Ahead Of Convention, Plenty Of Pitfalls For Democrats

Obama heads into his convention in a good position, but with several potential pitfalls in his path.

The Democratic National Convention starts tomorrow and, based on the polls at least, President Obama finds himself in a position of relative strength. He is leading, albeit by a slim margin, in the national polls, he is ahead in even the most conservative Electoral College projections, and he has slim advantages in state polling in such crucial swing states as Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. At the same time, though, there are as many risks for the Obama campaign heading into Charlotte as there were for Mitt Romney heading into Tampa. Mark McKinnon catalogs some of the more notable issues:

They’re caught in a trap. And it’s a trap they built. (Yes, they did build it. Nobody else made it happen.) As the 2012 Democratic National Convention nears, I do not envy Team Obama. They have to escape from the narrative trap they’ve built.

The political parties espouse two obviously different philosophies, neither right nor wrong. Republicans believe in individual achievement for the good of the whole. Democrats believe in collective achievement for the good of the individual. But right now, individuals are collectively hurting. And the Democrats are in power. That’s a mighty big challenge to overcome.

And following a very successful Republican National Convention, there are even more.

McKinnon lays out a number of issues that he believes are likely to be potential problems for the GOP, including:

•    Finding the real front line. With the 15 minutes of fame gained by Todd Akin on the right and Sandra Fluke on the left, Democrats thought the battle lines were drawn. A “war on women” was being waged by Republicans, they charged. Funny thing is, the GOP tunneled right under that front line. The GOP convention celebrated the success of women, from Ann Romney, Condi Rice, Susana Martinez, Sher Valenzuela, and Mia Love to Paul Ryan’s 78-year-old mother, Betty. And the economy, not social issues, was the primary focus.

•    Avoiding the plague. High-profile Democrats are staying half a world away from the convention. Everyone loves to be around a winner. The converse is also true. And that’s not a good sign for President Obama.

•     Looking forward. How can a party go forward when it is looking backward? The convention in Charlotte will feature Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The GOP showed a deeper, stronger back bench that seems to be missing this year on the Democratic side of the aisle.

•    Singing the same song. The old ideas haven’t worked very well. Will there be any real, new ideas?

(…)

•  Believing in miracles. The oceans are still rising, and the earth has not healed. Even Democrats are going to be skeptical of dramatic promises. What can Obama say to inspire, yet keep it real enough to be believed?

Over at Politico, Reid Epstein lays out a number of other risks that the Democrats face this week, including:

Bill Clinton is starring in a new Obama campaign TV ad, but he’s made it clear in the past he doesn’t take his talking points from the Obama campaign — he’s even said so explicitly.

Clinton’s got a prime-time speaking slot on Wednesday night, but Charlotte will be full of chances for him to freelance on camera or speak just a bit too candidly about Obama. Republicans will be ready to pounce on Clinton if he credits himself instead of Obama for positives, or expresses doubts about an Obama proposal. And then there’s the possibility Clinton could suggest support for a Republican plan, like he seemed to in June regarding the competing proposals over extending the Bush tax cuts.

(…)

Republicans built a whole night in Tampa around rebutting Obama’s “You didn’t build that” line. Democrats are putting in prime time the woman from whom Obama cribbed the line.

That’s not the only potential trouble from Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat and the woman who headed the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Harvard Law professor is a political novice who will be making her debut on the national stage. And even though she’ll be in Charlotte to pump up the president, her main focus will be her own election prospects, and what plays in Massachusetts — and to the Daily Kos crowd — isn’t alwas what moves moderates around the rest of the country.

(…)

The Occupy Wall Street movement largely died out in the public eye after police departments, particularly in New York, forced them to abandon the public spaces they’d occupied.

Still, a ragtag group of anti-capitalist protestors are aiming to make noise at the Democratic convention, which could include protests out on the streets and flare-ups on the convention floor during the main speeches.

Both Epstein and McKinnon hit on issues that point out the extent to which the Obama campaign finds itself constrained by the reality of the world in which we live. Unlike Reagan in 1984, Clinton in 1996, or Bush in 2004, the Obama campaign finds itself with a rather short list of successes to which it can point to as evidence in support of a second term.

