Learning From Obama

Source: NY Times

Author: Paul Krugman

Emphasis Mine

Like many political junkies, I’ve been spending far too much time looking at polls and trying to understand their implications. Can Donald Trump really win his party’s nomination? (Yes.) Can Bernie Sanders? (No.) But the primaries aren’t the only things being polled; we’re still getting updates on President Obama’s overall approval. And something striking has happened on that front.

At the end of 2015 Mr. Obama was still underwater, with significantly more Americans disapproving than approving. Since then, however, his approval has risen sharply while disapproval has plunged. He’s still only in modestly positive territory, but the net movement in polling averages has been about 11 percentage points, which is a lot.

What’s going on?

Well, one answer is that voters have lately been given a taste of what really bad leaders look like. But I’d like to think that the public is also starting to realize just how successful the Obama administration has been in addressing America’s problems. And there are lessons from that success for those willing to learn.

I know that it’s hard for many people on both sides to wrap their minds around the notion of Obama-as-success. On the left, those caught up in the enthusiasms of 2008 feel let down by the prosaic reality of governing in a deeply polarized political system. Meanwhile, conservative ideology predicts disaster from any attempt to tax the rich, help the less fortunate and rein in the excesses of the market; and what are you going to believe, the ideology or your own lying eyes?

But the successes are there for all to see.

Start with the economy. You might argue that presidents don’t have as much effect on economic performance as voters seem to imagine — especially presidents facing scorched-earth opposition from Congress for most of their time in office. But that misses the point: Republicans have spent the past seven years claiming incessantly that Mr. Obama’s policies are a “job killing” disaster, destroying business incentives, so it’s important news if the economy has performed well.

And it has: We’ve gained 10 million private-sector jobs since Mr. Obama took office, and unemployment is below 5 percent. True, there are still some areas of disappointment — low labor force participation, weak wage growth. But just imagine the boasting we’d be hearing if Mitt Romney occupied the White House.

Then there’s health reform, which has (don’t tell anyone) been meeting its goals.

Back in 2012, just after the Supreme Court made it possible for states to reject the Medicaid expansion, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that by now 89 percent of the nonelderly population would be covered; the actual number is 90 percent.

The details have been something of a surprise: fewer people than expected signing up on the exchanges, but fewer employers than expected dropping coverage, and more people signing up for Medicaid — which means, incidentally, that Obamacare is looking much more like a single-payer system than anyone seems to realize. But the point is that reform has indeed delivered the big improvements in coverage it promised, and has done so at lower cost than expected.

Then there’s financial reform, which the left considers toothless and the right considers destructive. In fact, while the big banks haven’t been broken up, excessive leverage — the real threat to financial stability — has been greatly reduced. And as for the economic effects, have I mentioned how well we’ve done on job creation?

Last but one hopes not least, the Obama administration has used executive authority to take steps on the environment that, if not canceled by a Republican president and upheld by future Supreme Courts, will amount to very significant action on climate change.

All in all, it’s quite a record. Assuming Democrats hold the presidency, Mr. Obama will emerge as a hugely consequential president — more than Reagan. And I’m sure Republicans will learn a lot from his achievements.

April fools!

Seriously, there is essentially no chance that conservatives, whose ideas haven’t changed in decades, will reconsider their dogma. But maybe progressives will be more open-minded.

The 2008 election didn’t bring the political transformation Obama enthusiasts expected, nor did it destroy the power of the vested interests: Wall Street, the medical-industrial complex and the fossil fuel lobby are all still out there, using their money to buy influence. But they have been pushed back in ways that have made American lives better and more secure. The lesson of the Obama years, in other words, is that success doesn’t have to be complete to be very real. You say you want a revolution? Well, you can’t always get what you want — but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

See:http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/01/opinion/learning-from-obama.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fpaul-krugman&action=click&contentCollection=opinion&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection&_r=1

Romney spent more on TV ads but got much less

A nonpartisan research firm presented data showing that President Obama had far outperformed Mitt Romney in managing the largest single expenditure of the campaign: television advertising.

From:Washington Post

 By:Tom Hamburger

“Senior Republican campaign operatives who gathered over beer last week in Alexandria for a post-election briefing were taken aback by what they were told.  A nonpartisan research firm presented data showing that President Obama had far outperformed Mitt Romney in managing the largest single expenditure of the campaign: television advertising.

Romney’s spending decisions on advertising look like “campaign malpractice,” said one person who had reviewed the newly circulated data.

Obama and his allies spent less on advertising than Romney and his allies but got far more — in the number of ads broadcast, in visibility in key markets and in targeting critical demographic groups, such as the working class and younger voters in swing states. As the presidential race entered its final, furious phase, for example, millions of college football fans tuning in to televised games saw repeated ads for Obama but relatively few from the Romney campaign.

All told, from June through Election Day, the Obama campaign and its allies aired about 50,000 more ads than Romney and his allies, according to the research firm’s data.

“The Obama guys put more lead on the target and were buying their bullets cheaper,” said an attendee at the briefing, Will Feltus, a senior vice president at National Media, the firm that represented Romney in 2008 and President George W. Bush in his 2004 reelection effort.

That contrast is among a series of revelations creating a stir in recent days as GOP consultants conduct postmortem meetings to review what went wrong in Romney’s surprisingly lopsided loss. To some Republicans, the ad-buying strategy reflected other problems with the campaign, including an insular nature that left it closed to advice from the outside. Romney campaign officials rejected the criticism, saying they pursued a deliberate and careful strategy that allowed them to closely monitor expenses while buying the ads they needed at a fair price.

Interviews with Obama campaign officials as well as independent analysts show that the Obama team, in carrying out its ad strategy, took advantage of discount rates and used sophisticated buying techniques and precision targeting to make the most-effective buys.

Romney not only paid more for his ads but also missed crucial opportunities to advertise, for instance during the political conventions and on Spanish-language television, according to the campaign officials and analysts. Spending by super PACs — such as Restore Our Future, set up by former Romney campaign officials — compensated for some of the advertising shortfall, but even with those expenditures the Obama campaign had a clear advantage.

