Tom Rinaldo's Journal
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That's the real take away form last night. Biden broke through as a real person who personally cares deeply about the ramifications of the issues that were debated. No one can remember a full 90 minutes of discussion, instead we take away impressions. Any heated debate will cycle viewers through several competing impressions, but ultimately one ends up dominant.
Joe Biden is real, he is passionate, he cares deeply about the middle class and public service, Those are indelible takeaways. And for someone who in the past has been accused of using an excess of words, Joe Biden was as clear as Arizona mountain air when it really counted, and as blunt as a New York City cabbie. "We will leave Afghanistan in 2014", "We will not allow Social Security to be privatized", "Medicare will not become a voucher program on our watch" (yes these are paraphrases but Biden's actual words were equally clear).
When Joe Biden looked into the camera and made those pledges to the American people, viewers knew he meant it. He is a leader Americans know they can trust to level with them, who will to his damnedest to keep his work. Ultimately that was the difference last night, when all else is said and done. Joe Biden is genuine and this year's Republican ticket pales in direct comparison to him on that fundamental character issue. For that reason alone, Joe soundly won last night's Vice Presidential debate
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Fri Oct 12, 2012, 10:19 AM (3 replies)
Home prices rebound
By Chris Isidore @CNNMoney September 25, 2012: 10:11 AM ET
"In another sign of a turnaround in the long-battered real estate market, average home prices rebounded in July to the same level as they were nine years ago..."
"The news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing," said David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Single-family housing starts are well ahead of last year's pace, existing home sales are up, the inventory of homes for sale is down and foreclosure activity is slowing."
Dow Jones index closes at new 5-year high
Adam Shell, USA TODAY
5:08PM EST October 5. 2012
..."The fact that the market is hitting fresh five-year highs will remind people how incredibly well the market has done and that the equity culture is not dead," says Tim Fidler, portfolio manager at Ariel Investments. "It will most definitely catch the attention of people who have been pulling money out of the market."
Consumer Confidence Index:
Says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: “The Consumer Confidence Index rebounded in September and is back to levels seen earlier this year (71.6 in February 2012). Consumers were more positive in their assessment of current conditions, in particular the job market, and considerably more optimistic about the short-term outlook for business conditions, employment and their financial situation. Despite continuing economic uncertainty, consumers are slightly more optimistic than they have been in several months...”
"Consumers were also more optimistic about the short-term outlook in September. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 18.2 percent from 16.7 percent, while those anticipating business conditions to worsen decreased to 13.8 percent from 17.6 percent. Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more favorable. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased to 18.5 percent from 15.8 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 18.5 percent from 23.7 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes edged up to 16.3 percent from 16.0 percent."
Wrong Track/ Right Track Poll Movement:
National Polls: Race Tightens Among Likely Voters, Obama Approval On Economy Ticks Up
TPM Kyle Leighton October 1, 2012, 11:50 AM 21769
New numbers from ABC News and the Washington Post showed Obama with a 49 percent to 47 percent lead over Republican nominee Mitt Romney among likely voters, and another poll from Politico and George Washington University (GWU) produced the same result. While those numbers suggest the state of the race is relatively unchanged, the view of the economy — the election’s most important issue — has seen a slow but steady movement over the last year.
“Ratings of the economy, while very negative, have grown less intensely so since late August (39 percent say it’s in poor shape, down from 45 percent),” ABC pollster Gary Langer wrote in his analysis. “Obama’s 47 percent approval rating for handling the economy, while still underwater, is numerically its highest in more than two years. And views that the nation is headed seriously off on the wrong track have eased by 9 percentage points to the fewest since January".
AND OF COURSE, THIS:
Unemployment rate falls to 7.8% as economy creates 114,000 jobs
By NBC News staff and wire reports
UPDATED 9:50 a.m. EDT: The nation's unemployment rate dropped to the lowest it has been in almost four years in September, giving President Barack Obama a potential upbeat talking point as the presidential race heads into the final innings.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in September, a decline of 0.3 percentage point and the lowest since January 2009. The government said the economy created 114,000 jobs, about as expected, and generated 86,000 more jobs in July and August than first estimated.
A survey of households from which the jobless rate is derived showed 873,000 job gains last month, the most since June 1983. The drop in unemployment came even as Americans come back into the labor force to resume the hunt for work. The workforce had shrunk in the prior two months. The household survey is volatile, however."
