Obama and Ohio

I have been procrastinating—and my deadline to submit this piece is in a couple of hours. Procrastination takes the form of surfing the Internet, and I have stumbled on two interesting sites.

The first is the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) quiz on how liberal (or conservative) one is, compared to Barack Obama (or Mitt Romney).

The Christian Science Monitor quiz I answered is titled: “Are you more (or less) liberal than President Obama?” The quiz is made up of 21 questions covering a wide range of issues like energy, foreign policy, taxation and budget deficit, human rights, gay rights, housing, immigration nuclear disarmament, health care, and campaign financing.

A sample multiple-choice question: On his second day in office, President Obama issued an executive order stating prisoners should not be subjected to violence or torture. But the status of many prisoners in our military prisons remains unclear. Where should the US stand on torture?

The answer I chose: Violence against another human being, no matter what the reason, is completely wrong. Torture should be eradicated worldwide, and US military officials who participated in torture should be investigated and punished.

I wasn’t surprised about the result of the quiz. Assigning a score to each question, CSM said that my total score suggests that I am “more liberal than President Obama!”

The CSM’s conclusion addressed to me: You’re proudly towing the liberal line, canvas tote bag and all. You’ve probably been frustrated with President Obama’s policies on more than one occasion, especially when he compromises with Republicans. You probably miss the Clinton years, and may have even been a Hillary supporter in ’08.

But CSM is not entirely correct about its assessment of me. I don’t miss the Clinton years although I cannot forget Bill’s tobacco and Monica. And I rooted for Obama, not Hillary, turned off by her being a warmonger in dealing with Saddam’s Iraq.

Yes, I’ve been disappointed with Obama for not fulfilling his campaign promise of closing down Guantanamo, for not embarking on a bolder economic stimulus, for making compromise with the Republicans his default position.

But then I also understand the severe political constraint that he has faced: a hardline, fanatical, and obstructionist Republican Congress. Reforms were held hostage. Thus, Obama could only advance through compromise.

In the midst of the hostile environment, Obama has been able to secure reforms that have a long-term impact, specifically on the national health-care system, the tightening of finance regulation, the promotion of gay and lesbian rights, and the appointment of broad-minded Supreme Court justices.

In short, despite the progressives’ frustration with Obama, the reality is he remains a reformer, a progressive at heart. It is a pity that his politeness and reasonableness could not match the right’s skullduggery.

Besides, we should be scared of Romney, the Tea Party and their fanatical conservatism. They are the Talibans of North America. Thus, I’dvote for Obama (if I were a US citizen).

The second site I like is the Five Thirty Eight blog. It is now a regular feature in The New York Times. Curious to know what Five Thirty Eight stands for? At first I thought it pertained to an exact time for something. It cannot be about the Angelus, which is recited at 6:00, not 5:38.

It turns out that Five Thirty Eight (538) is the number of electors who make up the US’s electoral college. And what is special about the Five Thirty Eight blog is it tries to forecast the number of electoral votes that will go to Obama and Romney. It does regression analysis and simulation to forecast the results of the 2012 US presidential elections.

Five Thirty Eight has gained much credibility for its transparency and its uncanny ability in predicting (close to accuracy) the outcome of the Democratic primaries and the US presidential elections in 2008. The method it uses is unique and somewhat complex—getting the aggregate polling data, assigning a weight for each poll based on the pollster’s record; using demographic information and historical voting trend.

So what is the latest Five Thirty Eight forecast? Obama will win the electoral vote: 295.4 votes against Romney’s 242.6 votes. Obama’s probability of winning is 74.4 percent. The popular vote will also be for Obama, who will get 50.3 percent of the total votes.

In addition, Five Thirty Eight tries to determine what state will be the tipping point vote. And it’s going to be Ohio, which is leaning towards Obama.

When I hear Ohio, what comes to mind is the song sung by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSNY), an expression of protest over the Kent State massacre in 1970. So, I posted on my Facebook account the You Tube video of CSNY’s Ohio, and I wrote:

Obama will win—though it will be a close victory. Ohio will be the swing state. Which reminds me of CSNY’s Ohio, the Kent State massacre and Nixon. The way that Romney is lying through his teeth makes him the new Nixon. In 1970, it was “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming….” Now it’s: Tea party and Romney coming. Remember Ohio, and reject Romney.

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