Tag Archive Obama

Bypiechartking

What’s Up with Voter ID in Pennsylvania?

So by now, we all know that Democrats and liberals (and lovers of freedom and voting rights everywhere) won a “sorta” victory yesterday, a “did we win or not?” win. Proponents of voter rights had appealed the earlier decision of a lower court last month refusing to issue a preliminary injunction preventing Pennsylvania’s controversial new Voter ID Law from taking effect. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down its decision.

As a lawyer, this decision is right in line with what judges usually do – hand out deflating victories, or defeats with cushions. If you’re not an attorney, though, this decision could be a little too much nuance, and not enough oomph. It was anything but a sexy decision. Lightning did not crash. No choirs of angels sang. The earth didn’t move. And the Law is still there – with no injunction to block its implementation – yet.

The Supreme Court was cautious in its decision. The Court let the lower court know that it disagreed with the lower court’s reasoning and vacated the lower court’s decision. In addition, the Supreme Court sent the case back down to the lower court, with instructions. This basically lets the lower court know that it HAS to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the Law from taking effect, unless it is proven that some things have happened that will ensure that voting is not harder for certain groups. In other words, unless changes have happened that pretty much take all the political advantage away from the Republicans who passed the legislation in the first place, the lower court HAS to issue an injunction. It seems to be a reasonable approach.

The Voter ID Law

To the Supreme Court, the primary point of the Law is to require voters to present photo identification before the voter can vote. The Law expects that the primary form of photo ID used by voters will be Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)–issued driver’s license or non-driver ID. The Law tries to make acquiring the ID really easy by attempting to override PennDOT procedures, kind of an “Easy ID” provision: the ID will be issued free of charge, and any voter who signs a statement affirming that the voter in question doesn’t have proof of identification and needs one for voting purposes, and has completed the application for the ID, will receive one. Apparently, the purpose of this “Easy ID” provision is to avoid any accusations that the Law is attempting to disenfranchise voters by making the procurement of a hard-to-get ID one of the requirements for voting.

However, it turns out that PennDOT is not playing along. If I were a cynical person (and I am), I would argue that Republicans wrote this Law, knowing full well that PennDOT would never implement it as written, but proceeded to enact the Law anyway. Why not? If confronted with claims of voter disenfranchisement due to PennDOT’s non-compliance with the Law, these Republicans could just shrug their shoulders. Hey, they tried to make it easy. Who knew that PennDOT was such a hardass? By then, then issue would be dead, because President Romney would already be warming up the money-bubble bath for corporations and obliging the Tea Party nuts.

No, PennDOT is still requiring that people present a birth certificate with raised seal, a social security card, and two forms of documentation showing current residence. And for good reason: since PennDOT photo ID is a secured form of identification, one that you can board planes with, for example, the bar must necessarily be high to show that you are who you say you are. When asked on the stand about PennDOT’s sensible adherence to its traditional vetting process prior to issuing photo ID, the Secretary of the Commonwealth could only offer the lame defense that the “Easy ID” section of“’[t]he [Voter ID] law does not require those kids of – the kind of identification that is now required by PennDOT for PennDOT IDs.’” In other words, “We tried to make getting ID easy, it’s evil PennDOT that’s screwing everything up!” How convenient for Republicans.

Remedial Measure

Because it’s so obvious that this situation will screw many voters (trying not to be overly technical, I think “screw” hits the right note), the State testified that it is “in the process of implementing several remedial measures on an expedited basis.” Wow, sounds reassuring. At the time of testimony, less than two months’ out from the General Election, the State’s “in the process”. Because if nothing else was being done, then there’s a real problem here, because the “Easy ID” section of the Law isn’t even being followed by PennDOT.

So what “remedial measures” to help comply with the “Easy ID” section? Well, one solution being contemplated is a new, non-secure Department of State ID card. Of course, preparations were still “underway” at the time of the evidentiary hearing back whenever, before the lower court trial. What’s more, applicants for the State ID card may still have to undergo the rigorous PennDOT application process and then get rejected, before qualifying for application for the State ID. According to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislations, applicants who are unable to get a PennDOT photo ID will have the opportunity to call the Department of State to “begin the process of obtaining the alternative card.” Yeah, that sounds really “easy”.

Let’s pause for a moment to digest what this means.

