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Our candidates built a ground game. Theirs aren't bothering.In 2008, Democrats were locked in a protracted primary season between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. While Republicans chortled at the time, it proved to have worked to their disadvantage, and Obama won the White House easily.
Naturally, Republicans are trying to spin their 2012 woes as a positive, akin to the Democrats in 2012.
The differences abound?Obama and Clinton kept it much more civil between each other. Remember the Clinton ad that questioned Obama's ability to pick up the phone at 4 AM? Vicious! And given that Clinton and Obama pretty much agreed with each other ideologically, they weren't forced to tug each other out of the mainstream. I mean, Republicans are debating access to birth control!
Furthermore, Republicans nominated a weak senator who wasn't able to rally his base or raise any money. Democrats don't have to worry about that this year.
But here's another reason?both Obama and Clinton built a massive state-by-state infrastructure as they contested states deep into the calendar. That infrastructure is what allowed Obama to shock in states like Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia. And even activated Democrats in hopelessly red states were recruited to partake in the national effort, whether it was by shipping them to swing states, or virtual phonebanking, or whatnot.
Contrast this to Republicans 2012:
Illinois hasn't played a major role in a Republican nominating contest since 1988, when voters here sided with then-Vice President George H.W. Bush over then-Kansas Sen. Bob Dole. Officials here say the presidential campaigns seem almost surprised that they have wound up competing in Illinois this year, and they see little evidence of robust get-out-the-vote operations [...]The Democratic primary in 2008 built up the party. The Republican primary in 2012 is systematically destroying each other as they race to the ideological extremes.
Likewise, voters and local political operatives say the candidates have not devoted much time or money to phone calls or mail; instead, a super-PAC supporting Mr. Romney has spent nearly $2.5 million on television ads in the state, while a group supporting Mr. Santorum has spent roughly $300,000.
Which one will have left their party in better shape for the November elections? It's no contest.
There's a reason Republicans (and Romney, in particular) have so drastically underperformed in turnout.
Mitt Romney wants to blame President Obama for gas prices. Either President Obama is moonlighting as both the British and French prime minister as well as the German chancellor (not to mention a host of other countries around the world), or Mitt Romney is lying:
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to accept a case challenging a lower court ruling on the anti-discrimination policy at organizations recognized by California state universities. The groups relied on a "religious freedom" argument to justify discriminating[...]
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The truth isn’t good enough any more, if you can even find it amid the rubble of American rhetoric.
Deception, lies, and artistic license in artistry, we see the tension every day in politics.
Obama reelect called out for massaging the message on his mother’s illness.
Joe Scarborough applying the false equivalency to Obama’s contraceptive mandate by saying it was similar to the federal government mandating female deacons in the Southern Baptist Church.
A whopper used to reveal a perceived evil, even if as a lawyer you know the equivalency is false, but if the hyperbole can win people to your side you employ it.
Mitt Romney’s narrative on energy prices, even the military, but also Obama on Iran, charging he never said “all option are on the table.”
It’s dishonest, but will it be discovered? Usually, yes.
I’ve actually written, produced and directed my own one-woman show, so when the Mike Daisey story started unraveling it obviously caught my attention.
Of course, my show was on John F. Kennedy and the politics going forward through the modern feminist revolution, so it’s impossible to fake most details. But constructing a narrative and message is the same, which begins with the trust and faith you weave with your audiences.
There should be no sympathy for Mike Daisey.
The story this reveals is about arrogance, insecurity and ethics in artistry that should be taught in every journalism and performing arts school in America, though in politics it’s hopeless.
All this came to our attention because the China correspondent for the public radio program Marketplace, Rob Schmitz, who lives in Shanghai, heard the story and had questions about it, he had suspicions about it. And he went out and he found the translator.
And although Mike told us her name is Anna – he now admits, to keep us from finding her – her name actually is Cathy, just like he says in his monologue. Rob ran the details of Mike’s monologue by Cathy and learned that much of the story is not factual. Cathy gave Rob emails between her and Mike that corroborated her version of some of the events. – Ira Glass from “This American Life”
The scandal surrounding Mike Daisey’s ?The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,? which drew in “This American Life” and everyone else within ear shot is the latest to hit America, as truth continues to take a holiday.
