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Reposted from Alexander Dukes by Nulwee

Here we go again. Another lame duck session, another predictable round of Republican attempts to shut down the government over the deficit they created. Didn't we just do this in 2010? Oh yeah, we did. And predictably, Obama's liberal base wants him to jump hand in hand with Boehnor, Cantor and Mitch over the fiscal cliff into the unknown doomsday scenario the Republicans are once again using for leverage.

But as it was with the first extension of unemployment checks and Bush tax cuts, and the 2011 debt ceiling, so it shall be with this round of "OMG Gubberment Shutdown!" debates. Obama, will "cave" (as many in his camp squeal) and move the date of the doomsday scenario forward another year or so, crippling his presidency. If that were the whole story, then yeah, I'd be angry right along with you guys. Of course it's not the whole story. Try to control your knee-jerk reaction for just a second and read past the fancy 19th centuryish swirl thingie.  

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Reposted from glendenb by swellsman

In her book Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatley discusses the ways in which organizations that are most open to their environments, most flexible, adaptable and responsive while also staying absolutely true to their core identities are those that are most robust, most successful and most long-lived.  She observes:

When an organization knows who it is, what its strengths are and what it is trying to accomplish, it can respond intelligently to changes from its environment . . . The presence of a clear identity makes the organization less vulnerable to its environment; it develops greater freedom to decide how it will respond. (pages 85-86)

Wheatley defines the three key things any organization needs to know to succeed - who are they, what are their strengths and what do they want to accomplish.

There's a seeming paradox in Wheatley's theory.  As organizations become more in touch with their environments, they are less susceptible to changes in it - if, that is, they have a clear sense of who they are, what their strengths are and what they're trying to accomplish.  Self-knowledge grounded in identity, resources and goal, allow organizations to respond to their environment effectively and quickly - because they possess a clear sense of self, they are less threatened by the environment, more adaptable to it and of course, more responsive.  Organizations with a poor sense of identity tend to wall themselves off from their environment in an attempt to safeguard themselves; such actions usually result in disaster.

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Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 05:05 AM PDT

Harry Reid's Brilliant Move

by TheNewDeal00

Reposted from TheNewDeal00 by Nulwee

I love the new, tough guy Harry Reid of late. I hope to see more of him and hope he is still majority leader after the elections.

But this post is about a brilliant tactical move by Reid. It might not seem that way right now, but if you step outside of the situation and look in, it's brilliant.

UPDATE: This is my first diary to make it to the rec list! Thank you all, I am honored. :)

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Reposted from ElsieElsie by Nulwee

...and that's a good thing.

2010 was a bad year for Team Blue – Republicans were in full bay over the Affordable Care Act, and Democratic voters were disillusioned with their elected leaders and not enthusiastic about voting. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was widely seen as an extremely vulnerable target – the economy was doing poorly, and the incumbent was not widely liked, very exposed due to his authority position, and from a swing state known to have some rabid conservatives and a tendency toward some rather erratic political behavior. Yet, on election night 2010, the Nevada Senate race was called for the incumbent less than an hour after the polls closed, and Senator Reid won re-election by a solid five-point margin after seemingly being behind in the polls for weeks.

Reid won because he followed a shrewd strategy that, while perhaps a little cynical for the idealists, works. It’s what we’ve watched Team Obama do essentially from “go” with this election, and it’s working again. Locals here in Nevada sometimes call this “the United States of Nevada” (because of a tendency toward bucking the law of the land, et cetera), but I think Nevada is a good microcosm of the USA in this case – broad swaths of very conservative, thinly populated rural areas, swingy suburban districts, and deep blue polka dots. The President’s campaign is wise to follow a similar strategy to that which led to Senator Reid’s win. It breaks down pretty simply:

1.       Pick the weakest opponent you can.
2.       Define your opponent before s/he can even get started, stay on message, and hammer the opponent relentlessly.
3.       Have a solid campaign finance operation/war chest.
4.       Have an exceptional ground game.

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Reposted from swellsman by swellsman

Mitt Romney's refusal to disclose his tax returns has gotten some media attention lately, but I don't see that this attack has successfully migrated out of the pundit zone and into the heads of most average American voters.  I think a lot of this has to do with the way Obama and the Dems have pushed the story so far:  "Every other presidential candidate in the modern age has released more than two years of tax returns," and "If there's nothing to hide than there's nothing to fear," and etc.

So far, Romney and his surrogates have responded to the demand for the release of additional tax returns by simply lying about precedent.  For example, Romney claims that John Kerry only made two years of tax returns public before he ran for president, a claim that John McCain repeated a few months ago on Face the Nation.  In fact, by the time he ran for president John Kerry had actually released about 20 years worth of tax returns -- not the two that Romney and McCain claim.

The fact that McCain has been shilling for Romney is telling.  After all, 4 years ago when Romney was angling to be McCain's running mate Romney made 23 years' worth of his tax returns available to John McCain as part of his vetting process -- a vetting process that Romney failed to pass.  Indeed, John McCain ultimately decided that Sister Sarah Palin would be a better running mate than Mitt Romney.

If you look at it that way, the way to get some traction for this story is simple:  make it a conspiracy.

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Reposted from Dartagnan by Nulwee Editor's Note: A preview of 2012's negative campaigning? -- Nulwee

Schadenfreude, while temporarily satisfying, is a dish that is best served cold.  Newt Gingrich's precipitous decline from front-runner status in Iowa provides a sobering example of what we can expect in the general election.  Barring some unexpected turn of events, Romney will be the Republican nominee, with financial support likely to approach if not exceed a billion dollars, the vast majority of it poured into carefully and painstakingly crafted attack ads against President Obama which will blanket the airwaves every time you turn on your television or radio, not to mention log on to your computer.