1) The Voter ID Law requires you to show ID, probably PennDOT ID
2) The Voter ID Law makes getting the PennDOT easier with its “Easy ID” provision
3) However, PennDOT does not comply with these easier requirements in the “Easy ID” provision, and keeps the same requirements for getting PennDOT ID (for good reasons, like commercial airport security)
4) Republican Department of State is in the process of offering alternative, Department of State-issued State ID
5) For State ID, you still have to undergo the entire PennDOT ID application process
6) For State ID, you have to then get rejected during your PennDOT ID application process
7) After rejection, then you get a number to call to contact Department of State to begin the State ID application process.

The Conflicts and Error in Lower Court’s Reasoning

Unsurprisingly, in the face of all this, voters’ rights groups challenged the law as invalid and asked for an injunction to prevent the Law from taking effect. The lower court refused, stating that its belief was that Pennsylvania government efforts to educate the voting public, coupled with remedial measures like the one just outlined above, would be sufficient to prevent any potential voter disenfranchisement.

Well, the Supreme Court smacked down that conclusion in its opinion, writing that, while it didn’t doubt the good faith efforts of State employees, the Court wasn’t about to let glowing State employee testimony settle the question of whether voters could be disenfranchised by the Voter ID Law. The Court stated that it was “not satisfied” with the lower court’s “mere predictive judgment” that the state’s education efforts and remedial measures would take care of the potential problem, in light of the daunting issue of implementing such widespread change in such a short period of time (the Voter ID Law was enacted only in March 2012, after all), all the while making sure that no one gets disenfranchised.

Although die-hard liberals like me would have liked the Court to issue an injunction preventing the Law from taking effect, the law student part of me has to admire the inherent fairness of what the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did. If you can agree, in theory, that requiring people to show photo ID before voting is constitutional, as long as everyone who wants a photo ID can get one before the next important election, then theoretically there is nothing wrong with the Voter ID Law.

The Court noted that the problem arises when the State of Pennsylvania attempts to ram through this new Voter ID procedure, the (unspoken and hoped-for) result being that thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of Democratic voters won’t be able to secure appropriate ID in time to vote in this year’s general election. Even though the Law may be constitutional in the long run, if implemented properly and reasonable education is combined with reasonable means for people to procure ID, in the short-run what the State is attempting to do is potentially constitutionally defective.
So given that, in the long run, this Law may constitutionally check out as legit, the Court sent the case back down to the lower court with some instructions. First, find out what’s up with this State ID initiative. Is it easy enough to get one of these State IDs that the “Easy ID” provision of the Voter ID Law is satisfied and disenfranchisement won’t occur because people can get the proper ID to vote? (The Court made it clear in its opinion that offering State ID only after you jump through all the hoops to get your PennDOT and then get rejected, doesn’t count as “easy enough”) If it’s not easy enough, or if the State ID initiative isn’t even off the ground yet, or not working well, the lower court has to issue an injunction. (Also, the Supreme Court stated that if the judge on the lower court has changed his mind, he must issue an injunction. I won’t hold my breath.)

From a perspective that values our representative-based democracy, you have to admire the Supreme Court’s restraint in its decision. Rather than block a law which was passed by democratically-elected officials in the legislature, the Court focused like a laser on the constitutional issue: could this Law’s hasty implementation disenfranchise vulnerable voters? If so, what’s being done to prevent that? State ID? Ok, well then, will State ID inoculate the voters against disenfranchisement by providing an easy solution to getting appropriate ID? If so, great! Let the Law stand. If not, block the Law. Even though the Supreme Court didn’t come right out and say it, it seems the Court knows that the State ID initiative will be insufficient to protect the rights of the sheer number of potential voters who will be disenfranchised by the new Law.

Through its opinion, the Court has cleverly crafted a solution that will result in either the Law being blocked from taking effect, or will result in a solution that will take away all the victory from Republicans, because anyone who wants appropriate ID will have the opportunity to get one, thus ensuring them the ability to vote.

Moreover, by gently highlighting the doubts that the Supreme Court has about the voter education efforts and remedial measures to be implemented, the Supreme Court subtly called attention to the massive and craven power play in which the Republicans have engaged to suppress the vote in Pennsylvania.

Let’s be frank, this was the Republicans’ plan from the beginning. There’s no possible way that implementing such a massive new piece of legislation in a few months’ time could possibly ensure that no eligible voter is disenfranchised. That’s actually the unspoken-and whole-point. Unspoken and hidden away, beneath a series of impediments working together to form a gauntlet through which many voters in the most vulnerable groups in Pennsylvania will not successfully navigate in time to vote on November 6.