Host Ira Glass has now done a tour de force retraction.
Mike Daisey is a case of an artist seducing himself to believe that the fictional tale he alone is crafting is worth the lies he has to concoct to create it. A person so desperate to make a mark that no motive is too craven in the pursuit of what he’s convinced himself has at its core a larger truth.
The irony that a pathological liar isn’t a good arbiter of truth escapes the fanatical crusader.
That Daisey thinks he’s protecting material so precious that it does not require the simple standard of truth or disclosure goes to the heart of why one-person theater is so seductive in the first place.
The talk show infotainment host genre the pinnacle of a one-person production; the presidency the penultimate.
The clear intent of Daisey to dupe his audiences is woven into the title by what’s missing.
It’s very easy to put a sub-heading on a theatrical work, if your intent is to be clear and unambiguous, which absolutely wasn’t Daisey’s game. But it’s especially important for artistic integrity when you’re covering a public person or company through embellishments and fictional propaganda that stretch well beyond what your narrative and research can prove.
Daisey could easily have added words to clearly state his work was fiction, a parable, “a foreshadowing of calamity to come,” or any number of descriptive or creative phrases to warn the unsuspecting theater goer and subsequent audiences that his one-man show was a fictional rendering of the iPad – Foxconn drama, which could have been seen as a message or moral accompanying Daisey’s fictional tale.
Instead, Mike Daisey made a conscience decision to deceive.
This happens in politics every day.
Pres. Obama and his team could have chosen to tell his mother’s tragic story straight.
Joe Scarborough could have, too, or backed down when Mika Brzezinski first challenged him.
What Daisey said to Glass is particularly telling, from the transcript:
Ira Glass: … And, and at that point you could have come back to us and said ?oh no no no I didn?t meet these workers, you know, this is just something I inserted in the monologue based on things I had read and things I had heard in Hong Kong? um, but instead you lied further and you said, you wrote, ?The workers were from Wintek and not Foxconn.? Why not just tell us what really happened at that point?
Mike Daisey: I think I was terrified. [breathing]
Ira Glass: Of what?
Mike Daisey: ? That—
Mike Daisey: I think I was terrified that if I untied these things, that the work, that I know is really good, and tells a story, that does these really great things for 15 making people care, that it would come apart in a way where, where it would ruin everything.
…that it would come apart in a way where, where it would ruin everything…
Ruin everything for Mike Daisey, that is.
Mike Daisey used hyperbole and propaganda to spin a story that made him a hero and center of attention that rocked the eBiz community.
Someone else, though I’ve forgotten who, wrote that if Mike Daisey hadn’t let slip the real name of his interpreter he might never have been caught.
Daisey chose to tread the worlds of fact and fiction, purposefully weaving a story to seduce viewers and listeners into believing him, because he’d convinced himself his cause was righteous, so no means was to disingenuous or reprehensible to employ.
Along the way, with performances at the Public Theater piling up, as were the rave reviews and the extensions to his run, celebrity snared him and he started believing the rules don’t apply to the righteously intended.
How many times have we seen that theme playing out in politics today?
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It's so nice to see Republicans shilling for big oil and insisting that trying to move to other forms of energy is "ridiculous" but that's what we got from the head of the RNC, Reince Priebus, on Face the Nation this Sunday. And of course Priebus also trotted out the Republicans' "big lie" that Obama wants higher gas prices.
The claim that Obama consciously tried to hike the price of gas isn?t a new one. Last month, Mitch Daniels said the president ?wanted higher gas prices, and he got them.? And earlier this month, a Fox News reporter was widely mocked, including by the president himself, for asking if Obama yearned for high has prices.
The Washington Post looked into the allegation (which, it?s worth noting, makes no sense whatsoever), and found that ?the president never said he wanted the cost of gasoline to rise.?
What?s new, and immensely dispiriting, is that Romney ? who, if nothing else, understands how the economy works ? chose to pick up the mantle. The problem for him is he can?t very well acknowledge where the blame truly lies without eroding his support. If Romney calls out the oil speculators, he risks being labeled anti-capitalist, and if suggests ratcheting down the talk of attacking Iran, he will be labeled anti-Semitic.
