Marty Dunleavy: Voter Suppression – A Real Threat

Much talk has been centered around “voter suppression”!

Many of you know I have been a field operative in about 40 states and often spend Election Day in some of the biggest cities in our country. I have seen these efforts up close and they fall into four categories:

1.Misinformation – mail, soundtracks, flyers and posters that tell people the wrong time date or place to vote or lying about requirements to vote

The classic example was MD where inner cities voters were told if you knew you owed taxes or had unpaid tickets you had to pay them first! Not true needless to say.

2. Slow down– challenge voters to produce ID’s or information needed to vote greater than required by law, increase the number of challenges of voters to slow down the process and increase the lines which will make people wait longer to vote and adversely effect folks who have time constrictions.

3. Direct Confrontation– verbal or physical confrontation outside of polling places yelling soundtracks folks dressed in camo or klan robes or racist tee shirts or holding posters sometimes holding weapons trying to intimidate voters not to vote. We have seen this in many ways and in many places. My worst case was in Texas in 96 runoff election; where a guy on the back of a pickup with an American Flag, shotgun and sigh that said “niggers don’t you dare vote here!” The cops would not do anything about it and took us 6 hours to get a court order to get him removed. Or a woman yelling only at black elderly voters as they walked into polls “you got your papers, you got your papers, you can’t vote if you don’t got your papers” this went on until a very old woman shakes her walker at the lady and said no but I got my granddaughter and she just got out of jail and she’s gonea kick your honky ass if you don’t shut the fuck up, her granddaughter all tatted up and with lots of gold on got out of her car and said that woman bothering you – the woman left and the grandmother started laughing turning to her granddaughter and said I know you never went to jail honey but I grew up in Georgia and no one’s stopping me from voting ever!

This type of suppression effort has some potential for violence. If so that will also slow down and disrupt the process as well as scare folks from coming out.

4. Government control of process using it in a partisan manner to tilt advantage to one side or the other. In all fairness this has been done by both sides! The number of machines at each poll the conduct of officials conducting the elections the use of sheriffs or police to enforce laws and the laws passed by the lawmakers regarding registration, AB or early vote and requirements for IDs are all examples of that. I understand from two republicans that the McMahon campaign has done suppression training last Saturday if that is true watch out New Haven,Hartford, Bpt & and other cities better have riot police ready because citizens are not going to let folks intimidate or hassle them outside polls!!

Two thoughts – it should be against the law to vote fraudulently an people who do and people who engage it efforts to conspire to aid that effort should go to jail! Their fraud is a crime against every voter. But likewise anyone who makes an organized effort to deny an citizen of our country their right to vote in any way should also go to jail. Our Government to a great extent is based on the consent of the governed. That consent is based on having a voice at the polls they view as a fair processIf the system stops voters from voting or there is violence at the polls it will be hard to put the genie of trust in the process back in the bottle and I am afraid that that some of the voter suppression efforts might lead to that, please dear God we will have a fair open election election with a very large turnout everywhere in the country and a process that make folks feel the democratic system works regardless of weather their candidates win or lose. A big fair vote makes for a strong country!

Ted Buerger: Romney’s Closing Argument

Ted Buerger, an entrepreneur who is the Chairman at American Towns, is a Co-Founder of No Labels

A year ago, most pundits would have guessed that a slow economy with millions out of work, and record spending and deficits projected into the future, would favor a credible Republican challenger.  Yet Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are locked in a see-saw battle, as polls fluctuate daily at the national and state level. Why is the race so close?

Despite the Governor’s resume in business and public service, it is clear his strength is not in retail politicking, and the Democrats have smartly exploited Republican weaknesses and idiotic statements.   The President’s campaign also defined Romney through negative ads in swing states, and is now running as many ads as the Republicans through election day.

To win, Gov. Romney needs to make the affirmative case that he can address the huge problems facing America.  Bush II notwithstanding, the traditionally Republican ideas of spending restraint, responsible budgets and limited but effective government still play well with most voters. But after years of hyper-partisanship and Washington dysfunction, the people want government to actually work, for everybody’s benefit.

This past summer No Labels conducted a poll and found that 54 percent of American voters want candidates who are focused on problem solving rather than on loyalty to their political parties. 84 percent  want candidates who will work across the aisle to solve their problems.

No Labels — a grassroots movement of nearly 600,000 Democrats, Republicans and independents who are dedicated to a new politics of problem solving — argues that the only way to address our country’s big problems is to work across the aisle to find practical solutions. That’s what undecided voters are looking for, and that’s what Romney needs to focus on.

