Thursday, July 14, 2011

Debt Ceiling "Debate" - Independent Voters Are the Name of the Game

As the Hottest Show on Earth rages in the mainstream media, a very much less-than-sexy campaign is being waged for structural political reform from the grassroots. For example, Michael Lewis and William Bowe from Independent Kentucky (IK) met with Congressman John Yarmouth. IK has been leading a fight to open the primaries. Said Lewis "We highlighted how Kentucky and other states in this nation are keeping willing voters out of the process. We informed him we are going to bring him petitions and postcards from people in his district who support these issues." Rep. Yarmouth acknowledged that open primaries create a more representative government.

Independent Kentucky conducted an online monthly meeting last night which you can catch here in recorded form (go to approx 7 min. in to correct for tech issues). About IK: Independent Kentucky started three years ago (2008) while we were conducting political and economic research as independent voters in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. At the time, no outlets existed for independent-minded individuals who wanted to become active in state politics. We found a large number of independent voters but with no organization. The national independent movement (independentvoting.org and others) and some state independent movements were making ground, but none in or around the Commonwealth. Kentucky has a broad classification for us; we are the “other” voters. We seized the opportunity to build a base for the independent voters of the great Commonwealth of Kentucky. This is how Independent Kentucky became the growing organization it is today.

In the meantime, see below for the most (expensive) compelling political theater going!


DEBT CEILING DEBATE

  • Obama is winning on debt debate, but there’s no room for moral victories (By Sam Youngman, The Hill) For Obama and his campaign, the name of the game is winning independent voters. Obama feels confident he is not going to get a challenge from his left, which allows him to offer concessions on Medicare and Social Security, including, according to Democrats familiar with the negotiations, an increase in the age to accept Medicare benefits in 2036.
  • This Game of ‘Debt Chicken’ Is Getting Scary (By Morton M. Kondracke, Roll Call Executive Editor) You’d think, given the stakes, that each side might demonstrate statesmanship, bargaining hard but preparing to give for the sake of the country. That may be happening out of public view — one can only hope. In public, though, the sides are hardening. Obama is insisting on a $4 trillion “big deal.” He’s trying to look both leaderly and reasonable so that independent voters blame Republicans for a default disaster.
  • Obama Owns the Debt-Ceiling Fiasco (By KARL ROVE, Wall Street Journal) The president's two most recent press conferences, in which he accused the GOP of foot-dragging, convinced Republicans that he was interested in scoring political points and attracting independents, not facilitating a deal. 
  • Editorial: The Media Are In The Bag For Obama (Investors Business Daily) The debt talks handed President Obama a timely opportunity to position himself as a centrist for the 2012 elections and win back independents who've been abandoning him. Of course, the idea that Obama is a moderate is ludicrous to anyone who's even casually followed this presidency.
  • Pessimism deepens as economic concerns rise: Reuters/Ipsos poll (By John Whitesides, Reuters) But voters do not appear to be holding President Barack Obama responsible for the problems so far. Obama's approval rating held relatively steady at 49 percent, down 1 percentage point from June. His approval rating among independents -- a group Obama needs to win re-election -- fell to 39 percent from 44 percent.
  • Quinnipiac poll finds more voters would blame GOP on debt (By Alicia M. Cohn, The Hill/Blog Briefing Room) Twenty percent of Republicans would hold their party mainly responsible, and 49 percent of the Independent voters both parties are trying to attract would put more responsible on the GOP. Thirty-three percent of Independents would put more responsibility on the administration.

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