“The Sunday Political Brunch” -- November 11, 2012

Thelma and Louise.jpg

(Providence, Rhode Island) – Happy Veterans Day everyone! The big news this week was Election Day, but important events such as that could never take place without the work and sacrifice of our Veterans and those who serve our country today. I’ll be at the Veterans Day Parade in East Greenwich, RI, at 2 p.m. I hope you find a way to honor and thank our vets today and every day. Speaking of Tuesday’s vote, here are some thoughts:

“That Was Close!” – Okay, President Obama won with 323 Electoral College votes to Mitt Romney’s 206. The President also won the popular vote by about 3.2 million votes. But, it looks like more of a blowout than it really was. Consider this: Obama’s margin of victory was actually only 333,000 votes. Where do I get that number? Well, if Romney had won just four more states - Florida, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire - he would have had 270 Electoral votes and would be President-elect. To win those states, he would have needed just 333,000 votes distributed proportionally. That’s just shy of .4 percent of all votes cast. The GOP can survive this election; it just needs to find more votes in certain parts of the landscape.

“The Latin Beat” – As I just pointed out, Republicans were within striking distance of winning this election, so where did they go wrong? The biggest mistake was picking Paul Ryan for VP. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) would have had much greater appeal to Hispanic voters, and he probably could have given Romney the margin of victory needed among voters in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. At the same time, Rubio has the same conservative credentials as Ryan, so the party base would have been secured. Ryan’s job was to win Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio for the GOP ticket, but he won none of them. Nationally, President Obama won 71% of the Hispanic vote.

“Thelma and Louise II” – Every time I hear a politician talk about the federal budget “fiscal cliff,” I think of that classic 1991 movie in which Thelma and Louise drove that nice T-Bird convertible off the cliff into the canyon (photo above). The end won’t be so dramatic this time, because both Democrats and Republicans are too politically savvy (notice I did not say "smart") to let it happen. Republicans will likely concede tax increases for upper income groups, but I bet they negotiate the tax increase to people making over $400,000 per year, instead of the current $250,000 that Democrats want. It’s compromise time, and I predict they’ll pass something.

“A Taxing Issue” – As mentioned above, I believe Congressional Republicans will likely agree to some income tax increases for people making $250,000 per year, or perhaps the higher threshold of $400,000. How many people would that affect? Fewer than 3 percent of Americans make $250,000 per year. Approximately 1.3 percent make $400,000 per year. (We note that both groups already pay a disproportionately higher share of income tax than any other groups in America.) Republicans had a chance to sign off on ending the Bush tax cuts for those earning above $250,000 earlier this year, but were opposed. They got hammered on it. Had they negotiated and perhaps agreed on a $400,000 threshold, they might have neutralized the “class warfare” issue in this election.

“The Keys to the White House” – There are three main strategic reasons why President Obama won. First, most of the 3 percent still undecided swung his way at the last minute - in part, because of his response to Hurricane Sandy. In short, the President got to look Presidential. Second, he was able to define Mitt Romney before Romney could define himself, particularly on the tax cut issue mentioned above. In a Presidential reelection bid, the incumbent is usually on the defensive, with the challenger on offense. This time Romney spent too much time defending his own positions. Third, Democrats have a better ground operation to get out the vote. The final poll last Sunday had it 47 percent Obama to 47 percent Romney; yet Obama won 50 to 47 percent. Anecdotally, in every state where I have lived, I have seen Democrats do a better job with car pools, van pools, neighborhood canvassing, and get-out-the-vote outreach to seniors, the disabled, and others needing help getting to the polls. That’s been my observation on the ground on Election Day for years.

“Who’s Next?” – At the risk of being beaten senseless by people on both sides of the aisle, I now announce that the 2016 Presidential campaign is officially underway. On the Democratic side, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) top the potential list. Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) are early mentions for the GOP. You might laugh at me for saying this, but Senator Rubio is already going to Iowa to give a speech later this week! Here we go again!

“A Final Thought” – So CIA Director David Petraeus has resigned following an affair. Because of this he will not testify before Congress this week about the September 11 terrorist attack on the American Consulate in Libya. That seems odd. He has a lot of knowledge and information that could shed light on the attack and the aftermath. Why would an affair and resignation suddenly preclude him from testifying? Congress should issue a subpoena forcing Petraeus to appear. And if he doesn’t come voluntarily, he should be found in contempt of Congress. Let’s see if anyone has the courage to do so.

As always, if you have questions, comments or dissenting opinions, just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

In a world where pundits scream and make silly predictions and basically spend their days spouting nonsense, it's always refreshing to read the level-headed analysis you give. I have been saying since Tuesday that despite how good the EC tally makes Obama look, it was awfully close when measured in other ways. A butterfly could have flapped its wings in Brazil and we'd possibly have a different outcome today. Something the celebrating Dems should not forget.

On the other hand, I'm pushing early for a Trump/Rove ticket for 2016!

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