“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.
New York Times Editorial: Where the Real Jobs Are
The Republicans believe they have President Obama in a box: either he approves a controversial Canadian oil pipeline or they accuse him of depriving the nation of jobs. Mr. Obama can and should push back hard.
This is precisely the moment for him to argue the case for alternative fuel sources and clean energy jobs – and to lambaste the Republicans for doubling down on conventional fuels while ceding a $5 trillion global clean technology market (and the jobs that go with it) to more aggressive competitors like China and Germany.
On a two-day trip to New Hampshire last week I attended three campaign events with a total of roughly 600 people. I tried to find an African-American in the audience at all three events, but I couldn’t. To be fair, I did spot two Latinos and five or six Asian-Americans. The U.S., according to the 2010 census is 72.4 percent white. The first two states vote in the presidential primaries, Iowa and New Hampshire, are 91.3 percent white and 93.9 percent white, respectively.
The Iowa caucuses, which will be dramatically covered by the news media on Tuesday, are especially pernicious. In a caucus instead of a primary the Iowans who get to participate are even smaller in number and less diverse than the state’s already unrepresentative electorate.
Des Moines-The Republicans who would be president, the super PACs and the surrogates had already spent more than $12 million on television ads-almost half of them negative-before the final weekend leading up to Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses.
That doesn’t count the thousands of radio ads, mailings, lighted billboards in Des Moines and costs for staff.
Add it all up and there is a good chance that, when all is said and done Tuesday night, the candidates will have spent $200 a vote to influence the roughly 110,000 Iowans who are expected to participate in the GOP caucuses.
And the really unsettling thing is that the caucuses are just for show.
While the results may so damage some candidates that their runs for the presidency will be finished, they will not actually produce any delegates to the Republican National Convention.
E.J. Dione, Jr.: Extravagant Hopes of 2008 Haunt Obama in 2012
Four years ago this week, a young and inspirational senator who promised to turn history’s page swept the Iowa caucuses and began his irresistible rise to the White House.
Barack Obama was unlike any candidate the country had seen before. More than a mere politician, he became a cultural icon, “the biggest celebrity in the world,” as a John McCain ad accurately if mischievously described him. He was the object of near adoration among the young, launching what often felt like a religious revival. Artists poured out musical compositions devoted to his victory in a rich variety of forms, from reggae and hip-hop to the Celtic folk song. (My personal favorite: “There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama.”) Electoral contests rarely hold out the possibility of making all things new, but Obama’s supporters in large numbers fervently believed that 2008 was exactly such a campaign.
Joe Conason: Could Ron Paul Be the Next Ralph Nader?
Even as Barack Obama gradually climbs in national polls, more than a handful of the president’s once-ardent admirers suddenly seem more attracted to Ron Paul.
Long disappointed by Obama’s overly solicitous attitude toward banking, defense and national security interests-at the expense of economic justice and civil liberties-these disappointed critics find a satisfying echo in Paul’s assaults on the banks, the Federal Reserve, the military-industrial complex and, indeed, the entire American superstructure, including the miserably failed war on drugs. As a libertarian, he doesn’t actually share the liberal perspective on these issues but sometimes sounds as if he does.
The Republican presidential race actually begins Tuesday night. It is worth remembering that this is the first time we will hear from the voters – that everything up to this point, while presented as The Campaign, was actually a long, voter-less preseason consisting primarily of candidates, politicos, donors and reporters talking amongst themselves.
No one knows what these first voters will do. We do know that whatever they convey, however, it will depart significantly from The Campaign Narrative so far. The “frontrunner” will definitely not be Herman Cain, for example, since he isn’t even running now that the real race is beginning. Last year’s conventional wisdom treated Cain like a huge contender – the press covered him more than any other candidate through all of November – while discounting “minor candidates” like Rick Santorum. Since the narrative and the hype have been such poor guides to this race, here are a couple points to help cut through the clutter when assessing the Iowa results.