The RPs Debate the GOP Mudfest: Artur Davis Rebuts

Artur Davis: Rebuttal #1

[Krystal Ball’s Provocation]

I agree with Krystal on the basics: Romney has been undercut by Gingrich’s attacks, and most of the Gingrich line of attack will resonate even better in the general. I agree that Romney’s unfavorables are disconcertingly high right now; if they continue, they would be the worst any nominee has carried into the general since 1984 (that path does not end well). I even share the premise that Obama has found a fairness based frame for this election that discomfits Republicans, and is broadly, if not deeply, popular.

There is, however, an overestimation of Obama’s reelection prospects that is taking hold in Democratic circles, and it is worth rebutting. First, at the same time consumer confidence is at its peak level in the past nine months, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 09, its striking that the president’s approval ratings still appear stuck around 46-47-48 percent. Its just as revealing that at the same time Gallup recorded Obama’s best approval numbers since June, its polling gives him no better than a tie with Mitt Romney in swing states. While there is some variance, most battleground state by state polls still put Obama and Romney in a dead heat.

In other words, an incumbent who is defining the race in much the way he wants, who is receiving generally good economic news, and whose likely opponent has stumbled prominently still has over half the country expressing its disapproval and nearly as many voters inclined to reject him as to support him. That’s textbook vulnerability that in polling terms, has not gotten much better.

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The RPs Debate the GOP Mudfest: Artur Davis Rebuts

The RPs Debate the GOP Mudfest: Krystal Ball Provokes

Over the past month, we’ve launched a new tradition at The Recovering Politician: a great virtual debate on the issues of the day among our recovering politicians; with provocations, rebuttals, responses, and defenses.  Our first discussion focused on presidential leadership; our second on legalizing marijuana; our third, Tim Tebow; and our fourth, expanded gambling.

This week, the RP stirs up the mix with another controversial subject: the morality of gambling  The RP starts off with his provocative article from The Huffington Post.  Tune in every half hour to read what other RPs have to say.  

SPOILER ALERT: There will be fireworks.

Krystal Ball’s Provocation

Whatever loyalty former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had to the Republican establishment was destroyed when it dropped the anvil on him after his South Carolina victory. Whatever goodwill Newt had toward former Gov. Mitt Romney evaporated in the blitz of negative ads that stole his chances for a win in Iowa. Now what’s left is Newt’s utter contempt for Mitt Romney. Newt will not be vice president. He will not be in the administration. He will not be fawned over by the Republican establishment like Gov. Mitch Daniels or Rep. Paul Ryan. All that’s left for him is a deep desire for revenge. This is not a happy state of affairs for the GOP.

I attended Newt’s rally with Herman Cain in Tampa this week. While it’s true that the blunt, Gadsden flag-bearing crowd at the rally go together with Mitt Romney about as well as ice cream and anchovies, they are ultimately Republican base voters who will come back into the fold. It is independent voters who may turn away from Mitt Romney and never look back. While Newt may not have the money that Mitt Romney does, he knows how to use the media and is a master at framing negative attacks. Already he has leveled much harsher critiques of Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital than Democrats would be able to pull off and it has been effective. Governor Romney’s business experience, supposedly his strongest selling point, is now as likely to be viewed favorably as unfavorably by independents. This is an attack that is less resonant in a Republican primary, but is plenty effective among swing voters.

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The RPs Debate the GOP Mudfest: Krystal Ball Provokes

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