Is it the Economy. Stupid?

The July jobs report came out today and it was higher than expected: +163k. Interestingly, these were primarily private-sector jobs because government jobs, thanks to state GOP-controlled legislatures, have been summarily eliminated. No doubt the Romney team will spin the 0.1% uptick in unemployment, obscuring the fact that the American automobile industry is doing very well.

Yet, is the election really about the economy and jobs? Or is that just a cover-up for more emotional and more deeply felt issues by the voting public?  I was stunned yesterday by a polling statistic that found 40% of Americans never heard of a political Super PAC. According to a new Washington Post/Pew Research Center survey, nearly four in ten say they’ve heard “nothing at all” about “increased spending in this year’s presidential election by outside groups not associated with the candidates or campaigns,” with another 36% saying they’ve heard only “a little” about the super PACs spending.

In other words, a large hunk of voters aren’t paying attention to the election. When if ever will they? Have they already made up their mind? And if so, what cemented that decision?  Obviously I have.  In fact at a recent gathering of Obama supporters we were asked to explain why we chose to support him.  As there were 45 people at the gathering, we were asked to keep it short.  I quickly ticked off three reasons: intelligence, empathy and wisdom.

Yet I would imagine that there are different clusters of three for those not voting for Mr. Obama. One wonders if this triplex is pro-Romney or anti-Obama.  I’m betting that more are the latter.

Are Americans more intolerant of race or religion?A Pew survey [released 7/26/12] on religion and politics finds that nearly four years into his presidency the view that Barack Obama is Muslim persists. Currently, 17% of registered voters say that Obama is Muslim; 49% say he is Christian, while 31% say they do not know Obama’s religion. On Romney’s Mormonism, the poll found that voters have little interest in learning more about Romney’s religious beliefs. Just 16% said they wanted to hear more about Romney’s religious beliefs. There is a stark difference in the phrases ‘say that Obama is a Muslim’ and the phrase, ‘learning more about Romney’s religious beliefs.’

Seventeen percent of registered voters.

Patently obvious is Obama’s racial background. The one-drop rule of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act, slightly amended by the “Pocahontas exception.” Queer stuff in the Land of the Free.

So Obama is black and Muslim. Romney is not.

Pew additionally states: fewer say Obama is Christian – and more say he is Muslim – than did so in October 2008, near the end of the last presidential campaign. The increase since 2008 is particularly concentrated among conservative Republicans, about a third of whom (34%) describe the president as a Muslim.

Of course, the President didn’t carry those conservative Republican states in 2008 and he surely will not in 2012. His blackness assured that already, and the ‘Muslim’ factor trumped it all.

So that leaves the purple states who seem to have enough people in them who are race/religious impartial. Ohio is the most purple state of all with a 1% differential in ‘swing.’  If neither race nor religion matters to the Ohio swing voters, then what does matter?  The economy?

If it is the economy, then President Obama has clear lead. His backing of the auto industry resonates well here. Ohio’s unemployment rate continued its downward trend from 8.8 in May 2011 to 7.2 in June of this year.  If it is ‘the economy, stupid!’ then Ohio stays blue.

Beyond the economic factor are women’s issues. This news item:

 (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that, thanks to the federal health care law, beginning today (August 1, 2012), 47 million women nationwide will have access to free prevention-related health care services without paying out of their own pocket. This means that, beginning today, 1,852,561 women in Ohio can take greater control over their health by having access to life-saving preventive care free of charge. There will be no copay for birth control pills.

Hmm. By the way, GOP vice-presidential hopeful, Rob Portman [OH] wrote a letter to the Department of Justice asking to have the new policy for women under the Affordable Care Act blocked from ever reaching Ohio. Portman delivered the Republicans’ weekly address, July 14, condemning the Affordable Care Act. How will those female suburban swing voters take this news?

Additionally, there is the Catholic voting bloc. In my neck of the woods, many Catholics are unhappy with the with hunt of Catholic sisters by the local bishop . The conservative bishop’s role in the investigation of the nation’s nuns has soured many Catholics here in the Toledo area. This type of conservatism leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many women in Ohio.

So, it may not be the economy that decides the color of Ohio in November. Race, religion, health care and women’s issues may tilt Ohio one way or the other. My guess is blue.

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17 thoughts on “Is it the Economy. Stupid?

  1. It’s been too long since I’ve left a comment, Muddy.

    As a former conservative who is also female, I can assure you that the assholes who stand up and compare requiring Catholic employers to provide the option of birth control coverage on their insurance to Pearl Harbor and 9/11 is not going over well — with ANY women.

    The war on women is partly the war on sex — a pro-rape, anti-control of their bodies pattern that doesn’t sit well with those of us exclusively x-chromosomal.

    It seems to me from the polls I’ve looked at, that R-money is not doing all that well with his own base, and pretty much only has the dumb white conservative vote – the low information voters.

    MORE people erroneously believe Obama is a Muslim than did four years ago — how do we, as a nation, become that aggressively more ignorant in 4 years?

    I think Obama will win; the righ will throw more money at the races, but I don’t think they will succeed in overpowering more factual information.

    It is an horrifically uphill battle, but the fact checkers and at least some of the pundits are holding both sides more accountable than was the case 40 years ago – although there was more value to truthful news reporting and less fiercely dishonest political adverts back in the day – people didn’t like them and rejected them more willingly.

    Now we have a few million who listen to Faux News, or think Rush Limpdick are accurate and reliable news sources.

    That royally sucks.

  2. “I quickly ticked off three reasons: intelligence, empathy and wisdom.”

