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Posts Tagged ‘The Huffington Post’

INFLYTANDE | Bröderna Koch är ägare till USA:s näst största privata företag. Sedan 1970-talet ägnar man sig även åt politisk påverkan.

Fobes 24

I det senaste valet drev man en mycket aktiv anti-Obama kampanj. En av de organisationer som har varit aktivt involverade i opinionsbildningen är Americans for Prosperity som startades av David Koch 2004.

The Huffington Post rapporterade i februari 2012 att Charles Koch själv lovade bidra med 40 miljoner dollar för att besegra Barack Obama.

På senaste listan över ”The World’s Most Powerful People – som sammanställs av tidskriften Forbes – hamnar bröderna på plats 41.

Trots valförlusten ser det inte ut som om bröderna kommer att ge upp. Nu skall man analysera valet för att lära sig vad som gick fel.

Daniel Fisher skriver i Forbes:

Charles’ many critics on the left–including the President of the United States–accuse him of accumulating too much power and using it to promote his own economic interests through a network of secretive organizations they call the “Kochtopus.” Ironically, the Koch brothers believe they’re fighting against power, at least in the political realm. For the Kochs the real power is central government, which can tax entire industries into oblivion, force a citizen to buy health insurance and bring mighty corporations like Koch Industries to heel.

“Most power is power to coerce somebody,” says Charles, in a voice that sounds like Jimmy Stewart with a Kansas twang. “We don’t have the power to coerce anybody.”

The November elections–which David, in a separate interview shortly after the results were finalized, termed “bitterly disappointing”–seem to confirm Charles’ last point. Not even the Koch brothers, who spent tens of millions of dollars during this election cycle (they won’t disclose the exact amount) funding direct political contributions and issue-driven “nonprofits,” could coerce voters to back their candidates. Mitt Romney’s loss was a huge blow to them, both in terms of likely policy outcomes and personal reputation.

But those who think the brothers, older and chastened, will now fade away don’t understand the Kochs. Not a bit. Obama’s victory was just a blip on a master plan measured in decades, not election cycles. “We raised a lot of money and mobilized an awful lot of people, and we lost, plain and simple,” says David. “We’re going to study what worked, what didn’t work, and improve our efforts in the future. We’re not going to roll over and play dead.”

[…]

So their revolution has been an evolution, with roots going back half a century to Koch’s first contributions to libertarian causes and Republican candidates. In the mid-1970s their business of changing minds got more formal when Charles cofounded what became the Cato Institute, the first major libertarian think tank. Based in Washington, it has 120 employees devoted to promoting property rights, educational choice and economic freedom. In 1978 the brothers helped found–and still fund–George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, the go-to academy for deregulation; they have funded the Federalist Society, which shapes conservative judicial thinking; the pro-market Heritage Foundation; a California-based center skeptical of human-driven climate change; and many other institutions.

All of these organizations, unknown to 99% of the population, and their common source of support, unknown to most of the rest, have provided the grist for conservative thinking since Reagan.

[…]

While Charles, more diplomatic as the steward of the business, avoids throwing partisan bombshells, David, who lives in New York City and whose main activities surround philanthropy and politics, is less shy. And he has a message for anyone who thinks the Kochs won’t be a factor in 2016 and beyond: “We’re going to fight the battle as long as we breathe. We want to bequeath to our children a better and more prosperous America.” That means more of the same tactics, as well as whatever new ones election lawyers cook up.

Läs mer: “Bad Blood: Meet Bill And Frederick, The Other Kochs” i Forbes och “Charts: How Much Have the Kochs Spent on the 2012 Election?” i Mother Jones.

Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget är Forbes den 14 december 2012.

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STRATEGI | Medan seriös media ägnar allt mer tid åt att kontrollera politikers utsagor spelar sanningen en allt mindre roll i valkampanjerna.

En förklaring till denna paradox är att väljarna i allt större utsträckning hämtar information från källor som bara överrensstämmer med deras egna åsikter (och fördomar).

Är man höger i USA tittar man på Fox News, läser The Wall Street Journal och surfar på Drudge Report. Är man vänster blir det istället MSNBC, ledarsidan i The New York Times och The Huffington Post på nätet.

“We don’t collect news to inform us. We collect news to affirm us,” säger t.ex. Frank Luntz som är opinionsanalytiker för republikanerna. “It used to be that we disagreed on the solution but agreed on the problem. Now we don’t even agree on the problem.”

