I mentioned earlier that a UA poll on presidential politics would be discussed at the Clinton School at lunch today.
Here's the University release on the event, with this presidential finding:
Poll questions released Wednesday also covered the 2012 presidential election results, attitudes toward women in the workplace and hypothetical 2016 presidential election match-ups involving the possible candidacy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The poll results showed Clinton with leads over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (61 percent to 32 percent), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (61 percent to 30 percent) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (58 percent to 34 percent).
These are national numbers, not Arkansas numbers. I suspect she'd do a touch better than Obama here, too. Don't ask me why they left out The Huckster.
The broader report was titled "Is There a War on Women? Attitudes about Women in the Workplace and Politics." Read it all here.
* About 1 in 4 Southern white men exhibit sexist tendencies based on answers to questions.
* Obama's national gender gap (disproportionate female support) did not appear in the South, with votes for him by men and woman about equal.
* There was a big racial gap in the South, with minorities favoring Obama heavily and vice versa. (But, please. Don't view the Jason Rapert anti-Obama speech to the Tea Party in that context whatsoever. It was NOT about race.)
* Most people surveyed believe they'll see a woman president in their lifetime.
* Hillary would cut into Republican votes among women. She's also enjoy broad edges among minority voters, black and Latino.
A former campaigner for George H.W. Bush writes in the Daily Beast that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a particularly dangerous opponent for Republicans in 2016, as evidenced by her popularity among voters in Texas and Kentucky over Republican candidates.
Although Obama lost among non-college-graduate whites by 19 points nationwide, his deficit among that same demographic in the Great Lakes was only in the single digits. Significantly, Ohio and Pennsylvania held for Obama in 2012, two of the states which Obama lost to Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries.
And that is where the GOP's problem begins. In addition to benefiting from Obama's ascendant coalition of younger voters, minorities, and women, Hillary connects with the white working class and would likely improve upon Obama's showing among this bloc. Instead of the forced optics of Obama sitting down to a beer with the prof and the cop, voters would likely be treated to moments of a relaxed Hillary knocking back a boilermaker in Youngstown or Dearborn.
Clinton could make a serious play in the South and build upon existing margins in the Midwest. North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, and Texas would be in play. Indeed, Hillary could reclaim the newest bloc of swing voters: America's wealthy.
LOCAL ANGLE: Further information is to be released at noon today at the Clinton School on a UA poll that delved into presidential politics. I think it will underscore the Daily Beast article with numbers favorable to Hillary, including in the South.
An interesting analysis in the New York Times on President Obama's apparent dominance - again - in 2012 in social media. Short version: Old white men watch cable TV. Younger people - particularly women and minorities, categories in which Obama dominated - use smart phones.
This is about more than media. The Obama campaign correctly understood that to reach certain cohorts most effectively it would have to move beyond traditional media to the media that most resonates with Hispanics, young women, African-Americans and even Asian-Americans. Consider Latinos. The 50.5 million Hispanics in the country have higher usage rates of mobile and social media than Anglos. African Americans and Hispanics have adopted Twitter at faster rates than whites or Anglos.
Consider women, too, of various ethnic backgrounds, who have embraced smart phones faster than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. More than three in five women who are of African American, Hispanic or Asian-American had a smartphone in 2011, compared to just one in three white women, according to Nielsen.
More than three in four Asian-American women believe that smartphones improve their lives, while just one in four is inclined to say the same thing about the most tried and trusted medium in American politics: Television.
This isn't just about tools and software, of course. It's about the changing ways people receive information.
All of this suggests not only that a key shift has long since gotten underway in demographics and media, but also that younger voters make decisions differently. They are constantly informed, messaged and reinforced by their deluge of text and Twitter messages — all coming from their friends, families and co-workers — hundreds if not thousands of times a day. While Obama lost a few points off his overall white vote, he still swamped Romney among all people under 30, the first and fastest adopters of social media, by 5 million votes (even though fewer younger voters turned out than in 2008). As if to underscore the Democratic edge, even after the polls closed in Virginia, the Obama campaign was still texting volunteers to make sure everyone in line stayed and voted.
Well, here we go. I lift a commemorative Republican mug this morning to the GOP sweep of Arkansas congressional seats and the new Republican majority in the Arkansas Senate and, perhaps, though this is still distantly in doubt, in the House. (PS — I trust regular readers know I'm only congratulating, not celebrating.)
