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No identification requested when voting in California primary

I just returned from voting in the California primary election. Turnout at my eastern West Hollywood precinct was light.

When I went to vote, I gave my name and showed my “Official Sample Ballot and Voting Instructions” booklet. I asked if they wanted to see my ID. California law doesn’t require it, one official said. This is an invitation for vote fraud, I responded.  Well, we don’t require it.  Finally, one poll worker did asked to see it–after I had made clear this was a necessary safeguard, expressing the fear that someone could use lax standards at precincts to steal an election

Oh, and if you don’t think vote fraud is problem, look how easy it is for someone to vote under another person’s name–in the case the Attorney General of the United States, a man who uses his authority to challenge state requirements that voters to furnish identification — as did Massachusetts Democrats at their recent convention:

Federal debt set to double; only one* candidate seems concerned

Earlier today, a college classmate asked me on Facebook to make the case for Mitt Romney. Among the arguments I made was that spending has skyrocketed under the incumbent president. And that same incumbent has put forward no plans to address the coming insolvency of federal entitlements.

Now comes a reports showing just how grim the picture is for our national debt, largely due to the burgeoning costs of those entitlements:

U.S. debt is on track to be nearly twice the size of the U.S. economy by 2037, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warned Tuesday.

The new CBO report states that increased entitlement spending driven by the retirement of the baby boomers and insufficient revenue is making the long-term outlook for the national debt increasingly dire.

Sifting through the CBO report, James Pethokoukis highlights its “7 scariest facts“:

The aging of the population and the rising cost of healthcare would cause spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to grow from more than 10% of GDP today to almost 16% of GDP 25 years from now, equivalent to about $850 billion today. (By comparison, CBO says, spending on all of the federal government’s programs and activities, excluding net outlays for interest, has averaged about 18.5 percent of GDP over the past 40 years.)

To address this, the National Review’s Yuval Levin contends that

Medicare spending growth must be restrained, and it can be restrained in a way that drives innovation and efficiency and continues to provide guaranteed comprehensive coverage to seniors. Paul Ryan has shown us how, and the CBO today shows us why. (more…)

Wasn’t the Wisconsin recall about Walker’s union reforms?

The bitter battle over union rights [sic] in Wisconsin sent masses of angry protesters flooding into the streets,” reports Robin Bravender in Politco

. . . placed the state at the center of a national debate over Big Labor’s power and sparked the historic recall to topple GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

But you’d hardly know it from the campaign to replace him.

On the eve of the June 5 recall election, the issue of collective bargaining has become just a footnote in the hard-fought battle for Wisconsin. Democrats gloss over the issue in campaign speeches, political advertisements and debates in favor of zeroing in on Walker’s tactics. Democrats and labor groups run separate field operations. And the party’s nominee, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, wears the fact that he wasn’t labor’s top choice for the ticket as a badge of honor.

Emphasis added. Wonder why Democrats are sidestepping the issue which spurred the recall?  Could it be perhaps that the reforms are working?  Or that Wisconsinites are beginning to appreciate how the privileges (that Bravender calls “rights” above) the state once granted to public employee unions account for ever higher government expenditures?

In the Obama campaign’s video on the Wisconsin election, the president’s team doesn’t even mention the specific “rights” at issue.  Interesting, very interesting.

RELATED: Obama campaigns for Barrett … sort of

Does Bill Clinton want Barack Obama to lose?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:34 pm - June 5, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,American History

Last night, when our blog reader Kyle linked a report about former Clinton advisor saying he thought the former president didn’t want the incumbent president to win reelection, I quipped, “if Obama doesn’t win, then Bill Clinton will have his status as the nation’s top Democrat restored. And he will be the only Democrat since FDR elected to two terms in his own right.”   Earlier today, Ann Althouse also linked the Morris video.

Seems Clinton’s supposed non-support for Obama is the buzz of the blogosphere today.  Memeorandum linked the other Roger Simon’s Politico piece where he offered that “Bill Clinton is pretty good at sabotaging Obama’s strategy.”  William Kristol takes issue with Simon’s presence (that the former president is “out of control on 2012”) for a number of reasons, among them one similar to my own, “An Obama reelection loss would leave Clinton as the only twice-elected (i.e., successful) Democratic president since FDR.

Kristol also suspects that Clinton feels Obama’s account of the past thirty years “doesn’t sit well with America’s 42nd president”:  “In Obama’s recounting of recent American history, Clinton tends to be a hapless parenthesis between Reagan-Bush and Bush II.”

Ed Morrissey also takes the other Roger Simon to task.

UPDATE: Clinton Dings Obama at Joint Fundraiser: “I’m the Only Guy Who Gave You Four Surplus Budgets”

How will late deciders break today in Wisconsin:
Will they reject the incumbent or repudiate the recall?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:54 am - June 5, 2012.
Filed under: American History,State Politics & Government

Ever since I wrote a paper about the election of 1948 for an American history seminar in high school, I have been fascinated by late deciders, those voters who wait until the last minute in an electoral contest to make up their mind.  Normally, late deciders break against the party in power, but in the contest I studied, they broke overwhelmingly for the incumbent, then-President Harry S Truman.

The last Gallup poll that year, taken as I recall from my paper, two weeks before the election showed then-New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey defeating Truman by a comfortable margin.  This chart says it was 6 points; Wikipedia reports that the Democrat “had reduced Dewey’s 12-point summer lead in the Gallup Poll to just 5 points“.

Seems the momentum was truly in Truman’s favor.

Will we see the same thing to do in Wisconsin?*  Or will late-deciding Badger State voters revert to type (for late-deciders, not Wisconsinites) and move toward Barrett.  Given that some polls shows Walker hovering at 5o percent, that movement combined with a first-rate Democratic/union Get-Out-the-Vote effort today could allow his Democratic opponent to eke out a narrow victory.

Or, showing “recall fatigue,” those currently undecided voters, still uncertain about their governor, could vote for the governor more to repudiate the recall rather than to rally ’round the Republican.  This isn’t the first election since Walker put forward his bold reforms that his fellow Wisconsinites have voted.

“Voters,” Walker said (as paraphrased by the National Review’s Robert Costa “are fed up with the Left’s temper tantrum, which has sustained a fiercely partisan climate of perpetual campaigns.”  This recall, writes Wisconsinite Ann Althouse . . .

. . . is an unwelcome intrusion on the people of the state, and we have reason to be angry about it. (more…)

Is overheated rhetoric in response to possible Walker victory the sound of a cherished liberal narrative being shattered?

Seems like the president is barely phoning in his views on the gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin:

President Barack Obama hopes Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, “prevails” in the state’s closely watched recall election, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.

Carney was repeatedly asked why Obama, who has been criss-crossing the country to raise money for his reelection bid, did not do more to help Barrett.

Do note that his spokesman was asked about the recall election; neither the president nor his team volunteered anything.  Well, Obama did tweet his support of Barrett.

Others haven’t been quite so civil in their remarks.  Via Facebook, a reader alerted his friends to one prominent Democrat’s thoughts on the recall:  “On MSNBC’s The EDd Show Jesse Jackson compared Gov Walker To Segregationist George Wallace“.  Wow, just wow.

The New York Times“, observes Walter Russell Mead, “is entering into full-blown panic mode over what this election could mean for Obama’s chances this November”

After valiantly trying to shield its readers from Walker’s lead, The New York Times is now doing its best to spare them the full horror of what is occurring in Wisconsin.  The progressive left pulled out all the stops: unions, rage, “community organizers,” demonstrations, and name calling were supposed to make Wisconsin the front line for the progressive “fightback.” In a state that hasn’t been carried by a Republican since Reagan in 1984, Democrats thought this strategy couldn’t fail. (more…)

Fundraising while the economy burns

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:30 am - June 5, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Economy

“Some days,” writes Jim Geraghty, referencing the video embedded blow, “the Obama campaign makes the job of the RNC all too easy – like when they release a campaign video of Vogue’s Anna Wintour, inviting folks to a fundraiser in New York City:

While his campaign was hyping the woman who served as the model for Meryl Streep‘s character in The Devil Wears Prada, the president was visiting “Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a midday speech and three fundraisers. He departed late afternoon for Chicago and three more fundraisers that evening.

Jazz Shaw quipped that the Democrat “celebrated Friday’s dismal jobs report by striking out on a breathtaking series of six campaign appearances to help shore up the nation’s economy.”