Need PennDOT ID? It’s easy, just apply and sign this statement. Oh what? You mean you have to show embossed birth certificate, social security card, and two pieces of documentation proving current residence? That’s OK, no problem! Just apply for this Department of State-issued State ID! Wait, we’re working on that right now. Don’t worry – we’ll make it available. But hang on – you have to first go through the PennDOT ID application process first. You know, the one where you have to show your birth certificate, social – yeah, that one. You got rejected? Okay, then, here’s a number to call. Just call the Department of State and begin the process to get your State-issued State ID. I’m sure the wait won’t be too- Oh looky here! President Romney wins Pennsylvania. Have a nice life, you 47% moochers!

ByRandomology

Limbaugh: Only Care for People Like You

Pictured here? Zero percent humanity.

Rush Limbaugh has never been one to appear cuddly and caring. This week, however, he shed further light on a mentality that sadly permeates the Right.

During a show discussing why Obama is the Other, someone outside of America, Limbaugh let slip the following quote (emphasis mine):

Obama did not grow up in poverty. His grandmother, the typical white woman, worked in a bank. Don’t give me this “down with the struggle” business. He wasn’t down with the struggle, that’s the whole point. You go back to 2008, the Democrats were wringing their hands because he wasn’t authentically black. That’s the reason the Reverend Sharpton had a problem with him, and they wrote the column in the L.A. Times, “the magic Negro.” He wasn’t down with the struggle. He doesn’t have slave blood. You know all that.

In less than two minutes, Limbaugh all but outright stated the Right Wing position in this country: if it doesn’t affect you, don’t get involved and don’t care. According to him, since Obama’s “blackness” comes from another country, not from a family that was here during the Civil Rights Movement or has roots in America’s past, Obama would not care about the struggles of African Americans. He has his own agenda, Limbaugh reminds us.

Going off of this, it does explain why Rush and many on the Right often have trouble understanding the problems of others. They’re white, straight, Christian men. Why should they afford rights to gays? They’re not gay. Why should they care about what women think? They’re not women. Why care about how the poor will eat or fend for their children? The rich don’t have those problems. It’s none of their business. Muslims are being targeted. But they’re Christians, so why care?

In attacking Obama for supposedly not caring for the African American community and not really being “black,” Limbaugh showed one of the classic signs of psychopathy: the inability to empathize with others. This isn’t trivial. Combine this with the fact that he and other hardcore conservatives also show shallowness, superficial emotions, egocentrism, irresponsibility, and antisocial behavior such as a parasitic and criminal mentality like I’ve shown in other articles. What do you get?

An entire political movement made up of people are who quite literally insane.

And no, I’m not using hyperbole. I really do believe Captain Oxycodone and the others like him have severe mental issues. Their inability to understand things like facts and the scientific method also come to mind. I recently also wrote about Ann Romney’s inability to understand other cultures, but you get the picture. This is the difference between conservatives and liberals.

I’m not gay, yet I feel for my gay friends and want the best for them. I’m not a woman, yet I want my female family and friends to be safe and respected, and my heart broke when I discovered some of my friends have been assaulted and will forever carry those wounds with them. I’m not Muslim, but I want them to have the freedom to believe as they wish and practice their faith. I don’t have children, but I want our youth to have access to good education, healthy food, and safe streets.

Asking someone to feel empathy is not a radical liberal call. It’s called being a decent human being, but apparently that’s too much to ask of the Far Right Wing.

ByRandomology

Ann Romney to Hispanics: You Don’t Get It

I’m not saying Ann Romney is racist. I’m just saying she doesn’t seem to think Latinos are intelligent citizens who deserve equal protection under the law simply because of their skin color and heritage. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Author’s Note: I realize some people prefer the terms “Hispanic” or “Chicano.” I personally refer to myself as “Mexican-American” since I’m a first-generation immigrant. I know we all have our preference, but for the purpose of this article, I’m sticking with Ann Romney’s terminology.

Ann Romney is not running for office, but her recent remarks about the Latino community show the Right’s mentality on minority votes and, on a personal level, showed her contempt for people like me.

At a recent luncheon, Mrs. Romney went on about how Latinos need to understand that the GOP, and her husband in particular, are working in the best interest of Latinos in this country. She gushed over how much damage another Obama presidency will do to us and how we’re just uninformed about current issues and policies.

