Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Asian Americans were part of Obama Coalition in big numbers, but with some intra-ethnic differences, AALDEF exit poll shows

Last night you heard media citing exit polls about African Americans backing Barack Obama by 93 percent. Latinos were at 71 percent.

And Asian Americans?

Not a mention.

Yet, the group was a big part of the Obama victory.

72 percent  of Asian Americans backed the president, according to the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund-backed Election Eve poll. The phone survey sampled  800 Asian American voters in 50 states the weekend before the election. With early voting, nearly half of all poll respondents had already voted.

Asian Indians with 83 percent  gave the strongest support  for Obama, based on the survey’s intra-ethnic data. Vietnamese and Filipinos were the least supportive with 59 and 60 percent respectively for Obama. Consequently, those two groups lead the Asian support for Romney.

The national poll put Romney’s Asian American support at  26 percent, with both Vietnamese and Filipinos groups at 40 percent for the Republican challenger.

But when the question comes to political identity,  41 percent of Asian Americans still dentify as Democrats, with the intra-ethnic numbers showing Filipinos and Japanese, at 50  and 51percent, respectively.

Only 14 percent of Asian Americans  overall identify as Republican, with Korean, Filipino and Vietnamese more so at 23 percent.

What makes Asian Americans interesting in the future for politicos is that 45 percent  called themselves Independent (29 percent), Other (3 percent), or “Don’t Know” (13 percent).

Asian Americans are a group with an evolving political identity. As I’ve said, they’re up for grabs. Going forward, no one should take Asian Americans for granted.

And yet, when asked if anyone from “a campaign, political party, or community organization asked you to vote or register to vote, more than half of all respondents nationally (51 percent) said no.  64 percent  of Indians felt most neglected.

It’s clear, we all should be outraged by the lack of outreach.

Someone missed the boat last night. And it wasn’t just Romney with his “All-White” strategy.

That’s why polls like this one from AALDEF are extremely important. It let’s people know when it comes to participatory politics, Asian Americans are quickly filling the void.


Winner? Obama by TKO, but Romney still strong

President Barack Obama seemed to finally figure out what to do in a debate—to assert and negate, in essence to clash and cross swords with Governor Mitt Romney on any issue on the table.

As a result, the second debate was far from the steamroller for Romney as in the first debate.

I expected the town hall format to be a tad more folksy and interactive. But the crowd of undecided voters assembled at Hofstra University were just props in the middle of a real fight between Obama and Romney. Both came out ready, asserting and countering even outside the rigid debate format. It created a challenge for the moderator Candy Crowley, who did an admirable job keeping decorum and keeping the debaters on point, at one time correcting Romney on Obama’s response on Libya, the feistiest moment of the debate.

But to me, while Romney seemed to be level with his last performance, the president’s more energized approach left the lasting overall impression that his performance on this night was greater than Romney’s—maybe even enough to erase the memory of the president’s  first debate lapse. Perhaps for his base. As for undecideds, that’s not so clear.

From the very first question, the style and substance of both was apparent. To the Adelphi student who asked if he would have a job on graduation, Romney had the empathy, but no real plan. Obama came out with an answer that was like a microscosm of the whole debate, including the goal of creaing high-paying manufacturing jobs, a jab in about Romney’s Detroit stand,  tax code revisions, business incentives, energy plans.

In the same two-minute answer, Obama scored his highest response from CNN focus group members with this line:

“We got to make sure we have the best education system in the world, and the fact that you’re going to college is great. But I want everybody to have a great education and we’ve worked hard that student loans are available for folks like you.”

The only negatives for me in the debate came when the combatants crossed the line, turning the civility of parry and riposte into a street brawl. I kept wondering if any of this was scoring with the demographic of choice in this campaign, women.

There were times Obama was clearly getting under Romney’s skin. One point Romney turned to engage Obama on an issue, but instead of taking the bait, the president merely looked at Romney and said in a dismissive tone, “Go on.”

That’s the way to use your status.

