Archive for October, 2012

Denver Debate Fixation

Posted on October 5, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

As many as 67 – 70 million viewers tuned into the first Presidential debate of 2012. Why so many viewers  – more than any first presidential  debate since 1980?

Our answer is the people of this nation are still hurting and hurting quite a bit. Regardless of unemployment numbers coming down, or housing prices coming up, the nation is still hurting.

If the economy were growing steadily, citizens would have had the luxury of tuning into Dancing with the Stars or other distractions. With one out of four American children – or approximately  16.7 million children – living in food insecure households, the nation is looking at presidential candidates with an eye toward which one can fix the mess this nation is currently in.

Do we stay the course because things are starting to improve? Do we try something and someone new because the improvements are not occurring quickly enough? Compounding the philosophical doubts about the best direction for the nation is the tepid support each candidate has from their party faithful. Democratic members of Congress just do not like Obama. They are frustrated that he has thrown them under the bus by calling them the “do nothing Congress”. He has not campaigned with them and they have still not forgiven him for his handling of the health care legislation.

Likewise, many of the Republican members of Congress are essentially calling Romney a RHINO (Republican in Name Only) and are nervous about Romney’s debate statements that seem to tack toward the center. They are particularly concerned about Romney’s pledge to repeal only some of the Dodd Frank Act rather than all of it!

So, it seems that many, many voters will vote against one nominee rather than enthusiastically supporting the other. Now, on to the VPs debates. Any predictions?? Let us know your thoughts!

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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Where Have all the Moderates Gone?

Posted on October 4, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

When Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) announced in February that she would retire from the Senate, she cited the toxic political atmosphere in Washington as a big reason for her decision to leave.

“The sensible center has now virtually disappeared,” she said. Her departure in January, like that of other political moderates, makes the center that much more of a lonely place on Capitol Hill.

Where have you gone Bob Michel? Michel, the famously moderate former House GOP leader from Illinois, told The Nation recently that centrist thinking and bipartisanship are vanishing traits in political Washington.

“You have to have the ability to go to the other side of the aisle and get the votes. You don’t condemn the other side. You treat them with respect because one day, you may want them to join you on a critical vote,” he said.

With a bitterly divided Congress and the agenda being driven by the extremes, capturing the attention of lawmakers is more critical than ever. As lobbyists, we know this better than anyone.

Joining Snowe on the congressional exit ramp are Senate moderates from both parties including Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).

On the House side, moderates from both parties are retiring or being threatened by challenges from more extreme partisans. One of the soon-to-be retirees, Rep. Steve LaTourette  (R-Ohio), announced his retirement and like Snowe, took a parting shot at the super-heated partisan atmosphere on the Hill.

“Words like compromise have been like dirty words,” he said.

While there are extremes on both sides of the aisle to be sure, it is the replacement of moderate Republicans with uncompromising Tea Party conservatives that is leading the threat to the political middle.

Once a small coalition of conservatives, today’s Tea party has emerged as a political movement to be reckoned with. And with one of their own, Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, on the national ticket as Mitt Romney’s running mate, the Tea Party is poised to gather even more clout in next month’s elections.

How much power the Tea Party wields on the Hill could depend in large part on the coat tails of the eventual White House winner.

But either way, political moderates will remain on the endangered list, meaning less bipartisanship and, surely, fewer legislative accomplishments when the 113th Congress convenes.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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The 2012 Election by the Numbers

Posted on October 4, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Carl Chancellor

Certainly over that last few weeks, Gov. Romney has taken a lot of grief over his secretly recorded comments regarding the 47 percent of Americans who he said “pay no income tax” and “…who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you-name-it.”

Since Romney’s words have come to light the accuracy of that 47 percent number has been called into question. More than a few individuals and organizations make the point that the statistic is highly misleading since it ignores payroll, state, and local taxes that most Americans, be they rich or poor, pay.  More importantly for Gov. Romney, as the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress notes in a recent report, the very states that support the governor in his presidential bid — places like Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas… – are overwhelming populated by the folks he denigrated as moochers. Which begs the question: Is attacking your constituency ever a winning strategy?

Then again Romney can find comfort in the fact that according to a Fox News poll out this week, 79 percent of Americans believe that everyone should pay federal income tax no matter how small the amount. “That includes 85 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of independents and 71 percent of Democrats,” notes Fox.

With regards to polls: The latest national polls have President Obama leading Romney.  A new Quinnipiac University poll just released has the President ahead of Romney by 4 percentage points, 49 percent to 45 percent respectively, and according to the National Journal the “results are consistent with other recent surveys showing a slender advantage for Obama prior to the first debate between the two candidates on Wednesday night.” Of greater concern for Romney, in the 11 crucial swing states the President is leading in nearly all of them, according to a National Journal survey.

Not surprisingly in this highly contentious race, the polls themselves are being attacked. Romney and the GOP claim the polls are skewed. A recent report in the Hill noted that “a plurality of Americans and more than seven in 10 Republicans say pollsters are intentionally skewing results to benefit President Obama.”

Ultimately, though, there is only one number that counts, and that’s 270 — the amount of electoral votes needed to win the presidency in November.  Whoever the eventual winner is — Obama or Romney — the number that must be of the foremost priority is 314 million — the population of the United States.  It is incumbent on our next president to forge a bold path forward that is about doing what is best for all Americans — all 100 percent of us.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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Romney Scores, But was it Enough?

Posted on October 4, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney went into last night’s debate needing a game changer. He certainly scored points, but was it enough?

The former Massachusetts governor came through with a solid performance against the more experienced President Obama, enough that he easily won instant reaction polls by both CNN and CBS.

Still, there were no gotcha moments, no staggering verbal blows, just clearly articulated statements of Romney’s campaign positions and policy plans. The President was cautious, even defensive at times, a strategy that may have been designed to limit Romney’s chances of scoring big.

Romney scored best when addressing the economy and the impacts of both his and Obama’s plans on the middle class, an area in which he has fared poorly to date.

He said his plan, not Obama’s, will do the most to help those in the middle and he denied Obama’s claim that it will help only the wealthy.

Obama, meanwhile, attacked Romney’s tax cut plans as a bonus for the rich, a $5 billion blow to the federal budget that cannot be made up through the elimination of deductions and closing loopholes. “I think math, common sense and our history shows us that’s not a recipe for job growth,” Obama said.

But Romney said it’s the president’s math that is wrong and denied that his plan benefits the rich at the expense of the middle class. He said the ultimate goal of his tax cut plan is to create jobs, an area he said Obama neglected.

“I just don’t know how the president could have come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the — at the kitchen table, and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for Obamacare instead of fighting for jobs for the American people,” Romney said.

Obama, meanwhile, defended his record.

“Over the last 30 months, we’ve seen 5 million jobs in the private sector created. The auto industry has come roaring back. And housing has begun to rise. But we all know that we’ve still got a lot of work to do. And so the question here tonight is not where we’ve been but where we’re going,” he said.

After the debate, predictably, partisan backers of both men claimed victory as they always do. It’s difficult to gauge these things of course, with the ultimate scorekeepers sitting at home in key battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia.

Romney was clearly the aggressor and his performance may cause some voters to reconsider his candidacy. A come from behind win could be in sight for the Republican, but he still needs a few more points.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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