It’s us, not them, she tells us.

I like to think my arguments are better than just flinging insults or calling names, but I would like to vent a little steam before starting by saying that Ann Romney sounds like any abusive husband on a Lifetime movie telling his battered wife that it’s her fault she’s on the ground doubled over.

Let me explain. Ann Romney said:

“I spoke to women last night and I wanted women to understand how important this election is for their children. But as I was sitting backstage listening, I thought, it’s also very important that the Latino community recognize how important this election is for them.”

I like how she talks about women and mothers and that need to protect the family but seems to think Latinos don’t have those concerns or are somehow different. It sounds like nitpicking her grammar, but it actually makes sense a little later.

“And [Latinos] are mistaken if they think they are going to be better off with Barack Obama as their president. There really is only one way for prosperity, for small business, and that is, this is the simplest way I can say this: If Mitt Romney wins, America wins.”

Mrs. Romney’s assertion that helping small businesses is the best way to help the country falls apart for two reasons. Firstly, she assumes that corporate profits equal social prosperity. They don’t. The top earners in this country have had incredible success in the last several years, but the middle class hasn’t seen significant improvement in THIRTY YEARS. Small businesses are another matter. Yes, they could be doing better, but the self-serving nature of the Romney/Ryan plan is another case. It will hurt not just Latinos, but everyone.

It’s when Mrs. Romney starts talking about why Latinos are specifically deaf to the GOP that I start to put the pieces together.

“You’d better really look at your future and figure out who’s going to be the guy that’s going to make it better for you and your children, and there is only one answer… It really is a message that would resonate well if [Latinos] could just get past some of their biases that have been there from the Democratic machines that have made us look like we don’t care about this community. And that is not true. We very much care about you and your families and the opportunities that are there for you and your families.”

If I may, I would like to address Ann Romney directly.

Mrs. Romney, you smell of beans. The faint aroma of something used to fertilize a garden emanates from your speech.

The reason Latino voters vote Democrat is because the overwhelming majority of Republicans who actually address Latino concerns usually do so in order to profile or discriminate. Arizona’s various laws that target us specifically come to mind. The idea of the border fence, now part of Romney’s plan, was also from the Right. Destroying the DREAM Act, a law that would have granted a path to citizenship to children who did not break the law but were instead brought here by their parents, showed that your party has no interest in immigrants being here at all.

The Republican Party has not just ignored the Latino community, but has instead gone out of its way to even deny we exist.

In Arizona, Chicano studies were taken away under the banner of protecting the people from inflammatory rhetoric. My history, and the fact that Latinos struggled to become part of this country, is now seen as subversive.

Voter suppression proposals hurt minorities and are being pushed specifically because we tend to against you and your ilk.

American citizens have been detained and sometimes deported simply because they were Hispanic. In these cases, they were afforded almost none of the rights any criminal would expect. A suspected murderer would receive more protection under the law than Jose on the Street simply because of skin color or heritage.

My family has certainly adapted. We speak English and Spanish. I myself have worked as a Congressional speechwriter and correspondent, teacher, tutor, blogger, and freelance artist. I have nothing more than a speeding ticket on my record, I pay my taxes, and would consider myself a good citizen.

And yet I have a higher chance of getting arrested due to GOP policies than Romney does for tanking several companies in order to make a profit.

I know, I know. These were not Romney’s policies. Just other members of his party that acted and were not chastised by the Right. What has Mitt Romney, however, done for the Latino community?

Nothing.

Obama hasn’t done much for us either, but that’s mostly because the GOP has obstructed everything he has tried to do, often simply because they don’t want him to win.

Let me be blunt now. Mitt Romney’s policies, and those of his party, will hurt us. They will hurt ALL of us. All this talk about regulation for banks, Super PACS, and all that other stuff is academic for most people. The truth is that my family, friends, and I have to live with these laws targeting us because of our skin and our heritage. They affect us directly. When someone says immigrants are hurting our country, when people shout that we need a border fence or that we need to shoot people crossing illegally, they’re talking about my community…

But it’s nice for the nice, rich white lady to tell me how I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Mrs. Romney, THIS is why we don’t vote for your party. You also keep referring to us as “you people.” Please stop it. When you, for example, say things like this:

“I had the most rocking time in Puerto Rico at a political rally than I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Romney said. “You people really know how to party. It was crazy!”

