The Bain of Romney's Campaign

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

by Aznew

Efforts by some of our friends from the other side to characterize Sen. Mark Warner's comments this morning on MSNBC as akin to those of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, in the sense that they allegedly suggest that discussion of Romney's experience at Bain Capital ought to be off limits, are way off-base.Sure, if you cherry-pick Warner's words, you can distort what he had to say as "taking issue with the Obama campaign's ad assault on Bain Capital." But if you look at Warner's entire comment, it is clear that Warner was making the same exact argument President Obama made yesterday in Chicago:

Bain Capital was a very successful business. I think they got a good return for their investors. That is what they were supposed to do. I think when you're in public life, though, what you've got is a different time horizon. The notion that everything in government is exactly the same way that it is in business, they're different time horizons when you've got to invest for the long haul, when you actually do the kind of early stage investing, whether in preschool, whether it's in K-12, whether infrastructure, that doesn't pay back quarter to quarter.
(See here for the entire interview.)I think it is worth stressing the point being made in these comments and those by the President, is entirely correct.
Importantly, the issue in this matter is not Bain or private equity.
(more on the flip)
aznew :: The Bain of Romney's Campaign
Bain was, and is, a very successful PE firm. As far as I know, Bain enjoys a good reputation on Wall Street. Nor is there anything immoral or unethical about the business in which Bain is engaged (provided they act in a lawful manner, of course, and as far as I know, they do so). They are in the business of making money for investors, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, IMHO.Sometimes Bain (and other PE firms) can maximize returns for investors by growing a business, which will typically lead to job creation, and sometimes they maximize returns by breaking up businesses, selling valuable assets and closing down what doesn't make money. That often leads to job losses.
But those instances of job creation, or job loss, were incidental to Bain's goals. It has nothing to do with the actions Romney took or the decisions he reached at Bain, where his goal - profits for his investors -- was something else entirely.
Indeed, it is not useful to discuss whether Mitt Romney presided over the net creation or destruction of jobs while at Bain, beyond the fact that Romney has claimed to have created more than 100,000 jobs, and it is certainly fair to put that claim (or any claim by any seeker of political office) to the test. But the point that the President, and now Warner, is seeking to make is more significant, and that point is examining Romney's Bain record to determine whether, as Romney claims, it qualifies him to be President of the United States.
Obama and Warner argue (and it makes sense to me) that the responsibilities of a President are quite different than those of the head of a PE firm. A private equity CEO need not be concerned with how their pursuit of profit affects either individual workers or a community at large - they should only be worrying about the return for their investors -- but a president does have to understand, empathize with and act on such concerns.
Romney was a fool to bring Bain into this campaign, and now I suspect he is sorry to have done so. At best, the experience Romney had at Bain was irrelevant to the skill set and knowledge required for the Presidency; at worst, that experience, which is directed solely at maximizing profits and nothing else, is antithetical to the position of President.
In typical fashion, Romney is seeking to weasel out of the box he built for himself by maintaining that any discussion of Bain is off limits, either as an attack on free enterprise or a personal attack on Romney himself. (Indeed, in the Romney campaign's hilarious effort to distort Warner's quote, they reduce it to 16 seconds of Warner saying "Bain was a very successful business," as if whether Romney was "successful" at Bain was the issue. This guy just does not get it.)
Of course, discussion of Romney's role at Bain is perfectly appropriate, if not essential.
I agree with Romney supporter John Sununu on this issue. "I think the Bain record, as a whole, is fair game," Sununu said earlier today. "What you have to do is an honest evaluation."
Romney brought his Bain experience into the campaign. We should now examine that whole record, fairly and honestly.

Brain-Dead Teapublican "Out-of-Control Spending" Meme Bites the Big One (or Should!)

Of course, this "out of control spending" meme was utterly devoid of factual basis from the beginning, but that didn't stop the Teapublicans and their useful idiots in the corporate media from repeating it ad nauseum. For anyone who cares about that little thing known as "reality," though, the facts are these:
Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.Even hapless Herbert Hoover managed to increase spending more than Obama has...
...Over Obama's four budget years, federal spending is on track to rise from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion, an annualized increase of just 0.4%.
There has been no huge increase in spending under the current president, despite what you hear.
So why do we have such a big deficit? Very simple: President Obama inherited the historically LOW Bush tax rates, the two unpaid-for wars, an economy in free fall (since recovered, but not all the way yet). Then, Obama cut taxes even more, to something like 95% of Americans, in the "stimulus" passed to help get us out of the economic disaster inherited from Bush et al. Other than the "stimulus," though, "spending under Obama is falling at a 1.4% annual pace - the first decline in real spending since the early 1970s, when Richard Nixon was retreating from the quagmire in Vietnam." So much for the brain-dead Teapublican "out-of-control spending" meme. It's false in every way, and if the media had any brains or integrity, they would have been reporting that for 3 1/2 years now. Sadly, they don't, so a lot of people bought the "big lie," but that doesn't make it any smaller of a lie.

