By Scott Williams
Communications Director, 5th District Democrats
It was one helluva weekend for nonsense.
While much of America was busy watching basketball playoffs or enjoying early spring, the Republican Party was busy laying the groundwork on two of the biggest battles coming up next week in Washington, D.C. – guns and the federal budget.
And they used their tired old tactic of refusing to move an inch on anything with Obama’s name on it. Over the past four years it has been called “obstructionism.” I call it nonsense.
- Try to make sense of this: Americans overwhelmingly support some controls on guns. But Senate Republicans, led by chief instigator Rand Paul, said on Saturday they plan to use their favorite tool, the filibuster, to stop any controls whatsoever. Nonsense!
- Try to make sense of this: Americans overwhelmingly want to keep Social Security and Medicare. But President Obama, in a compromise he called less than “ideal,” on Friday offered another olive branch to Republicans on the federal budget, something he already did six months ago. He offered to make changes to Social Security and other entitlement programs, which Republicans have insisted upon and lefties oppose. In exchange, the President wants tax increases on the rich. The GOP response? Its top troublemaker in the House, John Boehner, immediately rejected it. Nonsense!
- Try to make sense of this: On Thursday, Republicans in the Senate said they would oppose a U.N. treaty to regulate the multi-billion-dollar international arms trade – a treaty opposed only by Iran, Syria and North Korea. Their reason? It might impose new gun controls in the U.S. Nonsense! (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/04/maddow-senate-gop-joins-north-korea-and-iran-in-opposition-to-un-arms-treaty/).
We should be used to this by now. It’s not like these kinds of antics are unexpected from the GOP, which will use any tactic imaginable to stop anything the president proposes. But I’m flat-out exhausted by their nonsense. How can this country move forward at all if Republicans refuse to do anything? It’s a broken record played by a broken party.
A few Republicans tried to keep the peace, in their own way. John McCain suggested that Rand Paul’s antics were, indeed, way off base. On gun controls, he said “What are we afraid of….Have a debate.” And a key GOP senator, Lindsay Graham, threw a wrench into the budget machinery, saying a third issue – immigration – has to come first. He told NBC Meet the Press on Sunday that the key to any “grand bargain” on the budget is solving immigration first. That might lay the groundwork for compromise. (http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/07/17641103-graham-sees-immigration-deal-as-prelude-to-budget-grand-bargain?lite ).
Rand Paul and his ultra-conservative cronies have a twisted mindset – something akin to a sickness called Road Rage. Or, perhaps more accurately, to the mind of a child who throws a tantrum if he doesn’t get his way. Isn’t it Boehner who cries whenever he gets upset? As comedian Bill Maher puts it, Paul Ryan and Rand Paul are “intellectually stuck in their teen years.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/06/bill-maher-libertarianism-paul-ryan-rand-paul-video_n_3028244.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics ).
Many have said that Obama needs to get tough. Stop the compromising. Bring out Teddy Roosevelt’s “Big Stick.”
I say let’s sit back and watch. Obama dropped his budget late on a Friday afternoon – near the end of a news cycle – for a reason. This is the first round. It’s as if he’s saying, “Let the GOP chew on this for a while. Then let’s get serious.”
I predict that there’s another round coming. What will Obama do next? That’s hard to say. But Obama, like the rest of us, knows he won the last election hands down. That’s a pretty big stick, all by itself.
If he doesn’t come up with something better, he will be left with a legacy that few presidents could live with. He will be known as the “president who could not govern.”
By Jim Baum
Chair, 5th District Democrats
The U.S. Supreme Court today dealt with same-sex marriage for the second day in a row, but this time the issue was the whether or not people of the same sex can receive federal benefits.
Today’s oral arguments on the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA, which uses a definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in federal recognition) were divided into 50 minutes on the standing of the appellants and 60 minutes on the merits of the case.
The standing issues in this case (known as Windsor v. U.S.) are much more complicated than the standing issues in Hollingsworth v. Perry (the challenge to California’s Proposition 8, heard yesterday by the court).
The Justice Department sought the appeal even though it agreed with a lower court decision by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals that held DOMA unconstitutional. Also, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which is made up of the speaker of the House, the majority leader, majority whip, minority leader and minority whip, has sought to intervene because the JusticeDepartment stopped defendingDOMA in court.