…You’re lumping us together, showing that instead of being seen as a community, we’re a mob. It’s the first step towards racist views. The fact that you don’t want your own son to identify as such speaks volumes.

You’re an adult. I would hope I don’t have to explain something this simple to you.

ByRandomology

Romney Campaign Exposes GOP’s Enemy: Facts

Remember: if you think too hard, you become liberal.

It’s official. The Republican Party, the Grand Old Party, has made it clear that Obama is not their enemy. Who is the enemy?

Critical thinking and facts.

When asked about the thoroughly debunked talking point of “You didn’t build that,” the one where the GOP, led by Fox, claim Obama slammed small businesses, Romney’s people had a very interesting answer. After all, all they’d done was base their campaign pitch on a lie, right?

Their answer? Fact-checking wasn’t important.

This isn’t something trivial. Critical thinking and facts are the basis of growth, both personal and social. They are the basics of science, something a lot of conservatives seem to think is a bad thing going by recent examples, but never has it been more clearly stated.

Facts don’t matter, they say.

It’s not that hard to see how this works to the GOP’s advantage. The Texas GOP tried to ban critical thinking and inconvenient facts in schools. Tennessee pushed a bill that would allow creationism in schools. Bill Nye was booed in Texas for suggesting the moon doesn’t glow, something which creationists find insulting. The entire concept of the scientific method is missing from the GOP brain. When Limbaugh, for example, tries to make the argument that The Dark Knight Rises is an attack on Romney or that Robin Hood would have been a Tea Partier, he is showing the kind of thinking that most educated, mature people learn when they’re in high school.

More recently, the NRA actually came out and said that mass shootings are essential to an “open society,” that it’s not a good idea to ask questions after mass shootings like the ones we’ve experienced the last few weeks.

Remember, this is the same mentality that makes some people kill abortion doctors because life is sacred. This is the same culture that believes the Bible is the infallible word of God, yet charity and sharing are now sins. The ability to think critically is what has given us medicine, the reason we landed on the moon, and the reason you can read this on a screen that manipulates light and is controlled by a small piece of silicon and metal.

Everyone is entitled to an informed opinion. The ability to come together and debate issues only happens when we can all agree that REALITY EXISTS. It’s the most basic foundation for an argument, for science, but since the GOP and many conservatives have simply decided that reality doesn’t work for them and they’d rather go with fantasies about anti-rape vaginas and an Arab conspiracy to destroy our country, I guess we can just stop the debate now. After all, with everything that’s happened, it’s obvious that conservatives really are scientifically incapable of understanding reality.

We’d have a better chance of discussing Chaucer with a mentally handicapped tapeworm. At least the tapeworm is more pleasant company.

Bypiechartking

Swiftboating Obama – on Medicare

Beware of Swiftboating on…Medicare. The Opsec group is making noises right now about whether or not Barack Obama deserves credit for ordering the Navy SEALs into Pakistan, and that is understandably being interpreted as the “Swiftboating” of 2012, but I think that will prove to be just noise in comparison with what could be the stealthy swiftboating that could potentially happen to Obama over Medicare.

Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate and immediately the ticket has begun a pre-emptive strike on Obama over the issue of Medicare, signaling an awareness of Romney-Ryan’s vulnerability on this issue, in light of the draconian measures which will be imposed on the popular Medicare program if the Ryan budget wins the day.

Democrats are understandably psyched to run against something as wildly unpopular as the Ryan budget. Why wouldn’t they be exuberant? Historically, Democrats have championed and protected Medicare, and the Ryan plan proposes to revamp (sorry, I mean “strengthen” – yeah right!) Medicare by essentially replacing it in many cases with a 32% off coupon (and the coupon gets smaller year-after-year due to inflation).

Yet with a deft pivot, the Romney-Ryan ticket has opened up a line of attack on the Obama campaign, tying the relatively unpopular Obamacare program to Medicare, stating that (logic and context be damned) Obama is looting Medicare to pay for Obamacare. I say “logic and context be damned” because the premise of Obamacare is to make healthcare available and cheaper for more people, goals which are shared by the Medicare program.

Also, logic and context be damned because Obamacare actually attempts to improve Medicare by reducing payments to providers in an effort to keep costs down, but not cutting services and benefits, whereas Ryan’s plan envisions cutting money to pay for services to seniors. Hmmmm…..if all the facts are out, which plan will be more popular to the individual citizen?