The Washington Post also took on one of Priebus' other lies during this interview, which is that the building the Keystone pipeline will somehow lower the price of gas as well -- Will the Keystone XL pipeline lower gasoline prices?.
And Think Progress has more on Priebus' claim that the Keystone pipeline would create 20,000 jobs -- Myth That Keystone XL Creates Jobs Perpetuated By Oil Lobby, Parroted By Congress?s Oil Recipients:
Project advocates, who include Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, misrepresent its economic benefits to favor the oil industry, throwing out claims that Keystone XL creates ?tens of thousands of jobs.?
However, studies conducted independently of TransCanada find much smaller jobs numbers, far from ?tens of thousands.? An oil contractor hired by the State Department reported it would create between 5,000 and 6,000 temporary jobs, while an independent study by Cornell University found it would create only 500 to 1,400 temporary jobs. Once the costs of the increased pollution and risk of oil spills is factored in, Cornell found, the jobs impact is likely to be negative. The ?118,000 spin-off jobs? number used by TransCanada received two Pinocchios from the Washington Post Fact Checker.
I'm also not sure how building a pipeline for Canadian oil which will end up on the world oil market would "get us a step closer to energy independence" but Schieffer let Priebus get away with that one as well. Schieffer for his part did at least challenge Priebus on the fact that Republicans were the ones that actually killed the pipeline by rushing the approval date, but after Priebus lied in response he didn't challenge him and just moved on to the next topic. But that's par for the course with these Sunday shows where Republicans are regularly allowed to lie with impunity and are seldom taken to task for it, with Schieffer being one of the worst offenders.
Transcript below the fold.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Mister Axelrod, we thank you for that and Mister Priebus is right here. And today is his birthday. So we want to wish you a happy birthday before the--
PRIEBUS (Republican National Committee Chairman): Thank you, Bob. I think David's-- I think David's living in a permanent fun house mirror myself, but Anyway, go ahead, Bob.
PRIEBUS: Well, I mean he's-- he's defending a President, I mean, initially you talked about gas prices. He's defending a President that had-- gas prices were a dollar eighty-five a gallon when he took over. And we have got-- and-- and-- and then he defends the President's position. When the President's own energy czar said-- and this is undisputed-- that he wanted gas prices to go to European levels.
SCHIEFFER: When did he say that?
PRIEBUS: So that we could all be forced. It was-- and about years ago. So that we could be forced to drive, you know battery-operated cars and scooters around. So-- now he's back pedaled on that statement. But very quickly, the Obama administration is finding itself in a whole lot of trouble because once again we've got a President who says one thing and then he does another. So in any event, I think that when it comes to gas prices, this President has taken our country completely backwards. And this idea that David Axelrod is spinning that now we've got record production. We've got record production because of the actions of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton years ago because it takes time. Well, this President shut down on-shore drilling. He shut down off-shore drilling. He shut down Keystone. And so now we're sitting in a place where we're no better off today than where we were three years ago. And we've got a President that's now coming back on the campaign trail again talking about an "all of the above" energy policy.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what about--
PRIEBUS: Well, that's-- that's ridiculous.
SCHIEFFER: What about Mister Axelrod's assertion that it's your fault that the Keystone thing got killed because you tried to force an early decision.
PRIEBUS: Well, I think myself and everyone in the studio chuckled all about at the same time when he said that. Look, the Republicans have been in favor of this Keystone pipeline, twenty thousand jobs. You know, if there was ever such a thing as shovel ready projects here was one of them. Plus, it would get us a step closer to energy independence. It wouldn't be the whole-- the whole deal. But it's a step closer. And this President has shut down everything when it comes to energy independence in this country. We're sitting on a wealth of energy to get us to a place where we don't have four- and five-dollar gas. This President isn't there. And he's talking out of both sides of his mouth.
The Gold Report: Mark, do you agree with Patricia Mohr, Scotiabank’s vice president of economics, that gold would need further reflation or another round of quantitative easing to rise above $2,000/ounce (oz) in the near term?