Obama’s quality and quality control beat out quantity of dollars spent” by Romney, said Elizabeth Wilner of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, a nonpartisan organization that monitors ad spending.

Retrospective criticism of losing campaigns is a tradition in Washington. But charges of profligacy and poor management take on particular meaning in Romney’s case because of his reputation as the tough-minded, data-driven founder of Bain Capital, the highly successful private-equity firm.

Romney campaign officials dismiss the criticism, saying they managed well, watched spending closely and pursued an independent advertising strategy intended to save on overhead and commissions.

“We had in place a process to be sure that the dollars we were spending per demographic group and per voter were attractive,” said Darrell Crate, Romney’s campaign treasurer. “We were careful and deliberate and used a whole set of metrics so that we knew exactly what we were buying and would pay only what was fair and reasonable.” He said the effort was similar to the Obama campaign’s.

Democrats and some Republican operatives say a different story emerged from comparative advertising data assembled by the Campaign Media Analysis Group, a division of Kantar Media. The organization provided data to both political parties and the media, including The Washington Post.

Presentations made by the group’s president, Ken Goldstein, show that Obama outpaced Romney in several advertising categories, including many considered critical to winning in swing states. For instance, Romney ads were far less visible on Spanish-language television. The organization said Obama ran 13,232 spots on Spanish-language TV stations, compared with 3,435 for Romney.

Also, between Oct. 22 and 29, Obama and his main campaign ally, the Priorities USA Action super PAC, aired more commercials in most of the top media markets despite being outspent by the Romney campaign and its main ally, the Restore Our Future super PAC, by about 30 percent.

“It is puzzling that people with such talent could produce such disappointing results,” said Marc Wolpow, a former partner of Romney’s at Bain Capital who now runs his own firm in Boston.

Romney is known as an ardent competitor. After starting Bain Capital in 1984, he quickly built a reputation for producing impressive returns based on a strong commitment to rigorous research and analysis. Famously frugal and careful, Romney was so insistent on playing devil’s advocate in business meetings at Bain that his longtime partner, Bob White, told the Boston Globe he sometimes felt like punching Romney in the nose.

Four years ago, Romney and Obama both relied on outside, independent media consulting firms to place and produce television ads, the biggest single cost of any national campaign. In the 2012 election cycle, however, Romney changed the organizational chart. To purchase ads and other services, his campaign set up American Rambler, a closely held business entity named for the iconic car produced decades ago by American Motors, the firm led by the candidate’s father. American Rambler contracted for major expenditures, sometimes picking top campaign officials or their firms as contractors.

For example, Rambler provided compensation to Romney advisers Eric Fehrnstrom, Beth Myers, Stuart Stevens and Russell Schriefer, campaign officials have said. One top vendor to the campaign, Targeted Victory, was co-founded by Romney digital director Zac Moffatt. It received $64 million for online advertising services, federal election records show. The firm has had a contract with the campaign since 2009.

“Unfortunately, the Romney campaign ended up having to pay more money than they would have if they had used an outside agency,” Feltus said. His agency had the contract with Romney in 2008.

Crate, the Romney campaign treasurer, rejects the criticism of how the Romney effort structured its advertising effort.

“The folks that were providing services were chosen for their expertise and competence. Contracts were negotiated in ways that were fair and reasonable.” The campaign took special care to review spending, he said. “Operational controls were in place over all spending,” Crate said.

Obama stuck with the organizational structure he deployed in 2008, relying on Washington-based GMMB for ad production, placement and viewer research data. Nearly half of the campaign’s budget went to the firm, which is run by Democratic consultant Jim Margolis, who was media adviser to Bill Clinton.

In 2012, Margolis said he assigned 25 to 30 people to research the most efficient and effective advertising slots. They relied on merging data from Nielsen and other television rating services with consumer and campaign-produced voter data.

Schriefer, a Romney senior strategist, said the campaign also used sophisticated data and consumer information in making ad-buying decisions. But he said Obama’s financial edge let the Democrats buy more ads.

Steven Law, the president of the conservative super PAC American Crossroads, said he was so impressed with the way Obama campaign managed its advertising budget that he stopped Margolis at a recent conference to inquire more about the Democrats’ 2012 system.

“It is really important for Republicans to learn from this,” he said. “We need to go forward and enhance our own development of data and analytics to enable campaigns and outside groups like ours to do that kind of targeting.”

Karen Tumulty and Dan Eggen contributed to this report.

Emphasis Mine

see:http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/romney-campaigns-tv-ad-strategies-criticized-in-election-postmortems/2012/12/11/a2855aec-4166-11e2-bca3-aadc9b7e29c5_story.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

5 Fraudulent Election Claims by Religious Right Leaders Exposed

Like other conservatives, many religious-right activists predicted [3] a big victory for Romney and Republicans in the U.S. Senate, based on five myths they hold about the electorate:

Source: Alternet

By:Brian Tashman

“The religious right took a drubbing at the polls yesterday as voters rejected not only Mitt Romney but also some of the most extreme Republican candidates, even those in races that should have been easy Republican victories. Like other conservatives, many religious-right activists predicted [3] a big victory for Romney and Republicans in the U.S. Senate, based on five myths they hold about the electorate:

Myth #1: Americans want a ‘True Conservative’

The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody called [4] the results a “nightmare for the GOP” and a “colossal disaster.” Of course, right-wing activists will be quick to declare that Mitt Romney, like John McCain, wasn’t conservative enough [5] for voters, and that the self-described “severely conservative” Romney couldn’t effectively articulate or sell conservative principles. Their solution is that the next nominee must be a pure right-wing ideologue who emphasizes social issues, like Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum. Of course, if voters were seeking to support ultraconservative politicians, then Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock wouldn’t have lost their Senate races in the red states of Missouri and Indiana, Tea Party hero Allen West wouldn’t have lost re-election and Michele Bachmann wouldn’t have merely eked out a tiny win in her heavily Republican district.