Though built on enmity toward Barack Obama, who'll lead our country for four more years thanks to an electoral college landslide, the GOP victory is no passing fancy. It is a cultural shift of Arkansas political leaning to align with the rest of the Deep South and likely to be with us for many years to come. I heard a first-time voter explain in a radio interview today that she voted Republican because that was her family tradition.
Rich irony: Many Republicans were elected on mailed pleas to defeat Democrats who'd voted to put a highway sales tax proposal on the ballot. The sales tax was overwhelmingly approved the same night many of those criticzed Democrats were turned out.
The night's results likely will be reflected in a still-divided Congress.
The Arkansas legislature will grow to more resemble Washington, beginning with a Senate controlled by a party different from that of the chief executive. Republicans rode to power on very specific promises on taxes and reduction in the size of government. They'll press those issues — as they should to keep their promises. They'll be understandably reluctant to work with a governor who spent $1 million to defeat them, often with personal dirt dug up in research of business, tax and criminal records.
Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, ultimately, must accede to the legislative majority in many things, because a simple majority can override a veto. The 75 percent vote requirement for most spending bills presents a challenge for both sides.
But will there be a Republican majority in both houses? The answer is not yet wholly certain, though it appears so.
If the Republican majority in both houses prevails, there'll be no constitutional impediment to a raft of social issue legislation, voter ID laws and other GOP agenda items already in place in neighboring states. Massive resistance will continue to expansion of Medicaid. The health institutions that will be harmed by this might bring some Republicans to their side, but a solid bloc of the new Republican majority truly means what it says about reducing the size of government (and employment and services by government).
There will be a lot to cover that's for sure in the brave new world.
Good news on the local scene was spotty, but there was some:
* BIG NEWS IN THE HOUSE: I gave up too soon last night and believed the bold and repeated cocky (and dramatically exaggerated) assertions of Republican pollsters and consultants that they were headed to a giant win in the House. The early trends didn't hold up as Democrats won a number of seats they were expected to lose. The Republican majority fell well short of the lofty heights predicted by Republican sycophants and putative polling experts. They talked of wins of high as 65, 70 seats. The scant 1-vote majority of 51 also came on the strength of very tight wins.
Here's where it stands this morning in the Arkansas House.
With tallies completed, the count: 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats and one Green candidate, Fred Smith, who once was a Democrat until the party sued to disqualify him from an earlier term on account of a theft conviction. He was succeeded by a Democrat himself ruled ineligible in a vote buying scheme.
That's a working majority — enough to elect Terry Rice as speaker over Democrat Darrin Williams and to turn over the House staff. (The Senate staff is likely in peril as well, though that new governing bunch isn't quite as mean and vengeful as the rising Republican House majority.) But ....
Roby Brock of Talk Business reports that L.J. Bryant, a Democrat from Augusta, who trailed Republican John Hutchinson of Harrisburg by 45 votes, will likely seek a recount and there may be ground for a change in this election. Talk Business quotes Bryant as saying some 200 provisional ballots are at issue in this race. A swing here would move the count to 50-49-1 and make Fred Smith a very important man.
The Senate currently is split 21-14, but this counts a very close race between Mike Akin and Eddie Cheatham in Southeast Arkansas as Democratic, where Democrat Cheatham has a 342-vote lead but a couple of precincts (in Democratic Chicot County) are unaccounted for. (UPDATE: Akin has now conceded.) This again falls short of the number which Republicans had publicly boasted they'd win.
* THE THREE REPUBLICAN STOOGES: David Kizzia of Malvern beat neo-Confederate Republican Loy Mauch of Bismarck; Harold Copenhaver of Jonesboro defeated another Republican slavery apologist and imnmigrant hater, Rep. Jon Hubbard, and James McLean beat the wacky former Republican Rep. Charlie Fuqua in Batesville. A flurry of last-minute publicity about these races (yes, it was driven by the Arkansas Times and this blog) helped Democrats immeasurably and tightened the final House count considerably.
