For our weekend political readers:
WHY IS ARKANSAS SO POOR?
The Washington Post's Chris Cilliza has a good post referencing another blogger at his The Fix site. The post explores perceptions about states based on the Google search phrase: “Why is [a state] so… ?”
Google's search engine completes the sentence based on whatever its algorithms produce. In Arkansas' case, the question is first completed with “Why is Arkansas so poor?”
In politics, perception often trumps reality. Put another way: What people think they know about a politician, an issue or anything else goes a long way to determining how they feel about it — whether or not their initial perception is based in reality or not.
That perception obsession has lead us to seek out any and every tool that helps us get at how people think about their politics — and each other.
Read more here as well as play with an interactive map of all 50 states.
PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS GETS PERSONAL
Are you disappointed in the gutter politics already ever-present in the Presidential campaign? You're not alone.
This New York Times essay explores how quickly the Obama and Romney camps have stooped to make the campaigns personal and devolved of issue debates.
For about, oh, two minutes, there was talk last weekend that the debate dominating the presidential race would take on a more elevated tone now that Mitt Romney had selected an avowed fiscal hawk, Representative Paul D. Ryan, as his running mate.
The thinking was that the two presidential candidates, both with Harvard degrees, would finally use their intellectual prowess to discuss the nation’s challenges seriously.
Then Tuesday (and Wednesday and Thursday) happened.
There is a strategy for
both sides in the vitriol, which you can read more about at this link.
ROMNEY TACKLES THE SUBJECT OF MEDICARE
Romney's selection of Paul Ryan for Vice-president led to a quick look at Ryan's political record, especially his emphasis on Medicare reform — a defining issue for Democrats and Republicans.
Democrats view the subject as one where they can score political points with seniors. Republicans have been using the issue as a central plank for spending reforms in their austerity efforts.
Politico reports on a last-minute press conference held by Mitt Romney in South Carolina on the subject of Medicare, but reporters seemed less than impressed.
Mitt Romney attempted on Thursday to boil down his Medicare plan to a simple explanation: “No change” and “Solvent.”
But after the 10-minute and 11-second news conference, Romney shed no new light on how he would overhaul the 47-year-old federal health care program for senior citizens and how (or if) his program differs from that of his running mate’s much-maligned proposal that is part of an effort to slash the federal budget deficit.
Asked afterward to provide as much detail and specifics as possible about Romney’s Medicare plan, his campaign provided a link to a one-page website with a 907-word explanation (shorter than the length of this article) that included an introduction, seven key elements and a frequently asked questions section. It also forwarded a speech Romney gave on fiscal policy in November.
There's more coverage at this link, including video of Professor Romney at the whiteboard.
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