Myth #2: Blacks will Defect from Obama over Gay Rights

Black conservative activists such as Harry Jackson, E.W. Jackson, William Owens, Patrick Wooden and Star Parker continue to tell the largely white religious right leadership that African Americans are defecting en masse [6] from the purportedly demonic [7], Baal worshiping [8], anti-Christian [9] and anti-God [10] Democratic Party and will turn against Obama over the issue of marriage equality [11]. Pat Robertson even said that Democratic support for marriage equality is a “death wish [12]” and Mike Huckabee said the move “may end up sinking the ship [13].” According to exit polls [14], however, Obama won African Americans 93-6 percent. African Americans also turned out in strong numbers and didn’t stay home, with the same high turnout rate (13 percent of all voters) as 2008 [15]. In addition, marriage equality had victories in the four states it was on the ballot.

Myth #3: Hispanics are ‘Natural Allies’ of the Religious Right

Conservatives claimed that Hispanic voters, especially those who identify as evangelical and Pentecostal, are ripe for supporting Republicans. Samuel Rodriguez [16] of the conservative National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and [17] others [18] continue to argue that Hispanics are strongly opposed to abortion rights (not true [19]) and gay rights (also not true [20]), and therefore “natural allies” of the religious right. Romney actually fared worse (27 percent) than McCain (31 percent) among Hispanics.

Myth #4: Catholics Abandoning Obama for ‘Declaring War’ on the Church

Heavy [21] politicking [22] from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and growing [23] outreach [24] to Catholics by traditionally evangelical religious right groups didn’t stop Obama from once again carrying the Catholic vote. Republicans consistently claimed that Obama declaredwar on religion [25]” and specifically “attacking the Catholic Church [26],” and hoped Paul Ryan’s use of Catholicism to justify his draconian budget plan would bring Catholics into the GOP fold. Obama led 50-48 percent in exit polls, down slightly from his 54 percent total in 2008.

Myth #5: Evangelical Wave Waiting in the Wings

New groups such as the Faith and Freedom Coalition [27] and United in Purpose/Champion the Vote [28] boasted of grand plans to turn out a wave of evangelical Christians upset about health care reform and marriage equality. But according to exits, Protestant (not all of whom identify as evangelical) turnout remained about the same this year (53 percent) as the last president election (54 percent). Christianity Today notes [29] that in swing states, self-described evangelical turnout was approximately identical or merely slightly larger as it was in 2008, and Romney’s support among evangelicals compared to McCain’s decreased in states like Ohio and Nevada.”

emphasis mine

see:http://www.alternet.org/print/news-amp-politics/5-fraudulent-election-claims-religious-right-leaders-exposed

FEMA or FU! Obama vs Romney

Wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy battering the East Coast is expected to bring historic rainfall totals and billions of dollars in damage – and provide a stark contrast in how President Obama and Mitt Romney respond to such disasters.

President Obama campaigned four years ago on a promise of revamping the federal government’s disaster response functions and has embraced reforms long-sought by state governors and professional emergency managers. In the last four years, Obama has led the federal response to multiple disasters, including tornadoes, flooding and major hurricanes, learning from the stumbles of George W. Bush’s presidency by ordering federal agencies to aggressively prepare and respond to major storms.

As a governor, Romney requested federal disaster assistance for storm cleanup, and he has toured storm-ravaged communities as a presidential candidate. His running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), joined House Republicans in blocking disaster relief funds last year amid disagreements over federal spending — and Romney agreed with suggestions that the Federal Emergency Management Agency could be dissolved as part of federal budget cuts.

When moderator John King suggested during a June 2011 CNN debate that federal disaster response could be curtailed to save federal dollars, Romney replied: “Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”

Romney has not made similar comments since the debate, and aides insisted Monday that Romney would not abolish FEMA as president.

“Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Hennenberg. “As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.”

But what Romney now believes is exactly how the system currently works: Local and state officials respond to disasters and make requests of the federal government for additional supplies or money only when needed. Reforms enacted since Hurricane Katrina now permit governors to make requests in advance to ensure that federal officials are on the ground to assist with initial damage assessments and more quickly report back to Washington for help.

For example, Obama has signed at least six federal emergency disaster declarations in the last 24 hours at the request of state governors, directing FEMA to deploy more resources in anticipation of significant recovery efforts. He abruptly canceled campaign stops for Monday and Tuesday in order to return to the White House to oversee the federal government’s evolving storm response.

“Anything they need, we will be there,” Obama said Sunday in a message to people affected by the storm, adding during a visit to FEMA headquarters that his administration would provide the “best possible response to a big and messy system.”

Romney planned to stick with campaign events Monday in Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin, but canceled events in Virginia and New Hampshire. He also telephoned Republican Govs. Bob McDonnell (Va.) and Chris Christie (N.J.) to keep tabs on storm preparations, and aides said he also planned to call Democratic governors. In an e-mail to supporters Sunday night, Romney also encouraged people to donate to the Red Cross.

Aides said Romney campaign offices would continue collecting supplies to donate later to storm victims – a move that goes against the advice of professional emergency managers, who have long advised that donations of money and blood are more critical in the hours before and after a storm.

“Large amounts of donations cause significant management problems for those seeking to aid victims,” said Kathleen Tierney, the director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. “People often donate things that are not needed or requested. Standard advice is to give money to legitimate charities like the Red Cross, and to other entities that are capable of managing those funds.”

Tierney, who has studied the government’s response to natural disasters for decades, said she was unaware of any serious effort to privatize FEMA beyond the comments made by Romney and other GOP presidential candidates last year.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has batted away questions before about possibly privatizing his agency: “I’m too busy working on other stuff. Ask that to somebody who would give you the time and day to answer that,” he said when asked by The Washington Post in a September 2011 interview.

Fugate, and by extension, Obama, have earned praise for restoring the agency’s reputation in the years sine Hurricane Katrina. Despite working for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), Fugate said he rebuffed overtures from George W. Bush to rebuild FEMA after Katrina, saying that the GOP administration did not want to rebuild the agency in a fashion since embraced by Obama.

Though Bill Clinton had revamped FEMA following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, observers say the agency suffered from budget cuts and the lack of professional emergency managers during the Bush administration, including the appointment of Michael D. Brown, who had no professional experience in disaster response.

Congress has since broadened FEMA’s authority so that the agency can respond in advance of major storms, instead of waiting for governors to request federal aid after a disaster strikes. The changes have earned plaudits in the past from Republican governors Haley Barbour (Miss.) and Bobby Jindal (La.) – usually tough Obama critics — and professional emergency managers who sought the changes for years.

