Rick Perry

Missing White Women

There are several interesting pieces of analysis cementing the logic that Obama won and Republicans will continue to lose because there simply aren’t that many angry old white men anymore. The WSJ surveys the demographic trends–including the most interesting one, showing Asian voters favoring Obama at almost the same high percentages as Latinos.

The Romney campaign devoted attention to Asian voters, particularly in northern Virginia. Exit polls showed the Asian vote expanding to 3% of the total U.S. electorate—an all-time high—with 75% of those votes cast for Mr. Obama.

And Alec McGillis suggests that Rick Perry’s challenge, which forced Mitt to the right of him on immigration–may have cast the lethal demographic blow against Mitt’s campaign.

 Sure, he wasn’t considered the sharpest pitchfork in the barn, but he had never lost an election and, with his brief flirtation with secession, had tapped into the anti-Washington fervor of the moment far better than any other Republican in the field. Premier national political magazines dispatched reporters to dolong profiles of him. And the frontrunner for the Republican nomination fatefully decided that Perry was such a threat to his prospects that he would … try to destroy him by running to his right on immigration.

Mitt Romney repeatedly attacked Perry for his support of in-state tuition for undocumented students at Texas colleges, declaring at one debate that it “made no sense at all” and running what was probably the nastiest ad of the primaries, a Web ad (since disappeared) that concluded with a clip of former Mexican president Vincente Fox praising Perry, as if that in and of itself was disqualifying.

[snip]

It was left to Perry to utter the defense that arguably sealed his fate even before his debate snafu: “If you say we should not educate children who come into our state … by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.”

But even as Romney was glorying in the move, its risks were plain to see. After vanquishing his foes amid a virtually all-white primary electorate, Romney was going to face a general election in which he could not afford to do worse than John McCain had with Hispanics—a 32 percent share. His harsh rhetoric was, for many voters, going to be inextricable with the litany of Republican callousness on the issue—Tom TancredoMaricopa County Sherrif Joe Arpaio,Arizona’s draconian anti-illegal immigration law and its copycats in Alabama and elsewhere, and on and on. Hispanic Republicans warned Romney to cool it, but he blustered on.

But one of the most interesting demographic pieces comes from Sean Trende at RealClearPolitics, showing that it wasn’t so much that minorities swamped Mitt, but that white voters turned out at lower rates than in 2008.

If we build in an estimate for the growth of the various voting-age populations over the past four years and assume 55 percent voter turnout, we find ourselves with about 8 million fewer white voters than we would expect given turnout in the 2008 elections and population growth.

Had the same number of white voters cast ballots in 2012 as did in 2008, the 2012 electorate would have been about 74 percent white, 12 percent black, and 9 percent Latino (the same result occurs if you build in expectations for population growth among all these groups). In other words, the reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home. Continue reading

America, the Dystopian Reality Show: Pink Slime Edition

When The Decline and Fall of the American Empire is written, I hope the historian writing it is astute enough to notice that the same week our nation’s highest court spent deciding whether the government could legally offer (badly conceived) health insurance reform, the business community was fighting to sustain a market for pink slime.

Pink slime arose as a typically American response to industrialization. After Jack in the Box killed a bunch of its customers by feeding them E. coli, rather than cleaning up the nation’s industrial meat supply, the food industry instead decided to scrub meat parts with ammonia before mixing it back in with The Beef.

But guess what? If you tell consumers what kind of slime you’re actually feeding them, they’ll stop eating it.

Ammoniated beef has taken a real beating in the media over the past couple years, and now fast-food giants McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King are no longer using it. As veteran journalist Philip Brasher reported over the holidays, the Iowa-based company that manufactures the beef product — at one time used in around 70 percent of American ground beef — has watched sales drop by 25 percent.

Beef Products Inc. uses an innovative process to turn fatty beef trimmings, which used to go mainly into pet food and other byproducts, into hamburger filler. Because the trimmings are at risk for E. coli or Salmonella contamination, the company adds a mixture of ammonia and water (ammonium hydroxide) to kill bacteria. BPI’s process, progressive food safety policies, and state-of-the art system have received numerous food safety awards and the company has never been linked to a foodborne illness.

But when some consumers find out about the treated beef product — dubbed “pink slime” by a U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist — they don’t like what they hear and food companies are taking notice.

In 2008, many American eaters were introduced to the product by Food, Inc, the Oscar-nominated documentary, which portrayed the technology as merely masking a symptom of a bigger problem: the industrial meat system. A year later, a New York Times expose questioned whether the ammonium hydroxide process was really delivering on its food safety promise, which is especially critical considering the product is widely used in the National School Lunch Program.

After Krogers and McDonalds both decided they couldn’t continue to sell consumers pink slime anymore, the pink slime company, BPI, shut down a bunch of pink slime factories.

Now a bunch of Governors and other industry-owned hacks have taken to the airwaves to defend pink slime.