* SO MUCH FOR RESUME PADDING: Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, a heavily funded, disciplined and energetic candidate with national backing scored the lowest of any of the Republican congressional winners Tuesday night, only about 55 percent of the vote in his district against a lightly funded, low-profile challenger. He suffered a sound loss in his home county of Pulaski, where he only got 44 percent of the vote. It's not a great start for a planned U.S. Senate race in 2014. Republican Tom Cotton, the big winner in the 4th Congressional District, may be a stronger Senate contender when all is said and done. I'm expecting Griffin also will lose his own voting precinct, as he lost his home county, to Democratic challenger Herb Rule. UPDATE: In fairness, Griffin eked out a win at the Fire Station in the Heights — 579-552 for the other candidates at one of the precincts there; 536-510 at the other.
* HUMAN RIGHTS: Talk about a bright spot. As the old folks die and younger people come forward, human rights advance. Maine voters made history, passing the first voter-approved marriage equality law for gay couples. Maryland voters affirmed the state's marriage equality law. A same sex marriage law won in the state of Washington, 52-48. Minnesota voters, by a similar margin, defeated a proposal to constitutionally ban same sex marriage. A four-state sweep on this issue would be a watershed, even if that mighty stream isn't going to roll down on Arkansas and the rest of the South anytime soon. Arkansan Chad Griffin, another proud product of Hope, Ark., is the leader of the nation's most important gay rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign. It mounted a smart and massive effort in behalf of these outcomes. A lesbian was elected to the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin. Iowa voters refused to turn out more of the state Supreme Court justices who'd permitted same-sex marriage there. This was an unalloyed great night for sexual minorities, particularly when you add the president's re-election and his record in support of same-sex marriage, gays in the military and all the rest. More here from NY Times.
AND GETTA LOAD OF THIS: Mike Huckabee was quoted as saying yesterday was going to be a national show of support for Chick-fil-A and all those who endorsed its owners' work against gay rights. Say what?
* WOMEN'S CHOICE: Strident anti-abortion candidates were the reason the Republicans failed to make gains in the U.S. Senate. A majority in America is not ready to strip American women of choice or birth control pills, Jason Rapert's victory in the Conway-centered Arkansas Senate district over the valiant Linda Tyler notwithstanding. Will the new Republican majority, if it holds, really join Rapert in his bill to require forced vaginal probes of women seeking abortion in the earliest stages of pregnancy? We'll see.
Whatever else, the sun will still rise tomorrow.
PS — The ready assumption of Republicans and some others is that President Obama will remain an albatross to state Democrats in 2014, when statewide races will be on the ballot. I heard Jay Barth explain reasons that might not be so, beginning with hopes that an improved economy will change electoral dynamics tremendously. Obama didn't cost Democrats congressional seats. Lack of strong, well-financed candidates spelled defeat in two districts wiith potential to go Democratic. Obama didn't prove nearly the drag that Republicans expected on legislative elections. Their predictions for victory were exaggerated by 20 percent in the House and by 15 to 20 percent in the Senate. How Republicans govern in the next two years in tandem with a still-popular Democratic governor might give Democrats something to run with in two years. Dustin McDaniel or Bill Halter best hope so. Old Southern white men won't vote for Obama, no doubt about it. But the Arkansas variety of the species might still have enough memory of the recent past to cast some votes for Democratic candidates down ballot in two years. Tuesday night's outcomes — see state legislative races in the 1st District particularly — offered a little hope for that premise.
I predicted on the radio yesterday that President Obama would be re-elected if there's a fair election. I claim no insight. I also believe in climate change. The science of public opinion research favors Obama's re-election tomorrow just as science supports climate change. The margins are close, of course.
And that's where fairness becomes critical. Consider:
President Obama and Mitt Romney hunted for last-minute support on Sunday in a frenetic sprint across battleground states, even as their parties faced off in the first of what could be a growing number of legal disputes over presidential ballots and how they are counted.
* FLORIDA AGAIN: Republicans in Florida truncated early voting because they know it discourages Democratic voters who can more easily get to the polls on weekends than on a working day. A lawsuit was necessary to get polls open for early voters.
* CRITICAL OHIO: Republican vote suppression has been rampant there for a decade and it's back again.
Republican election officials will go to court on Monday to defend an 11th-hour directive to local election officials that critics say could invalidate thousands of provisional ballots by forcing voters to attest to the type of identification they provide.
* GREEN PARTY ALLEGATION: The Green Party promises a lawsuit today to demand removal of patches implanted on electronic vote count software. It says the process there has already been tainted by systematic disenfranchisement and computerized vote count rigging.