More importantly, as they both note, the convention itself poses its own risks for the party. The Occupy crowd turned out to be a complete failure in Tampa, in no small part due to the fact that the possibility of rain was more important to some of those dilettantes than the chance to stage a political protest. However, Charlotte has proven to be an oddly active hub of Occupy activity. The siege mentality level of security may keep much of their protests out of the popular media, but based on the blogosphere traffic on the left it seems like these people are more intent on disrupting things in Charlotte than they were about doing the same in Tampa.

Additionally, as McKinnon notes, there’s the whole Bill Clinton factor. Put aside whatever you’re hearing about Bill Clinton and Barack Obama being friends, the cold hard reality of the matter is that Bill Clinton doesn’t do anything that doesn’t advance his political interests, or the political interests of his wife. One can only assume that his speech will be as much about promoting the Clinton brand as it is about promoting Barack Obama. And, to be completely honest, if Hillary Clinton really does have Presidential ambitions for 2016, it hardly matters for her which candidate wins on November 6th.

Jazz Shaw comments:

[W}hat about the “war of ideas” we’ve been hearing so much about. Democrats are charging that Romney and Ryan didn’t provide “enough specifics” during their convention. But what can / should Obama offer? At least Team R&R are offering a new approach for cutting costs and reforming entitlements, but they need to be elected to enact them. Barack Obama is already in office and has been for nearly four years. If he has some brilliant new plan to fix things, why isn’t he already doing it? It’s a tough message to sell.

That’s not an unfair point at all. After four years in office and a pathetically bad economic recovery, one has to feel kind of sorry for the campaign surrogates who have to make the positive case for the Obama/Biden campaign. That’s why their appearances usually involve the politically smart moves of attacking Romney and reminding everyone that George W. Bush was once President. If that’s all we hear from the dais, though, it’s going to become rather boring after awhile.

Finally, no matter how well the convention goes for the Democrats, no matter how good President Obama’s speech is on Thursday night, there’s a better than even chance that their week may be ruined by the news to come on Friday:

Ten hours after President Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for reelection, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will toss a stink bomb into his post-convention party.

The August jobs numbers are due out Friday morning, just as Obama will be seeking to capitalize on his convention momentum. The timing guarantees that Obama’s post-Charlotte, N.C., campaign swing to New Hampshire, Iowa and Florida will battle for headlines with the barometer of economic recovery.

It will be a moment of reality for Obama, who has spent months on the campaign trail reminding swing-state voters that he inherited an economic mess. He’s warned them that GOP nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, share the tax-cutting ideas that Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, held when the economy tanked. And he’s invoked the job growth that resulted when former President Bill Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy.

The jobs report will immediately turn the focus away from the forward-looking message Democrats will push in Charlotte. For a day, at least, the successes the Obama campaign has touted on health care, reproductive rights, gay marriage and immigration will go by the wayside as the jobs numbers suck up the political oxygen.

One thing is clear: No matter how many jobs the nation created in August, Republicans will say it’s not good enough, turning the political conversation back to Obama’s stewardship of the economy rather than extending the friendlier territory he’ll seek out this week.

The current consensus forecast is looking for about 120,000 jobs created in the month of August, which would be below the number reported for July. However, there are also some signs that August job growth may have been worse than that. Whatever the number, though, it’s not likely to be good, and it’s likely to step all over the Obama campaign’s post-Convention messaging.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. We’ve spent weeks looking at stumbles by the Romney campaign, so let’s pie in the sky hope that some happen for Obama.

    Equal time, is that the idea?

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Meh.

    Democrats as a party don’t have “pitfalls.” It really doesn’t matter what they say or do. People vote for Democrats by tribal party identity to the Democrat label, or because they’re reflexively voting against the Republican.

    Obama personally does have pitfalls, obviously, but that’s merely and solely because of the horrible economy. Speeches and talking points are not all that relevant. It is what it is, and nearly to a complete extent it’s already priced into the outcome.

  3. @Tsar Nicholas:

    Trend in Party Identification

    The link shows graphs but the current snapshot is 41% Democrat, 35% Republican and 18% independent. I think, well the graph shows, Republicans bleeding to independents over the 2002-2012 timeframe.

