Friday, November 16, 2012

I've Moved

I should say that I've taken my "political blog" and joined forces with another blog, The Reaction, which you can find here

In fact, I've been cross-posting everything I write here at that site for the past couple of years, which has begun to seem unnecessary. I hope you'll check us out over there with Michael Stickings and the rest of the Reaction Team.

I will continue my own arts blog at Hogtown Hipster, mostly dedicated to music and other arts, mostly focused on Toronto and Canada, though not exclusively. Feel free to visit there

                                                                            - Richard K. Barry

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mr. Rubio goes to Iowa

Thumbin' a ride to Altoona

Well, how do you like this? Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio will be in Iowa on Saturday, Nov. 17th for a birthday fundraiser for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), one of the most influential Republicans in the state, according to The Hill

As we know, the Iowa caucuses are the start of the presidential primary season and, The Hill rightly points out, "it's never too early for candidates to start courting opinion-makers in the state."

Luke Russert should step aside for a qualified applicant

Come over here. I can't smack you from
where I'm standing.
I have a simple rule when watching news/public affairs programming. I don't like to be embarrassed by the reporter/interviewer. You can never tell how silly the guest might be, so you have to be prepared for what you get. But the "professional" on stage shouldn't make you squirm.

I tend to avoid Al Sharpton and Ed Schultz for this reason. I like their politics, just not the personality they bring to it. I don't doubt their intelligence or their experience as political commentators, watching them just makes me more nervous than I like to be.

Then there is Luke Russert, the kid who only got the job at NBC because his father died. And don't tell me there was any other reason. He is neither intelligent nor experienced, and man is he embarrassing.

A.M. Headlines

U.S. Politics

(Washington Post): "Obama lays out vision for second term"

(Reuters): Obama says tax hike has to come first in "fiscal cliff" deal

(Politico): "Once again, Obama vs. McCain"

(WALB-TV): "Romney says gifts cost him the election"

(Washington Post): "Panetta: no other military brass appear to be involved in Petraeus-Allen scandal"

( "Many potential candidates if state gets new Senate race"

Other News

(New York Times): "Rocket attacks and airstrikes resume in Gaza conflict"

(CNN): "Eurozone slips back into recession"

(Xinhua): "China's new helmsman"

(Daily News): "R.A. Dickey wins Cy Young"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tough guy, huh?

You can call me Mr. President
Is it possible President Obama has seen one too many episodes of The Sopranos or perhaps slipped away recently for a Robert De Niro film festival? How else to account for his recent comments in defence of Susan Rice.
When they go after the UN ambassador ... because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me.
Whoa! And you don't want a problem with me. Fuggedaboutit.

I like the defence of Ambassador Rice. I like this new and improved post-election president, but it might take some getting used to.

New poll on national issues

It's good to see a new ABC/Washington Post poll find that most Americans are okay with a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants by a margin of 57% to 39%.

I suppose it can be a winning electoral strategy to be mean spirited and small minded, but sometimes voters have the ability to rise above all that.

The poll also found that 51% of Americans support gay marriage, which marks the fifth time in a row that number has been above 50% since March 2011.

More than one bad night

Teagan Goddard at the Political Wire had one of the better headlines yesterday. In describing the presidential election outcome he titled a short post: "The Election Was Close But Not Really." He then went on to quote another piece by Charlie Cook on the point:
Teagan Goddard (giving a
fellow blogger some love)
It's certainly true that 51 percent (rounding up from 50.5) to 48 percent is close, but since the end of World War II, five elections have been closer. Mitt Romney won only two more states (Indiana and North Carolina) than John McCain did, and even if he had won Florida, the GOP nominee would still have needed to win Ohio, Virginia, and either Colorado or Iowa, based on the sequence of the election margins.  
The danger for Republicans clinging to that solace is that it sidesteps the inconvenient truth that they have now lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections, from 1992 on. For the GOP, this was more than one bad night.
I would hope by now that most people have a vague understanding of how the Electoral College works, but to put a fine point on it, in terms of the system that actually elects presidents, Mitt Romney got his ass kicked. A two or three point margin in most any competition probably qualifies as a close contest, but not in this one.

On Cook's second point, Republicans would be foolish to see this as a one-off, especially in light of changing demographics. Now to find a way to get the House back. 

