This week, Mitt Romney made news by formally announcing that he is running for president, as you may have suspected if you happened to have been alive and living on the planet Earth at any time since about 2003, when it became clear that's what Romney wanted to do with his life.
Yeah, okay, so it was something of an anticlimax, wasn't it? And you can tell that's exactly how the media received the news as well.
Fox News Channel was the first to cut away from Mitt's formal announcement, though whether it was because they were bored or just irked that someone not from Roger Ailes' approved stable of presidential showponies was taking up the screen time.
It didn't matter, though: MSNBC, in short order, cut away as well. CNN lingered a bit longer, and then, perplexingly, cut to a studio shot seconds before Romney finally said that he was running for the White House. Was it poor timing, or is CNN just "the most trusted name in talking over news that is suddenly happening?" It's tough to say.
Apparently, it also became tough this week to say anything nice about the guy. On the coattails of Mitt jumping into the race, came a clutch of statements that seemed to indicate that Romney wasn't going to benefit from Reagan's Eleventh Commandment. Sarah Palin, who was all up in Romney's grill, geographically speaking, warned him that the Tea Party didn't care for his invention of ObamaCare. Rudy Giuliani said the same thing, only more bluntly. Tim Pawlenty dinged Romney for being inauthentic. Ron Paul set up Romney as the villain to inspire his coming "money bomb." FEMA failure-boy Michael Brown threw a barb at Mitt. And since everyone else was getting in on the act, train-wreck Senate candidate Joe Miller announced that he was starting a "Stop Mitt Romney" campaign -- proving once again that in America, if you work hard and are a biped, you too can grow up to start your very own "Stop Mitt Romney" campaign.
Speaking of Alaska's many semi-professional vagrants, most of the rest of this week's 2012 campaign coverage was dedicated to Sarah Palin's publicity vacation, which traveled up the East Coast, media in tow. Donald Trump took her out for pizza at New York City's worst pizza chain, in an apparent effort to teach the suddenly-wearing-a-Star-of-David-because-I-hear-there-be-Jews-afoot Palin what a shonde was. Speaking of deep and relentless shame, it turns out that Palin's concept of who Paul Revere was and what he did was largely based on the Beastie Boys song, or something.
Between Mitt and Sarah -- and Anthony Weiner's crotch mysteries! -- there wasn't much of a newshole left to go around for the other candidates. Rick Santorum is set to reveal his plans this coming Monday, so get excited for that. Buddy Roemer has made the entire state of Iowa an intriguing offer. Herman Cain continues to ascend in the eyes of voters and pundits.
And does anyone know where Newt Gingrich has gone? Rumor has it that he's off on some cruise in the Greek Isles, actually. I suppose he won't be able to bring continual ruin to his candidacy if he stays on vacation, so good for him!
For all the campaign news, please enter the 2012 Speculatron for the week of June 3, 2011.
So, for some time, we've been waiting for Bachmann to come out and just say that she's running for president, but previously speculated-upon plans did not come to pass. Now the signs that she will jump into the thick of the 2012 race continued to mount. She's been staffing up in the early states. Her chief of staff has taken a leave of absence so that he can work for Bachmann in "an exciting new position." And God Himself apparently finally decided, "Bachmann for President? Whoa, man, okay: I definitely want to see this." Of course, there's also one obvious sign: she's going to be participating in the June 13th GOP debate in New Hampshire, and I'm pretty sure they don't let people who aren't running for president participate in those things. Politico didn't know what to think of the possibility that two Mormons might run for president, so you can imagine that they find the prospect of two women doing it to be very shiny! But you know what we've got no idea about yet? Whether or not Bachmann can pass the all-important litmus test of liking the Paul Ryan Medicare Plan that fewer and fewer people like with each passing day. Though one thing seems more certain: she probably does not like the Catholic Church, and could very well be of the belief that the Pope is the Anti-Christ: When Bachmann was running for Congress in 2006, her official website bio said she was a member of the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Stillwater, which belongs to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. WELS is one of the very conservative "confessional" Lutheran denominations that maintains that the "antichrist" is the pope. You know, the leader of the Catholic Church? That pope. WELS confirms that they still "identify this 'Antichrist' with the Papacy," in case you're curious. Bachmann has denied that her church believes this, but ... it is definitely one of the fundamental doctrines of her church, according to her Synod's doctrinal statements. I mean, if Bachmann doesn't believe it, there are some very nice mainline Lutheran denominations to choose from, though they might be a bit squishy on biblical literalism and hatred of homosexuals. This is probably nothing to worry about! We just wanted Bachmann to be properly and thoroughly vetted. Anyway, Bachmann says that the Democrats are "terribly afraid of a Michele Bachmann candidacy for president of the United States," probably because she thinks "terribly afraid" actually means, "looking forward to with glee, and popping corn."
If you're going to be a long-shot candidate for the GOP nomination, it's best that you be pizza-dude Herman Cain, who continues a steady upward trajectory and is now within sight of the the frontrunners in Iowa. What a difference a week, in which you aren't blathering in repetitive confusion over the basic facts of the Israel-Palestine conflict, makes. The hot news was telegraphed early and confirmed with much media hoopla: Public Policy Polling had Cain in second place in Iowa -- behind Mitt Romney and tied with Sarah Palin. Salon's Steve Kornacki declared this week to be Cain's "moment," and explained in detail how unusual a candidacy Cain's is shaping up to be: What's striking about Cain's rise is that we've seen candidacies like his before in the modern era, but they've never gained this kind of polling traction. In a way, he's a hybrid of two fringe candidates who sought the 1996 Republican nomination: Morry Taylor (because of their under-the-radar business backgrounds -- Taylor was the CEO of an Illinois tire company) and Alan Keyes (because of their political backgrounds -- Keyes had two losing (by wide margins) Senate campaigns in Maryland to his name). By spending $6 million of his own money, Taylor was able to buy himself some mainstream exposure; he was invited to most debates, advertised heavily on television, and received his share of newspaper and magazine profiles. Keyes had little money, but his powerful oratory and staunchly conservative social message attracted a cult following and also led to some news coverage and debate invitations (although there were occasions when he was not accorded this respect). But neither Taylor nor Keyes ever made noise in national or early state polling. Plus he knows more about how to eat pizza than Donald Trump does, so he's got that going for him, too. And Democrats are starting to take Cain seriously: "Herman Cain is for real and is making a bunch of established pols look weak to ridiculous," a top party strategist emailed The Huffington Post on Tuesday night. "[Tim Pawlenty] has banked his whole shot on Iowa and is getting beat by... Herman Cain? Romney's ahead -- so what's Romney's excuse for all but bypassing Iowa altogether?" One way Cain can rise in the ranks in the Hawkeye State is by palling around with Iowa's social conservative kingmaker Bob Vander Plaats -- which is what he's wisely opting to do by participating in Vander Plaats lecture series. Earning Vander Plaats' favor would be a smart move. By the way, speaking of Sarah Palin, the person with whom he's currently tied? Back in 2010, when she had the chance to endorse Vander Plaats in his primary battle to be the GOP nominee for the Iowa statehouse, Palin opted to endorse Branstad instead. Think Vander Plaats has forgotten? Of course, Cain continues to display marvelous deficiencies as a candidate as well. For example, he doesn't seem to have a working understanding of federal bankruptcy law. Also, Cain keeps shifting his position on whether or not he'd discriminate against Muslims as far as making appointments go. This week, he's telling people that it's not like he said he wouldn't appoint someone of the Islamic faith -- it's just that Cain wouldn't be comfortable appointing one... so... umm... he wouldn't... appoint one? He realizes that different words can mean the same thing, right? Must not have come up in pizza school.
Hey! Where the hell did Newt Gingrich run off to this week? Last time we checked, he was was basically screwing up his entire campaign royally. It was the most entertaining thing we had going! Well, this week, Newt went on vacation. That's right! For most people, announcing your campaign and then going on vacay the next week would be considered a relentlessly stupid idea. But when you're Gingrich, the best place you can be is far, far away from your presidential campaign. And Newt has gone far away, apparently: An email tipster tells us that he is on board the Seabourn Odyssey cruise ship in the Greek Isles, sharing the Ledo deck with Newt and Callista. The happy couple is probably staying in a stateroom filled with cured meats and precious gems! Truly, this man Gingrich will lead the common people to greatness in 2012! Luckily for Newt, nobody seems to be tweeting about his ouzo intake while on vacation. And that's something of a surprise, because, as Anthony Marcuso points out, "Social Media Is Hurting Gingrich's Run For President." We've come past the point where it is notable that politicians have Facebook and Twitter accounts; it is just assumed. There exists no one who is watching the nightly news and paying attention to politics that is also unaware of the existence of Twitter and Facebook. In the occasions where social media sources are not involved in the news or the reporting, they are promoted as ways to connect with the journalists and reporters. This is all to say that there was nothing special about the Facebook announcement by Newt Gingrich other than the fact that it looked and felt totally forced. Not only is it unnatural for him and certainly pushed for by his staff, but he doesn't really look like anyone that anyone knows on Facebook. Following the announcement, the Gingrich 2012 campaign continued it's inauspicious start, as the Monday after, when the news wasn't discussing Mr. Gingrich's Meet the Press outing, they were showing a hilarious YouTube Video. The Glittering of Newt Gingrich was a glorious form of non-violent and fabulous protest, and while this was not a gaffe on the behalf of Mr. Gingrich, he is now a political candidate in a world where events like this can and do happen, and everything is documented. It is a world where news of potential scandals like the unpaid Tiffany's bills, or salacious trysts and past divorces will spread quickly and become engrained in social conscious, forever equated with Mr. Gingrich. It is not merely that he was glittered or that he and his current wife have an outstanding balance at Tiffany's or even that he has left past wives under dubious circumstances. It is that these occurrences will live forever on YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and around the blogosphere. Gingrich, however, has got lots of old-school stuff working in his favor. He's got a DVD coming out! You can buy it! Also, he wants to save the Ryan Medicare plan from "Mediscare." Which is funny, because he's the guy who said Ryan's plan was "right wing social engineering." So don't feel bad for Newt. He's on a boat. And he's going fast. And he's got a right wing social engineering-themed pashmina afghan.
George Will said this week that Jon Huntsman faces a "thorny path to the GOP nomination." Which I guess means he should buy a good pair of pruning shears? Or something? Oh, this is just that whole phenomenon where Huntsman is not some sort of rabid, reactionary Frankenstein during a season in which that's all the GOP base wants from their candidate: If Barack Obama wins a second term, this will be the first time there have been three consecutive two-term presidencies since Jefferson, Madison and Monroe between 1801 and 1825. The Republican nominee will be chosen by a relatively small cohort consisting of those Americans most determined that this not happen. Nominating electorates make up in intensity what they lack in size. They pay close attention to presidential politics early, and participate in cold-weather events, because they have a heat fueled by ideology. Cool-hand Huntsman, with his polished persona and the complementary fluencies of a governor and a diplomat, might find those virtues are, if not defects, of secondary importance in the competition to enkindle Republicans eager to feast on rhetorical red meat. Different week, same story with this Huntsman guy, right? Let's do that thing where we find something he likes that is going to be a benefit and something he likes that is going to be a dealbreaker. Okay, this is stuff that will help Huntsman: In an op-ed published Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal, Huntsman calls Ryan's plan an "honest attempt to save Medicare" and he calls on critics to put up their own plan or shut up about the GOP's. But that's among the more subtle love he's thrown Ryan and his budget in the recent past -- on Tuesday, Hunstman called Ryan one of the two Republicans alive he admires most. Oh... but this is a dealbreaker: HUNTSMAN: I'm comfortable with a requirement [to have coverage]. You can call it what you want, but at some point, we're going to have to get serious about how we deal with this issue. And that means there will have to be a multitude of different policies that are available in the market place. It means that it will be incumbent upon citizens to look at responsibility, their own responsibility in terms of health and the choices that are made.... There is a mandate today, let's not forget, it's called the emergency room.... We're living today in an environment, to be sure, where there's a mandate in place. It's whether you really want to make the system more efficient. Oh, dude, I know that was like, 2007, but you just can't be a friend of mandates this year. That's too bad, considering it was something Republicans loved like the dickens last time around. Heck, it was the individual mandate that justified Romney's entire 2008 run. So, it's a tough hang for Huntsman, but the good news is that he has significant support in Iowa. Which is to say, he's got the support of just one dude in Iowa that we know about, but we know a significant amount about that one dude who is way into Jon Huntsman: He is 'not sure' when it comes to Barack Obama's job performance -- doesn't approve or disapprove. He reports having voted for Obama in 2008. Huntsman is the only potential Republican candidate he has a favorable opinion of. He expresses 'no opinion' about Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Buddy Roemer, Rick Perry, Fred Karger, Paul Ryan, and Gary Johnson. He has an unfavorable opinion of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump. Unlike Michele Bachmann, Huntsman plans to skip the June 13 GOP debate in New Hampshire. Which is too bad, because it's a golden opportunity for him to pick up a single supporter in that state as well!
Alex Massie says, "In the grand drama of an American presidential campaign, wondering whether Gary Johnson or Ron Paul will win the vestigial libertarian-minded vote in the Republican primary is but a tiny scene of little consequence whatsoever." Okay, well, how do Johnson's prospects look? According to Will Wilkinson: Johnson's gentle pragmatism, far from giving him a clear shot at independent voters, leaves him without a natural core of highly-motivated supporters. As governor, Mr Johnson showed that a non-ideological, pragmatic libertarianism can work as a governing philosophy. But neither full-blooded libertarians nor allegedly liberty-loving tea-party enthusiasts really care much about governing. As that is the only thing of note I can find about Johnson's campaign this entire week, I am starting to question whether he really cares much about running.
As June is Pride Month, it seems natural that the first openly homosexual politician to run for the White House would have something to say about the occasion: As the first out gay candidate for President of the United States of a major political party, June 2011 has particular significance for me. My candidacy sends a strong massage to millions of Americans that if you are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer you can do anything you want in life, you can even run for President. As the only full equality candidate running for President in 2012, I will fight for full equality for all Americans. When I announced back on April 10, 2010 in New Orleans as I began this journey, I said, "I will campaign vigorously to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell; Pass the federal Employment Anti-Discrimination law (ENDA); eliminate the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); make Gay Marriage the law of the land and make finding a cure for HIV/AIDS and a vaccine to prevent HIV a new national priority." And Karger took a pretty clean shot at Obama, whose views on the issues that matter to the LGBT community may be "evolving," though not as fast as the rest of the nation: Unlike President Obama, I will not let my community down and I will work tirelessly until LGBTQ Americans have all the rights guaranteed us in the Constitution. Well, look, you can't argue that Obama doesn't get a notch for ending Don't Ask Don't Tell, but as support for marriage equality continues to tick up nationwide, President Obama is looking more and more as if he's lagging behind the rest of America, instead of boldly working to break barriers.
Sarah Palin continues zooming around America, dragging the media behind her on her grinnin' and griftin' tour of the East Coast, which she says isn't a publicity stunt, vroom-vroom, whee! On that semi-non-attention-seeking-seriously-this-is-just-a-vacation bus ride, she's been gleefully sucking down exhaust fumes for the taste, gleefully sucking down slices of crappy pizza with Donald Trump the wrong way for the synergy and conspicuously planning to visit the early primary states. But don't call it a presidential campaign! Hell, Palin says the gas is so expensive she might have to cut this weird vacation of hers short. Which is a weird thing to say, because she is a titanically wealthy person. And anyway, if you're skint on gas money, maybe don't procure a bus to go tooling all over the hither and yon, for publicity. Instead, call this an American History teaching tour! That seems to be Palin's publicly expressed reason for motoring around America's historic sites, anyway. So, okay! How is that going? It's taken some interesting turns, actually! Here's Sarah Palin, kickin' some wisdom about famous American hero, Paul Revere: PALIN: He who warned, uh, the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free. Huh! You know, I had no idea that Paul Revere rode around, guns blazing and ringing bells like a mad jackass, in an effort to... umm... warn the British. What's sad is that as far as Sarah Palin's ardent fans are concerned, this is now what happened and they don't care about your elite, lamestream fourth-grade history classes! Her bus, by the way, did receive some appropriate redecoration from a latter day Paul Revere. Never forget. At any rate, she's still not been released from her Fox contract, so she's still not running for president. But we got emails a-comin' pretty soon from her tenure as governor of Alaska, so we'll finally get to see how many chain emails she forwarded and the extent to which she issued high-level directives in Lolcat form.
While Ron Paul managed to use Mitt Romney's rollout to announce that his supporters were going to have another "money bomb" this Sunday, Paul's week was otherwise pretty slow. But what news we did hear was actually sort of disturbing -- at least at first. For example, this week, the notoriously anti-establishment candidate told CNBC that he "no longer feels like a Republican outsider." Huh? And then, as if to underscore this, Politico reported that Paul was placing his campaign headquarters inside the Beltway! "Oh, no!" I thought. "Has Ron Paul gone corporate?" No, it's just that the people who work for Politico have combined a hype point with a loose understanding of geography . To the plethora of presidential hopefuls basing their campaigns far outside the Beltway, add one exception: Ron Paul. The Texas congressman, who formally announced his presidential campaign last month, will put its headquarters in Springfield, Va., his political adviser Jesse Benton told POLITICO. Paul chose proximity to Washington to facilitate his involvement in the political operations while doing his day job in Congress. Also, Benton said, much of the growing campaign staff lives in or around Washington. [...] Paul's 2008 campaign was based just across the Potomac River from Washington, in Arlington, Va. Actually, you really have to get specific, because a large portion of Springfield, Va., is actually outside the Beltway. But even if his office is in part of Springfield that's inside the I-495 loop, how is this a new or remarkable feature of the Ron Paul campaign if his 2008 campaign was in Arlington, Va., which is entirely inside the Beltway and, indeed, is "just across the Potomac River from Washington?" Jesus. Buy a map, guys.
This was a pretty low-key week for Pawlenty. I mean, every week tends to be a low-key week for Pawlenty because no matter how hard he works, it ends up that either no one cares or someone else steals the spotlight. So this was a good week for TPaw to take a break from trying hard, as he had to know that campaign coverage would be largely dominated by Mitt's roll-out announcement and Palin's bus tour shenanigans. Then again, this was a pretty nice zing at Mitt: "We're not trying to elevate the volume or the rhetoric in a way that's inauthentic," Mr. Pawlenty said in an interview. "In different contexts, we tried out some different speeches, but we've come back to me being who I am, calling it like I see it, and letting the election rise or fall on that." In the meanwhile, Pawlenty keeps putting together an impressively credentialed staff -- this week, he added to his New Hampshire crew. He's also out with one of those arty, cinematic web videos. The latest depicts his own launch announcement. The video was apparently Brechtian enough that it convinced some reporters that it was actually a "behind the scenes" look at his campaign, when it was really just shrewdly assembled campaign artifice. Elsewhere, Pawlenty hit Obama hard for failing to keep a promise on enacting comprehensive immigration reform -- technically true, but Pawlenty should probably consider the role that Senator Lindsey Graham's trademarked snit-fits played in the matter.
Last week, I defended the notion of covering Buddy Roemer on the grounds that he is one of the few candidates in the race who seems seriously concerned with the way the culture of lobbying has turned our legislative process into an orgy of base favor-trading. But Buddy has got to start meeting reporters part of the way, okay? Like, do some stuff. Make some statements. Okay, well, there's this -- as promised, he went to Waukee, Iowa, and was straight up outlining policy proposals: The former Louisiana governor laid out a multipoint plan to create U.S. jobs by overhauling the nation's trade, energy and tax policies. He promised not to take campaign contributions of more than $100. He decried what he called an addiction to Middle East oil, corporations that don't pay taxes, and special interests that have cost the nation jobs. "We've stood by and let our best jobs go to China and Mexico," he said. Proposals that Roemer put forth include increasing the Social Security retirement age by one month each year for 24 years, and reducing the national budget by 1 percent of the gross domestic product per year over five years. Hooray! Substance stuff! We like. Along the way, he made the entire state of Iowa an offer that it can't possibly refuse: If he wins, Roemer promised to hold his inaugural celebration in Iowa, and not in Washington, D.C. "I'll go back to the heartland, where I started. We'll dance, eat and drink American products," he said. Okay, it will be freezing effing cold in Iowa on January 20th, but I like dancing and drinking "American products" -- I will bring some bottles of Catoctin Creek distillery's fine Roundstone Rye whiskey. So, if you win, it's a date!
This week, Mitt Romney is officially running for president. Again! Of course, the big difference is that, while in 2008 Romney was the innovative blue-state GOP technocrat whose health care reform policy was going to totally co-opt the universal health care argument from the Democratic party, he's now the 2012 version of Mitt Romney that's aware that everyone now hates Romney's health care reforms so he'd like you to focus on his other political accomplishments. You know! Whatever those turn out to be! Romney made it clear that he thought the presidency of Barack Obama was a failure, a comment that sort of got people inclined to support Obama snooting in derision. But honestly, what did you expect Romney to say? That America is only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy? Oh, wait. He actually said that? Ha, well, that's bonkers, obviously. Nevertheless, the base that Romney's trying to appeal to is out for no less than blood, so you have to understand that he can't exactly be telling people that he'd give Obama a B-minus or something. Romney thus starts out, officially, ahead in Iowa. But, in some polls, he's running behind Rudy Giuliani -- somehow. So what's the plan? As Steve Kornacki points out, Romney's campaign slogan may as well be "I'm short your prosperity." If the economy improves considerably in the next 18 months and public pessimism wanes, President Obama will be reelected with ease, no matter which one of them runs against him. For the GOP to have any shot of unseating Obama in 2012, economic anxiety will have to be high, like it was in 1992 and 1980, the last two times first-term presidents were defeated for reelection. But to win the nomination, Romney is counting on a certain amount of pragmatism prevailing among Republicans. His various crimes against conservative purity -- previous support for abortion rights, gay rights, for instance, or the universal healthcare law and individual insurance mandate he implemented in Massachusetts -- have been well-documented. And while it's difficult to quanitify, but there's a reasonable chance that his Mormonism turns off a small but significant chunk of the GOP base. He is not, in other words, the dream candidate of the Republican Party base. [...] This is where the economy comes in: The weaker it becomes, the more vulnerable Obama will seem to Republicans. This, in turn, will create more urgency for the party's opinion-shaping elites to rally behind a candidate capable of taking advantage of a poor economy in the general election -- and it will make it easier for them to persuade rank-and-file Republican voters to follow their lead. It's a pity, then, that Romney's record at job creation is so dismal. Well, at least he's a huge fan of the "Twilight" series, so he'll start the race having made impressive headway with tweens and sad, lonely housewives.
This week, Rick Santorum took a squat this week and dropped a frothy load on top of the 99ers, by suggesting that the extension of unemployment benefits -- at a time when there are five job seekers for every job opening and there is widespread discrimination against the currently unemployed from those who are offering job openings -- were enabling the jobless to live happily in idleness. I'm talking about success from the standpoint of traditional capitalist success, in investing, in innovating, in succeeding, and not saying, well, we're going to tax you more, we're going to regulate you more because you're successful. No. And by the way 99 weeks of unemployment -- I always use the example, in Pennsylvania we have one of our big, favored companies is Hershey. I remind people that Milton Hershey, the person who started the Hershey chocolate company, went bankrupt four times. Now imagine if back in the late 1800′s you'd had a program of 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. Would there ever have been a Hershey chocolate company? And probably the answer is no! So we're not doing favors by creating too big of a safety net, nor are we doing any favors by hammering businesses who are successful. I guess the idea Santorum has subscribed to here is that had Milton Hershey -- a man with a unique determination to make it as a confectioner to prove his doubting family wrong about him, and who always managed to get a job when he needed one, including one with a candymaker in Colorado who taught him the secret of adding milk to sweeten the taste of caramel -- been given a tiny pittance from the government to subsist upon, he would have said, "Dash it all! I much prefer eking out a pitiful existence in some hovel as I scrape together enough food to avoid starving!" Hershey wasn't lazy like that then, and, contrary to Santorum's idiot beliefs, America's unemployed aren't lazy like that now. Anyway, Santorum is expected to announce his destined-to-fail bid for the presidency on June 6, on "Good Morning America."
Whether or not Americans have jobs in 2012 -- or at least some renewed hope that they might find relief from unemployment -- will be the largest determining factor in whether or not President Barack Obama retains his own. Though, as always, we're not to worry too much about Obama, because no matter what happens, he's going to be just fine! But the rest of America is not doing so well. The most recent jobs report was a classic mixed bag: Private sector jobs were up as the public sector hemorrhages, and more Americans entered the workforce but the overall unemployment rate ticked upward. Sooner or later, Obama Re-Elect 2012 is going to want to have something more substantial to point to in terms of recovery. But home sale prices continue to spiral downward, prospects for future growth are dimming, college graduates see the future as something that cannot, necessarily, be "won," and the New York Times editors are awash in grim detail, pointing out, "There's a long way to go before the economy will thrive without government help." The good news, I guess, is that the Obama campaign seems to know the identity of a few people who are doing okay in America, because they are shooting to raise $60 million in this quarter for the 2012 war chest. And the campaign has apparently identified two factors that could aid in Obama's re-election: a rising Hispanic population that might be more inclined to vote for the Democratic incumbent, and a gaggle of GOP governors who have, in their first term, really screwed the pooch with voters. But Obama still has problems. For instance the media, during this recent fight over Medicare and the deficit, seems entirely unwilling or incapable of forthrightly stating that the health care reform package he signed into law contained cost-curbing mechanisms. Even worse than the problems Obama faces with the typical idiocy of the Beltway media, is the fact that mathematics has apparently proven that the Obama White House will soon be embroiled in scandal. Maybe tomorrow! Maybe next week! But definitely soon. Still: $60 million this quarter! Someone's lining up to have a Recovery Summer! Sadly, it's probably not America.
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