    When Romney runs as “generic Republican” he’ll of course capture the 35% still identifying that way … but I don’t think it’s a strategy to re-convert independents.

  4. (Looking closer at the chart, it looks like Republicans bled to independents 2002-2009, and Democrats themselves lost to independents 2008-2012. All good news from my (independent) perspective. If fewer people had partisan loyalty for obstructionists of both parties we’d be oh so much better off.)

  5. Woody says:

    Mark McKinnon’s concerns for the Democrats? Do tell . . .

    The slate of scheduled speakers for the Democratic Party look pretty stocked to me – and it’s amusing to read snark about Jimmy Carter’s participation considering the paucity of recent Executive branch veterans at the GOP convention.

    The task for the Democrats will be to capitalize on the (surprisingly) well publicized mendacity of the Romney-Ryan ticket ($716b Medicare cuts, the Path to Prosperity flimflam, even marathon results). The five-point plan sounds like, and largely is, a rerun of policies from 2000-2008. Frankly, the real empty chair of the Republican convention belonged to George W. Bush.

    It will be difficult to sell GOP intransigence as a key culprit to our economic straits, to be sure; but most Americans haven’t forgotten how close to disaster the nation was in 2007-8. You may find the economic recovery “pathetically bad”, but the notion that the Obamas haven’t offered solutions is preposterous. The GOP made the decision early on to obstruct at every opportunity. It’s a perfectly understandable political strategy, but then they can’t claim the Democrats have no policies. If I plug my ears every time you speak, I cannot claim you’ve said nothing.

    As to the Clinton stuff above, I’ll call BS. It would hurt – not help – Hillary if Bill sucker-punched Obama at the convention. It is rightly debatable whether an Obama victory in 2012 would or wouldn’t help, though. As to the possibilities of gaffes, well, that possibility is present every time a person opens their mouth. Considering the veracity of “You Didn’t Build That!”, my guess is that should there be no actual gaffes, there will be several that will be created. That, too, is politics.

  6. Herb says:

    “following a very successful Republican National Convention”

    But was it though?

  7. stonetools says:

    Looking at all the Clinton talk:I think conservatives have convinced themselves that Bill Clinton is political poison. I think the opposite is true. The electorate remembers that Bill Clinton presided over the last economic boom, and he is the most personally popular of the living presidents. The average American may not trust their womenfolk around Clinton, but they are happy to listen to him talk policy.

  8. JKB says:

    If he has some brilliant new plan to fix things, why isn’t he already doing it? It’s a tough message to sell.

    That is going to be the sticking point. Any agenda they publicize will rightly bring up the question of why they are waiting. Unless, of course, the theme is to tie Obama to a flip of congress back to majority Dem. That’s an odd idea with most congressional candidates washing their hair during this convention. Not to mention quotes from sitting Dem members about the problems working with Obama.

    But in the end, what if they can sell the snake oil of Republican House intransigence? Are we to re-elect a president who can’t muster the leadership to overcome partisan politics? One who will undermine the rule of law for another four years by circumventing Congress? One who has failed to see an budget passed even as he’s doubled the national debt?

    When it comes to making Constitutional government work, the president’s chair is empty. But not worries, when it comes to undermining the Constitution, Barack Obama is present and accounted for.

  9. stonetools says:

    The current consensus forecast is looking for about 120,000 jobs created in the month of August, which would be below the number reported for July. However, there are also some signs that August job growth may have been worse than that. Whatever the number, though, it’s not likely to be good, and it’s likely to step all over the Obama campaign’s post-Convention messaging.

    Er, what’s Romney’s jobs plan? Frankly, he doesn’t have any . This is what you don’t understand, Doug. Yammering on about unemployment won’t help if you come out with an actual plan to reduce unemployment.

  10. JKB says:

    @stonetools: The average American may not trust their womenfolk around Clinton, but they are happy to listen to him talk policy.

    That may be true but the American People know Bill Clinton and after four years in office, they also know, Barack Obama is not Bill Clinton.