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Tue Oct 9, 2012, 03:26 PM (15 replies)
And the unemployment rate still just dropped below 8%, down a full half percentage point this Summer/Fall to 7.8%. Republicans and Romney's Wall Street backers tried every trick in the book to delay an American economic recovery until AFTER the Presidential election, and despite those efforts they are failing. Republicans systematically slashed government spending on good paying middle class jobs, resisting every effort to fund them, pushing more tax cuts instead that in turn mandated further layoffs. Republicans wanted workers out of work. It was their ticket for retaking the Presidency. And Wall Street firms were content to sit tight on often record profits rather than invest in American when credit for an economic recovery might reflect well on an Obama Administration they were invested in defeating.
Republicans are one short tear in tissue paper away from being fully exposed as obstructionists who placed their own return to power ahead of Americans returning to work, as their political priority. Their recent consternation over the latest reports of an improving job market just might be what it takes for most voters to completely see through their false concern over American workers' well being.
The Right could have been more circumspect. They could have mouthed nice platitudes about how good it is for Americans to hopefully finally see some light at the end of a dire economic tunnel. Perhaps they may have retained a semblance of credibility had they done so. They still could have claimed that it was too little too late, and that too many needlessly suffered for too long because of Obama's allegedly failed policies, but they are happy for those who are finally returning to the work force. But Republicans just didn't have it in them to acknowledge anything positive.
Instead they began flirting with a new round of conspiracy theories about "cooked numbers". In doing so they ignored rule one of conspiracy theories; they have to be pitched to an audience predisposed toward believing them. That audience however is not now the American electorate. Americans are sensing the economic recovery happening now. It's reflected in a house market that is beginning to firm up. It's reflected in a dramatic shift in the right track/wrong track course of our nation numbers that are starting to shift toward hope again. And it is reflected in the rapidly rising Consumer Confidence Index, which even Wall Street insiders understand is a clear signal to start hiring again. Republicans are out of step with America on the jobs numbers, and it isn't pretty. It's certainly not a good way to win votes and influence people.
There still is an audience predisposed to believe the anti-Obama conspiracy theories that are constantly "cooked up", no matter how much they fly in the face of reality. It is the hard core Republican base. Republicans have danced to Tea Party tunes for over three years now, and their feet just don't know anything different anymore. Bowing to the Right has become second nature to Republicans running for office. In doing so they have turned their back on the rest of America.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Mon Oct 8, 2012, 12:35 PM (5 replies)
Web sites like Democratic Underground have long stopped being partisan club houses and pep rallies. We play a real role in shaping the weeks political news narrative. The themes that we settle on to dominate discussion get taken note of beyond DU. The drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8% on Friday is our chance to turn the page on debate one, and undercut Romney on his core campaign strategy - damning the President on jobs.The jobs number is great for our side, and it is something the public gets immediately. It's time for increasing job growth to push debate number one out of the headlines.
I am not among those who think it was a mistake for the Left to criticize Obama's debate performance on Thursday. There are still three more national debates ahead of us and I think it helped the Obama team refocus on how to approach those to have gotten some stark unvarnished feedback from their own side on the last one. And DU also did what it always does best ; we trail blazed new attack lines against our opposition in our commentary about Romney's own debate performance. All in all I think we did well.
Now though it is time to move on. The Romney campaign would like nothing more than to gloss right over the jobs report and to keep replaying last Thursday night's debate instead. The President will castigate Romney in real time now, calling Romney on his lies is woven into Obama's stump speech. Our job now is to strengthen the narrative that America is back on track despite all of Mitt Romney's enthusiastic efforts to verbally derail it.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Sun Oct 7, 2012, 10:15 AM (13 replies)
1) The economic recovery so far has been a real bonanza for the type of very wealthy Americans who have substantial holdings in the stock market? Or
2) The business community recognizes that the recovery from the Great Repression is on track and about to hit lift off bringing significant gains for all Americans? OR
3) A thriving stock market is an indicator of a bad economy?
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Fri Oct 5, 2012, 06:09 PM (6 replies)
Go for it wingers and all rightist hacks, please. Add this one to your "all the polls are rigged for Obama by liberals" paranoia. These newer conspiracies fit in so nicely with the your older beloved conspiracies, like "Obama was born in Kenya" and "Climate Change is a hoax", and "hundreds of thousands of aliens are illegally registered to vote in swing states".
No one will believe you outside of your own paranoid circles. Haven't you noticed? Consumer confidence numbers have been rising lately. The percentage of Americans who believe the country is now on "the right track" has risen sharply lately also. These job numbers confirm what Americans are already feeling. Your rants against this jobs report will also confirm what Americans are already feeling. They increasingly feeli that the Republican party has jumped the tracks and is careening wildly into a deluded right wing chasm. Patriots don't bemoan job growth.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Fri Oct 5, 2012, 09:15 AM (6 replies)
1) He will say anything to get elected, his record proves it.
