Such A Supple Wrist

Well, if Tom Jensen’s poll numbers are to be believed (and PPP has been pretty much spot on in the past with a good track record) then Stupor Tuesday it could be a long, long day for the forces of Romnevibility(tm).

The news is good for Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich and bad for Rick Santorum in PPP’s final polls of the three biggest Super Tuesday states.

In Ohio Romney leads with 37% to 36% for Santorum, 15% for Gingrich, and 11% for Ron Paul.

In Tennessee Santorum leads with 34% to 29% for Romney, 27% for Gingrich, and 8% for Paul.

In Georgia Gingrich leads with 47% to 24% for Romney, 19% for Santorum, and 8% for Paul.

A week ago Santorum had a huge lead in Tennessee, a decent sized one in Ohio, and seemed like he had a good chance for second in Georgia. Now he’s barely holding on in Tennessee, ever so slightly behind in Ohio, and seems doomed for third in Georgia.

Romney’s fortunes have swung the other direction. What was looking like a runner up finish in Ohio is looking more like a win with each passing day. He has an outside chance at pulling off an upset win in Tennessee. And it looks like he’ll finish a solid second in Georgia.

The news for Gingrich is good too. It’s been expected he would win Georgia, but it looks now like he could even hit the 50% mark. And he’s pulled within striking distance of Santorum and Romney in Tennessee.

We’re at a tipping point. A Gingrich win in Georgia with him getting over 50% keeps him in the game, as does a Santorum win in Tennessee (especially if Romney slips into 3rd there.)  Should Slick Rick pull off a win in Ohio to boot, all balls will be locked for multiball and the chaos will truly begin, as Tuesday will only make the national GOP picture even more messy.

If on the other hand Romney can win Ohio and surprise in the Volunteer State, Romnevitability(tm) will rise.  It could go either way at this point.  Me, I’m rooting for multiball, then for the table to break and the balls to go flying everywhere.  Maybe knock over a few bystanders, roll out into the street, cause hipsters to ironically fall.  Yeah, the kind of multiball that makes the local news and forces some local reporter to schlep out to where they still have pinball machines and pizza by the slice with “cheese” and do a report with a straight face with the chyron underneath reading “BIZARRE PINBALL ACCIDENT DOWNTOWN INJURES FOUR.”.  I’m all for that.  Let’s go with that.  Yeah.

Also, what Doug said.

Getting to know Mitt Romney, whether he likes it or not

I went to a Meet The Candidates event near here night before last:

Angela Zimmann was there. She’s running against Bob Latta for the US House.

John Vanover was there, I’ve mentioned him frequently here before, he’s the brave person who stepped up to run against an entrenched, well-funded culture warrior Republican for a seat in the Ohio legislature. He doesn’t have an online donations page set up yet, but we’re working on it.

The event was mostly Q and A, and it was a good discussion. The attendees asked about Kasich’s plans to sell the turnpike, Lake Erie environmental protections, and school funding. No one asked about birth control, or whether or not President Obama is “really” a Christian, and the college student who was barred from testifying in the GOP House on contraception wasn’t even mentioned, let alone demeaned and insulted.

Yesterday, Angela and some others held a press conference in Toledo to go after Romney on the auto industry rescue that he opposed. It’s a nice hook for Angela, because her opponent Bob Latta opposed the rescue too:

Today, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, State Representative Michael Ashford, 5th District Congressional candidate Angela Zimmann and Lucas County Democratic Party Chairman Ron Rothenbuhler stood in front of a podium sign reading, “Romney: Let Jeep Die” and held a press conference in Toledo to highlight Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s out-of-touch record when it comes to manufacturing and the auto industry. The event followed Mitt Romney’s appearance at American Posts LLC in Toledo.
The Ohio Democrats opened the event by pointing to comments made by Romney earlier in the day in which he said, “I gotta push a button. That’ll be my heavy-lift in terms of manufacturing.”
State Representative Mike Ashford of Toledo talked about the autoworkers he represents and the autoworkers across America. “Since President Obama stood up for the auto industry, more than 1.4 million jobs have been saved, 200,000 created and more than 150,000 expected in the next few years. And Chrysler will soon invest $500 million in the Jeep plant, right here in my district.”
Ashford invited Mitt Romney to visit the Jeep plant and meet his constituents to hear how the auto industry has been helped through the rescue efforts that he opposed. 5th District Congressional Candidate Angela Zimmann slammed her Republican opponent, Congressman Bob Latta, for voting against the auto rescue.
“This region of Ohio runs on cars,” Zimmann said. “The auto industry runs in our blood. But if Bob Latta had his way, our auto industry would not exist as it does today. It’s a real slap in the face that he thinks we won’t remember how he voted against our autoworkers.”