“We have a much better and more capable FEMA than we’ve had at various times in the past,” said Randy Duncan, the director of Sedgwick County, Kan. Emergency Management agency and a leader of the International Association of Emergency Managers. “We very much like seeing people with a professional background in emergency management occupy that federal post. We think that it is inappropriate to put someone in that position based solely on political merit. We need a professional emergency manager in there.”

Jim Mullen, director of Washington State Emergency Management Division and the president of the National Emergency Management Association, said Obama’s legacy at FEMA would be restoring “strong professional emergency managers who can attract other emergency management professionals and support the ones already there and make certain that on this at least, we should all be willing to put everything else aside and do what’s necessary for our country.”

Debate over whether the storm politically helps or hurts Obama or Romney is likely to continue, but already some have suggested that a well-planned federal response could bolster the president in the closing days of the campaign.

“The American people look to him, and I’m sure he will conduct himself and play his leadership role in a fine fashion,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “So I would imagine that might help him a little bit.”

Some emergency managers believe that if Romney wins, he would be wise to ask Fugate to continue leading FEMA in order to maintain the stable working arrangement between the agency’s career staffers and political appointees.

“In any organization there’s the career team and there’s the team from one administration to another,” Mullen said. “Those teams need to be able to mesh, and that’s what we’ll be looking for.”

Obama’s reforms at FEMA “have been night and day” compared to previous administrations, according to one veteran emergency manager not authorized to speak publicly for fear of jeopardizing federal disaster grant requests. “I don’t know who will be the next president, but they can’t put a political hack in the job of leading FEMA ever again.”

From: Washington Post

By: Ed O’Keefe

“Wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy battering the East Coast is expected to bring historic rainfall totals and billions of dollars in damage – and provide a stark contrast in how President Obama and Mitt Romney respond to such disasters.

President Obama campaigned four years ago on a promise of revamping the federal government’s disaster response functions and has embraced reforms long-sought by state governors and professional emergency managers. In the last four years, Obama has led the federal response to multiple disasters, including tornadoes, flooding and major hurricanes, learning from the stumbles of George W. Bush’s presidency by ordering federal agencies to aggressively prepare and respond to major storms.

As a governor, Romney requested federal disaster assistance for storm cleanup, and he has toured storm-ravaged communities as a presidential candidate. His running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), joined House Republicans in blocking disaster relief funds last year amid disagreements over federal spending — and Romney agreed with suggestions that the Federal Emergency Management Agency could be dissolved as part of federal budget cuts.

When moderator John King suggested during a June 2011 CNN debate that federal disaster response could be curtailed to save federal dollars, Romney replied: “Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”

Romney has not made similar comments since the debate, and aides insisted Monday that Romney would not abolish FEMA as president.

“Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Hennenberg. “As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.”

But what Romney now believes is exactly how the system currently works: Local and state officials respond to disasters and make requests of the federal government for additional supplies or money only when needed. Reforms enacted since Hurricane Katrina now permit governors to make requests in advance to ensure that federal officials are on the ground to assist with initial damage assessments and more quickly report back to Washington for help.

For example, Obama has signed at least six federal emergency disaster declarations in the last 24 hours at the request of state governors, directing FEMA to deploy more resources in anticipation of significant recovery efforts. He abruptly canceled campaign stops for Monday and Tuesday in order to return to the White House to oversee the federal government’s evolving storm response.

“Anything they need, we will be there,” Obama said Sunday in a message to people affected by the storm, adding during a visit to FEMA headquarters that his administration would provide the “best possible response to a big and messy system.”

Romney planned to stick with campaign events Monday in Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin, but canceled events in Virginia and New Hampshire. He also telephoned Republican Govs. Bob McDonnell (Va.) and Chris Christie (N.J.) to keep tabs on storm preparations, and aides said he also planned to call Democratic governors. In an e-mail to supporters Sunday night, Romney also encouraged people to donate to the Red Cross.

Aides said Romney campaign offices would continue collecting supplies to donate later to storm victims – a move that goes against the advice of professional emergency managers, who have long advised that donations of money and blood are more critical in the hours before and after a storm.

“Large amounts of donations cause significant management problems for those seeking to aid victims,” said Kathleen Tierney, the director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. “People often donate things that are not needed or requested. Standard advice is to give money to legitimate charities like the Red Cross, and to other entities that are capable of managing those funds.”

Tierney, who has studied the government’s response to natural disasters for decades, said she was unaware of any serious effort to privatize FEMA beyond the comments made by Romney and other GOP presidential candidates last year.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has batted away questions before about possibly privatizing his agency: “I’m too busy working on other stuff. Ask that to somebody who would give you the time and day to answer that,” he said when asked by The Washington Post in a September 2011 interview.

Fugate, and by extension, Obama, have earned praise for restoring the agency’s reputation in the years sine Hurricane Katrina. Despite working for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), Fugate said he rebuffed overtures from George W. Bush to rebuild FEMA after Katrina, saying that the GOP administration did not want to rebuild the agency in a fashion since embraced by Obama.

Though Bill Clinton had revamped FEMA following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, observers say the agency suffered from budget cuts and the lack of professional emergency managers during the Bush administration, including the appointment of Michael D. Brown, who had no professional experience in disaster response.

Congress has since broadened FEMA’s authority so that the agency can respond in advance of major storms, instead of waiting for governors to request federal aid after a disaster strikes. The changes have earned plaudits in the past from Republican governors Haley Barbour (Miss.) and Bobby Jindal (La.) – usually tough Obama critics — and professional emergency managers who sought the changes for years.

“We have a much better and more capable FEMA than we’ve had at various times in the past,” said Randy Duncan, the director of Sedgwick County, Kan. Emergency Management agency and a leader of the International Association of Emergency Managers. “We very much like seeing people with a professional background in emergency management occupy that federal post. We think that it is inappropriate to put someone in that position based solely on political merit. We need a professional emergency manager in there.”