Video: Del. Patrick Hope on the "travesty," "hatred and bigotry" of VA General Assembly Session

Friday, May 18, 2012

Last night, at a fundraiser for his reelection in Arlington, Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) gave a strong speech about the recent Virginia General Assembly session. According to Hope:
Instead, we were talking about really divisive issues. We were talking about abortion. We were talking about eliminating a significantly important piece of legislation, the one-gun-a-month law, that has saved lives across the eastern seaboard...It was divisive from the very beginning. And the other night, this exclamation point where we went after someone who was abundantly and eminently qualified to sit on the bench in Richmond, and we denied him that opportunity for no other reason than because he's gay, openly so. And it was a real travesty...I hope that when [my kids] that they don't know the hatred and bigotry that I just saw. My eyes were opened that evening, I know that we differ on a lot of issues down there, but I did not think that we would cross this line and go backwards the way we do...We really missed a golden opportunity in this session...
Great speech by Delegate Hope, now if we could only elect another 50 or so Patrick Hopes to the Virginia House of Delegates, we'd be in great shape!

Sen. McEachin: Signing of Voter Suppression Bill "affront to Virginians and the Constitution"

Yet again, as on so many other issues, Bob McDonnell has demonstrated cowardice, not courage. This time, it's in an area that is absolutely fundamental to being an American: our right to vote. Sadly, as Sen. McEachin explains in his statement (see below), McDonnell apparently believes that "Virginians' constitutional rights are optional," or at least that they're trumped by his own "partisan, divisive, rightwing, radical agenda." Well, sorry Transvaginal Bob, but those rights are not in any way optional, nor can you make this issue go away by hiding it late on a Friday afternoon when most people are getting ready for their weekends. Nice try, though. Heh.
Senator McEachin Decries Signing of Voter Suppression Act   Henrico – Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) today issued this statement about Governor McDonnell signing Senate Bill 1, the voter suppression bill. Senator McEachin said, “I am disappointed and dismayed that the governor and his Republican allies in the General Assembly continue their partisan, divisive, rightwing, radical agenda unabated. Whether it is women’s health, or the civil rights of LGBT citizens or voting rights, the Republicans continue to act as if Virginians' constitutional rights are optional.   “The right to vote, to participate in our country’s electoral process is the most basic right of a citizen. The very foundation of our democracy is the right to vote and when we put impediments before our citizens’ voting rights, we endanger our very form of government.     “This bill will cost significant resources in training and administration for election officials. In this economy, as we have too few dollars for education, public safety and transportation, we should not be wasting valued monies to suppress voting. This is now a costly boondoggle and an affront to Virginians and the Constitution.
P.S. Also see ProgressVA's statement on the "flip."
P.P.S. Screwing with democracy is, apparently, what Bob McDonnell's sorry excuse for a party does these days. 