So I understand the celebrating and the end-zone dancing. But Democrats must remain vigilant against the stealthy Swiftboat-type campaign being waged against them. In 2004, John Kerry touted his military record as a great foil to the obviously entitled and pampered George W. Bush, who had managed to spend the Vietnam War Stateside.

In contrast, Kerry had volunteered for service, had actually seen combat and was decorated for his actions. This was to be John Kerry’s great leveler against Bush in the campaign; one man had actually fought in a war and won medals, the other man had hidden behind wealth and family connections to avoid the risks of combat. Easy pickings right? By the time the Republican and conservative assault against Kerry’s war record had mercifully abated, one important truth stood out: muddying up the waters will forever be a go-to tactic for conservatives when the facts don’t fit the desired narrative.

In an arguably effective campaign, the Swiftboat vets managed to cast doubt on Kerry’s war record, despite the obvious superiority of Kerry’s war record to Bush’s. In debating how meritorious Kerry’s accomplishments and record actually were, the forgotten point was how badly Bush’s own war record looked stacked alongside Kerry’s record. Now, a similar tactic is being employed against the Obama campaign: turn Medicare into a debate on “is or isn’t Obama cutting Medicare with Obamacare”, and shift the spotlight off Ryan’s truly catastrophic (from the perspective of seniors, who are the ostensible beneficiaries of the program) plans for Medicare.

On the bright side, however, Democrats can take comfort in the differences between the ‘04 Swiftboating and this time around. For starters, Obama is a likeable incumbent instead of the somewhat-aloof challenger John Kerry. This gives him a number of advantages that Kerry did not have.  Obamacare notwithstanding, Obama is–like Bush–an apparently likeable figure. It’s harder to attack a likeable President.

Moreover, as an incumbent, Obama is already well-defined and has amassed a comprehensive record over the past three-plus years as President. Consequently, the risk of being defined by Romney on a single point like Medicare is substantially lower for Obama. In contrast, Kerry was relatively unknown to many Americans at the onset of the Swiftboat attacks and substantially more susceptible to assaults on a single issue such as his war record.

Of course, a caveat: Obamacare actually is considered to be Obama’s signature accomplishment, much like John Kerry’s centerpiece was his war record. However, Obama’s record is too comprehensive and massive to be contained by attacks on one issue alone. Ryan, on the other hand, can still be predominantly defined by Obama as “Mr. Kill Medicare”, just as Obama has recently predominantly defined Romney as “Mr. Didn’t Pay Taxes” and “Mr. Retroactively Retired from Bain” before that.

Another difference between Swiftboat ’04 and ‘12 is that, on a visceral level, Medicare simply is not as sexy a political issue as Kerry’s war record. Arguing over whether Obama is cutting Medicare as opposed to simply cutting out waste and reducing future payments to providers doesn’t capture the imagination as well as heated debates on patriotism, shirking duty, implicit charges of cowardice and a dash of treason for good measure.

Finally, the veterans prosecuting the Swiftboat ‘04 attack were combat veterans themselves. Regardless of the veracity of their claims, the veterans were at least in a zone of comfort. Their attacks centered on matters with which they were familiar (combat decorations, military policy, etc), and they were on ideological ground which felt familiar to them (i.e. impugning candidate Kerry’s patriotism, protecting the honor of their comrades-in-arms). On the other hand, Romney and Ryan are lobbing Medicare attacks on Obama from unfamiliar terrain…essentially accusing Obama of doing to Medicare (cutting Medicare funds) what they themselves have supported, pushed for and encouraged in the past.

On this last point lies the exposed flank of the Romney-Ryan Medicare attacks. Obama has to bring the hammer down with the simple message: “No – that’s what you want to do to Medicare.” I envision an endless loop of video clips: Romney and Ryan accusing Obama of cutting Medicare, run side-by-side with past statements from Romney and Ryan talking about how Medicare needs to be cut. Draw relentless attention to the craven flip-maneuver the Romney-Ryan ticket is attempting to execute in the Medicare fight.

If Democrats remain vigilant and meet this latest attack head-on, there is no reason that the Swiftboat ‘12 version will work like in 2004. In fact, some political experts now dispute that the Swiftboat attacks had as significant an impact on that race as is generally thought.  However, better not to tempt the shifting winds of Fate and neglect a stealth issue. Confront it directly, discredit it and the attacker, and continue talking about tax returns, Ayn Rand, women’s rights, and hypocrisy all the way until November 6.