The Republican Party simply wants fewer voters, particularly the people who have a harder time getting to the polls and thus tend to be more receptive to the kinder view of government's role than the GOP holds. That's why voter ID laws. They'll fight to suppress votes until the polls close. They'll fight to count votes they suspect are unfriendly after they close. That's why I'm not wholly confident the science of measuring public opinion will predict the election outcome. Recounts are possible in key states. At the end of the line is a Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court that ignored state law and ended a recount once before because of its belief in the importance of keeping a Republican president in office.
Better than a sharp stick in the eye (NYT) four days before election day.
In the last assessment of the job market before the presidential election, the Labor Department announced Friday that the nation’s employers had added 171,000 positions in October, as well as more jobs than initially estimated in both August and September.
The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.9 percent in October, from 7.8 percent in September, as more workers joined the labor force.
The report showed persistent but modest improvement in the American economy, and broad-based gains in every industry except the government. It was based on surveys conducted too early in the month to capture the work stoppages across the East Coast from Hurricane Sandy.
Stock markets opened up on the news.
Things are getting better, if slowly. Fox and the Republican Party of Arkansas will respin this for you shortly. They hate good news for America.
The Catholic bishop in Peoria, Illinois has ordered priests there to read an anti-Obama letter from their pulpits. His required reading is factually challenged, Huffington Post notes.
By comparison, the heavy-handed political homily by Arkansas's Catholic bishop Anthony Taylor, though also deficient factually, seems pretty mild.
Catholic clergy involvement in this year's election has become so abundant that you wonder if it's been directed from higher up. Among the episodes are Huckabee-style threats of hellfire for those who don't follow the bishop's instructions:
Last week, Bishop David Laurin Ricken informed the 300,000-plus members of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis., that voting for candidates whose positions contradict any so-called "non-negotiables" of Catholic teaching "could put [one's] soul in jeopardy," HuffPost blogger John Becker notes in his piece.
Those "non-negotiables" include abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and gay marriage, according to a letter Ricken wrote and posted on the diocesan website. The letter was reportedly also emailed to the offices of every parish.
"Ricken has forgotten that we live in a republic, not a theocracy, as separation of church and state is clearly established by constitutional law," wrote the Green Bay Press Gazette's John Reiman in response to Ricken's letter. "Simply put, it is ethically wrong for the bishop to connect one’s salvation through participating in the civic act of voting, ostensibly, against church doctrine."
An old cartoon by Tom Toles seems appropriate to discussion of "non-negotiables." Don't they also include a definition of marriage, not only between man and woman, but for life?
I'd say this beats all. But, really, it's more of the same from the faith-based Republican dogma that distinguishes every campaign for office, from president on down. Facts don't matter. Faith alone will triumph, beginning with tax cuts for the wealthy.
The Congressional Research Service has withdrawn an economic report that found no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth, a central tenet of conservative economic theory, after Senate Republicans raised concerns about the paper’s findings and wording.
This is a familiar strategy by now. Don't like the polls? Say they're skewed. Don't like the improving employment numbers? Say they're rigged. Don't like a nonpartisan research group's blowup of Mitt Romney's tax plan math? Trash the people who did the arithmetic.
When independent agencies like the Congressional Research Service and the Tax Policy Center and the Bureau of Labor Statistics or distinguished climate scientists no longer have any credibility whenever they depart from Republican dogma, we will have reached the point that science no longer matters. Turn policy over to Grover Norquist and Rush Limbaugh. And pray.
Arkansas Republicans may succeed in blocking the Medicaid expansion in Arkansas under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, but the broader law is almost certainly here to stay regardless of what happens on Nov. 6. In the first place, and most obviously, a Romney victory without Republicans taking control of the Senate—which looks increasingly unlikely based on polling — takes "repeal and replace" and much of the broader Republican agenda off the table, as Talking Points Memo explains.
Without a Senate majority, Republicans can’t control the budget process. Which means they can’t cram their entire agenda into a reconciliation bill that’s immune from the filibuster. It means that even if they force votes on repealing the Affordable Care Act, they’ll need 60 votes — or about a dozen Democratic defectors. Not likely. President Romney would have to stymie implementation of the law from within the executive branch — a difficult task — and his tax agenda would be a non-starter. So would his plans for Medicare and Medicaid. He’d still be able to appoint Supreme Court justices and lower court judges, but Democrats would be able to block conservatives they deemed too objectionable.