Kaplan Post Can't Even Give Bloggers Credit for Nicknames!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I've mentioned on numerous occasions how the Washington Kaplan Post frequently plagiarizes material from bloggers (and other media outlets), steals their ideas, fails to give proper credit for stories, promotes false equivalencies at every turn, publishes climate science deniers and other assorted liars and shills (e.g., Jennifer Rubin) on their pages, etc. Apparently, as their own business model swirls around the toilet bowl, the Kaplan Post thinks that somehow by violating all concepts of journalistic ethics, they will somehow save themselves. Of course, they won't, but apparently that's how they've decided they want to go down with the Titanic. Whatever.Anyway, the latest example is more humorous than anything else, although it clearly demonstrates three things: 1) the Post's sloppy reporting and lax (to put it mildly) journalistic standards; and 2) their utter disdain for/fear of "the blogs."
So what did they do now, you ask? Well, in an otherwise strong editorial calling out Virginia Republicans for "an ugly campaign of homophobic bigotry" in their rejection of the Tracy Thorne-Begland nomination the other day, they casually toss in this line:
Mr. Marshall - known in Richmond as "Sideshow Bob" - said that...
Oh really, is that so? Bob Marshall is "known in Richmond" by the nickname that this blog (and this blogger) gave him, that this blog (and this blogger) know him by? That's fascinating, certainly news to me. Anyway, I checked with several of my Richmond sources (e.g., elected officials, politicos), as to whether General Assembly members ever refer to Bob Marshall as "Sideshow Bob." Their responses:*"Not really. It's mainly you."
*"I can't say that I have [heard that in Richmond]."
*"I really dont know. I have heard it but could not pinpoint it."
*"I've never heard anyone say that."
*"Never heard anyone calling him Sideshow Bob. More like Invisible Man since most members (R&D) ignore him outright."
Combine those comments with the fact that I have never, ever seen anyone in Richmond quoted as referring to Del. Marshall as "Sideshow Bob," and basically, the Post is full of horse manure. Why does this matter? Two reasons. First, although this is a relatively small matter, it calls into question, once again, the veracity of the Post's reporting on other subjects (pretty much any subject). Second, it illustrates the lengths to which the Post will go to avoid giving credit to bloggers, aka, "the competition," for their ideas, stories, scoops, etc. The bottom line when it comes to the Post on this one? As we say in the world of social media, one which the Post clearly doesn't respect or even understand: #FAIL!!!

Greene County, Virginia GOP Now Claims "Armed Revolution" Was Just Metaphorical

Thursday, May 10, 2012

But of course!
The media in Greene County and nearby Charlottesville took note of our report and ran their own stories on McPhee's call for armed revolution. McPhee got defensive after the local media began investigating. He claimed in a statement posted on the Greene County GOP website yesterday that the "media hype" was all a misunderstanding because he was just speaking metaphorically. When he wrote "armed revolution," he was really just talking about people speaking out.

That's right, it's not about actual armed revolution, it's about "being armed with the voices of We the people.....just as the founding fathers spoke out during the your constitution allows." And if you believe that one, I hear there are some nice bridges for sale in Greene County! LOLP.S. Also, see the WJLA-TV story about this, from last night's evening news, on the "flip."
P.P.S. Any comments yet from Sen. Hanger, Del. Bell, or the Republican Party of Virginia?
UPDATE: The Greene County Republican Committee has announced that McPhee is now the "former Newsletter Editor." They also write, "The Greene County Republican Committee denounces such language and does not subscribe to that thinking." Perhaps not, but there are a fair number on your "team" who do, sadly.

Greene County, VA Republicans: Armed Revolution if Obama Reelected!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Good job by Right Wing Watch in catching this latest bit of insanity from our friendly Virginia Republicans. In this case, it's in the Greene County Virginia Republican Committee's March newsletter (still online, by the way). As RightWingWatch explains:
...editor Ponch McPhee says that America cannot survive four more years under Obama, a "political socialist ideologue" who is "unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized." McPhee argues that Americans will have no option "but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November:"
In other words, we're back Catherine "Bullet Box" Crabill levels of insanity here in Virginia, and of course it's Republicans who are the source of the violent rhetoric. Anyway, I eagerly await denunciations of the Greene County Republican Committee by the Republican Party of Virginia, Governor McDonnell, Lieutenant Governor Bolling, Attorney General Cuccinelli, etc.  You know, just like Willard regularly denounces the insanehatefulviolent rhetoric coming from his supporters. Oh wait...P.S. As usual, these people can't spell, in this case misspelling "course" as "coarse." Duhhhhhhhhhh.

Dominion Customers Rally to Demand a Serious Plan for Virginia-made Clean Energy

by the Sierra Club

( - promoted by lowkell)

Rally for Our Clean Energy Future_3Customers gather in front of the Virginia State Corporation Commission as Dominion seeks approval for
a 15-year plan that fails to meet Virginia's renewable energy goals
RICHMOND, Va - This afternoon Dominion Virginia Power customers held a Rally for Our Clean Energy Future on the doorsteps of the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) in Richmond and presented over 4,600 comments to the SCC demanding that Dominion include significant investments for clean, renewable energy in its 15-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
Dominion sought approval for its IRP, a long-term energy plan that includes no large-scale wind or solar projects, and will fail to achieve Virginia's energy efficiency goal. The rally was organized by the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition to highlight the $1.3 billion Dominion imposes on Virginia each year in externalized costs, including 332 premature deaths, 5,528 asthma attacks, and 293 emergency room visits.
"Our families and communities simply cannot afford Dominion's dirty energy plan," said Glen Besa Virginia Director of the Sierra Club.  "Dominion's 15 year Integrated Resource energy plan relies on 3600 MW of gas powered electricity and a new nuclear reactor at North Anna. That 15 year plan has NO wind power, only 33 MWs of solar and 212 MW of biomass."
"We are calling on the SCC to reject this plan and ask Dominion to submit a new one within the next 12 months that engages all its stakeholders - stakeholders that include a growing number of Dominion customers who want 3,000 megawatts of Virginia-made wind and solar energy and energy efficiency by 2020," said Besa. 