In a recent ad Romney said, “We need to have leadership — leadership in Washington that will actually bring people together and get the job done and could not care less if — if it’s a Republican or a Democrat. I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again.”

As an entrepreneur, I understand the poor state of our nation’s finances and that big things get done only when people pull together — that’s why we need a leader who can work across the aisle and appeal directly to the American people. In 2008, then-candidate Obama won in part on the hope for a united “red-white-and-blue America”. In 2012, this is the roadmap to a Romney victory and to a Presidency worth having.  And in 2013, the President (whoever he is) needs to embrace the No Labels philosophy. That’s the only way to begin truly fixing our big problems.

The RP: A Closing Argument for Obama

My fellow Americans:

Let me close this campaign for re-election with an overdue apology.  Four years ago, when I first asked you for the extraordinary and humbling honor to be your President, I got a little carried away.  I was so caught up in the excitement of the incredible crowds, so moved by the remarkable and quite unexpected history we were making, that I promised you a vision that was not only impractical, it was by all measures unachievable.

Sure, all politicians make promises that they can’t keep; but despite my sincere belief in the goals that I shared with you in 2008, it would have been impossible for anyone to meet them.  And I apologize for setting those expectations too high.

Where I feel I let you down most was failing to achieve my vision of a post-partisan politics.  Like you, I continue to be fed up with our broken government, with the hyper-partisanship that polarizes and paralyzes our system, that makes tackling our nation’s most difficult problems nearly impossible.  I really believed that my presidency could transcend our mean-spirited and divisive status quo.

Unfortunately, I failed.  I certainly admit that some of the fault lies in my own hands.  I failed to do the little things: the intimate personal gestures mastered by Lyndon Johnson, or the brilliant employment of the bully pulpit demonstrated by Ronald Reagan.

But frankly, the larger problem was that I encountered an opposition that made bi-partisan problem-solving impossible.  As early as the night of the inauguration, GOP leaders were plotting to undermine, even destroy my presidency.  One was candid about it, when he admitted that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

It would be unfair, however, to simply blame the Republican party for this phenomenon.  While hyper-partisan obstruction by the opposition has never been worse than during this administration, it has been an enormous and growing problem over the past few decades.  Indeed, our current political incentive system forces most well-meaning public servants to adhere strictly to their party line simply to stay in office.  Compromise — the hallmark of our democracy — has become a dirty word.

I believe that it is time to change the incentive system.  We need to fundamentally alter the way we do business in Washington so that elected officials no longer will be shouting from behind their partisan bunkers, and instead will be reaching across the aisle to work with their colleagues to solve the nation’s most difficult problems.

That’s why, if you choose to give me a second term, I will call together congressional leaders of both parties to the White House next week, and ask them to join me in changing the culture of American politics.  I will bring to the table policy solutions that have been developed through diligent, bi-partisan work — proposals such as the Simpson/Bowles deficit reduction package and the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman climate change proposal — to serve as the starting point for negotiations to fix our country.

And, equally as important, I will ask them to endorse with me the ideas introduced by No Labels — a grassroots movement of more than 500,00 Democrats, Republicans and Independents — to Make Congress Work and Make the Presidency Work.  These proposals mostly don’t require new laws or new spending, and they don’t favor any party or particular cause. They are simple, straightforward proposals to break gridlock, promote constructive discussion and reduce polarization in Washington.

I can’t promise that Congressional leaders will sign on.  And that’s where you come in.  If they refuse to accept my olive branch, if they resolve to proceed with continued obstruction and hyper-partisanship, it will be up to the American people to make them pay the price.  I encourage you today, to sign on to No Labels to be prepared to apply pressure to all of your elected officials — including yours truly — to ensure that we promote problem-solving, not polarization; that we act not in the parties’ interests, but in the interests of the American people.

America truly reaches greatness when we all — elected officials and average citizens – – put aside our labels to do what’s right for the country.  It is about putting our community and our country ahead of our selfish, pedestrian interests.  And, in the words of the Scriptures, it is truly about loving our neighbors as ourselves.

My fellow Americans, if you give me a second term, I solemnly promise to fight my hardest to realize the post-partisan vision I painted during my first campaign.  With your help — and only with your help — we can lift this country together out of the political muck, and toward common higher ground.

Binah Bindell: A Closing Argument for Romney

I used to be a liberal democrat.

Obama’s record speaks for itself. Look at the numbers, not the tone of his speeches, which have no substance.

