Joe bidens disrespectful, and at times unhinged, behavior backfired completely. He could have had a strong debate otherwise. Obama’s campaign was so focused on the split screen showing Obamas sour demeanor last time that someone must have pounded it into Biden’s head to keep smiling. That was only one example of them having overcorrected in response to each criticism Obama received. Obama looked tired, uninspired, so let’s make Biden look like he drank 10 redbulls before hand! Michael deaver, Reagan’s debate/message maven and the gold standard of political strategists, once said debates are 85% how you look, 10% how you sound, and 5% what you actually say. After rewatching that debate I guarantee you women voters in particular were very turned off by bidens constant smirking, condescending smile, and unrelenting interruptions during Ryan’s time. And sure enough, moments after I wrote this, debate polls came out showing exactly that. Women and seniors thought Ryan won by double digits- which is a major setback for obama/biden when the whole strategy was to scare seniors with medicare scare tactics and women with this whole “war on women” sandra fluke nonsense. To this point, In 1960, people listening on the radio thought Nixon won the debate with Kennedy. Yet people watching on tv saw a sweaty Nixon without makeup on and as a result thought Kennedy won. Appearance matters more than words in these things, unless you make a big gaffe. That’s why campaigns spend months negotiating everything from the lighting, to the angles of the podiums/chairs, the colors, how far apart they stand or sit etc. this is where the idea of “looking presidential” comes into play. Joe Biden looked like a grumpy old man in that debate where as Ryan looked like the future, not to mention dignified and worthy of the office he’s seeking. Paul Ryan said it best when he said the american people would be better served if they stopped interrupting eachother. Biden actually made me annoyed the second time watching it. Thank god basically everyone agrees that Biden was unhinged, including the media- even joe trippi, Howard Dean’s former campaign manager said Biden hurt himself with the way he behaved. Not to mention the fact Biden lied about voting against the Iraq war (voted for it) and he lied when it came to Libya and the attack on our embassy and what they knew and when. I guarantee you every morning show today is opining on Bidens demeanor and grumpiness instead of what could have been a pretty strong performance otherwise, shows he never listened to Michael Deaver’s advice.
The 2012 campaign of only a month ago that caused Charles Krauthammer and others to call “a dispiriting spectacle” has finally become about big things. Fake issues like tax returns and Bain and Capital, that the Obama campaign has skillfully used to distract the public from the President’s own record of 3 years+ of over 8% unemployment, record debt and deficits, and a shrinking middle class, are now a thing of the past. This election is now about 4.7% unemployment (Romney’s as governor) versus 8.3% unemployment (Obama’s as president). Its about having our credit rating UPGRADED (As it was under Romney) to having our credit rating DOWNGRADED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR HISTORY (Obama). And so on…
This pick is a stroke of brilliance on many levels. If Romney had picked someone “safe” (Pawlenty, Portman), this election would be a battle of tactics until election day- who could win the news cycle today, what below the belt shot Team Obama will land on Romney’s gut tomorrow, etc. But with one pick, Romney made this election about the next generation, not the next election. This will now be an election about big issues, not cute advertising.
Here are just a few reasons this pick couldnt have been better:
1) Ryan turned down a job for a cabinet level post in the Bush White house. Sorry Mr. President, you can’t make this election about Bush now, like you would have had Romney picked Portman.
2)It gives Romney the mantle of reform. Paul Ryan, democrats admit, is a brilliant leader who knows the budget inside and out and has never shied away from attacking a problem because of poll numbers. Another thing is people think he’s a deficit hawk. That’s not entirely accurate- although he has a plan to fix that also. What he cares about is a total reform and reorganization of the federal government (see here). And Romney’s team made a smart choice labeling them “America’s Comeback Team. Hokey? Maybe. But it does drive home the message.
3)Romney didn’t pick a running mate. He picked a governing partner. Ryan is beloved in the Congress. Does any thinking person believe Ryan couldn’t get congress to bend to Romney’s will in 2013 and beyond? This pick is a governing blueprint for the next few years. Less government, less debt, less deficits, less taxes.