Even if Romney and Senate Republicans overcome poll deficits, it would still be incredibly difficult to dismantle the law. As NPR's excellent health reporter, Julie Rovner, explained yesterday, Romney's promise to immediately grant waivers to states to opt out of the law would be halted by courts. Reconciliation takes forever and, crucially, parts of the law such as requiring insurers to accept patients with preexisting conditions would almost certainly require the same 60 votes from the Senate that were required to pass the law to undo it.
"There are waivers under the law, but not an across-the-board waiver," said Tom Miller, a lawyer with the conservative American Enterprise Institute. For the record, Miller is an avid opponent of the health law. But he's also a veteran of Capitol Hill and knows what can and can't happen.
"You can try anything under the law," he said. But in many cases, "a federal court will usually step in and say, 'You've gone a little bit too far.' "
In this case, the part of the law that allows the president to grant states waivers doesn't actually kick in until 2017. And even the waivers that are allowed require states to cover as many uninsured people as would be covered by the Affordable Care Act."
A ton of attention is being devoted to the Romney campaign's bodaciously dshonest ads in critical Ohio, notably his mendacious advertising about Jeep leaving Ohio for China.
But what if they're right? What if, with enough money and enough lies, the Romney campaign can fool enough of the people enough of the time?
I'm already profoundly disconsolate that a tax-evading multi-millionaire who pays a lower income tax rate than I do has said directly and unequivocally on national television that he favors an end to taxation on unearned income — dividends and interest. Third-generation Waltons and fifth-generation Rockfellers, in Romneyworld, would pay NO income tax on monumental income from inherited wealth, much of it paid on appreciated assets like stock in Walmart on which no taxes have ever been paid. Estate taxes would end, too.
"Tax work, not wealth" was the snarky joke punchline of the Billionaires for Bush, a street theater parody troupe from the bad old days. Satire is now official Republican policy. And it is so unremarkable that it passes almost without comment. Of course Republicans want to end taxes on everybody but the poor and middle class moochers.
AND GO AHEAD AND MAKE THIS THE OPEN LINE, IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY
NEWS UPDATE: West Memphis judge has ruled that physical evidence isn't subject to the Freedom of Information Act in considering a case from parents of children slain in West Memphis who want to see the evidence in the closed case. No word yet if an appeal will be filed.
Mitt Romney is doing a Hurricane Sandy flipperoo today. His campaign is saying he didn't propose to abolish the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
But that sure sounds like what he was suggesting on national television, during a debate. Do direct quotes and a film clip count? From Huffington Post:
During a CNN debate at the height of the GOP primary, Mitt Romney was asked, in the context of the Joplin disaster and FEMA's cash crunch, whether the agency should be shuttered so that states can individually take over responsibility for disaster response.
"Absolutely," he said. "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?"
"Including disaster relief, though?" debate moderator John King asked Romney.
"We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids," Romney replied. "It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all."
Check back tomorrow for a new Romney position.
Paul Krugman writes on the devastation that Mitt Romney will bring to Medicaid if elected.
Arkansas Republican advertising is trying to blunt this clear outcome by talking about attacking waste and being smarter with dollars. This is sheer nonsensical trivia against the sums involved. Voucherizing Medicaid to the states — after stopping the planned Medicaid expansion of the Obama administration — will require enormous cuts in poor states like Arkansas that receive huge benefits from Medicaid.
And, contrary to what Republicans want you to believe — that Medicaid is nothing but a program for a bunch of 47 percenter parasites — these cuts will deprive health care to children of working families (destruction of Mike Huckabee's great achievement) and end nursing home care for tens of thousands of parents of working Arkansans who'll suddenly find themselves the new caretakers of infirm relatives. Any Republican who tells you otherwise is not telling the truth. Krugman:
So, about coverage: most Medicaid beneficiaries are indeed relatively young (because older people are covered by Medicare) and relatively poor (because eligibility for Medicaid, unlike Medicare, is determined by need). But more than nine million Americans benefit from both Medicare and Medicaid, and elderly or disabled beneficiaries account for the majority of Medicaid’s costs. And contrary to what you may have heard, the great majority of Medicaid beneficiaries are in working families.
