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Washington Post
  • George Will Hates Voting Like He Hates Jeans

    At some point, Washington Post columnist and popular-in-the-'80s pundit George Will began performing the real-life equivalent of Peter Griffin's  "You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?" routine. Many say we arrived at this moment when Will dedicated an entire column to his displeasure at seeing men wearing jeans.

    (George, look at the picture at right. Do you realize that by characterizing denim as " symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche," you're insulting the Ronald Reagan, hallowed be his name? Think about your life, think about your choices.)

    Not convinced that Will is an insufferable crank whose love affair with baseball is his last tenuous connection to normal humanity? His latest column is dedicated to arguing against mandatory voting in federal elections, a policy that precisely zero people in the Obama Administration have proposed. And it's just as well, says Will, because you know who else liked high turnout elections?

    Those who think high voter turnout indicates civic health should note that in three German elections, 1932-33, turnout averaged more than 86 percent, reflecting the terrible stakes: The elections decided which mobs would rule the streets and who would inhabit concentration camps.

    What that has to do with Attorney General Eric Holder's suggestion that election procedures be federalized isn't clear. I think this is what happens when the bow tie gets too tight.

    Photo by Tim Graham/Tim Graham Collection/Getty Images

    Tags: Eric Holder, George Will, Nazis, Ronald Reagan, Washington Post
  • An Alternate History of the Mitt Romney Campaign

    Mitt Romney silhouetteMuch to his credit, Mitt Romney has been helping many of his former campaign staffers find gainful employment after their service to him was so rudely interrupted by the election. But chief campaign strategist Stuart Stevens has decided to take personal responsibility for his own job search, auditioning for a job co-writing alternate histories with Newt Gingrich via this piece in the Washington Post

    "I appreciate that Mitt Romney was never a favorite of D.C.'s Green Room crowd or, frankly, of many politicians. That's why, a year ago, so few of those people thought he would win the nomination."

    Yes, we all remember this clearly. The mainline GOP behemoths of Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann were all the rage among elected Republicans and Party officials, until the insurgent forces of Mitt Romney set the grassroots aflame with his anti-establishment rhetoric.

    "Nobody liked Romney except voters."

    Only 47% of voters. This was the problem.

    "What began in a small field in New Hampshire grew into a national movement."

    If the Massachusetts statehouse circa 2005 counts as a "small field in New Hampshire," then sure.

    "On Nov. 6, Mitt Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters. While John McCain lost white voters under 30 by 10 points, Romney won those voters by seven points, a 17-point shift."

    Finally, something accurate. If the votes of the poors and minorities didn't count as much as upper middle-class whites, Mitt Romney would totally be president now.

    Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

    Tags: Mitt Romney, Stuart Stevens, Washington Post
  • 10 Weird Poll Questions of Campaign 2012

    According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, Barack Obama is the captain of our ship, the master of our souls. When asked "on a ship in a storm, who would you rather have as the captain," 46% of registered voters answered Obama, while 43% preferred Mitt Romney. I didn't even know Obama had a yacht.

    I do know that survey questions have become increasingly inventive as pollsters grow bored of the standard questions about likability and voting intention. Here are another 9 of the stranger queries from this election cycle…

    Read More »

    Tags: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Polls, Washington Post
  • Secret Service to Protect Americans from Herman Cain Campaign

    Between the sleeper cell network known as "Bravo" and alleged would-be assassins deluded enough to believe Jesus Christ would return to Earth as a dirtbag from Idaho, the Secret Service has its hands full. Now comes a new responsibility for the agency, as it embarks on its first ever protective detail of a nationwide book tour

    Presidential candidate Herman Cain will receive protection from the United States Secret Service, the agency confirms to CNN.

    Cain will be the first candidate in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2012 election cycle to be placed under the protection of this federal law enforcement agency.

    It is not yet clear why Cain is getting Secret Service protection.

    A spokesman for the Secret Service refused to say whether there were specific threats against Cain, but a series of incidents at recent campaign events may be responsible for the increased security. On Tuesday, a bodyguard for the Cain campaign shoved a Washington Post reporter covering the candidate in Iowa. On Wednesday, the campaign was forced to apologize after a Florida police officer, claiming to provide security for the campaign, served and protected another journalist straight into the ground

    As the journalists trailed Cain, the officer, who was in plain clothes, blindsided National Journal/CBS News reporter Lindsey Boerma into the side of the campaign bus. Moments later, as journalists circled around the bus toward Cain, the same man stuck his arm out and clotheslined Boerma.

    Perhaps none of this would have happened if only Cain had kept the likes of Kristian Herzog, convicted felon and petty thug, as part of his entourage. As it stands, the feds had to take action, and though reporters and ordinary voters may never be safe from the Herminator's pizza, we may finally be safe from his campaign.

    Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Herman Cain, Primaries, Secret Service, Washington Post
  • Moderates and Independents Blame GOP on Jobs, Don't Care, Still Want a New President

    A new poll from the Washington Post sought to find out the degree to which voters blame President Obama for all of the no progress that's happening with unemployment lately. As WashPo's Greg Sargent oints out, it gave participants of various political viewpoints the choice two options

    * "President Obama is making a good faith effort to deal with the country’s economic problems, but the Republicans in Congress are playing politics by blocking his proposals and programs."

    * "President Obama has not provided leadership on the economy, and he is just blaming the Republicans in Congress as an excuse for not doing his job."

    A third option of "President Obama and the Republicans in Congress all need to be buried together in the center of the Earth. Oh, and hey, let's just throw all the Democrats in Congress in there, too, because it's not like they're gonna accomplish anything on their own, am I right?" was not offered as a suggestion for reasons that do not make perfect sense to me.

    Anyway, a majority of independents and moderates seemed to side with Obama on this one…

    Americans agree with the first statement over the second one, 50-44. According to numbers sent my way by the Post polling team, this is more pronounced among moderates and independents: Independents favor statement one over statement two by 54-40. Moderates favor statement one over statement two by 57-37.

    The overall number is lower, at 50 percent, because a hilariously meager nine percent of Republicans believe this to be the case.

    Is that a typo? Did he really mean "nine percent of Republicans" or was it "nine percent of Republicans"? I'm thinking the latter sounds more realistic.

    Doesn't matter. That's not the funniest/saddest/funniest-again part anyway. This is…

    [I]t turns out this voter awareness doesn’t necessarily benefit Obama. Voters who are inclined to believe the worst about Republicans might still conclude that Obama’s failure to get his policies passed shows he’s inffectual. Indeed, in the same Post poll, 53 percent of independents give Obama a negative rating on whether he's a strong leader!

    So, in effect, Congressional Republicans can go way out of their ways to be dicks — just to prove that they can be dicks without Barack Obama being able to do anything about it — and therefore they win!  It's almost beautiful in its malevolent simplicity.

    Photo by Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Barack Obama, House of Representatives, Polls, Republicans, Senate, Unemployment, Washington Post