Ellmers, Fox, Burr and McHenry make the Dirty Air Villian list

The NRCD announced its list of legislators who “Voted Dirty” today in a new effort to highlight which members of congress are heroes or villains when it comes to air quality protection. North Carolina Senator Richard Burr and Representatives Renee Ellmers, Virginia Foxx and Patrick McHenry make the list.
The report details votes along with contributions from polluting industries as well.
Here’s the look-up page.

Mitt, Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan

One of the things that’s struck me about the difference between this presidential campaign and the last 40 or so has been the lack of war talk. If ever there was an indication that the realities of war-without-end has ground out nearly all the enthusiasm in the country for foreign military ventures, it’s that candidates are not crisscrossing the land rattling sabers and promising death to somebody, a staple of national politics in almost every country.

In peacetime this usually meant questioning a candidate’s readiness to be commander-in-chief and, in the case of men of a certain age, whether or not they actually served. This was taken to great heights in the 1992 campaign during which Bill Clinton’s opposition to the Vietnam war was a major part of the GOP’s strategy to paint him as irresponsible, unpatriotic and unready – a cleaned up hippie in a suit.

Here in North Carolina, a state that’s home to huge numbers of active and retired military folks, issues of war and peace are important and personal. People here want to hear specifics, not just lofty rhetoric about staying strong. Staying strong as defined over the past decade has put a hell of a burden on communities throughout this state, especially in the base towns of eastern NC. In these places, it’s been endless war with all the sacrifice and hardship that entails. They have a right to a little more attention. It’s a shame that the pending sequester of roughly $500 million in military spending over 10 years, a crude tool employed during last year’s even cruder political joust over the debt ceiling, is getting more attention in this election cycle than those wounded or killed on the battlefield and their loved ones back home.

Somehow the other night, in the most important speech of his life, the man who wants to be commander-in-chief failed to mention the sacrifices of the past decade or even give a nod to the tens of thousands serving today in a hostile places around the globe. He did not say “Afghanistan,” a nation this country invaded and currently occupies along with our NATO allies. And, with the erasure of George W. Bush from the history of the Republican Party almost complete, he dared not mention Iraq.

Mr. Romney is going to have to change that if he wants to reap the votes that are waiting for him in the 910 area code and elsewhere in the state. And he’s going to have to offer something tangible alongside the talk about preserving freedom around the world. There’s a price to that in human terms and when he travels to the base towns of North Carolina, he’ll have to meet some of the people who have paid dearly. He’ll have to look them in they eye and talk about where and when and why. He’ll have to talk VA and benefits and PTSD. He won’t just be able to talk tough about Syria and Iran, he’ll have to talk about the realities of Afghanistan and the consequences of Iraq. He’ll have to provide some proof that he won’t just restaff the DOD and his cabinet with the same people who sent millions overseas to fight without a clear objective and a way out.

And if there is a just God, he’ll have to talk about Vietnam. He’ll explain how it was that he stayed out of service in Vietnam at the same time he protested in favor of the war and others being drafted to fight it. When he visits Fayetteville or Havelock, he won’t be able to sell the idea that his time in France during the war was tough because of anti-Vietnam sentiment. He’ll have to talk about it because of his own history and also because it taught this country a harsh lesson about war and commitment. Many North Carolinians who fought in that war have sons and daughters and grandkids in uniform today. They deserve to know something of what the future holds and they deserve to know from any candidate for president, especially one who was able to serve at the time, what lessons he learned from ‘Nam.

Further reading:
Digby – QOTD: Gloria Borger
Mediaite – CNN Airs The Most Ridiculous Statement I’ve Ever Seen On Television

Buzzfeed – Mitt Romney, Student Protester
UK Telegraph – Mitt Romney’s life as a poor Mormon missionary in France questioned

The NC trend is less Democrats, more reliable Democratic voters

Registration numbers have been a focus of late, especially in the battleground states.
I can’t speak for how the numbers work in other states, but I do know that if you think that lower numbers of Democrats in North Carolina mean less Democratic votes, you’d be wrong.
The quirky trend of the Old North State for the past two decades or so is that the people migrating here tend to be more reliable Democratic voters than the natives. There was a very good Public Policy Polling study of this in 2008 and what they found holds today. It’s also likely accelerating. The most recent PPP look at the presidential race has the president leading his challenger by a huge margin among the people who have been here ten years or less.

From this month’s Exile on Jones Street Column in the Indy, which came out this week:

Following the rout of 2010, GOP strategists maintained that Obama’s win in North Carolina was an anomaly driven by unusually high turnout. They pointed to a drop in Democratic registrations.