Three governors, among them recent presidential candidate Rick Perry of Texas, two lieutenant governors, and the Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture all went to bat for Beef Products Inc. in a press conference in South Sioux City, Nebraska Thursday to assure consumers that Lean Finely Textured Beef, now widely known as “pink slime,” is safe and nutritious.

Continue reading

Brian Williams, Meet Cameron Todd Willingham

Pretty much everyone seems to have waken up this morning still aghast at the wild applause Rick Perry got last night for his boast about the number of people he has executed.

It is disgusting.

But Brian Williams, who otherwise did a decent job as moderator, failed miserably here. How do you ask this question and not mention Cameron Todd Willingham?

Not only did Governor Perry deny Willingham’s appeal for clemency even though an expert arson investigator had rebutted all the solid evidence in the case, Perry fired investigators who were about to provide Willingham’s innocence.

Perry killed an innocent man and then engaged in a cover-up to hide that fact. The story of Cameron Todd Willingham deserves to be a central issue in Perry’s campaign.

Yet Williams–even while he exposed Republicans as blood-thirsty kooks–failed to even mention Willingham’s name.

Obama’s Re-Election Campaign: Destroying the Country to Save It

Much of the discussion about this Jeff Zeleny piece has focused on Obama’s apparent consideration of cutting regulations that “affect the economy.”

The president intends to offer at least some progressive proposals to help regain a fighting posture that he has not had since the health care debate, but a provision is also being discussed to place a new moratorium on some regulations that affect the economy, excluding health care and financial rules. The proposals are likely to infuriate an already unhappy Democratic base. [my emphasis]

Greg Sargent suggests we ought to wait to see precisely what Obama means by this; I agree, not because I have any faith in Obama, but because the syntax of this line is so strange. Does Zeleny mean “moratorium on new regulations”? A “moratorium–does that mean temporary or permanent–on existing regulations”? Who is doing the discussing here, Mr. Passive Voice Journalist?

In short, I think Zeleny has failed his job as stenographer.

Which is why I’m even more intrigued by this passage.

The Republican candidates, collectively and in distinctive ways, continue to cast him as the foil against whom they ran so successfully in 2010: a big-government liberal who has expanded regulations, created uncertainty for business and failed to revive the economy, with millions more Americans out of work than when he took office. They portray him as an unsteady leader who is unequipped to turn around a country in economic crisis. [my emphasis]

Again, the meaning here is unclear: Who is the “they” here? Does Zeleny mean to invoke the themes all Republicans used to run against Obama in 2010? Or just the ones running for President. I’m not sure Ron Paul “ran against” Obama in 2010, though Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry did. Both complained about health insurance reform, but largely in terms of “freedom” and (particularly in the case of Perry the separatist, state’s rights), not regulations. Perry complained about emissions restrictions, which is certainly a regulation, but Obama’s already caved on that front.

Both Bachmann and Perry got caught hypocritically replying on government pork while attacking Obama’s stimulus bill, and it’s fair to say that Perry used stimulus funds to balance TX’s budget, and given the number of government jobs TX has relied on, it’s therefore safe to say Obama’s stimulus created jobs Perry is taking credit for.

And both Bachmann and Perry called Obama a socialist.

But the theme ignores one of the big things Republicans, as a whole, ran against Obama on in 2010: “cutting Medicare” (in the health insurance reform).

Which makes me wonder whether this interpretation of the 2010 election is Zeleny’s … or the Obama team’s?

It seems a critical issue because some seems to have simplified the reasons for the Democrats’ shellacking in 2010, particularly given that voters still largely blamed Bush for the economy in 2010 (though they’re doing so less now).

In any case, if Obama thinks he can embrace policies that will stop two fools who called a President who has coddled banksters “a socialist” from repeating that claim–if Obama believes that spoiling our air and water will make Bachmann and Perry be nice to him–it’s simply not going to work.

But I do worry that’s what he has in store.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz I defy any sentient human to explain how a Horse_eBooks style football bullshit generator would not be better commentary than Jon Gruden.
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bmaz Davids, Bowie and Gilmour, together Cold and Comfortably Numb: https://t.co/kSMKMbCcNF
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JimWhiteGNV So is the 2001 AUMF being used to justify the fight against Ebola, or will Obama need to get Congressional approval for it?
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emptywheel @TiredMemeCat Both appear to be terrible parents.
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emptywheel RT @charlie_savage: Key figure in Bush-era DOJ scandals - profile: http://t.co/3ftNs8Glza RT @rickhasen Schlozman's back (in #KSSEN) http:/…
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bmaz Anybody know an Exec, GC or other corp atty for American Family Ins in either Madison WI or Denver CO offices? Off record fine but need name
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emptywheel @cannedhiss I'm glad you did, honestly. I meant to comment on Peterson's past irresponsibility, not kids. But your point is absolutely fair
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emptywheel @cannedhiss Agree. Probably shouldn't have put it like that.
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emptywheel Colts offense channeling last year's Squawks offense today.
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emptywheel @cannedhiss actually, it's not married-non I care about. It's involvement in a kid's life.
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emptywheel @erniesfo Adding: and living in different states from them.
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