For those who get coverage through the program, Medicaid is a much-needed form of financial aid. It is also, quite literally, a lifesaver. Mr. Romney has said that a lack of health insurance doesn’t kill people in America; oh yes, it does, and states that expand Medicaid coverage show striking drops in mortality.
So Medicaid does a vast amount of good. But at what cost? There’s a widespread perception, gleefully fed by right-wing politicians and propagandists, that Medicaid has “runaway” costs. But the truth is just the opposite. While costs grew rapidly in 2009-10, as a depressed economy made more Americans eligible for the program, the longer-term reality is that Medicaid is significantly better at controlling costs than the rest of our health care system.
Ernie Dumas explained this in detail on the Arkansas level this week.
Medicaid, which serves 800,000 Arkansans and affects that many more family members, faces two big questions when the legislature gathers: (1) Can the state make up a $350 million to $400 million shortfall in state Medicaid match? (2) What will happen when Republicans block the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which carries some relief for the state's Medicaid crisis as well as insurance for the largest share of the state's uninsured?
Because the state has fared a little better than much of the country since 2006, lowering its poverty rate against the country as a whole, its matching share for Medicaid has risen from 25 to about 30 percent, but only theoretically. President Obama's stimulus act pumped $750 million into the state's coffers for Medicaid from 2009 through 2011, reducing the state's match to 20 percent. It produced state budget surpluses and let the state's Medicaid trust fund grow for two years. Now the trust fund is vanishing and the state will enter the 2013 fiscal year next July needing an extra $350 million or more to maintain nursing home care, the institutions and community services for disabled children and adults and hospital and physician care for low-income children.
The teabaggers vow to end this socialism. The human cost will be staggering against the dollars "saved."
A new wrinkle of corporate personhood, thanks to the Republican Supreme Court bloc's Citizens United decision, is this, as reported in the New York Times:
Until 2010, federal law barred companies from using corporate money to endorse and campaign for political candidates — and that included urging employees to support specific politicians.
But the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has freed companies from those restrictions, and now several major companies, including Georgia-Pacific and Cintas, have sent letters or information packets to their employees suggesting — and sometimes explicitly recommending — how they should vote this fall.
What about it Arkansas? Are you getting electioneering at work? Threats of job loss? We know the Koch Brothers have already been at it here in Crossett and elsewhere.
Dave Robertson, the president of Koch Industries, sent an information packet and letter this month to more than 30,000 employees of a subsidiary, Georgia-Pacific, a paper and pulp company. The letter attacked government subsidies for “a few favored cronies” as well as “unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses.”
The letter added, “Many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation and other ills.”
The Georgia-Pacific letter, first reported by In These Times, included a flier listing several candidates endorsed by the Koch brothers, the conservative billionaires, beginning with Mitt Romney, as well as opinion articles that the brothers had written.
Anybody else? I'd love to see any memos, e-mails, flyers, etc., you might have received. I'll protect your identity. The corporate politicking is, of course, intended to have a chilling effect, if not on votes themselves, on speech about the election.
The article mentions that the National Federation of Independent Business, a Republican front group, is also helping get the word out to businesses on influencing employees. If you're an Arkansas member, you can get your voter guide here.
Which reminds me, while watching TV last night, I saw that Arkansas NFIB Director Sylvester Smith, a former Huckabee staff member and still part-time media consultant to the former governor, now is host of a public affairs program on AETN. There's a public TV program even the DOG editorial page could love.
The choice is clear. The Romney-Ryan ticket represents a constricted and backward-looking vision of America: the privatization of the public good. In contrast, the sort of public investment championed by Obama—and exemplified by both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act—takes to heart the old civil-rights motto “Lifting as we climb.” That effort cannot, by itself, reverse the rise of inequality that has been under way for at least three decades. But we’ve already seen the future that Romney represents, and it doesn’t work.
The reëlection of Barack Obama is a matter of great urgency. Not only are we in broad agreement with his policy directions; we also see in him what is absent in Mitt Romney—a first-rate political temperament and a deep sense of fairness and integrity. A two-term Obama Administration will leave an enduringly positive imprint on political life. It will bolster the ideal of good governance and a social vision that tempers individualism with a concern for community.
Every Presidential election involves a contest over the idea of America. Obama’s America—one that progresses, however falteringly, toward social justice, tolerance, and equality—represents the future that this country deserves.
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