Sunday, September 30, 2012

Campaign roundtable

Dona: We're doing a series of roundtables this edition..  This roundtable focuses on campaigning.    Our e-mail address is Participating in this roundtable are?  Me representing  The Third Estate Sunday Review; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; Ruth of Ruth's Report; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ;  and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.  Because the other moderators may dive in without explaining, we're doing three roundtables this edition.  We've broken up into groups and the three are going on all at once.  We're all supposed to stick to our general topic and stick to the allotted time.  For the most part, everybody got to sign up for what they wanted.  Clearly, for the Iraq roundtable, C.I. and Ava were needed there.  So those two were assigned without being asked.  We are a group of seven and we could have more.  This was the topic everyone wanted.  It's an easy topic.  You know a few facts, you add a lot of gas baggery, boom, you're ready for Meet The Press.  The other topics require a little more knowledge, to be sure. Equally true, you can't escape the topic of campaign politics.  There are days when that's all the story is.  Okay, so this is a rush transcript.  Marcia, give us an overview of who we're covering in this roundtable please.


Marcia: Sure thing.  There are many people who will be on a ballot in one state or a few states.  We're focusing on four presidential campaigns.  There is Barack Obama who is the incumbent.  He won the office in the 2008 election and wants to hold onto it.  Joe Biden, the current vice president, is his running mate.  There's Mitt Romney who is the Republican Party's presidential candidate.  His running mate is US House Rep. Paul Ryan.  There's the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. His running mate is Judge James P. Gray.  Dr. Jill Stein is the only woman with a serious shot this year.  She is the Green Party presidential candidate.  Her running mate is Cheri Honkala.

Rebecca: Marcia, when you say "Judge" James -- He's a real judge?  "Judge" isn't his first name, right?

Marica: Correct. He's from California and, in 2004, he ran for the US Senate as the Libertarian candidate.  He was in the Peace Corps, he was part of the Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps.  He was a judge from 1989 through 2009.  He is a father of three.  See, I did a little homework.

Dona: You did.  And I honestly knew nothing about Johnson's running mate, I didn't even know his name.  Who's got some Gary Johnson news?


Ruth: Joel Rose did a report on him last week on NPR's Morning Edition. Rose noted that Johnson supports "same-sex marriage and abortion, rights and even talks about ending the war on drugs."  And Johnson is against the war on drugs and stated in the report, "Nobody seems to be wanting to talk about the truth.  And for those that believe that we continue to sustain the spending levels that we have by printing money, I'm going to argue that it's not sustainable."

Dona: Okay, that's interesting.  I don't remember Morning Edition doing a report on Jill Stein.  Am I wrong on that?

Betty: No.  But Jill Stein isn't seen as stealing votes away from Romney whereas that report Ruth was talking about did talk about how Gary Johnson could persuade some Romney voters to vote for him.  This was a point that was also made two weeks ago on The Diane Rehm Show when Susan Page was guest hosting.  Jeanne Cummings thought she was so 'cute' talking about the pot vote and how Johnson could pull those voters away as David Corn and the other guy snickered.

Dona: So you're saying?

Betty: That this is part of -- Covering Gary Johnson is part of NPR's effort to get Barack re-elected.  Again, no Jill Stein coverage.  In fact, Susan Page was a joke.  She let them go on about Johnson and others for about two or three minutes and then she quickly said Dr. Stein was the Green Party candidate.  She even said "in fairness."  As though that announcement made up for not discussing Jill.

Ruth: And you had that ass David Corn snickering when she said it, like Jill Stein's a joke.

Betty: Exactly.

Dona: While we're on Jill Stein, she and Gary Johnson are both calling for the October debates to be opened to all candidates and not just the duopoly of Democrats and Republicans. David King (Akron Beacon Journal) observed, "The kicker is, after the media blackout on Stein and Johnson effectively prevents them from becoming known to the public, the people running the presidential debates say Stein and Johnson can't participate in the debates BECAUSE THEY DON'T POLL HIGH ENOUGH. What remains unexplained is exactly how someone the public is unaware of is supposed to poll favorably.  This closes the presidential candidate circle, and it's why we have so few third party candidates with a snowball's chance in hell.  Unless the candidate is a billionaire like Ross Perot who can self-finance to become known, they have no chance."

Stan: I would agree with that.  And it's not a topic, I feel, that Democratic pundits are comfortable discussing this election cycle.  The reality is that Barack did something disgusting in 2008 when he walked away from public financing in the general election.  That was a Watergate era reform, public financing.  The funds come from that little box you check on your IRS return to toss a few dollars towards the presidential elections.  And it meant everyone that qualified was on an even scale.  But Barack and greed meant that in 2008, Democrats broke with it.  This was huge.

Rebecca: Agreed.  In 2004, the Democratic Party presidential candidate was John Kerry and he explored that, though they try to pretend otherwise.  When word got out that they were exploring forgoing public financing, the reaction was such that the Kerry campaign had to issue an immediate denial.

Stan: But they'll let Princess Barack get away with anything.  And the result is that the public finance system is really dead and when we should be pushing for public financing of all elections, we no longer have anything to point to.

Dona; Barack bypassed it but public financing still exists, to be clear.

Stan: Right.  But if Ruth's running for Congress and we want to make the argument that she should receive public financing, if we want to argue that Big Money doesn't belong in politics, the response is something along the lines of, "Well Barack took money.  Barack avoided public finance."  It was our only example -- the presidential election -- of public financing of elections and Barack destroyed it.

Dona: Well said, I see your point.   Mitt Romney.  The press has written his obit, haven't they? Ava and C.I. were talking about this yesterday and noted that it was the same sort of entitlement attitude on the part of the press.  They compared it to how the press insisted Hillary drop out and that's really how the press is acting with Mitt Romney, as though he needs to drop out of the race.

Rebecca: That's a really strong insight.  That is how they're acting.  Is it over for Romney?  I don't see how.  I hear talk about early voting.  Early voting's meaningless, honestly.  I understand the argument against it but the people voting right now, for the most part, are people who made up their minds already.  You don't have swing voters rushing to early vote. But there are still a lot of swing voters and they will swing back and forth based upon the debates.  I don't think it's over yet.  Sorry.

Dona: What about concerns over oversampling in polls?

Rebecca: That's why C.I. should have been in this one.  She's studied methodology.  I haven't even studied the polling.  Does it feel accurate?  Nope.  Are they accurate?  I don't know.

Stan: Betty and I highlight Hillary Is 44 and the polling data has been questioned there.  Is it possible?  I think it's very possible that the polling is off.

Betty: And that Barack can take a big hit in the coming weeks.

Dona: Okay, Wally pick up there because you haven't spoken yet and we need to wrap up.

Wally: Sure.  You've got the scandal of the attack on the US Consulate in Libya and how the White House tried to bury it. Tried to cover it up.  Six days after the terrorist attack kills 4 Americans, Barack's stooge Susan Rice takes to the Sunday TV talk shows to proclaim that it wasn't terrorism, that it was protesters gone wild.  This is not going away -- even if the press continues to try to protect Barack.  Add in Univision's big story -- or supposed to be big -- on Barack's Fast and Furious program.  You're getting an impression that's going to be hard to shake.  And we don't need the explanation when it comes to Libya.  We all saw the White House lies in real time.

Dona: So to be clear, you think that's going to hurt Barack's numbers?

Wally: I think he's going to be on the defensive and have to address it.  I don't think the election is over.

Dona: Okay, on that note, we'll close.  Again rush transcript.

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