In the third debate, Obama appeared strong and spoke well. However, it was all tone. Read the transcript straight, see what they both say, their plans.

Romney has a strong plan. Obama has no plan, but he speaks with such a tone of his own grandiosity, that tone has an affect to the naive public. In truth, his whole speach, Obama just bashed Romney.

It was actually amazing to see Romney stand there and spell out his plan and then Obama talks and he first thing he says is, ” he is not going too that”. It was a very strange response.

But, then again, Obama has had a failed record with nothing to talk about for the last four years so he bashes Romney.

They say that the best defense is an offense, that is a tactic that Obama has had a lot of practice doing. Please look at the debt numbers. The food stamp numbers, the unemployed numbers, and more, from 2008 to 2012.

We were in bad shape in 2008. When Obama took office, we were 8 trillion in debt. Obama promised he would cut that in half to 4 trillion. Obama also stated that if he didn’t then he did not deserve to be re elected. The debt now stands at over 14 Trillion! Food stamps and unemployed numbers have increased by many, many millions of Americans. Check out unbiased true Facts. Check out the real numbers look at other sites, Google it. You owe it to be true to yourself and to iur Country.

Nancy Slotnick: What Sandy Did To My Home & My Closing Argument for Obama

I am Katniss Everdeen and I approve this message. Ok, I’m not her. But I read the trilogy and I know she would be with me on this. Trust me.

Hurricane Sandy did this to my house.

And still when I heard that Mayor Bloomberg endorsed Obama because of his stance on global warming, I thought, “That’s great, maybe something good will come of this!”  But I didn’t think much about global warming.  Then Senator Schumer said it.  And still I thought- they’re politicizing the issue.  We just need some FEMA assistance right now.  I couldn’t wrap my head around global warming.  Maybe I was scared.  It was Halloween after all.  And we just lost our house.

Global warming is such a lukewarm phrase anyway – it has no bite to it.  All I can think of is people who want a cause to complain about.  Like Chicken Little with old “the sky is falling” thing.  I love the smell of Chicken Little on my grill in the morning.  Especially the grill I used to have in Fire Island.  We called it circle chicken- because it was on the rotisserie- and it was so good.  But I digress and I am getting sad now.

Then BAM– and it hit me.  When I started pondering whether we should re-build our house at all, since our house is on a barrier island, I realized– We are destroying our planet and I’ll be lucky if NYC is around when my son grows up.  This storm brought the most powerful city in the world to its knees.  Way worse in devastation and vulnerability than 9-11.  It’s true that because of great decisions on the part of the Mayor and others there were minimal lives lost.  But when we lose whole communities, this is bigger than we realize.  To anyone who’s even still considering voting for Romney after this—I hope that your roads are flooded and you can’t make it to the voting booths.  I hope a fallen telephone pole blocks you from getting to the poll site.

Read the rest of…
Nancy Slotnick: What Sandy Did To My Home & My Closing Argument for Obama

Nick Paleologos: A Closing Argument for Obama — Tough Choices? Gimme a Break!

Everybody says the country is polarized. Really? It seems that everybody pretty much agrees on the following:

DEFENSE SPENDING:

1)   Our troops should be the best trained and best equipped in the world.

2)   The various branches of our military should not be competing against each other for resources but preparing instead to fight increasingly sophisticated threats to our national security.

3)   Our allies should be paying their fair share of the cost of defending freedom around the world.

DOMESTIC SPENDING:

1)   Social Security is good. But Warren Buffet should have to pay the same percentage of his total income into Social Security as the rest of us. And if the retirement age also has to go up a year or two in order to make the system solvent over time, we’re fine with that.

2)   Medicare and Medicaid are also good. But each needs to be run better—and by that we mean cheaper. As far as national health care is concerned, let’s stop fooling around. Requiring businesses to pay for health care is ridiculous. It’s a huge drag on their ability to grow and to create new jobs. Basic health care (just like education) should be the birthright of every US citizen. Smart and healthy citizens make for a stronger and more competitive country. Fear of destitution from illness, on the other hand, makes us less entrepreneurial and less productive. The best thing we can do for this economy is to take the cost of health care off the backs of our job creators, and instead have everybody chip in.

3)   Education? Don’t get me started. Every kid in America—regardless of income—goes to school. And that’s a good thing. So why stop at high school? If you’re smart enough to cut it, the country needs you to go to college. Period. But let’s face it. Colleges have been jacking up tuitions on the back of government guaranteed student loans for way too long. No college—public or private—should be eligible for any taxpayer funds of any kind (direct or indirect) unless they can prove they have a needs blind admission policy. That is, the kids they accept are allowed to attend—even if their parents can’t afford the full freight. And when colleges complain, the answer is simple. You’re supposed to be smart. Figure it out!