Jim Mullen, director of Washington State Emergency Management Division and the president of the National Emergency Management Association, said Obama’s legacy at FEMA would be restoring “strong professional emergency managers who can attract other emergency management professionals and support the ones already there and make certain that on this at least, we should all be willing to put everything else aside and do what’s necessary for our country.”

Debate over whether the storm politically helps or hurts Obama or Romney is likely to continue, but already some have suggested that a well-planned federal response could bolster the president in the closing days of the campaign.

“The American people look to him, and I’m sure he will conduct himself and play his leadership role in a fine fashion,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “So I would imagine that might help him a little bit.”

Some emergency managers believe that if Romney wins, he would be wise to ask Fugate to continue leading FEMA in order to maintain the stable working arrangement between the agency’s career staffers and political appointees.

“In any organization there’s the career team and there’s the team from one administration to another,” Mullen said. “Those teams need to be able to mesh, and that’s what we’ll be looking for.”

Obama’s reforms at FEMA “have been night and day” compared to previous administrations, according to one veteran emergency manager not authorized to speak publicly for fear of jeopardizing federal disaster grant requests. “I don’t know who will be the next president, but they can’t put a political hack in the job of leading FEMA ever again.”

Emphasis Mine

see:http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/hurricane-sandy-highlights-how-obama-and-romney-respond-to-disasters/2012/10/29/85ae66a2-21db-11e2-ac85-e669876c6a24_story.html?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost

The morning after

From:The New Republic

By: Johathan Cohn

“The pundits are unanimous. Mitt Romney had more energy, offered more specifics, and may even have come across as more empathetic. I agree and polls suggest voters saw it the same way.

The debate may not change the dynamics of the election. But if I knew nothing about the candidates and this was my first exposure to the campaign, I’d think this Romney fellow has a detailed tax plan, wants to defend the middle class and poor, and will take care of people who can’t find health insurance.

Problem is, this isn’t my first exposure to the campaign. I happen to know a lot about the candidates. And I know that those three things aren’t true. Romney has made promises about taxes that are mathematically incompatible with one another. He’s outlined a spending plan that would devastate the middle class and (particularly) the poor. And his health care plan would leave people with pre-existing conditions pretty much in the same perilous situation they were before the Affordable Care Act became law.

My standard for candor in politics is whether candidates have offered the voters an accurate portrait of what they’ve done and what they are proposing. Tonight, Romney did precisely the opposite. And that really ought to be the story everybody is writing, although I doubt it will be.

Some details:

1. Taxes. President Obama repeatedly described Romney’s tax plan as a $5 trillion tax plan. Romney repeatedly took exception. The figure is correct. Romney has not given many details about his tax plan, but it’s possible to extrapolate from his promises and the Tax Policy Center, a project of the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute, did just that. Crunching the numbers, they determined that his proposed rate cut would cost… $5 trillion.

Romney has said he would offset those cuts by closing loopholes. The Tax Policy Centerhas analyzed that promise and found that it is mathematically impossible, unless Romney raises taxes on the middle class or lets his tax plan increase the deficit—neither of which Romney has said he’s willing to do. Romney has challenged the Tax Policy Center conclusion and did so again tonight, referring mysteriously to “six studies” that supposedly prove he’s right. He’s also been cryptic about what deductions he’d cut and, tonight, even suggested maybe he’d back away from some of the cuts if the numbers didn’t add up—although, as always, he was so vague that the statements could mean absolutely nothing.

I wish Obama had pressed him on this inconsistency even more directly than he did: “OK, governor, you say you can offset the $5 trillion cost of your tax plan. Tell us how, with real numbers. Are you getting rid of the home mortgage deduction? The exclusion for health insurance? Be straight with the American people about what you are proposing.” Obama didn’t do that, but it’s a question Romney has never been willing to answer.

2. The deficit and spending cuts. Asked by moderator Jim Lehrer how he’d cut the deficit, Romney outlined his plan for cutting spending. It included three main provisions.

First, Romney said, he’d repeal the Affordable Care Act. He’s serious about that, I presume. The problem is that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the health care law reduces the deficit. Repeal it and the deficit goes up. Then Romney said he’d review programs and cut all that are non-essential, singling out PBS. Well, fine. That’s pennies on the budget. It wouldn’t be nearly enough to make a meaningful dent in the deficit.

After that, Romney mentioned “turning programs over to the states.” Here there is real money, particularly if Romney includes Medicaid, which will soon eclipse Medicare as the government’s most expensive health insurance program. But Romney suggested this would work because the states are more efficient. This is what he usually says. The implication is that the states can spend a lot less on the programs without dramatically reducing services.

That’s nonsense. Medicaid already pays less than every other insurance program, private and public. Cutting more from the program would inevitably force states to reduce whom or what the program covers. A year ago, when the House Republicans proposed a similar scheme, a Kaiser Family Foundation report by Urban Institute researchers crunched the numbers and determined that the Medicaid cut would mean between 14 and 27 million people would lose health insurance.

By the way, the researchers assumed states would deal with declining Medicaid money exclusively by cutting eligibility for the able-bodied and non-elderly. In fact, most of the program’s money goes to the disabled and elderly. Most likely, they’d feel at least some of the pain.

3. Medicare: Over and over again, Romney attacked Obama because the Affordable Care Act reduces Medicare spending by $716 billion. As you probably know by now, Paul Ryan’s budget made the exact same cut. And less than a year ago, Romney was praising this budget to the hilt.

But there’s another problem here: Romney’s own budget numbers don’t add up. Remember, he’s promised to cap non-defense spending at 16 percent of GDP. And he’s said he won’t touch Social Security. If he walls off Medicare, too, that would mean even sharper cuts across the board. How sharp? The Center on Budget and Policy Prioritiesran the numbers. If Medicare is getting that $716 billion back, he’d have to cut other programs by an average of a third by 2016 and in half by 2022. Non-discretionary defense spending, which “has averaged 3.9 percent of GDP and never fallen below 3.2 percent,” would fall to 1.7 percent.

That’s simply not realistic. I have no problem believing Romney would cut domestic program deeply; his willingness to endorse the kinds of cuts he has specified, to Medicaid and food stamps, tell you everything you need to know about his priorities. But these figures are the stuff of fantasy. Either Romney can’t restore the Medicare dollars as he says or he’s not living up to his promises on deficit reduction.