The truth is, all Republicans opposed the auto rescue because the lock-step conventional wisdom of the people who manufacture nothing more tangible and real than opinion pieces was that the auto industry rescue would fail. They bet against that industry recovering. They all did. The auto industry collapse was real, and the rescue is real. Millions of jobs and a whole region of the US were hanging in the balance. Republicans don’t want to talk about it, and they may be able to dodge talking about it on the national stage, but they aren’t going to be able to escape it here:

Mr. Romney didn’t mention his opposition to the federal government’s bailout of the auto industry, an issue that plagued him in Michigan, where he defeated former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum on Tuesday. But if Mr. Romney hoped to put the issue behind him after the primary race in Michigan, he’s likely to be disappointed — especially in northwest Ohio, where the local economy is tightly tied to Detroit’s. The North Toledo company Mr. Romney wanted to highlight as a beneficiary of his policies is a prime example. Universal Metals would be much different today without the bailout of the auto industry.

Romney visited NW Ohio to “tout his business credentials”, but here’s what Mitt Romney’s business credentials led him to believe about the auto rescue:

If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

Millions of people were watching and waiting to see whether they would be employed the following week, whether their pensions were going to disappear, and Mitt Romney took to the editorial pages to tell them their economic demise was “virtually guaranteed”. Why did he do that? Because he was absolutely confident doing so would benefit Mitt Romney politically, in 2012.

Make The Gas Face For Those Little White Lies

One of the nation’s biggest oil lobbyists in January warned the President that he could make life very uncomfortable for his re-election chances if he didn’t approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

The oil industry’s top lobbyist warned the Obama administration Wednesday to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline or face “huge political consequences” in an election year.

Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said it would be a “huge mistake” for President Barack Obama to reject the 1,700-mile, Canada-to-Texas pipeline. Obama faces a Feb. 21 deadline to decide whether the $7 billion pipeline is in the national interest.

“Clearly, the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest,” Gerard said at the trade association’s annual “State of American Energy” event. “A determination to decide anything less than that I believe will have huge political consequences.”

Jump to six weeks later:

Soaring gasoline prices are threatening to undercut President Barack Obama’s re-election prospects and offering Republicans an easy target. With prices pushing $4 a gallon and threatening to go even higher, Obama sought Thursday to confront rising public anxiety and strike back at his GOP critics.

Obama said dismissively that all the Republicans can talk about is more drilling — “a bumper sticker … a strategy to get politicians through an election” — when the nation’s energy challenges demand much more. In a speech in Miami, he promoted the expansion of domestic oil and gas exploration but also the development of new forms of energy.

For all the political claims, economists say there’s not much a president of either party can do about gasoline prices. Certainly not in the short term. But it’s clear that people are concerned — a new Associated Press-GfK poll says seven in 10 find the issue deeply important — so it’s sure to be a political issue through the summer.

You do the math.  I’m thinking Big Oil already has, and they’re liking the numbers they see.  The Republicans and the Village certainly aren’t above concern trolling President Obama, either.  Remember, he’s “bad for business” when he doesn’t give corporations the “certainty” of a negative tax rate and all the steak fajita grandes they can eat on Tuesdays.

Presidents may not be able to do much about gasoline prices, but oil companies sure as hell can.

Your Master Class In Mansplaining

Here are the only things you really need to know about last night’s debate.  One, it’s more than likely the last one for the Republicans.  Two, they did this:

On Wednesday, contraception became the latest topic to raise the ire of conservative debate goers.

During a CNN-sponsored Republican presidential debate in Arizona, the crowd booed wildly at the mention of birth control.

Newt Gingrich then lied about President Obama “supporting infanticide”, Mittens then lied about the President’s “assault on religious freedom”, Santorum then lied about the “pill being dangerous”, and Ron Paul noted that as a doctor, if only women had morals, we wouldn’t need contraception at all.