  11. @JKB:

    To believe that this is a “pathetically bad” recovery, and leave it at that, you need economic ignorance, and a complete lack of economic curiosity. You must carefully not consider the run-up to the Great Recession and do no study on possible responses.

    It is, as I’ve said, the “poor harvest, through the chief in the volcano” argument.

    I think Doug knows this, and thinks he’ll profit from it. Otherwise, he’d drill down himself, to the underlying economics.

  12. (As I’ve also said, I think that Americans understand the economy better than “Presidentially focused” bloggers. They blame Congress before they blame Bush before they blame Obama. They get the great economic cycle, and who has been blocking response.)

  13. stonetools says:

    If he has some brilliant new plan to fix things, why isn’t he already doing it? It’s a tough message to sell

    Simple. The President has a plan, but it has been blocked by Republicans at every turn, using the filibuster and lesser known tactics such as senatorial stays. You can’t really say the President has no plan, if the President proposes a plan and its gets blocked by a Republican opposition voting as a block to defeat every Presidential initiative.

    People forget that the reason FDR passed the New Deal was not because he convinced Republicans of the brilliance of his ideas, or because he built bipartisan consensus, but because he had filibuster proof majorities. Ditto LBJ.

  14. stonetools says:

    @stonetools:

    you come out with an actual plan to reduce unemployment.

    That should be DON’T come out. Can we have an edit function, PLEEEEEEEEEZ?

  15. Clanton says:

    Stimulus money: where did it all go? $500,000 grant to a college to study Twitter! Now there’s a
    real job creator! Billions unaccounted for and just disappeared. No more of this stimulus stuff.

  16. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    That may be true but the American People know Bill Clinton and after four years in office, they also know, Barack Obama is not Bill Clinton.

    What’s interesting is that many liberals thought that there were too many Clinton advisers on the Obama team. Kind of depends on where you’re coming from.

    There is a point of view that Obama completed two of the major unachieved goals of the Clinton Administration: national health insurance and equality of gays in the military.

  17. JKB says:

    @stonetools:

    So if what you are saying is true, then the plan should be a full court press to flip congress back to a Dem majority like they had in 2008-2010? I’m not seeing that campaign.

    Otherwise, the re-election of Obama is more of the same as we have now. No hope of Obama learning how to work through congress when it isn’t overwhelmingly in his party? That’s seems like a hard product to sell to me.

    Here are two, apparently progressives, who have the same opinion, Obama doesn’t have the chops to overcome Republican opposition.

  18. stonetools says:

    @Clanton:

    The Obama Administration did an unbelievably poor job of defending the stimulus, so Mike Grunwald wrote a book about it:

    The stimulus has launched a transition to a clean-energy economy, doubled our renewable power, and financed unprecedented investments in energy efficiency, a smarter grid, electric cars, advanced biofuels, and green manufacturing. It is computerizing America’s pen-and-paper medical system. Its Race to the Top is the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It has put in place the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, the largest research investments ever, and the most extensive infrastructure investments since Eisenhower’s interstate highway system. It includes the largest expansion of antipoverty programs since the Great Society, lifting millions of Americans above the poverty line, reducing homelessness, and modernizing unemployment insurance. Like the first New Deal, Obama’s stimulus has created legacies that last: the world’s largest wind and solar projects, a new battery industry, a fledgling high-speed rail network, and the world’s highest-speed Internet network.

    THE NEW NEW DEAL

  19. @Clanton:

    Always remember the rule of three magnitudes.

    If you have X dollars, a number three orders of magnitude less just doesn’t matter. If you have 1000 dollars, dropping one in the street is no big. You need to do more to damage (or improve) your situation.

    If you have a $6.3 trillion budget, you need to find a $6.3 billion cut for it to even matter.

    As it happens the whole National Science Foundation budget is $7.373 billion so to make a difference you’d have to drop essentially all of it. Lopping off a study here or there wouldn’t do it.

  20. @JKB:

    Otherwise, the re-election of Obama is more of the same as we have now. No hope of Obama learning how to work through congress when it isn’t overwhelmingly in his party? That’s seems like a hard product to sell to me.

    Look at Congressional approval ratings, and Presidential approval ratings, and tell me who has to learn to work with whom.