The real shame of the exchange was that Romney’s own plan got so little attention. Again, I wish Obama could have pressed Romney harder, or explained more clearly, why the voucher scheme he proposes would likely end the guarantee Medicare now makes to seniors—and why current retirees, as well as future ones, would feel the impact.

4. Health care and pre-existing conditions. Yeah, this was the part when I jumped out of my chair. Obama said that Romney’s alternative to Obamacare wouldn’t protect people with pre-existing conditions. Romney said it would. Sorry, but Romney is just plain wrong here. I’ve written about this before, so I’m just going to quote something I wrote previously:

Romney, like most Republicans, has long favored “continuous” coverage protection. But, for complicated reasons … this protection is relatively weak unless it includes the sort of substantial regulation and subsidies that Romney, like most Republicans, has opposed. As a result, such protection would do very little for many of the people who need it most. Among other things, as Sarah Kliff points out … “There are tens of millions of Americans who lack continuous coverage.” (A typical example would be somebody who lost a job, couldn’t keep making premium payments, and let coverage lapse.)

For people in this situation, Romney and the Republicans have traditionally said they favor coverage through “high-risk pools.” But high-risk pools are basically substandard policies: Although they cover catastrophic expenses, they leave people exposed to huge out-of-pocket costs. They also tend to be underfunded, because they cost a lot of money but serve only a small number of people. …

So what would this mean in practice? Imagine for a second that you have cancer, diabetes, or Parkinson’s. With the coverage you’re likely to get form a high-risk pool, chances are that you’ll continue to struggle with medical bills. You’ll end up going into financial distress, just to cover your health are costs, unless you decide to start skipping treatment. And that’s obviously not a very good idea. These policies are better than nothing, for sure. But what you really need is comprehensive insurance and way to pay for it—in other words, the kind of protection that the Affordable Care Act will provide, starting in 2014, unless Romney and the Republicans repeal it.

I don’t want to pretend Obama was always as forthright as he could have been, any more than I want to suggest he was the more adept debater tonight. At one point, Obama talked about letting tax rates on higher incomes return to Clinton-era levels as essential to reducing the deficit. That’s true. But a truly serious approach to deficit reduction would let all taxes, even those on more modest incomes, return to Clinton-era levels (albeit after the economy is on sounder footing). Obama decried Romney’s plan to leave seniors “at the mercy of the private insurance system” but those are strong words from a guy whose own health care plan relies heavily on insurance plans, albeit with a lot more regulation than most conservatives like.

Still, these are tiny transgressions compared to Romney’s, which also included misleading statements about the origins of the deficit and claims of a jobs plan that is, if anything, even more unspecific than his tax plan. And I worry that nobody will call him on it.

As part of its post-debate analysis, ABC News asked correspondent Jonathan Karl to play the role of fact-checker. He picked out one statement from each side and rated it “mostly false.” But the Obama statement Karl picked was the description of Romney’s tax plan as costing $5 trillion—a figure, again, that comes straight from the Tax Policy Center. That’s not “mostly false.” If anything, it’s “mostly true.” Then Karl talked about Romney’s pre-existing condition promise, which really is “mostly false.” Sigh. ”

Update: Steve Benen and Greg Sargent noticed the same thing, so that’s a start.

follow me on twitter @CitizenCohn

Emphasis Mine

see:http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/108125/romney-debate-details-tax-medicare-pre-existing-contradictions-deceptions#

The Facts Behind Romney and Ryan’s Medicare Lies

First and foremost, the Ryan plan, in any form, would mark the end of Medicare as we know it—as a guarantee of health coverage for senior citizens

From: workingamerica blog

By: Seth D. Michaels

N.B.: A concise, lucid explanation of what they say, what they mean, and what we need.

“It took approximately five minutes after the announcement of Paul Ryan as the Republican running mate for the spin to begin. Anxious to pre-empt a conversation about Ryan’s plan to end the guarantee of Medicare, the Mitt Romney campaign ison the air with some (strikingly dishonest) Medicare ads of their own. They have plenty of money to advance this message, so it’s worth unpacking what’s really going on.

First and foremost, the Ryan plan, in any form, would mark the end of Medicare as we know it—as a guarantee of health coverage for senior citizens. Instead, it would give older people a voucher to go buy their own private insurance. The Ryan budget would also increase the eligibility age, delaying the time when retirees could get Medicare. That’s the proposal the U.S. House voted on and passed in March and it’s the model Ryan has continued to promote even as he’s suggested possible tweaks.

So let’s move on to the claims the Romney campaign is making. The Affordable Care Act is paid for partly through billions in future savings—about $700 billion over 10 years in reduced payments to health insurance companies and providers. A lot of that money stays in the Medicare system, by paying for free preventative care for seniors and closing the prescription drug “doughnut hole.” The attack leveled by Romney, Ryan and their allies—an attack that’s Jonathan Cohn rightly called “astoundingly cynical”—is that this constitutes a massive cut to Medicare.

But here’s the catch: in the Ryan budget that passed, these future savings are included, even as the rest of the ACA is repealed. So the same reductions that the Romney campaign is complaining about were voted on and approved by Ryan and virtually every House Republican.

In the ACA, the cost savings that come out of Medicare go back into the health care system. In the Ryan budget, they’ll be needed to pay for the massive tax cuts proposed in that plan. Cohn notes that not only does this money get pulled out of providing health care entirely, but the attack the Romney campaign is making is a “brazen misrepresentation of reality.” Or, to say it in fewer and shorter words, “a lie.”

The Ryan plan doesn’t replace the guarantee with the vouchers for 10 years, so that major change doesn’t immediately affect today’s retirees. But the repeal of the ACA’s provisions on prescription drugs and preventative care absolutely will. If those provisions are gone, seniors who are on Medicare now will be paying hundreds of dollars more out of pocket. Ryan’s cuts to Medicaid, which many seniors depend on for nursing home care, would also have a big impact—his proposed cuts to Medicaid and the repeal of the ACA Medicaid expansion are a big and under-covered change in his budget. Some 6 million of today’s retirees depend on Medicaid and could lose out under Ryan’s plan. This is what was in the Ryan budget the House passed, and he hasn’t backed off of this at all.