Other issues: Romney tried to attack Obama on immigration. But Romney had no response when Obama pointed out that Romney’s key immigration advisor is the author of Arizona’s “Show me your papers” law.

Still, I didn’t see any real knockout blow in this debate. Overall, I’d say Obama won on points in O/R II.

But because Obama played rope-a-dope in O/R I , the race is still closer than it should be.

To all you Mittwagoners: Romney was good on camera in the first presidential debate, but what about the hidden camera truth?

I’d love to have a hidden camera on Romney this morning to see how he’s reacting to his performance last night.

Do you think he’s high-fiving Ann? 

Last night was showbiz for Romney. Make no mistake it was a performance, and he was on his game. But was it the truth, the real Romney?

Re-watching parts of the debate this morning, it’s amazing how Obama didn’t seem to have a sense of what game he was playing, as if he were waiting for Romney to be deferential. Debates are about clash, contrasts, and Obama didn’t engage sharply enough. He acted like it was a photo op and not a debate.

Debates are also evanescent, real time events. You’VE got to call your opponent on the spot and press. You can’t rely on fact-checking later to get back. It’s all face value, because the bond with viewer/voters is made emotionally on the impression you give off. So as a debater, you’re either there or you’re not. And Obama wasn’t there. Romney was.

I had mentioned that affirmative action could have been an issue that would speak to Asian Americans. And there were chances to sneak in a line or two about that in the “role of government” section. But there was very little time for that, or for other key domestic issues like abortion, women’s rights, immigrant rights. Obama could have mentioned the 47 percent to sharply contrast where Romney stands on the role of government. Instead, Romney was able to sound like he’s a compassionate supporter of the middle income voter. Laughable, but that’s what happens when the  moderator loses control of the debate and allows the debaters to go at it. In a tightly scripted format where moderators contribution is to say “Time!” a looser conversation can seem  good. But this one got a little out of hand, as Romney took control.

If you saw Romney debate and liked him, just make sure you replay in your head that 47 percent tape. Remember that’s the real Romney. That’s what Romney really thinks. Romney isn’t the prefab Romney. The Romney in the 47 percent tape didn’t show up last night, because the cameras weren’t hidden.

That’s why you can’t trust any favorable impression he may have given last night. We didn’t get the hidden camera truth. When the stakes are this high, it’s the only thing you can trust.

Tale of two tapes: Secret video speaks the truth about Romney as candidate goes ethnic and talks of how it would be “helpful to be Latino.”

Maybe Mitt Romney was scared that the campaign had gone all foreign policy-oriented  because of that anti-Arab internet video that he secretly was yearning for some other video to change the dynamics of the campaign.

But the video he had in mind was something like the polished one he did that aired this morning on  “Live with Kelly and Michael.”

At one point on this tape, Romney responded to a question about his ability, or lack thereof, of being empathetic with the American people.

On tape, Romney is like his hair. Perfect. He brings up being pastor of his church. And then he mentions his wife’s MS, implying how it shows his compassion.  Ann talked earlier about Mitt’s “good heart.”

That’s the Romney message. 

Instead Romney has to deal with  that “other tape,” the “47 percent” tape secretly recorded at a $50,000 a plate fundraiser in Boca Raton. It’s got the political class buzzing. And you should be buzzing about it too. 

It shows the real Romney as he dishes the high rollers some GOP red-meat.

Said Romney on THAT tape:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”

Did he just throw more than  half the American public under the food truck?

Later in California yesterday after Romney’s 47 percent comments were leaked, Romney appeared with hairs out-of-place, at a media opportunity where he tried to explain the remarks away saying he was just  “speaking off the cuff.”

Sort of like Clint Eastwood at the RNC?

Romney didn’t  apologize but clarified that he was showing the difference between those who want a “government centered society” vs. the  one he wants –“a free enterprise, free individual society, where people pursuing their dreams are able to employ one another, build enterprises, build the strongest economy in the world.”

The tape really is Romney.

Romney is the guy who says no to you at the bank.