3)Romney became, with this pick, something his political biography has never shown himself to be: BOLD. He’s usually been the technocrat, turn around specialist that looks at the numbers as a good consultant would and mitigates risk to find the best approach. Since Paul Ryan has been in public life he has put out detailed solutions to our problems that other politicians wouldnt touch with a ten foot pole. He cares about the future of the country, not the future of his political career. He is a wonk at heart… not a politician.
4)This makes the election a choice, not just a referendum. Romney-Ryan offer a totally different future than the one espoused by Obama-Biden. As Ryan so elequently stated: Do we work for the government, or does the government work for us? Median household income has fallen by about $4000 dollars per family under Obama with an increase of over $2000 in health care costs. That’s an added burden of $6000 dollars per family without even adding the myriad other expenses incurred.
5)ENTHUSIASM— I have never seen Romney as fired up as he was today nor have i seen republican crowds as enthralled as they were today with Paul Ryan. The fact the crowds might actually like Ryan more than Romney shows Romney doesn’t have an ego. A politician with a huge ego would never have chosen a young, telegenic star. They would have picked a boring, background piece.
Those are only a few of the many pros he brings to the ticket. There are always risks, but i think voters will appreciate the boldness of the pick- the fact Romney isn’t hiding his cards. With this pick, Romney is essentially telling the voters, “This is what i will do if elected, if you dont want to vote for me, so be it..”
PS—-This is when Ryan became Romney’s running mate:
Out of the “you can’t make this up” file- If you’re not familar with “trackers” they’re basically college kids hired by both parties to follow their opponents around videotaping their every speech or town hall hoping for a gaffe that they’ll have on tape to put into a TV ad for their campaign. George Allen’s famous “Makaka moment” was caught on tape by a democratic tracker. But now the Democrats are using “trackers” to stalk candidates, filming them at their homes with their families and then putting the videos of their home and address on youtube. They film the house and then put it on the web along with the address, hoping if its a big enough house it will show “the candidate can’t connect with everyday people”. “BREAKING NEWS—- CANDIDATE X IS SUCCESSFUL ENOUGH TO BUY A NICE HOME”. Should our congressman and senators live in a dilapidated home with the windows boarded up? Or better yet, maybe we should just elect homeless men and women because i mean who can relate better to the impoverished than, well…the poor. this is unbelievably childish and anti-american. This is what i mean when i say democrats are blatantly campaigning against “success” in all fashions. Remember “The American Dream”? I can’t remember, was the goal to be homeless? I’m old enough to remember when success was admired in this country.
Here’s a quote from the Politico story this post is based off of:
They say showcasing the homes — most of which are spacious and neatly maintained — underscores what will be a key avenue of attack for the party this fall: communicating that Republicans just can’t relate to economically struggling voters.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78217_Page3.html#ixzz207rX1Jqb
Trayvon Martin had bruised nuckles and George Zimmerman had a broken nose, two black eyes, two head lacerations and a back injury, according to the physician who examined Zimmerman within hours of that tragic incident.
Now, this doesn’t prove a case one way or another. But it completes yet another piece to the puzzle of blatant media bias in this case. Remember when the media said the surveillance video showed Zimmerman unscathed the night of the shooting? Remember when NBC had to fire a handful of producers for the grossly misleading edit of the 911 call to make it sound as if Zimmerman said Trayvon Martin was black- just off the top of his head- and wasn’t asked about Trayvon’s race by the 911 operator (he was). If universities weren’t already stacked to the max with liberal, left-wing professors i would say this case would be a perfect case-study for what NOT to do as a journalist. Here’s from the ABCNews:
A medical report compiled by the family physician of accused Trayvon Martin murderer George Zimmerman and obtained exclusively by ABC News found that Zimmerman was diagnosed with a “closed fracture” of his nose, a pair of black eyes, two lacerations to the back of his head and a minor back injury the day after he fatally shot Martin during an alleged altercation.