The justices seemed very skeptical of BLAG’s standing and few observers expect standing to be granted to BLAG. However, five justices did appear to be open to granting the JusticeDepartment standing, meaning the court could rule on the merits of the case instead of throwing it out on procedural grounds.
Paul Clements, the attorney representing BLAG, argued in support ofDOMA relying mostly on the premise thatDOMA was a legitimate attempt in 1996 by the federal government to create a uniform definition of marriage for federal purposes. The four liberal justices (Kagan, Ginsberg, Sotomayor and Breyer) were obviously not buying Clements’ justification, pushing back on civil rights grounds. Justice Kagan challenged Clements on the motivation behind the law.
Justice Kagan: “Do we really think that Congress was doing this for uniformity reasons, or do we think that Congress’s judgment was infected by dislike, by fear, by animus, and so forth? … What happened in 1996 — and I’m going to quote from the House Report here — is that ‘Congress decided to reflect an honor of collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.’”
Justice Kennedy appeared to be doubtful ofDOMA but on states’ rights grounds.
There was some discussion of the level of scrutiny that should be applied when evaluating laws targeted at gays and lesbians. Most federal courts have used the “rational basis” test under which the party claiming harm (in this context gays and lesbians) must show the government has no rational reason for the discrimination.
The U.S. Solicitor General and the brief filed by the Obama administration argue for a stronger test known as “heightened scrutiny” under which it is the government’s responsibility to demonstrate a legitimate interest in a law that discriminates. Much smarter legal minds than mine believe an application of heightened scrutiny by the Supreme Court in Hollingworth or Windsor would lead to the dismantling of all anti-gay laws nationwide.
This is where Justice Kennedy’s lean toward seeingDOMA as a states’ rights issue becomes extremely important, as declaringDOMA unconstitutional on states’ rights (10th Amendment) grounds would not require a rational basis or heightened scrutiny test.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, making bets on how the court will rule based on questions during oral arguments is a fool’s errand. The justices will know where each other stands when they meet in private conference and take an initial vote at the end of the week.
The rest of us have up to three months to speculate.
By Scott I. Williams
Communications Director, 5th District Democrats
Thank you, Republicans.
You have changed the lives of many Americans. You have encouraged them to think about things they might never have considered.
Like going broke. Living without retirement. Dying without insurance.
Your politics are twisting the arms of many people in this country, most of whom do not agree with you in the first place (www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html) . Your ideas about chopping government programs are making many of us rethink our futures, which until now seemed OK.
First came your president named Bush (the second one), who blitzed the world economy and then high-tailed it behind the protective gates of his family compound in Texas. Before he left, he made sure that an entire generation of Americans, at least those without college degrees, will earn substantially less than their parents (economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/do-you-earn-more-than-your-parents-did/).
Then you introduced us all to the Tea Party. What would we ever do without it? If there was ever a badly named political movement, it’s the Tea “Party.” Ain’t no partyin’ in that gang. Now nothing can happen in D.C. without creating a crisis. Government largesse is threatened; poor people have to dig deep to find money for food and rent; the top “2 Percent” can sit back and watch their fortunes balloon.
America is divided like it hasn’t been since the Vietnam War.
Then you changed politics, maybe forever. No longer does the majority rule. Now all you have to have is a vocal minority in Congress who threaten to filibuster any Progressive bill. Or any bill whatsoever that doesn’t suit their fancy. Thanks to you, the number of bills passed by Congress has plummeted (maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/11/29/15541727-making-the-do-nothing-congress-look-great-by-comparison?lite ).
And all of this comes from a Republican party that has been called “leaderless.” The GOP is floundering in its hunt for a focus that would help save it from oblivion following Romney’s debacle at the polls (Politico explains: www.politico.com/story/2013/03/gop-sniping-over-2012-failures-still-going-strong-88405.html?hp=t2_3 ). Still, the obstructionists in our nation’s capitol continue to have their way.
Now, following your refusal to find a middle ground with Democrats on the sequester, we are facing the potential of yet another recession. Or, should I say, an extension of the current economic misery that you got us into in the first place in 2008. Thanks to your refusal to engage in that most basic of political practices – compromise – our economy may turn backwards yet again, despite the best efforts of President Obama.
I would like to think that things will change. Maybe reason will return, and this beat-‘em-up style of politics will give way to reality. I would like to think that the “majority rules” principle upon which our country was founded will once again become the way this country works.
For now, though, I just have to say “Thanks.” I’m not sure what I ever would have done without you
Except, maybe, move to Canada.