He’s the guy who  gets his by living off others’ misery.

He’s the guy who makes conservatives yearn for a Bush. Any Bush. For cover.

What should be abundantly clear by now is that Romney’s perfect for a private corporation.

Just not for a United States that’s struggling to get back on its feet.

This is the man who wants to be the nation’s top public servant?

At one point in the secret tape, he attempts to show humor as he mentions his father being born to American parents in Mexico:

“Had he been born of Mexican parents I’d have a better chance of winning this, but he was not,” Romney said. 

Too bad. Then Democrats could be birthers too.

Romney finished off wistfully, saying “It would be helful to be Latino.”

Maybe. But then as the polls show, he would probably be voting for Obama.

In Eastwood’s chair: It wasn’t just Obama. It was all people of color

(For my convention wrap, see the full post on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog).

Invisible Obama in Eastwood’s chair? How about invisible you and me. That may have been the only time the Republicans really talked to people of color all convention week.

As far as people of color were concerned, it was a convention of model minorities, but without many Asian Americans. Sec. Rice, Sen. Marco Rubio, New Mexico’s Gov. Martinez were essentially just hood ornaments for this GOP. With Gov. Bobby Jindal tending to Isaac, Gov. Nikki Haley was the most prominent Asian American speaker. But she spoke more like a true Southerner than a South Asian, extolling the virtues of discriminatory voter ID practices and harsh immigration laws.

Here’s what surprised me most. Usually there’s at least one speaker who uses the litany that mentions “black, Latino, Asian American” in context of the diversity of the American people. But the rhetoric here was devoid of any of that in almost every speech at the convention. Indeed, it was anti-diversity. Even Romney’s speech would rather have a generic America, where race was whited out. 

When he spoke of an America he wanted to “restore,”  he said:

And does the America that we want succumb to resentment and
division among Americans?


“The America we all know has been a story of many becoming
one. United to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest
the economy in the world, uniting to save the world from
unspeakable darkness.

“ Everywhere I go there are monuments and now for those who
have given their lives for America.  There is no mention of
their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a

That’s as close as we get to showing up on the radar at a GOP convention

The America Mitt Romney wants restored is really a step backwards in time, maybe to pre-1965, before immigration, before civil rights. Factory defaults, please.

That’s not the America we’re in. But that’s appears to be the kind of country Romney feels comfortable being a leader of.

Maybe that’s because of the kind of people who are Republicans these days. When Romney talked about restoring an America to one that “will care for the poor and sick, will honor and respect the elderly and will giving a helping hand to those in need.  That America is the best within each of us.That America we want for our children,” the line fell flat.

Made me nostalgic for George Bush’s compassionate conservatives. But those people are moderate Democrats by today’s GOP standards.

When the Democrats show up in Charlotte, they’ll likely seem a whole lot more reasonable, diverse, and understanding by comparison.

After this GOP convention, the message is clear. You’re as invisible as Obama was in Eastwood’s chair. That was you.

If you’re black, Latino, Asian, you didn’t show up in their convention.  You weren’t real. My big takeaway? Romney is all-gender all the time. He seems to have pretty much conceded the diversity vote.


Paul Ryan’s RNC speech: Selling ”little government”

The conventions are the official time when rhetoric wins out over facts.

The campaigners are in speechify mode—going for the emotional sale.

So what else could we expect from Paul Ryan Wednesday night but recycled half-truths, untruths, and gas, packaged in a nice thin inflatable polymer.

That’s the stuff that rises up to the bunting in a convention.

And no amount of fact-checking matters.

Of course, it’s much different in real life, outside the convention hall, where rhetoric rarely soars, and voters are left with deflated hopes.

That didn’t stop Ryan Wednesday night. Known as a wonky, number crunching ideologue, he departed from all that policy stuff, though he did set parameters for the opposite of Big Government.  What would that be? Little Government, of course. That’s what R and R is all about. Keep federal spending at 20% of GDP? “That is enough,” Ryan said.

