Master political tactician Lee Atwater once said that “anyone who gets more than a 35-percent negative factor can’t win an election.”
In the 2012 Republican presidential contest, Mitt Romney is that person.
According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 39 percent of adults in America view Romney very or somewhat negatively, compared to 28 percent who view the former Massachusetts governor very or somewhat positively.
“If his negatives are 35 percent and his positives aren’t at least 5 percent higher,” Atwater believed, “it’s politically fatal1.”
Far from a polling fluke, the NBC/WSJ survey has remained fairly consistent over the past six months. In fact, the only significant difference between this year’s results and the same poll’s findings in 2008 is that Romney is disliked more now, as the frontrunner and presumed nominee, than he was in ’08 as a third-place finisher in the GOP primary.
In January, 2008, Romney earned a 28 percent positive review from poll respondents—the exact same positivity rating recorded in this month’s poll. His negative responses, however, have jumped 7 percentage points since 2008, from 32 percent to 39 percent.
The question is, will Atwater’s axiom hold true? Is Romney’s political fate doomed?
Presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich believes that campaigns are all about asking “legitimate questions” and demanding “facts and data” about a politician’s record.
It’s the reliance on such “facts and data” that allows Gingrich to sleep at night after publicly dubbing Barack Obama “the food stamp president.”
During an exchange with Fox News analyst Juan Williams during a debate in South Carolina on Jan. 16, Gingrich defended previous statements that poor kids lack a strong work ethic, that they should be put to work as janitors (child labor laws be damned), and that black Americans should “demand jobs, not food stamps.”
“Can’t you see that this is viewed, at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans?” Williams asked.
“No,” Gingrich responded, to roaring applause and rolling laughter. “I don’t see that.”
“It sounds as if you’re speaking to belittle people,” Williams added later in the exchange.
“Well, first of all, Juan,” Gingrich said, “the fact is, more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.”
Posted in Culture Critic, Election 2012? Oy vey!, Eye of Newt, Nicholas Wilbur, Now That's Some Racist Bullsh*t, Please Die in a Fire, Political Shenanigans
Tagged 2012 primary, George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Newt Gingrich is an asshat, President Obama, primary, Republican primary
Dafna Linzer’s year-long ProPublica investigation into the factors surrounding supposedly color-blind presidential pardons from 1998 to 2008 is certainly one of the more important articles of the year. The bottom line is that white pardon seekers were four times more likely to be granted a pardon than blacks.
ProPublica’s review examined what happened after President George W. Bush decided at the beginning of his first term to rely almost entirely on the recommendations made by career lawyers in the Office of the Pardon Attorney.
The office was given wide latitude to apply subjective standards, including judgments about the “attitude” and the marital and financial stability of applicants. No two pardon cases match up perfectly, but records reveal repeated instances in which white applicants won pardons with transgressions on their records similar to those of blacks and other minorities who were denied.