The sound you heard during that roughly 8 minute segment of the debate was every female swing voter laughing and walking away from the Republicans for a very, very long time.

Conservative pundits sympathetic to Romney have been making the case this week that, whatever Santorum’s conservative merits, he drags the whole party down with his extreme rhetoric. They got plenty of evidence for their case on Wednesday after the GOP received a question on whether they support birth control. Gingrich and Romney practically fell over themselves to condemn moderator John King for daring to even bring it up, insisting that it was an irrelevant distraction from the important issues of the day and their only concerns with contraception were really about religious freedom.

Then came Rick Santorum, who completely deflated their case. He enthusiastically responded to a question about contraception with a lengthy (and seemingly unrelated) sermon about the over-sexualization of teenagers.

“What we’re seeing is a problem in our culture with respect the children being raised by children, children being raised out of wedlock, and the impact on society economically, the impact on society with respect to drug use and a host of other things, when children have children,” he said. “And so, yes, I was talking about these very serious issues.”

Pretty soon the entire podium was following his lead, joining in with their own denunciations of teenage pregnancy and calling for more abstinence programs.

These guys are toast.  Their party is toast.  Their ideas are toast.  The fact they spent a good 10+ minutes mansplaining how the spawn of Lilith  should really just epoxy their legs shut in a debate where the word “jobs” was completely absent showed just how out of touch these fools really are.

At Least Have The Grace To Oil Up…Again

So last time we talked supply and demand and oil/gasoline prices in the US, there was quite a bit of disagreement about whether or not US demand for gasoline makes any difference in gas prices at the pump at all.  There was agreement that gasoline price increases are pretty elastic (they respond to oil supply cuts and demand increases) but are obnoxiously inelastic when it comes to price decreases (reduced demand doesn’t lower the price of gas.)

We’ve now got evidence that increasing domestic oil production also does not lower the price of gasoline at the pump, because hey, we’re producing more oil domestically under this President.

The United States’ rapidly declining crude oil supply has made a stunning about-face, shredding federal oil projections and putting energy independence in sight of some analyst forecasts.

After declining to levels not seen since the 1940s, U.S. crude production began rising again in 2009. Drilling rigs have rushed into the nation’s oil fields, suggesting a surge in domestic crude is on the horizon.

The number of rigs in U.S. oil fields has more than quad­rupled in the past three years to 1,272, according to the Baker Hughes rig count. Including those in natural gas fields, the United States now has more rigs at work than the entire rest of the world.

“It’s staggering,” said Marshall Adkins, who directs energy research for the financial services firm Raymond James. “If we continue growing anywhere near that pace and keep squeezing demand out of the system, that puts you in a world where we are not importing oil in 10 years.”

There are doubts that energy independence is that close. But many say the booming shale oil fields in Texas and North Dakota and the growth of deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico will allow the nation to cut its reliance on oil imports significantly over the next couple of decades.

But wait…Republicans have told us that increasing oil production now will lower gas prices now.  Certainly Johnny Volcano and Moose Lady ran on a platform like this in 2008.  And yet…gas prices are now going up.  People keep forgetting that President Obama has, on several occasions, said he would increase domestic energy production and work to get technologies on the road to decrease consumption.  Certainly one of the very, very minor bright spots in the Great Recession is that it lowered demand for gasoline in the US.

“Drill baby drill”?  Hey, that’s what we’re doing.  And yet we’re facing $4 gas this summer.  Not only do we have decreased demand, we have increased supply brought on line.  But gas prices are still high.  Here’s another example of President Obama’s policies doing what the Republicans said we should be doing but of course the President not getting any credit for it.  But the big money continues to be put down on long positions.

Hedge funds and other large speculators boosted their net- long position in crude futures to the highest level in nine months, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Managed-money bets that prices will rise, in futures and options combined, outnumbered short positions by 233,889 contracts in the week ended Feb. 14, the Washington-based regulator said in its report on Feb. 17. Net-long positions rose by 28,180 contracts, or 13.7 percent, from a week earlier.

And lo and behold, the long positions are again driving prices up.  But we’re told speculation is “a scapegoat”.  Well, it’s not demand, and now it’s not supply.  Either we can’t do anything about gas prices by affecting production and demand in the US so the Republicans should shut it, or we need to have a little talk about rampant commodities speculation.