But as the PPP study points out, the people moving here, even independents, are proving to be more reliable Democratic voters than the natives. Born and bred Tar Heels came of age in what was historically a one-party state; if you wanted a say in legislative or county commissioner races, you registered as a Democrat so you could vote in the primary.

That same dynamic identified in 2008 is at play this year. The recent PPP poll on the presidential race notes that Obama and Romney are tied 47-47 for the native vote. The president’s lead can be attributed to an edge among non-native voters, including a 66-to-27-percent lead among those who’ve been here less than 10 years.

There’s a lot of things to note in the registration outlook and the demographic changes, but one that gets little mention is that all the recruiting the state is doing and the new jobs coming to the state – our rapid growth over the past 30 years – is starting to have a real impact on out politics.

Morning Post birthday edition

Today is the 51st birthday of Barack Obama. Funny how this tax thing has made it much more difficult for anyone to bring up the birther thing. That’s a nice change this birthday, but it’s not the best gift. The best gift is that Mitt Romney’s tax returns are now becoming a cultural cliché.

What’s really in Mitt Romney’s tax returns is turning into a set piece for any would be political humorist. Here’s an example via alternet. 10 Theories About What Mitt Romney’s Really Hiding in Those Tax Returns

That’s the kind of stuff that pushes out into the layers of voters who don’t pay attention to the chattering classes.
My guess is there’s nothing out of the ordinary in the returns if you list your occupation as vulture capitalist and tend to shift a lot of your holdings overseas to reduce your tax burden. I’m sure that if we all could discuss this in a ‘quiet room’ there would be no disagreement that as Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom recently said, the candidate “has never zeroed out his tax liability” and has always paid “100 percent of what was owed.” So leave the man alone. What is it with you people?

Except Romney knows that an election is not a board meeting and what’s in the returns will be discussed in very loud places like say, what we now call Carolina Panthers Stadium. You might want to recall that Romney’s 2011 tax return has yet to drop.

The calculation seems to be that he can ride to victory without more transparency. If he were a charismatic type who could deliver a barn burner he could probably get away with it. But he’s said it’s his business experience that makes him more qualified than the current occupant of the White House. If we can’t see the for the record the complete picture of the fruits of his labor in the business world, then his major claim to the presidency falls apart.

Morning Post Day 97

Good morning. Today is the day the new Obamacare rules for contraception coverage takes effect. That means no co-pays, evah. Somehow this is some radical idea opposed by many religious leaders. Well, tough, it’s the law of the land now. Here’s a graphics heavy and plainly-worded presentation by the Guttmacher Institute that make it seem like a thing any reasonable society would want.

Reproductive Health Reality Check on the politics of it. The Key to Unlocking the Youth Vote: Why Birth Control is a Force Multiplier in the 2012 Election

Also, here’s a nice, concise write-up on the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature results that converted another climate-change skeptic by confirming again that the planet is getting warmer and mankind is the causing of it all. Wunderground: Oil industry-funded “BEST” study finds global warming is real, manmade

Shocking news from the campaign trail . . .
Independent study of Romney tax plan says even if it yield all its touted benefits to the economy (just like those Bush cuts did) it still makes the rich richer at the expense of everyone else.
From the WaPo: Study: Romney tax plan would result in cuts for rich, higher burden for others

Even if tax breaks “are eliminated in a way designed to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible, there would still be a shift in the tax burden of roughly $86 billion [a year] from those making over $200,000 to those making less” than that.

What would that mean for the average tax bill? Millionaires would get an $87,000 tax cut, the study says. But for 95 percent of the population, taxes would go up by about 1.2 percent, an average of $500 a year.

More shocking news from NC:
– People are wondering if Romney’s lead in recent polls means North Carolina is really in play or not or what or whatnot. If your memory goes back all the way back to 2008, you might recall that Obama didn’t lead McCain in a poll until September 23. Real Clear Politics N.C.: Trending Red Again or Truly Up for Grabs?

– Perhaps the FLOTUS will have an opinion on the subject when she visits Greensboro and Raleigh today.
– NC Policy Watch has a look at a new report from the Budget and Tax Center showing the link between loss of rights and wage decline in North Carolina. New report: The decline in worker bargaining power is behind falling wages
– It appears that Richard Burr thinks Marco Rubio needs a little more time before seeking national office. The Hill: GOP senator suggests Sen. Rubio could use ‘a little more experience’
– And, we’re still waiting on those vetoes. No word as of 9 a.m. Morning Post Day 98 Vetoes Anyone?