What’s more, if Ryan’s plan kicks in ten years from now, today’s Medicare beneficiaries will getan unpleasant wake-up call as the voucher plan starts to erode the program:

In 2022, when the limited-subsidy program would be introduced, seniors who qualified for traditional Medicare would be allowed to switch to the new program. If healthier or younger beneficiaries make the change to lower their out-of-pocket costs, those still participating in Medicare would be part of an insurance pool that is less healthy and more expensive. To cover those higher per-person costs, Medicare might well be forced to either raise premiums or limit reimbursements to health care providers—which could prompt many to stop taking Medicare patients.

Romney has suggested he may back off of the Medicare savings that Ryan included in his original budget. But in that case, the Ryan budget math gets even more implausible. And by the standards Romney has laid out for how he wants his budget to work, Medicare would have to be slashed either way. That these cuts to programs for vulnerable people would be required in order to pass his huge tax cuts for the rich adds insult to injury. As Derek Thompson notes, Romney’s proposals “have clear and inevitable conclusions: Tax cuts for the richest and spending cuts for the poorest.”

It’s hard to overstate how hypocritical and dishonest the new Romney-Ryan attacks over Medicare are, coming from two people who have pledged changes so radical that they’d leave it unrecognizable.

Emphasis Mine

see::http://blog.workingamerica.org/2012/08/15/the-facts-behind-romney-and-ryan%E2%80%99s-medicare-lies/

9 Reasons Romney’s Choice of Paul Ryan for Veep Is Smarter Than You Think

Probably the most overarching plus, though, is that by adding Ryan, Romney has brought the whole Republican-conservative tribal deal together, which, from my vantage point only increases — not decreases — the chance of the Republicans defeating Obama in November.

 

From: AlterNet

By: Don Hazen

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tapped Paul Ryan, the 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman, to be his running mate, progressives went on a happy-thon. That Romney chose the House Budget Committee chairman known as the architect of draconian budgets that would make huge cuts in every aspect of the safety net — not to mention his quest to turn Medicare into a voucher program — just seemed like a major blunder. My colleague, Joshua Holland, called it Romney’s biggest mistake. Many were gleeful and shocked that Romney would seemingly play right into the Obama message on how the Romney agenda harms the middle class.

But I wasn’t so happy. The Romney decision signals several things about the future, and none of them good — rather scary and ugly, as a matter of fact. My gut told me that, for the Republican vice presidential candidate, I would much rather have a non-entity like Portman or Pawlenty as the Republican than a right-wing rock star. Any day.

Progressives are right when they say Ryan represents everything that shows how out of touch the Republicans are with the needs of the country. But they are not looking at Romney’s Ryan decision for what it is —  a hugely dangerous step toward getting the Koch brothershand-picked star right to the verge of the presidency, which, if it should it come to pass, could dramatically transform the nature of American politics for our lifetimes. Whether Romney wins or loses, the Ryan pick poses a threat to the well-being of the nation.

If Romney wins, then Ryan occupies the Number Two spot with a money base and huge constituency of his own, far more than any vice president has ever enjoyed. With his own leadership PAC and a close relationship to the Koch-funded Americans For Prosperity astroturf group, it is hard to imagine how Ryan doesn’t immediately become a co-president or, at least, the most powerful VP in history. And, and this is a win-win for Charles and David Koch, the right-wing billionaire brothers: If Romney loses, then Paul Ryan is sitting pretty to be the nominee in 2016, when there is no incumbent….a far easier race to win after eight years of President Barack Obama, the Democrat, presiding over a difficult economy whose recovery Republicans have done everything they can to obstruct. I have always felt that many conservatives intent on taking over this country, known for their long vision and patience, have this strategy.

And on the ugly side, the choice of Ryan says this Romney campaign, in contrast to even the McCain campaign, will be a no-holds-barred, vicious personal attack on Obama and everything associated with the Democrats –– scapegoating unions, public employees, poor people, immigrants, people characterized by Ryan as the “takers, not the makers [3].” This is the way the conservatives know how to win campaigns, and they are going all out to rip the Dems to shreds. If it doesn’t quite work in in this year’s presidential race, they could very well control of both houses of Congress come January.

Here are nine reasons that Romney pulled the trigger on Ryan, and why they make a lot of sense:

1. Romney was in danger of losing badly, so a gamble was worth the risk.

The polls and trends were going in the wrong direction as Obama was ahead by 9 percent among all voters and 11 percent among independents. As Michael Goodwin writes in the New York Post [4]:

Romney was on course to lose the election…perhaps by a landslide…Independents, despite being unhappy with Obama, were even more unhappy with Romney. And too many Republicans remain unenthusiastic about their party’s nominee.

So Romney had to do something to energize the campaign, or he was dead in the water. Pick Ryan.

2.  Romney is now seen as bold. By picking a controversial choice, a young, mediagenic, so-called brainy numbers guy, and one loved by the conservative base, Romney passed up the gaggle of more boring white guys who populated the pundits’ predictions, to pick the radical one. But here, in fact, Romney has it both ways.  Ryan is not a Palin or a Rubio — a wild card — but rather a well-positioned Republican with major mainstream and corporate credibility, whom the media often has gone ga-ga over. And Ryan is an insider —  Erskine Bowles (the co-chair of the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Commission, and rumored to be the next Secretary of the Treasury), has lavished lots of praise on to Ryan, who served on the commission, as have many others.

3. Did I mention Ryan is Catholic? We hear how the conservative Catholic bishops are trying to push Catholic voters to Romney, who has obviously come late to his anti-abortion stance. And among Catholic voters, Romney’s Mormonism isn’t exactly a plus. Still any anti-abortion politician is better than Obama in the bishops’ minds. For the bishops, their task became easier with Ryan (even if they have a problem or two with his budget proposal), who is as conservative as they come, being against abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Those Catholics who are inclined to vote conservative are now very excited. And, in fact, it’s not just far-right Catholics to whom Ryan appeals. A lot of voters in this country, for some reason, really like candidates who stick to rigid principles, even if those principles contradict their own. Ryan will get some of those voters.