Don't Call Them "Climate Skeptics" -- They're Climate Deniers, Period

Monday, May 7, 2012

by Kindler

Cross-posted at Daily Kos
In certain parts of the media, it is fashionable to refer to those who deny the existence of human-induced climate change as "climate skeptics."  Don't buy it -- what these people are practicing is not skepticism but denial.
For an in-depth discussion of this whole phenomenon, pick up a copy of John Cook's and Haydn Washington's excellent book "Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand".  Cook's Skeptical Science website is the place to turn for descriptions in plain English of climate science at both beginner and intermediate levels, and in direct refutation of all the Koch brothers' and Exxon-Mobil's talking points.  The book excels in peeling back the stinky layers of the onion that is climate change denial.
The first layer consists of corporate miscommunication to protect dirty profits, which has been thoroughly documented, as here and here and in the whole Heartland Institute affair.  But where the book really excels is in describing the next layer, that of our psychological tendency to refuse to believe in scary, disturbing realities.  It's essential to understand these psychological dynamics if we are going to successfully convince the public and our major institutions to take significant action, before it is absolutely too late.
kindler :: Don't Call Them "Climate Skeptics" -- They're Climate Deniers, Period
The authors note that the Oxford English Dictionary defines a skeptic as "a seeker after truth; an inquirer who has not yet arrived at definitive conclusions."  (And precisely how many Limbaugh dittoheads have "not yet arrived at definitive conclusions?")  As Cook and Washington put it:
Skepticism is about seeking the truth and realizing the world is a complex place.  Skepticism is about stepping away from superstition and dogma.  Genuine skepticism in science is one of the ways that science progresses...Denial is something very different, it is a refusal to believe something, no matter what the evidence.
Indeed, the immunity of climate deniers to mountains of scientific evidence -- over 10,000 peer-reviewed, published studies, as Dr. Naomi Oreskes has documented -- is the key to this phenomenon.  As Cook and Washington discuss, climate denial is too deeply rooted to be simply cured by trying to erase the public "information deficit" about climate change -- yes, doing so is absolutely essential, but the current situation is about much more than mere ignorance.
People have very important psychological and cultural reasons to pretend that climate change does not exist.  The warming of the Earth and all that goes with it threatens our complacency, many aspects of our way of life, many deeply held beliefs about Nature and humanity and the economy and technology and our inalienable right to do whatever the f**k we want.  It's kind of like the theory of evolution in the insecurity it makes some people feel about their place on the Earth -- but worse, because it has such enormous potential consequences for the future, requiring attention, action and changes today.
Yes, the Fossil Fuel Lobby is peddling us a load of bull, but they are finding willing customers because sometimes bull has real value -- psychological value at least.
This book, like Cook's website, is enormously good at dissecting the arguments deniers use -- which are ultimately quite flimsy.  These arguments strike a chord for the reasons discussed above, but it's important to keep showing how empty and false they are, to dissipate the delusion of denial and bathe all who will listen in the sunshine of reality.
So Cook and Washington describe the 5 most common types of arguments climate deniers make:
Conspiracy theories: the authors point out the role a source as wacked as Lyndon LaRouche has played in spreading climate conspiracy theories.  The fact that some grouchy emails by some climate scientists at the University of East Anglia professors got labelled "Climategate" (of all things) shows the problem.  The fact that the debunking of this so-called scandal by 7 different governmental, academic and research organizations is instantly and continually dismissed as just another sign of the conspiracy shows how deeply rooted this form of insanity is.  In fact, to believe that climate change is a hoax requires believing that thousands of scientists are faking their results in some big evil orgy of deception.  This is not an argument but a pathology.
Fake experts:  Definitely a favorite tactic of deniers is to identify and promote the alleged experts whose word is presumed to negate the 95% or so of climate scientists whose research has found man-made warming to be a fact.  The book cites the Petition Project, which encourages alleged experts to sign an anti-climate change petition -- but notes that only about 0.1 percent of signatories are climatologists, and veterinarians and engineers are not necessarily qualified to be cited as authorities in this field.
Impossible expectations: Put simply, climate deniers try to discredit all of climate science by trying to demonstrate that its models aren't perfect and that it can't explain everything in the world.  Well, duh.  Those who know anything about science know that not only are all models and theories imperfect, but that scientists frequently acknowledge and discuss this fact very openly.  The authors point out that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has carefully summed up the scientific consensus, finding a 90% chance that humans contribute to global warming, and ask: "If you knew there was a 90 per cent chance you'd be in a car crash, would you get in the car?"  Waiting until we have 100% certainty before acting on anything is a recipe for eternal paralysis.
Misrepresentations and logical fallacies:  Climate deniers are constantly demonstrating the most blatant errors of logic -- which is why it's so much fun to debate them!  For example, they frequently claim that since the climate has changed in the past without human causes, therefore our current climate change must also be from natural causes.  The authors say this is like denying the fact that humans start any forest fires, just because many are also naturally ignited by lightning.  My personal favorite example is the idea that carbon dioxide must always be benign because in the right amounts and contexts it is good for plants --ignoring the fact that many elements, like oxygen and nitrogen, can be deadly or essential depending on the amount, concentration, form, etc.
Cherry picking:  Like sneaky lawyers, climate deniers love to harp on out-of-context pieces of evidence that seem to help their case, while downplaying the whole body of evidence that refutes it.  So, for example, they use the fact that 1998 was a record hot year, and that several years following did not match that year's level, to claim that warming "stopped" in 1998.  In fact, at best, the rise in temperatures plateaued for a few years and now is rising again -- it clearly has not gone down if one looks at temperature records for any length of time.  But if one builds a chart looking only at 1998 to about mid-2009 -- aha, the hoax is revealed!  Such argumentation is both misleading and dishonest.  Which is why it needs to be answered, over and over again, until those who use such tactics are thoroughly discredited.
There's much more in the book worth discussing, but I'll close on its positive message that, to overcome the psychology of climate change denial, we need to communicate in a way that conveys not the inevitability of destruction and despair, but the grounds for hope -- as long as we accept reality, mobilize and work together to address the threat of climate change worldwide.  As Climate Change Denial puts it:

Martin Luther King galvanized American society by saying 'I have a dream.'  He would not have galvanized them by saying 'I have a catastrophe!'
In other words, answer the cynicism of denial with optimism grounded in realism -- we've overcome great challenges before with human ingenuity and willpower, and we can and must do so once again.

Advice to Dan Balz: Stick to Politics, Leave Economics to Ezra Klein

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This morning, Washington Post political reporter Dan Balz shares his deep thoughts, this time about how (supposedly)Obama launches campaign against Romney, but his real opponent is the economy. In general, Balz's reporting of President Obama's reelection campaign kickoff is fine, although certainly nothing original or interesting. The problem is when Balz turns away from his forte, which is politics, to economics, which which is clearly NOT his forte. For instance, take paragraph #3 (please!), and particularly the sentence I've bolded:
It was perhaps a coincidence in timing that the president's opening events came just a day after a tepid employment report that showed only modest private-sector job creation. The unemployment rate ticked down a tenth of a percentage point, but only because the labor force shrank as discouraged Americans gave up looking for work.
Whoa, wait a minute - "but only because?" Warning, alert, #FAIL #FAIL #FAIL!!! In fact, the unemployment rate "ticked down a tenth of a percentage point" for a host of reasons, not "only" because of any one thing, and certainly NOT "only" because "discouraged Americans gave up looking for work." What's so lame about this #FAIL by Dan Balz is that if he had only read the article he himself linked to, by Ezra Klein, he would quickly see why he's dead wrong about this. Let's let Ezra Klein explain:
lowkell :: Advice to Dan Balz: Stick to Politics, Leave Economics to Ezra Klein
In a March report titled "Dispelling an Urban Legend," Dean Maki, an economist at Barclays Capital, found that demographics accounted for a majority of the drop in the participation rate since 2002...Based on survey data, Maki found that about 35 percent of Americans who have dropped out of the labor force since the recession began in 2007 do want a job, but they have become too discouraged to fire off résumés. That's a sign of a weak labor market. But the other 65 percent are people who have left the labor force and do not want a job. The biggest chunk of that group seems to be composed of baby boomers, those 55 and older, who have decided to retire early.
Hello, Mr. Balz? Did you read that? If so, did you understand that? If so, it certainly wasn't reflected in your comment about how the unemployment rate "ticked down" only because "discouraged Americans gave up looking for work." Wrong, as Ezra Klein and Barclay's Capital explained very clearly in the article you yourself linked to.In addition to the fact that most of what's going on here is demographics, not "discouraged workers," there are other factors as well for the decline in the unemployment rate, and the 180-degree turnaround from where we were when Barack Obama inherited an economy in free fall from Bush/Cheney. The fact is, when Obama took office, we had been hemorrhaging jobs - as many as 800,000 per month! - due to the Wall Street meltdown and Housing Bubble bursting under Bush. Within a few months of Democrats taking charge, passing an economic recovery package, saving the U.S. auto industry, restoring stability to our financial system, etc., the jobs losses rapidly came to an end and transitioned into private sector job gains - now 26 months and counting. In fact, if it weren't for public sector job cuts (teachers, firefighters, etc.), thanks to Republicans at the federal (hey Eric Can'tor, I'm talking to YOU!) and state level (hey Transvaginal Bob McDonnell, I'm talking to YOU!), our economy would currently have hundreds of thousands more jobs, and the unemployment rate would have "ticked down" significantly further:
Public sector austerity is a major drag on the job market. If public employment had merely matched the anemic growth in the private sector, the unemployment rate would be more like 7.4% than 8.2%. And if it had matched its post-World War II average, the unemployment rate would be under 7%.
Of course, Dan Balz doesn't mention any of that in his shallow, clueless-about-economics article in the Post today. Perhaps in the future, Balz might stick to the politics and leave the economics to Ezra Klein and others who actually know something about the subject?

