At the Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas last week, the liberals and Democrats gathered for this annual tech-centric event were polled on a range of issues, including which GOP candidate they want to take on Obama in the 2012 presidential election. Their answer? "Mama grizzly" Sarah Palin, by a landslide.
Talking Points Memo, which snagged an early version of the Netroots straw poll results, reports that 48 percent of those polled want the ex-Alaska governor and former vice presidential nominee to win the Republican nomination in 2012. Libertarian figurehead Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) came in a distant second, with 11 percent. Filling out the rest of the pack were former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (11 percent), 2008 GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (9 percent), Newt Gingrich (8 percent), and Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (7 percent).
The takeaway here is obvious: Liberals want wacky, fringe candidates—or in Santorum's case, candidates with horrendous image problems—so as to clear the way for four more years of Obama.
A fascinating result within the poll is what the frustrated netroots want Obama to focus on next. They overwhelmingly (74 percent) answered "improve jobs situation" when asked what should be the "highest priority" for Obama and Congress. Far runners up were "finish Afghanistan" with 8 percent, immigration reform with 7 percent, repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell with 6 percent, drawing down troops from Iraq with 3 percent and reduce deficit with 3 percent. (See Obama's surprise message to the convention here.)
The group also—by 69 percent—said health care reform was Obama's "top accomplishment." That was followed by his economic recovery plan with 13 percent, improving the U.S. image abroad with 7 percent, extending unemployment benefits with 5 percent, Wall Street reform with 3 percent, moving toward the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell with 2 percent and a new Afghanistan strategy with 1 percent.
The majority of respondents think Obama is handling his job as commander-in-chief well, with 32 percent saying they "strongly approve" and 51 percent saying they "somewhat approve." On the disapproval side, 13 percent disapprove somewhat, and 4 percent strongly disapprove.
Heading into the 2010 midterms, there's no debate on the headline issue topping the marquee for the fall elections: jump-starting the US economy. At every turn candidates are burnishing their job-creation cred and touting plans to create jobs.
And then there's Sharron Angle, the Nevada GOP and tea party's pick to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Washington Postrelays a telling anecdote today about Angle fielding a jobs-themed question at a friendly campaign event:
A local actress named Dee Drenta asked Angle what she would do to help people find work. But instead of seizing what seemed like an easy chance to explain her jobs plan, the candidate revealed that she didn't have one.
"It really comes from the statehouse to incentivize that kind of stuff in our state," Angle said. "Truly, the lieutenant governor, Brian Krolicki, you should have this conversation with him. That's his job, to make sure that we get business into this state. My job is to create the climate so that everybody wants to come."
The woman gave her a puzzled look. "I'm sure you're probably planning on working with these people to do these things," Drenta said, hopefully. "Because it's the end result that matters, whether it's specifically in the job description or not."
Bzzt. Wrong answer. And this wasn't some reporter trying to ambush Angle or skew her words; it was a regular Nevadan at a women's business lunch in support of Angle. If Angle can't even make use of easy set-ups like Drenta's question, how is she going to respond to reporters? That is, if she ever gives the media a chance to talk to her: Yesterday, Angle walked out of a room full of reporters, even though she was asked to make herself available to the media, after just a three-minute speech on repealing the estate tax. A pregnant reporter even chased Angle out to the parking lot to try to get a question in. And Angle wonders why news reports about her campaign have been, well, a bit negative.
It's been a bruising week for Jeff Greene, the billionaire "populist" running for US Senate in Florida. Greene, you'll remember, has quite the backstory: He made millions betting against the housing market before the subprime debacle; Mike Tyson was the best man at Greene's wedding; and his circle of friends and acquaintances has included celebrities like Heidi Fleiss and Lindsay Lohan. Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported on what appears to be a classic case of pay-to-play involving Greene and a member of the Democratic National Committee, Jon Ausman of Tallahassee, who endorsed Greene.
Now comes news that the next biggest threat to barrier reefs after global warming is, well, Jeff Greene's three-story, 145-foot yacht Summerwind. The St. Pete Times reports today that, five years ago, Greene's yacht dropped anchor onto one of the planet's most treasured barrier reefs off the coast of Belize. (Greene wasn't aboard at the time.) According to Belize environmental officials, the case remains open, and Greene or Summerwind's captain at the time of the incident face fines of up to $1.9 million if they ever return to that country. If they don't, then there's nothing Belize officials can do.
Greene's campaign denied to the Times that the reef incident ever occurred, even though Belize officials have a two-volume case file containing evidence of the episode. "Jeff Greene doesn't take a penny of special interest money, so career politicians are attacking him with ridiculous stories about something that didn't even happen five years ago on a boat he wasn't even on,'' a campaign spokesman told the Times. "That's our position. That's our quote."
...that even "Big Business"—think Wall Street, corporations, big-box retailers, the payday lenders—is more trusted by the American public than the 111th United States Congress. That's just one punchline for this sad, unfunny joke. Want another? Trying swapping out big business for, say, the criminal justice system. Yes, that broken criminal justice—the one that imprisons 1 in every 100 Americans, that sentences petty marijuana users to life behind bars without parole, that currently imprisons more black men than were enslaved in 1850, that each year eats away the anemic budgets of states like Michigan and California—is more popular than Congress.
At least that's what a new Gallup public confidence poll shows. Right now, the public's confidence in our federal legislative body, Gallup finds, is a meager 11 percent; the president fares somewhat better, with 36 percent of the public's confidence, tied with the US Supreme Court. Only three groups have more than 50 percent of the public's confidence: the police (59), small businesses (66), and the military (76).
While these industry reps are quick to tout Warren’s intelligence and tough reputation, they’re not keen on her bringing her no-nonsense style to bear on the community banks in their respective states. Top officials from industry associations in states like Nebraska, Iowa, and Oklahoma say she simply doesn't understand how small, community banks do business or misjudges how the bureau's actions could unfairly restrict these banks' ability to lend to customers. Nor does she grasp, they claim, the harmful impact the bureau and the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill as a whole could have on community banks, which comprise 97 percent of all banks (pdf) in the US. (Warren declined to comment.)
Visiting Washington this week for the American Bankers Association’s annual "leadership" meeting, these banking association chiefs preemptively lobbied their congressional representatives to oppose a potential Warren nomination—a position some say is shared by the banking community at large. "With my colleagues at the ABA, these views about her would be shared," says George Beattie, the Nebraska Bankers Association's president and CEO.