Spoken like a true “central planner.”

But numbers are boring. So Ryan showed off  his political style. He rallied young adults still living in their childhood bedrooms staring at faded Obama posters. He outed Romney’s iPod playlist as elevator music while revealing his own (AC/DC to Zeppelin? Really? I would have figured him a Styx and Kansas guy).

He pandered to women by showing off his family, calling his mom his mentor. His softened his slashing of Medicare by talking about his grandmother. She relies on it? She won’t in Ryan’s little government.

Why little government should appeal to anyone is ironic, but especially among those on the margins who would probably like to rely a little more on government these days. More unemployment. More public works jobs. More mortgage bailouts. So when Ryan addressed those who’ve felt left out of the economy, I was startled when he said “you haven’t failed, your leaders have.”

The crowd cheered, but those outside won’t be cheering when Ryan tells them his little government is unable to do a thing for little people.

Maybe big business will get its share. It always does in a world where corporations count as people. As for you little people, you’ll just have to take responsibility for yourselves.

Speaking of responsibility, if Ryan was so quick to blame failed leadership, shouldn’t he as the Congressional budget guy take some “personal responsibility” for his own failure to reach compromise with Democrats on a plan that would work for the people?  How does he go without blame?

He can’t.

Doesn’t matter. He’s the little government guy who wants to be the No.2 public servant in the land.

Problem is, his ideas may be too little for all of us.


One thing Ryan didn’t do is point out to  any of his black.Latino and Asian friends in the crowd. Maybe because there weren’t very many there.

Maybe his diversity angle came when he talked about his time as a dishwasher or mowing lawns. That was his time to show empathy. Hey, he actually did jobs that are usually available to minorities!  But he  then he brags about how he wasn’t limited by his situation. If he was truthful, he’d say,”being white helped me a lot. And my well-connected father got me my first Capitol Hill job.”

Ryan’s weakiness on diversity is so glaring, he negates any impact that Sec. Rice and Gov.Martinez had speaking just before him. If you were a minority GOPer, Ryan wasn’t reassuring.  He’s your forced fed young ideolgoue, with no message of inclusion or  compassion. Not in a  a little government themed campaign.

As he exited in “we can do this” mode, Ryan mentioned a bigger safety net? Bigger, you’ll be hard pressed to find one at all  in the little government of Romney/Ryan.


Ryan? Really? Romney’s post-racial veep pick

What does “post-racial” really mean?

If you want a good example, look at Romney’s veep pick. Leading up to it, any pick was largely seen as somewhat uneventful. Could it really make an impact? Wouldn’t Romney pick a competent person anyway? So who would enhance his chances? 

If race mattered, and it should in a diverse society where minorities have become the majority in many states, then by all means the pick should have been a Rubio, or a Jindal.  That would have been a bold message to the electorate.

It would have also expanded Romney’s universe of voters, with the potential of siphoning off some votes away from Obama.

But with a Ryan pick, Romney doubles down on the 1 percent.  He’s solidified his position among those who might think he’s a softie. He’s selected the man most responsible for the gridlock in the “Do Nothing” Congress. Ryan’s the guy who is the most polarizing on the key issue of the day: the economy. 

Romney was going to get his Tea Party conservatives anyway. They weren’t going to sit this one out. He was going to get the Ryan voters. More significantly, a Ryan choice doesn’t make Romney more likeable to those who only marginally disliked him.  If they disliked him even a little bit, now they should really stay away.

And those who really were  on the fence?  Well, now they have a choice between the stark harsh measures from a slash and burn budget guy like Ryan, and the president and the Democrats who by comparison seem reasonable and more compassionate.

But it’s definitely a “post-racial” veep pick, and a clear signal to new majority of America.

What’s Romney saying with his choice of Ryan? Hispanics? Don’t need you. Asians? Who are you? Blacks? You got your guy.

As for union workers, common folks, everyone else without a job or a Cayman Islands bank account, if you like even more of the pain you’re experiencing, Romney-Ryan is the answer.