Zimmerman faces a second degree murder charge for the Feb. 26 shooting that left the unarmed 17-year-old high school junior dead. Zimmerman has claimed self defense in what he described as a life and death struggle that Martin initiated by accosting him, punching him in the face, then repeatedly bashing his head into the pavement.
Also today, a trove of documents are being examined by lawyers for both the defense and prosecution as part of discovery in Zimmerman’s trial — including 67 CDs worth of documents, video of Martin on the night of the shooting, his autopsy report and videos of Zimmerman’s questioning by police.
photo credit: ESPN
Deadspin.com had a pretty interesting scoop this week. A reporter there caught wind of a growing scandal involving Sarah Phillips, a former sports betting columnist whose popularity drew ESPN to hire her, and some very shady dealings on the web.
The story is somewhat complicated. There was even a debate at one point whether she even existed at all or was just a composite, made-up dream girl used to draw middle-aged men to the site. It turns out the pictures she put up of herself on the site weren’t actually her, but a former high school classmate. As Deadspin was in the process of reporting this story and all Sarah’s alleged scams, she finally uploaded a web-cam video of herself showing her readers what she looked like finally. But that was the least of her worries. One scam she was executing with a partner was convincing a 20yr old college kid with a well-trafficked basketball-meme site/facebook page that had hundreds of thousands of views to add her as an administrator to his site when she supposedly “hired” him to work at ESPN with her. Once she was an admin on the site, she removed him from the same position and he was no longer granted access to the site. The story that then went along with it as reasoning why he wasn’t able to be an admin anymore of course ended with a solution: send more money. The whole article is crazy enough to warrant a full read but here’s a piece:
* * *
Matt, a Los Angeles man in his early 30s, has been wondering who Nilesh Prasad was since August.
Matt was an avid Covers reader, and he began chatting with the site’s star columnist Sarah Phillips last summer. They corresponded first through a private-message function on Covers and then began to email and Gchat. They’d share picks—Matt was a particularly adept baseball bettor, and Phillips was strong with the WNBA.
He said nearly every conversation was about money. In June 2011, Phillips wondered if Matt would be interested in entering a baseball challenge for $2,500. They’d go head-to-head for the rest of the season, and the winner would take the money. He declined. A month later, she asked him if he wanted to bet against another one of her Covers.com readers, posing as her.
“Do you want to go against [the other Covers user] tomorrow for $250 as me? I’ve already won $1250 from him,” she wrote in an email.
Again, he declined.
Campbell, the editor, said there’s no specific rule against Covers columnists betting with or against readers, but he said that the practice isn’t exactly condoned, either. He said that it would be too hard to monitor that sort of behavior.
By late July, Matt’s relationship with Phillips took another turn. She was in the process of starting her own website: SarahPHI.com. The site would focus, in part, on betting. But there’d be another component to it.
“We’re looking for something humorous, cutting edge, shock value, etc,” she wrote to him in a message on Covers. “Think of South Park meets sports betting meets Celebrity Rehab meets Jerry Spring.”
On Aug. 3, Phillips told him in a Gchat conversation that he should work with her.
“My goal is to generate $1.2 million per year in advertising,” she wrote.
She noted that the site wouldn’t have many employees, and that Matt would stand to make upwards of $200,000 a year.
Soon after, she had another proposal: If he worked for the site and made picks, he could make as much as $1,000 per day.
Phillips complained bitterly to Matt that she didn’t have much adspace on the page. Matt felt bad for her and believed if the site had better looking advertising, it might entice other advertisers to actually buy some space on the site. He gave her $2,100.
The payments, he told Deadspin in an email, “were supposed to go towards purchasing legitimate ad space for her website. We had been gambling together, sharing plays, in addition to working on her website. She claimed to have lost thousands based on my opinions on plays. She was cool about it at first, which made me feel bad, so I offered to give her some money for the website. We were still friends at this point. She had cheap google ads, and wanted real companies involved. I asked a few friends if they’d be interested in having their company banners on her site and I would pay for it. Everyone declined saying they didn’t want their companies associated with gambling. I told her to keep the money and put up some real ads and send me an invoice so I could at least write it off. We agreed on Teamrankings.com.”