    Those apply to Romney, as well my friend! There is only one reason to support Obama and that is the federal court system. We have to
    hope for a change in one of the five GOP Supremee Court Justices.
    We are disappoionmted in Obama because of his lack of wisdom in
    using a total control of Congress to get the middleclass back on a growth course. He said that he wanted health care above all else, and that was a very unwise decision And, it wise to break most
    of his 2008 promises? This is why he is having a difficult time in putting Romney away. He did not change D.C. when he had the
    opportunity 2009-2010. In essence, FDR blew it in 1933 and put the elites back in control, Carter did it in 1977, and now Obama.
    Those three Democratic Presidents had the oppportunity to fundamentally change the United States, and they gave it all to the elities. Why the hell do you think Obama through Elizabeth Warren under the bus, and she went baxk to Massachusetts to run on an
    anti_Obama record? Wisdom hardly, but then you were with
    the choir members , and I’m sure everyone was awed….

  3. Btw, unemployment numbers generally tick up when there is
    employment growth…Just the way the system operates, but then only a few understand that economic factor. It’s like the out Party saying the President srts the price of gasoline at the pump. Neither one has any bases in fact or reality…

    1. Good observation, now the rest of the story:

      Employment numbers are based on a survey of companies stating how many people they employ. As more companies hire, the number of people working increases. Hence the addition of new jobs, versus the loss of jobs.

      Unemployment rates are based on household surveys of people looking for work. For months the right “fringe” has been saying the unemployment rate is understated because people have given up looking for work and are no longer counted in the unemployment rate. Using that logic, wouldn’t there be more people looking for work after hearing that the jobs are coming back? More people are looking for work, and now you have all those high school and college graduates being added to the number of people seeking employment.

      I’m too lazy to do it, but I wonder if there is a history of the employment rate spiking at the beginning of an employment rebound.

    1. It’s been reported that 90% of the Romney ads have been paid for by Super PAC’s.

  4. My friend, how many times have I said that the shortest nerve in the human body is that nerve that runs from our wallet to our brain?

    I think that it will be the economy that will decide Ohio. It will be the negative impact of Romney’s statement of letting Detroit go
    bankrupt. .. Moreover, his personal tax issue will grow and his and Ryan’s tax plan that famors the wealthy over the other 99%.

  5. 1.8 MILLION women in Ohio receiving free medical care….

    Really? Who is paying for all that doctor and nurse care? The
    doctors giving away their income to treat people free? I doubt
    that. There is an exchange of money somewhere somehow….

  6. Hello Muddy,
    As you know I have been very busy here in Columbus, OH but I have finally found the time to visit the Columbus Museum of Art and I just did a piece on “The Radical Camera, a History in Images of New York’s Photo League.” I think you will enjoy it.

    Just as then, I think a group of photographers need to document what real life is today in the U.S. just to throw cold water with the cold slap on the face of the Right Wing Bull Shit propaganda.

  7. What happened to Saturday’s Post..It said you were going out ringing doorbells for Obama and that you would tell us your
    experiences….OMG, did the censor do it again?

  8. Hello Muddy,
    Last night I did the Short North Art Craw in downtown Columbus last night and I would have loved to capture some of the mass migrating movement and energy I saw last night. There were many of good photos to be taken for future documentation.

    I saw young women asking for signatures as solidarity against the Republican’s National Platform Policy of “The War Against Women.” I saw young people under a “Democratic National Committee” sign looking to sign up people to vote in this next National Election…..it instilled me with hope for our future.

    1. Barely survived the hot, humid weather. Mixed bag of results and not very productive, in my opinion. Talked with 2 GOPers, one who would ‘give me’ 2 minutes of his time. Angry man who claimed that the ‘unions’ ruined his business. The other man spoke of ‘socialism.’ Neither would be people I’d like in my neighborhood.

      One undecided woman when asked, ‘What might swing you one way or the other?’ she answered: ‘Depends on my mood on Election Day.’

      I didn’t ‘convince anyone to change their mind all throughout my trek . The nicest man with whom I spoke was, not surprisingly, an Obama supporter- very friendly when I appeared at his door. Another Obama supporter was cutting her lawn [yikes!] and turned off her lawnmower to talk with me.

      The only positive result of my canvass was that I may have lost 3 pounds [of H2O].

  9. A lot of talk on Sunday about Romney’s tax returns. Here is a link to his 2010 tax return*:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/documents/romney-2010-tax-return.html

    Pay close attention to words like “Ireland”, “Cayman Islands”, “Bermuda”, “Blind Trust”, “Capital Gains”, and “Charitable Donations”. Take note of the charitable donations of $1.5 million; most went to the Mormons. And he has stated his money is all in “Bind Trusts”; Less than 20% of his income was from Blind Trusts (somethin’ don’t add up).

    * Just skimming over them will give you an idea of why he won’t release anymore. Notice all the overseas’ investments (tax shelters)?

    1. NWO- thanks for the link and your analysis. This issue will not go away and will haunt him all of the way to the election. People don’t mind rich people who are genuine; they however don’t like rich people who rigged the system to gain it.

      The longer this issue hangs out there, unresolved, the less chance Romney has. In fact, I often use in my persuasion calls and canvassing the term, ‘trickle down.’ The People understand that.

    2. Two names I forgot to mention: Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital

      Goldman Sachs got $12.9 billion in bailout; much of it was used very questionably (illegal?). Romney says he left Bain in 1999, but there it is on his 2010 Federal Tax Return.

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