Richmond Obama Rally: Let's See Willard Turn Out a Crowd Like This!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Here are a couple photos (see the "flip" for the other one) from the rally to reelect President Obama at VCU's Siegel Center today, courtesy of Obama for America - Virginia. Notice a few things about the crowd that Willard will never match? 1) Enthusiasm (why would anyone in their right mind be enthused about a corporate robot?); 2) numbers (Remember when Willard had a rally in a football stadium, and it was 99% empty? Guarantee - that will NOT happen to Barack Obama today, or any day in this campaign!); 3) a crowd that looks like America, in all its diversity (Willard's crowd - older and white, pretty much. Not that there's anything at all wrong with older white people - there are good and bad people in every race, religion, ethnicity, etc. - but crowds that are consistently made up of 95% older white people, as are invariably seen at Republican rallies, is NOT representative of the demographics of today's America. Sorry Willard.)P.S. The rally hasn't even started yet, and the crowds are huge. This morning, there was a big (14,000 people), enthusiastic crowd in Columbus, Ohio. Sensing a pattern here? :)
UPDATE: (3:22 pm) @JennMcClellanVA tweets: "@coachsmartvcu addressing the crowd. Walks out to a standing ovation."
UPDATE #2: For video of Michelle and President Obama earlier today in Columbus, click here (starts around 37 minutes in...just skip to that point).
UPDATE #3: You can follow the Obama for America VA Twitter feed for updates throughout this rally. For instance: "Shaka Smart: 'With your help President Obama will win Virgina again.'" and "Congressman Bobby Scott: 'We have the choice: millionaires or medicare and education-- and we chose medicare and education.'"

DNC Candidate Ben Tribbett: Time to Democratize the DPVA

Friday, May 4, 2012

In Part 2 of my interview with DNC candidate Ben Tribbett, we discussed how DNC membership should not be a "lifetime achievement award" or "gold watch," but a place for someone "who wants to DO something with the position rather than BE something with the position." In Part 3, below, Ben explains why we need to democratize the Democratic Party of Virginia. For instance, Ben advocates allowing the grassroots, not just "some attorney on Central Committee" (hmmmm...wonder who he could possibly be talking about there - lol) having a voice in deciding on DPVA resolutions - on issues like the public option (support!), Citizens United (oppose!), etc. In the past, my understanding is that many of these resolutions have been watered down or even killed by one or more of those attorneys on Central Committee, without ANY consideration of what the grassroots might happen to feel about the issue. That's absurd. Ben also notes that if DPVA is going to hit up people for money by claiming they will be "members" of DPVA, then they should give those "members" a real voice in running DPVA. Right now, that isn't the case. Why not?!?

