11% in 2008 to 10% in 2010, to 9% in 2012. 20% of voters made more than $100,000/year, up from 16% in 2010 and 19% in 2008.
Over the Cliff
The most important congressional debate this year, and maybe for many years after that, will probably take place right after the election. At that point, the lame-duck Congress will take up two huge issues: Automatic spending cuts, set to take place as part of last summer’s debt ceiling deal, and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Pretty much everybody agrees that allowing those two things to happen would undermine the recovery and possibly cause a new recession by sucking so much money out of the economy.
Molly Redden suggests that today’s vote in Wisconsin bears no clear relation to November’s presidential election. I beg to differ. The Wisconsin recall election is to the 2012 general election as the Spanish Civil War was to World War Two—not necessarily a harbinger of the final outcome but rather a preview of strategies and tactics. As such, we’ll get early evidence bearing on some questions that will be important in the fall. Can a labor-intensive ground game match a cash-intensive air war?
With the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s estimating that there’s a one-in-three chance that Greece will abandon the euro sometime after its June 17 election, some people are already looking for a silver lining: British tour operator Thomas Cook expects a surge in bookings to Greece if it leaves the euro zone as holidays to the Mediterranean nation would become better value for hard-pressed travellers. "If Greece exits (the euro), for the tourism industry it could be very profitable," interim chief executive Sam Weihagen said after the company posted a steep first-half loss on Thu
June 04, 2012
If you happen to have turned on cable this last month or so, you’re aware that Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, faces a recall election tomorrow against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Now that Mitt Romney is officially the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and we have some distance from the primaries that decided it all, it’s time to consider the lessons. Otherwise, poor memories, shaky analysis and self-serving spin will combine to congeal a conventional “wisdom” that is anything but. As someone who obsessively chronicled every twist and turn of this very odd nomination contest for TNR, here are my five top takeaways: 1. Mitt Romney is a very lucky man.