The Atlantic Slanders Speaker Boehner, Ignores Story About Women and Indie Voters
posted at 10:43 pm on August 28, 2012 by Matt Vespa
The Atlantic posted a rather incendiary piece on August 27 saying that Speaker of the House John Boehner “hopes blacks and latinos won’t show up this election.” The column’s author, Elspeth Reeve, got his information from Talking Points Memo. A fact that Ken Shepherd of Newsbusters made this afternoon when he called Reeve out on his vicious slander of the House Speaker.
Reeve himself got his information from another liberal site:
As Talking Point Memo’s Benjy Sarlin reports, Boehner said:
‘This election is about economics… These groups have been hit the hardest. They may not show up and vote for our candidate but I’d suggest to you they won’t show up and vote for the president either.’
‘Theres one issue in this campaign, one,’ Sarlin quoted Boehner at the close of his article, ‘The president’s economic policies have failed. They’ve made things worse.’ Of course, Reeve omitted that line from his piece.
These groups, along with young Americans, have suffered disproportionally during Obama’s tenure as president. However, this must have struck a nerve over at The Atlantic since they posted a follow up called “Why We Think John Boehner Is Hoping for Low Minority Turnout” this afternoon.
The column highlighted the full exchange between Boehner and the press.
Reporter: Mr. Speaker, could you talk a little bit about criticisms about, ah that the Republican Party can’t continue to win presidential elections if they don’t appeal to more voters than they are today in terms of [inaudible], non-white voters, others not in the party in terms of Hispanic voters, African-American voters? I was just looking at poll recently that showed Mr. Romney getting 0 percent support… [This is likely a reference to a NBC/ Wall Street Journal poll showing Romney with 0 percent support among blacks nationally.]
Boehner: We’ve never done well with those groups, but think about who this economic downturn has affected — blacks, Hispanics, young people. 50 percent of college graduates unemployed or underemployed. And I think our economic message in this election cycle will help us recruit more of those groups than we would have otherwise. But I think it’s important for our party, if we’re going to be a national party, we’ve got to reach out, and that means showing up in their neighborhoods. It’s a tall order but it can be done.
Reporter: Is it happening so far? Do you think it’s happening… right now?
Boehner: This election is about economics. And they may not show up and vote for our candidate but I would suggest to you they won’t show up and vote for the president either
Hence, Reeve wrote that:
Boehner gives two distinct answers to the reporter’s question about polls showing extremely low black and Hispanic support for Republicans. In the first, he says that in the long-term future, he would like more black and Hispanic voters to support Republicans. That is noble. But when pressed about the here and now, where polls show very few minority voters supporting the G.O.P., he answers that they won’t show up—for either party.
As we wrote yesterday, Boehner is clearly talking about the economy keeping voters away. It’s not clear why people who are going through difficult times won’t vote — too busy working extra jobs? can’t afford gas money? — nor is it clear why this economic impact on voter turnout only applies to non-white voters. Elsewhere in the session, while discussing the Republicans’ long standing gender gap with women voters, Boehner argued that the ailing economy would encourage women to change their votes. With minorities, according to the favorable scenario Boehner envisions, they just stay home. And since that is one of the reasons he hopes Republicans will win, we’re sticking with our headline.
In that case, it’s a wasted headline. I agree with Mr. Boehner that Republicans need to reach out to minority voters, but that may be a project for after the election. Furthermore, as reported back in May, Hispanic and Black voter registration is down, suffice to say that the minority vote isn’t where either campaign should focus most of their attention 69 days from November 6th.
Lastly, since the Democratic candidate is a black man, it’s safe to assume that Mr. Obama will get 400% of the black vote. Why should Republicans focus on outreach operations? We have a better chance with hispanics, which has been hampered by alleged nativist rhetoric coming from conservatives concerning illegal immigration. I still find it amazing that it’s seen as racist when anyone advocates protecting the territorial integrity of of United States. It’s a state’s core function.
The real story is with women and independents. More women are becoming the breadwinners of their respective households, thus more on the frontlines of financial decision making within their family unit. In fact, Alex Bratty of Public Opinion Strategies has conducted a study detailing the “Walmart Moms,” who along with independents, could decide this election. They’re usually younger women who are moderate to right-leaning in their political beliefs. In all, they’re a good representation of the entire female electorate. However, they tend to skew Republican when it comes to who they want controlling Congress.
Yes, there is a slight gender gap, but it’s mostly concentrated with (shocker!) 18-29 year olds. A demographic that has lost its”Obamamania” fixation and will not show up at the polls as they did four years ago. Romney still trails Obama by eight with women, but it’s early. With sixty-nine days until Election Day, that’s more than enough time for Romney to make up that deficit–while hammering Obama on his economic failures. However, it all depends if other members of the party don’t make dumb remarks about abortion and pregnancy.
Concerning independent voters, Obama’s political disposition doesn’t fair all that well either. Back in April, when he was trying to push the redundant Buffett Rule (aka the already enacted Alternative Minimum Tax), Alexis Simendinger of Real Clear Politics pointed out:
While progressives have urged Obama to dump his 2011 rhetorical emphasis on curbing debt and deficits in favor of a more combative re-election bid, those issues remain important to the undecided fence-sitters he will need to win a second term. These voters care about the size of government and debts and blame Congress more than Wall Street and special interests for gridlock and policy myopia.
The left is desperate. They construed this story to make the GOP look racist, even though the minority vote isn’t where the election will be decided. It will be with women, who are still open to a Romney presidency, and independent voters– who are appalled by this administration’s record of expanding government and reckless spending. Mr. Reeves, the ailing economy has already pushed women and independents to change their votes in 2010. However, that fact hurts the president, which makes it un-newsworthy.