PUBLIC TELEVISION:

1)   We get a much better bang for the buck from Big Bird, than from Big Oil.

Read the rest of…
Nick Paleologos: A Closing Argument for Obama — Tough Choices? Gimme a Break!

The RP: A Closing Argument for the Presidency

In his latest column in The Huffington Post, The RP introduces No Labels‘ newest set of policy proposals to promote problem-solving in Washington: Make the Presidency Work!  No matter who is elected tomorrow, we need a stronger chief executive in order to help fix our broken political system.  And No Labels has a plan to make this happen.  Read an excerpt:

Promises, promises.

President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney are certainly making plenty of them.

Recent experience, however, suggests they will have a hard time keeping many of their promises.

It’s not because either is intentionally lying (all the time); but rather, it’s because gridlock, obstructionism and hyper-partisanship have become the rule in Washington.

Chances are very good that whoever sits in the Oval Office for the next four years will have to deal with a Congress that is closely divided between the two parties. One party may control the House and the other the Senate. And, even if one party were to have a majority in both bodies, progress will be confined by Senate rules that make it almost impossible to pass anything unless 60 of its 100 members agree.

Historically, divided government can work. President Ronald Reagan, a conservative Republican, and House Speaker Tip O’Neill, a liberal Democrat, famously joined forces in the 1980s to shore up Social Security and pass comprehensive tax reform.

More than 50 years ago, President Eisenhower won support from a Democratic Congress to build the Interstate Highway System.

The Civil Rights laws of the 1960s passed only because a significant number of Republicans joined with Democrats in a common front against discrimination.

The common thread in every instance: Presidents and legislators who crossed party lines to put their country first.

In recent years, unfortunately, hyper-partisanship and political point-scoring have emerged as dominant themes. Over the last two decades, no matter which party held the White House, the opposition’s consistent, knee-jerk response was to “just say no” to almost anything the president proposed.

To be fair, some of the resistance reflected honest differences in policy. And, also to be fair, presidents also have often failed to reach out meaningfully to the other side.

But too often, the legislative paralysis has been simply a function of politics.

With a fiscal cliff threatening to derail the economy; a record budget deficit that threatens long-term prosperity; health care costs rising with no end in sight; challenges of immigration, energy, and global warming continuing to mount and fester; and an ever-present concern about potential terrorism on the homeland; it’s high time to change the environment in Washington so that the president and Congress we choose on November 6 can work together to solve problems.

No Labels, a grassroots movement of more than half a million Republicans, Democrats and independents, has introduced a set of proposals that would make it easier to get things done in Washington. Our Make the Presidency Work! action plan consists of 11 common-sense proposals that would help break the gridlock, by changing outdated rules and traditions that get in the way.

Click here to read the full column.

Click here to sign onto No Labels’ action plan.

Julie Rath: Obama vs. Romney– The Sartorial Showdown

We are very excited at The Recovering Politician to introduce our newest weekly reinvention contributor:  Julie Rath, one of today’s leading style arbiters in the men’s fashion industry.  (Read her bio here.) 

Julie will be sharing fashion tips and advice with our readers, many of whom (mostly the guys — I can see you out there!) are shall we say, sartorially challenged. With Julie’s guidance, perhaps some of our readers can reinvent themselves as fashion icons.  Or at least be more presentable in the workplace and out on the town.

Of course this being only a few days before a major election, Julie’s first piece discuss a critical issue in Campaign 2012: the style choices of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  While not as disparate a contrast as Kennedy versus Nixon, Julie’s keen eye offers a unique perspective on the candidates’ differences.  Enjoy and learn:
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In this Fall’s battle of reds versus blues, my stylist’s eye is trained on the  important issues. That’s right: the Obama-Romney sartorial showdown. Whatever  your political inclination or level of fashion interest, the candidates’ style  statements have an undeniable effect on how they are perceived by the voters.

One misstep-in-mandals can read as silly and out of touch with what’s current.

Read on for how the two candidates stack up:

 

Debate Style

While both candidates keep it ultra-safe and conservative with dark navy suits,  white shirts and blue or red ties (which, interestingly they exchanged in the  final debate), Obama gets the leg up for his double-vented and shorter suit  jacket, well-executed tie dimples, better pant length and overall trimmer fit on  his suit. See all that excess fabric around Romney’s shoulders and sleeves? He  needs to go down a jacket size.

