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J. Hohn

Sotomayor's nomination is purely symbolic. It is an important thing, but it doesn't provide sufficient substitute for more tangible actions the President could have taken to further the interest of the Latino bloc.

The question that is begged is this: if Obama can "evolve" on gay marriage, why not on immigration? Why wasn't the DREAM act given the same energy Obamacare was when there was no way the Republicans could have defeated it? Dream Act could be law of the land now-- the fact that it isn't reflects the Latino standing with Obama.

That's not to say that Romney has any kind of Latino advantage. I have yet to hear Romney vocalize something that would support the narrow interests of Latinos. He doesn't have much of anything to offer them, as far as I can tell. The best he can hope is appealing to the large numbers of really small Latino businesses. They feel the heavy hand of government like everyone else. I were Romney (nomination in hand) I would portray the deportation thing from a "big government" angle-- Big Government includes Big ICE agencies. Small gov't is less likely to meddle with you, Latino voter.

As it stands now, the only thing Romney has in his favor with Latinos is a reduced level of excitement around supporting Obama. That's hardly something to celebrate.

I don't think running against Congress will work that well. For one, half of it is controlled by his party. One half has passed lots of bills only to have them die in the half controlled by the President. I'm not seeing the flurry of Senate activity being stymied by House Republicans nearly as much. It's been over a thousand days since a budget was voted on in the Senate-- in violation of the Budget Control Act. The House has voted several times on budgets, and Dems have been able to offer amendments (which get shot down, but at least they get to offer them). Not so in the Senate-- closed for business.

In short, it's the Senate that is in "do nothing" mode, and the Dems control it. That's hard to sell. The other thing is that people expect a leader to be able to crack the whip and make things happen. One could interpret the debt ceiling impasse as a failure of Presidential leadership. There's no reason a deal can't be struck that is mutually offensive to both sides.

I think that the economy is going to get worse, unfortunately for Obama. Partisans will assume whichever position advances their case. The reality is that Presidents don't have much influence over the economy from a policy perspective, but that won't keep them from taking credit when things go well. Nor will it keep Republicans from blaming Obama for things going poorly.

I think there is something useful to glean from WI, but I think the Republicans have vastly overplayed the national significance angle. They should be downplaying this. Make-me-Wince Priebus is out there strutting like a rooster on his "superior ground game"-- like this is a baseball game or something. He's doing that actions I want an RNC chair to do, but I want an RNC chair to not be cocky, and keep the mouth closed more often than not. He's not that kind of guy. He's the Cantor-like Republican that nauseates me-- giving off the vibe of Party First (2nd and 3rd)-- principles later.

You are correct that I do echo a lot of Republican commentary. But I also find a lot I object to in much of the Republican conventional wisdom. I can't stand kool-aid drinking on either side, because in my mind the the political conflict is at least as much Inside Beltway vs Outside Beltway as it is Democrat vs Republican. In other words, there are members of my own party that are at least as far from my interests as are those in the other party.

I'm become more Libertarian as I get older, and I'm getting pretty tired of Republican self-righteousness. If you can make a sound argument, then I'll believe that. But if you just expect me to say you're right because we're voting the same, then check again.

I just recently posted about how the Republican Orthodoxy of tax cuts as stimulus is wrong: http://justinhohn.typepad.com/blog/2012/06/can-tax-cuts-stimulate-the-economy.html


Well, obviously Barack Obama has a zero percent chance of convincing you to vote for him, so his message is never going to sound appealing to you. But anyway, what Barack Obama has done for Latinos is 1.) put Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court and more importantly 2.) not run a national campaign that takes a hard line on immigration. Romney cost himself a great deal with his rhetoric during the primaries...Latinos are unlikely to soon forget the line about "self-deportation."

As for Obama's message, he's going to run against Congress, he's going to run on the fact that the economy is (barely) growing jobs and the fact that he's largely neutralized Al Qaeda and killed Osama bin Laden. He's going to paint Romney as beholden to the right wing of the Republican Party. IMO, if the economy continues to grow only 60,000 jobs a month, as it did last month, then Obama is in deep trouble and is likely to lose. If the economy grows 150,000 jobs a month, as it was doing a few months ago, Obama will win. And since presidents have almost no control over monthly job growth, that means that the forces that determine the election are largely outside of Obama's control, but that's true for just about every presidential election.

