Romney’s “Death Stench” — and what you can do about it

Not my phrase — it’s the phrase of Time Magazine political reporter and Republican fanboy Mark Halperin, and it describes the pall hanging over the Republican campaign.  The Obama convention bounce continues, with the President now getting a six-point margin in the latest CNN poll — the first non-tracker since Charlotte.

There are, unfortunately, two problems with this:

1)  Halperin is a moron, so we should be quite cautious of anything he says.  (You might remember his unforgettable claim that McCain’s not knowing how many houses he had was “great news for John McCain” or his pathetic pleading with Hugh Hewitt not to call him a liberal).  He’s not as bad as Dick Morris, but that’s a low bar, and besides — Morris makes predictions in order to fluff his business, nut for accuracy.

2) More importantly, Halperin makes a pretty decent point: if it looks like Romney is going down, then Republicans and their Super PACs will shift to Senate and House races.  Karl Rove’s American Crossroads has been playing the Senate for a while, and can probably expect a new cash infusion.  This is precisely what happened in 1996: a prominent and very smart California Republican leader told me that his party “called an audible” in late September, shifted their money away from bob Dole, and saved the Gingrich majority.  We know what followed.  And remember: $10 million from a SuperPAC really doesn’t mean much in a Presidential race, but it can mean a lot in a House contest or in a Senate race in small, relatively inexpensive states like Nevada or North Dakota.

Along with the announcement that Obama outraised Romney in August, I think that these are important factors for small donors to start focusing their attention to downballot races.  Every cycle, I set up an ActBlue page, but — perhaps consistent with stories of Democratic voter disenchantment — contributions are somewhat down this year.  It will matter a lot, even if President Obama is re-elected, if the Democrats lose the Senate, or if they regain the House.

So give the page all your money — here.  (Or at least some of it!).  Remember — I don’t make a nickel off of this.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

7 thoughts on “Romney’s “Death Stench” — and what you can do about it”

  1. You make a very good point about Halperin!

    As far as outside monies coming into congressional races – every Democratic candidate needs to employ a People Power strategy where good citizens work to counter (and ultimately vote against) the GOP’s air and press blitz with word of mouth and social networking to set the record straight about the last thirty years and the Republican brand’s penchant for producing failed Middle Class policies, tilting economic policy in favor of an upward redistribution of wealth, and in 2010, hoodwinking us by campaigning on “jobs. jobs. jobs” and since, delivering the crazy.

    The word must go out – the first step in healing us as a people is to punish the Republicans at the polls in November, 2012! Otherwise the political perversions of one Karl Rove may live on in perpetuity! Citizens’ United, as a John Roberts’ majority opinion, will not serve our nation well! When and if the dear old GOP super pacs turn their sights on congress and the states, we may witness quite a monied political blood bath!

  2. Word. Except I’m not sure about Kaine, Berkley or Baldwin. They’re good folks, but . . .

    Given greater political polarization and concomitant loss of ticket-splitting, the game is about GOTV much more than persuasion. Obama’s GOTV will help the ticket below just by existing–in the purple Presidential states. That includes Sherrod Brown in Ohio or Bill Nelson in Florida or Tim Kaine in VA or Shelley Berkley in NV or Tammy Baldwin in WI. The states that Karl Rove’s money will harm the most are the few deep blues with a credible R (MA or maybe NM–I can’t think of another), and the reddish-to-red states which Obama has given up and in which the Democratic candidate still stands a chance: IN, MO, MT, AZ, ND, and I must have missed another.

    As with Jonathan, I don’t know about the House.

    1. You could add Chris Murphy in CT to the list of deep blues with a credibilish R — Linda McMahon is polling at around a tie now. Possibly HI too, but I just looked at the RCP poll list and Hirono seems to be waxing Lingle in most of them.

      You might count Kerrey in NE as a democrat who has a chance in a red state, just a little bit, but I don’t really believe in him. Otherwise I think you’ve got them all. And there’s MI as a purple state with a race, but Hoekstra really hurt himself there by being a huge embarrassing racist.

  3. Outside money has been pouring into the Montana Senate race for quite a while already, and will surely continue.

    I’ll admit not having done much for the president this time — in marked contrast to the last time. I get fundraising emails all the time, and mentally respond with variations of (a) times are tougher for me this year; (b) hey, why don’t you ask your friends at Goldman Sachs, since you seemed to care a fucking lot more about what they thought (especially in the first two years of the term, until you learned that catering to them was pointless) than you cared about what I thought; or (c) why don’t you ask the moderates you were courting with your pandering to fear and ignorance wrt war on terror captives. Yeah, I know it’s a mistake. I want him re-elected. But damn, I don’t like being triangulated for the benefit of people who aren’t staying on the team.

    I’m better when I get Tester emails.

  4. Pingback: CNN: Obama Up 6
  5. With Halperin, it’s best to just read for the entertainment value. I have no idea how much of Game Change is true, for example, just that it’s an entertaining read.

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