thedailybeast.com — The picture is taking shape. It’s still early for predictions—I’ll do that over the weekend or Monday. But let me put it this way. While there are certainly a few known unknowns, and always the possibility of the emergence of one more unknown unknown, I’d sure rather be Barack Obama right now than Mitt Romney. Sandy (and Chris Christie) stopped Romney’s momentum cold and put some wind (so to speak) behind the president’s back. Consider: Thirteen swing state polls came out on Wednesday. Obama led in 11. Romney is on the mat. Now Obama needs to step on his neck and put this thing away. He can do this in five ways.
onthecommons.org — If this election is a referendum on the benefit of government then superstorm Sandy should be Exhibit A for the affirmative. Seven years ago, Katrina showed the tragic consequences when government fails its duty to respond to natural disasters. But that was the exception that proves the rule. When disasters hit, the government is the only agent with the authority and capacity to marshal and mobilize resources sufficient to the undertaking. It can coordinate across jurisdictions and with both the public and private sectors. That’s because its mission is not to enhance its balance sheet but to preserve the well being of its citizens. And in October 2012 it has shown how effectively it can perform that task.
nymag.com — What you are going to see over the next week is an overt effort by Democrats to politicize the issue of disaster response. They’re right to do it. Conservatives are already complaining about this, but the attempt to wall disaster response off from politics in the aftermath of a disaster is an attempt to insulate Republicans from the consequences of their policies. Funding for FEMA is something the parties wrangle over, with Republicans pushing to limit the agency’s budget, and Democrats pushing back. Romney’s budget promises require shrinking domestic non-entitlement spending as a share of the economy by about two-thirds. The Republican proposal to eviscerate this wide array of public functions is one of the underdiscussed questions of the election. Republicans have defended it using a very clever trick. They don’t explain how they would allocate the massive cuts to all these programs.
slate.com — The biggest myth of the 2012 campaign is the idea that Barack Obama doesn’t have a second-term agenda. In defense of the misguided conventional wisdom, it’s largely the president’s own fault that he’s allowed this impression to exist. Obama’s second-term agenda is something we can specify in unusually precise detail because, unlike last time around, it doesn’t particularly hinge on Congress. It’s all about exploiting what’s already scheduled to happen thanks to the past four years worth of legislative activity. It’s true that if you pay close attention to the president’s speeches you’ll find scarce mention of any new ideas. But that’s okay, because Obama’s real second-term economic agenda has nothing to do with passing new laws and everything to do with taking advantage of laws Congress has already passed.
thedailybeast.com — With Election Day just around the corner and the world awash in idle banter about “Obama’s broken dream,” his “vanished charm,” and even, while we’re at it, “the assassination of hope,” it is not idle to point out what should be obvious: that in four years the 44th president of the United States has pulled off no fewer than three revolutions. First came his reform of health care—an effort no less major for being incomplete. Next, Obama revolutionized an economic landscape in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. Last but not least, Obama profoundly altered the course of American diplomacy and, through it, his country’s image around the world. For the most part, then, Barack Obama has kept his promises. To allow him to keep them fully, Americans need only offer him a second term—the second term that, from the first, he said he would need to carry out his program.
tomdispatch.com — Calling lies "lies" and theft "theft" and violence "violence," loudly, clearly, and consistently, until truth becomes more than a bump in the road, is a powerful aspect of political activism. Much of the work around human rights begins with accurately and aggressively reframing the status quo as an outrage, whether it’s misogyny or racism or poisoning the environment. What protects an outrage are disguises, circumlocutions, and euphemisms -- “enhanced interrogation techniques” for torture, “collateral damage” for killing civilians, “the war on terror” for the war against you and me and our Bill of Rights. Change the language and you’ve begun to change the reality or at least to open the status quo to question.