A.M. Headlines

U.S. Politics

(New York Times): "Ryan sees urban vote as reason GOP Lost"

(Voice of America): "Panetta expresses support for Allen"

(Washington Post): "Obama to open talks with $1.6 trillion plan to raise taxes on corporations, wealthy"

(Politico): "Hard questions await Obama at news conference"

(The Hill): "Pelosi dodges questions about leadership plans in next Congress"

Other News

(Reuters): "Anti-austerity strike sweeps Europe"

(The Australian): "Syria regime bombards rebels"

(Reuters): "Lack of electricians delays New York recovery from Sandy"

(Washington Observer Reporter): "Roethlisberger has right shoulder sprain"

(New York Times): "David Durk, Serpico ally against graft, dies at 77"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bobby Jindal takes his shot at redefining the GOP

It's never too early to start thinking about the 2016 election. Are you with me? Yes? Whatever. I'm with me. And one of fun things I'll be doing is discovering which prospective Republican presidential candidates begin to set out a path, a narrative, to distinguish them from the failure that was 2012. Will they say Romney was not conservative enough, or that he was just a bad candidate? Will they say the party needs to become more inclusive to court Hispanic and African-American voters or more progressive on so-called women's issues? Whatever the case, it really is never too early to start listening.

I give you Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) who is out of the gate arguing that the Republican Party needs to embrace its inner populism and reject all things big, saying:

We've got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything. We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.
Hmmm. The party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street, of toys for rich people? To whom could he be referring? Any guesses?

It was a curiosity watching Republicans attempt to paint Obama as tied to Wall Street and big money because of the bailout, though I doubt a lot of people bought it.

In any case, make way for Bobby Jindal's Republican Party, the party of working Jills and Joes everywhere.

My guess is it will take a while for the new messaging to shake itself out. Maybe this is one possibility.

Bill Kristol impersonates someone not stupid

To be filed under the "man-bites-dog" category, conservative mouthpiece Bill Kristol decided it might be time for Republicans to embrace the thought that tax increases are sometimes okay.

On Fox News, no less, Mr. Bill said this: "You know what? It won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires."

My God, I can almost hear Grover Norquist screaming now:  "Not the job creators. Anything but the job creators."

A.M. Headlines

U.S. Politics

(Reuters): "Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan investigated, Patraeus scandal widens"

(Los Angeles Times): "Romney campaign gives up in Florida"

(Washington Post): "Liberals prepare for entitlement fight"

(The Hill): "Norquist pledge takes election hit"

(New York Times): "Democrats like a Romney idea on income tax"

Other News

(CNN International): "Syrian government scoffs at new opposition alliance"

( "Israel launches air raids on Gaza Strip"

(Bloomberg): "Europe gives Greece 2 more years to reach deficit targets"

(Washington Post): "NJ ends gasoline rationing that had been put in place in 12 counties after storm"

: "Steelers drop Chiefs; Big Ben hurt"

Monday, November 12, 2012

The front-runners for the GOP in 2016?

The latest National Journal Political Insiders Poll asked Republicans and Democrats who might be the strongest candidate for the GOP in 2016 and here is what they found. 

GOP insiders: Marco Rubio 40%, Jeb Bush 27%, Paul Ryan 9%, Rick Santorum 9%, Chris Christie 8%

Democratic insiders: Jeb Bush 47%, Chris Christie 28%, Marco Rubio 13%

As a Democrat, I would tend to agree that Jeb Bush would be the most formidable and the most sensible for the Republicans, which is probably why he is not at the top of their list. If the GOP had any sense, they would have nominated a candidate in 2012 who might have been able to beat Barack Obama. The question is, will they come to their senses enough in 2016 to make a credible run at whomever the Democrats put up?

It doesn't look that way at the moment. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A.M. Headlines

U.S. Politics

(New York Times): "Back to work, Obama is greeted by looming fiscal crisis"

(Washington Post): "Election Day indicates national political divide is deepening"

(Associated Press)
: "Obama, GOP leaders lay down markers on budget deal"

(The Hill): "Boehner pivots on taxes after president's reelection"

(Reuters): "Obama, buoyed by election win, faces new challenges"

Other News

(New York Times): "Wall Street dips after Obama victory"

(New York Times): "Fragile coalition in Greece narrowly backs austerity"

(Reuters): "Foxconn's Gou says tough to cope with iPhone demand"

(Reuters): "Wintry storm hits Northeast, slowing Sandy recovery"

: "Former Penn State president arraigned on cover-up charges"