The Real Cuccinelli

by Elaine in Roanoke

As Ken Cuccinelli gears up for his run at the governor's office (refusing to follow Bob McDonnell's example and resign as attorney general), let's not let Virginians forget a couple of the worst examples of Cuccinelli's questionable actions in office. Perhaps the worst is getting involved with Bobby Thompson, the con man who was running a multi-million-dollar scam known as the Navy Veterans Association. The timeline of Cuccinelli's involvement looks extremely bad.  Cuccinelli received $55,000 in campaign contribution from Thompson. He met with a lawyer representing the bogus charity about legislation that had cleared the state senate exempting the NVA from having to register with Virginia regulators. About the same time Cuccinelli announced that if elected he would move the Office of Consumer Affairs under the Attorney General's office. The Office of Consumer Affairs had at that time begun to investigate the Thompson scam charity. The question for voters is this: Did Thompson buy "access" to Cuccinelli, or was that $55,000 a bribe to end an investigation into Thompson's criminal activities?
Or, how about Cuccinelli's ridiculous "investigation" (harassment) of climatologist Dr. Michael Mann and his attempt to force the University of Virginia to turn over all documents related to Dr. Mann. Was that whole crusade, ended by the Virginia Supreme Court, caused by Cuccinelli's concern about the validity of climate change or the fact that his father spent most of his working life as an executive in the natural gas industry?
Elaine in Roanoke :: The Real Cuccinelli
From 1971 to 1997, Ken Cuccinelli, Sr. was either earning big bucks at the American Gas Association or as an executive at Consolidated Natural Gas. That family connection raises serious questions about Cuccinelli's fitness for office, just like the timeline between the huge donation by Bobby Thompson to his AG campaign and subsequent actions that could be construed as aiding and abetting a deal that would put the phony charity beyond the reach of state regulators.Let's not let Virginians forget that Ken Ciccinelli has done things that raise serious questions about his fitness to fill any office in the Commonwealth. I shudder when I think of his sitting in the governor's chair.

PPP 2013 Poll: Warner Would Romp; Bolling Stronger than Cuccinelli vs. T-Mac

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Public Policy Polling is out with their look at possible candidates and matchups for 2013 here in Virginia. The highlights are:1. If Mark Warner wants to be governor again, all he has to do is say so. Warner has a 2:1 approval rating (52%-26%), and "leads Bolling 53-32 and Cuccinelli 53-33." In other words, it's game over for Republicans if Warner runs. Also, if Warner runs, presumably Democrats would have an excellent shot at winning "downballot" - LG, AG, and House of Delegates races - as well. So...Draft Mark Warner for Governor 2013? :)
2. Bill Bolling would be a significantly stronger gubernatorial candidate for Republicans than Ken Cuccinelli. Bolling leads Terry McAuliffe 36%-34% (+2 points), while Cuccinelli trails McAuliffe 41%-36% (-5 points). That's a 7-point advantage to Bolling compared to Cuccinelli. But will Republicans be smart enough to nominate Bolling, not Cuccinelli? That brings us to...
3. "Cuccinelli continues to be the overwhelming favorite for the Republican nomination next year. He's polling at 51% to 23% for Bolling and 4% for Salahi with 22% of voters undecided." Even worse for Bolling, Cuccinelli's "appeal to the far right wing of the GOP will make him difficult to defeat in a primary. Among 'very conservative' voters he's at 64% to 20% for Bolling." In other words, barring an enormous turnaround by Bolling, he will NOT be the Republican nominee for Virginia governor next year. Ken Cuccinelli will be.
4. I'm not sure why PPP, which does great work, polled Tom Perriello - who I haven't even heard the tiniest peep is thinking of running for governor in 2013 - and not Chap Petersen, who I most certainly HAVE heard "peeps" about running. Odd.
4a. Also, who cares about Tareq Salah? His candidacy is a complete joke.
5. As for approval ratings, other than Mark Warner, nobody's particularly setting the house on fire. Cuccinelli's at minus 7 (30%-37%), as is McAuliffe (13%-20%). Bolling's at plus 2 (36%-34%) -- meh.
Bottom line, according to PPP: If Warner runs, it would be a "daunting challenge for
any Republican."
 If not, then "Democrats' chances are fifty-fifty otherwise, but they have to be hoping to face Ken Cuccinelli." That sounds about right to me.