By Scott Williams
Communications Director, 5th District Dems
It’s a vision straight out of the ‘60s, race-torn halls of Southern legislatures: lawmakers packing guns to use in case the debate gets too heated.
Only these are your lawmakers, right here in Washington state. Any day in Olympia, the legislator you meet in the hallway might be carrying a firearm. It is perfectly legal. Washington’s Capitol has no restrictions on carrying guns — one of three states where this is true (the others are Texas and Kentucky).
According to The Seattle Times, packing guns is “part of the culture in Olympia, something that’s seldom discussed, rarely criticized and speaks volumes about the split between those who oppose most curbs on gun ownership and those pressing for gun-control legislation this session.”
There is, thankfully, another, more rational side to the story. Yesterday, Democrat lawmakers in Olympia offered six bills to put controls on guns. Top on the list: requiring background checks for all gun purchases. Other bills would put new rules on private gun sales, and make it a crime to leave a loaded firearm in a place where a child might find it. There is also a bill that would protect citizens from “the repeated violent acts of a small group of mentally ill and/or developmentally disabled incompetent offenders.”
GUNS IN THE 5th LD
Here in the 5th LD, guns seem to be part of the laisse faire mindset. Many of our state and federal legislators are pro-gun, some of them unabashedly so. Rep. Jay Rodne from North Bend gets an “A”, almost the highest rating possible, from the National Rifle Association. Congressman Dave Reichert receives a B+. (For a more complete list, see below).
So how big a deal are guns in this state? Mighty big. Since the slaughter of 20 kids and six adults in an elementary school in Connecticut last December, 24 people in Washington have been killed by guns. The most recent? On February 5, 38-year-old Quang Vo was killed in Seattle; and 52-year-old Jacob Dorfman was killed in Spokane.
Closer to the 5th, people have been killed by guns in Bellevue, Kent and Renton since December 14. This June, two people will face the judge for the 2007 murder of four adults and two children in Carnation.
Across the country 1,754 people have been gunned down in the past two months.
Here is how some of the top politicians in this area stand on guns. Based on solid reporting by Project Vote Smart (votesmart.org/interest-group/623/rating/5573 ), the following politicians have been endorsed by the NRA’s Political Action Committee called the “Political Victory Fund”:
- Jay Rodne (A)
- Glenn Anderson (A)
- Dave Reichert (B+)
- Chad Magandanz (92 percent)
- Rob McKenna (75 percent)
- Brad Toft (92 pecent)
- Reagan Dunn (92 percent)
- Doc Hastings (A)
- Cathy McMorris Rodgers (A)
- Frank Chopp (B-)
- Roger Goodman (B-)
- Pam Roach (A+)
- Tim Sheldon (A+)
- Steve Hobbs (A)
- Dino Rossi (A)
- Richard Sanders (A+)
On the flip side, here are some of the local politicians who receive failing marks from the NRA:
- Patty Murray (F)
- Jim McDermott (F)
- Jay Inslee (F)
- Ross Hunter (D)
- Rodney Tom (D)
- Norm Dicks (F)
It’s time for voters in this district, and across the state, to let their representatives know where they stand on this issue. Decisions are being made right now in Olympia and Washington D.C. that could save the lives of innocent people. Or those people could die - because of one person with a gun and the failure of politicians to protect victims of gun violence. Whether those politicians are packing, or not.
(Sources: The Seattle Times, Slate, Project Vote Smart, Senate Democratic Caucus)
WILL GOP BAIL ON ROMNEY?
By Scott I. Williams
Communications Director, 5th District Democrats
The old man from Kansas is still mad about it. Bob Dole is still angry that his Republican party abandoned him in 1996, when it opted to save its control of Congress and let Bill Clinton take the election.
That was almost two decades ago. However, what happened then – party elders bailed on Dole and opted to put money where they felt it was best spent – could happen today. It’s simple economics. Don’t put your money behind a loser.
As Republicans find themselves faced with the increasingly unpopular option of backing Mitt Romney – a candidate that many people flat out dislike – they also will be looking at an even tougher choice. Should they give in to fate and admit that they do not have a candidate who can beat Barak Obama? Should they, instead, throw their effort into making sure they hold the House, and, perhaps, win the Senate?
It’s not a new strategy for Republicans. They did it in 1964, too, when they deserted Barry Goldwater in the face of overwhelming odds.