    (It’s like saying that Suze Orman should “work with” the guy who wants to buy baseball cards with his retirement money. What’s wrong with her, right?)

  21. MBunge says:

    “And following a very successful Republican National Convention, there are even more.”

    The RNC wasn’t a complete and total disaster where Romney spent 15 minutes of his acceptance speech talking about his Magic Mormon Underwear, but by what possible standard could it be called “very successful”? Why should anyone seriously engage with a pundit who is so casually unserious?

    Doug, do you EVER stop and think about how you validate this kind of corruptive BS when you use it as blog fodder?

    Mike

  22. MBunge says:

    @stonetools: “The Obama Administration did an unbelievably poor job of defending the stimulus”

    They could have done a better job, but the biggest problem with the reputation of the stimulus is that the Right came out whole hog against it and the “professional Left” was largely happy to join in. They criticized it from different perspectives but “the stimulus sucks” was a common theme.

    Mike

  23. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Its clear to just about every progressive commentator that the only hope for much progress is a wave election to recapture the House. Whether the Democrats can achieve that is to be determined, thought it looks unlikely. But then, Harry Truman winning re-election was an impossible dream in August 1948, too.
    Is clear to me that the currently constituted Republican House is incapable of rational compromise. They need to be voted out, not reasoned with.

  24. JKB says:

    @john personna:

    Well then, there you go. Congress is unpopular so the election will fix that and it will be all good.

    Do you have some reason to expect congress to flip Dem so we can return to the heady days of 2008-2010? Or might it go heavy Republican with the Senate flipping?

    Lots of possibilities with a few having Obama voted out.

    In the end, being popular doesn’t get the job done:

    “When somebody does not do the job, we’ve got to let them go,”

  25. @JKB:

    You could help, obviously. Join me in calling for a pragmatic and problem-solving Congress.

  26. JKB says:

    @stonetools: Is clear to me that the currently constituted Republican House is incapable of rational compromise. They need to be voted out, not reasoned with.

    Many say the same about Barack “I won” Obama. So I guess we’ll see if there are any missteps at the DNC then we’ll have a better take on how the election might go.

    Of course, it doesn’t help to highlight Clinton who stared down the Republicans in Congress then found common ground to achieve many successes. And now we are back to the “empty chair”.

  27. JKB says:

    @john personna: Join me in calling for a pragmatic and problem-solving Congress.

    I agree, we need more Paul Ryans in congress. Their plans may or may not be perfect but they have a plan and they have applied pragmatism to our situation in hopes of starting adult conversations.

  28. jan says:

    This is a perfect ad showing how Obama is simply looping the same speeches, over and over again. Nothing has changed except incessently talking about ‘change’ in the future tense.

  29. @JKB:

    Ryan Versus Obama; Budget Plans Mean Fiscal Tightening Either Way

    If Congress can’t do the easier Obama budget, why do you think they’d actually do the Ryan one, on more than a show vote?

  30. stonetools says:

    They could have done a better job, but the biggest problem with the reputation of the stimulus is that the Right came out whole hog against it and the “professional Left” was largely happy to join in. They criticized it from different perspectives but “the stimulus sucks” was a common theme.

    True to a large extent. The big problem that Krugman (and I ) had with the stimulus, is that the Obama Administration pitched it as being just the right size, and as being a triumph of bipartisanship. They should have tried for a much bigger stimulus, and should have warned that it was too small because of Republican intransigence. Their terrible messaging meant that they were unable to go back for a second round in 2010, when almost every economist thought another was needed. Kthug:

    So here’s the picture that scares me: It’s September 2009, the unemployment rate has passed 9 percent, and despite the early round of stimulus spending it’s still headed up. Mr. Obama finally concedes that a bigger stimulus is needed.

    But he can’t get his new plan through Congress because approval for his economic policies has plummeted, partly because his policies are seen to have failed, partly because job-creation policies are conflated in the public mind with deeply unpopular bank bailouts. And as a result, the recession rages on, unchecked

    PROPHECY

    Had the Obama team said, “The stimulus needs to be bigger , and isn’t because of the Republicans, and we are saying AHEAD OF TIME that we will need another round if the economy slows down in 2010,” we would have had a better shot at passing a second stimulus, and the “The stimulus failed/ Where are the jobs” theme of the 2010 Republican surge wouldn’t have worked.