I wouldn't take the Wisconsin recall election as an indicator for the presidential elections. The politics behind the two are very different in nature. But judging from your blog it looks like you pretty much echo Republican sources and Republican lines of attack against Obama. Also, Nate Silver has come out with his first fall prognosis. He currently puts Obama's odds of reelection at 62.8 percent. I think that's a bit too high, but you can judge for yourself.


J. Hohn

You several valid points. Perhaps the most valid is the "consider the source" angle-- it IS, after all, Dick Morris. In a truly just world, he would be unemployed as a political commentator; it appears one can make a good living telling people what they want to hear, no matter how often that isn't true.

I've been following Nate Silver and he hasn't yet introduced his full model for his fall's forecast. He does have a good (but short) track record.

My belief that Morris is right doesn't come from any particular trust of Dick Morris, nor even from the argument he makes in particular, though I think he does have some really strong points that make this more worth considering than other Morris pieces.

Frankly, I think the polls are next to worthless. Rasmussen has been the closest to correct in the past, but that was with correlated week-before polling to actual election results. Polling this early is not likely to be valuable.

I personally think Romney is PRESENTLY about 50/50. But I expect Romney to be at 60/40 odds (or better come October).

Why? Obama is almost out of ammo. He's got no record to run on. Their campaign is trying to make this about ANYTHING other than 1) what Obama has done and 2) what more he's like to do. Has anyone heard a roadmap from the President of what his next term would seek to do?

His fundraising is lackluster compared to what we were told it would be-- in spite of doing more fundraising than the last 5 incumbent Presidents who sought reelection combined.

There is always going to be a number of people who are happy to blame Bush. They are the kind of people who don't accept personal responsibility, so they don't expect a President to. But as the Bush years get farther behind us, the number of Bush Blamers gets smaller and smaller.

Obama has his own Latino problem, since they gave him big support and have gotten almost nothing in return-- unlike the gay groups that got DADT repealed and got the POTUS to "evolve" on gay marriage.

Moreover, Obama has not done nearly as much as the enviro groups had hoped. AGW is becoming a losing issue as fewer people believe it, or at least don't believe it enough to accept a less prosperous country in service of the idea. We made the green "investments" that were supposed to revitalize our economy. Aside from the individual economies of certain Friends of Barack, it proved to be a huge flop.

I personally think Romney will end up with 56% of the popular vote, which (given current polling) will be an epic landslide that catches all the media by surprise. Just like 2010 did. Just like WI did. They drink each other's Kool-aid and have lost their ability to see the writing on the wall.--JH


That possibility exists, but Morris's reasoning is unsound. He says, for instance, that polling outfits with a registered voter model should be dispensed in favor of pollsters with a likely voter model. Then he cherry-picked the moment where Rasmussen with its likely voter model had Obama down by a 5 point margin to back up his claim. There are two problems with this: First, the Rasmussen and Gallup numbers have been jumping around within a certain area for some time, and they are closely correlated. At this point in the year, most of this is statistical noise. However, since Morris wrote that column, Rasmussen has once again shown a very tight race. Today both Gallup and Rasmussen have Romney with a 1 point edge, 46-45. It's a meaningless snapshot at this point in time because the numbers for both candidates seem to be bouncing between roughly 43 and 48 percent of the vote.

As for an electoral college blowout, I don't see that at all. In order for that to happen, Romney would need to be doing well in places like Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The latest PA polls show Obama with a lead ranging from six to twelve points. In New Jersey, the lead seems to be around 10 points. It's just not close. Furthermore, Obama has a significant firewall in the Southwest, as Romney is getting clobbered amongst Latinos. New Mexico polls show Obama with a steady double-digit lead. In Nevada his lead is between two and eight points, and in Colorado he holds a narrow lead in most polls as well.

In summary, Dick Morris is a hack who is almost always wrong. Nate Silver, with a far better track record, currently estimates Obama's odds of winning at around 60 percent. I think that might be too generous...it's probably closer to 50/50 mainly owing to the economy and the effect that Europe's fiscal crisis is likely to have on the U.S. economy this summer and fall.

Republicans seem confident on the strength of the anti-Obama vote, and they may be right. But there is a very sizable anti-Republican vote as well. And in truth if Obama holds on to Pennsylvania, and the other states in the Northeast and Pacific coast, he has many routes to 270. Romney almost certainly has to win both Florida and Ohio to have a chance.

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