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The Sunday Political Brunch – August 12, 2012

Another look at the week in politics!

Well, all the speculation ends; and now the campaign begins in earnest. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) is the vice presidential running mate of Mitt Romney. To me, it was a surprise pick and a gamble that has some upsides and downsides. Let’s take a look:

The Good – The choice of Ryan completely focuses the race on the economy. Whether or not you agree with Ryan’s budget ideas, the budget is his area of expertise and has earned him some notoriety. The debate will be about the economy, the economy and the economy. Focusing on that is really the only way the Romney-Ryan ticket can win. This race isn’t going to be about foreign affairs (unless there is a sudden crisis); and this race isn’t going to be about gay marriage, abortion, or Romney’s tax returns.

The Bad – A lot of Ryan’s budget expertise is not material that translates well into television sound bites or bumper stickers. When you start talking about actuarial projections of life spans and entitlement payout estimates to retirees in the fiscal year 2035, people’s eyes can glaze over. The Republicans need to come up with a line that sums up their positions and is memorable. In 1980 Ronald Reagan won, in large part, by asking people a simple question: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Romney-Ryan needs a memorable slogan. “America’s Comeback Team” sounds good while the Olympics are in progress, but I think the Romney-Ryan team needs something stronger going into the fall campaign.

The Ugly – The biggest gamble about picking Paul Ryan is the potential impact on the Electoral College map. Right now the latest Real Clear Politics estimate gives President Obama 237 Electoral votes and Governor Romney 191. The remaining 110 are listed as toss-ups. A candidate needs 270 votes to win the White House. Ryan will have strong appeal in the toss-up Midwest states of Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio. Assuming they carry all three, the Republicans' Electoral College total bumps up to 235. Add Florida (29) and Nevada (6), and the GOP gets to the magic 270. It’s a tough road ahead.

Why Not Marco Rubio? – All candidates do internal polling, and I suspect that sunk Rubio. He probably could have helped Romney carry Florida, but that may have been it. While Rubio, a Cuban-American, polled well among his own Hispanic voting block, there was scant evidence that he might pull in enough Hispanics of Mexican decent in places such as New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. In fact, New Mexico is looking strong for Obama-Biden, while Nevada and Colorado are too close to call based on the latest polls. (By the way, about six weeks ago, I predicted Rubio would get the VP nod; I was wrong! A lot of my politico colleagues don’t readily admit their mistakes, but I want this weekly column to be on the level with its readers.)

Why Not Rob Portman? – Ohio Senator Rob Portman had a problem similar to Rubio's. Yes, he could help the ticket win his home state; but he showed insignificant voter appeal elsewhere. Plus, Portman was President George W. Bush’s Budget Director for a time. The strong link to the second Bush administration and its economic policies would have made Portman a potential piñata for Democrats.

The Gamble – Three weeks ago, a CBS News poll put Romney in the lead nationally by one percentage point. This past week, Obama was back up by seven points according to the latest ABC News poll. More troubling for Romney is that Obama leads the polls in ten out of twelve battleground states, though some of the margins are close. This probably explains why Romney took a gamble on Ryan. In short, Ryan helps him in the greatest number of states.

The VP Map – The last time a vice presidential running mate helped decide the outcome of a presidential campaign was 1960, when Lyndon Johnson  helped carry Texas and a few other Southern states. Without them, John Kennedy would have lost. So, Paul Ryan has a tall order ahead of him. He must bring a number of states to the GOP ticket, including his home state  of Wisconsin.

The History – Republicans who are despairing over the latest poll numbers might take heart in knowing that the 1980 presidential race between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan did not turn to Reagan’s favor until mid-September. The 1980 and 2012 races have many parallels, including the dire state of the economy. With a roll of the dice, this year’s race is still very much up for grabs.

As always, your thoughts are welcome. Just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com