Och det gäller säkert även här i Sverige. Skulle man göra en opinionsmätning här för att ta reda på vem av de två presidentkandidaterna man anser är  mest sanningsenlig skulle med största sannolikhet Barack Obama vinna med hästlängder över Mitt Romney .

Michael Scherer och Alex Altman på tidskriften Time har tittat på hur presidentkandidaterna använder och förvränger fakta om varandra. Och de kan konstatera att verkligheten är mer komplex än så.

Obama har t.ex. medvetet och kontinuerligt misstolkat Romneys åsikter om immigration och aborter. Romney däremot har på motsvarande sätt förvridit Obamas politik när det gäller välfärdsfrågor, immigration och presidentens ekonomiska stimulansåtgärder.

En annan skillnad: Obamakampanjen har varit betydligt subtilare i sitt sätt att måla sin motståndare i mörka färger. Romneykampanjen däremot har varit betydligt mer uppenbara i sitt sätt att agera.

Så vem ljuger mest? Obama eller Romney? Alex Altman skriver:

Compared with the Obama campaign’s, the Romney operation’s misstatements are frequently more brazen. But sometimes the most effective lie is the one that is closest to the truth, and Obama’s team has often outdone Romney’s in the dark art of subtle distortion. On both sides, the dishonesty is “about as bad as I’ve seen,” says veteran journalist Brooks Jackson, director of FactCheck.org.

The lying game unfolds on many –levels. Campaigns obfuscate, twist the truth and exaggerate. They exploit complexity. Most of all, they look for details—real or unreal—that validate our suspicions.

[…]

Even for the most open-minded and informed voters, truth is often subjective. Discerning it is that much harder when the campaigns cater to two different groups of voters who seem to prefer two very different sets of facts.

Michael Scherer har några talande exempel från den pågående valkampanjen.

“The truth of the matter is you can’t just make stuff up,” [Obama] told the scribblers who get paid to check his facts. “That’s one thing you learn as President of the United States. You get called in to account.” It was just what reporters wanted to hear, even if it was not exactly true.

At the time, Obama was speaking about a campaign ad from Mitt Romney that falsely claimed that the President had eliminated the work requirement for welfare. The ad was unmistakably deceptive. But just five minutes earlier in the very same press conference, Obama had offered some misdirection of his own. “Nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon,” he said. In fact, one of the President’s senior strategists, Stephanie Cutter, told reporters a month earlier that Romney was misrepresenting himself either to the American people or to securities regulators — “which is a felony,” she said.

Cutter’s was a conditional accusation but an accusation nonetheless, and at the time it allowed the Romney campaign to take its turn playing truth teller. “A reckless and unsubstantiated charge,” protested Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades, who asked Obama to apologize. Of course, no apology was forthcoming. So the posturing got worse.

[…]

Indeed, the 2012 campaign has witnessed a historic increase in fact-checking efforts by the media, with dozens of reporters now focused full time on sniffing out falsehood. Clear examples of deception fill websites, appear on nightly newscasts and run on the front pages of newspapers. But the truth squads have had only marginal success in changing the behavior of the campaigns and almost no impact on the outside groups that peddle unvarnished falsehoods with even less accountability. “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” explained Neil Newhouse, Romney’s pollster, echoing his industry’s conventional wisdom.

Similarly, the so-called Truth Team for the Obama campaign has found itself in recurring spats with journalists brandishing facts. One of the most galling Obama deceptions, embedded in two television ads, asserts that Romney backed a bill outlawing “all abortion even in cases of rape and incest.” This is not true. Romney has consistently maintained, since becoming a pro-life politician in 2005, that he supports exceptions for rape and incest and to protect the life of the mother.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget, den amerikanska utgåvan av Time den 15 oktober 2012, illustrerades av Dylan Roscover.

(Inlägget publiceras parallellt på Makthavare.se)

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KAMPANJ | Mitt Romney har haft det tufft den senaste tiden. Han har varit under ständig attack för sin tid i riskkapitalbolaget Bain Capital.

Parallellt har man också angripet honom för att han vägrar offentligöra alla sina deklarationer.

Kritiken är i och för sig inte ny. Vad som är nytt är att demokraterna verkar ha bestämt sig för att fokusera på Romneys tid i näringslivet.

Man skulle gissat att det var mer fruktbart att inrikta sig på hans ständiga byta av åsikter i olika sakfrågor. Listan över alla gånger han har flip-floppat är nämligen lång som en måndag.

I artikeln ”Can the Democrats Catch Up in the Super-PAC Game?” har Robert Draper beskrivit hur strategin har tagit form bland Barack Obamas allierade.

Bill Burton och Sean Sweeney har grundat en s.k. super PAC. Deras Priorities USA Action är en av de ledande på den demokratiska sidan.

Last December — specifically, on Pearl Harbor Day — Burton and Sweeney met with a few other Priorities advisers in the Dupont Circle office of the pollster Geoff Garin to decide just what their Romney story would be. They quickly discarded the Romney-as-flip-flopper leitmotif. To say that the Republican lacked a firm set of positions was to concede that he couldn’t be defined. Better, they concluded, to assert that Romney in fact possessed beliefs — very extreme ones.

Burton and his colleagues spent the early months of 2012 trying out the pitch that Romney was the most far-right presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. It fell flat. The public did not view Romney as an extremist. For example, when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing. What became clear was that voters had almost no sense of Obama’s opponent. While conducting a different focus group — this one with non-college-educated Milwaukee voters on the eve of Wisconsin’s April 3 primary — Burton and Sweeney were surprised to learn that even after Romney had spent months campaigning, many in the group could not recognize his face, much less characterize his positions. Compounding the Republican nominee’s strangely persistent obscurity is that, as Garin told me, “Romney is not a natural politician in the sense of embracing opportunities to talk about himself.”

That left an opening for the Democrats to tell Romney’s story, and over the spring they figured out how to do so. Obama’s opponent was not an ideologue per se, the Priorities team decided, but instead someone who knows and cares only about wealthy Americans. Burton describes the distinction as “a top/bottom rather than left/right approach” — also known in Republican circles as class warfare.

The best explanatory tool for this narrative would prove to be Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. In this recasting of Romney’s self-described chief qualification to be president, the candidate may well be someone who understands how the economy works but cares only about making it work for rich guys like himself. As one participant in the Priorities focus groups told me, “Businessmen are often highly admired, but there’s no real template for somebody with Mitt Romney’s type of business experience getting embraced.”

Läs mer: ”Romney’s Midsummer Test ochStatus of Bain and Romney’s Tax Returns”. Båda av Mark Halperin på Time. ”After missteps, Romney adds to communication team” av Sam Youngman på Reuter. ”Democrats Pounce On Poll Showing Attacks On Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital Career Are Working” av Jon Ward, The Huffington Post.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The New York Times Magazine den 8 juli 2012.

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NEVADA | Mitt Romney vann stort i mormontäta Nevada. Med ca. 70 % av rösterna räknade har Romney 48 %. På andra plats Newt Gingrich 23 %. 

På tredje och fjärde plats Ron Paul (19 %) respektive Rick Santorum (11 %).

Romney ser alltmer ut som den självklara presidentkandidaten bland republikanerna. Gingrich däremot låta alltmer som ”the crazy uncle in the attic”.

Och inte blir det lättare för Gingrich i kommande valkampanjer. Sam Stein, The Huffington Post, skriver:

The month of February, which brings with it a slate of primaries and caucuses that favor either Romney or Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), promises to be brutal for Gingrich. His campaign is reportedly low on cash. He has no formal infrastructure in place in most states and didn’t even make it on Virginia’s ballot. Pressed on all these points, however, his responses drifted between insolence and confusion.

[…]

He was, he concluded, ”mildly amazed at the news media’s desperation to find some excuse to say, wouldn’t you please quit this evening.”

The truth, of course, is that the press would love nothing more than for him to continue. Even an increasingly dull primary race is better than no race at all. But signs that his campaign has lost its defining rationale are mounting.

Övrigt: Framsidan är tidningen The Las Vegas Review-Journal som publiceras i Nevada.

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RON PAUL ignoreras av media. Och nu är det inte bara Paul själv som säger det. Bilden bekräftas av en undersökning.

Paul har bra opinionssiffror och en andraplats i Iowas ”straw poll” och en förstaplats i ett liknande arrangemang anordnat av unga republikaner i New Hampshire.

Men när media väl skriver om Paul handlar det mest om medias brist på bevakning av hans kampanj.

Eller som Jason Linkins, på The Huffington Post, lite lustigt beskriver det:

[W]e noticed that Ron Paul finished second in the Ames Straw Poll, attracting enough voters to qualify as a personal best, barely missing taking the top spot from Michele Bachmann. On Sunday, we noticed that no one had noticed this. By Monday, we noticed that other people had noticed that no one had noticed this. We also noticed that there were other people who noticed this, but figured Paul deserved no notice. By week’s end, we noticed that Paul’s ”fifteen minutes” had been declared ”over.” But those minutes were spent debating whether he should have had them in the first place!

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JON HUNTSMAN är den liberalaste av de republikanska presidentkandidaterna. Nu försöker han vända detta till sin fördel.

Han har insett att det enda sättet att skaka liv i sin halvt insomnade kampanj är att gå på offensiven.

Medan övriga presidentkandidater tävlar om att vara så konservativa som möjligt har Huntsman insett att han möjligtvis har en chans om han kan inmuta en mitten-högerposition.

Och detta försöker han göra genom att ge sig på de två ledanden och mest konservativa kandidaterna Michele Bachmann och Rick Perry.

The Huffington Post refererar:

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman says the U.S. is a ”center-right” country politically and the public is ”crying out for a sensible middle ground” – just what he says he offers.

The former Utah governor says his Republican rivals as well as President Barack Obama are on the political ”fringes.” Huntsman says Obama is too liberal and there are Republican candidates who are too far to the right and have ”zero substance.”

[…]

Huntsman slammed Perry for expressing skepticism about manmade global warming and for criticizing the nation’s central banker. ”I think when you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican Party, you make yourself unelectable,” Huntsman said in interview, aired Sunday on ABC’s ”This Week.”

Huntsman also ridiculed Bachmann’s claims that she could bring gasoline prices below $2 if elected president. ”I just don’t know what world that comment would come from. … That is completely unrealistic. And, again, it’s talking about things that, you know, may pander to a particular group or sound good at the time, but it just simply is not founded in reality.”

Huntsman har nu fått stöd från Bush-klanen. Jeb Bush Jr, son till förra Florida guvernören (som i sin tur är bror till George W. Bush), stöttar nu honom som presidentkandidat.

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MITT ROMNEY gjorde det starkaste intrycket under gårdagens debatt mellan de republikanska presidentkandaterna.

Han var lugn och statsmannamässig även när han kritiserades. Han gav sig aldrig in i någon pajkastning med övriga kandidater.

Hans problem var möjligtvis att han saknade glöd. Kommer tittarna att minnas hans insats?

Den utrikespolitiskt intressantaste debatten var mellan Rick Santorum och Ron Paul om Iran och vad USA skall göra för att hindra att landet skaffar kärnvapen.

Det var också Rick Santorum som var den stora överraskningen på det utrikespolitiska området. Men hans problem var att han kom igång sent.

När det gällde frågor kring skuldtaket, ekonomin och jobbskapande åtgärder var kandidaternas svar väldigt lika varandra. Väljarna kommer inte utifrån deras svar på dessa frågor kunna avgöra vem som passar bäst i Vita huset.

När det gäller spännande ordväxlingar så var den giftigaste mellan Michele Bachmann och Tim Pawlenty angående vem som har bäst erfarenheter av ledarskap.

En debatt som aldrig uppmärksammas i den svenska rapporteringen från USA är den ideologiska frågan om var ansvaret för den federala staten upphör och var delstaternas tar vid.

Och med tanke på att kandidaterna var så lika varandra när det gällde ekonomin kan svaren här kanske avgöra hur tittarna ställer sig till kandidaterna generellt.

Men det mest troliga är dock att väljarna avvaktar innan man bestämmer sig.

Det är ännu långt kvar till och kandidaterna har mycket kampanjande kvar innan väljarna börjar intressera sig för valet 2012.

Dessutom kommer utgallringen av kandidaterna att förändra det republikanska startfältet. Fler kandidater kommer att ge sig in i leken och andra kommer att falla ifrån.

Övrigt: Deltagare var Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman och Newt Gingrich.

Se hela debatten från Fox NewsYouTube. Se några intressanta glimtar på The Daily Beast och The Huffington Post.

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