Mark Lackey: Higher inflation in the Western world would certainly help push gold over $2,000/oz in the next 18 to 24 months. But inflation is not the only factor underlying the price of gold. On the demand side, you have growing demand among the middle class in India and China. On the supply side, we are seeing that companies are not always getting to production as quickly as they anticipate. Given all of these factors, gold could top $2,000/oz even without a significant . . . → Read More: Gold Mining in West Africa Promises Growth: Mark Lackey
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Roger Ebert, invaulable as always, intervenes in the controversy over the R rating of Bully with a reminder of what the MPAA was trying to do in the first place when it introduced its ratings system:
The MPAA began to set this trap for itself when it got into the ratings business in the first place. It was intended at the time not to promote public decency in language, but to provide the motion picture industry with a plausible way to head off local censorship boards. When I started at the Sun-Times, the city had a board of censors made up of the widows of police captains, and their rulings were often inexplicable. There was also the question of whether censorship was even constitutional. Jack Valenti, in 1968 the new head of the MPAA, came up with the rather brilliant notion that a new code should be “voluntary,” and thus no test of the law. Studios and theaters would be asked for voluntary compliance…
The one thing the MPAA cannot ever do, Valenti argued, is get into the business of value judgments. It can advise parents that a film contains the f-word, for example, but not whether that use is appropriate. Now that 20 members of Congress have come forward to sign a petition protesting the R rating of “Bully,” we can assume that the film uses the word for justifiable reasons.
And he also reminds us that Valenti’s code was a break with the Hays Code, the set of rules that dictated that, for example, even married couples in the movies had to be portrayed sleeping in different beds. If the MPAA’s ratings system has become more conservative than the communities it’s meant to serve, and if it’s no longer helping movies get into communities and in front of audiences that might otherwise be barred from seeing them, then it’s not fulfilling its original intention. Such certainly seems to be the case with Bully, which had schools prepared to bus their students to see it, and has a strong case for letting teenagers, especially those whose parents might not be appropriate and supportive discussion partners, see it on their own. If that’s so, there’s precedent for breaking with the past and starting over.
The FAMiLY Leader and its president, Bob Vander Plaats, intend to hold a rally in the Iowa state Capitol tomorrow pressuring the state legislature to take up an amendment to the Iowa constitution defining marriage solely as between a man and a woman. Along with other groups including CatholicVote.org and the National Organization for marriage, the Leader has been promoting the policy change since the Iowa Supreme Court declared in 2009 that a state law prohibiting same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. In conjunction with the rally, the groups expect to deliver a petition with over 20,000 signatures supporting the amendment.
The involvement of Vander Plaats in the event is especially noteworthy, as his extremism in Iowa state politics has increasingly driven even fellow Republicans and social conservatives to distance themselves from him. In honor of tomorrow’s rally, ThinkProgress has put together a video compendium of Vander Plaats’ stand-out moments:
For over 35 years, government contractors have been prohibited from donating to political campaigns, but the super PAC supporting GOP front runner Mitt Romney is exploiting a grey area in the law to accept money from these companies.
A 1976 amendment to The Federal Election Campaign Act banned federal contractors from making “contributions to influence Federal elections.” The idea behind the law is to prevent companies from using taxpayer dollars to make contributions that could sway politicians to award them contracts. But when the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision paved the way for super PACs, which can accept unlimited corporate contributions, the court didn’t clarify if that includes federal contractors.
Restore Our Future, the deep-pocketed super PAC backing Romney, has taken advantage of this ambiguity to raise $890,000 from at least five contractors that would be barred from giving to Romney’s campaign directly, the Los Angeles Times reports:
Other super PACs, including Republican-allied American Crossroads, and Priorities USA Action, which backs President Obama, have language on their websites warning that federal contractors are not allowed to make donations.
Restore Our Future does not list the prohibition on its website.
One company was apparently unaware of the federal law banning government contractor contributions, and when contacted by the Times, said it would ask Restore Our Future to return its contribution. Charlie Spies, a former Romney aide who is now Restore Our Future’s treasurer, failed to tell the company about the federal contractor ban when the company asked if their donation was legitimate.
The super PAC refused to comment to the Times.
Restore our Future has spent over $35 million so far to support Romney and attack his GOP opponents, far more than the super PACs backing the other candidates.