Already, some Republican stalwarts are bailing out. Michael Steele, former Republican Party chair, admitted on MSNBC as Super Tuesday results were rolling in, “They are just not buying what Romney has been selling.”
That quintessential Republican columnist, George Will of the Washington Post, writes: “[T]here would come a point when … conservatives turn their energies to a goal much more attainable than … electing Romney or Santorum president. It is the goal of retaining control of the House and winning control of the Senate… [C]onservatives this year should have as their primary goal making sure Republicans wield all the gavels in Congress in 2013,” according to Politico .
Sure, there is still a race going on. Rick Santorum thinks he can win, against the odds. So do, apparently, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. No one ever said Republicans were good at facing reality.
Talk is fading that Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie or Jeb Bush (or Sarah Palin!?!) might come in as a white knight to save Republicans’ hopes for the White House.
Sure, I am future-tripping a bit, here. The Republican establishment might all jump on the Romney bandwagon and he’ll sail through the remaining primaries to nomination, without a brokered convention. Yeah, and the earth will turn backwards tomorrow.
Let’s look at the Romney-Dole comparison a little more closely. It was 1996 (a leap year). Hamas and Israel were fighting. The Greek government was in turmoil. Osama Bin Laden declares jihad on Americans in Saudi Arabia. A whole boatload of Republicans squabbled over their presidential candidacy. At one point or another, Dole, Steve Forbes, Richard Lugar, Phil Gramm and Lamar Alexander, Alan Keyes, Bob Dornan, Pete Wilson, Arlen Specter, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Morry Taylor and Pat Buchanan were among early presidential possibilities.
Dole won the free-for-all and wound up trying to unseat Clinton, a hugely popular president. Dole had plenty of experience in the federal government – something Romney does not have. And he got crushed by Clinton, 49 percent to 41 percent.
So how is Romney supposed to fare any better? He just got crunched in the Deep South. If Romney can outspend his main opponent 10-to-1 in Ohio and still only beat Santorum by a hair, if Romney can only win the most important state on Super Tuesday by a slim margin, how can he possibly beat a sitting president who is winning in the polls without even launching a serious campaign?
The answer is simple: He can’t. Even this far into the primaries, Republicans are looking for an alternative. Why? Because Mitt Romney is a loser. He has no pizzazz, no soul. He campaigns like a web mop, yesterday’s leftover mashed potatoes.
Already, Romney and the party have alienated women, Hispanics and many Independents. After Super Tuesday, add to that the fact that the blue-collar vote, conservatives and evangelical Christians are torn. The vote in the Deep South for Santorum only reinforced that trend.
Republicans are only agreed on one thing: Their main guy cannot win. To expect the big Republican money to keep supporting him all the way to the November is flying in the face of history.
WASHINGTON: A KEY GOP CAUCUS STATE?
By Scott I. Williams
Communications Director, 5th District Democrats
As Democrats sit back and watch Republicans slug it out for their Presidential nomination, one question hangs in the air in this state’s political circles: Will Washington matter?
The results of the Democratic caucuses in April are a given. President Obama will be our nominee. The only question will be how many people show up at their local caucus to rubber stamp the decision. And Obama remains well ahead of each of the Republican candidates in the polls (see Real Clear Politics’ summary of leading polls: www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/us/general_election_romney_vs_obama-1171.html ).
But the Republican story is different. The GOP free-for-all that started in Iowa and continued into Saturday’s Maine caucuses suggests that, come March 3, political junkies of both parties across the country could be watching Washington closely. They will be wondering: What will the GOP Washington caucuses reveal? Do Republicans dislike (or distrust) Mitt “Wet Mop” Romney enough to put someone else on top, even before their August national convention?
Democrats will be watching, knowing that political in-fighting among Republicans does nothing but help Obama. Besides, it is good theater. Cheap entertainment.
The results of Republican blood-letting so far suggest enough questions will remain about GOP party leadership that this state’s results could make a difference. Yeah, Romney won Maine on Saturday, adding to his growing delegate count. But he did not dominate, like a shoe-in candidate should. He beat Ron Paul by less than 200 votes.
His ability to win is still in doubt. Remember just last week, when Rick Santorum swept three states? Recall Newt Gingrich’s landslide in South Carolina? And Paul just won’t fade away, much to GOP leadership’s chagrin.