[Update, 12:30 p.m, May 2:Tom Federico, co-founder and CEO of TeamRankings.com, emails to say “we have NEVER interacted with these people, and quite frankly, have no clue what the hell they are talking about.”]
But when he agreed to pay her, he saw a curious name attached to the Paypal invoice he received: Nilesh Prasad. Matt had no idea who that was and asked Sarah about him. She told him that he was a “close friend” and “her accountant,” according to a screengrab of a Gchat conversation between Matt and Phillips.
That snippet doesn’t even begin to describe the deception on Sarah Phillips’ and her co-horts part. On top of this story, there are also 3 other stories linked below that show even more shadiness. The question is how did she slip through ESPN’s hiring process when sources admit no one has ever seen her in person?
Dan Webb has a very thoughtful piece on the unintended consequences of the government’s involvement in the student loan business. Studies have shown that every dollar added in money available to students for loans, has been accompanied by a dollar increase in college tuition. In other words, colleges are using every dollar increase in Pell Grants and increasing their tuition by an equal amount. Is college the next bubble to burst? From Dan Webb:
The intention of need-based student aid was to help students from low-incomes households afford college. So they beefed up thePell Grantprogram and turned the Department of Education into a full-fledged student lender.
What were the consequences? Nicholas Turner did a study while at the University of California (Who benefits from student aid? The economic incidence of tax-based federal student aid) which revealed that private universities matched student aid (specifically need-basedgrants) dollar for dollar with tuition increases. State schools did the same with their out of state tuition rates.
Legislators have tried dealing with large tuition rate increases with even more Pell Grant money and every year it’s the same thing, the increase in aid is trapped in tuition hikes. Has this helped students from low-income households? No, it has actually hurt them greatly.
Whether students qualify for need-based grants weighs heavily on their decision to attend college. The more aid a student qualifies the more likely they are to attend college.
But here is the rub: once these needy student gets to college they realize they cannot afford the high tuition rates that are largely caused by the increases in Pell Grant. So they take out student loans, mainly from the government.
The piece should be read in full over at redalertpolitics.com
Bobby Kennedy, the ruthless, cold-blooded political svengali and younger brother of the President, had a theory in regards to dealing with potentially damaging information about your background or record: Hang a lantern on it. In other words, highlight it. RFK thought, with the proper response more good can come from being transparent. And by talking about the issue the way you’d like the voters to hear, and not whats in your opponent’s soon-to-be attack ads, is another advantage.
Mitt Romney’s main weak spot is the caricature of him as a poll tested politician and a flip-flopper with no backbone. Though his supporters (including myself)and staff have well thought out responses to the individual charges of changes in positions, the campaign needs to be proactive in making sure the Obama campaign isn’t successful in making Gov Romney the John Kerry of 2012. Mitt Romney, in running against President Obama, should follow RFK’s advice. For example: getting attacked for your time at Bain Capital? Shine a lantern on what Fortune Magazine called “the most successful private equity firm in the world”.
Although 99% of the campaign’s goal every single day should be to keep the campaign a referendum on Barack Obama’s record as President, the flip-flopping charge has to be effectively dealt with and neutralized. And as much as possible, this effort should be tied into the main goal: repeatedly showing Obama’s dismal record to the voters to the point they could recite it from memory. The efforts should be combined. For instance, in explaining to pro-life voters that Mitt was always personally pro-life and governed as pro-life, the campaign should also highlight Obama’s support for infanticide in the Illinois Senate. In explaining what the Obama campaign claims is a flip-flop on student loans, the Romney campaign should show, A)Obama skipped the vote on this particular issue when he was in the US Senate, and B)the fact that for all the student-loan debt incurred for a good education, these students can’t find a job to pay off the loans when they graduate into the worst job climate in decades for young people.
