Time Out!

I’m taking a few weeks off to attend to some work- and life-related things.

In the meantime, enjoy this video clip. It is completely unrelated to politics and is sure to make you smile!

What Is At Stake

There are a lot of issues to be decided in this election, and the differences between the major-party candidates have not been starker in recent times, but there is one question that stands out for me: can a “post-truth” candidate win the Presidency?

This has implications down the ballot for the foreseeable future. If Romney can pull it off, the sky is the limit for future campaigns. We’ll see the same tactic down-ballot. Eventually, Democrats will adopt the same tactics – adapt or die – and we will all be the worse for it.

If Romney pulls this off, I will blame the American voters. We will get what we deserve.

It may already be too late. That the race is as close as it is means running a “post-truth” campaign can get you within striking distance of office. Who wouldn’t want to run a strategy with an end result like that?

Rules for Voting

This information comes courtesy of Centre County’s Office of Elections and Voter Registration. The Director, Joyce McKinley, provided this information to me in an email on October 20th, after I inquired into how Centre County would be implementing Judge Simpson’s ruling in October suspending key aspects of the “Papers, Please” voter suppression law.

This is what you should expect at your polls today. If your experience is contrary to these guidelines, speak up. Ask to see a supervisor. If they can’t help you or won’t let you vote, go higher. If you don’t know how, call someone who does (like me; I’m available via telephone, text, email, or facebook and will have my phone on me all day). Most importantly, don’t leave without casting your vote. These new laws were designed to keep people from voting. Don’t become a statistic.

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Centre County will be complying with the order regarding the ID:  The poll workers were correct in the primary election to ask for ID etc.  and that is the order that was issued on October 2, 2012.  All boards will be instructed on what is required at the training sessions being held the week of Oct. 29, 2012.

Their instructions will be and this has been sent to each county by the Department of State clarifying the effect of the Commonwealth Court’s ruling.

SOFT ROLLOUT – On Election Day, all voters who come into the polling place must be asked but will not be required to show an acceptable form of phto ID.  If a voter does not present an acceptable form of photo ID the poll worker must give the voter a copy of the handout (each polling places will have this handout).  In orther words the process will work just as it did in the Primary.

IDENTIFICATION FOR “FIRST TIME VOTER”   “First time voter” requirements that were in place prior to Sept. 17, 2012 will apply in the Nov. 6, 2012 General Election.  Required under the Help America Vote Act and/or the Pennsylvania Election Code will still be required to provide identification and the acceptable forms of ID for first time voters will be posted in each polling location.

You can obtain additional information on the process at www.votespa.com

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Jon Husted Must Go

“Public Service” means serving the public. This is a circular definition, to be sure, but at the core it means doing your job. It does not mean putting the interests of your political party before those of your constituents. When you are the top election official in a state, you have an obligation to ensure the elections under your jurisdiction are conducted properly. Perhaps the most sacred aspect of this secular duty is to ensure the individual right to vote is protected.

A sane society would have thrown someone like Jon Husted in jail by now, or would have at least cast him out into the (political and perhaps literal) cold.

That he is still able to do things like this says as much if not more about us as it does about Secretary Husted.

My Electoral Vote Prediction

When I started seriously thinking about this map two weeks ago, I was a lot more conservative in my prediction of how much President Obama would win by. Over the past week, however, I see things breaking for the President. On Tuesday I think President Obama will win 329 Electoral votes to Governor Romney’s 209 Electoral votes. I break it down in the map below.

Hostage Negotiator In Chief

Shorter Romney: Nice country you have there. Sure would be a shame if something were to happen to it.

This has been the GOP’s modus operandi in Congress, but now Mitt Romney is embracing it as what is campaign is calling his “closing argument:”

Romney said that Obama “promised to be a post-partisan president, but he became the most partisan” and that his bitter relations with the House GOP could threaten the economy. As his chief example, he pointed to a crisis created entirely by his own party’s choice — Republican lawmakers’ ongoing threat to reject a debt ceiling increase. Economists warn that a failure to pass such a measure would have immediate and catastrophic consequences for the recovery.

If he pulls this off — if Romney manages to get elected running a fact-free, post-reality, dada performance art campaign — we’re in for a wild few decades. If candidates believe they can win without having to engage with peksy things like the facts, one can only begin to speculate about the claims that will be made in the next election. This is cynical, nihilistic politics at its worst.

I Blame The Discovery Channel

Even discounting for asshole poll respondents and people who like to get liberals all riled up (not mutually exclusive groups), these are scary poll numbers. Demonic possession? Ghosts? These are not things a rational, developed society believes.

Tim Minchin put it best: “The appropriate reaction to people who believe in […the supernatural…] is mild embarrassment, sighing tolerance and patient education.”

With attitudes like these and what Paul Krugman described last weekend, we aren’t in danger of becoming Greece; we’re in danger of becoming Argentina.

The Afghanistan of GOP Campaigns

Every GOP Presidential candidate since 1992 has tried to kick the football:

In 2008, John McCain visited Pennsylvania the Sunday before the election, but Obama won the state.

In 2004, George W. Bush visited Pennsylvania the day before the election, but John Kerry won the state.

In 1996, Bob Dole visited Pennsylvania the Friday before the election, but Bill Clinton won the state.

In 1992, George H.W. Bush visited Pennsylvania the day of the election, but Bill Clinton won the state.

Pennsylvania is where GOP candidates go when they get desperate. We always leave them disappointed.

Romney Could Win Florida?

Romney could win Florida. Let that sink in a bit. The Republican candidate, whose running mate advocates turning Medicare into a voucher system, is essentially tied with President Obama in Florida. How? He’s closed the gap on Medicare.

It is easy to see how.

I posit that older Americans are more selfish than the general population. Romney’s divide-and-conquer plan – promising that his drastic changes to medicare will only hurt those under age 55 – reassures older voters that they can continue with their excellent healthcare. This essentially takes Medicare off the table as an issue. They’re then free to vote their other concerns (and prejudices).

I’d like to think today’s 55-plus crowd would care enough about their children and grandchildren to consider the impact of changes in Federal earned benefit programs on the next generation, but they’ll mostly be dead and gone by the time the rest of us are ready to collect. Sadly, pulling up the ladder behind you is something of a dark and deadly tradition. These poll numbers unfortunately bear out my thesis: older Americans are a selfish lot.