The Washington caucuses will be held three days before what is probably the most important day in the primary season: Super Tuesday. On Tuesday, March 6, the GOP nominee will be chosen in 10 states. What happened in Washington three days earlier will be top-of-mind for voters when the nominee is selected in huge delegate states like Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. Washington will be the first read of voter sentiment on the West Coast.
“The Washington result may be the last bit of momentum that can be generated for a candidate before Super Tuesday,” Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, told The Seattle Times.
Republican Chairman Kirby Wilbur agrees: “Given the nature of the race so far, I think we’re going to be more important than we have been in years, if not decades.”
DELEGATES ON THE LINE
What’s more, there are 43 Washington delegates at stake in the Washington caucuses – the most between the Florida and Super Tuesday. While those delegates will not be formally bound to any candidate until June, this state represents a healthy chunk of the total 1,144 delegates needed. This is not a winner-take-all state, meaning candidates will have to fight for every delegate.
Certainly, the significance of Washington state in the process has not been missed by the candidates’ campaigns. Romney, with a bevy of endorsements from Republican leaders, has his machine running here, as does Paul. Gingrich’s people are raising money in this state and he has recruited an outspoken Bothell evangelical Christian, Pastor Joe Fuiten, in support. Santorum plans to visit and meet with Republican leaders and anti-gay-marriage activists this Monday – the same day Gov. Gregoire signs the same-sex marriage law.
Politics can be messy. Caucuses, in particular, can be the essence of democracy at work – its best and its worst. Caucuses are, as one Republican politician put it, “really personally interactive politics…neighbors sitting with neighbors, agreeing and disagreeing and trying to outmaneuver each other.”
So watch out for the Washington GOP caucus. As March 3 rolls around, while Democrats watch from the sidelines, the Republicans will probably show us once again how really messy it can get.
By Jim Baum
Chair, 5th District Democrats
The Washington state legislature yesterday passed same-sex marriage. So what’s next?
Approval of same-sex marriages in this state is hardly the last we will hear of this issue. Now that the legislature has acted, all that needs to happen is for Gov. Gregoire to sign it and Washington will become the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage, right? (Actually, technically we will be the eighth if you count the few months that same-sex marriage was legal in California before Proposition 8 passed in 2008.)
(See our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/5th-Dems/360998598554 for the latest in our district on the legislature’s debate. Our local representative’s outspoken position might – or might not — surprise you. It definitely reaffirms our need to bring Rep. Jay Rodne home from Olympia.)
But this is not the end of this debate in this state, by a long shot. First, the law will almost surely be put on hold. The anti-same-sex marriage forces have already announced they intend to use the referendum process to put the issue on November’s ballot.
An initiative has also been filed by Stephen Pidgeon that seeks to change the definition of marriage from “a male and a female” to “one man and one woman.” Pidgeon, who is also a candidate for Washington Attorney General, intends to proceed with his initiative regardless of whether or not a referendum is filed. Pidgeon acted in conjunction with James Bopp. If you are not familiar with Mr. Bopp, check out this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bopp. He’s an extreme Right Wing activist who has served as an advisor for Mitt Romney. Need I say more?
This could set up a confusing choice for voters and a clear potential for the passage of conflicting laws. This year, supporters of the referendum have until June 6 to collect 120,577 valid signatures in order to qualify a measure for the November ballot. Backers of the initiative have a month longer to collect twice as many valid signatures — 241,153 — by July 6.
The anti-same sex marriage forces like to remind people that in the 31 states where same-sex marriage has been on the ballot that same-sex marriage has never been approved by the voters. Most of these ballot measures were during the 2004 election cycle and Ken Mehlman, former Bush campaign chief and Republican national chairman who has since come out as a gay man, has said they were pushed by the Republican party as a way to bring out conservative voters – not because same-sex marriage was the issue.
What the anti-same sex marriage folks do not like to talk about is that Washington state beat them at the ballot box by confirming Referendum 71 – extending the rights of domestic partnerships to the LGBT community – in 2009.
WHAT’S HAPPENING ELSEWHERE?
Here’s what is going on in other states:
- North Carolina: Same-sex marriage is on the ballot in North Carolina this May 8. The measure is so broad it could affect any recognition of same-sex relationships.
- Minnesota: Minnesota has a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the November ballot.
- Maine: Maine has a measure that would restore same-sex marriage to that state after it was taken away by the voters in 2009, despite already having been passed by the legislature.
- New Jersey: The New Jersey legislature is on the verge of passing same-sex marriage but Gov. Christy has promised a veto.
- Maryland: Maryland’s legislature is about to pass a same-sex marriage bill and their governor has promised to sign it.
- New Hampshire: In New Hampshire, the newly elected Republican veto-proof majority in the legislature has said they intend to reverse legal same-sex marriage in their state, but have continued to delay a vote on that bill. New Hampshire’s Gov. Lynch has said he will veto such legislation and there are rifts forming between Republicans in the legislature that could end their hopes of overriding his veto.
- California: In California, Proposition 8 has been found to be unconstitutional in federal district and circuit courts. The ruling was narrowly defined but has the potential to impact whether or not a referendum here could overturn our new same-sex marriage law.
So off to the ballot box we go. It appears same-sex marriage has reached the tipping point and there is little doubt it will soon be recognized in most, if not all, of the United States. We in Washington are now going to be on the knife’s edge of that battle.
The voters of Washington were the first to approve same sex relationship rights at the polls when we confirmed Referendum 71 three years ago. Will we be the first in the nation to pass same-sex marriage by a public vote?
The voters of Washington state can lead the way out of the negative stigma gay relationships have suffered. Someone is going to do it. Let’s work to insure it is us.
By Scott Williams
Communicatons Director, 5th District Democrats
For months, political headlines across the country have told the same story: Republicans are fighting among themselves to find a strong leader. As their third primary nears, it looks like they have decided on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – a party player without an ounce of charisma whose main attribute is the ability to shift positions to fit the moment.
Meanwhile, President Obama is gearing up for the 2012 elections. He’s beginning to try out his best political hat – his ability to stir up crowds and mount a strong campaign. While there’s lots of time before next November, here’s my take on the reasons why Democrats will win the election:
1/ MISFIT MITT: The Republican Party does not have a viable candidate to go up against Barak Obama in 2012. Are Newt (“The Brute”) Gingrich and “Misfit” Mitt Romney really the best they can come up with? Even uberconservative columnist Ann Coulter has said the party will lose with Romney at the helm. And Gingrich? He’s your mean old uncle, the politician everyone loves to hate.
2/ LOOKING UP: Economy is slowly, but surely, turning around. The key economic metric – unemployment – has turned down. Many observers would agree that the Obama Administration’s early efforts to halt the recession’s downward spiral by throwing $700 billion at the problem were feeble at best. Recall, however, that that figure was as much as Congress permitted. It stopped the hemorrhaging, at least.
3/ WHO’S ON FIRST? It’s all about image. Which party looks Presidential? For months, the Republican Party image is one of a car-full of clowns, each taking a turn on the roof before falling off. Political image-making during a Presidential campaign is a delicate affair. There’s nothing an out-of-power party needs less than a comedy act defining how voters perceive its ability to run the country.
4/ LOOKING GOOD: The American public is gradually realizing that the worst is over, and that Obama’s policies are, in fact, working. A year-end Associated Press poll showed that two thirds of Americans expect 2012 to be better than 2011. Optimism, particularly new optimism, works in the favor of an incumbent.
5/ THE PARTY’S OVER: The Tea Party, which by default has driven Republican Party policies since 2010, has lost much of its backbone after its devastating position on the payroll tax. The battle may have cost Republicans their leader in the House some serious political capital, and Tea Partiers across the country no longer have the clout the used to.
6/ BULLY PULPIT: Obama is finally stepping up. Emboldened by his victory in Congress on the payroll tax, the President is learning to use Teddy Roosevelt’s Bully Pulpit to accomplish Democratic goals.
7/ IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY: Obama has already raised more than the eight remaining Republicans combined, according to the Federal Election Commission. And he really doesn’t need to spend much of it, yet. What will election coffers look like come August and September, when things really heat up?
8/ STYLE MATTERS: When the fighting gets tough on the campaign trail, who would you want on the podium leading your party? A dynamo like Obama or a wet mop like Romney? None of the Republicans can wow a crowd like Obama.
9/ SCANDALOUS: Sooner or later the conservative wing of the Republican Party, with its family-comes-first, neo-Puritan philosophy will realize that most of its leaders have violated these principles and have no stronger morals than anybody else.
10/ THE MESSAGE: The Republican Party in November will probably stick to its well-worn message, beaten into voters’ tired brains since 2010 election, that anything Obama does is bad. The problem is that, by then, the American electorate will have had enough of their tired old saw. They will be ready for change – away from the broken politics brought on by the right wing and back to the positive, realistic proposals made by Democrats.