Yet Another Poll Shows President Obama Winning Virginia Handily

Another day, another major poll showing President Obama winning Virginia handily. The other day, it was PPP, which showed Obama up 51%-43% in the Commonwealth. Now, it's the Washington Post poll:
Obama is ahead of Romney, the presumed Republican nominee, 51 percent to 44 percent among registered voters. And Romney does no better against Obama than he did a year ago, despite his emergence as the GOP standard-bearer.
Why is Obama winning? Simple: "The coalition of Virginians that propelled him to victory in 2008 - young voters, suburban Washingtonians, women and African Americans - is largely intact." Thus, we've got Obama leading Willard by a 97%-1% margin among African-American Virginia voters (who are those 1% and what ARE they thinking? LOL). We've also got Obama winning women by a wide margin (56%-38%); winning 94% of Democrats (5% go to Willard); winning 51% of independents (41% go to Willard); winning big time in the DC suburbs (62%-36%); and winning 68% of young people (26% go to Willard).All in all, the margin in the Post poll is very similar to Obama's 7-point winning edge over McCain-Palin in 2008. If this margin holds - personally, I'm hoping it grows over the next 6 months! - then Virginia will once again hand its 13 electoral votes to Barack Obama. That, in turn, will all but guarantee that the clueless, cowardly, completely-out-of-touch, pathological liar (Willard) won't achieve his burning desire to be president and to repeat the worst of Bush-Cheney (think Bush economics AND Bush foreign policy, but even MORE extreme - ugh!). Such as shame, huh? :)
P.S. More good polling news today: Gallup's daily tracking poll has President Obama at a 51%-43% approval rating, the highest he's been since the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
P.P.S. How's that war on women workin' out for you, Virginia Republicans? How about you, Transvaginal Bob? Heh.

DNC Candidate Ben Tribbett: DNC Membership Shouldn't Be a "Lifetime Achievement Award"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

As I noted in Part 1 of our interview, Ben Tribbett is running to become one of Virginia's members on the Democratic National Committee (the election's on June 2). In this segment, Ben talks about how there are many people who view a position on the DNC as no more than a "gold watch" or "lifetime achievement award." Instead, Ben believes the DNC needs "at least one grassroots person...who wants to DO something with the position rather than BE something with the position." Hard to argue with that! P.S. I'll post the remaining portions of my interview with Ben in coming days.

Pathetic, Weak Willard Caves to Right-Wing Bigots, Ditches Gay Staffer

How much more pathetic and weak can Willard be than this?
Jennifer Rubin reports that Richard Grenell, the openly gay spokesman on foreign policy issues for the Romney campaign, has now stepped down after an uproar from anti-gay conservatives over the appointment.Grenell, who sparked controversy with a series of tasteless tweets about women, was said to have been kept under wraps by the campaign ever since the appointment began creating controversy. But the Romney campaign has insisted that Grenell was not pushed from his post, and that Romney advisers tried to get him to stay on.
But all this raises a question: Why was Grenell completely absent from the public stage in the last few days, when his subject area - foreign policy issues - were front and center in the political conversation?
Good question, although the answer is obvious based on the sequence of events. First, Willard's campaign hires a former Bush Administration official, Richard Grenell, as its national security and foreign policy spokesman, even though (or is this a PLUS among Republicans these days?) Grenell is one of the most viciously nasty and misogynstic (e.g., Rachel Maddow should "put on a necklace;" Hillary Clinton "is starting to look liek Madeline [sic] Albright;" etc.) politicos around. Brilliant. Second, Romney and his team know that Grenell is openly gay when they hire him, but when Grenell is (predictably) hounded by the right-wing bigots for this fact, the Romney campaign totally caves to the bigots - throws Grenell under the bus, fails to defend him, won't let him do the job they just hired him to do, and ultimately gives him no real choice but to resign.All this is not only pathetically craven and disgusting on almost every level, it also demonstrates monumentally bad judgment, not to mention utter idiocy, by Willard et al. I mean, seriously, what WERE they thinking in hiring this misogynist (strikes 1 and 2) who worked in the Bush Administration (strike 3!) in the first place? Then, why wouldn't they stand up to the "social conservatives" (aka, rabid homophobes like this raving lunatic) in their party (aka, "the John Birch Society")?
Sadly, none of this is surprising coming from Willard "Mitt" Romney. I mean, what else would we expect from a guy who's pandered to the far right and flip flopped on just about every single issue,  who can't tell the truth on anything, who is one of the most awkward and out of touch human beings ever to run for president, all because he so desperately wants to BE president and will say or do anything to achieve that goal? Are those the personality traits we'd ever want in a president? Hint: that was a rhetorical question.