 

 

Both candidates have a nice build, and a suit  that fits like armor will show that off.  While Romney looks good in the shorter point collar, I’d like to see Obama  mix it up with a more stylish semispread. Also, Obama is smart to wear a  slightly high collar to disguise his thin neck.

 

 

 

Everyday Style

How do the candidates fare when they hit the streets shaking hands, kissing  babies, and shooting b-ball? The verdict is pretty much the same: Obama for the  win with his flat front pants and better-fitting clothes across the board. On  the topic of sleeve-rolling (a common practice among politicians who want to  show they’re ready to “tackle the issues”), Romney could take a lesson or two  from Obama on how to do this correctly and authentically.

 

Read the rest of…
Julie Rath: Obama vs. Romney– The Sartorial Showdown

John Y. Brown, III: Closing Argument for Mos Def

OK…Let’s talk about the presidential race.

But let’s have some fun with it.

No, not talking about Obama vs Romney. That has been talked to death already.

A different tack.

What would YOU do if you were president. …

Mos Def, rapper/poet, is not running for president.

But it didn’t stop him from riffing on what President Def would do….. Fun to watch ….and Mos gives some solid answers…..while having fun with it all….

Chuck Shepherd: A Closing Argument for Gary Johnson

Greetings and thank you for the opportunity to express myself in an open manner.  I don’t think what I have to say is what you’re looking for, as I am truly undecided in my decision for who should be the next president of our great country.  I am not undecided for lack of knowledge of both of the main candidates, nor the third party candidates, as I also watched the third party debates moderated by Larry King and will be watching the final debate on Nov. 5 as well between Gov. Gary Johnson and Dr. Jill Stein.  I am undecided because of a lack of information from all candidates because I have not heard any of them speak in support of a minority of people such as myself; the self employed independent contractor.  Though I know this isn’t a closing statement, this is more of wanting to find out what all candidates have to say about the hard working self employed, one person businessman, so I will write my viewpoint to you.
First, let me begin by stating that I live in Virginia, and am an independent contractor, teaching the joy of music to the young through elderly in a small, local music store.  I am responsible for paying my own taxes, and receive a 1099 at the end of the year.  I have heard plenty about the middle and upper class, but I really don’t make enough money to be in either of those brackets.  My income is in the poverty bracket, especially factoring in that I have a daughter in high school, and my wife is a cancer patient.  We rely on my income to pay the bills, and had to apply for food stamps to try to make ends meet.  This is the first time in my life that I’ve had to resort to this, and I’m not proud of the fact.  In this area, I see a weakness in the President, as more and more families have had to go this route, and now I find myself in the same position.  Neither the President or Governor Romney has mentioned the independent contractor, and I feel it is because we are such a small minority that our votes don’t matter to them, since we can’t help them win, which in turn, makes me feel that we aren’t in the numbers for economic growth.  So neither of the forerunners have anything to make me feel secure in voting for them.  The ACA presents a double jeopardy for me, as I can’t afford healthcare and will face a financial penalty for not having it.  That takes away another point for the President, who has forced me into this predicament.
The only candidate that seems helpful for my situation is Governor Johnson, who wants to abolish the IRS, which would help me tremendously, and sadly he has no chance in winning. I like to say that our colors are Red, White, and Blue, but our only options are Red and Blue, due to PACS and SuperPacs pouring money to help them win.  Third Party candidates should be equally represented as the White in a true democracy, where ethics rule over money. The debates should be open to all candidates on the ballot, so that the voters can make a truly informed decision come election day.  Money shouldn’t be the deciding factor, but character, vision, wisdom and knowledge should be what we are voting for, representing the best of ALL candidates on the ballot.  In this scenario, I see Governor Johnson as the best choice for me.  I also agree with him and Jill that Marijuana should be legalized, regulated, and taxed in the same manner as alcohol, reducing the cost of jailing offenders that are not criminals, except for the current laws regarding Marijuana.  This would generate a lot of revenue that would be a part of an economic recovery.
It’s a sad time for me, and I don’t see the election changing anything for my circumstances.  I do plan on voting, and from what I’ve written to you, it appears that through writing, my choice would have to be for Governor Johnson, though it would be a vote for my integrity, and not helping to elect the next president, so my decision would have to be for what I believe in, or voting for one of the forerunners that I feel would be the less of two evils, knowing that neither would help my situation.
I could go on, but I know have gone well over my 1,000 words, and I know they aren’t a closing statement for any particular candidate, but this issue is nonexistent in the race for the White House.

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