4. Romney now has even more money. Romney has been doing fine, raising hundreds of millions from investment bankers and other pots of big wealth from the 1/10th of the top 1 percent. Still the Ryan choice is a huge motivator to the group of rabid right-wing billionaires around Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who fund and raise money for right-wing candidates, and an array of right-wing groups. Ryan has been a Koch favorite for years, supported and featured in myriad ways. The Kochs have promised, with Karl Rove, to raise $400 million for the so-called “independent superPACs”. Now, with all those billionaires jazzed over Ryan, the sky may be the limit. There is talk of the superPACs and the Romney campaign raising and spending $1.2 billion — and now maybe even more.

5.  Romney gets the full Koch election infrastructure. Solidifying the alliance with the Kochs is even more about infrastructure than campaign dollars, which will be plentiful. As my colleague Adele Stan, who covers the Kochs and conservative election field operations, explains:

The Kochs, via Americans for Prosperity and Faith and Freedom Coalition, own the infrastructure for the ground game in the swing states. They’ve been building it for years. That’s not something any amount of money can build in the three months leading up to the election. Romney really, really needs Koch buy-in.

5.   Ryan seals the deal for a base-motivating campaign in the worst tradition of the Republicans.  Republicans win when they run to their base, and play  the “us versus them” card for their anxious constituencies. Voter suppression tactics of all sorts are in play, especially in Florida and Pennsylvania. Taken together, Ryan’s earnest demeanor and brutal budgets act as an a elixir for grassroots conservatives; the base will now be super-motivated.

Bush won two terms without winning the majority of the popular vote because the GOP wanted the win more than the Democrats — and Republicans cheat more. As Thomas Schaller writes at Salon [5]:

By picking [Ryan], Romney provides a powerful signal that he is willing to counter Obama’s failed attempt to unite America with an unapologetic attempt to win via econo-demographic divide and conquer politics.

6. The Romney campaign will now be the most brutal, race-tinged, fact-absent, expensive, technologically sophisticated campaign ever run. This presidential race is increasingly polarized. Polling shows that Obama has lost most of the non-college-educated white male voters he was able to capture in 2008. As Charles Blow points out [6] in the New York Times:

A staggering 90 percent of Romney supporters are white. Only 4 percent are Hispanic, less than 1 percent are black and another 4 percent are another race.

And of uncommitted “swing” voters, Blow writes:

Nearly three out of four are white. The rest are roughly 8 percent blacks Hispanics and another race.

Schaller adds:  “Don’t be surprised in the Romney-Ryan ticket engages in the sort of racially tinged, generationally loaded entitlement politics practiced by the Tea Party...”

7.  While the VP pick isn’t going to change the mind of many independent or hard-core party voters, it is a move to bring all elements of the party in sync. Progressive pundits, just a few days ago, were saying: Oh, the VP pick doesn’t make much difference…maybe, at best, a 2 percent swing. Today is apparently a new day, and progressives are pouncing on this choice as being a huge plus for Obama. Well, ya can’t have it both ways. Republican wins are always about turning out the base to the polls. Ryan probably won’t make that much difference on the large scale, but he becomes the thunderbolt to rouse the base, which appears to love him, even if he is a media-created fraud. In fact, Ryan may be the most effective political phony in America.

8.  Repeat: Paul Ryan is the most effective phony in American politics today. When Romney picked Ryan, he was grabbing one of the great teflon politicians of all time. Ryan has a tremendous ability to appear earnest while lying through his teeth, as he did recently when he repeated Romney’s lie about Obama and welfare work requirements. Ryan represents what Salon’s Joan Walsh calls  [7]the “fakery at the heart of the Republican project today.” She adds:

[Ryan,] the man who who wants to make the world safe for swashbuckling, risk-taking capitalists hasn’t spent a day at economic risk in his life.

Guys like Ryan “somehow become the political face of the white working class when they never spent a day in that class in their life,” writes Walsh.  He has, she says, a “remarkable ability to tap into the economic anxiety of working class whites and steer it toward paranoia that their troubles are the fault of other people — the slackers and the moochers, Ayn Rand;’s  famous ‘parasites’ …”

9.  The Conservative tribe is now ready to fight all of its enemies. The conservatives and Republicans know what team they are on — and that tribal identity is more important to them than any idea of hegemonic cultural identity could possibly be to liberals. For one, the conservative team is almost totally white, and far more homogenous, while more than 43 percent of Obama’s supporters are people of color. Add in that conservative brand of resentment — the “makers versus the takers” — and it becomes clear who represents the conservative notion of a “maker.” With Ryan as the standard-bearer for the self-described “makers,” the team has its galvanizer.

The social psychologist Jonathan Haight and his researchers have compiled a catalog [8] of “six fundamental ideas that commonly undergird moral systems: care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority and sanctity.”

Among them, he finds that group loyalty and identification is important among conservatives, but not among liberals. As William Saletan describes Haidt’s thesis [8] in the New York Times Book Review:

Social conservatives see welfare and feminism as threats to responsibility and family stability. The Tea Party [9] hates redistribution because it interferes with letting people reap what they earn. Faith, patriotism, valor, chastity, law and order — these Republican themes touch all six moral foundations, whereas Democrats, in Haidt’s analysis, focus almost entirely on care and fighting oppression.

Come election time, that array of values makes the Republican project more formidable. It is why, when conservative ideas are not popular, when significant majorities of Americans disagree with conservatives, they still have enormous capacity to exercise outsized influence, controlling much of the public debate — and are on the doorstep of winning control of all three branches of government.  Despite their minority status, the tribal thing still leverages far more power than is fair or many thought possible.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter whether Romney picked Ryan out of desperation, or may have had to take Ryan as a deal for support from the Kochs, or may have felt Ryan was actually the best man for the job. Whatever the reason, the Ryan pick does a whole lot for the Romney campaign –conferring money, authority, media attention, change of tone, and more. Probably the most overarching plus, though, is that by adding Ryan, Romney has brought the whole Republican-conservative tribal deal together, which, from my vantage point only increases — not decreases — the chance of the Republicans defeating Obama in November.”

Emphasis Mine

see: