I don’t have a lot to say tonight, just tuning in all the news on the Internet for entertainment. Most of the real politics action is south of the border tonight. Not only are the last four GOP contenders debating on CNN down in Florida, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is having his big state dinner with President Barack Obama at the White House. I wonder what they are doing after their big meal this evening — maybe they’re watching CNN.
The news cycle has moved on from the horrible hostage crisis in Australia, and the horrible killings in Pakistan, to the apparent thawing of relations today between the USA and Cuba — a development some Republicans probably think is horrible, too.
Today, President Barack Obama announced steps towards normalizing relations, which include loosening of trade and travel restrictions and the opening up an embassy in Havana. Well, this news should make for a very entertaining evening listening to American right-wing talk radio.
As well, the Cubans have freed Alan Gross, an American, while the Americans have freed three of the five jailed Cuban intelligence agents known as the Cuban Five — individuals well known to anyone who has ever seen or heard Cuban propaganda anywhere as the Cuban government have been vocal in demanding their release for years.
Obama basically has said the old way, the embargo, isn’t working. And you know what? He’s right! It hasn’t worked at all in getting rid of the Castro brothers. They’re both still alive and kicking, but the Republicans don’t seem convinced this latest stunt will work, either. They say this move will simply prop up the Castros and do nothing to change things there to a democracy.
Maybe Obama or his pals think opening things up will allow Cubans to see that their undemocratic, Marxist Leninist system of government is an outdated throwback to the Soviet era, and that Cuba might see its own version of the “Arab Spring”. Good luck with that. This is not north Africa.
This strikes me as Obama trying to get his own “Nixon to China” moment, or something, out of this. But while we are on the subject of China, here is something to think about. China has a Communist, authoritarian government with a lot of human rights restrictions, just as Cuba has a Communist, authoritarian government with a lot of human rights restrictions.
There’s basically no difference between the two governments. And yet, these Americans have had no qualms whatsoever about doing trade with China. In fact, they trade with them all the time and there’s even McDonalds and Starbucks there!
I guess my point is if you are going to trade with China, you might as well trade with Cuba, too, because it’s, as they say, the “same difference”! Conversely, if you’re going to embargo Cuba why not embargo China, too. Anyway, this whole trade embargo situation over the years is yet another example of the world making no sense.
In any event, it sure looks more and more like folks in Havana can look forward to Starbucks coffee and Big Macs and shakes sooner rather than later.
I keep on changing my mind about what I think the chances are of Congress approving a Syria strike. Now I think the chances look dim again. It seems like the left-leaning Democrats and the libertarian factions of Republicans are banding together to defeat it.
With things unravelling in Congress, President Barack Obama yet again plans to pre-empt your favorite television shows on Tuesday night to take his case on Syria to the nation.
I don’t see what that can do — it looks like the nation is already against him on the issue. Besides, it isn’t the nation Obama needs right now. It’s Congress, and quite frankly, I don’t think too many of those fools in Congress even watch television.
We’ll see what transpires. In any event, the good news for now is we won’t have any air strikes interrupting any football games on TV this weekend.
So the networks have called Ohio for Barack Obama and he is re-elected President of the United States with 274 electoral votes. (UPDATE: Now 281 with Nevada.)
But a big controversy has erupted on TV. From what I gather reading the Twitter feeds there is a big brouhaha over at Fox News at the moment, with commentator Karl Rove apparently storming off the set challenging the call on Ohio.
(UPDATE –I was wrong, apparently he didn’t storm off the set but he did challenge the call and I guess it was Megyn Kelly who went over to the Decision Desk instead. Hopefully it will be up on YouTube, soon.)
… but I’m watching Chuck Todd on NBC point to the northern part of Ohio — Cuyahoga County to be exact — and how many votes are still to come in there in that Democratic part of the state. Apparently the Romney campaign is totally disputing the call as well. Oh, and by the way Romney has now taken the lead in Ohio just now by 20,000, but there are something like a hundred thousand or more Democratic votes still to come in which will erase that lead, according to the TV screens.
This talk and debate on the TV is all very entertaining but honestly, it really doesn’t matter anymore, Colorado looks like it is going to go for Obama anyway, and Iowa is called for Obama, so it doesn’t look like there is a path to the White House for Romney in any event.
As for Florida, this Ohio call pretty much shoves aside what is shaping up to be a big mess down there in the vote count, as apparently they are not going to finish counting all the ballots in Miami-Dade County until tomorrow morning. Not that it matters there either, because Obama is winning that county bigtime.
Anyway, that’s where we stand now, with a re-elected Democratic President, a Democratic Senate again and a Republican House.
In short, this is going to be a total status quo election. For all the millions spent on TV ads all there is to say is this: what a colossal waste of money. (I hope the TV stations in the swing states are all happy, because they were the biggest winners in this campaign.)
ANOTHER UPDATE — Gotta love GOP party strategist Mike Murphy ranting and raving on NBC about how the party needs to make itself electable again.
Mood is grim among the Republican operatives on TV with Barack Obama leading Florida by something like 40,000 late.
I have to agree — without Florida in the bank the night is over for Romney, we can all go home. It won’t matter at all what happens in Ohio.
Only path to victory now for Romney is to win Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado, and right now he’s trailing in three of them (VA excepted). In other news, New Hampshire is now definitely gone for Romney and Iowa looks like it is also going down the tubes in the CNN exit poll.
In the Senate, the TV stations from Boston all report Elizabeth Warren (D) has beaten incumbent Scott Brown (R) in the Senate race.
Also, Obama is now back in the lead in Florida with 78 percent in by 2,000 votes. Basically, with Pennsylvania gone the only hope now for Romney is an Electoral College path that goes through Ohio, where Romney is still trailing by 170,000. And that is assuming he pulls out Florida and North Caroline and Virginia.
Before you Republicans head for the ledge, at least a little good news: Fox News projects the GOP will retain control of the House. Get ready for four more years of total gridlock in DC. Again.
And as I write this Romney has taken a 5,000 lead again in Florida. Wait — now Obama is up by 9,000. Oh, never mind.
Just thought I would check in now at the top of the hour — the electoral college count is now at 149 to 127 for Romney, thanks to a string of victories in safe states like Texas, the Dakotas and elsewhere, but the states Romney really needs are either too close or on the brink of slipping away.
In North Carolina Romney barely leads by about 3,000, that’s one percent. Florida has Romney ahead as well now by 3,000 votes with 75 percent in, but that is also way too close for comfort. Ohio now has 30 percent of the vote in and Obama leads right now by 11 points. New Hampshire is 57-41 Obama with 12 percent in, and Virginia is a roughly 140,000 lead for Romney but that is still too close to call there. Michigan is already called for Obama and Obama has a big early lead in Pennsylvania as well.
Stay tuned for more.
It seems to be looking good for Obama. He’s leading early in Ohio and still leading in Florida at this point, though Romney is starting to close in. But there is no way he should be down this much at this point in the evening. Ed Rollins on Fox News just now said Florida is going to be decided by 2,000 votes.
Right now it is not looking very good for Romney at all, as he is also trailing in NH. If he loses Florida he can say goodbye to the whole race, because he needs that state in order to win.
Here is a list of the calls so far: Romney wins AL, GA, IN, KY, MS, OK, SC and WV, Obama has won CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, ME, MD, RI and VT.
UPDATE: Romney now leads in Florida.
This post will serve as my last comment on the Democratic National Convention which I thoroughly failed to cover last week. As it turned out, I was gone on assignment most of the day Thursday on a trip to Moose Jaw, so I was busy with that and missed out most of the final night of the convention, though I did manage to catch the end of President Barack Obama’s speech.
From the sounds of it, I didn’t miss much — a lot of people were comparing it to four years ago and thinking it didn’t measure up. In fact, a lot of people thought it didn’t measure up to Bill Clinton’s nominating speech the previous night.
Peter Worthington went so far as to wonder whether it was so bad a speech that it could cost Obama the election, and I kind of doubt that — people’s attention spans are kind of short these days anyway.
I did notice more people like the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank were picking up on all the problems the Democrats were having in sticking to the script, what with moving Obama’s speech out of that football stadium by claiming there was bad weather, and then it turned out there wasn’t such bad weather after all.
Anyway, convention season is over, and it’s now on to the official campaign season again with two full months of attack ads coming your way.
Of course, around where I am in frozen Canada, I won’t be missing out on any of the fun, as I am busy covering a campaign here — a municipal election campaign. Ho hum.
Welcome to my live continuing convention coverage, this time of the Democratic National Convention. Right now former President Bill Clinton is speaking and placing President Barack Obama’s name in nomination, and later tonight is the roll call of the states to put him over the top. Right now Clinton is making fun of Romney’s job creation plans.
First of all, here is a link to a column I wrote on the conventions, where I basically say it’s just all a big scripted TV show and that there are no decisions made by the delegates, that the VP is selected ahead of time, that the platform is written ahead of time, and so forth.
Anyway, there was a wrench thrown into the DNC proceedings today: the delegates had to amend the platform, in order to put the word “God” into the platform and also to affirm that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. So, anyway, that was a big example of the DNC being thrown off the script, which is usually pretty difficult to do when you are re-nominating a President. So much for my big article, then, ranting about scripted conventions.
The second wrench is that tomorrow night’s outdoor acceptance speech by Obama, to be held in that stadium where the Carolina Panthers play football, has been rained out and will be held inside that convention hall where the Charlotte Bobcats usually play basketball.
So a lot of folks who had tickets to see Obama speak are disappointed. Well, the way I see it is that it’s only right for Obama to make an acceptance speech inside the convention anyway. I don’t like this business of accepting nominations outside the hall or making speeches at football stadiums — it makes candidates look too full of themselves. Besides, I like the balloon drops better than fireworks.
Clinton is still going on and on and on bashing Republicans, with his speech running right into the time allotment for the local news. I am going to sit back and relax and listen to his speech.