This morning's New York Times directly correlates the fall of the House of Newt to the carpet-bombing anti-Gingrich ad blitz unleashed by the secretive SuperPacs which make up the heart of Romney's election campaign. Even the usually dispassionate New York Times seems taken aback by the enormity and swiftness of the onslaught that destroyed Gingrich:

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Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 09:43 AM PST

They had BETTER Nominate Romney

by swellsman

Reposted from swellsman by swellsman

. . . because I don’t think they’d actually be able to bear any of their “Romney-alternative” candidates.

Lord knows I’m not the first person to have looked at Romney’s polling among the Republican faithful only to conclude that the GOP really, really, really doesn’t want to nominate a French-speaking, (former?) pro-choice, (former?) gay rights supporting, (former?) Reagan-distancing, (former?) tax-raising, (forever!) Godfather of Health Care Reform, magic-underpants wearing Mormon named Willard to be their candidate for President of the United States.

I mean, Willard started this race the ostensible front-runner, and yet his polling never, ever has been able to break much out of the 23 – 25% range with Republicans.  They’re just not that into him.  And so numerous candidates have been presented as the Willard alternative, and after each one has flamed out an equally or even more ludicrous candidate has then assumed the anti-Willard pole position.  The Republicans are quite obviously desperate to find someone – anyone – other than Willard to put up against Obama next November, but none will do.

And with Herman Cain they are now scraping the very bottom of the barrel.

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Reposted from swellsman by swellsman


I just saw this story regarding Virginia’s primary on Super Tuesday, March 6th.  It turns out that neither Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, nor Jon Huntsman submitted the necessary paper work in time to qualify for Virginia’s primary – they will not appear on the Virginia ballot.

I find this interesting because it seems to me that failing to file the requisite paperwork to appear on any of the Super Tuesday states is tantamount to admitting that your campaign for the presidency is not something you take particularly seriously.  Whether it’s the sheer inability to collect the necessary signatures or the simple unwillingness to expend the resources necessary to do so, failing to appear on a Super Tuesday state’s ballot pretty much announces to the world you do not think you have a serious shot at snagging your party’s nomination.

Assuming that’s the case, I am beginning to wonder what thought these three non-candidates have given to whom they will endorse for the Republican nomination once they officially bow out of the running.  So . . . I’m gonna indulge myself by making some more entirely unsubstantiated, wildly speculative, political horserace predictions.

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Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM PDT

Did Karl Rove Find an Acorn?

by swellsman

Reposted from swellsman by swellsman Editor's Note: An incredible diary, featuring layers of analysis that provide new understanding. -- swellsman

                          Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then.
                                                --traditional saying

Remember Karl Rove’s “inevitability strategy”?

It’s well-known that Karl Rove believes that swing voters like to vote for the winner.  Therefore, one of the central political strategies for Bush has been to create an “aura of inevitability” that, theoretically, will bring people to his side.  If everyone believes you’re a political juggernaut, the theory goes, then you will become a political juggernaut. (emphasis added)

Rove believes so completely in this strategy that when Bush II was running against Al Gore in 2000 “[t]o demonstrate his confidence, Mr. Bush traveled at the end of the campaign to California and New Jersey, states firmly in Democratic hands.”  The strategic thinking seemed to be that having Bush campaign in states everyone knew he couldn’t win signaled to undecided voters how confident Bush was that he’d take the swing states he actually needed.  To Rove, this “signaling” was more important than any substantive campaigning in the last few days might be.

Now, I’ve never been a big believer in the “Karl Rove is a political genius” school of thought.  Karl Rove’s success has always seemed to me to stem mostly from his sheer unwillingness to abide by any sense of morality or decency if doing so might blunt his candidate’s chance to win an election.  His readiness to simply forsake all previously accepted limitations on what constitutes appropriate campaign conduct amounts to nothing more than a breaking of the (unwritten) rules that - prior to Rove’s appearance - had always been understood to govern the contest.  Put another way, Rove wins elections by cheating.  This doesn’t make him a genius, it makes him an asshole.

But yesterday, whilst searching for something else entirely, I came across information that indicates ol’ Rover might actually be on to something with his “inevitability strategy.”  It turns out that, when it comes to elections anyway, it might actually be possible for a political campaign to “create [its] own reality."

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Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM PDT

More of this, please

by thereisnospoon

Reposted from thereisnospoon (David Atkins) by Nulwee

Cross-posted from Hullabaloo

Well, whaddaya know:

President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials.

With a special joint Congressional committee starting work to reach a bipartisan budget deal by late November, the proposal adds a new and populist feature to Mr. Obama’s effort to raise the political pressure on Republicans to agree to higher revenues from the wealthy in return for Democrats’ support of future cuts from Medicare and Medicaid.

Mr. Obama, in a bit of political salesmanship, will call his proposal the “Buffett Rule,” in a reference to Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained repeatedly that the richest Americans generally pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers, because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages.

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Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 02:28 PM PDT

Analyzing Perry's Path to Victory

by Nulwee

While I do not hold a Rick Perry candidacy as currently viable, it's instructive to understand the more plausible circumstances in which Perry can obtain the nomination and even the presidency. By placing ourselves in the campaign's shoes, we can come to a better understanding of our enemies.

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Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 09:38 AM PDT

Analyzing Romney's Path to Victory

by Nulwee

While the latest trend is to over-estimate Perry's strengths as a primary candidate, Romney still remains institutionally robust.  More interestingly, it's entirely possible that a Romney-Obama race could change the political map as we know it.

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