  31. Clanton says:

    @stonetools: Does it include the “Solyndra” disaster?
    Many states are opting out of Race to the “Top”, NCLB, and other Federal education initiatives: too much red tape, tons of paperwork, rules and directions that are harder to understand than the tax codes. I am not sure of what the Federal government’s role in education is, but the less the better. The only exception are the military academies. Head Start was good because it had a lot of built in accountabiity and great directors at the beginning. i don’t know about now. Most school personnel say that the NCLB is one of those things that sounds good and has good intentions, but doesn’t work, mainly because teachers are left out of the decision making loop. The public education system in this country won’t improve until teachers are in charge of reform.

  32. jan says:

    @Clanton:

    “The public education system in this country won’t improve until teachers are in charge of reform. “

    It’s not only teachers but also parents. Right now, it’s the Teacher Unions, though, who are calling the shots. Just look at Chicago if you want a prime example.

  33. anjin-san says:

    Stimulus money: where did it all go?

    To three critical infrastructure projects where I live, along with countless minor ones. Why do Republicans only favor infrastructure projects for Iraq? Oh, and also to tax cuts.

  34. @Clanton:

    Does it include the “Solyndra” disaster?

    Always remember the rule of three magnitudes

    I agree that Solyndra was a screw-up. I opposed production subsidies (as opposed to research money) as a principle, but it was apparently bad even among production subsidies.

    That said, it was only about $600M. As a budget issue, it needs to be about 10 times bigger to matter.

  35. anjin-san says:

    I agree, we need more Paul Ryans in congress.

    You mean guys with a long track record of voting for budget busting bills?

  36. anjin-san says:

    Does it include the “Solyndra” disaster?

    I stubbed my toe last night. What a disaster…

  37. MBunge says:

    @stonetools: “They should have tried for a much bigger stimulus”

    And that is the problem. Your position is clearly based on the idea that the stimulus we got was the absolute minimum that any President would have gotten through Congress. That Barack Obama could have tried for a bigger stimulus and then not only “settled” for a smaller one, but gotten that smaller one passed while simultaneously complaining about how ineffective it was going to be. The available evidence, however, seems to be that if Obama had tried for a stimulus big enough to make a much greater economic impact, we very possibly or even probably have wound up with no stimulus at all. And political history would appear to indicate that you can’t pass ANY policy by telling people how little it’s going to help them.

    I’m not at all trying to say that there’s no room to criticize the Obama Administration. I’ve seen very good arguments that there were things they could have done to better address the housing crisis. But a hell of a lot of lefty complaints about stuff like the stimulus or health care reform takes what Obama accomplished as a given that ANYONE could have done and then whines about why he didn’t do even better.

    Mike

  38. jan says:

    Rick Cline’s analysis on ABC news is spot on in referring to this week’s dem-fest as being an Obama versus Obama type of convention — his promises versus the reality of those promises. This piece actually fits in with the ad posted above, in how similar the ’08 and ’12 speeches are. It’s as if Obama has accomplished little to nothing, because the to-do list is virtually the same.

  39. stonetools says:

    Solyandra wasn’t really a “disaster” , if you understand that failures happen as a result of investments in bleeding-edge technology. Did the shuttle program fail because of the Challenger disaster? Grunwald again:

    I doubt the facts are going to matter much now that Republicans have latched onto the Solyndra solar “scandal,” and even if they did matter, I’d be the wrong guy to defend the Obama administration (and some of the world’s top venture capitalists) for making the same honest mistake I made. After a few dozen Solyndra hearings like the one in the House today, nobody’s going to remember the Bush administration was just as hellbent to make this loan. Nobody’s going to care that all successful loan programs have failures, that the Solyndra venture was barely 1% of the Energy Department’s $40 billion clean-energy portfolio, that there will still be over $2 billion in reserves for busted loans no matter how Solyndra shakes out. That’s politics

    Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2011/09/14/dont-be-fooled-by-the-solyndra-bankruptcy-circus-solar-is-booming/#ixzz25QPGkIs0

  40. @stonetools:

    This old essay explains why I think the government shouldn’t have an “energy portfolio”

    Note that is a Sierra Club guy and Cato guy joint-venture:

    A Complete Waste of Energy

    In that blast from the past:

    Various energy fads also find their way to the federal trough. The example with the highest profile is President Bush’s $1.2-billion “Freedom Car” initiative, which promises commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells in a couple of decades, though it fails to require Detroit to actually make any vehicles with such engines. This initiative is surprising given the president’s opposition to requiring auto manufacturers to adopt conventional off-the-shelf technologies to clean up cars.

