For our weekend political readers:
VIRGINIA IS FOR SPLIT-TICKET VOTERS
Arkansans are known for splitting their local, state and national political tickets, but this year the focus of the Presidential campaigns will be on battleground states such as Ohio, Florida and Virginia.
The New York Times tours Virginia, one of the most hotly contested states for the Romney and Obama camps. A tight U.S. Senate race between former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine and former Senator George Allen could be a microcosm for this year's elections.
Of more than a dozen competitive Senate races this year, none appear as close as the contest in Virginia. For both Mr. Kaine and Mr. Allen, the search for people like Amelia Trent who say their vote for senator is not tied to their vote for president has become imperative.
The state appears deadlocked between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney. A Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday had the presidential candidates even at 44 percent support in the state, a situation consistent with recent national polls. (The poll also showed the Senate race tied.) And neither Senate candidate wants his fate dependent on his party’s presidential standard-bearer.
Read the full story and its political dynamics at this link.
CHARLIE COOK: ROMNEY CAMPAIGN RISKS DEFEAT
In his online column for the National Journal, one of the deans of non-partisan political prognostication, Charlie Cook, calls out a “Red Alert” for the Romney candidacy.
If I were a Republican, I would be very concerned about the events of the past two weeks, questioning both strategy and tactics as well as the underlying assumptions that have led to the campaign decisions made so far.
That's not all Cook has on his mind regarding the Romney campaign in this scathing essay. He points out:
It would appear that a certain overconfidence has built up in the Romney camp, a smugness that would appear to come from beating an incredibly weak group of underfinanced, poorly organized rivals.
The Romney campaign seems focused on reinforcing a message that hardly needs reinforcing, while ignoring a clear and immediate danger to its own candidate’s e
With three months left, read more about why Cook thinks the Romney campaign has to switch gears with stinging swipes like this:
But this election is starting to look enough like 2004 that Karl Rove should be demanding royalties from the Obama campaign, and others may conclude that no presidential campaign should ever again be based in Boston.
WHERE ARE THE WOMEN WONKS?
An essay in Washington Monthly points out vividly the absence of women in think tanks, especially in the nation's capital.
Even at such venerable think tanks as the Brookings Institution, male scholars heavily outnumber women. The worst records belong to the right-of-center think tanks, the article says. The Heritage Foundation, for example, has fifteen (almost identical) white men on their “senior management” page and only two women, neither of whom hold policy positions.
The Washington Monthly believes the dearth of women at think tanks can only have the obvious effect.
Another consequence is that too many Washington policy discussions are missing the perspective of half the people in America (actually, 50.8 percent) who will be affected by these decisions.
Read the article here to find out why there is such a disparity. Is it generational, prejudice, or political?
ONLINE SALES TAX WOULD BE A BOON FOR STATES
According to The Wall Street Journal, a tax for online sales nationally “could translate into $23 billion in new annual revenue.”
But even though the numbers may be smaller in some states, the impact could be greater. The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that Arkansas and Missouri could have made up their entire 2010 budget gaps just with the projected uncollected revenue from online sales taxes. California, on the other hand, though it would take in the most revenue, would make just 8.9% progress in closing its budget deficit.
Some states don't have a sales tax so, “the point is moot.”
Click here to learn more about the possibility of an online sales tax and how much states could gain. It was a political hot potato in the 2011 legislative session and could re-surface in 2013.