(c) 2012, MarkCurtisMedia, LLC

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mike westman August 21, 2012 at 01:12 AM
There are a lot of us out there that are successful and do not share your selfish concept of society. I live here....I have to acknowledge my responsibility to that society that has provided me with the infrastructure and protection from economic and cultural predators. I accept that....apparently you do not. And I gather you are a politician .....that makes you even worse
mike westman August 21, 2012 at 01:13 AM
The unions have not ruined the schools......the govt. mandates have managed to make education difficult. Get off their backs.
Naome Lixes August 21, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Who said your kids should strive for mediocrity? Who said they shouldn't pursue their ultimate potential? Financial wealth through hard work is a noble reward. Having a class that comes to dominate the rest because of inheritance is the opposite of the American dream. If you really want to teach your kids to be successful, tell them to be born rich. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/us/harder-for-americans-to-rise-from-lower-rungs.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all Snark ignores the stark facts; in America, your zipcode is your destiny. https://www.npr.org/2011/01/28/133306180/Mother-Jailed-For-School-Fraud-Flares-Controversy
Joe Sousa. August 21, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Union teachers and their spouses in our legislatures have created the mandates. The worst part is the people elected them . Not me, other people
Joe Sousa. August 21, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Mike if you enjoy giving your hard earned money to fat lazy welfare moochers and looters you should pay extra. Write the check!
Jack Baillargeron August 21, 2012 at 02:18 AM
http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2008/01/14/the-decline-of-inherited-money/ 1. According to a study of Federal Reserve data conducted by NYU professor Edward Wolff, for the nation’s richest 1%, inherited wealth accounted for only 9% of their net worth in 2001, down from 23% in 1989. (The 2001 number was the latest available.) 2. According to a study by Prince & Associates, less than 10% of today’s multi-millionaires cited “inheritance” as their source of wealth. 3. A study by Spectrem Group found that among today’s millionaires, inherited wealth accounted for just 2% of their total sources of wealth. Each of these stats measures slightly different things, yet they all come to the same basic conclusion: Inheritance is not the main driver of today’s wealth. The reason we’ve had a doubling in the number of millionaires and billionaires over the past decade (even adjusted for inflation) is that more of the non-wealthy have become wealthy. So it’s not just that the same old rich folks are getting richer. The more-important shift is that the rich are getting more numerous.
Ryanthegirl August 21, 2012 at 02:44 AM
@mikewestman "Since when is there a qualitative aspect to success & wealth” For me my answer would be forever & the day I turned 16 & was able to scoop ice cream for 5.10 an hour & not able to accept tips. I worked under a private sector union regime for 8 & 1/2 years & made an average of 85K a yr. I took the first package available because I knew that complacency was not for me. I was a work from home mom for 4 years until very recently, working 55+ hours a week making an average of 26K a yr. & was grateful to do so because it was MY choice. Now, I am back in the "real world" making 35K a yr. no benefits. So, please don't lump me in your "you guys" category because we are by no means wealthy, in fact we don’t even meet the “middle class” standard. I am well aware that money does not mean happiness because I have seen both sides. It’s the overall jealousy toward the wealthy that bothers me as a parent. I think my question is a valid one when I ask, what am I suppose to teach my children?
Ryanthegirl August 21, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Furthermore, “the have vs. have not” is false, our state has no middle class; it has a working class & 39% non-working class. We need jobs here to allow most of the 39% to work because they want to. The most recent administration & current administration have made it that way through taxation, intern our states wealthiest will no longer want to do business here or hire within the state. You state you are a businessman as I was a business major & this was economics 101,operating in the red leaves negative profit for all, top to bottom.
Jack Baillargeron August 21, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Tell me Mike W. which "mindless libertarian/conservative element that wants to me me me". Made the State of RI, one of the worst to do business in? We are 41st in Education; low wages through out the State in the name of tourism. Low wage jobs, industries and investors fled the State. Now let’s see what DEM do on the obvious other side of your coin. A Lottery and slot machines that saved our tax base and rebuilt our schools, lower property taxes, taxes to maintain our bridges, roads, water ways, they built the Big River reservoir, mass transportation, we have 0% unemployment, the fishing industry is 2nd to none, higher education for free and they get employed with any degree they take no matter what it is, houses cost a pittance but are worth millions, which we pay no taxes on, we need no self responsibility in RI. The General Assembly is father and mother. Hell these DEMS in RI are so good, we not only do not have to work at all (because we allow illegals to do it for us under the table naturally). Again; in RI DEM policy is king and it has done all those wonderful things proving that a DEM controlled State run for going on 78 years now is proof that is what we need nationwide (total DEM control and Ideology that has worked so well in RI). Care to name a single time in the last 78 years in RI that the "mindless libertarian/conservative element that wants to me me me"? That did anything in this State that you have talked about. Good luck with that lol.
mike westman August 21, 2012 at 10:01 AM
I am sure there is a whole mix in the tp movement....I do believe that there are few ...if any...of you that actually feel any real pain from economy and from the govt. ...you all seem to have money....jobs..(if you are young enough) food....medical care...roads and all that other stuff that we sort of take for granted. Corruption is everywhere....in every country and in every culture...it is a way of life and the lone sentinel that rails against the rest of us becomes ineffective in the quest for honesty in govt. ...sure you have to speak out but the smart thing is to speak in a way that actually can have results. Teachers, union members, welfare and medicaid participants are easy low hanging fruit....yet when your personal safety net will fail and you need the services of the govt. then maybe you will look at what really happens. Corruption is everywhere and it becomes a function of one entity at a time to make the system work more efficiently We understand your inner rage....we all feel it...you have to express it in a way that actually can do something. Alienating the rest of us with sophomoric ideas will not accomplish that end. .
mike westman August 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM
Who dictated those mandates? The lib I am would say (sic) that Federal and State ed. depts and the courts are the ones. And do not forget those little propositions you voted for (or against if you actually read them) when it was ballot time. Unions did not foist them on the educational system.
mike westman August 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM
I would rather give it to someone who needs it rather to someone who sticks it in his offshore bank account.
mike westman August 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM
mike westman August 21, 2012 at 10:08 AM
Really....other than the economic pain that does not allow us steak everynite....show us the real economic dysfunction that exists in your life......not imagined or some talking point taken off of a website....real pain....then our conversation can become realistic
Joe Sousa. August 21, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Take back America from the Moochers and Looters . Join the Tea Party and give them the boot. We can do better if people get involved.
mike westman August 21, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Get rid of the proselytizers and Kochies, tell the supremacists and rapturists to take a walk....and get a realistic platform on women's health issues....then just maybe...we will look at the tp as a coherent political platform to work from. Until then......the circus is in town and it aint pretty
Naome Lixes August 21, 2012 at 10:55 AM
That sounds good - what is the local Tea Party stance on the Navy owning so much valuable property, or Raytheon at the taxpayer-filled trough? You mob are the modern incarnation of the "no-nothing" party, without any foreign policy or public works experience. The Tea Party rallied after Wall Street looted retirement savings and installed Barry in the highest office. Ineffectual on the national stage, you have turned your attention on soft targets. Like schools, public works and pensions. I would like to take back America from the gullible - you're being used, Joe. What says the Tea Party hymnal in response to that?
Jim L August 21, 2012 at 11:13 AM
BristolRI02809 August 21, 2012 at 11:48 AM
As usual, the two teabagger mouthpieces, Joe Sousa and Jack Baillargeron are spouting off against the unions, just as their teabagger handlers order them to do. Here's a question for both of you two nitwits-In the last election, Joe Sousa vowed to take away emergency medical rescue service from the town fire department and sub-contract it out to a private company. Is this still your official stance Mr. Sousa, and what are your feelings Jack? Inquiring minds would love to know.
Lynn August 21, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Seriously...another Obamabot...talking trash, nonsense and crap. Get off and Dr. John is right...this was posted in so many places all over the internet, so you are nothing but a liberal troll!
Lorraine F August 21, 2012 at 12:30 PM
BristolRI02809, Just so you know, I may not agree with Mr Sousa or Mr Baillargeron, but I read their comments carefully. Yours I do not. I think you have some good points to make. If you think a little more on presentation, you might get people like me to take you seriously.
Naome Lixes August 21, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Any chance we could stay on topic? I'll gladly trade witty barbs with the Tea Party adherents, but why call them stupid? Let them display their prodigious acumen in print - that should be sufficient. I'm guessing there are some workable ideas, buried under the bluster. I just haven't heard any, yet. The silence on defense expenditures is thunderous... http://econintersect.com/wordpress/?p=8504 (I know, pesky facts, written by someone with suspicious "credentials".) http://snltranscripts.jt.org/79/79shominids.phtml
Naome Lixes August 21, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Any truth to that, or are you just baiting a bored old man? Time to up your game, bigmanny.
Naome Lixes August 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Wow, another gem. Your brilliance is staggering, Joe. http://snltranscripts.jt.org/79/79shominids.phtml https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYqF_BtIwAU
BristolRI02809 August 21, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Naome-Jack Baillargeron is a retired unionized firefighter who worked at the navy base fire dept. in Newport., and yes, he does collect a pension. Somehow, somewhere, he apparently got into confrontations with his fellow firefighters and retired. It seems a combination of that sour taste he had in his mouth coupled with the teabagger kool-aid served to him by Marina Peterson, Gary Morse, etc. and listening to John DePetro and Rush Limbaugh has turned him into the new crusader for the teabaggers.
BristolRI02809 August 21, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Lorraine-Maybe you're not reading their comments carefully enough. The minute anyone on this blog makes a post that goes against the republicans/teabaggers, Joe and Jack are the first two to jump all over it and start attacking those posters. While an eye for an eye or tit for tat might not always be an appropriate response, if nobody stand up to these internet bullies, people might actually begin to believe their line of bull. Remember Lorraine, if you repeat the same lies over and over again, even reasonable people begin to believe them.
Realistic voter August 21, 2012 at 09:46 PM
"Not me other people" Wa WA WA!!!! You sound like a 5 year old!!! Get a life dude " "Please come join our cult" ( tea party) They will lead us to the promise land!!!!
Leave RI August 21, 2012 at 11:47 PM
I didn't think there were this many R.I.-er's who buy into Barry O'Drama's plan to trash the United States
East Greenwich GOP September 11, 2012 at 01:01 PM
The Polls are open! Please get out and make your views known! You have until 8 p.m. tonight. This is important...
East Greenwich GOP September 11, 2012 at 01:03 PM
The Polls are open! You have until 8 p.m. tonight to make your views known This is important...


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