    So Bush had his Freedom Car, and Obama had Solyndra. I think the real answer is to do neither.

  41. (Man, in those days the hydrogen car made me so mad 😉

  42. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: You mean guys with a long track record of voting for budget busting bills?

    Well, there you go, Joe Biden can tear the Ryan budget apart in the debates and reveal Ryan for past transgressions. All good. Just bide your time till the Biden/Ryan debate.

  43. Barry says:

    Doug, please tell me again how you’re non-partisan.

  44. anjin-san says:

    Just bide your time till the Biden/Ryan debate.

    Hanging your hat on the VP Debate – no reed to slender to grasp, eh? Well, given that Romney has played his two strongest cards and has nothing to show for it, what else can you do?

  45. jukeboxgrad says:

    jkb:

    the American People know Bill Clinton and after four years in office, they also know, Barack Obama is not Bill Clinton.

    You mean they know that Obama has never been caught with a cigar and an intern?

  46. jukeboxgrad says:

    anjin-san:

    Why do Republicans only favor infrastructure projects for Iraq?

    Yes, the GOP seems to have no problem with spending lots of money on nation-building, but only if the nation is someone else’s. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that colossal contract shenanigans are much easier to hide when they happen on the other side of the planet and are obscured by the fog of war. No one ever seemed to mind that much that we lost track of hundreds of tons of cash, literally. Such a feat would be harder to accomplish inside the USA.

  47. jan says:

    There is definitely an enthusiasm factor present for some in this election, including a good sense of humor dealing with displays of empty chairs from around the country.

  48. al-Ameda says:

    Unlike Republicans, Democrats won’t have to place their Party Platform Document in a Witness Protection Program.

  49. al-Ameda says:

    @jan:

    It’s as if Obama has accomplished little to nothing, because the to-do list is virtually the same.

    It’s as if the Republican Party decided to obstruct nearly everything the Administration wanted to do, therefore many thing have been left undone.

  50. Gustopher says:

    There’s also the risk that thin-skinned Obama will announce plans to take away all the guns, and then enslave white people and turn them over to the UN as part of an apology to all world leaders at once.

  51. An Interested Party says:

    So we have a post bashing Democrats largely based on concern trolling by Mark McKinnon, of all people…I’m just shocked that the President would have any chance at reelection based on this information…

    Finding the real front line.

    Indeed, the real front line is saving Social Security and Medicare from what Paul Ryan would like to do to those programs…

    Avoiding the plague.

    Ahh, so a few red state Democrats staying away from the convention equals “the plague”? Gotcha McKinnon…

    Looking forward.

    Umm, having a few past presidents at a convention isn’t the opposite of looking forward…it isn’t the Democrats fault that the Republicans couldn’t have their past presidents at their convention because the Bush name is political poison…as for the deep bench, the Dems will have Cory Booker and Tim Kaine, among others…perhaps that won’t match a black, female, black, obscure, black, Mormon, black mayor who is black from Utah…oh, did I mention she is black?

    Singing the same song.

    Hmm…saving the country from falling off the economic cliff, expanding health care access to most Americans, getting rid of Osama bin Laden, protecting Social Security and Medicare from Paul Ryan and his pal Mitt Romney…I guess we’ll see how old these tunes are….

    Believing in miracles.

    Funny he should mention that…it would be really nice if he could talk about the miracle that is the Ryan Budget…or even how Romney can balance the budget while lowering taxes and keeping defense spending at its current level…talk about miracles…quite frankly, it would be easier to lower the oceans and heal the earth rather than make sense of Republican math…