Romney needs to show the country who he is. What are his values? What is he like in private? His beautiful family can answer those questions most eliquently. His wife, Ann, should be with him on the trail as much as physically(she’s had MS for decades)possible. His kids and grandkids should be campaigning in the battleground states. All the while sharing touching personal stories involving Mitt the father and grandpa, or husband and friend. Knowing the “core” of who Mitt Romney is would go a long way in negating the negatives.
Voters should see 30 and 60 second spots on the time Romney saved a family and their dog from drowning by hopping on a jet ski. Or the time a colleague’s daughter went missing in NYC and Romney shut down the company and ordered his executives to NYC to personally walk the streets to find her. He called in favors to companies he either owned or was heavily invested in. For everything from printing out flyers to bringing in needed supplies. He even called in his law and accounting firms to do leg work and walk the streets. Because of their efforts they got on the local news, and the colleague’s daughter was eventually found. The ads should highlight his stewardship of the 2002 Olympics. How he took an organization rife with disfunction and corruption, and cleaned house. Let people understand that Mitt Romney is a turnaround specialist, and the United States is in dire need of a turnaround. Highlight the values of hard work, honesty, and integrity.
When voters get the see Mitt Romney’s values, a lot of the other side issues will work themselves out as long as the campaign is successful in keeping this a referendum election and making Mitt someone the voters could trust and be comfortable with as President. Will the campaign have to neutralize the flip-flop charges though? Absolutely. Nothing shows being consistent more than Gov Romney’s personal life. As voters learn more about the love story between Ann and him, they will get to see who Mitt is as a husband. Tagg Romney gave a somewhat revealing interview where he stated that his dad was a problem solver in private. Tagg was quoted saying, “He’d(Mitt) come to your house and say,’Hey your boiler isn’t working. How can we get this working again?’, and,’some of your trees outside are dying. Why is that? Can we figure that out and maybe go to the hardware store to get something to fix it?’ and all of the sudden you see him pulling a tractor with all this stuff on it”. This is the Mitt Romney voters need to see more of. Romney’s “body-man” recently started a blog/diary of sorts, documenting his travels with the Governor. So far the blog has shown everything from Romney eating pancakes to a video of the Governor and Ann getting ready for an interview at Fenway Park. I think this could be highly effective. As much as we’d like the think a person votes for someone based on their three point plan on global warming, it just doesnt happen that way. Presidential elections do have a reality tv aspect to them- there’s some truth to the “personality contest” critique.
All in all, Governor Romney’s strength is in the economy. He found a nice way of crystallizing that in his victory speech the other night by using a play on James Carville’s famous line in the 1992 election, ‘It’s the economy stupid’. “This election’s still about the economy…. and we’re not stupid”, Romney said. He’s right. Every waking minute the campaign spends taking its eye off of making this a referendum election on the economy is a minute wasted. But long term planning often gets thrown out the window numerous times in a campaign. Though there will still be ample opportunity for the campaign to plan an effective response to the flip-flop charges, unexpected events have a way of taking over your best laid plans.
I think one way the campaign could stay on message while answering charges as they come is to have the Governor go on an “Achieving The American Dream” tour. The Obama campaign is attacking Romney as a “corporate raider”? Hang a lantern on his business career. Romney should reunite with many of the employees of companies he turned around and even brought public. He could show the men and women he helped turn from poor to middle class to yes, even millionaires (GOD FORBID MILLIONAIRES), achieving the American Dream in the process. He could show the opportunity he afforded those employees by taking their company public, for instance the same way Facebook’s employees will become overnight millionaires and even billionaires once Facebook’s IPO is done. I can imagine a struggling Staples employee that was scrounging for his rent each month until Mr Romney turned the company around and took it public. Then the employee never had to worry about rent again for the rest of his life. There are hundreds if not thousands of these stories and each one should be showcased next to a person whose had the reverse happen to him or her in this Obama economy. That’s a contrast he can’t lose.