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Archive for August, 2011

Psssst… Marco Rubio Will be on the Ticket

August 29th, 2011

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This piece was originally posted on The Huffington Post.

The Republican race for President is wide open. But the party has already settled on its vice presidential nominee: freshman Sen. Marco Rubio.

Rubio spoke at the Reagan Library last week at the personal invitation of Nancy Reagan. During his speech, he remarked, “The reality is, I’m not going to be the vice presidential nominee . . . ” At which point a man in the audience shouted, “Wanna bet?” The audience responded with whoops and cheers.

If you asked a computer to design the perfect Republican candidate for vice president, it would come up with Rubio. He’s got three big things going for him. He’s a Tea Party favorite. He’s Latino. And he’s from Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

Why you don’t ‘mess with Texas’

August 23rd, 2011

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This piece was originally published by Politico.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas makes the Republican establishment very nervous.

The George W. Bush people are virtually apoplectic over the prospect of Perry’s winning the nomination. Karl Rove warned on Fox News, “Gov. Perry is going to have to fight the impression that he’s a cowboy from Texas.” Rove wrote in his column, “The Republican Party will find it more difficult to gain the support [of disaffected Obama voters] if its nominee adopts a tone that’s harshly negative.”

Here’s a handy rule of thumb: If Rove believes a candidate is too right-wing to get elected, then the candidate may be too right-wing to get elected. Read the rest of this entry »

American Idol: Should We Elect Presidents by Popular Vote?

August 15th, 2011

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This piece was originally posted on The Huffington Post.

Eleven years after the 2000 election, politicians are finally trying to reform the electoral college. Reformers want the President to be chosen by national popular vote. A popular vote system would certainly be different. But would it be better?

Eight states and the District of Columbia have passed the National Popular Vote (NPV) bill. That’s a law requiring that the states’ electoral votes be cast for the winner of the national popular vote, no matter how the eight states themselves vote. But there’s a condition: the law will not go into effect until states with a total of 270 electoral votes — a majority of the Electoral College — pass the NPV bill.

The states that have passed the bill so far have a total of 132 electoral votes. That’s nearly halfway to a majority. They include some of the bluest states in the country: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, Vermont and Washington, as well as California and D.C. None of those states (or D.C.) has voted for a Republican for President since 1988.

Is something partisan going on here? Not really, said California Gov. Jerry Brown when he signed the NPV bill last week. “It seems logical that the occupant of the White House should be the candidate who wins the most votes,” Brown said. “That is basic, fair democracy.” Read the rest of this entry »

Will Republicans Get Obama Re-Elected?

August 8th, 2011

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This piece was originally posted on The Huffington Post.

Democrats are waking up to a terrifying realization: there is nothing President Obama can do to get himself re-elected next year. Things look just that bad. On the other hand, there are plenty of things Republicans can do to get Obama re-elected. And they seem to be doing them.

How bad have things gotten for Obama? Well, he did get the debt deal. The idea was to avoid default and thereby keep the confidence of the markets and not put the U.S. credit rating at risk. So what happened? No sooner did he sign the debt deal than the markets crashed. And the U.S. credit rating got downgraded.

There’s the thanks of a grateful financial sector for you.

Meanwhile the economic picture remains grim. Unemployment seems stuck at over 9%. That’s considerably worse than when Obama took office (7.8%). Economic growth is faltering. Consumer confidence is lower than it has been in any presidential election year since the 1950s, save two — 1980 and 1992. In both those years, incumbent Presidents failed to win re-election. Read the rest of this entry »

Then & Now: How the State of Relationship Recognition Has Changed Since DOMA

August 4th, 2011

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This piece was originally posted on The Huffington Post.

As gay couples begin to marry in New York, Third Way’s newest report details the seismic shift in our country since the passage of DOMA 15 years ago. There are many striking contrasts that illustrate this evolution, but one incredible change is this: in 1996 only 5% of the country lived in a state or locality that recognized gay couples’ relationships–now 46% do. Read the rest of this entry »

AAA Credit but Junk Bond Politics

August 2nd, 2011

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This piece was originally published in Politico.

What if there’s another recession? That’s still a threat, even if the debt deal passes. If the recession starts while Barack Obama is president, it would normally be called “the Obama recession.”

But maybe not this time. Because after the debt deal, The Republicans in Congress own this economy just as much as Obama does. They’re the ones who drove the deal — and if the economy goes into recession, they’ll bear a lot of the responsibility.

The deal initiates a new regime in American politics: The Scarlet A. We’re in for an era of Austerity. The huge spending cuts — half now, half five months from now — threaten to turn a fragile recovery into a double-dip recession. Read the rest of this entry »