2) He doesn't trust the American people enough to show us any details; not about his taxes, not about his policies.
3) He's not leading the Republican Party, the Tea Party is leading him.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Thu Oct 4, 2012, 04:18 PM (3 replies)
In other words Romney lost, because you can't win a competitive race by outright cheating. Lies in politics are the equivalent of doping in sports. Romney may have crossed the finish line ahead of Obama in Denver, but it doesn't matter if Rooney's performance was enhanced by steroids. And it clearly was. Had Romney performed like that in the Salt Lake City Olympics his gold medal would have been stripped away. It's what's called an unfair advantage for one guy to inject falsehoods into the body of the debate while the other guy follows the rules of logic: Namely if 2 + 2 equaled 4 yesterday, it still equals 4 today.
Anyone can win a debate by substituting their narrative for facts, if that's considered fair game. But everyone knows it isn't. Most voters are no better equipped to do fact checking on the fly than Olympic judges are to certify athletes as drug free without needing to first run some tests. Talk of Romney winning is a little premature. His blood tests are being processed as we speak
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Thu Oct 4, 2012, 01:53 PM (11 replies)
Republican operatives dripped scorn over the enthusiasm of Obama's following in 2008. They didn't use terms like enthusiastic support back then. They instead talked about Obama's cult of celebrity that young Americans in particular were seemingly entranced by.They strongly implied that Obama's support was virtually mindless, a direct linear consequence of young people being star struck. They thought we were on a sugar high.
Now in 2012 pundits, starting with but by no means limited to Republican operatives, talk differently. Now supposedly Obama shows signs of a potential vulnerability if support for him does not manifest manic in their eyes. Now they try to argue that Democratic voters might care less about Obama this year, because the President seemingly isn't adored the same way they claim he was last time around.
What they might want to ponder instead is the difference in our national circumstance that the aftermath of an 8 year George W. Bush Administration wrought on our nation since Obama first ran for President. In 2008 Democrats were excited over the prospect of finally removing the Republicans from the White House. That important, but limited, mission was accomplished. And then the hard work by necessity began, to rebuild from the economic wreckage that the Republicans left behind.
It's true Democrats aren't constantly gleeful during this election year. There is far too little to be gleeful about. But we don't blame Barack Obama for reality. We appreciate his efforts to turn this economy around. And we are thankful to have an adult team in the White House that is not more focused on ideological warfare against half the nation than it is on creating jobs for all of us. Democrats are resolved to continue the hard work necessary to rebuild our country to restore it to economic health.
It might finally be dawning on the Romney campaign that Democrats, young voters included, aren't less committed to winning in 2012 than we were in 2008 just because we may not be smiling quite as much. These are serious times, and this is serious business, and we are serious about making sure that President Obama gets the opportunity to continue the hard work we knowingly elected him to start on our behalf in 2008. Republicans underestimate our resolve at their own peril, as polling for Congress as well as the Presidency is starting to reveal.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Sat Sep 29, 2012, 03:55 PM (14 replies)
I was a college student and an anti-war activist. McGovern spoke at my University and was well received. He didn't rush off campus immediately. I and a small group of other activists had set up a tent as a protest focal point on a central grassy area central to the campus. After McGovern's speech we made it back there to reassemble. It wasn't too long after when we looked over to see George McGovern strolling over toward us, without staff. He greeted us, shook our hands, thanked us for our activism, and could not have been more gracious or sincere. He was very much a man of my father's generation, and he looked it. Unlike RFK there was absolutely nothing "cutting edge" about the way he manifest. He was heartland America, naturally at home in staid and conservative attire. We were every bit as straggly as any Yippie one might have encountered at the time. None of that mattered in the slightest. The connection we felt with George McGovern that day was as warm and natural as a family reunion.
That was the moment when I began to truly admire him, and nothing has happened since then to do anything other than deeper the admiration I still have for George McGovern. That brief meeting taught me something deep and very important on a level that penetrated well beyond words. Remember, those were still the days of the "anti-establishment" "counter culture". I may not have admitted it consciously at the time, but I was subtly alienated from people who came across to me as mainstream and traditional in appearance and lifestyle. George McGovern was a light year.away from me in conventional experiences, and a massively significant generation removed from my late 60's centric world view, But I knew he was my brother none the less, and from that moment on I never viewed the world as narrowly again.
Posted by Tom Rinaldo | Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:57 AM (1 replies)